Michael Hyatt is the co-author of “Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.” It is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best seller. In the book, he discusses the importance of creating a life plan and also goes a step further by explaining how to do it. Along with this, he is also the author of “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.” It too, is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best seller. It provides step-by-step guidance on how to gain visibility online for your product, service, or cause. As if these aren’t sufficient credentials, Michael is the founder of 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever,™ Platform University®, and Get Published.
Michael has enormous amounts of wisdom to share with wannabe writers, authors, and even entrepreneurs. He shared some of that wisdom during his interview with Chandler Bolt during the 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit. Here’s what he had to say:
Just Start Blogging
Want to write a book but not sure where to begin? Start a blog and keep it up regularly. And by this Michael doesn’t mean write a post every three weeks. Try posting once or twice a week and go from there. This will help you build a platform as you grow your email list and create content. Your blog is your workbench. Test and see what posts get a lot of traffic/comments. Later on you can expand these posts into a course, a podcast, etc.
Like a quilt, all the individual squares of blog posts can be connected into a blanket of helpful information.
Still not sure what to write about? Create content people actually want to read and give nothing less than your best effort. What will readers want to share, what will make them look smart and resourceful? Crafting good content will also help up the numbers on your email list. Michael says, “Content is king, platform is queen”
Grow You Numbers
Has the importance of getting an email list been mentioned enough times yet? Getting a list is far from going out; in fact, it’s the big game of getting a platform. Create an opt-in magnet. Make some form of content you can send people in return for receiving their email address (such as a video messages or an E-book). Getting that email list will grow your platform!
Form a Strong Platform
Publishers count on your platform, as they cannot make you famous or successful on their own. What is a platform? Simply put, a platform is your social structure such as followers and contacts. You have direct access through your platform to potential readers. Michael lists three different facets of a platform. First comes Definition (who is the audience, what do they want and dream of). Make sure you can articulate what they want better than they can and you’ll be successful. Next comes Activation (get involved in social media through blogging). Lastly is Attraction (there’s an art to getting readers)
Michael went through media training four times. Learning what likely interview questions are and how to answer them will lead to a much higher success rate on media interviews. Let the host direct the conversation. Make him/her look smart and make sure to speak in sound bites. Answer in one minute or less. During one season of his earlier writing career, Michael went through twelve to fourteen interviews a day, back to back. Talk about tenacity! Learn media and it will promote you, for you.
It’s Not About You
Selling something can’t be about you and how much time you spent on it or how many people you pitched it to. What is in it for the reader? One of Michael’s beginning books was, according to him, not pretty or brilliant, and he didn’t have backing. The book just covered a current problem. Make sure your focus is the reader, not yourself.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small
Michael didn’t start as the CEO at Thomas Nelson. He was in publishing first and worked in every facet of it, marketing, sales, editing, and management leadership. Learning to be an advocate for those who worked under him served him well when he became a CEO. Servant leadership is a big part of leading, and something Michael stresses. Helping others become successful helps the whole company.
As a parting piece of advice, Michael tells us to write a book proposal for yourself. You need to have a plan, a blueprint, and a track to run on. Start by writing the easiest chapter of your book and then moving to the hardest will ensure you cross that finish line! Who knows, you might be the next author being interviewed and giving advice on how to go from wannabe writer to successful author.
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