getting noticed in a noisy world

Getting Noticed in a Noisy World with Your First Book [Michael Hyatt Interview]

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.

Content Matters

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)

Learn Media

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.

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

Jeff Goins

You are a Writer, So Start Acting Like One [Jeff Goins Interview]

As a part of our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit, we brought in Jeff Goins for an interview to discuss what it means to be a writer. Jeff is a full-time writer living just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. He is also a husband, father, and has a pet Border collie. He is the author of four books, including the national bestseller “The Art of Work.” His website, Goinswriter.com, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world. During his interview, he talked about what drove him to become an author and what it truly means to be a writer.

Here are some of our favorite Jeff Goins Self-Publishing Success Summit takeaways:

Act Like the Person You Want to Be

Jeff is a huge advocate that you are a writer when you say you are a writer. It’s a mindset, not a name someone can give you. If you want to be a writer, simply start putting words on the page! Activity follows identity, so think of yourself as “a writer” and the activity of writing will follow. “Act like a writer: activity follows identity.”

Know Why You Want to Write

Jeff focuses on the reason he writes. He is passionate about helping people through writing and believes he has met his calling and purpose through writing. Writing is not always fun, but it’s always gratifying. Figuring out what drives your passion to write will help you keep writing when it gets hard or you hit a roadblock on the page. Keep pressing on!

Blog, Blog, Blog

Keeping up a blog can be a big training tool as you learn to write a book. But it can also teach you some bad habits. Focus on the discipline of writing, write regularly, and get into the habit of sitting down at the keyboard everyday. Adding content on a regular basis will help you add quality to your content. Remember, the process is messy. With the last book he wrote, Jeff says he wrote it all down, then scrapped it and researched and rewrote. Embrace the process and your writing will excel.

Every Movement Begins with Words

Connect people with ideas. Create words that change and impact culture. Talk is not cheap. Talk sparks conversation and every movement begins with words. Jeff talks about the importance of taking someone out for lunch or coffee and explaining the idea of your book to them. You don’t even need to tell them you want to write a book, simply talk to them about your idea and see if they get excited about it. This will help you find out the interest of potential readers. Start with words over coffee, then take them to the page because according to Jeff, “It all begins and end with words.”

Research!

Read books in the genre that correlate with the idea you have. Check to see if you have anything new, different, or interesting to say. You don’t need to repeat what someone else has said. Find a niche that still needs filling and fill it with your writing! Put your ideas into an Evernote folder so you can keep track of them and maintain easy access. Research is important because it helps ensure you write a book an audience wants to read. Write in a way that connects with your audience, and write to help people. Proper research will enhance your ideas and turn them into a viable book. The right idea at the right time will produce tremendous results.

Always Move Forward

Writing a book with a strong character arc or a strong plot is a huge factor contributing to success. However, writing every chapter with a great arc is vital to the movement of your story. Every chapter should move the book forward. Every word counts. Don’t let this stop you from writing. You call yourself a writer, so write! Be encouraged as you progress word-by-word and chapter-by-chapter. But make sure you have a good chapter arc for every chapter. The plot isn’t just at the beginning, middle, and end. It’s a thread that winds throughout the entire book.

Jeff Goins finished by reminding us anyone can be a writer, but it rests on sitting down to do the work. The best marketing is done before the work is finished, so enjoy the process. Share your excitement with those around you, and take note of when they get excited as well. Think like a writer, write, and you will be a writer. Take that writing and get it published, and you will be an author.

As Jeff says, “It all beings and ends with words!” So what are you waiting for? Time to get writing!

For more information on Jeff Goins and to learn how to get 10,000 fans, write a book, and $100,000 in 18 months, click here!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

finish your book

Eliminating Distractions and Practicing Deep Work to Finish Your Book [Cal Newport Interview]

In our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit interview with Cal Newport, he discussed the different approaches you can take to eliminate distractions and practice deep work to finish your book.

Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work. “Deep Work,” which is his most recent book, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace. The ability to concentrate without distraction is rare in our society but extremely valuable. Cal previously wrote “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” debunking the long-held belief that “following your passion” is good advice, as well as three popular books of unconventional advice for students.

Here is what he had to say about what you can do to finish your book:

Know Your Format Before Writing

Cal says to know your format before you begin the writing process. If you know where you are headed it’s much easier to get there. Having a goal and understanding what needs to be written will make for a much smoother writing process. Know how much you want to write and when you want it to be finished, then work out the math backwards. This is a method for success.

Separate Planning from Writing

Thinking about his book about a year before he actually sits down to write, Cal stresses the importance of mentally planning the book before writing a single word. You can use commuting time to add to the hours needed to accrue a new book. This would normally be time spent zoning out, but using it for deep focus on the topic will quickly grow the planning process.

Mentally decide to plan as you walk, literally, and notice when your attention wanders. Cal enjoys going for long walks and planning his books out as he walks. This is a great stimulant for the mind and can enhance planning.

Treat the Process with Respect

Like any job, working only when you feel like it will not get the job done. Purposefully sitting down and putting words on the page comes with the territory of being a writer. Treat the process of writing with respect by growing that word count, regardless of whether you feel like it or not. Don’t wait until the last minute. It won’t always be easy, but it comes with the privilege of being a writer! Just as training to be an athlete takes time and consistent dedication, so does training to become a writer. Don’t give up! The process is what creates the result. Cal says, “Writing a book is like a job. It’s not supposed to be easy all the time and it’s not something you’re supposed to just wait till three weeks before some self-imposed deadline and then just go crazy. That’s just unprofessional.”

Prep for Writing as if You Are an Athlete

Work deeply, embrace boredom, and quit social media. Really! According to Cal, working deeply is a specific type of work ethic that can be learned…but it takes time and effort. Learning to stop grabbing your phone at the first hint of boredom, and rather embracing the boredom, will keep your mind focused. Think about one topic at a time and your writing will improve. Part of focus comes with limiting distractions – notably, social media. It is far too easy to log in to Facebook, check your Twitter feed, or scroll through Instagram at your first inkling of boredom. Taking a break from social media will improve focus and ultimately, enhance your writing!

Slow Down for Business

These days everyone is busy, right? Cal said being busy is like having the flu. It slows you down and hinders you from getting the important tasks done. Business takes away from your focus, forcing you to split your thoughts between multiple tasks. Instead, slow down and focus on one or two majorly important things. You’ll be surprised at how much your work will thrive!

Hone Your Skills

Every book you write will hone your skills. Writing more will grow you, and even if the end result is not exactly what you were hoping, for you will still learn from the process! Just like it takes countless reps to gain muscle, writing requires many hours in order to build your competence in the craft. Write in time that presents itself for you (Your meeting was cancelled? Write!) as well as time you specifically give yourself (Set your alarm half an hour earlier, write on your lunch break, or go to bed a little later!). Breaking down articles of people you respect will also teach you invaluable lessons as you learn from those a little further down the writing road.

Where to start? Cal says for the next two weeks, for four hours a week, work at your one most important task. Turn off your phone and eliminate social media. Pick one activity that pushes you to concentrate and make one change to show yourself you are prioritizing your time. This will result in deep work, work that you will appreciate and find satisfaction in. Remember, the goal is to appreciate deep work and find satisfaction, not for it to seem easy.

Writing is a hard craft to learn, but the rewards are worth the effort!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

book writing lessons

Lessons Learned from the Secret, Chicken Soup, Abundance Now, and A Guinness World Record Setting Book [Lisa Nichols Interview]

Lisa Nichols is one of the world’s most requested motivational speakers. A media personality and corporate CEO, her global platform has reached and served nearly thirty million people. Lisa began her career as a struggling single mom on public assistance and now is a millionaire entrepreneur. Lisa’s courage and determination have inspired fans worldwide, bringing breakthrough to countless audiences as they discover their own untapped talents and infinite potential. In Lisa’s interview with Chandler during the Self-Publishing Success Summit, Lisa shared her lessons learned from the Secret, Chicken Soup, Abundance Now, and even a Guinness world record setting book!

Her story is truly an inspiration, as it shows with hard work, anyone can find success.

Speaking and Writing Go Hand in Hand

Lisa says your first mistake is sitting back and waiting. Seeing your dream come to fruition only happens once a lot of hard work has gone into the process. Speaking and media are a huge part of the writing business, but how do you get your first speaking gig? How do you appear on your first TV interview? Lisa says to go small first – aim for regional media. Call and send them the press release you put together and don’t forget to include some type of video of yourself!

Write and Don’t Worry About Grammar

In school, Lisa was publicly humiliated by teachers who told her she was either the weakest writer they knew, or the worst public speaker. Today, she has proven these teachers wrong. However, Lisa had to overcome these fears and find out for herself that she is indeed a great storyteller, as well as a phenomenal public speaker. Her weakness is grammar, and she would be the first person to tell you this. But there is an easy fix for this and it’s called getting an editor! Lisa stresses the importance of writing and getting your message out while not worrying about the grammar. That can be fixed later. For now, focus on the writing!

Hold Fear in One Hand and Passion in the Other

As mentioned, Lisa had a lot of fear to overcome on her road to becoming a traveling speaker as well as a writer. She said she did not wait for her fear to dissipate before starting her journey. Rather said, “I held my fear in one hand and my passion and conviction in the other hand, and I just jumped anyway!” She worked through her fear, focusing on what she was writing rather than what might stop her. Lisa is a great storyteller but she knows sometimes telling herself stories of “what ifs” is what holds her back. “Fear is us making up a story about what we think might happen in the future.” Instead, she tells herself the positive what ifs, and focuses on her writing. After all, she says, “Momentum dissipates fear.”

Don’t Hide Behind Your Book

Take advantage of the different forms of connectivity that are available. Social media, videos and interviews are all resources that should be taken advantage of! Audiences love hearing about what Lisa fondly calls “your dip.” They want to hear how you rose from the ashes. People fall in love with your dip because your audience knows you are the right person to teach them. If you experienced lows in your career, or dips, they know they are not alone. This provides a stronger relationship between the success of the speaker/writer and the one who is still aspiring to be successful. Today’s currency is all about relationship and making these connections is vital.

Talk About the Pages Not Just the Book

Speaking more about the content on specific pages of your book provides a type of realism to your book as well as credibility. Simply talking about the book itself may draw readers in, but talking about the specific pages and the personal quotes will capture audiences. “Books are an amazing contribution to society because it allows people to learn from you, be touched by you, and be inspired by you while you’re doing other things.” Why not go all the way and get personal by naming what page number the story came from? Lisa said she literally has readers stop her to ask what page she is speaking from. This is an amazing way to build those reader relationships!

Personality is Everything

While you are in conversation with readers let your personality show through. Readers are drawn to authors who are transparent, real, and unafraid to share their “dip” stories. Energy gives more essence to what you are talking about as the passion behind the writing comes through. If you aren’t very extroverted, no need to worry! Some readers are drawn to quieter authors. Being yourself will take you much farther down the road than pretending to be something you are not. And really, who wants to build a career from a false identity?

As a parting tip Lisa says, “Everyday get up, pray and ask God to get you out of your own way so the world can be blessed by who you are.” Your message does not belong to you. It’s supposed to come through you to inspire those around you. You may have fears battling against what inspires you, but hold those fears in one hand and go after your goals with the other. If Lisa can go from “the weakest writer” to a bestselling author, what is stopping you?

If Lisa can do it, anyone can do it!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

Using Blog Posts & A Crappy First Draft To Write A Great First Book (Taylor Pearson Interview)

Using Blog Posts and a Crappy First Draft to Write a Great First Book [Taylor Pearson Interview]

Taylor Pearson is an entrepreneur and the author of “The End of Jobs.” Inc Magazine rated his book, “The End of Jobs,” a Top 25 Business Book of 2015. In addition to this, it was rated as one of the top three Start Your Own Business Books of 2015. Needless to say, Taylor’s book was a great success! Sometimes having a really bad first draft for your book can make a major turn for the better. We interviewed Taylor during our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit and he had some incredible insight to give to those working towards writing their first books.

These are the top takeaways and words of wisdom from Taylor Pearson:

Everyone’s First Draft is Bad

He began by explaining everyone’s first draft is not polished or professional. We should not be discouraged by this, but simply realize we have to start small in order to go big. Bestselling authors do not usually sit down and decide to write a bestseller. Instead, an aspiring author sits down and thinks through an idea, struggles through finding the words to explain it, and eventually creates a book. That first rough draft is where it all begins, and you read that correctly – it’s called a “rough draft” for a reason. Don’t be discouraged by the roughness of your draft, be encouraged you have a draft to show for all your hard work!

Where to Start

Have emotional insecurity about writing your first book? Don’t let this keep you from success! Taylor himself experienced the same insecurity. A good way to start writing that first draft is by listing off ideas, then writing about those ideas one at a time, organizing the ideas into sections, and lastly, editing the sections.

Don’t Read Your First Draft!

Not reading your first draft until you’ve finished writing it is an important tip from Taylor. Using Scrivener’s word count feature will help you stay on track and get the required number of words completed prior to your read through. First drafts are always “rough,” and reading it early in the writing stage may discourage you from wanting to write further…and we don’t want that!

The Importance of the Book Proposal

Writing a book proposal after every draft is helpful as it enables you to better understand your own writing as well as the target audience. Spending time writing a proposal after each revised draft is a good practice to get into, and a practice Taylor made for his first book. It is a great habit to form early in the writing journey! He says: “The act of writing a proposal is really good for forcing you to clarify what makes the book marketable.”

People Will Remember Book Three

You may be slaving over your first book, and rightly so, as excellence is an important factor to include in writing, but don’t worry too much about the first two books. According to Taylor, “Everyone’s first two books suck, just get them out the door and get to the third one as soon as possible.” After all, “If you want to be good at something, you have to be willing to suck at it.”

Trust Equals Marketing

Even if you are a genius at marketing, if you haven’t earned people’s trust all the marketing in the world will do little to help you. Getting an interview slot on a podcast is a great way to put your name out there and build trust with your target market. Podcasts are great for exposure but can take a lot of work if not setup properly. A lot of pre-planning is needed if you truly want to get on a podcast. Personally writing out the podcast, including five main points and any other necessary details, will heighten your chances of being interviewed. Getting your name out on the Internet multiple times a week will help build trust as well. Blogging the book before its release will draw people in to the excitement and as the blogs are released their trust in the product and in its author will grow. Taylor blogged 70% of his book prior to its publication and this did not lessen his sales at all!

At the end of his interview Taylor reminded us all of two important takeaways: He loves in person meet-ups. This one-on-one advantage is possible when you are not “at scale” like the other big businesses or successful authors. Take advantage of personally getting to know your readers!

Lastly he says, “Just do it.” Just write your book, and start building trust now. Whether it is through a blog, a podcast, going to conferences, or having lunch with someone who is interested in similar things, trust will be made and the writing journey continued.

After all, that is the point, right? We do not simply “aspire” to be writers who go far down the writing journey. Anyone can dream. Rather, through time and hard work, we become writers!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.