David McKay was one of our speakers during the Self-Publishing Success Summit, where he spoke about the importance of using social networking to help grow your brand and business. He and his wife Ally are partners and owners of McKay Photography Academy. David’s company is very successful, helping to teach photographers worldwide. He leads photography tour groups in countries such as Iceland and Africa, and he is currently planning one for Vietnam.
Recognized internationally, David has been awarded some of the most prestigious accolades in his profession. More than “just” a nationally recognized photographer, David is also a published author. He has written the Photography Demystified book series and is a best-selling author of two books. When interviewed for the Self-Publishing Success Summit on what he deems important in writing, David gave us several vital takeaways.
1. Mind Map Like Your Book Depends on It (because it does!)
David stresses the importance of mind mapping when beginning to write. He says it has a lot of value for us as we try to get started with ideas. All that’s needed is a sheet of blank paper, a pen, and a mind ready to write down nearly anything. Mind mapping can be done in a few different ways, but the purpose of mind mapping remains the same. Writing down the topic or subject of your book, then writing down any information related to this topic allows a certain freedom to writing. Who knows? We may get countless ideas, or one great idea we want to run with. Either way, mind mapping frees us to pursue our topic by looking at it from all different angles.
2. SPS Coaching Program
David is not just a teacher. He understands the importance of learning and growing as an individual as well. He stresses the value in SPS’s coaching program and states how integral it was to his writing. Having someone weave him in and out of the process was invaluable to him. This is spoken from a photographer turned best-selling author and is a takeaway we should all pay attention to. Anyone can put words on paper, but sometimes coaching is all it takes to turn good writing into great writing. David himself is proof of this!
3. Don’t Worry about Unsubscribers
We work so hard to put out good content, properly format our content, and organize it in an engaging way… We hit PUBLISH with hopeful expectancy…only to find one of our subscribers has unsubscribed. Did we do something wrong? Was the content too in-depth, too shallow? David is quick to say this is not the case. When someone unsubscribes it simply means they are not our right client. Having the right subscribers is as important as, or even more important than, having a large number of subscribers. Engaged subscribers make all the difference, so we shouldn’t feel badly when someone occasionally unsubscribes. It simply means our audience is weeding themselves out and we will be left with engaged subscribers who are all in. For a writer, what could be better?
4. Keep Them in the Loop!
Now that we have our engaged subscribers, we shouldn’t be afraid to keep them in the loop on what we are doing and where we are headed. As David said, people want to be part of something. An engaged audience wants to be on the inside, that is why they subscribed, after all! They want to know what is going on, what book we are writing, what the good days of writing look like, and how we work through the hard ones. David says we shouldn’t hesitate to keep them informed. This will affirm how important they are to us, as well as make them feel special we would take time to keep them informed. This is a win-win for both parties included!
5. Never Stop Changing, Never Stop Evolving
The writing market is always changing, as is social media, and as writers it is important to be aware of these changes and evolve as the market does.
Changing with the market helped David keep his home. Five years ago he had to make big changes in order to stay on top of the recession, and by making connections and changing with the market, he kept his home. Changing and evolving with the market will not only keep us in the loop, but also provide us with more connections, contacts, and a bigger audience.
These three factors are important for us writers as we write not just for ourselves, but also for an audience of readers who are also changing and evolving.
6. Dive Into a Social Network:
We all have our bad writing days. It’s part of being a successful writer. However, it’s helpful to have a social network of other writers ready to give us support when we need it. Social media is a great way to network and form connections that will later provide encouragement and helpful feedback. David emphasizes this repeatedly. Every writer can benefit from support at some point in the writing stage, and social networks can fulfill this need. As David stresses this fact, so should we. Dive in to a social network, engage with other writers, and give and receive support. It is greatly beneficial, because as David says, strength is in numbers and partnership is huge.
At times it’s easy to feel as if we have a book inside us that needs written, but we don’t know where to start or how to write it. It’s important for us to remember the tips David has proven truly work. Mind mapping, getting in a coaching program, not worrying about those who unsubscribe, keeping the engaged subscribers in the loop, evolving with the market, and getting into a social network support group are all areas David himself has not only incorporated into his own life, but also reaped the benefits from.
It’s not that we can’t do this, it’s that we need to take the step. As David reminds us, “If you do this stuff you can be successful.”
So we have tips from David, proven tips that if acted on are sure to help us succeed. But what’s the one main takeaway David wants us to remember? He believes with all his heart that everybody has a story within them and everyone has something others need to hear.
What’s our next step? We simply need to look inside ourselves and find the unique story we have to tell. Then we need to sit down and start mind mapping, getting into a coaching program, building a support network…because our individual stories have immense power to benefit others. What are we waiting for?
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!