Fiction writing is fun and creative, but it has it’s own unique set of challenges. Things like character, plot, dialogue and more can trip up new fiction writers. Today, we have NY Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author J.F. Penn here to explain the nuances between writing fiction and nonfiction.
Joanna Penn is a creative entrepreneur, podcaster, professional speaker, and travel junkie who has broken the code with writing fiction and nonfiction and is an expert in the publishing and self publishing industry. She shares the importance of choosing a genre, finding good editors, setting deadlines, research tips, her favorite tools, her favorite books and all kinds of knowledge that will help first time and more experienced authors.
Show Notes: [01:56] Differences between writing fiction and nonfiction. There are skills that you need for fiction that you never needed before. [02:19] Point of view. When writing fiction you can choose a first or third person point of view. [02:50] Dialogue. This is a skill unto itself. [03:05] Story structure. If you have read thousands of books it may be embedded, but this is where the craft comes in. There a quite a few things you need to learn to make a reader feel satisfied. [03:31] You can get some of this through osmosis by reading the genre in which you are going to write, but these skills also need to be honed. [03:47] Joanna’s first fiction book process. She also blogged about it. She discovered genre and that she loved super natural thrillers. You need an idea to sustain you through the tough times. [05:05] Her first novel took 14 months. You need to be so excited about your idea. Joanna has been journaling since she was 15. The seed for her idea was from 10 years before. Put everything in your head, so that it can come out in a story. [06:11] The first book was based on her travels and put into a framework of a story. [06:47] Sustainable idea? Believing that you are creative enough There is a creativity muscle. Any skill that you use, you can learn more. Look into things you are curious about. [08:12] Build an audience over time by writing a series. [08:45] Research and get ideas. Joanna travels a lot. Read other books. Put it all in your head, so that it can come out again. Follow your curiosity. [10:09] People who like similar things to you will be interested in your fiction. [10:55] Use Scrivener for your first draft. Often in fiction you don’t write in order. You can write in scenes. [11:54] Put everything into Scrivener and flush everything out or just start writing. Use timed writing. [13:22] First drafts for fiction writers are really bad. When you discover you need to learn something learn it by taking a class on dialogue. [13:51] Hire a ton of editors. Your first book will be the most expensive because you have the most to learn. Structural edit – story structure etc. Line edits and proof readers. This teaches you how to write. [15:23] Find an editor that likes your genre. It’s unlikely to find a perfect match on the first try. As you change, your editor will change. [16:14] Your editor needs to understand your genre. You want one that will fix you and make you better without changing your voice. It takes about 5 books to find your voice. [17:10] As we become better writers it is ok to rewrite. Your voice comes out when you write what you really think. [18:00] Joanna uses beta readers for expert suggestions to critique and their expertise and make the book more accurate. [19:17] Writers groups aren’t really the best place for a critique. Pay an editor. [20:52] Network with groups of authors online that are in your genre. [21:48] Joanna goes through every edit manually because she is always wanting to learn. [22:37] How it feels to get the edits. It can be brutal. Don’t look at it immediately. Give yourself time to read it. Then wait before making changes. Then go back and try to see with different eyes. [24:03] Series are easier because you already have the characters and a design. HEA happily ever after. Once you understand your genre think about what you need. [25:21] Destroyer of Worlds based on a statue in India. Brainstorming and Hindu mythology and Oppenheimer then start researching and reading books. Create questions and notes. Maybe spend a month on this part. Create characters, setting, and then start putting scenes in Scrivener. Have a plot because something needs to happen. [28:06] Joanna has a Pinterest board for each book. Learning and going down rabbit holes can help flush out the book. [28:43] How much research is enough? Joanna keeps her research in Scrivener. Set a deadline to get it done. [29:42] Look at your schedule and work out how much time a day that you can spend writing. You can research more as you write. [31:10] How fiction uses a different part of your brain. Stuff can just come out. It’s stuff you put in your brain at some point. Filling the creative well. [31:57] Joanna now dictates her books. She also listens to rain and thunderstorms when she writes. [32:57] You need structure in order to let your creativity out. [33:25] Joanna writes between 2000 and 4000 words a day. In the morning at her desk or outside as she dictates. [33:59] Fiction writing is tiring. If you use your willpower early. Fiction writing requires making decisions for your characters which makes it tiring. Writing a novel is hard work. [35:45] After the first five novels, you get more relaxed and trust yourself more. What comes into your head tends to be the right structure. [39:03] Carrying over subplots keep notes or have a series. [40:10] Use brevity to reintroduce characters. [40:35] Write in areas that you are interested in. How AI will help with book discovery. [42:14] Deconstructing a novel to learn how to write. Using this as an outline to model. [43:37] Finding story and plot in the real world. 95% truth and 5% fiction.
Becoming a new author requires a unique fortitude and strength of character.
Writing a book forces you to plan, write, and edit between 50,000 to 100,000 words!
It also requires working with an editor, a publisher (or self-publishing), a design team, and developing a book launch strategy to get readers to see your upcoming bestseller on Amazon. This amount of work can feel overwhelming and can easily crush your confidence.
But what makes new authors become bestsellers like Stephen King comes down to one factor: hard work.
Writing takes tremendous effort, but more importantly, requires a strong mindset. Having coached and taught so many successful writers ourselves, we’ve studied and compiled all of their strongest personal qualities that you can adopt and apply to your life to become an author.
Let’s reveal how these qualities can shape you to become a published author.
#1 – Exercise Patience
Writing a book is not an overnight process. It takes a lot of time! Part of learning how to be a professional writer means that you have to cultivate not only discipline and focus, but patience.
The good news is that patience is something that can be developed with practice. Suzannah Windsor Freeman, author of The Busy Mom’s Guide to Writing, discovered that “infinite patience” was the key to her success.
Freeman also famously said, “If your dream were to be a concert pianist, you wouldn’t expect to sit down and just play. You’d take lessons for many years, practice every day, and sacrifice a great deal in order to achieve that dream. So, why do we expect ourselves to be able to write well without the same level of commitment and patience?” Her words advocate that the more time you spend practicing your craft with patience, the better writer you will become.
Action Plan: Cultivate patience by practicing your craft everyday. Whether it’s creative writing or creating short stories, experiment with any form of writing to improve your skills and develop great ideas.
#2 – Apply Consistency
To become a professional writer, you must treat writing like a serious job. This means that you must commit to a consistent schedule and adhere to a writing process in order to develop good habits and not waste time.
Consider the following strategies to make yourself more consistent as you start the writing process:
Emulate the “Calendar Strategy.” With a calendar, mark an X for each day you write and make it a goal to not break the chain.
Find your creative space. Find and create your own space where you’re most comfortable and creative. Whether it’s your office, a coffee shop, or even your kitchen, use it as your place to write everyday.
Create a writing schedule. Writing at the same time everyday will develop a consistent writing habit. Consistent writing actually creates a muscle memory, triggering your brain to turn on creativity when you sit down to write.
Action Plan: Experiment with these methods to optimize your writing process. Following a consistent plan will easily double your output and complete your book in no time.
#3 – Practice Optimism
Psychologists say that practicing optimism can help you be more productive and live a happier life. It can also help you overcome inevitable pitfalls like writer’s block.
The best part is, you can train yourself to think more positively and take on even the worst events that can negatively impact your life.
Here are a few ways to practice optimism:
Anticipate a positive outcome. Our realities reflect what we think, making our perception of reality the mirror of our thoughts. So having a positive attitude will always increase your optimism, even at your worst.
Share your optimism with others. Optimism is a contagious attitude powerful enough to shift the momentum of any negative situation to a positive one. So share your positivity with others and build that unshakable force to complete your goal.
Remove all negativity. Negativity will bring you down, and surrounding yourself with it will encourage more pessimistic thoughts and self-doubt. Avoid it at all cost.
Action Plan: In your writing process, come up with both negative and positive outcomes for any given situation. For each negative situation, try to look for positive outcomes and work towards turning it into a favorable result.
#4 – Value Criticism
No matter how amazing your book is, there’s always someone who will harshly criticize your work. Instead of viewing it as a humiliating remark, learn to apply the feedback to your writing.
Developing a thick skin is one the hardest things to do, and like many of the other characteristics, takes time to build.
When writing your book, you can build resilience to criticism by practicing the following:
Anticipate harsh edits and rearrangements across your entire book.
Prepare to cut out your favorite paragraphs or sentences.
Count on reading plenty of negative reviews on Amazon, social media or by the press.
Action Plan: Try to find positive feedback from every negative criticism or review on your book. Make it a goal to develop enough flexibility so that one day it will no longer bother you.
#5 – Be Empathetic
Know that by sharing your story, you’re helping someone else. Your unique experience will empathize with readers and they will draw strength from the words you wrote in your book.
Here are two successful authors whose work has touched many readers:
Professor Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, was faced with a terminal illness at a young age. Rather than wallow and fade away, he used his last days to create his masterpiece. His book wasn’t about death, but rather short stories that advocated the importance of overcoming hurdles and capturing every moment you have to live for. His generosity to share his life resonated with readers as a tale of courage and inspiration to anyone facing similar adversities.
Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, wrote her memoir while going through a devastating divorce that left her full of anxiety and panic. She stressed the importance of discovering the best version of herself by leaving behind her previous life to set out to explore the different aspects of nature within food, travel, and love. Her painful story of loss and regrowth profoundly connected to readers so much that it eventually became a movie.
Action Plan: Make the effort to write down the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered and explain how you have dealt with them. You will be surprised to see how meaningful your story is to your readers.
Adopting these characteristics can mean the difference between seeing your name on the best-seller list and never publishing your first book. Applying these practices not only help you become a published author, but also a better person.
Perry Marshall has turned 80/20 into a verb. It’s an action you take on your business. It’s the central lever to any great strategy. Perry’s book 80/20 Sales and Marketing is mandatory reading in many growth oriented companies. It’s also one of my favorite books of all time. After reading it, I started giving copies away like I was Oprah. The book is legendary.
He also is a pioneer in web advertising, as the author of the Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords, he laid the foundations for the $100 billion pay per click industry. He is one of the world’s most expensive and sought-after business consultants. He has consulted in over 300 industries and even was an expert witness for Google AdWords litigation. He is a man that actually doesn’t need an introduction. Today, we talk about his book, marketing, advertising, and more.
Show Notes [01:58] Perry’s first book evolved organically. In 2002, he went to a seminar and started using Google AdWords. [02:48] Perry discovered Google AdWords should be the first marketing step for testing. He was invited to speak at a Ken McCarthy seminar So, he made an ebook to sell at the seminar and on his website in 2003. [05:15] AdWords became so popular that Perry had to work to stay current with his knowledge and ahead of the competition. [06:09] The snowball effect of his testimonials worked for him, and it became a self-publishing success story prior to the Kindle. [06:56] He was selling half a million dollars a year of ebooks. [09:04] Wikipedia flagged Perry as a non-notable person. To have real longevity Perry needed to engage with the rest of the world. [11:01] He went to an agent speed dating seminar and found an agent and got a publisher. [11:58] He makes less money with the published book, but he is established as an expert. It is a long-term play to be a number one author on Amazon. [13:24] How there can be good reasons to go the traditional route, but there are trade-offs. [14:11] His first book was about beginner to advanced intermediate PPC or Google AdWords. [15:28] The seminar got him great customers and testimonials. [18:19] If you can become the number one expert, you can make a good living. [19:02] 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. [20:21] There is an 80/20 inside of every 80/20. [21:03] 50% of customers comes from 1% of your business. [21:50] In Google AdWords it’s closer to 90/10. Perry cracked the code on AdWords using 80/20. [23:14] 80/20 became a staple of what he taught. [23:52] Perry decided to write an 80/20 book because this was the secret to everything. He wrote the book that he wished he had years ago. [25:23] 80/20 applied to book marketing. Purchasing a book is like racking a shotgun. [27:40] Playing poker with marks or guys who are going to lose. [29:05] Everything in marketing is like racking a shotgun. [30:33] 20% of people who buy your book will actually read it. 20% of them become your customers. [32:53] The penny book offer is like the Columbia record and tape club. He makes money off of the backend. The penny won in Columbia’s marketing tests. [35:03] The advantage of reading a book over looking at a computer screen. [38:10] How buying Perry’s book is a lesson within a lesson. [38:35] The average person who takes up his offer spends about $25. You can learn a lot about marketing technique from how they sell the book. [39:54] Perry is a legendary copywriter. [40:46] Copywriting is the art and science of saying things so that people want to take action. [43:03] How to make your book twice as good for $500. Go on Fiver and find candidates for reading your book. Pay 5 gigs or $25 to get them to read the book and answer questions. This can make your book twice as good. [46:41] Write for an hour everyday, first thing in the morning.
Writing a book can benefit your business as well as benefit you as a topic expert. Learn how my guest David McKay was able to do just that. He and his wife Ally have built a successful photography company called McKay Photography where they offer classes and travel photography tours around the world. His bestselling book and speaking engagements have helped propel their business to successful levels.
David is also the author of the Photography Demystified book series. This is a great episode because we dive into how David used his books to build his company and business. We also learn about business, life, travel, and photography with this artistic photographer and successful businessman and author who has built his business on a local and international level.
Show Notes [01:19] How everyone has a story within them. David’s just happens to be about photography. Much more has come out of his writing than he had anticipated. [02:17] Once David makes a decision, he goes for it. The reason behind the first book was to help the business and residual income. [03:24] Chandler’s step-by-step process was instrumental to David’s success. [03:50] He went to a hotel room with a poster board and colored pencils and made a mind map and then started categorizing it. [04:33] He locked himself in and just went for it. The first book took just over two weeks. It took a half week to get on the bestseller list. [05:26] How setting the time aside was the big trick to David’s success to getting everything done so fast. [06:12] After mind mapping and categorizing, he wrote down everything he could in each category and just started typing. [06:54] He thinks on a linear level, so this helped him stay on track. [09:34] David had developed an email list through his business, so he sent the list a notice asking if anyone would like to join the advance team and get a free copy of the book and leave a review. He ended up with 900 people. [10:57] He used followed up emails to encourage people to leave the reviews. He figured if people unsubscribed they weren’t the target market. [11:41] Inviting the group to stay for the next book worked really well. He also left a special surprise for the first 50 reviewers. [12:47] He went to number one on free on Amazon. Then when he switched to paid, he also shot to number one. [13:35] He also sent the $1.99 promo to his entire list to catch the people who didn’t take advantage of the free offer. [14:17] It took David four years to build his list traveling around the country teaching photography. [15:17] Then he started running contests giving a free trips on his tours. He also worked with a partner on YouTube. Partner with someone who is doing well. [16:13] After the contests his email lists went to 21,000 subscribers. [16:23] The cost isn’t all recouped through the book, but the book is an avenue to get people to take the travel tours. [17:24] David evolves and changes with the market. Anyone can find a way to do it. He also reached out to manufacturers to sponsor contests. [18:29] The strength is in numbers. Partnering with people is a great way to get those numbers. [19:28] If the sponsor also emails the contest they too get to participate in the new email list. [20:41] It only takes one person to buy into the tour to pay for the contest prize. They booked two tours through the contest. [23:04] They are willing to work with anybody to get them on the tour. They also offer high and lower priced tours so anyone can do it. [24:09] There is a link in the book to free content for email subscribers. [25:36] They also participate in travel and adventure shows to advertise. [27:19] Old-fashioned advertising is dead. Things need to be done in new creative ways. [27:47] All of the different streams are leading back to the tours and classes. [31:30] His first residual check was $856.00 and then $400.00, $400.00, then $500.00. This is still worth the investment especially with the valuable back-end of the book and the email list. He is working on his third book, which he plans to hit hard with the advertising. [34:21] The power of leveraging local media and PR. [37:02] Going to libraries and get them to purchase your books. [37:47] For some people it is just a matter of taking a step. [38:51] The toughest part of writing the book was overthinking and being a perfectionist. His first editor was not one. Get a good editor. [41:51] Everyone has a story in them that will affect someone else.
Do you have dreams of becoming a best-selling author, but feel like you know way too little about promoting a book? We get that it is not an easy task to form a promotion plan; in fact, it can be as much work as writing a book!
But as a writer, once you’ve finished writing your book, you must have a promotion plan. Without one, it will be hard to sell many copies because no one will know about your book!
Even if you have a publisher, you should still develop a promotion plan because you might find out that they barely help market your book until you’ve already sold a certain number of copies.
Today, we’re going to show you how to get your book into the hands of more people using these strategies.
Here’s what we’ll cover for how to promote your book:
Scoring a TV spot is an absolute dream come true, think of all the free promotion! But as you can imagine, it is not easy to land a TV interview because many others are competing for the same thing.
Here’s our strategy to help you land an interview on TV.
To truly stand out from the masses, start by building relationships with hosts and producers of the shows you’re interested in. Fostering relationships first is an essential part of the pitch because it will help them better understand you and develop chemistry between you. This is a crucial element for a TV interview.
Keep it Short
Everyone’s busy in the media world! Producers aren’t going to wade through pages of pitches so you must make your pitch short and sweet. Try to hook them in the first ten sentences.
Know Their Audience
Make your book relevant to their fans, —don’t force them to connect the dots.
If the TV program leans towards entertainment, share a funny story to show that you will be fun to interview. It’s okay to be silly and comedic – let your sense of humor shine through.
If it’s a serious program, show that you’re there to discuss an important issue and that the conversation will be held in high regard. Be serious with your tone of voice, and also cite quotations and statistics to further expand the depth of the topic.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you should have a very convincing pitch that will get producers to book you on their next available time slot.
How to Shine During Your TV Interview
Hooray! You’ve landed a TV interview! Now it’s time for the real prep to begin.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Write down and practice your talking points ahead of time so that you don’t freeze when the cameras are on. Remember, your goal is to have a natural dialogue with the host and not sound robotic. Rehearse your talking points to reflect a natural back-and-forth conversation.
Do Your Research
Your goal is to understand your audience so you can connect with them. The show will have detailed demographic information available so it’s up to you to tailor your content with this knowledge.
To get to know your audience, here are a few starting points to consider:
What’s their age range?
What are their interests?
What’s popular or trending with them right now?
With this information, you can forge a natural connection that’s most suitable for the viewers.
During the interview, expect to be full of nerves, but don’t let it lose your focus! Stop thinking about the next line, and remain present in the moment. Be a good listener and remember that you’re having a conversation.
For example, if the host asks a question that’s unexpected, don’t panic! Instead, go with the flow and enjoy the conversation. Try to link the conversation back to your book with short anecdotes relating to the topic. This will keep audience members engaged and create more interest in your book.
If you take your time and pay attention to the host, the conversation will flow smoother and everyone will benefit. You’ll seem more confident and upbeat, rather than full of nerves.
#2 – Radio and Podcast Interviews
Radio shows and podcasts are a terrific way to share your voice to your potential readers. With over 90% of Americans listening to the radio as well as the exploding popularity of podcasts, it’s well worth the effort to appear on these platforms.
To get started, local radio and podcast shows are always looking for new content to share with their audience. They also love their community and will favor locals more so than anyone else. Mentioning that you’re a local will be an advantage to your pitch especially if you include the locations of your future book signings at local bookstores.
If you can’t find a local show, finding one with a very specific topic relevant to your books audience will be easier to get on initially then a huge, massively popular show. If you start small you’ll have an easier time getting booked, and then you can use that initial show to get booked on bigger shows in the future.
How to Shine on the Air
Here are some tips for giving a killer on-air performance once you’ve booked your first interviews.
Even though the audience can’t see you on the radio, they can hear and feel your energy.
Pique your listeners’ interest by doing the following:
Always smile so you speak in a happier tone
Sit up straight
Walk around when talking (if possible with your mic setup)
Aim to add 10% more energy to your conversation than normal
By acting energized and engaged, the listeners will feed off your vibrant energy and will further enjoy your guest appearance.
Make the Host’s Job Easy
Don’t be discouraged if your host hasn’t read your book. With busy schedules, it happens more often than you might think.
Your job is to make your host look smart. Tell them about your book, don’t quiz them.
Make their jobs easy by educating them about your material. You’ll connect better with the audience by sharing your knowledge.
Prepare a List of Questions
It’s perfectly acceptable to provide your own list of questions for the host.
What kind of person would love to get their hands on this book? (this is an EXCELLENT question, especially if you know their audience well)
Busy radio hosts and producers will appreciate the extra effort and may even work from your list of questions.
#3 – Local Bookstores
Avid book buyers love their local bookstores. And since they are your target audience, you should grow your fanbase by making an appearance!
Here’s how you can make an appearance at the local bookstore.
Schedule an Appearance
Book clubs love to meet new authors, and local bookstores are more than willing to feature guests that will get their readers to the store.
It’s a win-win combination and all it takes is for you to book an appearance.
Here’s how you can pitch to local bookstores:
Google several bookstores around your area
Find their contact email
Craft your pitch by including what your book is and why it will benefit the local bookstore
Pitch to as many local bookstores as you can handle.
Again, you can start as local as a library and work your way up.
This will surely attract bigger bookstores to book you as soon as possible.
Cater to your Audience
You’ve booked an appearance! Now you must plan your act and deliver what your readers want.
Here’s what book clubs want in a live appearance
An entertaining or thought provoking presentation of your book
Live reading or a few short stories
Live Q&As about you and your book
Free books (or codes for free ebooks!)
Booking several live appearance will guarantee a boost to your fanbase, and will get fans to organically market your book by word of mouth! This is one of the most effective forms of book marketing (and it’s also free).
#4 – Print Interviews and Guest Posts
Publications are alive and well. Many also have huge digital presences, so don’t look over this form of media when creating your promotion strategy.
Instead, find publications and blogs that your target audience reads frequently and reach out to them.
Here are some tips to land a guest post or print interview:
Browse publication websites to see if they allow guest submissions or interview pitches.
Search for a contact page and find a way to send a cold pitch
Even if you’ve never had a print interview before, following these steps will get local publications and blogs excited to share your new book.
How to Shine in a Print Interview
You scored a press interview! Now practice how to sound like a pro author with these steps (even if your voice is cracking from nerves)
Print interviews are a little more relaxed than TV or radio spots, but you still have a finite amount of time to get your message across. In this platform, it’s okay to be more direct and sell yourself. Hit on the best selling points of your book to get readers interested.
Plan Your Hooks
You need to have some print-friendly “sound bites” to intrigue your audience.
Here are some questions to think about when planning your hooks:
What makes your book special?
Who is this book perfect for?
Will be this be useful?
Get to the heart of why your audience needs your book before you do the interview. Then, make sure you talk about it.
Don’t Let Hard questions Throw You Off
Don’t let unanticipated or sticky questions throw you off. You can never be 100% prepared. All you can do is listen to the question and answer as positively as you can.
Remember, unlike an on-air or audio-recorded interview, you can take as much time as you need before you answer. Use it to your advantage.
Write a Great Guest Post
If they want you to write a blog post for their site instead of interviewing you, be sure that you make the post the best it can be. It might be tempting to skimp on the article since you’re giving it away, but the better you make your guest article, the more book sales it will drive for you.
#5 – Social Media
Social media needs no introduction, and you’re missing out on sales if it’s not included in your book promotion. Optimizing your social media platform can be challenging, but we’ve figured out the best methods to promoting your book using social media.
Here’s how you can incorporate it into your promotion strategy to maximize your book sales.
Create a Facebook Page
To get more recognition for your upcoming book, you must have a Facebook page. It’s a great way to show social proof, and it makes it easier for new potential fans to find your book.
Here’s what to include in your Facebook Page:
Include a great photo of yourself
Show a high quality image of your book cover
Add a short bio that describes you and your book
Show a book trailer that visually highlights the selling points of your book
We find Facebook to be one of the best platforms to reach your audience. But if you’re serious, we also recommend building a website with email capture for sending promotions and updates. That way fans from Facebook can be directed to your page, and see your latest updates.
Get Your Fans Involved
Social media is a great tool for featuring your book, but it’s also a great way to interact with your fans. Fans are more than willing to post about books that they love, so don’t be afraid to ask them for assistance!
Here’s how to get them involved:
Ask them to submit book reviews through Amazon.
Ask them to share your book across all social media platforms
Ask them to spread the book in their universities or organizations
Dedicated fans want to see more of you, and love it when you interact through social media. If you also include rewards to sweeten the deal, you may potentially have yourself a full operating social media team that may get you on the front pages of any social media platform!
If you ever want to become a bestselling author, you have to take ownership of your promotion efforts. Use this advice to get your book into your audience’s hands, sell more books, and becoming a bestselling author in no time.
Steve Scott is a well-known author, blogger, and podcaster who has published over 50 books in 3 niches. Steve has written books about habits, productivity, and entrepreneurship. Steve has a lot of experience and is really good at building a platform to market his books and products. Steve is the perfect guest for today’s topic because we are going to focus on the platform side and building a platform and leveraging it into a massive portfolio like steve has created.
Steve shares how he originally got into Kindle publishing to build a platform for his blog. He began in February of 2012, but it didn’t take long for Steve to realize that his books were taking off and making money. He then decided to pick what was at the time an untapped niche that he was interested in and put his head down and write. He also used his Internet marketing knowledge to give away free content and build an email list. This was invaluable for building the amazing platform that he now has and his amazing Kindle publishing success.
Show Notes [01:55] Steve got into Kindle publishing in February 2012. His original intent was to drive traffic to his blog. By summer, he realized that these books could generate income. [02:44] He was creating Internet business books and realized he needed free content to build an email list. He started his habits books in May of 2013. [03:23] He shifted to the habits books to build a business model on the Amazon platform. He didn’t anticipate how successful his books would be. [04:15] His success revolved around his habits, so the books were a natural progression. [04:43] He was fortunate to find what at the time was an untapped market and drill down into the topic. He wrote everything he knew about these topics. In depth micro-topics. [06:06] How in the beginning, the writing of the books was the first challenge. He knew the basics of email lists and writing on the Kindle platform. [07:04] Steve had been doing affiliate marketing since 2006. He knew how valuable an email list would be. [00:07:46] Blogging taught Steve to create micro topics. [08:57] How giving away free content isn’t bad. [09:19] Steve created Develop Good Habits to help build a platform for his books and list building. When people read content and then get into Steve’s email funnel and he will promote his book bundle through his list. He is using a content platform, an email list, and Amazon. [11:42] Steve is testing content upgrades and checklists for his Mastering Evernote book. Create something special for your top selling books. [13:06] Steve likes to have a blog because it is great for Facebook retargeting ads. [14:28] Steve has a VA create slideshare presentations from his books. [16:14] Steve feels that social media isn’t the best use of his time, but driving people back to content or email lists. [16:46] Steve launches his books for .99 and he does a solid push for 5-7 days. Then he has a regular sales event every 2-3 months. Selling books for .99 hooks people into the idea of buying .99 books. [18:24] Steady sales over days are better for the Amazon algorithm. [18:52] Solid email sequence with a lead magnet have a four to five email sequence. Put an email subscriber call to action in the front and back of the book and have a free promotion. Write three to four books and continuously roll them out. Then find a content platform to promote your book. [20:37] As books age and have .99 sales and price some as a massive event. Continuously improving on the assets you have. [22:42] Steve also emails and establishing relationships with some people and gives them free books and tries to get them to leave a review. He uses surveys to see who is interested in free books and the promotion. He also uses other campaigns. [23:48] He also sends a last chance offer scarcity play. [24:55] He is literal with his subject lines, but he will copy past subject lines that were successful. [25:57] Steve is looking to create a lead magnet which signs people up for the main list. Then he sends links and offers to other books. Then it is a mix of content and different promotions. [29:01] At the back of his books he used to have an excerpt to another book. He just has an offer in the back now. He tries to give people as many opportunities as possible to find his books. [30:45] What Steve did well last year was being very consistent with his writing and word count. Habit Stacking is also a unique concept when Steve created the book. [32:47] Steve is planning on going back and doing what worked so well for him in the past, and he is testing headlines. [34:15] Polling people is a great way to find compelling titles and the same for covers. He is trying to find the right hook and get the best feedback about what will work. [35:29] Having an email list is really the thing that can make a difference in a business.