My guest today is Michael Hyatt, who is one of my favorite people in our space. He does things absolutely the right way and always works from a place of integrity and quality. You may recognize Michael as the author of the New York Times bestseller Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and the coauthor of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.
In addition to being a highly successful author, Michael has worked in nearly every facet of book publishing in the 30 years since he began his career at Word Publishing (which was a part of Thomas Nelson) while a senior at Baylor University. Perhaps most notably, he played a large role at Thomas Nelson Publishers, which is the largest faith-based publisher in the world and is now part of HarperCollins. Michael was the company’s CEO from 2005 through 2011, and remained there as chairman until the company was sold in 2012.
Our conversation today includes Michael talking in detail about his experiences with the writing, publishing, and publicity processes. As you’ll learn here, his first book came very close to never being published, and only his own tenacity and persuasiveness saved it.
In addition, he’ll offer incredible value in the form of advice for anyone interested in writing or publishing a book. He explains, for example, why having your own platform is more important now than ever before. He also offers recommendations on topics such as starting with a blog (using social media instead is “like building a house on a rented lot”) and why you might want to rethink those gorgeous, image-filled emails to your mailing list.
For all this and much more, listen in to this episode of the Self-Publishing School podcast!
You can find Michael here:
[01:30] – Did Michael know that his book Platform would launch a whole arm of his business?
[02:07] – Michael takes us back to the very first book he wrote, in 1997. He explains all the difficulties and struggles involved in both writing and publishing the book, and reveals that it came very close to not being published at all.
[06:09] – How long a span of time did Michael’s 1,200 interviews on the book take place during? As he answers, he reveals the intensity of the publicity process.
[08:22] – Michael explains what he means by going into “sales mode,” and shares some of what he did to publicize it and build his audience.
[09:33]- We hear why Michael thinks his book went from something relatively few people were interested in to something that went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies.
[10:43] – Chandler zooms in on two things Michael has said: speaking in sound bites, and making the host sound good.
[12:20] – We zoom back out to learn about Michael’s time at Thomas Nelson. He explains his experience in working in just about every facet of publishing. He then explains the dramatic change in publishing between 2006 and 2009.
[15:18] – What are some of the biggest takeaways from that period that Michael now uses? He reveals that publishers now count on their authors’ platforms.
[17:02] – Michael clarifies what he means by a “platform.”
[18:40]- We learn more about platforms and how someone who’s just starting out can begin building their own platform. He recommends starting with a blog, and explains why.
[21:44] – Michael talks about his audience-building methods he uses or recommends. He emphasizes the importance of having an email list, and creating an opt-in magnet.
[25:50] – Does Michael think that the power of email is fading, or is it here to stay? In his answer, he discusses why he has recently switched from beautiful, HTML-based newsletters to text-based email without images.
[27:30] – We hear what triggered all of the changes that Michael made a month ago.
[28:35] – Michael takes a deeper dive into content and its creation. His blog is his workbench, he explains, and the ideas that work there make their way into other content such as his podcasts and books.
[32:08] – What is Michael’s rhythm or process for creating content?
[34:17] – Previously, Michael was more of a rhythmic writer; now it’s more system-based. He explains how his system functions.
[37:01] – Michael’s content team has three people in addition to him. Here he explains his process for finding good people who stay for a long time.
[40:23] – Because Michael came out of the world of book publishing (where every piece of content is assembled by a team), having a team help create his content feels natural to him.
[43:11] – We learn what Michael recommends for someone who is just starting out and wants to get noticed by a publisher.
[44:42] – In answer to the final question, Michael offers his parting tip for someone looking to publish their first book: write a book proposal for yourself. Not doing this is “like trying to build an addition onto your house without a blueprint,” he explains.
[46:45] – Chandler has a free gift for listeners: a copy of Book Launch (FIND AND LINK THIS). To claim your copy, go to spsfreebook.com! (FIND AND LINK THIS)
Links and Resources:
Michael Hyatt on LinkedIn
@michaelhyatt on Facebook
@MichaelHyatt on Twitter
michaelhyatt on Instagram
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want
The Millennium bug