It’s Time to Reclaim the Titles of Author and Publisher

It’s Time to Reclaim the Titles of Author and Publisher

Direct Publishing Revolution

It’s Time to Reclaim the Title of Author and Publisher

Don’t despair. YOU ARE in the right place at the right time. This is probably the best time in history to be a writer!

Since I was a kid, I have romanticized the world of the Big 5 (formerly 6)—the New York publishing houses who give birth to literary giants. I imagined agents sitting in cafes, poring over piles of manuscripts, and illusive authors getting drunk or going mad in wilderness cabins while tapping out the next #1 New York Times bestseller. So romantic! So mysterious! So false.

Well, it’s a story of partial truths. Writers still go on retreats. They still get drunk. Some of the rare old-guard still have agents calling them up and asking for the next chapter to show the publisher to justify a $100,000 advance.

The Direct Publishing Revolution

But that’s not most of us, at least not most of the time. Independent authors and direct publishing professionals are creating a new paradigm. We hustle. We wear all the hats. We are quicksilver fast. We can pivot on a dime. We are David to the Big 5’s Goliath.

Our world is daily interaction with our online audiences or clients. It’s sitting down in our homes or offices and pounding out at least a thousand words per day. It is an immediate and direct profession. It’s a community of word lovers.

Reclaim the Titles of Author and Publisher

I’m calling a reclaiming! I’ll state my case:

The old stalwarts market themselves as Big, Legacy, Trade, and Traditional. They bestowed upon themselves these titles of security, dependability, and parental love. That they actually deliver these things can be argued. However, even if it’s true, this level of care-taking is awarded to 1% of authors.

The publicity machines of the Big 5 and their affiliated publishing associations have forced upon the rest of us the lonely title of self-published and upon the direct publishing professionals the marketing nightmares of Vanity, Subsidy, Assisted, or Small. Who on earth would choose this kind of branding for themselves? Nobody is what I’m saying.

Imagine talking to a branding consultant. They ask you what words evoke the feeling of your new company. Do you answer vanity, subsidy, and small? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

In the early days of digital and self-publishing, that’s exactly how we were viewed—as insignificant and self-important. Times have changed. Direct publishing is completely legitimate. As direct authors and publishers, we move over 50% of the eBook unit worldwide. We still lag behind the Big 5 in print units, but only by about 10%, and our piece of the print pie grows each year. Big publishers still dominate in the revenue category, but that’s because profit is their prime objective. Very soon we will overtake traditional publishers in both units and dollar sales.

Millions of writers are producing and marketing books on their own. What’s more, independent authors are making anywhere from a good to an excellent living from their writing. Perhaps, a more sustainable living than corporate publishers can provide.

Who Are We?

Going forward, I propose we stop diminishing ourselves. Instead of using words like self, aspiring, or even independent, I suggest that we are just plain authors. We write books, that’s what we are—authors.

Furthermore, if you’re like me and in the business of helping authors publish their books and make a living (we might be marketing specialists, publicists, book designers, editors, proofreaders, tech support, social media managers, or many, many other things) then we are direct publishing professionals or simply, publishers. We help authors cut out the middleman. We get them the most control and profit possible. We are not vain or small.

We are the majority now, and we are empowered. Our job is to share, entertain, educate, inspire, and design. Words are our power, and we should use them.

So, what’s our battle cry?
I am an author!
I am a publisher!

Now go out there and write that next bestseller.

I am a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) specialist, book creator, online course designer, and book marketing genius who is committed to the financial success of authors and aspiring authors. Follow me on LinkedIn, by joining the group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

9 Mistakes New Authors Make

9 Mistakes New Authors Make

9 Mistakes New Authors Make

9 Mistakes New Authors Make

Being a writer can feel isolating. For many of us, our daily practices are solitary. Although fellow authors (like me) are happy to share tips and socialize through video, social media and by networking, the details of the day-to-day process can get lost in translation. Because of this, new authors may find that they’ve missed some steps along the way when the time comes to publish.

Below are the top 9 regrets or questions that arise when new authors come to me for help. This list comes from my own experience as a writer, an author’s assistant, and as a direct publishing consultant.

1. Not Building An Audience Before You Publish

You will be disappointed if you go into your writer’s cave, emerge six months later with your manuscript in hand, and expect big bucks. More likely you’ll be faced with a little choir of crickets.

Looking for representation? I hate to tell you that the first thing an agent looks at is your platform numbers, so you also should be considering your audience during the whole process of creating your book.

To avoid the painful mistake of having no platform (one from which many authors never recover), you need to build an audience while you are writing. Split your time between writing your book, building excitement around its release and interacting with your audience to find out what they want. Your readers can also provide you with new ideas and direction for your content. As you are growing your audience, make sure to encourage follows, subscribes, connects and likes.

2. Overpricing (or Underpricing)

I’m going to focus on the Amazon Store because that’s probably where most of your sales will happen. For other online booksellers, you need to find the pricing guidelines and you need to read them!

On Amazon, pricing your book outside of its desired range makes the difference between 35% and 70% royalties. Here’s the basic info for Kindle. If you price in the correct bracket — between $2.99 and $9.99 — you get 70%. Price outside of that and you get a scant 35%. So that one’s a no-brainer.

It’s slightly trickier when it comes to print. You want to research your competitors and price to match. Market research is important at every phase of your book development. If you price yourself too high (above your competitors) without positioning your book as a luxury item (they do exist but they are normally coffee-table books), this will price you out of the game.

3. Buying a Hybrid or Fully-Assisted Self-Publishing Package

Don’t misunderstand: as a self-publisher you can and should ask for help. At the very least, you will need help with the production and printing of your book. (You don’t have a printing press in your garage, right?) My job is assisting authors with self-publishing and occasionally with traditional publishing. Publishing is complicated; we all need advice and support.

What I’m talking about here is buying one of those big, impersonal packages that supposedly includes everything but delivers disappointing results across the board.

These cost thousands of dollars (or more) in many cases and what you get are cookie-cutter results; callous (if not rude) support; false promises of ‘getting discovered’ (whatever that means); loss of your distribution rights and loss of control over how your book is positioned, priced and marketed.

I’ve had to clean up the mess for several authors who bought one of these questionable packages. Extracting them and their book from the contract they signed was extremely difficult.

These companies are not all bad; all I’m saying is ‘buyer beware’!

4. Not Understanding ISBNs

For paperbacks and hardcovers, the rule is straightforward. You need an ISBN for any printed variation of your book. It’s mandatory unless you are selling directly through your own website or through something like a conference or swap-meet booth.

Amazon has its own proprietary numbers system (ASINs), so if you are absolutely certain that the Kindle version of your book is all you’ll be selling and you will not sell anywhere other than Amazon, an ASIN is all you need. You can change to an ISBN if you need to at a later date.

Here’s where it gets tricky: beyond Amazon Kindle, you need a new and separate ISBN for your paperback, hardback, audiobook, different formats of your ebook, and for any other unique commercial version of the content. Your Nook, iBook and Kobes need separate and unique numbers in many cases. Also, keep in mind that if you make significant changes to your book (such as major text revisions, a change of publisher, repackaging your book as a set, or a change of title) then again, you will need new ISBNs.

If you buy your ISBN from companies like BookBaby it is important to realize that they become your publisher. This allows them to tell you where you can sell your book and by whom it is distributed. If you’re like me, you’re not keen on that.

For you to retain full control over your book, you can buy your ISBN direct from the ISBN agency for your country. In the US, the ISBN agency is Bowker.

One ISBN costs $125. Remember you will need one for each unique book product — paperback, hardback and each type of ebook — so your best bet is to buy a block of 10. The more you buy, the more the price drops SIGNIFICANTLY. 10 cost $295 (check for sales on the 10 packs; they were on sale for $88 recently), 1000 are $1000. Also be aware that there are hidden costs. For example, the barcodes cost extra.

5. Not Taking Your Writing Career Seriously

Yep, we’re going there, and this may be the most important part of this blog. It’s mindset time! It’s crucial that you put your writing career first. It’s so easy to give everything else priority over your book and content creation.

Why? Because most of the time, your writing doesn’t deliver an immediate income, or even validation, until you’ve invested a great deal of time into your career and into consistent content creation. It’s so easy to do the thing that pays the bills (now) or the thing that your family considers a practical career.

Writing is an act of faith. You will master your art if you put in the time! You must believe that eventually, a lot of people will buy your books and you will succeed.

6. Self-Publishing to Get Discovered

I mentioned this mistake before, but let me elaborate. I have worked with several authors who chose to self-publish because they failed to get an agent or a contract with a publisher. They tried and were rejected. Their motivation for self-publishing was to get the attention of trade publishers. These writers are easy marks for hybrid or vanity services that promise exposure. For instance, they promise to get your book in front of acquisition editors. This is an exercise in futility and you end up hiring another set of professionals to get you out of the mess this creates.

If landing a traditional contract is the be-all and end-all for you, then build your platform and write a book that trade publishers will buy, and pitch your heart out. Traditional publishers ain’t gamblers; they go with sure things. If you self-publish in order to get discovered, almost 100% of the time you will be disappointed.

7. Buying Customer Book Reviews

How do you hack Amazon? You can’t, at least not for the long haul. Trying to game the algorithm will, at best, get your book penalized in the ranks. The worst case is you’ll get your seller’s account suspended.

Don’t buy or trade customer reviews! Bad juju. Likewise, don’t tell a group of followers to post fake reviews (i.e. they haven’t read the book or even laid eyes on it). These reviews are pretty obvious. They read, “I loved this book, it was really great to read. I especially liked the ending.” Riiiigggght…

I should point out that buying reviews can be legit if it’s an editorial review. Editorial reviews are visually separated from customer reviews on bookseller websites and are labeled as professional, unbiased critiques of books. The most well known of the professional review services is Kirkus Reviews.

How much will one of these run ya? About $400, give or take. Are they worth it? Yes, sometimes they are. It depends on the kind of publicity you are going for.

Both customer and editorial reviews do improve sales and placement. They are important social proof for your book, especially if you’re not yet established as an author. But don’t resort to black-hat tactics. They won’t work.

8. Amazon Category Hacking

Placing your book in a non-competitive category that is not relevant to your subject will do your book a disservice. Again (caveat here), putting your book in a non-competitive category that IS relevant to your subject IS an excellent tactic and is the easiest way to reach the bestseller lists.

This is the scenario I’m talking about: Your book is a young adult dystopian fantasy, but you place it in one of the least competitive categories on Amazon like ‘Microscopes and Microscopy’ or ‘Colon Surgery’. Why do you do this? Because you are assured #1 bestselling status.

Here’s how it works: if you place your book in a category that doesn’t have many books in it you WILL get #1 in that category because there is no competition. However, by choosing an irrelevant place to put your book, you won’t show up in the searches correctly, if at all. If that’s not a big enough deterrent, then there’s the chance Amazon might just suspend you.

9. Not Paying for Professional Editing and Design Services

This ‘mistake’ is one that writers argue with me about all the time. Okay, I acquiesce. If you are a professional book designer then, of course, you can design your own cover and interior. Likewise, if you’re a professional editor then you can be your own editor. However, I’d argue that it’s harder to edit your own work. A third set of eyes can do wonders.

However, if you only have some basic graphic design skills or do a little editing on the side, I urge you to hire out. An unprofessional looking cover or one that doesn’t stand out as a thumbnail online will tank the sale of your book. Likewise, any errors in spelling, grammar, formatting, or in supporting materials like bios and blurbs will take your book out of the running and you will not even know why.

Authorship includes a number of skills beyond writing. I hope what I share and what I encourage others to share helps to create an online community of openness for career writers; a virtual writers’ colony if you will, that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own desk or home.

What mistakes have you made on your path to the bestseller list? Share in the comments below.

Get the #1 Bestseller Book Launch Recipe: How to Run a Free Book Promotion on Amazon. To download, click the link below.

I am a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) specialist, book creator, online course designer, and book marketing genius who is committed to the financial success of authors and aspiring authors. Follow me on LinkedIn, by joining the group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

What Do Your Readers Desire? (Hint: It’s Not Your Life Story)

What Do Your Readers Desire? (Hint: It’s Not Your Life Story)

writing hero daily house publishing

What Do Your Readers Desire? (Hint: It’s Not Your Life Story)

When I decided on a career as an author in November 2017, I had an elegant plan for a systematic and circular way of building marketing platforms for books and related services before these books and services existed.

Growing and surveying an audience before creating a product is common enough. Although it might seem backward at first, from a market analysis standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

You must engage your consumers to find out what content they really want before you put the time and effort into creating a full-length product for them: in this case, books. Research BEFORE development. What’s more, if your audience tells you what to write, and you write to their specifications, it serves to follow that they will buy your books. Right?

It’s Not About You

In my case, the plan revolves around a book about how to succeed as a full-time author. To be more granular, my book (in progress) is about how to write, produce, publish, and market books that sell really, really well.

This book’s working title was It’s Not About You. Although clever, this is a failure of a title and will not be the actual title of the book. Let me explain…

Why did I choose the title It’s Not About You when I started writing my book? Because I believe to succeed as an author you need to put your readers’ desires first; hence, it’s not about you, the author. Yet, this sets up an obtuse paradox. From a marketing standpoint, this is confusing, and confusion is not marketing’s friend.

Who is it NOT about? Me? You? Your readers? Anybody? Everybody?

The paradox is solved if you understand that successful books are not ABOUT anybody, especially not you, the author. Good books are written FOR readers and are created to satisfy the reader’s needs and desires … books that sell, entertain, inspire, excite, and inform.

This is even more true for biographies or memoirs. In the case of a memoir or biography, a successful one celebrates what is humanly possible to achieve (inspires), or serves as a cautionary tale (informs and excites), or is just a rollicking good story that entertains.

If you aim to write a book based on your life experiences, fiction or nonfiction, it’s still not about YOU. There’s that paradox again. What I mean is, our stories must grow to be bigger than a self-centered story to be any good at all. Robert Frost’s Mending Wall seems tiny in scale (a broken wall in a field), but it is expansive in its meaning. It encompasses the world, and that’s what makes it so good.

 

robert frost wall daily house publishing

The secret is to step out of your neurosis and add your insight and experience to the Universal story. Joseph Campbell recognized this, and dedicated his life to the exploration of pan-cultural archetypes in story. Everyone, all humans, contributes to these archetypes. Therefore, good stories are compelling, relatable, expansive, and immersive. You can seat this universal story in any subject, from a how-to about creating a profitable YouTube channel to a work of historical fiction about being the Empress of Russia.

 

No matter how large or small your audience or scope is, as an author, your goal is to write to satisfy your readers’ needs and desires. This will include your own story, of course, but it will not be about you. A winning book is about the human experience.

Get the #1 Bestseller Book Launch Recipe: How to Run a Free Book Promotion on Amazon. To download, click the link below.

I am a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) specialist, book creator, online course designer, and book marketing genius who is committed to the financial success of authors and aspiring authors. Follow me on LinkedIn, by joining the group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

Fall in Love With Your Readers 

Fall in Love With Your Readers 

(and have them fall in love with you.)

Daily House Love Your ReadersHook your audience so hard that they know they will be missing out on a great opportunity or a life-changing experience if they don’t read your book.

When you are the ideal audience for a book, you instantly fall in love. It can be eerie how, with each turn of a page, the book speaks to you. This is not magic; it’s by design.

Subtle cues led you to the book in the first place, its cover design, a favorite publication where it was reviewed, or the person who recommended the book to you. The book’s brand was created to capture your attention and the content was written specifically for you. You were the author’s target reader.

Now that YOU are in the role of an author, it’s your responsibility to reach your target audience in the same intimate way. Your job is to know your readers, answer their questions, and to entertain, inspire, and encourage them.

In this new era of publishing, marketing and creative storytelling have merged together. Some of you may mourn the loss of stream of consciousness or experimental writing. You can count me among such mourners. However, with the minds of our readers (and our own) reprogrammed by the digital age, you can’t ignore the audience’s presence, perspective, and needs.

To speak to your readers, create a detailed description of who you are writing for. This sketch of your ideal reader is called a pen portrait, or avatar.

How to Write a Pen Portrait

Give your avatar a name

The first step in bringing your avatar to life is to give it a name. By assigning a name like Ashley or Greg, you begin to visualize a gender and other characteristics. You start to see the portrait as a real person.

You want to be specific, not vague. You can write about several avatars — one male, one female; one younger, one older; one a bus driver, one a taxi driver. The point is each avatar is a distinct individual that can tell you, “This sentence has nothing to do with me,” or “That is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!”

Choose demographics

Daily House Love Your ReadersCreate a detailed profile of your avatar including their profession, income and education level, interests, family life, spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, and more. To borrow from sales and marketing (which this exercise comes from), you can start with the F.O.R.D. guideline by defining their family life, occupation, recreational interests, and dreams.

Create behaviors and habits

Who are your avatar’s friends? Where does he or she hang out? Is he or she a morning person or does he or she get up at noon? Do they drink? Smoke? Do yoga?

Create qualities

Choose four evocative words to describe this person. Here’s an example: diamond stud earrings, handmade paper, Paris, confidence. These words can be objects, places, feelings, or ideas. Now expand each of these words into a sentence or a short paragraph. Perhaps draw a picture or cut out magazine photos that embody this person. Put the image where you can see it while you are working. Adjust your written sketch until becomes as real and as known as a member of your own family.

You might find that your avatar ends up having a lot of your own characteristics. That’s not unusual. Many of us have the tendency to speak to our past selves when we write. If your avatar is nothing like you, writing for this person may require more advanced writing skills. In either case, empathize instead of fix.

What your portraits prevents you from doing is monologuing about yourself (at least, excessively). Instead, you are writing FOR the benefit of your readers. Would you monopolize a conversation with a real person by telling them every single detail of your life story? I hope not.

Fiction or nonfiction, visualizing your ideal reader as you write is a very powerful tool.

Speak to Your Readers

If you love and connect with your avatar, your readers will love you back.

What this means is that I love you because you are my ideal. Yes, YOU. The person I wrote this article for is seeking a greater purpose and a sense of expression. They are witty, hip, earthy, and mindful; a rule breaker, unconventional, collaborative, and of the digital age; and on the way to living out their dreams. More specifically, they are a writer, at least 35-years old or older, and are into self-improvement or personal development.

Is this you? Well, then, you probably like what I’m writing. It’s that simple.

Want to write a bestseller? I will show you each step of the process through blogs and videos. Follow along by connecting with me on Medium, on LinkedIn, or by joining the group Your Path to the Bestseller List for Nonfiction Writers on Facebook.

Get the #1 Bestseller Book Launch Recipe: How to Run a Free Book Promotion on Amazon. To download, click the link below.

I am a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) specialist, book creator, online course designer, and book marketing genius who is committed to the financial success of authors and aspiring authors. Follow me on LinkedIn, by joining the group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

How to Fix Your Broken Book Pitch

How to Fix Your Broken Book Pitch

The first step on the path to becoming a bestselling author is not word 1, chapter 1. It’s a compelling pitch.

Tragically, I awoke from my coma to find I was now a single mother of six children. My husband had completely abandoned us.

WRONG!

You need to SELL your book before you write your book!

Daily House How to Write a Book PitchThe coma example might be exciting, but unless you’re really into confessions or the author is a Kardashian, you won’t buy this book. Why? Because even if you can relate to the story (hopefully, you can’t), it is personal. What’s more, this pitch offers no evidence that you will be rewarded for your time if you read this book. These days, most people don’t have time to waste.

You need to deliver as much excitement and information as you can in the shortest word count possible AND to prove benefit and value to the reader. You want the target audience to identify with your pitch. You want the AUDIENCE (not you, the author) to believe the book is written for them.

Elevator Pitch

You might have heard of a one-sentence summary called an elevator pitch or a logline. Call it what you want. What is important is that your pitch is your calling card. If your pitch is broken, your book is broken.

Imagine that a complete stranger approaches you at an office party and says, “I hear that you’re writing a book. What is it about?”

The next two sentences out of your mouth should knock this partygoer on his ass. He should be so compelled and enthralled that he has no choice but to buy your book. If you haven’t written the book yet, your pitch should get this stranger to stalk you on social media until it is available. That’s your goal.

If you’ve tried to summarize and sell a book in two sentences before, you know it’s a lot harder than it seems. It might even be the hardest single task you face when writing your book. If you are anything like me, you will revise your pitch many, many times.

While I was writing my first novel, people would ask me what my book was about. The pitch I gave was so numbing and confusing that whomever I was talking to would inevitably excuse themselves in a panicked attempt to escape the awkward conversation. This “horse caught in a burning barn” reaction hurt my feelings until I learned what I was doing wrong and corrected my course.

My horrible pitch started something like this, “It’s a fictionalized nonfiction book about how I started my career as a circus performer in the early 90s when the circus world was transitioning from animal acts to human-centric performances, except the book is not about me exactly — more a composite character sketch, a character that I made up that is like me…” And on I’d ramble.

OMG. Just shoot me. Fortunately, I learned from my mistakes.

Target Audience

One of my (many) mantras is, “If your target audience is everyone, then your audience is no one.”

Daily House How to Write a Book PitchIt is essential, at the pitch stage and at every step, that you have a defined target audience. Protect yourself against falling down the rabbit hole of a poorly defined audience and a rambling pitch. Your audience doesn’t care about you (yep, hard truth). At least, they won’t care about you until you make them care about you. Until then, it’s about them! It’s about what excites them. It’s really important to internalize this.

In the case of nonfiction, know what benefits your audience.
In the case of fiction or biographies, understand what excites your audience.
Isn’t that marketing, you might ask? Damn tootin’ it is marketing! You want people to buy and read your book, right?

We are shooting for an audience that is not too large and not too small. Get as large as you can without losing the integrity of what you want to say. For example, for my upcoming book, my audience might look something like this:

Professional writers OR amateur writers who have purchased online writing courses, attended writing conferences, purchased books on writing, or participated in NaNoWriMo

AND

U.S. residents earning over $30,000 per year

AND

People who have completed at least two years of college OR are actively pursuing personal development through books, classes, or groups.

Your turn. Be specific. Define your audience as if you are selecting demographic and interest groups for a social-media advertisement. Do it like you are spending at least $1,000 on this ad. Do it like you mean it.

Understand your target audience by creating a fictitious character based on the audience’s group characteristics. The more fleshed out and real, the better. You’re a writer, so write it out. Get so specific that you see a living, breathing personification, including profession, gender, and income level; what they do in their spare time and who their friends are; their favorite foods; and, most importantly, what they lack, what they want to improve, and where they are dissatisfied in life.

Now sell your book to your audience! Hook your audience so hard that they know they will be missing out on a great opportunity or a life-changing experience if they don’t read your book. Do that and you will be on your way to the bestseller list.

Get the #1 Bestseller Book Launch Recipe: How to Run a Free Book Promotion on Amazon. To download, click the link below.

I am a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) specialist, book creator, online course designer, and book marketing genius who is committed to the financial success of authors and aspiring authors. Follow me on LinkedIn, by joining the group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

Your Path to the Bestseller List


Your Path to the Bestseller List


Best Seller Nonfiction WriterHere is where my rubber meets my road. I started a business training aspiring authors to build digital marketing platforms and, in the process, to come out the other side with published self-help books and hungry audiences to sell the books to. I called it my Zero to Best Seller Method.

As a successful freelance writer with decades of marketing experience, I was able to convince paying clients to try the method. You know what? It works brilliantly!

The method is not magic or foolproof. (If you are a fool, sorry, it ain’t gonna work for you.) It is, however, simple. The method applies today’s best digital marketing practices to the business of helping people succeed. The difference? I create the marketing platform BEFORE word one of a book is written. The amazing part is, the book practically writes itself as you build your content.

Reverse Engineering the Best Seller

Instead of writing a book and then finding an audience to sell it to, I advocate the opposite. I’m not saying throw a dart at Wikipedia and write about whatever topic you hit. Your book will be about what you know and what you are passionate about. (My niche is personal development.) However, the process of platform building teaches you how to deliver your message and to whom.

It’s Not About You!

Best Seller for Nonfiction WritersMany first books are rambling memoirs and internal reveries that only the author cares about. A lot of writers, myself included, need to vomit out this mash of life experience (sometimes many volumes of it) before they can proceed to create a book that informs and entertains.

You can avoid this heartbreaking step of spending months or years writing a book that only your mother and close friends buy (and don’t read) by defining your audience first and discovering what makes them laugh, what engages them, and what they need.

Start with these questions. Whom do you want to help? What do these people want? Get very, very specific. Get so specific that you create a portrait of this audience personified—their profession, sex, income; what they do in their spare time; their favorite food; and most importantly, what they lack, what they want to improve, and where they are dissatisfied in life.

Write a love letter to this personification. Get very intimate and speak to this audience directly. However, DO NOT get so intimate that you believe that your audience knows you or can read your mind. Assume nothing. If you find yourself writing “of course” or “you know,” STOP! Everything you write should be explained as though you are speaking to a visitor from outer space.

Once you have identified the needs of your niche audience, it’s time to give away your free sample. You marketers out there will identify this as the lead magnet. Create a website to trade your giveaway (lead magnet) for access to your audience, probably through email subscription, and then build, build, build your community. When you have a large audience that is engaged and likes you, write your book to them and for them.

In future blogs, I will go over all the steps of platform building. It’s a book’s worth of information. I have seventeen articles planned so far, so stay tuned.

Succeed at What You Are Selling

Best Seller Nonfiction WriterHere is my confession. I have supported myself as a digital content writer for years. I have written several books, and I have published other authors’ book for them, but I have not published any of my own books yet.

So, I propose an experiment. I am going to use my own method from start to finish.

Have you seen the movie Little Miss Sunshine? If not, go rent it! Anyway, in this wonderful movie, Greg Kinnear plays an aspiring motivational speaker and self-help author who has pitched his 9-Step Refuse-to-Lose book to an agent. Throughout the movie, he is convinced that his big break is just around the corner. The irony and the dark comedy of this character’s predicament is that his method obviously doesn’t work. His overworked wife struggles to pay the bills while he writes, and his family is chock full of dysfunction. (It doesn’t sound funny, but it really, really is.) In the end, the agent turns down his book because, in the parlance of the publishing industry, he doesn’t have a platform and is not an example of his own work.

Don’t be Greg Kinnear!

Join Me on the Path to Success

Join me as I illustrate every step of the Zero to Bestseller Method for Nonfiction Writers by walking my own talk. I will guide you step-by-step through the platform creation process. We will define an audience; create a sales funnel, a giveaway, and an online course; utilize conversion email marketing and social media branding; and then, based on my market discoveries, I will write, produce, and self-publish a book.

Get the #1 Bestseller Book Launch Recipe: How to Run a Free Book Promotion on Amazon. To download, click the link below.

I am a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) specialist, book creator, online course designer, and book marketing genius who is committed to the financial success of authors and aspiring authors. Follow me on LinkedIn, by joining the group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly videos on writing and publishing.