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!
Many 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
Here 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.
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