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The Thing that So Many Authors Forget

When it comes to marketing and growing your author brand, there’s something really, really important that you need to keep in mind. It’s something that I think a lot of writers and authors forget. And that is…
 
An author brand is a personal brand.
 
Your author brand is not like having a name brand that represents a group or a company of people. Your author brand is YOU.
 
Which is why if you want to grow your following and actually have a readership and sell more books, you need to do you. You have to do things your way. You have to say what you really think. You have to be who you really are. You have to document your life for your audience.
 
And screw the “rules” or what anyone else thinks.
 
The whole point of a personal brand is for you to be yourself and grow your audience and following by letting people into your world.
 
That’s all I do, every single day. I just show up as me and write from my heart whatever comes out.
 
No, my blog posts don’t always follow the “rules” of blog posts, like having subtitles to break up the text. I know the rules and principles of blogging because I spent years of my life studying them and following them.
 
But now I do things my way. Because at the end of the day, I don’t want to follow a formula. I don’t want to do things how everyone else is doing them. And I believe that I don’t have to.
 
I believe that I can do things my way and just be me and the right people will find me and resonate with me and want to be part of my community and work with me.
 
Now this was a belief I had to create, obviously. As the belief I used to have was that I had to follow a formula or the “rules” of online marketing and if I didn’t do that I couldn’t be successful. But it’s actually been the opposite.
 
When I started to show up fully as myself and do me and unleash the from-the-heart messages I deliver on a daily basis to my community, that’s when things started to take off for me. That’s when I started making more book sales and more money. That’s when my business became consistent.
 
And not a minute before.
 
Why?
 
Because before I started doing that, I was playing by the rules and trying to do things using a formula and planning stuff out to the most minute detail instead of just operating from intuition and flow.
 
Don’t get me wrong–the formulas work and the principles and rules work. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow them (except in the case of storytelling principles; those you do have to follow).
 
Yes, it might take a little longer for you to get where you want to go, but you’ll eventually get there knowing that you were 100 percent yourself and didn’t compromise or sell your soul in the name of other people’s opinions about what you should be doing.
 
These are just the things I believe about creating success on your terms. And my ideal readers are people who agree and have these same beliefs (or want to have them).
 
That’s why an author brand is a personal brand–because the reader wants to get to know the author and decide if they like them as a person or not before they’ll trust them enough to buy anything from them. The Know-Like-Trust factor is the foundation of successful online marketing.
 
And you build that Know-Like-Trust factor by showing up every single day, being who you are and unleashing the ideas, stories and messages that you feel inside you.
 
So don’t be afraid to say what you think and do what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to throw the rules out the window (again–except in the case of storytelling principles!!) and live on your terms, doing things how you want to do them.
 
When you show up as you and unleash what’s inside, the right people will always find you. Like moths to the light. You call them in when you allow yourself to shine bright as exactly who you are.
 
Dream life or bust,
 
 
#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent
 

P.S. If you’re a blogger who is ready to create your first eBook, you’re gonna love my workshop that’s happening this Saturday, April 29 at Noon EDT. It’s called Blog to Book and it’s a 2-hour virtual workshop where I’ll be walking you step-by-step through the process I use to turn the content on my blog into eBooks that I sell on Amazon.

 
And you won’t just be sitting there listening to me talk about how to do it. You’ll actually start putting together your book right during the live workshop!
 
I know this is short notice… I meant to tell you about this workshop last week but with traveling and all it totally slipped my mind. So if you can’t make it live, don’t worry! Sign up anyhow and you’ll get the recording immediately after the live workshop is finished so you can put your book together in your own time.
 

The Idea Is You… It’s Not Separate From You

As a multi-passionate writer, creator and entrepreneur, I find myself bursting at the seams with ideas for things I want to do and create. It’s almost annoying at times, because I know I’ll never have the capacity for EVERYTHING.
 
Or so I thought.
 
But then last week I began a journey called “be consistent, do what matters and put first things first.” And it shifted everything for me.
 
To be fair, I’ve started this journey before. About a year ago, and about five years ago, when I quit my day job to become a full-time writer, creator and entrepreneur. But somehow something always got in the way and I’d stop.
 
Excuses. Life chaos. The old BS stories I’d been telling myself about what was true for me.
 
And I have a tendency to overcomplicate things, because I used to believe that it had to be perfect or things had to be fancy and have a lot of bells and whistles or they weren’t valuable enough.
 
So when I’d get an idea for something I wanted to create, I’d go crazy complicating everything about it so that it ended up feeling like this huge, overwhelming project and then instead of taking action on it, I’d set it aside.
 
For example, at the end of last year I had a Divine Download for a daily email called the Daily Think Different. And it would be a daily email for writers, authors, entrepreneurs and creators that motivated, inspired, educated and empowered you to think different.
 
I bought a domain name for it. I wrote up a whole page of notes on how I’d set the new site up where people could go sign up to get the daily email. And that’d be another thing to add to my writing task list for the day (at this point I’m writing between 5k-7k words a day). And I was excited about it.
 
I think about it all the time. I feel it’s something I’m meant to be contributing to the world. I know that my calling and my purpose in the world is to inspire, motivate, educate and empower writers and creators to change the way they think and challenge what they believe is possible.
 
But months went by and I still didn’t take action on it.
 
And then two weeks ago I met an entrepreneur in one of the groups I’m in who helped me make a huge shift. She had posted in the group talking about how she wanted to start getting up early every day. And I commented back that I wanted the same thing, but never thought I could make it happen because I’m a night owl.
 
She commented back—want to help hold each other accountable to getting up early? I felt like it was a nudge from the Universe to jump into the challenge.
 
So we agreed to check in with each other first thing in the A.M. to say what time we got up. And just knowing I had to check in with her and tell her the time I got up, made me get up early, even when I didn’t want to.
 
And since I was already getting up early, I decided that i would also challenge myself to be consistent, do what matters and put first things first—before I let the rest of the world in.
 
Every morning I’d get up, send her a message to confirm the time I got up, and then I’d do my journaling and mindset practice, write my blog post and work on my novel. I did this every single day for five days.
 
And then the weekend showed up and I had a choice—I could do what I usually do, which is skip the weekends, or I could just keep going and accept that when you’re creating a new habit, you don’t get to take days off.
 
So I kept it up over the weekend. By Monday morning I was feeling AMAZING! Not only had I been consistent all week on doing what matters and putting first things first, and feeling insanely free and productive in the process, but I discovered something… I was already writing my daily think different emails! I just wasn’t calling them that.
 
For so long I thought the Daily Think Different emails had to be something outside of the stuff I was already doing and I had to keep it separate from my Jennifer Blanchard brand. But here’s the thing—you can’t separate yourself from the idea. Because you and the idea are one.
 
So when you’re multi-passionate, like I am, there’s no way for you to keep everything separate and still be able to juggle it all.
 
Being multi-passionate and allowing yourself to indulge in doing it all requires you to be able to juggle a lot of things all at once. Totally doable for a multi-passionate person, by the way.
 
You just need to stop trying to separate yourself from it.
 

You are the brand. You and all the things that come with you, including your thoughts, feelings, opinions, likes, dislikes, preferences, non-negotiables, and multiple passions, talents and interests.

 
Trying to separate it will just stress you out.
 
When I first started out online, I had a blog called Procrastinating Writers. Back then I was seriously struggling with doing the writing. It was a losing battle, but I was fighting it and I kept going. Years later, I created InkyBites, a site that focused on creative wellness. And then years later I realized that I if I wanted to be a successful author, at some point I’d have to brand under my own name.
 
So I launched JenniferBlanchard.net (‘cause someone else already had the dot-com, damn it). And I was trying to run three sites at once. Trying to balance and juggle all three brands, creating content for each one and promoting it on social media and I was failing epically. (I eventually merged all of the brands and content into my Jennifer Blanchard brand.)
 
Which is why when I get amazing Divine Downloads like my Daily Think Different emails, I get excited and want to take action… but then I often don’t. Because I still default to thinking that it has to be kept separate from my personal brand.
 
But here’s the thing—I’m me. Which means everything that I create, every idea I have, everything I write…that’s all me too.
 
I’m the multi-passionate writer, high-achieving, big-dreamer and believer in magic who I’ve always been. And my words are my legacy.
 
So it doesn’t make sense to separate it. (And let’s be real–it’s not really possible to separate it.)
 
But it wasn’t until I started doing what matters and putting first things first that I got clarity on that fact. This new habit made me realize if I don’t separate things and just let it all be me and be a part of my personal brand, I really CAN do all the things I want to be doing.
 
Doing what matters and putting first things first freed up so much of my time and mind space to focus on the other things I want to be doing (and am doing).
 
And that clarity forced me to see that what I want to do and the impact I want to have on the world, extends far beyond just writing about writing.
 

Sure, I’ll always write about writing because I’m a writer and it’s in me to do that. But now I’m allowing myself to let out that other side of me. That side of me who wants to see others succeed. That wants to inspire, motivate, educate and empower others to live their dream lives and know that anything is possible when you believe it is and and change your thinking around it.

 
THAT is what I’m here to do. Everything else that I do is secondary to that.
 
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to create and live my dream life and I’m going to be the writer and author I want to be. And I’m going to write about it and share my thoughts on it and share the things I learn, and inspire and motivate and empower you to create you own version of your dream life where you get paid to do what you love to do (write, create).
 
Now this isn’t unlike most of what I’m already doing. It’s just now I’ll be doing it with a vision and even more purpose and intention than before. (Purpose and intention are big for me.)
 
Over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing some changes in my branding and website. I’ve got a new tagline (Dream Life Or Bust), I’m doing daily emails/blog posts and I have a new approach to the business that I’m creating.
 
I’m finally giving myself permission to fully be the writer and author I see myself as. To act like and think like and BE that writer and author RIGHT NOW. Even though I know some people may not like it.
 
Because there’s no point in waiting. Or trying to separate yourself from it. You are who you are.
 
The truth is, you’ll never be ready to go after your dreams or your dream life. You’ll never be ready to make the leap, invest in the course, step into the work you desire to do in the world, or write that book. You’ll never be ready.
 
And if you wait ’till you’re ready, it will be too late.
 
So that’s why you have to just jump, right now, into creating your dream life and creating yourself as the writer and author you want to be. Because tomorrow is never guaranteed. All you ever really have is right now.
 

And right now, you get to decide if you want to keep being who you’ve been being. Or if you want to be who you know you really are and who you know you’re capable of being, if only you gave yourself permission to play full out, trust that what you feel inside is real, and go after all your dreams.

 
Going forward, I’m choosing the latter.

Share With Us

If you gave yourself permission to play full out in your writing life… what would you do? Share in the comments. 
 
P.S. If you also want to choose the latter (fully being the writer and author you want to be), here’s an opportunity for you to step into that identity right now AND get your book written and published…join my Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days workshop. We’re hitting the ground running on Day 1 and will be writing, revising, prepping and publishing our eBooks over the course of the 10 days.
 
Jim Turnbo III, author of “Brainhacks: 10 Simple Strategies to Keep Your Mind Strong For A Lifetime”  had this to say about his journey in the workshop:
 
“I’ve been sitting on this “Brainhacks” book for the last 16 months. It was slowly hacking away at my brain. Never thought I would finish it. Too many thought processes to go here. But I finished it! The information is so valuable it would be a shame to let it sit tucked away. Thanks to Jennifer, I got the kick I needed to get it done. Getting a good quality book published ready for people to digest is very hard. Only a few will do it. But if you come into this class with an unstoppable attitude, failure becomes obsolete. The price of the class will easily pay for itself. I will use the 10 days template for all my nonfiction writing.”
 
If you’re ready to give up the excuses, get out of your head and get into action, this is the workshop for you.
 

How I Sold 2,300+ Books in 31 Days

Selling books. Making money. Being a full-time author. Pretty much the dream writing life for most writers.

And yet, so many authors aren’t having this experience. So many are feeling frustrated and like they’re wasting their time because it’s never going to happen.

Maybe you’ve felt (or feel) this way?

I know I have. Back before I decided to take control of my writing destiny, I used to feel that way all the time. Like, what’s the point? I have these great books out there and barely anyone is reading them. 

This year, I had a breakthrough. I finally stepped up my productivity, my writing habits and, most importantly, got my mind in the game. And now that I’ve done those things, I’m selling an average of 1,000+ books a month, pretty much without even trying. (That’s not to say I didn’t ever have to try. Of course I did, it’s just now I have momentum. More on that below.)

But I had one month this year that was bigger than all the other months (at least, so far). In July, I sold 2,312 books (and made a little over $800)!! Not bad for 31 days.

I recently did a breakdown to see what exactly went into selling that many books, and now averaging 1,000+ sales a month. And here’s what I came out with:

1. Get Into Alignment

For the first time ever, I’m finally in full alignment with the writing goals I have and the writing career that I want. I’m no longer fighting it. I’m not playing small or acting like it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m setting an intention for exactly what I want to create and I’m taking actions every day to move in that general direction.

That’s what alignment is. It means that your thoughts, beliefs, words and actions are all working in harmony and moving in the same direction. 

Being in alignment has helped me to start writing, publishing and selling more books.

2. Have An “I Sell Books” Mindset

Believe it or not, your mind is the source of everything you currently see in your reality (whether you like it or not). Hard to accept, I know, because then you have to take responsibility for the fact that you believe shitty things that are holding you back and you have negative thoughts that are limiting your success.

But when you can just accept where you are–and accept all that you’ve created up to this point–you can start to create something new.

In February of this year, I amped up the mindset work I started doing back in August 2015 and began a daily practice of writing intentions in my journal. One of those daily intentions was, “I am a bestselling author.” Another was, “I sell thousands of books every month.”

I still write intentions like that every single day. Because out of everything I’ve done in my writing career, the best thing I ever did for myself was start a daily mindset practice. It has hands-down changed everything for me.

When you have an “I sell books” mindset, as opposed to an “it’s hard to sell books” mindset or an “I wish I knew how to sell more books” mindset, it really can be the difference between making sales and not making sales. Because you create in your reality what you believe in your mind. And if you believe that it’s hard to sell books or that you don’t know how to sell books, that’s exactly what you will experience.

Decide right now that you’re going to create an “I sell books” mindset and don’t ever look back.

3. Publish Multiple Books

I see so many authors spending time on marketing when all they have is one book. And while, yes, you do have to do some marketing for that book, you also want to make it a priority to write and publish the next book. Because what happens if someone buys your book, loves it and then there’s nothing else for them to buy?

You got it–they go elsewhere.

So if you don’t have at least 2 books published, it’s time to get to work. I started selling 1,000+ books a month when I had 6 books published. Now that I’ve got 8 (with more in the works), I know my book sales numbers will keep growing.

The best way to sell a book is with another book. 

4. Build Relationships–With Readers and People In Your Industry/Genre

After a year of blogging, I decided to branch out and start guest posting (where you publish your articles on someone else’s blog). Doing that helped me to connect with editors in the writing industry (on blogs where my target readers are), and from those connections came other opportunities.

For example, in July, I was invited to participate in a one-day, 99 cent eBook promo along with 8 other authors. The other authors were all well-known writers who have big communities of writers and authors. So by having a connection with the person running the promotion, I was not only invited to participate, but I got my book in front of 8 new audiences. I also made connections with the other authors who were part of the promo.

And, of course, I had my biggest book sales month ever.

Relationships are everything when it comes to online marketing. So if you’re not already making connections and building relationships with potential promo partners and potential readers, now’s the time to start.

5. Launch A New Book

In the month of July, I launched my eBook, The 15-Minute Writer: How To Write Your Book In Only 15 Minutes A Day. This was a brand new book, which means every single person who saw it or checked it out was new to it. It was something that even my repeat readers could buy.

Having a new book can make it easier to get sales, especially if you’ve already got a few books out there that people have bought.

This goes back to what I said about having multiple books. And what’s cool about Amazon (and other sites) is once you’ve got a few books out and enough reviews, it will start suggesting your book to people who look at related books.

6. Charge 99 cents

I’ve been testing out pricing this year, to see if it makes a difference. When all of my books are 99 cents, I sell a lot more of them than when I charge more.

I know that sounds crazy–all that hard work and then you only get a 35% royalty from Amazon! (I do have a couple books that cost $2.99 as well.)

But when your book is 99 cents, people are more willing to give it a try. Everyone has wasted a dollar at some point in their life, so 99 cents is less of a risk than a book that costs more. 

If you’re just starting out or are a new author, I highly recommend trying a 99 cent pricing strategy. It may just be the difference between making sales or not.

As you grow, get more known and have more books available, then you can have a mix of prices and increase your overall profit.

7. Build Momentum

I’ve been online since 2008 and building my following ever since. Which means I’ve had 8+ years of connecting, building relationships, and growing a readership. I have momentum.

You can create momentum too, and it doesn’t have to take 8 years. If you focus on what’s really important about book marketing (hint: it’s not about selling books), you can make it happen a lot faster. 

Once you’ve got momentum, your books can almost sell themselves. That’s not to say I’m not still doing marketing, but I don’t put a ton of energy into marketing my books at the moment, and I’m still selling 1,000+ a month.

Book marketing is like a roller coaster–at first it’s a slow climb, but when you hit the tipping point, it’s all momentum from there.

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What’s one thing you can do today to start selling more books? Share in the comments. 

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Are you ready to make more sales and learn the right way to market your books? Then check out my upcoming masterclass: Sell More Books. I’m teaching you everything you need to know to kick-ass in your online book marketing, and then some. Full details here

The Worst Book Marketing Myth Ever (And How To Defuse It)

If you’ve ever published a book, or are in the process of writing and publishing one, you’ve likely thought about marketing and what you’ll need to do to make book sales. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? Selling books.

And while that’s not totally wrong, it’s also not totally right.

Selling books is the goal, yes. But it’s not what the focus of your book marketing should be.

That’s where I see so many authors getting it wrong.

And that’s why when you go into writing groups on Facebook or Google+, a lot of times it’s just a promo fest of people drive-by sharing links to their books. Or you see people’s social media accounts just covered in promos, but without any real value to be found.

Totally worthless and the worst way to try and make a book sale.

Why? Because of two reasons:

  1. People aren’t on social media to buy stuff–social media is supposed to be for being social, so people aren’t reading stuff or watching stuff and thinking, “I need to buy that right now.” They’re there to engage and connect with other humans, and also to be entertained.
  2. There’s not enough value in a book promo on social media to get someone to open their wallet–and on the off-chance that someone does buy directly via social media, it’s because the value being presented in the post (written, video, etc) is so awesome that they can’t not buy.

So, if you’ve been trying to sell your book by posting promos on social media (or in Facebook groups) and it hasn’t worked, it’s time for a new strategy.

What Actually Sells Books

When it comes down to the core of what online marketing is, you’ll find two things:

1. Relationships–online marketing is all about building relationships and making connections with other people, both potential readers and industry-related.

2. Valuable content–at the core of online marketing is content. Content is what helps you make the connections and build the relationships that will earn you a readership. Now ‘value’ will be defined by you and the type of book that you’re marketing.

For example, if your book is a humorous novel, creating content aligned with that makes the most sense for adding value. So sharing things that make people laugh is a good way for you to connect with your readership and get them interested in your novel.

And these two things–when combined–are what sells books.

The worst book marketing myth is that it’s all about selling books. It’s not. And believing that is what’s keeping you from selling books.

Especially if you’re trying to market your books online (which most authors these days are).

People go online for one of three reasons:

  1. To learn something
  2. To be entertained
  3. Both

And that’s what you need to be thinking about when you do your book marketing.

Book marketing is not about selling books. It’s about being an interesting author (with an impactful message) who teaches potential readers something, entertains them or both, and because of that connection and that relationship with the potential reader, they will buy a book from you.

Your New Book Marketing Strategy

From here on out, you’re no longer allowed to do drive-by book promos on social media. (And I know YOU wouldn’t be doing that anyhow, because that’s not how a pro writer thinks or acts, right?) You’re no longer allowed to only post things that just promo your book.

From here on out, your marketing strategy is the following:

  • Build connections with readers and with industry/genre-related people
  • Create valuable content that your ideal reader wants and needs
  • Share your author message, in whatever way makes sense for you

There’s a lot more to it than that, but these are the foundational pieces of being a success author and successfully marketing your book online.

I got where I am right now with my publishing career because I spent 8+ years of my life building a following, connecting with others in my industry and delivering valuable, kick-ass content (on a consistent basis) that my ideal readers want. I’m now living my dream writing life, and it just gets better and better every day.

If you want to create your dream writing life, where you can write and publish books and actually sell them and make money, you’ve gotta be in it for the long-haul. And this is a long-haul book marketing strategy.

No, it won’t make you sales immediately overnight (unless you’ve already got a bit of a following), but it will help you build an author brand that will make sales–and, eventually, enough sales to support you in being the full-time author you’ve always dreamed of being.

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How do you get the word out about your books?

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Are you ready to sell more books?? Doors to my upcoming live-virtual “Sell More Books” workshop will be opening soon! Join the waitlist to be the first to know when the doors are open.  

The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 4: An Interview with Kindlepreneur Founder, Dave Chesson

You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher

Guest Bio:

Dave Chesson is an 11-year veteran of the Navy and the founder of Kindlepreneur.com, a site that provides Kindle authors with the tools they need to help more readers find their books.

Show Notes:

I met Dave at Jeff Goins’ TRIBE Writers Conference, and right away knew he was someone I needed to talk to for this podcast. He not only runs a popular website that helps Kindle authors find more readers, but he’s also a best selling author himself, and has created a successful business where he now gets to work at home and hang with his kids.

In other words, he’s freaking awesome.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Amazon keywords don’t just work for nonfiction books–fiction authors can also take advantage of keywords to help more readers find their books
  • When you search for keywords on Amazon, you should use “incognito mode” on the Chrome browser, so Amazon doesn’t know it’s you searching (apparently if Amazon knows it’s you, it skews the search results and shows you different stuff than if it’s someone else searching)
  • You can use the same keywords from Amazon to create your Facebook ad copy, which can help you convert readers into book buyers

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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, and share it using the links below.