The biggest complaint I hear from authors is this: it’s so hard to sell books!
And while marketing and selling books can sometimes be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you can actually have fun with marketing.
Hold up! Did I just say “fun” and “marketing” in the same sentence?
Yep. Because as my Kindle coach so wisely says, marketing and selling is just teaching people the value of something.
Looking at it from that perspective, it makes marketing seem much more doable, doesn’t it? And I feel like it gives it a purpose, other than making money (even though that’s a big part of it). Because when you realize that when you’re marketing your books, all you’re doing is trying to show someone the value of why they need to read it.
It has definitely made me feel different about my book marketing efforts, that’s for sure. Now I see that it’s my responsibility to get my books out there and in the hands of writers and reader who need them. And it’s doing my audience a disservice to not market my books to them so that they know they exist.
Reframing things is a great way to shift your mindset around the parts of being an author that you don’t enjoy as much.
I get emails on a weekly basis from people who follow me, asking me to teach more stuff about marketing. A lot of people tell me I’m a natural marketer. And while that may seem like it’s true, this isn’t a skill I was born with. I spent 7+ years doing online marketing for publications and corporations. Which means I learned how to do it.
And if I can learn how to do it, so can you.
I’ve put together an audio training + workbook on 15 Tactics to Help You Sell More Books. These are some of the best tactics out there for making more book sales.
Some are simple and others take more work. All of them will help you sell more books.
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Which of the 15 tactics will you implement first?
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.
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.
NOTE: this is a guest post from Anni Fife, author of LUKE’S Redemption. Enjoy! –jen
I’m a debut author, so when the reality slapped me in the face that I needed to organize the launch and publicity for my first novel, I broke out in a cold sweat: I knew nothing from nothing, and I needed to learn fast.
Completing your first novel, having it accepted by a reputable publisher (or professionally self-publishing), sweating through the editing process, contributing creative input on the cover, writing taglines and blurbs, dedications and acknowledgments, selecting favorite excerpts—this is the rollicking ride new authors love (and probably more experienced ones too!) It’s all driven by a breathless excitement at seeing your novel become a reality, and a nervous anticipation while awaiting your upcoming release date.
But somewhere between signing off on your final galley and receiving your formatted arcs, you have to start thinking about your launch and publicity. In fact, you needed to have started laying the groundwork a lot sooner. Jennifer Blanchard has mentioned numerous times that it is never too soon to create your author platform and start building your brand. Listen to her!
The basics you need are a website and a Facebook author page. Both should clearly identify your brand and be written in the style of your author voice. Once you have these—and there are plenty of informative websites and books offering advice on how to approach this task—then you can start the long-game of building your followers.
You need to be seen out-and-about on social media platforms, posting interesting stuff, commenting on other authors’ and readers’ posts, and sharing interesting blogs. And don’t forget, you need to be writing interesting content for your own blog.
Okay, enough about that. Let’s talk about Blog Tours.
What is a Blog Tour?
A specific period of time when your book is promoted across selected websites and blogs that are relevant to your target audience. The time can vary from one day to a week, a few weeks or even longer. The duration of your tour is based on the goal of your promotion.
A blog tour is like a book signing tour, except you are doing it online. It works for authors who are located in remote areas, have limited funds, or may be shy when it comes to public speaking. The fundamental aim of blog tours is to build relationships with your potential readers and industry influencers.
Blog tours do not necessarily spike sales. Their main success lies in increasing awareness of your book and your author name.
What are the different types of Blog Tours?
A regular Blog Tour includes content from your Media Kit (details below) and a unique article. This can be anything from an interview with the author or characters from your book, an interesting essay about your novel or about writing in general.
The blog host guides the content and tone. Often the blog host has daily or general themes that you need to accommodate. Don’t be shy to offer blog hosts unique ideas for your post, as well.
PRO TIP: Bloggers love exclusive and original content that fits their site guidelines
Make sure your promotional company, or the blogger you are approaching, is aware you are willing to provide unique, original content. This will increase your chances of securing quality blogs stops.
Blog tours range from a few days to months. Example: I have a four-month tour booked with one blog stop a week. The goal is to keep my name in the public eye over a sustained period of time. I selected this route to address my debut author status. I decided it was equally important to market my name as well as my book.
There are three main types of blog book tours:
- A Book Blast is a one-day tour where you send the same content out over multiple blogs. Aim for at least 20 blogs. It is usually used for a book release day, a cover reveal, or an event like a one-day promotion or Blog Hop. The idea is to try and saturate as many blogs as possible with your promotional content. Some promotional companies also offer Twitter Blasts where they blast approximately six tweets to their followers over one day.
- A Blurb Blitz Tour is like an extended Book Blast. For the duration of the tour, you stop on a different blog each day. The content for each blog is the same, and usually consists of your book cover, a blurb, a selection of excerpts, an author bio and picture, and your social media and buy links. This is the ideal tour to publicize a new release or to build awareness of your book in the weeks prior to your release.
- A Review Tour offers blog hosts the opportunity to review your book. Credible reviews are difficult to come by so this is a great tour to receive guaranteed reviews of your book. Be aware that guaranteed reviews do not equate to guaranteed good reviews. However, as you are paying for the promotion, a reviewer will normally agree not to post a review that is less than three stars until after the tour is finished. Each stop usually also includes material from your media kit.
Note: Amazon has changed its rules for posting reviews, and it is possible that they might delete reviews received from a paid review tour.
Selecting a suitable blog tour
Promotional companies offer a variety of tours, but generally they are a derivative of the tours I have described above.
When booking a tour, it is important to be clear about what you want to achieve. List your goals and select the tour that most meets your needs. Ensure that it falls in with your launch or promotional plan and rollout schedule.
Most blog tours are accompanied by a giveaway competition where authors offer readers the opportunity to win a copy of their book, a gift voucher, a selection of swag, or other items. To enter the giveaway, the reader is offered a selection of tasks to complete, from interacting with the author’s social media to joining their mailing list.
There is no doubt that giveaways do increase traffic to your blog stop. The value of your giveaway is dependent on the size of your pocket and your feelings about giveaways in general. Personally, I prefer small giveaways. A valuable giveaway skirts too close to bribery for me.
There is also an opportunity to offer a prize to your blog hosts. I like this, as it is a great opportunity to thank your blog hosts.
How do you set up your blog tour?
There are numerous companies that specialize in book promotional tours. A lot of them tend to concentrate on a specific genre. Don’t be shy to ask your network of author friends for recommendations. If you fancy a couple of different companies, follow them for a while on social media and see how effective you find them.
Once you have made a selection, it’s as simple as making a booking. Prices are fairly reasonable and clearly displayed on their websites.
PRO TIP: You need to book your tour at least six to eight weeks in advance.
The following two recommendations are promotional companies that specialize in romance that I have personally had dealings with:
- Goddess Fish Promotions–I selected Goddess Fish Promotions for my debut release. They came highly recommended from my publisher and author friends. I’ve found them to be reliable and efficient. But their banners are boring! If I use them again, I will request more interesting banners. Note: Several days ago they informed me they have hired a graphics artist to improve their banners.
- Magic of Book Promotions–this company came highly recommended. Tami Adams is very hands-on, and I found her helpful in the quoting stage. GFP were more suitable for my needs but I wouldn’t hesitate to use Tami in the future.
Organizing your own blog tour
If your budget is tight (or non-existent) don’t panic. It just means you have to work harder.
PRO TIP: Start as far in advance as possible.
- Search for blogs that are relevant to your genre and start interacting with them. Follow the blogger’s social media links, and get a feel for the style and taste of the blogger. If you have an idea for a guest post, write to the blogger and suggest it to them. Write a succinct query letter that clearly states who you are, what you would like from the blogger, and what you have to offer. Include information about your book and a brief excerpt. Don’t forget to indicate to the blogger that you are familiar with their blog.
- Ask your author network to recommend blogs sites they have appeared on. Don’t be shy to ask them to recommend you to these bloggers.
- Connect with other authors–A lot of authors have their own blogs and use them to spotlight other authors. If you think one is suitable for your book, request a guest spot. Most are very amenable. If you are a debut author, ask for help. I promise you, you’ll receive it.
- Find the most influential bloggers with the largest traffic. Look at the amount of comments posts generate. They should average around eight. If they are consistently less than eight or zero, avoid them. Their traffic is not worth your time. Often one large blog will lead you to another as they often share each other’s links. They all need content. Don’t be cautious about offering yours.
- Write up a schedule and start to plan your tour. Limit your stops to one per day. (Unless you are planning a book blast.) All your stops do not have to offer exclusive content, you can mix it up (though it is highly recommended). Alternate unique guest posts with general book spotlights. Don’t underestimate the amount of work it takes to write the content required for unique guest spots.
I suggest sending requests to around 35 to 40 bloggers with the goal of securing 10 to 12 spots. If you get more, great!
PRO TIP: When organizing a blog tour, don’t make a request for a review the primary aim of your query letter. Reviews are like hen’s teeth and bloggers are inundated with requests. I suggest you separate review requests from your blog tour. If you get them, consider them cream. (I send out requests for reviews on a near daily basis. It is time consuming but it is a numbers game. The more requests you send, the higher your odds of getting a ‘yes’.)
Your Blog Tour Is Happening. Here Are Some Tips
- Inform all of your blog hosts that your book is available for review if they so choose. Ensure you have a copy of it in different formats—PDF, MOBI and EPUB are the most popular.
- Send your content requirement to each blog well in advance. Be meticulous. Your reputation is on the line.
- Once your tour starts, work hard to promote it across your social media platforms and don’t hesitate to ask your friends and network groups to share your social media posts and re-tweet your tweets. Remember: the more you help promote their promotions, the more they will be inclined to help you when you need it.
- Most blog hosts will post on Facebook and Tweet your blog post on the day you are scheduled to appear. Make sure you share their posts and re-tweet their tweets.
- Visit the blog early on post day–thank your host and welcome his/her readers in the comments. Let them know you welcome their questions.
- Check your blog post hourly. Try and respond to comments as quickly as possible. Respond to each and every comment, even if it is just to thank the reader for popping by.
- Remember to post a sign off comment on the blog at the end of the night. Thank the host and readers again. Inform the readers of where you will be stopping next.
- Arrange your own giveaway. I suggest you run it for the duration of your tour. You can use a company like Rafflecopter to organize it for you.
Your Media Kit
You need to have the following content available for all of your blog hosts:
- Book cover image
- Blurb (150 to 200 words)
- A selection of excerpts–three is good. If you write erotic or erotica, make sure you have a combination of excerpts that include a PG-rated version. (Around 300 words)
- A biography (150 words)
- A picture of yourself
- Your website
- Your Facebook author page link
- Your Amazon author page and/or Goodreads profile page
- Any additional social media links–Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.
- Links to buy your book
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Phew! That’s a lot of information, but I hope it helps you. If you have any questions, comment away and I will answer wherever I can.
About the Author: Anni Fife left a successful career in television to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of one month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village to begin her new life…as an author. LUKE’s Redemption is Anni’s debut novel. Anni loves spending hours on the beach searching for pansy shells, more hours drinking red wine with her gals, and the most hours writing steamy romance novels filled with hot alpha men, and the sassy intelligent women they can’t live without. She is currently working on her second novel, GRAY’s Promise.
I love that phrase: writing empire. It sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?
Having an empire that you created with your writing at the center of everything.
Usually when you think of an “empire,” you imagine someone like Martha Stewart or Kim Kardashian or some other celebrity brand. But writers can have empires too.
Remember the other day when I talked about diversifying? That’s what building an empire is. It’s finding ways to diversify in your writing life so that you’ve got streams of income coming in from different things.
Freelance. Copywriting. Nonfiction books. Novels. Workshops. Virtual events. Live events. Digital products. Writing services. Coaching services. Editing.
There are tons of ways for you to diversify and build your writing empire. And here’s the best part: you get to create it however you want it.
If you hate doing live stuff, you can be 100% virtual. If you love live events, you can build those into your brand. Whatever you love to do, that’s what you should focus on and build your writing empire around.
I love teaching, I love writing, I love speaking, so that’s what I’m building my writing empire around. I have books, digital products, live virtual workshops, live events (more live events coming in 2017!), coaching, writing and self-publishing services.
The other thing about an empire is that it’s also a legacy. It’s the legacy of the person who it’s built around.
An empire will live on long after you do.
So really think about that for a second. What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be known for changing the way writers think. For showing writers what’s possible when you set your mind to it. For being a living example of the power of combining practical physical actions with energetic mindset actions.
That is my legacy–the one I’m creating.
These are all things you’ve gotta think about if you want to be an authorpreneur. Not just a writer who publishes a couple books, but someone who builds a business around being who you are and doing what you love.
That is the true power of taking control of your writing destiny.
And you can absolutely do it. It’s yours to create, exactly as you want it.
For some examples of legacy and what a writing empire looks like, check out:
These are writers who have diversified. They’ve found what they’re awesome at and they’ve built a business around those things.
If you want to make a living as a writer, this is the best way to do it. Yes, you could just write books, but you’re limiting so many things when you do that, including growth, reaching additional audiences and, of course, the money you can make.
Diversifying is where it’s at. And while you’re at it, you may as well build an empire and create a legacy that lives on.
And speaking of empire… I wanted to introduce you to my new 1-1 coaching program:
Build Your Writing Empire
This program is your springboard to making a living as a writer.
For 6 weeks we will work together to:
> Map out your writing empire, including all the things you love to do
> Start setting up and implementing the systems and structures you need to support your empire (including an author website, if you don’t already have one)
> Overhaul your writing life so you’re aligned with and set up for the success you want to create
> Get your nonfiction eBook written and published (at least one, but possibly more than one, if you’re up for it)
> Grow your following
> Sell more books
You will walk away with a published nonfiction eBook, a blueprint for your writing empire–including what to focus on and in what order–and feeling confident and ready to continue growing your audience and your author brand.
With this program you get:
> Six 1-1 calls with me via phone or Skype (up to 60 mins each)
> Unlimited email support between calls
> Feedback, edits, guidance on everything you create while in the program, including your eBook
And as a BONUS, you get a FREE 1-YEAR MEMBERSHIP in the Bestselling Author Mastermind group (a $348+ value). [This is extra-awesome because I’m going to soon be announcing some major changes to BAM that include giving the group access to pretty much everything I’ve created (and the price is going up).]
This program is PERFECT for you if you:
> Have lots of ideas for books you want to write and just need help getting started/organized/productive/etc
> Want to build a writing empire and legacy with your author brand
> Are someone who takes action and follows through
> Are ready to get your damn writing career off the ground
> Want to finally get your first (or next) nonfiction eBook written and published
This program is for writers who are action takers and willing to put in the work.
Program investment: $997 (payment plans available)
Interested? Email me or send me a PM on Facebook.
Something that has become so powerful for me in my writing life is combining practical, physical actions, with energetic, spiritual-type actions. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the thing that has changed the game for me.
It’s the thing that’s helped me to become a multi-book, multi-category best selling author on Amazon and sell more than a thousand books in a month and more than 500 books in one day. It’s the thing that’s made my writing career TAKE OFF.
But I didn’t have a name for it. I didn’t know what to call it, the combination of practical and energetic.
Until today. Today, I have a name for it.
It came to me this morning, like a bolt of lightning, when I was chatting with a member of my Bestselling Author Mastermind. He was asking about getting support on writing and selling more books. And I was thinking about how best I could help him with this.
And then it hit me… the name for what I do: Manifestation Marketing. The combination of taking practical actions along with energetic actions is how you use the power of manifestation to make your marketing efforts a success.
Of course, this also comes down to mindset. Mindset is everything. And mindset is a huge part of manifestation.
So mindset + manifestation marketing = insanely awesome blow-your-mind totally amazing results.
And just like that, a whole new shift in perspective and focus in my writing business.
How To Do Manifestation Marketing
If you’re still reading this, that means you’re someone who believes in the law of attraction (though I’d argue not believing in it doesn’t change the fact that it exists. But I digress…). And the law of attraction is an extremely powerful universal law. Like gravity and momentum.
With your belief in this law, you can use energetic actions to make your practical physical actions–things like writing your book, revising your book, marketing your book–work even better and feel a whole lot easier.
Something I’ve realized as I’ve gone through my journey this year so far is that everything has felt so fucking easy. I mean, yes, I’ve been working my ass off.
But it hasn’t felt like I’ve been. I’ve felt in flow and like things are just happening with ease.
This, of course, is all because of my mindset and what I’m actively choosing to focus on. But the point is, I always thought that achieving the things I’ve achieved this year would be so hard. Yet when I started combining the practical and energetic actions, it’s made everything a breeze.
Again, let me point out, that I am doing a lot of work. I’m taking massive action, on the daily, writing my ass off, creating my ass off, doing more mindset work than ever before… and it’s all paying off. I’ve truly taken control of my reality and began creating exactly what I want for my writing life.
And you can too.
Here’s an example of how you combine practical and energetic actions. In June, when I found out I was less than 50 books away from having sold 1,000 books for the month, I sprung into action and I:
- Sent an email to my community, letting them know what was going on and asking them to buy one of my books
- Got on social media and spread the word about my mission to hit 1,000 book sales by 11:59 p.m. that day
- Made social media posts throughout the night, updating people on my numbers and asking them to buy one of my books
- Told everyone I knew (or everyone I’m friends with on Facebook anyhow) to check out my books and buy one if they were interested
- Shot quick videos for Instagram and Facebook, telling people what was going on and asking them to help me out by checking out my books and buying one if something looked good to them
BUT, I didn’t just do the practical actions. I also:
- Decided it was a done deal
- Set my mind to it
- Visualized it happening
- Wrote my reality–in my journal I wrote out, specifically, what I wanted to see happen
- Committed to keep going no matter what my current reality looked like
- Trusted that by doing whatever practical and energetic actions I could think of, the Universe would show up and deliver the result I was asking for
Those are the energetic actions that, when combined with the practical ones, make magic happen.
Manifestation Marketing, in a nutshell. The art of combining practical physical actions with energetic actions to create book marketing magic.
And the best part is, this works with anything: marketing, writing your book, doing the edits, revising, the professional self-publishing process and more. Take action on this, and your writing life will never be the same again.
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How do you combine practical and energetic actions in your writing life?
If you LOVE the concept of Manifestation Marketing and want to learn how to use it in your own writing life to EXPLODE your fanbase and SELL MORE books, be sure to check out my upcoming virtual workshop–GROW YOUR FOLLOWING. Full details here.
Today, my new eBook, The 15-Minute Writer: How To Write Your Book In Only 15 Minutes A Day, became a multi-category best seller on Amazon.
And not only that.
Today, three of my books were in the top 6 best sellers in the Authorship category.
This is a BIG deal. Not only because I’m a self-published author, but also because authorship is what I’ve spent the last 8+ years of my life writing about. Since the first day I started my blog back in 2008, I’ve been writing about how to be a productive writer.
To have it pay off like this is just so awesome. And the thing is, NONE of this would’ve happen if I hadn’t done two really important things.
But before I tell you what those things are…
Two years ago I stopped trusting myself. I don’t know what happened. My entire life I’ve always followed my heart and trusted my inner guidance.
But for some reason, two years ago, I stopped trusting it. I started thinking that the answers were all outside me, so I spent months investing in workshops, courses, programs and coaches. All trying to figure out what it was that I was missing. What I hadn’t figured out yet.
That magic bullet that would finally make everything work.
Except I never found it. I found some really great workshops, courses, programs and coaches. But I never found what was missing.
Until a few months ago when I heard a voice that whispered to me, “it’s time.”
It’s time to step up. Time to stop looking outside yourself for the answers. Time to turn fully inward and find the answers there.
That voice was strong and persistent. And for the first time in two years, I decided I was going to listen to it. I wasn’t going to question it, I was just going to listen and act on what it was telling me to do.
It said that I needed to step up and GO BIG. So I decided I’m going to write and publish 9 books in 2016.
And I was going to keep listening to that inner guidance. No matter what.
It’s my inner guidance that has led me to every book I’ve written so far this year. It was my inner guidance that told me to keep going, to trust that it would all work as long as I continued taking massive action.
And things have just been fucking magic ever since.
So far I’ve written and published three books. Two have become multi-category best sellers on Amazon. I’ve sold more than 1,000 books in a 30-day period. Today, I sold more than 500 books (512 as of this writing!).
Which brings me back to my original point… the two things that changed everything for me:
- Trusting myself and my intuition
- Getting my mind in the game
It all really comes down to those two things. Because I’m honestly not doing anything different, other than writing more books. Why did the 5 books I’d published before the ones this year not make this big of a splash?
Because I wasn’t ready for it. My mind wasn’t there yet. I didn’t believe it was possible.
When I made the decision to write and publish 9 books this year, it was on the tail end of finally overhauling my writing habits, my beliefs and my mindset. And it was that decision–and then stepping up to take massive action on the daily–that caused the rest of what’s unfolded.
The truth is, you’ll never get anywhere in your writing career–other than spinning your wheels and feeling constantly disappointed–if you don’t get your mind in the game. If you don’t figure out what you want and then set your mind to making it happen.
The truth is, you can have anything you set your mind to. ANYTHING.
But you’ve gotta decide it and you’ve gotta follow those intuitive nudges when you get them.
We’re at a disadvantage, because we aren’t taught to follow our intuition. We’re taught to be realistic and solve problems by looking to the outside.
But none of that will help you create the writing life you’ve been dreaming of. The only thing that will is trusting your gut, taking massive action and up-leveling your mindset.
Another example, I got an intuitive nudge to write a guest post for Huffington Post, talking about Why I’m Writing and Publishing 9 Books This Year. And I got a commenter who had this to say:
Now there are two ways I could’ve taken this comment. The first is to freak out and get defensive. To worry that he might be right and second-guess myself and the actions I’m taking.
The second is to realize that this person’s fears and limitations belong to him, and not to me. And rather than engage with it, I needed to see it as a sign to keep going.
I chose option two.
But being able to make that choice stems from the decision I made a few months ago, to step up and be the writer and author I dream of being. And getting my mindset in the right place.
Without those two things, I’d have wasted time arguing with this commenter, trying to prove the point that if I was someone well-known, like Steven Pressfield or J.K. Rowling, he wouldn’t even be questioning me. But I didn’t. I just wished him good luck too and moved on with my day (and, of course, I wrote about it and made a video about it, because that’s what I do).
With those two things, I’m empowered. Empowered to choose. To keep going. To believe that what I’m doing is exactly right for me.
And to know that I’ve fully taken control of my writing destiny.
You want to be a bestselling author, write 9 books in a year and take control of YOUR writing destiny? Start taking massive action every day, follow your gut and get your mind where it needs to be.
And if you do that, your writing career will be, as my Fame and Manifestation buddy, Megan Kopp, always says: Boom. Done. Handled.
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How do you get your mind in the game? Share in the comments.
Are you ready to EXPLODE your following, create raving fans and sell more books? Are you willing to step up and do the work that it takes to make it happen? Then let’s work together and DO THIS! Check out my upcoming 4-week virtual workshop: Grow Your Following. Full details here.
Something every emerging author needs to know how to do is build a following. And that’s because without an audience (aka: people following you), it’s pretty hard to sell books.
Of course, you can always run paid advertising and reach them that way. Or go the traditional publishing route (can we say, waste of time?).
Or you can do the free (or nearly free) version: build your following organically.
Now depending on how you do it, the organic way can take awhile. It took me 8 years to get to where I’m at right now. But I’d argue I could’ve gotten here in half the time (or less) if I had just stopped worrying about everything and just consistently took massive action.
That’s why I’m going to give you the secret 7-step plan for building a following online and creating raving fans who buy all of your books.
It took me 8+ years and six-figures+ investing in my writing career to learn all of what I’m divulging here. So you better listen up, because this is the golden ticket to exploding your fanbase.
1. Say What You Really Think
The world is full of people who are PC and who people-please and say things just to make everyone happy and comfortable. But here’s the thing, vanilla doesn’t sell books.
That’s why you have to be someone who says what you really think. Who stakes a claim and takes a stand on the topics that are important to your industry and/or genre.
Share your opinion on the stuff that matters. Don’t be afraid to tell-it-like-it-is.
The world needs more people like that. Funnily enough, they’re few and far between, which is why when an author stands up and speaks their truth, people listen.
So be that author too. Be an author who says what you really think and takes a stand on the issues and topics that are important to you and to your industry and/or genre.
2. Jump Off the Fence
This one goes with number one. You’ve gotta jump off the fence and stop toeing the line. You’ve gotta pick a stance and stick with it (and if you change it later–which is totally fine, people’s opinions do change sometimes–you can justify it by sharing how or why you can to this new conclusion).
Authors who are on the fence, in general, do not build massive followings. The authors with massive followings have created them based on taking a stand for something that’s important to them. And their audience almost always knows exactly how they feel about that issue.
For example, you now know how I stand on the matter of self-publishing. I’m crystal clear on it. There’s no more wondering how I feel. You know.
Same goes for you. What issues or topics are there in your industry and/or genre that you can get off the fence about?
It’s especially good to choose at least one issue or topic that’s controversial. Controversial topics are always more popular.
Which brings me to…
3. Piss People Off
Sounds harsh, right? We should all just play nice and get along.
Maybe. If you want to create an online following that resembles a child’s daycare center. All roses and nice-nice.
But if you want to build a massive following of raving fans who read all your stuff and buy all your books, you can’t play nice and try to make everyone like you. You have to talk directly to your target readers and say things that no one else is willing to say, but that people need to hear.
Make an opinion–one that your target readers agree with (unless, of course, your opinion is opposite your target readers. Don’t lie to them… but at the same time, why would you target readers who don’t believe what you believe or think like you think? Think about that one.) This will cause them to resonate with you more.
I piss people off all the time when I use swear words (especially FUCK) in my writing and also when I say things I believe to be true but that others don’t agree with (like you control your own destiny and everything that happens to you is of your own design).
But doing this is what tightens my tribe. It’s what makes people who aren’t my true tribe leave and unsubscribe, and what makes my true tribe called in.
Your true tribe–the people you resonate with and who love who you are and what you do–will not be able to find you if you’re always playing nice. Because they won’t be able to relate to you.
When you say state your opinion and piss people off, your tribe can find you, because all the people who don’t resonate with what you’re saying will go away, and the ones who are left will be your true tribe.
Think of it like this, in a room full of 100 people, it’s hard to know which ones like pizza and which ones don’t. The only way to find out, is to shout out to the group, “Pizza is the best food that exists! Who’s with me?!”
The people who love pizza will start to cheer and will agree with you and move in your direction, where you can all gather to talk about how much you love pizza…and how much you don’t understand people who don’t. Meanwhile the people who hate pizza will leave the room or tune you out completely, making more room for the pizza lovers.
4. Give Massive Value
This is a tough one for most writers. In fact, this is what really separates the authors with a following from the authors no one cares about.
The authors with a following give massive value to their audience, in whatever way makes sense for them. Value comes in all forms.
But the two biggest things people are looking for online is: education and entertainment.
So you’ve either got to educate your audience, entertain them, or–and this is the best one–both. You have to be interesting or you have to present things to them in an interesting way.
They want to be inspired and motivated. They want to feel the love and know they’re not alone. They want to connect with other human beings who are just like they are.
The best way to give massive value is to create content, lots and lots of content. Content that your target audience will LOVE.
Here are some examples of what counts as content:
- Blog post
- Short blip (Snap Chat, anyone?)
- Guest post
- Print book
- Audio recording
- Whatever else you can think of
You have to focus on the kind of content you enjoy creating and that your target audience enjoys as well.
For example, don’t force yourself to make videos if you hate videos (although I will say that video is pretty important in the digital age, so you should probably just get over yourself and do it anyhow).
Once you’re giving enough value, you’ll start to see your following skyrocket.
5. Be Who You Are–And Show It
Whoever you are in real life, that’s who you need to be online. People will connect more with you if they know you’re human just like they are.
A lot of authors think they have to sell the dream life or that all people want to see is the good stuff. But giving your audience a highlight reel of your life isn’t the best way to connect with them.
It’s humanity that makes you real. It’s your vulnerability that will resonate with them.
A few months ago I made a video talking about the worst hater situation I’ve encountered since I started my blog (back in ’08). The guy was a true asshole and crossed the line several times in his comments. It was ugly.
And I could’ve chosen to not ever mention it to anyone. To not ever bring it up and just act like everyone loves me and life is all roses.
But that wouldn’t be authentic, and people totally see through that. No one’s life is perfect. So don’t pretend like yours is for the sake of trying to build a following. Doing that will cost you your following.
So I talked about it. I talk about the haters and I talk about the negative stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Because I want you to know exactly what to expect on your journey to being the writer and author you dream of being.
If I didn’t do those things, I wouldn’t be being me. I’d be covering up who I really am, which is someone who tells-it-like-it-is.
Be who you are. Embrace it and fly your “freak flag,” because the world is waiting for more authentic people to show up and lead.
6. Be Accessible
In a world where customer service is mostly talking to a recording and people just want to automate everything, there’s something to be said for being accessible. For giving people access to you and not just hiding out.
I have serious respect for the big-name people in the writing world (and the world, in general) who still run their own social media accounts. This is a task so easily passed off to someone else or pre-set up using a scheduling software.
So to be an author who actually posts live and responds to people’s comments and engages is HUGE. It’s really huge.
A lot of people say they love my Facebook group more than any other out there because I’m accessible. I check in DAILY and I respond to pretty much everything (sometimes I’m miss stuff, but overall I try to respond to everything).
This shows people that I actually give a fuck about them and about the group, and I’m not just trying to automate or be at an arm’s length from them.
I let people into my world. I give them a behind-the-scenes look at my writing life (even more so for the members of my Bestselling Author Mastermind group–they get an all-access pass). I show them exactly what I do and exactly how I do it.
I’m accessible. And you should be too if you want to build a following.
7. Set Your Mind To It
It wouldn’t be an article by me if I didn’t mention something about mindset. So here it is, number seven. The thing that makes everything else on this list work ten million times better.
If you want to build a following, you’ve first gotta set your mind to it. You’ve gotta decide that you’re going to build a following and grow your audience and you’re gonna do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, until it takes…and then keep going.
That’s the key. That’s everything right there. In setting your mind to it, you’ve just brought yourself 90 percent of the way.
The final 10 percent is taking massive actions that are aligned with your goal (whatever it may be).
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Which one of these 7 things can you start doing today?
Want to explode your following and take massive action so you can gain a readership and sell more books (now or whenever you’re ready to)? Check out GROW YOUR FOLLOWING, a virtual workshop for emerging authors and authorpreneurs who want to create a raving fanbase. Full details HERE.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the specifics of what I’ve done to get where I am today, not just with my writing career, but with the following I’ve built and continue to build. And when I looked at it, there were five things that stood out to me:
- Connecting (aka: building relationships)
- Creating Content
Those five things, when done simultaneously, will help you to create the success that you dream of having in your writing life.
To go a step further, I even made a little diagram to show you how these things are interlinked:
Mindset is at the very top as the umbrella over everything else, because mindset is the thing that makes everything else work 10 times better.
Under that we have the three Cs of being successful online: Connecting, Creating Content and Being Consistent.
And all of this creates Visibility–which is when you’re out there, being seen and people know who you are.
Pretty simple, right?
It really is. The difficult part is doing the work and keeping it up. That’s the part where most writers totally fall off (or don’t even start).
Because it takes effort to live this action plan. Not to just do it here and there when you have the time, but to actually build your writing life (and writing business) around doing all five of these things every single day.
That’s what I do.
I built my writing life around these five things–I do mindset work 2-3 times a day, minimum. I connect on a regular basis with my community and with people in my industry. I blog five days a week, I write emails to my community, I create Facebook posts, I run a free Facebook group where I create videos five days a week and post valuable content, I post inspirational quotes and fun pics on my Instagram, I create and upload my videos to YouTube. I show up in some form online every single day, period. And from all of this, I’ve created visibility, where people are starting to know who I am and opportunities are starting to come to me because of it.
This action plan will help you create the writing life you dream of, where you’ve got raving fans ready to buy your books and whatever else you create.
But while understanding this action plan seems easy, it’s in the implementation where you really see the results (or not) based on what you choose to do and how you choose to do it.
You have to commit to showing up, every day, in some form, and putting something out there. You have to commit to doing the work, to not giving up when it looks like it’s not working, even if it looks like it’s not working for a while. You have to commit to thinking and acting like the writer and author you dream of being.
That’s what it takes to build a following.
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What’s one thing you can do today to start building your following? Share in the comments.
If you’re ready to show up online, build your following, create raving fans and sell more books (now or when you’re ready to), be sure to check out my upcoming GROW YOUR FOLLOWING workshop. Full details here.
Hear me out on this one. Because I know up front it seems like it makes total sense to keep all of your creative work and projects separate from each other by having different websites. The books with the books. The artwork with the artwork. The whatever with the other whatevers.
Logically it does makes sense. Keep everything separate and contained in one place, so that it’s nice and neat and no one gets confused.
Here are the arguments I often hear for having multiple websites:
- People will get confused if I have multiple projects on one site
- People will get distracted
- Readers don’t want to see information about your writing services and writers don’t want to see information about your books, etc.
- It will be harder to get people interested in what I’m doing/interested in following me if I have too much stuff on one site that doesn’t go together
And, yes, all of those arguments are totally valid. Having multiple websites, one for each project or focus you have, is the traditional way of thinking about marketing.
But there’s a better and much more effective way to think about it: the Digital Age way.
In the Digital Age, there is power in being YOU. There is no one else in the world exactly like you–there never has been and there never will be.
Being you makes you unique, automatically.
So rather than try to separate or compartmentalize all the different things that make up who you are and what you do (which is the traditional way of doing it), put them all together with YOU as the thing that ties it all together.
I’m better with examples… so here’s a quick graphic I drew up to illustrate what I’m talking about:
The black-marker drawing is the old way of thinking, that everything you do has to be separate from each other. The blue-marker drawing is the new way of thinking about it.
I call it the “Authorpreneur Brand.” What that means is, you as the writer/author are the “umbrella” that everything else falls under. Think of it like a celebrity brand. A celebrity has her movies and her music, her makeup line and her haircare line, etc. But all of it fits on the same website because the thing that brings it all together is her as the celebrity.
Yes, you can also have separate websites if you prefer, to let people find out more or go deeper. But you can still use one website as the “home base” for all of that (and then just connect your main website to all the sub-sites).
One of the bigger arguments I hear for having multiple sites is that people will get confused or readers don’t want to see your writing services and vice versa. But here’s the truth: by being you, you will attract your ideal audience, and your ideal audience will buy into YOU, not into what you do.
Meaning, people who love you and love who you are and who resonate on a deep level with you, will want to know everything that you’re doing. They’ll want to follow all of the stuff you have going on. (And the rest of them don’t matter!).
Makes it a lot easier for them to do that when you have one website, right?
So that’s my reason for recommending you have one main website for everything you do as an authorpreneur.
I’ve done the multiple website thing. I used to totally believe that you had to keep it all separate. So I had a website focused on motivation and inspiration for writers called Procrastinating Writers; and I had a website focused on creative wellness and the writing life called InkyBites; and then I had a website for my author brand and coaching services called JenniferBlanchard.net.
Problem was, I was spread so freaking thin trying to keep up with all these sites that I wasn’t being effective in any one area. I was making very little impact. And I’m here to make an impact on the writing world.
In order to do that, I had to suck all those other brands up into one brand: Jennifer Blanchard. Me, as the authorpreneur, at the center of everything.
So many of us writers are multipotentialites, meaning we’re passionate about multiple things, not just writing. And it’s totally OK for us to be this way. But it does make marketing a bit more challenging.
One way to make it easier on yourself is to find a way to make yourself the brand and build everything else from that.
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How can you pull together all of your interests and passions under YOU as the brand?