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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.
 

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.  

How To Set Up A Blog Book Tour

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.

Giveaways

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

Share With Us

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.

lukesredemption_w11043_750About 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.

Explode Your Following By Doing These 7 Things

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.

That’s why authors like, J.K. Rowling and Chuck Wendig and Jenna Moreci have such huge followings. Because people know they will always hear them say what they really think.

It’s refreshing.

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.

Get it?

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
  • Video
  • Meme
  • Photo
  • Short blip (Snap Chat, anyone?)
  • Article
  • Guest post
  • eBook
  • 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.

 

The 5 Things Your Author Platform Must Have

You’ve probably heard the term “author platform” before. But you may not know what it means. Basically your author platform is how and where you show up online. Whatever you do to connect with your audience and distribute your content–that’s your author platform.

Usually this refers to a website or Facebook page, but there are actually 5 specific elements your author platform needs to have. Those elements are your:

1. Author Message

Every author should have a message, something you stand for and feel the world needs to hear. This is true regardless of what kind of writing your do, fiction, nonfiction, etc.

The way you spread this message is through your content.

2. Website

This is going to be your “home base” online. It’s the core of your author platform.

It’s the place people can go to find out more about you and get access to the content that you create (whatever that may be–books, blog posts, videos, etc).

3. Email List

This is the best way to stay in contact with your community and to give them awesome, valuable content on a consistent basis.

Just make sure you use a professional email marketing software, like MailChimp (it’s free up to a certain number of subscribers), so that way you don’t have to manually send emails out to each person or keep track of who’s on your list.

Also, legally speaking (though I’m not a lawyer), people need to have a way to unsubscribe from your list, the pro software has that option built in.

4. Freebie Opt-In

You may not have heard it called this before, but I bet you’ve seen several of them. A freebie opt-in is just something free that you give away to entice people join your email list.

The freebie can be an eBook, video training series, workbook, checklist, cheat sheet, MP3 recording, whatever you can come up with.

The goal is to give your audience something valuable that they actually want.

5. Social Media

This is the final piece of your author platform, and I put it last because if you didn’t want to be on social media, you could ignore this step completely and still be a successful author in the digital age (although you will be cutting off connection to a large number of people).

Social media is the icing on the cake, but it’s not the whole cake nor is it the most important part of your platform. The reason is because you don’t own the social media sites, so you have no control over changes they make or things they choose to do.

Your social media can consist of your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest… whatever sites you’re on. I always recommend starting with one or two sites, then being consistent and growing a following on there before adding more.

Are you ready to set up your author platform? Join me for a FREE 5-day Launch Your Author Platform challenge:

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