Book Excerpt: What can you do to build your platform?
What can you do to build your platform? Here’s one idea: Start writing articles for websites or online magazines related to your publishing space. Include a short call to action at the end for readers to connect with you on your website or, ideally, subscribe to your newsletter.
Here’s another idea: Release new quality content on your own blog, YouTube channel, and/or social media site every single week. My videos come out every Tuesday and Friday, and you can subscribe to catch them all. Consistency is critical. Produce content at first even if nobody is reading, listening, or watching, but do it over and over on a regular basis. When I began BookLaunchers.TV (our YouTube channel), I didn’t post on a schedule. As a result, the channel growth and engagement were slow.
I watched what successful YouTubers were doing and noticed most published videos on a schedule so I started doing Fridays. Growth on the channel was still slow so I added Tuesdays to boost engagement and livestreams every other week.
Voila! The channel eventually began to attract 1,000 new subscribers a month. For most people, it takes years to build traction, but you’ll get it if you create content that speaks directly to your audience and adds value.
My favorite way—and the fastest way—for most folks to build a platform is to step onto a stage and start speaking. This is the single best way to build a brand, and a business, and sell books.
Launching into speaking is much easier when you have a book but you don’t have to wait until your book is out. Once you know the hook of your book, it can be the hook of your pitch to speak at local MeetUp groups and associations—great places for new speakers to start out.
Finally, when you’ve written one book and plan to write another, give your audience ways to connect with you. I’m not talking about a link to your website. I’m talking about inviting your readers to download something of value in exchange for their email address. This is about building that audience and relationship so they might buy your next book or purchase your product or service.
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Self-Publish & Succeed
Do NOT Publish a Boring Book
Because I’ve been running the Independent Publisher Book Awards for nearly 25 years, I’ve seen a whole lot of books. Each year, we evaluate over 5,000 book award entries, so I’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or, to borrow a term from the sub-title of this month’s Indie Groundbreaking Book,
I’ve read a lot of boring books. And boring books really make me mad, maybe even madder than just plain bad books, because they waste more of my time. Boring books often look great, are clearly written, and seem like they are worth reading…until they don’t. They just become another readable, inoffensive, but boring book.
That is why author and book publishing consultant Julie Broad wrote Self-Publish & Succeed: The ‘No Boring Books’ Way to Write a Non-Fiction Book That Sells. “Write a money-making book that delivers meaningful impact,” she says. ”Self-Publish & Succeed is your step-by-step guide to writing, publishing, and marketing a book that will get attention, explode your career, and change people’s lives—including yours.”
In the book’s introduction, Julie reminds us that the typical non-fiction author sells only 250 copies of their book, and explains why:
• The typical nonfiction book focuses on the author, not the reader, and that sets up the book (and author) for massive marketing challenges right from the start.
• A large percentage of nonfiction books are really boring because they lack a benefit driven hook and storytelling techniques, even if they contain great information.
• Many authors, especially self-published authors, don’t plan for success; they write their book and hope it will sell.
She uses the rest of her book to explain how not to publish a boring book, about how to be “awesome not average,” and maybe most importantly, the realization that “the book may be about you but it’s not for you.“ And by the way: “If you don’t know who your reader is, you’re facing your first challenge. Pull out your to-do list and write READER RESEARCH at the top.”
To be a success, a book has to transform readers’ lives. Your book has to prove its value to the reader from the moment they read the title, to their scanning of the back cover description, and once they crack the cover, on every page they read. “When you truly believe you have an obligation to help transform lives, you can focus on your writing to achieve that as the most important priority.”
Julie’s own book publishing story began when she decided to share her secrets to success in real estate investing, and got Wiley interested in publishing her book – but they wanted a different angle. Disappointed but undeterred, she spent much time and effort on doing it their way, only to get the whole project rejected. So, she self-published.
“I was lucky in a way because Wiley crushed my ego and forced me to write the book that needed to be written, not the one they told me would sell. I was still scared nobody would buy my book, but I believed deeply that if I could help just one investor avoid my mistakes, it was worth it.”
Not only did she prove the Wiley marketing department wrong by selling tons of books, but she also realized the value of intellectual property as an asset, and that by self-publishing she was retaining that value for herself. She has since published another successful book on the topic of branding and launched the publishing consulting business that led to Self-Publish & Succeed.
Julie Broad learned all these things “the hard way.” You can take the easier way by reading her book and learning about:
• The reason why you’re not finishing your book—and how to overcome it.
• Why most books are boring, and how to keep yours from being one of them.
• Which editors you need to perfect your story and where to find them.
• The one simple page that could generate thousands of sales.
• Seven places to sell your book (and only one starts with “A!”).
Much like a good pop song, a successful book needs a “hook,” says Julie “the Book Broad.” (Even her name has a hook!) “If you get your hook right, you’ll be clear on who your ideal reader is and the impact your book will have on their life. You’ll know the problem they have and how you are going to solve it—in a way that nobody else is helping them solve it right now. This makes it easy for a reader to see why they need your book, and it makes it ultra-easy for people to share your book with others because they can clearly say why someone should read it.”
The hook is “the single thread that ties your book together, creates curiosity, and sells the work.” And once the hook is established, says Broad, ask yourself this important question: “How is your book going to make the life of your reader better or different in real, concrete ways?”
There you have it. No more boring books…A successful book needs a good hook…and that’s only the first two chapters! This book is loaded with helpful information, and I highly recommend it to anyone involved in or considering self-publishing. The Book Broad really knows what she’s talking about, and Self-Publish & Succeed is truly not a boring book!
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About the Author:
Julie Broad is an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and International Book Award winner, recipient of the Top 20 under 40 award for Vancouver Island, a successful entrepreneur, recognized real estate investor and a popular speaker and workshop trainer. She’s been speaking on stages large and small across Canada since 2009, sharing her simple and strategic systems for having more impact & influence in your life and business.
About the Book:
In Self-Publish & Succeed, trusted best-selling author and entrepreneur Julie Broad shows you that writing a successful nonfiction book starts long before you write your first chapter. To write a book that boosts your brand, generates a profit, and makes you an influencer in your industry, you need the #noboringbooks way.
by Julie Broad
Stick Horse Publishing; 242 page paperback; $15.99; ISBN 978-1736031506 (Feb 2021)