Writing a book is hard. In fact being a writer is probably one of the most “work” intensive gigs out there (save perhaps for manual labor). But what just about every writer quickly discovers as soon as that book goes up on the “Zon” (Amazon for the uninitiated) is that your work has only just begun.
What I mean is writing your book is only 10% of the battle.
That which comes next is what crushes many a soul. The following part has left the road to publishing success littered with the twitching, maimed & smouldering bodies of the once hopeful…
The remaining 90% of your task is now figuring out HOW to find the WHO to read your words & give you money so you can afford to pay for therapy.
Welcome, my friends, to what most authors come to think of as their new, fresh hell:
Marketing. Sales. List Building. Audience growth. Ongoing engagement. Newsletters. FaceBook ads. Becoming an Instagram famous booty chick. AMS ads. To pin or not to pin. Do you clean your list or let the numbers just grow? Giveaways. Too many or too few? Making friends with other authors. Booking swaps & cross promos. Getting TikTok famous with dance videos. Buying ads in other newsletters. Book tours. FaceBook parties. Dealing with friends & family saying “you’ve changed” now that you’re internet famous. Social posting. Audience engagement. Live streams. The existential angst from agonizing over how often to send to your list. Finding the time to write the next book…
Yea. It’s a lot.
And that’s what this post is for. I’m going to gleefully skip over the above mentioned dog pile of shenanigans and give you a fun, low cost technique that’ll cut through the clutter.
No. It will NOT solve all your problems. It WILL make things A LOT easier when it comes to growing an audience of people who actually open your email, read your words AND like what you’re publishing enough to buy it.
How To Find Those Who LOVE What You Write, Build An Audience, Engage Them & Then Sell Your Books
Step #1: Answer the most important question of your professional life
Whenever I work with clients, inside or outside the world of publishing, I always start with the “who” they are targeting. Once you know that we quickly shift to this single question.
This question must be answered by everyone who hopes to have commercial success on any level.
Why? Because when answered and answered correctly, it will change the way you look at all your engagements with potential prospects. Not kidding. The answer to this question, when you start to apply it to your books, to your site, to your ads, to your email to your side hustle… everything. It answers the fundamental question of “what do I do and say now?”
Ready? (FYI: I got this question from my mentor/coach: Reverend Frank Kern Attorney At Law. He got this from from his father, and him from his father’s father’s father before him. And now I’m passing it along to you… cue Gregorian chants…)
The Ultimate Question:
What Must I Demonstrate To Be True In Order For People To Wish To Do Business With Me?
Did you feel the world shift?
Well if you’re like most folks you may have not felt the weight of this quite yet. And that’s okay. It took me a moment as well. So let me break it down.
In a world saturated in every corner of the market, with tens of thousands of offers/books/people who look, sound & act just like you, how are you going to stand out with a million voices are crying out at once…
“BUY MY STUFF!!!!!”
99% of the people selling to your audience are offering something that the average person can’t tell apart from the other thing they just saw. This is the fact of life everywhere.
Fun Example: The other day I had the pleasure of being hired as a strategy consultant by the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of a 30+ year old advertising firm in Asia. I can’t say who because of our confidentiality agreement, but what I can tell you is that even though they have headquarters in over 10 countries, they are experiencing the exact same problems as you.
Market noise is a universal problem. Because the internet has evaporated any barriers to entry, anyone with a cellphone, a laptop & some audacity can saunter into a board room & pretty much stake their claim.
And that’s what he was experiencing. Their company had been losing ground to all these new “upstarts”. Where they had once dominated the landscape, they were now being swallowed up in all the chaos, noise & confusion just like everyone else.
What was the solution? Simple. I had him answer the question.
As we conducted all our business over the phone I wasn’t able to see his face, but the tone of his voice changed dramatically when I broke down exactly how he could use the answer to slice directly through any/all competition. Doing this would help his firm once again become the only choice in the decision makers mind.
Enough lead up? N’kay. Here we go.
How To “Demonstrate What Must Be True”
If your a fiction author this gets pretty simple. All you need to do is prove to a potential reader that your writing is exactly what they are looking for. Just prove your story lines/characters will give them the shot of dopamine they’re looking for & as far as step 1, you’re golden! (yes, I’ll break down the steps in just a second)
However, if you’re a nonfiction author it’s a bit different. By “nonfiction” I’m referring to those who write books where the reader gets key takeaways/can improve their lives/learns how to do something. (not talking about memoirs or historical accounts)
What you need to prove is that you are the person to help them. And that means you need to be able to identify & articulate their problems better than they can. What you need to do is what Dan Kennedy called “entering the conversation in the prospects mind.”
Here’s where it gets “different” from the rest
Back in 1872 if you wanted to grow an audience all you had to do was put up a squeeze page, offer a free book, short or video & send some traffic to it.
BLAMO! You were rich & famous. The people behind the internet would come out of your toaster oven to offer you free drinks & movie deals.
Guess what? This STILL sort of works. You can build a list (email is the best $$$ to date btw) using that method.
Here’s the problem: While I won’t get into the insanely technical reasons behind this, open rates & click throughs have dropped like mafia bodies encased in concrete into the “deep end” down by the docks.
So What Works Today?
Email still works. In fact I’m about to suggest you keep building that list. However, you’re going to want to start sourcing from a different audience.
What works today is to answer THE question AND not require anything from your readers.
I know, right! How freaking weird is this?
No optin. No “Call to action”. Nothing to buy or trade for an email or anything. Don’t even link to your book on the Zon.
Just. Give. Them. The. Goods.
(Humor me a sec and you’ll see why this works better than anything)
What you’ll want to do is set up a VERY explosive short on your own blog. (or website, blogs/sites = same thing)
Whatever you post there needs to show off your skills to the point there will be zero question in that readers mind that YOU are the author for THEM.
Fiction/nonfiction are the same thing.
And for fun, let’s call this technique the “Honey Pot”.
Click Here For Part 2: Setting Up Your Honey Pot & Building An Engaged Group Of Readers >>>