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A Book is Just A Book Without A Platform2093

Teacher Winsome1 private msg quote post Address this user
Books are sold on the internet.

Take a breath and let that sink in… Books are sold on the internet. What does that mean?

It means that building your author platform is just as crucial as writing your book. You may even need to start platform building before you begin writing.

What I am writing about today is the difference between success and failure exemplified by two authors.

Author one is Rich German. Rich German contracted his publisher 11 months before the release of his book, Blue Laguna.




Blue Laguna was an ocean-based passion project, written to raise awareness about the ocean’s ecology. This book was a coffee table book and expensive to produce: copies sold for $50 each. Rich chose to sell his books at retail stores and the internet using his own site.

For most people, selling a book exclusively on their site would have been a failure, but not for Rich. Why? Because Rich German did what most authors do not… he built an unstoppable author platform.

Author two asked not to be identified. She is working fervently to get her book on the right track and sell copies to more than just family and friends. Like Rich, she started her project out on the right foot and hired her publisher a year in advance as well. The difference was she listened to everyone but her publisher and did it her way. The results are no coordinated book launch driving sales to her book, and no following of ardent fans who want more content.

Let’s take a closer look at how one author was so successful and the other was not.

Rich German has an email list of over 90,000 followers. Yes, you read that right. He is an entrepreneur with a killer lead magnet and has been building his list for more than a year. Rich has a community that he has cultivated over the past year with hundreds of active followers, and he engages and talks to his following on a very regular basis. He feeds them awesome content that leaves them wanting more from him: more information, more contact, more active roles in what he does and how he does it. He pops on Facebook Live and says hello. He is accessible, warm, and truly cares about what he does.

Author two didn’t have time to build a following over the last year. Her Facebook page has less than two hundred likes. There has been sporadic content delivery and hardly any contact with the people who liked her page. In fact, there have been emails written to her through her Facebook page that never received responses. These emails were from potential readers with questions, and she was too busy to reply.

Author two doesn’t have a community, and she also did not build an email list. Every time her publisher reaches out and prompts her about the coaching she signed up for or the classes available to teach her how to market her book, she complains she is too busy and that millions of people in her target audience are waiting for this book. Her goal was to have the publisher build the platform for her. While a publisher did build the foundation, a publisher cannot connect with the target audience and pretend to be the author. The audience wants to get to know the author, not an assistant or a surrogate. Author two was inaccessible before and during her journey. Now, she wants to be a household name, an overnight success with no preparation.

Rich German put together an amazing trailer for his book. It was personal and warm with a greeting from him about why he wrote Blue Laguna, followed by amazing footage used in the book. He also made his book interactive so readers could be transported from the pages of the book to YouTube videos to receive more valuable content. He worked closely with a videographer that helped craft his vision for the release of the book. The reader feels his passion on every single piece of content produced from this project.

Author two never had time to get a trailer done. She contacted the videographer and gave a vague description of what she wanted. When the videographer asked for a copy of the book, it never appeared. Author two was upset that the videographer didn’t see her vision. The videographer was frustrated because asking him to produce a trailer without a book was like asking a movie director to produce a movie without a script.

Rich German has his books in bookstores, a rarity for self- published authors. Why? Because he has proven to those stores that he has a substantial following that he has built and those stores won’t lose money on his product. When you can prove to a distributor that your following is in the thousands and actively supporting you, they are much more likely to take a chance on you.

Author two has no bookstore visibility at all. In fact, she barely has visibility on Amazon, the world’s largest book store. She didn’t build an Authorcentral profile leading readers back to information about her. She did not even provide a description of her book when it was listed on Amazon, so anyone looking for the book would know what it was about. She didn’t know she was supposed to do all of that to attract readers to her book.

When it comes to reader testimonials, Rich has rave reviews on his Facebook page and his website. They are legitimate reviews from people who bought his book. None of the reviews are from his family or anyone who worked on the book. If you read the reviews, you would have a good idea whether the book was good or bad. This is because the reviews were left by people who were not personally connected to the author or the project.

Author two has a few testimonials and reviews left by people who worked on the project and family members. Amazon has new rules about testimonials that the author was not aware of, and she will soon see those reviews disappear because of the new rules. Anyone who reads the reviews will probably not get an accurate idea of whether the book is good or not because the reviews are biased.

The difference in sales is staggering. Rich German knows how to sell from the stage and webinars. He leveraged his substantial list and social media following to launch his book. Rich is a savvy, prelaunch strategist who put together his book funnel months in advance. His book launched in the beginning of November 2016 and has already started a second printing.

Author two doesn’t have a book yet, only a Kindle file. She launched to a position on Amazon that is not a bestseller status because she did not have a pre-launch strategy that was coordinated. She did not have a book funnel at the time of her launch. Her strategy was to announce that it was released to her small Facebook following. A few of her friends and family posted on their Facebook walls. She was disappointed because she thought it would become a bestseller by word-of-mouth.

Every author who writes a book has a dream of spreading a message.

Only the authors who actively work on building a platform while they write their books are successful.

Why? Because authors who build a book and community around their movement are able to sell books easily. Most authors who build their platform recoup their investment and more.

Authors who fail to build a platform typically do not make their money back or gain a long-term following.

The real message is that successful authors do not take on publishing and platform building on their own. An author may be an expert in their own field but when you walk into the publishing and book marketing world, you need to hire an expert with a proven track record of success.

What kind of author are you going to be?
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Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@Winsome1

This is a terrific compare and contrast case study.

Thanks for taking the time to articulate it so well.

Question - How do you convince an author or any creative type that they need to attend to the business side of things as well = marketing?

What is the process you go thru to take the creative to the point where s/he finally 'gets it.'

"Yup, I need to think abt the marketing side as well."
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Teacher Winsome1 private msg quote post Address this user
That's a great question! We used to just publish anyone who wanted to publish a book. However, many of the authors were disillusioned because they barely sold books.

Now, we include Authorpreneur, Launch Like A Pro, and the Author Mastermind as part of our publishing packages. The experience is a comprehensive dive into the publishing world. The main point that most people don't get is...while they may be experts in their own business, when they walk into the publishing world, they are beginners. The publishing world speaks a different language and unless you are willing to learn their language and learn how to build a platform, you put yourself at risk of being ripped off and disappointed rather than successful.
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Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@Winsome1

Is that publishing world you refer to - traditional or self-?

I have a friend who received a very sizeable advance on her first fiction novel. She is struggling this go round because of a lack of a platform and because the publishing space has become so dang crowded.

She knows the traditional publishing well but still thinks she might want to do self- this next time around.

What can i say that would help her decide?
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Teacher Rev private msg quote post Address this user
@Winsome1

Excellent post. Thank you for sharing. It reconfirms how important a base, a platform, a website, is to each and every online business. You need a site you can create, manage, modify, and direct as your own needs arise or change.
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Teacher Winsome1 private msg quote post Address this user
It really doesn't matter if you are traditionally published or self- published, you need a platform either way. Fiction is much harder to build a fan-base around than non-fiction.
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Teacher Rev private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew

Your author friend now suffers from the "if only" syndrome. If only she had established a platform early on when writing her first book and developed a mailing list of those interested and those who purchased her book, she would now have a list to mail about her up-coming second work.

Most often when we think, "I don't need it (yet)!" we are opening the door to "If only..." down the road. This is why it is far more important to actually HAVE a working website as the foundation to your online business, whatever it may be, than worrying about getting the last 3 degrees of SEO in place before you act.

Time for a webinar on the subject, I think.
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Teacher Winsome1 private msg quote post Address this user
Haha! "Only if syndrome" is one way to put it. I'd like to add "Oprah Syndrome" to that as well. Those writer's who think all of this will just magically appear.

There is a webinar coming up at the beginning of January.
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@Rev

My friend got her break more than 10 years ago. All of us are much smarter now than we were 10 years ago.

If somebody handed me $200k and said leave it to us 10 years ago I would have left it to them.
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