Special thanks to Josh Mills of Unbroken Light for the podcast music!
In these days of publishing with so many viable options, how do you decide if you should pursue commercial (traditional) publishing or publish independently? Or should you think about hybrid publishing?
(Note: There is hybrid publishing in the sense that agencies or publishers are doing a sort of half-commercial, half-indie publishing, but I am using it here in the sense of doing BOTH traditional and indie publishing.)
You will NOT get an answer for that question in this episode with Ed Cyzewski. What you WILL get is an inside look at his experience as a hybrid author. Among others, he has commercially published Coffeehouse Theology and A Christian Survival Guide as well as Pray, Write, Grow and Creating Space independently. He has an active blog and shares great content (as well as humorous quips) on Twitter. Do join his email list, if for nothing other than his pet rabbit. (You'll see.) Go stalk him. Tell him I sent you.
Some of My Favorite Posts from Ed:
Are Independent Authors Just Control Freaks with Issues?
Why You Should Join the Book Lovers Email List (<- MY title, not his)
When Commercial Christian Publishing Was Bad for My Soul
At a Glance
Writing about what you really care about helps you find readers who can get on the same page.
Blogs so often evolve as YOU evolve. That's okay!
Your blog writing can be a great place for discovering what your readers want to read.
With traditional publishing, often you have a year to prove yourself and if you don't make the sales, you can be considered damaged goods. This (clearly) comes with an enormous amount of pressure.
Even the tactics that publishers will use to promote books (WHEN they use them) won't work for everyone.
A lot of the things that you might think will help you sell books will NOT. In Ed's first experience, interviews in magazines, on radio spots, and media tours sold very few copies.
The secret is to be relentlessly helpful and make lasting connections.
Your email list should be about authentic connections and establishing relationships with your potential readers.
Prayer and writing often involve similar steps and can develop one another, becoming a life-giving cycle. (More on that in his book Pray, Write, Grow!)
Writing is a gift, but also a marketable skill. Carve out the writing time and keep shifting things in your life to keep the creative life up. Don't necessarily do this by taking away your financial safety net!
Quotable and My Big Takeaway:
"You can't afford to NOT independently publish and make all your mistakes first."
Write, Publish, Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl (find his site HERE)
Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
The Examen App
What I want to know from YOU:
How did this conversation affect your desire to publish traditionally or independently? What has your experience been with either? Let me know in the comments!
Are you selling out if you put ads on your site? How do you grow your platform without sacrificing your authenticity?
I'm answering fabulous questions from Jenna (at the Gleeful Gourmand) and Andi (at Andilit) this week! If you want to pose questions for me, join the Facebook group for more community & conversation.
EXCITING NEWS! I decided to go all-in and do two podcasts rather than just one. Because, after all, one IS the loneliest number. The other podcast I've been secretly recording is for Blogger2Business and is laser-focused on blogging. That podcast and the larger site is a FABULOUS resource for bloggers. Even if you consider yourself a writer who happens to blog, you should be proud of your blog and strive to have it represent you well. Head over to Blogger2Business to find great tips & tricks for growing, plus a very-familiar voice interviewing some blogging phenoms.
Now, let's talk Ads and Authenticity!
At a Glance: Ads
There are two main types of ads that you can have on your blog: ads from networks (like Google Adsense, Adthrive, or Burst) and sponsored slots where bloggers or companies pay a monthly fee for that slice of your sidebar real estate.
When you use an ad network like Blogher, there are often restrictions on how you can get IN to the network and with regards to other competing ads on your site.
You can also choose to have sponsor spots that other bloggers or companies can pay for month by month.
Many people who choose to have sponsor spots use a site like Passion Fruit to handle the details of this.
You can also swap sponsored spaces with other bloggers.
Keep an eye on your analytics. If people aren't clicking through to sponsors, maybe you shouldn't have them. And if you're only getting like $4 from a giant ad in the sidebar, you're giving up valuable real estate for nothing.
If you pay for a sponsored spot on someone's blog or do a swap, make sure your button is visually appealing and that it will be eye-catching but also fit in with the blog's aesthetic. You also may want to choose a landing page rather than your home page for the link.
At a Glance: Authentic Growth
You need to think about your goals when you decide whether or not to have ads or what kind of monetization to have on your blog.
I personally don't think ads are (in and of themselves) selling out. Even if the cost is only your time, there is a cost to blogging and ads defray that cost.
If you consider your blog a business, you SHOULD have the goal of making money.
When it comes to growing your blog or promoting yourself, there ARE bad ways to do this. Example: paying for followers. DON'T DO THIS. Giveaways can help bolster your numbers, but they may not be people who really care what you are doing. On the flip side, that might help people discover you.
Stop thinking of your numbers. Think of those page views and followers and subscribers as people. You have value to offer and you are gathering people around to share that value with them.
Growing your platform is nothing more than finding people who need YOUR words.
My Big Takeaway
Not to knock Michael Hyatt (because I'm honestly on his page about the idea of platform!), but the word platform has really become kind of a dirty word for many people just through overuse. IT SHOULDN'T BE. You have a platform is what connects you with the very specific people who need what only you can offer them. It may be large and it may be small, but it is uniquely yours. When you think of it that way, it sounds lovely, doesn't it?
Paula Rollo's interview on Blogging Intentionally
Chad Allen's interview on Platform
How to Grow Your Blog Authentically
Platform by Michael Hyatt
What I Want to Know from YOU
Do you struggle with the idea of self-promotion, growing your platform,