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Create If Writing - Authentic Platform Building for Writers & Bloggers

Create If Writing is a weekly podcast for writers and bloggers dealing with authentic platform growth. Kirsten Oliphant interviews experts to find out how they are building email lists, connecting through Twitter, and using Facebook groups. These practical episodes are balanced out with inspirational interviews from successful writers and bloggers who have made it big and want to share the struggles, the creative process, and tips for reaching your goals whether you are an author publishing books or creating an online presence through blogging.
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Now displaying: November, 2015
Nov 25, 2015

We are living in an age of options. You can traditionally publish (if you get through the gatekeepers, that is). You can independently publish through Kindle. Or with a PDF. Or print on demand. You can sell through booksellers or through you own website. For clarification, in this episode Angela and I throw around self publishing and independent publishing interchangeably, though some people are more specific and use independent to mean publishing on a format like Kindle and self-publishing to create something like a PDF or having copies of your book printed. 

(I talked with Ed Cyzewski about this as well in Episode 10 and he had some great thoughts on this as well!) 

Angela England runs two fantastic sites: Untrained Housewife (all about things related to homemaking) and AngEngland (dedicated to writing and publishing). She is a scrappy entrepreneur (which you will hear when she talks about promoting her book AND making money doing it) and has had great success publishing. We are doing an INSANELY actionable training this Friday, November 27 about how you can break free from depending on ads and sponsored posts for your income and make money with your own writing! You are NOT going to want to miss it OR miss the fantastic bundle we have put together just through Cyber Monday. Find out more about Creative Profitability!

 

Quotable

"Anytime you can begin to be really creative with the way you're marketing and think outside the box, you are going to be in a position to create long-term buzz and revenue."

At a Glance

  • To find the best topic for your (non-fiction) ebook, try to find the sweet spot where it's not too broad, but not too narrow. Bad Examples: How to Knit Everything or Knitting Purple Hedgehogs. Good Example: 52 Baby Gifts to Knit You Can Knit in a Weekend. Go for achievable, specific, and targeted toward a particular audience. 
  • People feel like there is only ONE option: independent publishing or traditional publishing. Instead you should consider what is the best format for your project or writing and what your goals and needs are. 
  • Editing is a huge piece of the puzzle when you are publishing independently. (Listen to Episode 8 with Sarah Steidl to learn more about working with an editor!)
  • If you do need to have help with editing, formatting, or other pieces of your independent books, Angela recommends HIRING, rather than bartering. I've had great experiences bartering, so I would say that I agree with her, but if you are going to barter, it can be successful if you have the expectations aligned. 
  • For promotion, you can give people the book ahead of time to promote and write testimonials that you can use on the sales page. Trying to get in front of other people's audiences is a GREAT way to get your product out in front of people. 
  • You can also reach out beyond blogs to magazines and even utilize paid opportunities. Yes, you can get PAID to promote your book. 

Questions to Ask When You are Trying to Decide How to Publish

Time-Frame - How quickly do you need your book? Traditional publishing takes MUCH longer. If you have a time-sensitive topic or reason to hustle, self-publishing is the way to go. Angela talks about how she independently published two books while waiting for her book to be traditionally published.

Technical - What kind of book do you want to produce? CAN you do it yourself or hire someone you trust? Would a traditional publisher be the best choice to have the right quality? 

Relevant Links

Problogger Podcast- How I Lost 80% of My Traffic
My advent devotional I talked about - Make Him Room 
Sign up for the Webinar - Creative Profitability

Nov 18, 2015

Brand and platform have almost lost their meaning because they have become so overused in the last few years. I generally hate coined, common phrases. Mostly because I'm contrary. But I love both these words despite overuse. 

Often I think artists have the hardest time with these words. They seem, to use one of my favorite terms, SMARMY.

But brand and platform are more about your core identity, your WHY. They deal more with connecting with your ideal audience rather than shining a spotlight on yourself. 

Do you think these are dirty words? Tweet and let me know: @kikimojo 

Nov 13, 2015

This summer I had the privilege to talk with Valerie Koehler from The Blue Willow Bookshop here in Houston. I have been to a number of author readings at the Blue Willow, which hosts big names like Weird Al Yankovic (see his book Weird Al), independent authors like Jennifer Daiker (see her compilation New Life Within), and literary authors like Amanda Eyre Ward (her book How to Be Lost is one of my all-time favorites).

Blue Willow also hosts Teen Book ConTweens Read, and the Bookworm Bookfest. (I talk about wanting to crash Teen Book Con in this interview!) If you are in Houston, you MUST give the Blue Willow Book Shop a visit! Tell them I sent you!

If you want to connect online, you can find Blue Willow on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook. Sign up for the Blue Willow email list, even if you AREN'T local. It has fabulous reading recommendations!

 

My Big Takeaway: I loved hearing how Valerie is passionate about connecting readers with writers, especially through the three festivals.

Can the Indie Author Get into an Indie Bookstore?

  • Yes, but you need to be polished. It should go without saying to have your work edited, but many do not take the time or spend the money.
  • It's hard because the traditional gatekeepers DO keep out a lot of the slough.
  • Do quality work and hire an editor!

Big Takeaways

  • Working in a bookstore sounds glamorous, but there is a large dose of business involved. I loved hearing this because I think so many times we imagine jobs to be one thing, but we forget how many basic, boring, technical kinds of things must be done for success!
  • One of the important things for Valerie is a commitment to keeping your word. Show up when you say you are going to show up. Again, I have heard these same parallels applied to blogging & writing: show up consistently over time.

Inspiration

  • I loved hearing Valerie talk about her father and how he demonstrated that idea of the commitment to showing up in his life.
  • Valerie also talked about the way that fiction sometimes more than non-fiction inspires us to action because we empathize with the characters and want to make changes in our lives.
  • Really great books don't preach at us, but impact us through the gray-ness of characters and seeing something of ourselves in them. 
Nov 5, 2015

Another week, another bunch of obstacles. I recorded the last episode dealing with obstacles because I had a bunch: sick kids, busyness, and MORE. This week? More of the same. I've got a super short episode for you where I get personal and talk about what I do to handle those obstacles. 

[podcast]

Here is my biggest conflict right now:

Man vs. Time 

I have a backlog of projects that keeps backing up behind me plus new things I want to work on. Plus I'm trying to get through #NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) which means an extra 2000 words a day. Here are some of the fun things that I'm working on that you can look forward to:

-A live training November 12 with Matt from ConvertKit all about that email service provider
-A free email course 
-Some other great courses through ConvertKit 
-A mini course on branding your writing voice
-This novel I'm working on for NaNo

I'm tired just looking at the list. Plus I have two back-logged podcast episodes for Business 2 Blogger, an email audit for a friend, a brand audit for another blogger, and then things like, you know: DISHES. Cleaning my house. Taking a shower. Feeding children. 

Here is my tip if you find yourself stuck in the pit of Too Many Things, Too Little Time:

  • Make a visual list. Then you can actually SEE the things on your to-do list and see when you get to mark them off. 
  • Remove unnecessary items. Go into shipwreck mode! Ships used to toss off anything they didn't need when in storms to stay afloat. Don't ask me why that worked, but if it worked for pirates, it should work for us. Or...something. Whether that analogy works or not, get rid of what clutters up your list.
  • Don't get distracted. SQUIRREL! We all know that feeling, right? You are working on one thing and the shiny object of something else takes you off course. If it's not on the main list, don't do it. Make another list that shows those things you want to come back to once your main list is DONE. 
  • One thing at a time. This is the one I hate the most. I love to read eight books at a time. I love to have six tabs open. (Compared to some people, I know that's a low number!) But if I want to get things done, it needs to be one. at. a. time. That's how you finish. And that's why I'm so BAD at finishing. 

 

How do you get through your conflicts? What are your big tips to get through an overwhelming list? Let me know in the comments or join the discussion in the Facebook group

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