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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Create If Writing - Authentic Platform Building for Writers & Bloggers





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Mar 24, 2016

To say the world of publishing has changed in the last 10 years would be an understatement. Laughable, almost. The biggest change being, of course, the state of self-publishing. That term used to come with disdain from "real" writers and the traditional publishing world. It was vanity publishing, really---what you did if you couldn't secure a book deal with a real publisher. Now, self-publishing, better known as indie publishing, has grown into a thriving business where authors have more control and are making more money than ever before. Want proof? See the latest report from Author Earnings. At the forefront of this rise of the indies is Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. In this interview she shares tips for indie writers and wisdom from her own career. 

Also known as thriller writer J.F. Penn, Joanna Penn has been one of the positive and uplifting voices in the indie community, always on the cutting edge of trends. Her podcast, The Creative Penn, is on its way toward 300 episodes and she has sold almost half a million books in 74 countries... as an indie author. 

Where You Can Find Joanna

The Creative Penn (Sign up to get your Author 2.0 Blueprint FREE!)

Joanna's books

The Creative Penn Podcast

Subscribe to Joanna's YouTube Channel or connect on Twitter!

A Few of My Favorite Creative Penn Episodes

How to Write a Book Description with Bryan Cohen (of the Sell More Books Show)

Optimizing Kindle Categories, List Building, & Facebook Advertising (with Nick Stephenson)

Publishing Trends in 2016 (with Jane Friedman)


Favorite Quote

"The most important thing for anyone-- regardless of whether they're an author-- is to decide what is their definition of success."

The Big Takeaways - Tips for Indie Writers

  • Following your curiosity is the most powerful way to be able to keep your enthusiasm for your projects. 
  • We are living in such an exciting time for writers! 
  • Non-fiction often sell better than fiction because they help people. 
  • She doesn't write what doesn't interest her, even if it's something that sells. Instead she follows her curiosity. 
  • If you have a split focus, you will always be something like 50% into each thing. You will likely have more success going 100% at ONE thing. (Need some focus? Check out my Foundation Series!)
  • BUT choose what your measure of success is and then make that intentional choice. For Joanna, that means keeping the fiction and the non-fiction. 
  • Being a creative professional is a totally viable living in this current time with our global market and the ability to publish our work. 
  • Some people have the starting energy; some have the finishing energy. You also need the MARKETING energy. 

Fiction vs Non-Fiction 

  • Fiction and non-fiction are separate beasts and you have to treat them differently in the writing and the promotion.
  • Fiction tends to be harder to build a list and promote, mostly because people are more easily convinced to sign up or buy something that helps them or solve a problem. As opposed to fiction, which is primarily about education. 
  • For building your fiction list and marketing, think of your own behavior as a reader. 
  • If a reader reads 3.4 of your books, then they will remember your name. But often they won't after just one book. 
  • The key to making more money as a fiction author is by writing in a series. It's more valuable and gets readers hooked on your voice and your work. 
  • We are in a binge culture, so often people will binge on ebooks. 
  • Once you have something regular and become a habit, people will follow you to the end of time. This can apply to podcasts and fiction series. Consistency is super important.
  • If you want to supercharge your launches and growth, paid traffic through Facebook, Twitter, or Book Bub can really help you to find and grow an audience QUICKLY. 
  • Like anything else, learning to get results from Facebook ads (or other paid advertising) takes testing and trial. 
  • We need to keep a balance between creating and promoting. 


The Question We Need to Ask: What is going to leave a lasting legacy? Our tweets, Facebook, and podcasts will disappear. But books can make us money for the rest of our lives, plus 70 years past when we die. What can I do today that is going to have a lasting impact? 


Jan 21, 2016

In this short episode of Create if Writing, I want you to really think about your life. Are you doing what you LOVE? 

No, really. Are you doing what you love? 

If not, I hope you stop and consider how you can pursue your passion in life. 

Oct 14, 2015

Find the full show notes at! 
Follow Kirsten on Twitter!

In episode 18 I got to talk with Darren Rowse of Problogger and this week I'm talking with Demain Farnworth of Copyblogger. I loved this conversation where we talk about being introverts, what unique things we can bring to the table when there ISN'T anything really new, and what drives us crazy about the world we're in right now. You can find Demian at the Rough Draft podcast, The Lede podcast, writing on Copyblogger, writing on his blog The Copybot, and on Twitter.

Here are some of my favorite posts/episodes from Demian:

Shakespeare's 5 Rules for Making Up Words to Get Attention
The Perfect Anatomy of a Modern Web Writer
A Creative Email Trick for Becoming a Plain Spoken Writer


"I think the internet is particularly built for introverts." <- AGREE!!

Big Ideas

  • The internet is particularly built for introverts because it requires less of the draining in-person connection and it also easier to send an email and face that possible rejection than an in-person one.
  • The hedgehog idea is what is your passion, what is economically viable, and can you get better at doing that passion. You want to find something you love to do and can improve.
  • Damian does a lot of experimenting, asking "I wonder if?" about his content. He tries things to see what traction he can get.
  • You have to adapt and see what works and where you go organically and find what works for YOUR audience. No two audiences are the same.
  • My goal is to find and deepen the relationship with people who want to follow me and go all the places I go.
  • You probably aren't going to bring anything new to the table except for YOU and your voice.
  • The only thing that really changes over time is the filter: we take information and themes and express them through our voice and our perspective.
  • It's getting easier and easier to be publishers of content, which is an exciting thing. It's easier to create and to consume content. There are so many tools for us to do that in unique ways.
  • Trying some of the new formats like Periscope or Blab or podcasting is all about finding a new audience and connecting in a new way.
  • The downside  internet can really bring out the worst in people. People read 1/10th of something and respond as though they know.

Relevant Links

Quiet by Susan Cain
How to Move Your Audience from Infatuation to Love - The Lede Podcast
Why Introverts Make Good Writers

What I Want to Know from YOU: 

Are you an introvert or extrovert? How does that impact (or does it?) your creativity and your work?

May 19, 2015

How many email subscribers EXACTLY do you need to get a publisher to take notice? Are all traditional publishers at odds with self- and indie- publishers?

In this conversation with Chad R. Allen, we talk traditional vs self-publishing, what numbers matter, and why you should just DO YOUR ART. Chad has been in publishing for over sixteen years and with Baker Books for over thirteen. His site is an incredible resource with posts like:

6 Things for Writers to Remember When an Editor or Agent Says No

Is This Blocking Your Creativity?

8 Essential Tips for Marketing Your Book on Facebook

The Basics of Building a Platform

He also started the Book Proposal Academy, which walks writers through the steps of writing a killer proposal. While he shoots it straight about what publishers are looking for in terms of numbers, he also offers so much hope and has such a passion for urging on creatives in their work. His book, Do Your Art, is a prime example of this. This interview will hopefully give you some concrete goals to work toward and the inspiration to do so!

You can find more great content on his blog and find him on Twitter and Facebook.

At a Glance

The constant in publishing is great content.
Traditional publishers tend to be agnostic about whether books sold are ebooks or physical books.
Traditional publishers tend to not be as threatened by self-publishing because self-publishing provides a viable option for those publishers turn down and can also be a way to grow enough readers to secure a traditional deal.
Platform is more accessible today than ever before.
The "magic number" of email subscribers that will make a publisher interested (in non-fiction) is 10,000.
Email list is the key metric more than Twitter or Facebook or other social media because the email list is a digital asset you own.
Offering your content online through blogs or a free ebook is a way to use your content to grow your list.
A warm list is one that is interactive and interested. Think of those unsubscribes as simply paring down your list to make it warmer.
To find balance in writing and growing your platform, you need to make specific goals and find a plan that is sustainable.
Realize that YOU have things to offer and people are longing for what is uniquely yours.

Relevant Links
Why Traditional Publishing Should Kiss Self-Publishing's Feet

Jane Friedman's The Future of Reading and Writing

101 Jon Acuff Quotes from Kevin Kaiser (for inspiration!!)

41 Tips That Put Over 10,000 People on My Email List from Blog Tyrant

My Big Takeaway
I loved the idea of thinking of my list as growing warmer as I have people unsubscribe. Chad's ideas on how to use my current content to grow a warm list also got me thinking about repurposing things that I already have and working on new things. I'm currently trying to find a balance that is sustainable. So far I haven't figured this out, so let me know if you have!!
What I Want to Know from YOU
What are your current goals? And what content might you currently have to offer for free in order to find and grow your audience?

The post Chad R. Allen on Publishing- Episode 007 appeared first on Create If Writing.

Apr 19, 2015

Talking to yourself in an empty room can feel a little odd. Talking to yourself when you are in an empty room knowing that you will be putting a recording of yourself talking feels TOTALLY awkward and strange! In this inaugural episode I am talking about creativity, writing, and the origin of this site and podcast. I am a little weird in that I get excited about writing, but I also LOVE social media and the idea of connecting with people. (That's how I try to think of platform---connecting with people with mutual interests.) Maybe creativity looks like baking. Maybe it looks like coming up with activities for your kids. Maybe it looks like content creation in the blog world or the professional one. Maybe it looks like writing a novel or a song or a devotional book. Whatever your avenue is, I hope this episode encourages you to embrace it!

At a Glance: Confessions & Creativity

What energizes your creativity?
Do you get more excited about the creative side of art-making or the platform-building side?
Sometimes as adults we need validation that creativity and following your dreams is not just okay, but HEALTHY.
We are created to be creative. Whether from the Genesis narrative or not, do you agree?

Relevant Links
If: Gathering
Re:Write Conference
Resource List (my ever-growing list of helpful links!)
Ted Talks on Creativity
What I Want to Know From YOU
I’m nosy. I want to know all of these things in the comments and I want to know them NOW.

-Whether it's a job, hobby, or something in between, what do you like to create?
-When do you feel most whole and fulfilled in your life?


The post Creativity – Episode 001 appeared first on Create If Writing.