Selling a book is an even bigger challenge than writing it. But with a good author platform, you can get as many eyes on your book as you need for it to sell well. In today’s episode, Juliet Clark introduces her new course called Author Traffic School. It teaches authors the best ways to drive traffic to their books and other products. Juliet also emphasizes the value of using your book as a bridge to selling bigger-ticket products to your readers. Listen and find out the tremendous value you can get out of a well-crafted author platform.
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Author Traffic School
Calling Author Platform Building What It Really Is
I’m going to be talking about Author Traffic School. We developed Author Traffic School because of the need of literary agents who are coming to us and saying, “We are getting some really terrific books, but we cannot send them out to query publishers because the audience isn’t there.” I want to talk a little bit about this and solution that we have come up with. We have a couple of different programs. More than anything, I want you guys to understand why all of this prep work, and why your author platform needs to be built in advance. I’m going to talk about some areas where this is crucial, and give you some real-life examples of how this impacts your work.
We took on a new book as a publishing company. When we take on a new book, we have an audience checklist. We send that out. It’s part of the intake process. We have two sections to that intake. The first is the audience querying, which I’ll come back to in a minute. The second is, what are we looking for as book sizing? When are we publishing? What is the date we’re headed for? More than anything, it’s what assets we need to build, which is all part of this author platform-building process as well.
As we were going through the audience checklist for this person, we found that there was virtually nothing. They weren’t on Facebook and Instagram anymore. They were entirely on LinkedIn, but they had a very tiny audience. We started with the basics about the author platform. We started with the basics of build your own author avatar to build the avatar.
Once we got through that process of building this client’s author avatar, he felt like he needed to go back and rewrite some parts of his book. That’s really valid. Here’s what transpired during that conversation. I said, “Who is that audience? I’ve given you the Build Your Author Avatar worksheet to work up to and why they buy to read.” He said, “I disagree with all of this. My book is for everyone.” If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one.
There are over 2 million books a year that are published. They appear on the distributor pages. Normally, unless you’re on page one with a keyword, people aren’t going to find you. We had to go back after this book was written, determine who the book was for, re-language the book, and now we’re getting ready to write the back cover copy and the biography, and start building those social media platforms. All of this should have been done for a while now. It’s crazy. Once that book is back and edited, we have to go back and rewrite some sections of it. That’s one of the glaring reasons why it’s so important to build that author platform in advance.
We have to be able to identify that audience, the language of that audience, and then go over to social media, your email, and the other pieces in that marketing funnel, and re-language those with messaging that comes together. Now, one thing I will say about this re-languaging is that you have to be able to connect with the language that the audience understands. That’s why all of this is so important. Your book, as a general un-niched product, will not go anywhere. That’s the first reason why you need to do this.Your book, as a general “un-niched” product, will not go anywhere. You have to be able to connect with the language the audience understands. Click To Tweet
The second reason is messaging. I was a part of a group several weeks ago, Idiomagic. There was a very nice young lady who has written her entire book, and then she tried to pitch and explain her book. There were no words for it. She was all over the place. This is what’s important. That’s what’s important. I haven’t read the book, but I can only imagine what a mess this book is. I hate to say that about anybody’s book, but the truth was, as we were trying to leverage what she should do to pitch, she didn’t know who her audience was. She thought it was a much younger audience than it sounded like the book was written for, which brought up other problems about this audience.
Is this an audience that parents would read and hand it off to their teen kids? Is this something a teen would pick up? A lot of times, teens don’t know to pick up a book. They don’t have the resources and the adult minds that we have, so they need help finding it. As we got through and she explained the book, the problem got worse and worse because she didn’t have her messaging down. She’s at the point where she’s ready to publish, and she doesn’t have her messaging down. Messaging is the second part of what you need to do with that author platform. The first is figuring out who that audience is, that niche audience.
Remember, marketing is always a guess. There are going to be phases along the way of building this platform where you may have to switch up wording and messaging a little bit, not a lot, because you don’t want to confuse people. All of this, again, for the second time, we had a fully-written book with no idea who this book was for and no idea how to articulate the messaging around the book, which I found to be crazy. The third reason that you need to do this is building that marketing funnel.
I’ve mentioned the eight pillars of author platform-building before. Author platform-building in a nutshell is what every expert author needs because it’s the art of learning how to drive traffic. That’s why we call it Author Traffic School. You need a funnel, and we can build a funnel, but sometimes the funnel isn’t connected and working together the way it should.Author platform building, in a nutshell, is what every expert author needs. It's the art of learning how to drive traffic. Click To Tweet
Most of the time, when you build a funnel, it doesn’t work the first time, it needs tweaking. You have to be able to analyze, go through it, and figure out where the messaging is not resonating and people are falling off at a bigger percentage. Part of that is not only learning how to build those individual pieces, but then integrating how those pieces work together.
The important part that you must understand is where to tweak, how to tweak, and how to analyze. You can hire somebody to do this, but my experience has been when you hire somebody, you don’t learn the ins and outs, you don’t know how to fix, and you don’t know what the disconnect is. Typically, when someone builds a funnel for you and you’re not involved, it doesn’t feel authentic. I know this from my very first funnels. I had a coach who came in and she took the webinar I had built out of my hands and rebuilt it the way she liked it. When I gave it, it didn’t feel like me at all. Nothing converted on it.
It was super disappointing for the money I was spending. I handed it off to a webinar expert. He looked at the video because you always want to tape it. He said, “Who is this, Juliet? I know you. This doesn’t reflect you at all. You look uncomfortable giving it.” I was. It wasn’t authentically the message I thought I should be sending, number one. Number two, the wording wasn’t mine. It wasn’t how I spoke, so it felt awkward. It’s important that you’re a part of this process and that you understand how one piece fits into the next piece.
Let me go into that a little bit. When we talk about the eight pillars of author platform building, one starts it, and then you build upon it with the rest. You always want to start with branding and alignment. Branding and authentic alignment with who you are, which means you’ve got some work to do there. Not only do you have to build that avatar, but then you have to do the checklist that I talked about. Where are you at now? What are the assets you built? What does that email look like? What does that email open rate look like? Are you out speaking? Are you out promoting? How many people on Facebook? How many people on LinkedIn? Do you have a YouTube channel? What does that look like?
All of that has to start, all of this, the messaging, the branding, and the alignment, with who you are. Once that’s in place, then you move into the content. Content is your trust builder. We have an I Love Content course that people love because they don’t even think about it. They don’t put together content because they think it’s too difficult or it’s too time-consuming. It is a little bit at first, and I realized that most of you who are experts who are writing a book also have a business to run. That’s why we do those zone of genius exercises because we want to encourage you to stay in that zone of genius, learn this, and then hand off this part to a virtual assistant.
Content is essential. If you already started writing your book, you already have content. Your book is content, and there’s no reason why you can’t spin content off of that. That’s what makes it great. Once you have the content in place, you go over and start disseminating that content on social media and to your email list. you’re hitting those people on social media and on the email list. For most of you, we find, when you’re part of our program, that we have to go set those up. You understand social media, you have accounts, but you’re not utilizing them correctly, or you’re not setting them up correctly, or you’re on the wrong platform.
With email, we usually have to start from scratch and segment lists. The reason we have to do that, why this is so important, is you have to be able to take your social media, develop lead magnets, and transition those people from social media onto that email list. That is a super important step. It is because you can spend a lifetime building of social media presence, and all it takes is one algorithm to wipe out your life’s work. It’s important to get those people into that email list so that if you lose social media visibility on any level, you can go back and tell people in your list where to go to find you again. Believe me, over the years, we’ve had that happen over and over where people do not take this step.
The other reason you need both of those integrated and together is because those two pieces are what you’re going to do to launch your book. That is a main piece of what’s going on here as well. All of that is integrated and you are at the part where you’re going to be able to go out to the media. Your media doesn’t start when your book is published. Your media starts months before, especially if you’re an expert. If you have a media booker as we do with Jacquie Jordan at TVGuestpert, she already has you on TV, radio, and articles being written, and those are being written on your expertise. You’re the upcoming author of whatever book you are producing. That’s where that list comes in.
When the host says, “Where can we find you?” you can send people over to MyBook.com and get on the interest list, and we’ll let you know when the book’s released, or you can go over and give them a lead magnet, or tell them where to find you. All of this works together. You’re building that list of interested people for the book. That requires a landing page and an email drip campaign, and it includes list segmentation. There’s a lot there you need to learn to be able to build all this to launch on a great level.
Power partners are super important because you are going to have to understand how to write email swipes and put together a social media campaign so that your partners can help promote your book at the book launch as well. None of this happens in a few weeks or a few days. This all takes time to build. You have to start with planning and be able to look at what you have, what you need, and how you’re going to roll all of this out. That’s really important.
When it comes to the book launch, I’ve mentioned a lot that rarely do you get ROI directly from that book. If you pay $13,000 for a publishing package, chances are you are not going to sell $13,000 worth of books. When I say that, I mean royalties. Especially with the high cost of paper and the fact that royalties are anywhere from $1.50 to maybe $2.50 or $3 a book, that’s a lot of books you have to sell.
If you have the next steps in place, now, you’ve used that book as a nurture tool, and you can sell them those bigger ticket items that you have. In order to sell bigger ticket items, you need a marketing funnel. You can see all of this is working together and integrating. That’s what Author Traffic School is all about. It’s having you evaluate the pieces you have and start building the pieces you dump. Not only will driving traffic improve your book sales. It will improve your product sales as well because that’s how people drive traffic on that other end as well. You can see how all of this works together. We’ve had some extraordinary success with authors who have built this or are building it along the way.
Most of the time, if you wait, you’ve lost the moment with your book. Now, you’re promoting a book that’s a little bit old. They’re not all evergreen because marketing changes all the time. It is imperative to understand what you’re doing. I want to go over a few of the programs that we have inside Author Traffic School.
Prep Your Expert Book is $47. Before you ever even think about picking up the pen and starting to write the book, this is important because it tells you about the three areas you need to work out in this process, your author platform, how to develop that book, and publishing. All of those work together, so you need to be aware of what you know because you don’t know what you don’t know.
Build Your Author Avatar is something you need right off the bat. It’s $97. You work it and you put it away. It’s that market research that you should have done for your business, and most people don’t. You have the ability to refine that. Look at your competition, look what’s selling, what’s not selling, how they’re doing it, and what platforms there are. It’s all inside that program. It’s an exercise that will help.
If you don’t have content, then you need to look at I Love Content. Content is your trust builder. Without that trust builder, nobody knows you’re alive, why you are different, and your point of view on whatever you’re an expert in. It’s important to get that down. Part of that is keywords and hashtags. That’s all about searchability. Your publisher’s going to be looking for some of that as well because they want to know what keywords. You need to be seeding those keywords into your website, your social media posts, your email, and everything you do even in your book because when Amazon scans a book, it scans to pull out the keywords.Content is your trust builder. Without it, nobody knows you’re alive, why you’re different, or your point of view. Click To Tweet
When you’re running ads, you need those keywords. You can see that all of this works together. We have live, I Love Content, and we have a downloadable. A lot of people get more benefits from the live. They get that because they get four one-on-one sessions where we work with them to develop the new assets they’re developing. Lastly, our other big promotion that’s on there, especially for the literary agents, is a six-module course that we can either break up into the pieces you need or you can take all six modules. These are deep dives into those areas that I just went over. I hope you’re understanding the importance of this.
Many people write a book. They don’t have their goals and audience in mind, so it’s a flop. Nobody spends hours, days, weeks, months, and years writing something only to want it to flop. You need to do that research upfront that gets you to benefit from all of this. I hope that’s helpful. It’s AuthorTrafficSchool.com. You can go over there. There’s a Quiz if you click up in the corner there. I believe one of the tabs has our author-ready quiz. Find out what areas you are really deficient in. You can also schedule an appointment and get that checklist and a good idea where you’re at. Thank you so much for stopping by. See you next time.
- Jacquie Jordan – past episode
About Juliet Clark
Are you completely confounded about promoting yourself, your books, products, and services? Frustrated with marketing that doesn’t capture the essence of you or your consumer? Tired of the fruits of your life’s work being divvied up between the self- publisher and the distributor?
I started out in the world of traditional publishing and advertising and thought that I would easily make a bestseller list with my first self- published book. What I encountered was a publishing model that sold promotional packages that did not serve the authors and unsubstantiated back- end markups that left little money in the pockets of authors, while everyone else got made money. I knew there had to be a better way…..
Superbrand Publishing’s model is a proven solution that teaches authors how to build their own visibility in the marketplace before the book is ever written. Instead of the book being the main event, the book becomes another marketing tool that helps non- fiction authors sell more products and services. We focus on you, your influence, and monetizing your genius. You make a difference in the world and income.
Since opening our doors in 2009, we have helped over 600 authors identify and connect with their ideal audiences with our proprietary assessment and lead generation system. This system leads to more conversations and provides a basis for identifying what your ideal client wants and needs from your before the book is written our books, products, and services, all while building and email list that will be used to launch your book to a credible bestseller list.
Our specialities include:
– Assessment Marketing/ Lead Generation
– Social Media
– Online Marketing
– Book Launches
– POD Publishing with True Worldwide Distribution.
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