Okay, so you have already published your book. What next? How can you actually make books sell? Because, usually, books don’t sell themselves. Marketing your book is just as important as writing it! In this episode, content marketing strategist Melanie Herschorn talks about how to set up an author platform and shares book marketing tips on how to actually attract ideal readers and make books sell. Melanie is a scope marketing strategist with impressive, award-winning experience in entrepreneurship, journalism, and PR. Tune in now and learn how to make your book and brand shine!
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Setting Up Your Author Platform With Melanie Herschorn
In this episode, this guest is one of our Breakthrough Author Magazine contributing editors. I’m excited to talk content with her and some of the things you need to build for your author platform. Melanie Herschorn wants to make your book and brand sparkle online as a content marketing strategist for coaches, consultants, and speakers worldwide. She’s on a mission to support and empower her clients to create clear messaging and content that shines a light on their individual experiences, skillset, and books.
With her unique combination of entrepreneurship, award-winning journalism, and PR experience, Melanie guides her clients to attract and nurture leads and position themselves as an industry expert. She also loves to provide book marketing tickets on her show AUTHORity Marketing LIVE! I’m excited to share her with you in this episode. For those of you who aren’t subscribed to our magazine, go over to www.BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com and get your free subscription. You get a monthly magazine with tips and tricks. Also, if you’re somebody who likes to watch on YouTube, go over to our YouTube channel Superbrand Publishing and subscribe. You’ll get a notification every time we post a new episode. Here we go. Here’s Melanie.
Welcome, Melanie. We are super excited to have you here.
Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
You have been a magazine contributor for quite some time. How much have you liked writing articles? Do you hate it? You always have yours in first. I’m always very impressed.
I love writing articles because I get to use a different part of my brain. A lot of times, I’m doing videos or consulting with my clients. In this way, I get to sit down and say what’s on my mind now and write under 500 words about it.
That is so funny because I do that too. I’ll see something and go, “I should write this down.” Sometimes I have an article in there, and sometimes I don’t, but I try to as much as I can. I’m not a great writer. I don’t know if I like to write anymore.
I don’t know if I agree with you, but okay.
I’ve been working on a fiction novel for a while here and there. It’s so funny because I used to be able to knock out a fiction novel in two months, but it takes time these days. Maybe because they were crappy for two months. I don’t know. Let’s talk about lead magnets. When we’re having this session, we’re running the ten-day author platform-building challenge. People start to think about the audience build after they write the book. They’re like, “I’m ready to market.” This starts so far before. Talk about that.
I get so sad about it when people come to me and say, “The book’s not selling, so I’m going to put it away.” I’m like, “What are you doing because now the world isn’t going to get your genius? Now you can’t fulfill your mission.” You want to start marketing as soon as you start writing. I would suggest even putting your bio on whatever social media platform you’re on, “Author of a forthcoming book,” and put the title because you are. That’s a little bit of accountability, too, because it means you got to finish it.
It does. What’s so funny is if you’ve been reading, this aligns with what Jackie Jordan, our media specialist, says about, “Don’t wait until the book is out to get on TV, radio, and podcasts. You are the author of the upcoming book.” It’s very true because if you’re writing an expert book, you’re not just the expert in that book. You’re probably an expert on a number of topics around that book that you can talk about.
You’re a subject matter expert. Your book might touch upon lots of different things. No matter what, you want to start letting people know about it because then they can get excited. It adds credibility that people are like, “Juliet knows about publishing, and she wrote a book on it.” It’s that thing. They’re like, “She knows what she’s talking about, so I should pay attention to what she’s putting out there.”
Before we jumped on, we discussed that you work with authors on getting their lead magnets, emails, and all that done. I was telling you that I love content and how we start at the very beginning. It’s so difficult to get people to keep this up on a regular basis. How do you do that? How do you keep it consistent with that accountability?
That’s it. That’s why you need that accountability built in. That’s why I have two ways that I work with clients, which are either in a one-on-one capacity or in a program where there are built-in accountability emails. It’s true. You get behind then you say, “Forget it.” That’s human nature, but I’m not going to let you do that.
Regarding the lead magnet piece, what are some great lead magnets that subject experts can put together? Their sense when they come to me is, “I’m going to use a chapter from my book.” Nobody wants that.
The common parlance of our day is cringy, and that is cringy because nobody wants to read the first chapter of your book as a way to entice them to read more. Your first chapter might not be your best chapter. It might not be a chapter that’s going to lead people into your client or customer journey, either. You got to think picture.
I’m going to tell you about my lead magnet as an example. My lead magnet is Your Ultimate Book Marketing Checklist. When you download it at VIPDigital.live/checklist, you will get your ultimate book marketing checklist. You’re going to be able to learn what it is you are going to set up to start marketing your book, plus a little bit on how to create a lead magnet based on your book.
You are then going to know what to do and learn more as you get into my client journey. You’ll learn more from emails and social media and getting invited to things I do. That’s the journey. What is a great lead magnet? Usually, it’s the before your book. Let’s throw out an example of a client you’ve worked with on their book.
Anita Morrell is not quite ready to publish but is writing a book on mindfulness and energy work. She put together a seven-series video. We’re dropping a video a day, and it is about two minutes. It’s not long. You don’t want a book in a video because people are consuming. It’s step-by-step how to get yourself into a mindful, positive energy atmosphere.
I like it. It’s a little bit long because in a lead magnet, ideally, you want to give the person a quick win, something they can turn around within 36, 48 hours and go, “This person knows what they’re talking about.” I worry with this lead magnet of seven videos that, by video four, they’re going to start building up the, “I’ll get to that later,” thing.
In video seven, where it’s the, “Join my program,” it’s not there. People aren’t joining because they haven’t opened the email to know to join. I’d be concerned about that. Also, the other thing is not everybody is into video, perhaps if you have both. I like the fact that it’s the big picture and mindfulness. You’ve broken it down and said what would be the step before. That’s how to get into the idea of being mindful.
An example I sometimes give is if you’re a life coach that’s written a book on how to have a work-life balance, your lead magnet could be how to have a balanced morning, which is something quick. You know that when you wake up in the morning and follow these 10 steps or 5 steps that you’re going to have balance, then you’re going to go, “That life coach changed my life a little bit. I wonder what else they could do.”
I have to go back. I once had a meeting with a woman. She was upset because she knew she was not selling books. She’d hired a publicist. The publicist had done a great job. This is not a knock on the publicist. They had gotten her onto lots of things, including a national morning show. They did a phenomenal job.
I said to her, “How many books have you sold?” She said, “100.” That was my reaction too. I started looking. I’m like, “Let’s figure out why that is because your book sounds great. Everything you’ve told me and your publicist has done a phenomenal job.” I went on her website and was like, “This is why.” It was so unclear. The messaging was so confusing. That messaging was everywhere else too. Nobody was buying because they didn’t know what was for sale.
I told her, “What league magnet do you have?” She said, “My publisher told me to give the first chapter of my book.” I said, “That’s a common mistake that authors make. They try to give away the first chapter.” Her response was, “I gave away the table of contents too.” In an effort not to be rude, I said, “I don’t usually read the table of contents when I’m reading a book. I can’t imagine that would be something that people would expressly go out of their way to download.” She was not having it, but it’s fine. Let this be a lesson to you, dear reader, that you do not want to give away a table of contents or a chapter of your book because nobody wants that. We’re way too internet-savvy these days to want that.
Not even to mention that when it’s published, a good publisher will have to look inside. People can see that anyway, even beforehand. I love what you said about the instant gratification thing that happens because if you can give somebody that value and they can validate that it worked, they’re going to follow you from then on because that’s why people do this. They want to accelerate.
It’s not like it’s 2005 anymore. People don’t give you their email addresses. They hold onto it for dear life. It has to be valuable for them to give it away to you.
That is so true. That’s why we’ve been using LinkedIn newsletters so much because they can subscribe, and I know who subscribed, but they don’t have to opt in. We don’t do any of the emails. I’m not a big fan of the seven emails and a call to action at the end, but I will distribute content through my email.
You do, and I get your emails. I read them, and they are helpful.
Thank you. They’re my show, so you’ll be reading about yourself soon. They need to be put together. It sounds easy when you say, “I’m going to put together this lead magnet, distribute it, and people will opt in,” but there’s more to it. There is the new tech you’re learning. One of the reasons you have to start so far out is you’re learning the tech of your drip campaign. For most people, they’re learning the tech of how to deliver that lead magnet. They’re learning how to distribute it. They’re learning where to put it. There’s a lot there that has to be learned.
Don’t feel bad about not knowing. We’re not born knowing this stuff. Unfortunately, the big marketing gurus whose faces are splashed all over Facebook and LinkedIn and what have you make everything seem like if you sign up with them, then it will be so simple. It’s not. It needs a guide to show you how to do it. Once you’ve done it once, it’s so much easier to do it again. I remember watching webinars years ago and taking notes feverishly, “What’s a landing page? I don’t know,” but here I am helping authors create theirs, and I could probably do it while I was sleeping at this point. There’s a learning curve, but once you learn, you can get it.
I want to bring up a point. I’m so glad you brought up landing pages. I’m sure you’re the same way, Melanie. When someone shows you a landing page they created themselves, you can tell they created it themselves.
Yes, you can.
I want to bring that out to you. You need an actual designer because we can tell from the colors, proportions, and layout when you have done this yourself. The worst place I see this is Wix, maybe. They don’t have the flexibility to do the things that you want to do. If you don’t have that lead magnet and images that don’t match what you’re going for and the messaging, it is important that you hire somebody like Melanie, who knows how to lay that out, how to write the copy, and the color schematics.
That’s another thing where people go, “I like pink. Pink is a juvenile color.” I know I say this all the time. There’s this person called the Red Hot Healer, and it’s because she has red hair and she’s good-looking. She’s down in Arizona. People don’t associate red hot with healing. That’s always the thing I go to with, “Is your messaging strong?” She’s an amazing human being, and I can see why she did it. Unless you know who she is, you’re probably not going to associate that red hot with healing.
No, it’s the opposite. It’s fire. It’s breaking things open. It’s blowing things up. That’s interesting. I would associate blue and greens and serenity with healing.
Her name is Karen. When I talked to her, she had a whole color wheel with 200 colors that are variations of particular shades when she goes into messaging. She works with New York Times bestsellers all the time. A variation on the shade matters to your messaging too.
Clearly, this designer knows what she’s talking about.
Coming back to it, professionally, you help people with all that, correct?
Yes, because it can’t exist in a vacuum. It’s a big overall thing. It’s you, the author and expert. It all has to be cohesive and clear so that anybody who is your ideal reader is going to happen to come across your website or Facebook. It’s all cohesive, and it all says the same thing. It lets them know who you are, what you do, how you help them, and where they can buy your book.
Another reason someone like Melanie is helpful is that if you’re not a copywriter, you get into these kitschy like, “That’s cute. Everybody will get it,” but nobody gets it around your name or around something. You need somebody who knows how to write copy. I can tell when you write your own copy on those landing pages.
I was working with a client on this. She’s got her own podcast, and it’s awesome. I said, “Let me hear your commercial about your book.” I read it and said, “This is what we have to fix here.” A lot of times, people will start things with I. Nobody wants to hear about you. If you take nothing away from this conversation now, I want you to remember that anytime anybody sees anything of yours. They’re thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Now you’re reading this wonderful conversation and thinking, “What’s in it for me? What value am I going to get out of this conversation?” I hope you got lots of value out of it, knowing it’s what’s in it for you. When you’re sitting down to write any copy, you have to be thinking about your audience. Even your about section isn’t about you. It’s about the audience.Anytime anybody sees anything of yours, they're really thinking, what's in it for me? Click To Tweet
That is so true. I’m going to say this. Those people out there who make this look so easy, I don’t know if you find this, but I do. I have worked with some of those people who have slick, glossy marketing. They are great marketers, but they’re not great servers. I remember the very first glossy marketer that I signed up for a program. I was disappointed six weeks in. It got worse as it went along because she kept doing the same thing over and over. It wasn’t helpful.
We got a call from her every quarter, and it was a fifteen-minute call long enough for her to say, “Hi, Melanie. How are you doing? How are you liking the program? I’m so glad to hear that. Got to go to my next call.” It was awful. Having someone who can help you temper that ego and make it look nice but also come off as someone worried about service who’s invested in their clients, that’s another reason you need to use a professional because you never know what you’re going to dig out of me that you’re like, “Why isn’t that in your bio, Juliet?”
That’s true. First of all, it’s very hard to do your own marketing. It’s very hard to be objective. A lot of people say, “I’ll do that part because that’s expensive. I’ve already spent so much money on other things.” I think you have to roll it all into the experience of having a book. I started with this about the tragedy of not marketing your book. If you were to throw a party and you got the venue, food, and outfit, and then you never sent out invitations, that’s what it’s like when you do all the things, publish the book, hold the book, and nobody’s buying it. You have the power to get people to buy it. You just have to know how to do it.You have the power to get people to buy your book. You just have to know how to do it. Click To Tweet
You have to subtly market it as you go. That’s what the lead magnet is doing. That is whatever articles or content you produce. It’s you sharing value without being salesy. It’s attracting attention without saying, “I am fabulous. Come buy from me.” Which we all know is a big turnoff these days. It doesn’t have a connotation of service. When they come to you, how do you get them out of that mode? I feel like people come to us with that mindset.
A lot of people come to me, and they don’t even know what to do. They think that if they take one photo of them holding their book up right here, that’s all they need to do to market their book. I had a client who said, “That was my best-performing picture.” I said, “Great. How many sales did you get from that?” He’s like, “I don’t know. Not a lot.” You have to weave your book marketing into your overall marketing. Back to that ego thing, I’ve seen people on Facebook post pictures of their book in every which way. It rubs you the wrong way.
At some point, you stop listening. You get desensitized to their book because it’s like, “I get it. You wrote a book. I don’t care about you. I don’t care about your book. What’s in it for me?” When you go back to that, “What’s in it for me,” and talk about service like we were discussing, that is how you get more book sales.
I can always tell that somebody hasn’t done their work because it’s almost this desperate plea, “Buy my book.” Instead of, “Here’s some very valuable content,” and maybe the call to action is your book. It’s all about, “Buy my book.”
Let’s stop doing that because it’s not going to help.
In my very first book, my best friend didn’t buy my book. I kept bugging her. We would go out running every morning like, “Why haven’t you bought my book?” She finally said, “I haven’t bought your book because if it’s crappy, I have to tell you.” I was like, “Oh.”
That’s the thing. I used to have a breastfeeding clothing company. My stuff sold on Nordstrom.com, but a lot of my friends had babies and would not even think of buying it.
I don’t know. I had celebrities buying it and I know because I had to dropship the stuff to them. It wasn’t good enough for my friends. That’s the thing. You can’t rely on the people because they’re probably not your ideal reader.
I want to address that. That is such a great point. We all think, “Everybody’s going to buy our book. I have this big circle of friends.” They’re into you. They’re not into what you do for a living for the most part, especially with book, even fiction books.
A book is such an individual thing. It’s practically the only thing we have left where people take time out and focus on it. I feel like it’s the only thing we have left. I don’t watch TV without playing something on my phone at the same time. I’m always doing two things at least at the same time. When I’m reading a book, that’s all I’m doing. Even if you’re reading a book, you’re probably exercising or folding laundry, but you’re still focused on the book. The fact that these people are paying attention, it has to be what they want. Again, what’s in it for them?
We took on a new book that is a senior fiction. I’m looking forward to that because it’s something a little bit different. How do you do something like that? She’s planning on all her friends reading it because they’re senior citizens. I don’t know that every senior citizen out there wants to read about sex scenes.
Not necessarily. She will have to do her due diligence and figure out where her readers are hanging out online. Maybe there’s a Facebook group devoted to senior sex. Who knows?
You gave her an idea of senior sex, senior dementia, or senior dating. It’s all a little mind-boggling to me. I’m not a romance novel person at all. I’m too practical. Melanie, thank you for being here. Where can we find you besides in Breakthrough Author Magazine?
Thank you so much for taking the time.
- Melanie Herschorn
- Superbrand Publishing – YouTube
About Melanie Herschorn
Melanie Herschorn wants to make your book and brand sparkle online. As a content marketing strategist for coaches, consultants, and speakers worldwide, she’s on a mission to support and empower her clients to create clear messaging and content that shines a light on their individual experience, skillset, and books. With her unique combination of entrepreneurship, award-winning journalism and PR experience, Melanie guides her clients to attract and nurture leads and position themselves as industry experts. She also loves to provide book marketing tips on her show, AUTHORity Marketing LIVE!
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