50 – Author as Entrepreneur


On today’s episode, we are joined by Jarie Bolander, a cohost of The Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast and PR and marketing expert. Jarie helps writers use storytelling principles to become entrepreneurs. So often authors shy away from the business side of writing either because they do not know how to get started or because they find self-promotion embarrassing. It does not have to be! If you believe in your product and are proud of it, you should share it with others. Rather than viewing marketing as a means of bragging, you should see it as a platform for providing people with information in order to help them to decide whether or not to engage with what you have written. Putting yourself out there is not easy, but people cannot read what you have written if they do not know it exists. As a writer, you already possess many of the skills to create what Jarie calls a PR narrative, all you have to do is learn some of the tricks and tools to use these skills in a way that makes you a better entrepreneur. To learn how to get started, join us today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Similarities and differences between authors and entrepreneurs.
  • What marketing really entails. 
  • Why you need a paradigm shift when moving from being a writer to an entrepreneur.
  • What makes marketing so difficult for people.
  • Promoting is about providing people with product information.
  • What a PR narrative is.
  • In an age of overload, simplifying your story is the best way to grab people’s attention.
  • You must interrogate your motives behind wanting to be a writer.
  • Practical steps you can take to construct your PR narrative.
  • And much more!

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Tim Grahl — https://booklaunch.com/

Valerie Francis — https://valeriefrancis.ca/

Valerie on Twitter — https://twitter.com/valerie_francis

The Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast — https://valeriefrancis.ca/podcast/

Running Down a Dream — https://www.amazon.com/Running-Down-Dream-Winning-Creative/dp/1936891557

Jarie — https://twitter.com/enduranceleader

JSY PR & Marketing — https://jsypr.com/

Entrepreneur Ethos — https://www.amazon.com/ENTREPRENEUR-ETHOS-Inclusive-Resilient-Entrepreneur/dp/1634925505

Writing Your PR Narrative — http://jsypr.com/articles/writing-your-pr-narrative/

Five Steps to Craft Your Creative Narrative — https://diymfa.com/writing/5onfri-creative-narrative

Writing Your Business Narrative — https://www.thedailymba.com/2009/11/29/writing-your-business-narrative/


[0:00:00.3] VF: Hello and welcome to the Book Launch Show. My name is Valerie Francis and this week, in our second bonus episode of the season, I’m bringing you a conversation I had with Jarie Bolander. Jarie and I along with three other Story Grid editors host The Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast. In his day job, he uses story telling principles to help entrepreneurs build their businesses. Now, since authors are entrepreneurs. I thought it would be helpful to get his advice about how we can use the storytelling skills we already have to grow our businesses.

But before we get into that interview, a reminder that Tim has loads of information about book marketing over on his website, booklaunch.com. If you want to learn more about working with one of his certified book launch coaches, you can find all that information at booklaunch.com/coaching. And, if you want to find out more about me and what I do, you can visit my website, valeriefrancis.ca. Okay, now, let’s jump into the episode and get started.

[INTRO]

[0:01:10.8] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Book Launch Podcast, helping authors launch and market their books.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:01:18.9] VF: Jarie, welcome to the show.

[0:01:20.7] JB: Well, thank you Valerie for having me, I’m glad to be here.

[0:01:24.4] VF: This is going to be kind of fun, it’s just the two of us now, we don’t have the other three.

[0:01:28.1] JB: Yeah, I know, it’s pretty cool. Nah, I know it will be really fun. I will say hello to Lesley and Kim.

[0:01:34.5] VF: Exactly. Shout out. What I wanted to talk about today is the author as a business person because the other four of us on the podcast are – well, we’re all certified editors, but the other four of us are working with writers as clients. Your clients are business people, you’ve got a totally different spin on the Story Grid and you’re using it in a very different way.

You know, you and I chat about this with the others all the time. I thought, since this podcast is about the business side of being a writer and the marketing of the books and all that really fun stuff. That it might be –

[0:02:14.8] JB: The stuff that every single author just dreads in their bones doing, that stuff.

[0:02:21.0] VF: That stuff, that exact stuff. I thought it might be kind of fun if you and I chatted a little bit about what it’s like to be a business person as an author.

[0:02:30.3] JB: Yeah.

[0:02:30.3] VF: Yeah.

[0:02:31.7] JB: That’s actually really great. I was actually on Joanna Penn’s podcast talking a little bit about this as well and she put it as the author is entrepreneur and I really like that construct because the parallels between being an entrepreneur and an author are striking. Both an entrepreneur and an author create something from nothing, right?

Then they try to get people to read their stuff or buy their product. The difference between the entrepreneur and the author is the entrepreneur knows that they have to market and do sales and try to growth hack their way to success because for an entrepreneur, success is sales, selling company, being unicorn, being the next insert Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah.

I think authors don’t quite get that, I know when we first met a couple of years ago and in fact the five of us when we always talk about this. I know the transition for the four of you over the last couple of years has been pretty striking, at least in my mind. I mean, I see you guys go from like, “business yucky,” to like really trying to foster that side because half the battle is writing the book, the other half of the battle is getting people to read it.

I wish there was a way that you could just write it and then people would buy it because I think authors have a lot of stuff to contribute to the world. But in today’s world, as of right now, until someone builds something that allows authors to just write, you also have to market and be an entrepreneur.

So yeah, I think it’s something that a lot of authors do need to think about and you know, I use the Story Grid framework and methodology for a lot of entrepreneurs and startups and nonprofits in my PR and marketing business. For me, it’s a super power and I would love to see more authors sort of feel more comfortable on the business side because unless you’re just going to write your book so that your buddies and your mom and your dad and your grandmother are going to read it.

You got to figure out how to get other people to read it and that’s business, marketing, PR and sales-y stuff.

[0:04:44.1] VF: Right, when I first started, I would hear the terms, authorpreneur and writerpreneur being tossed around and they were all very cute and that good stuff. But you’re right, what we’re talking about here are people who have a goal of actually earning an income, either part time or full time through their writing.

Now, for people who are hobbyists and really don’t have that as a goal, that’s cool too. I think anyone who wants to write a book should write a book. Just because my goal is to earn a full time living through my creative work doesn’t mean other people have that same goal.

But the longer I’m in this business and the more writers I meet, the more I am sort of hanging around with and associating with the meeting writers who have a goal that’s similar to mine.

[0:05:27.5] JB: Yeah.

[0:05:29.5] VF: It’s a really big mental shift between having a passion to write a novel or multiple novels and want to be a novelist. Suddenly realizing, well then that means you’re a business owner. I mean, on this podcast, all the time, the whole reason I got on this podcast, Jarie, you know this, I’ve talked to you about this before is that I had such a dislike of marketing and sales because it was so dry and dull in my opinion at the time. That I had to actually get myself on a podcast with Tim Grahl to get my rear end and gear and get moving.

[0:06:05.4] JB: Get motivated, yeah, exactly. Nothing focuses the mind like deadlines and people holding you accountable.

[0:06:11.3] VF: Public accountability. I mean, Tim’s being very patient with me, bless him.

[0:06:17.3] JB: This is hard stuff, this isn’t easy.

[0:06:19.8] VF: Well, you know, at the end of the day, it is time consuming, running the business and try to figure out sales and marketing and I found it enough of a shift, but I come from a family of business owners. Both sets of grandparents, my parents own their own business and my sister owned her own business.

It wasn’t – it was a shock for me, but I come from a family of entrepreneurs. For someone who doesn’t, it’s an even bigger shift. So, I just wanted to – I wondered if you could talk to me a little bit about what that means, the mental shift that’s required from being a creative and, “I just want to write books to okay, now I’m a business owner, what do I even do there?” That’s a huge shift.

When you’re working with your clients, I’m sure you must deal with that.

[0:07:08.7] JB: Yeah, we do. I mean, startups and nonprofits have another problem, it’s something that authors – good authors and actually most people that write any kind of thing know how to do and that’s tell a great story.

And every client I’ve ever worked with doesn’t matter how big or small, always has a problem telling great stories to build their brand. What’s really great about like an author or someone who just loves to write is – chances are, they’re really good at telling good stories. That’s half the battle when it comes to marketing and sales and building a brand. Because a lot of times what people don’t understand, especially in the business world is that you can have the best technology, you can have the best product but if no one knows about it, no one cares, right?

For me, the company that tells the best story wins, even if you have a mediocre product. You even see this with books, you know? The big name, people that yeah, okay, it’s kind of like not the best literary thing or you know, you can just name the bestsellers that it’s kind of like, they’re not checking, they’re not like dialing it in, but it’s a formula, right? For them.

Well, the same thing goes with business and a lot of times, the other thing that people don’t really quite understand is that sometimes the messaging that you think resonates because it resonates with you, may not resonate with the people that will actually buy your book or your product.

And you have to experiment and this stuff is kind of like creation where it’s more art than science, although you can apply some science to it. The real shift at least in my mind and I have an engineering background so I didn’t come into this like, “wow, business is cool.” I mean, I built computer chips, right? I was not the kind of person; I didn’t even know what marketing and salespeople did.

I thought they were absolute waste of energy and time, it’s like, “we build stuff here, what the hell do you guys do?” Then I realized, I got an MBA, you know, went to the dark side a little bit. I realized, I said, “wow, this is a really tough job.” I mean, just imagine, you have to sell something to someone. You have to convince someone to part with their money and if you think that that’s easy, just try to go sell 10 of anything on a street corner or try to get someone to donate to a cause.

And you will quickly realize that it’s hard, it’s probably harder than creation, right? Let’s just say, you’re an author and you write a great book and chances are, there’s a lot of great books out there. No one reads it and then you’re like, “well, why does no one read it?” Well, because there’s a lot of great books out there. No one knows about you.

So, the shift is, at least in my mind, you have to go from, “woe is me, woe is me, I write great stuff, why can’t people just appreciate it?” To, “oh, I need to let people know how great I am,” and I know for some people, that’s really tough to self-promote, I hate it, to me, the hardest thing in the world. I struggle every day having to say, “look at me, look at me.” But, if you put out good stuff, why wouldn’t you want people to read it?

You know, you can do it in a way that’s not braggy, right? I think that’s what a lot of authors don’t understand and even businesses, especially nonprofits. Because a lot of nonprofits, it’s so similar, right? Nonprofits, we have this great cause. People just give to the cause. And I’m like, “okay, people don’t know about your cause.” And like “well, you know, we’re uncomfortable bragging about.” Well, “you’re not bragging, you’ve given people the opportunity to make a decision.”

And you want to give them as much information about making a decision. You want them obviously to give to your nonprofit, buy your product or buy your book. Well, how do they do that? You’re informing them and educating them about what you have to offer. There’s nothing wrong with that, there’s nothing slimy about that.

I mean, if you do it in the right way, right? Why wouldn’t you want that? And so, the mindset is not that you’re bragging, it is you’re giving people the opportunity to make a choice and since you’ve built something you are proud of, why wouldn’t you tell them how proud you are?

Tell them, “hey, if you’re interested in young adult, sci-fi, fiction/dystopian, why not give me a look?” Seems reasonable to me but that’s a hard thing to do. I could say it, but it’s hard to do, right?

[0:11:53.2] VF: I think it’s something that’s really interesting about this business and the business of being a professional writer. When people ask me what I do, well, it depends who it is. But my default is – or the way I think of it in myself is, I’m a storyteller. Because I don’t want to narrow myself down to just novels, you know?

As I go through my career, I would love to branch out into screenplays and all the kind of stuff. In fact, I started with screenplays, years ago. I’d like to keep going with that at some point. I think of myself as a storyteller. So, I can create a world, I can create characters, I can do all that kind of stuff.

The fascinating thing for me is that as a marketer or when I’m marketing my products or services. One of the things I have to do is actually create a story about who I am, what I stand for, what my business is about. Now, the difference is, when I write a novel, it’s fiction, right? It’s not a true thing. When I’m creating a story about me and who I am as a professional, that is nonfiction, that’s a fact as to what I truly believe and truly stand for.

I think you know; you don’t have to listen to me too long to understand what I’m about because I keep saying the same thing over and over again.

[0:13:10.6] JB: That’s good, repetition is good. That’s another thing that people get all bent about. I have said the same thing over and over again, it’s like yeah, keep on saying the same thing over and over again until you find something that works.

[0:13:21.4] VF: The people listening to this podcast are writers. So, as someone who uses storytelling to help business people, what advice would you have for the people listening and how they would create a story for themselves for their own business?

[0:13:39.4] JB: Yeah, that’s actually what I work on a lot and it’s the first thing when I engage with the client, I do. I basically take them through a narrative workshop, which I call their PR narrative or their public relations narrative and it’s basically the tip of the spear of all of their communications. And the reason why this is important is, you need to have a very solid, simple to understand narrative about what you do.

That is the thing that most companies, nonprofits, authors, professional – I mean, everyone tends to get this wrong. The reason why they get it wrong is because they just dialed down into the minutia or the technology or the 25 cent words on what they do that no one really cares about because cognitively, right, there’s so much noise out there and so much content that you need to simplify, simplify, simplify and this narrative that I give people to go do is really the first conversation to hook people in so that they will go read more.

The Story Grid methodology, right? We’ve got the beginning hook, the middle build and the ending payoff. Well, the narrative is the beginning hook. Is it worth my time as someone that may want to do business with you or may want to read your book, for me to continue on?

Now, you may think, “well, I want to suck them all in and you know, it’s complicated and you know they got to get to know me, you know? It’s so – there’s so much here.” Yeah, I get it, right? But no one cares, right? They want to get, is this worth my time and you’ve got 10 to 20 seconds to figure out. Is this worth my time, right?

Once you’ve hooked them in, then you of course, you expand and this is who you are, whatever. But that first 10 seconds, 20 seconds, that narrative, that one to two sentences about who you are and what you do. If you don’t get that right, the rest of it just doesn’t matter because you’re going to wonder and a lot of people wonder this.

“Wow, how come no one comes to my website? How come no one gives me their email? How come no one cares what I do?” It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just they don’t know. And imagine there’s a hundred people in a room and you can do this exercise like the next time you’re at a cocktail party. Let’s just say there’s a hundred people in the room and you don’t know anyone.

Then you just like start talking to people, who are the people that you’re going to want to talk to more? For me, it’s the ones that interact and of course, there’s maybe pleasantries, but it’s the one that tells me the best story that hooks me in.

As authors, we know this. I mean, read the first page of a novel, right? First page of a novel, if that’s not good or the intro’s not good. Most of us put it down.

[0:16:40.6] VF: This is something that is a big shock to a lot of people and I don’t know if I’ve said it on this podcast before, but I know I’ve said it. It’s something I struggle with as a writer. I have people that I know personally, reaching out to me to say well, “I want to be a writer, what advice do you have?”

And I struggle finding the balance between giving them a sense of what this job really is because it is a lot of sitting by yourself in a room. It requires huge amounts of self-discipline. Most people don’t know that unless you happen to know someone who is a professional author, your idea of what this job is, is very romantic and now that is very cool. It is a cool job, don’t get me wrong.

[0:17:27.4] JB: It’s a cool job but most people don’t have that discipline or they –

[0:17:31.3] VF: They believe they will never have the discipline. Discipline is like any other skill you develop it overtime.

[0:17:35.4] JB: Yeah, you can work exactly, right.

[0:17:37.5] VF: So I struggle between finding the balance between letting me know what it is really like and taking off their rose colored glasses and discouraging them because I really don’t want to discourage anyone who ever wants to wrote a novel. But after I’d finish my first book, I came across Steven Pressfield’s book, Nobody wants to read your Shit, which is one of the best books ever written and I think it is hilariously funny only because I’d already figured out that stuff.

If I hadn’t already figured it out I might have been heartbroken, I don’t know. But the bottom line there is that nobody cares about your book as much as you do, which is why in my opinion it doesn’t matter what your publishing model is whether you are an independent author or a hybrid author or you want to publish traditionally and have another company actually publish your book for you. The marketing is your job because in a traditional publishing company, you’re one of a slate of authors.

I mean once you get to someone, you get to the level of Neil Gaiman or J.K Rowling, that is a totally different ball of wax, but we are not there yet. Unless Neil Gaiman is listening in which case, hello Neil.

[0:18:46.8] JB: Hey Neil, how’s it going? I love your stuff by the way. Yeah, exactly. Great adaptation of your work, you know?

[0:18:54.8] VF: That’s right. So, for me, that was something I had to get my head around and I had to accept that I am the one who is going to be selling these books. and for me, it kept me from writing for a really long time because I didn’t want to be a sales person. None of that sounded like anything I ever wanted to do and as I have said to Tim, what I try to do is shift how I think about it because now, I’ve got a paradigm about it that I am trying to work on.

And just think about it as relationship building because I love meeting people, right? And I love talking to people and connecting.

[0:19:31.5] JB: That is a great way to think about it.

[0:19:33.8] VF: That I can do and if they like what I am about then they can pick up the book and give it a try and if it is not for them, no problem. Like you said, there is a difference between being that person who is constantly spamming their friends on Facebook with, “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.” And someone who is a professional writer who is developing a career over the long term.

And I found for me, just in with that and talking with people who want to come into this business and want to be a full-time author, one of the things they really want and one of the reasons they are writing a book, even if they are not aware of it first is for  third party validation.

[0:20:14.8] JB: Oh yeah.

[0:20:16.0] VF: And I think it is really important for anyone who wants to write to understand why it is they are writing. Whatever their goal is, is cool. It is absolutely fine. You just have to know what it is because it is really going to change your approach to what you are doing. Like you know, for me I want to be a full-time writer. Well that means that I’ve got to suck it up buttercup and learn how to market my books, right? Or I could go back to the day job I felt a few years ago and I am not doing that. I would rather not, thank you.

[0:20:46.2] JB: Yeah, that reason why I am an entrepreneur is because I am unhirable and unmanageable. So, if you are that kind of person then you definitely want to be in some sort of freelance entrepreneur. Yeah, I mean when I go through this narrative exercise with clients, the first thing, the first question I ask is actually three and it is modelled off of the Story Grid because I just find that’s such a useful framework.

Why does your company or non-profit exist? Why are we here, what is the internal reason why? Not the fame and fortune and money that we want to. Okay, that’s great. But there is a reason deep in your soul that you need to start this company, this non-profit or you are writing this book? And it is for a third-party validation then you should probably just stop because like entrepreneurship, books and entrepreneurs are the same.

So just as an example, everyone knows about unicorns if you are an entrepreneur world. What is a unicorn? Unicorn company is worth a billion dollars. So, I mean we are recording this a couple of months ago, you know Uber, Lyft went public. They’re valued at some ridiculous number, right? So, the probability of a startup becoming a unicorn is roughly 1%. So just let that sink in. So, you see all of these great companies that are all going public.

For all the ones that have made a billion dollars, there is 99 that are either walking wounded, which means they’re struggling along and maybe they are doing okay, but most of them are gone and they are gone after three to four years, right? That is the game, every single venture capitalist and investor knows that the game is a game of numbers. It’s just odds because it is a lot of luck to get to be a unicorn. Yeah you got to be smart, you got to have the right team and you got to have the right talent and the technology and the timing and all of that.

But generally, you talk to anyone who’s been successful in the entrepreneur game, you get them in the room and you hand them a couple of drinks or whatever they’re into and you say, “so what’s the secret?” And they’re going to be like, “well, I worked hard and you know honestly, there’s a lot of luck.” Because that is the way the world works. If you were to look at the author world, the chances of you getting the bestseller and blowing up and being the next J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman or whatever is 1%, probably.

Probably more like one to 2% maybe even less. So, if you wrote 100 books, one of them is going to be wildly successful. So, if you are going to be an author, do this for a living your goal, I mean you get it in 50 because it is probability right? But do you have 100 books in you?

[0:23:35.9] VF: Okay that’s depressing.

[0:23:39.5] JB: I don’t think it’s depressing.

[0:23:40.9] VF: I reject that statement.

[0:23:42.6] JB: Okay, but I put it that way for a reason and the reason I put it that way is that if you are just starting out as an entrepreneur or as an author, you’re probably pretty bad at it would be my guess I mean I was.

[0:23:56.7] VF: But it’s a skill. Isn’t it a skill like any other skill?

[0:23:58.5] JB: A 100% yeah, it is 100%.

[0:24:00.1] VF: I am on my third book now and I still like my first book. I am still proud of my first book because by god, I got to the end of it. And on a macro level it works because I fluke into the Hero’s journey and I have never heard about the Hero’s Journey in my life. I just fluked into it because I had consumed so many stories. Don’t look under the hood too closely but on a macro level it worked. So even though I have learned so much since then, I am still really proud of that.

Because that was my baseline, you know that was my starting point and I did pretty good but writing a novel is a skill just like marketing is a skill, just like playing the piano is a skill. You are going to start out as a beginner and you are going to have to learn the fundamentals, right? And then practice them, practice the skills and get better, yeah?

[0:24:52.4] JB: Right, yeah there is no doubt. But this is the thing about the why and this is about why am I doing this? So, let’s just say, you know 1% bestseller and you can do the math. Just go look at the math. It’s pretty easy math and let us say your goal as an author is to be the bestseller, okay? And it is just like an entrepreneur. You know the odds are low. Okay so fundamentally, then why are you doing this? It is clearly not to be a bestseller because that is almost lunacy.

Just like being a millionaire and entrepreneur. If you are going to be good in the entrepreneur game to be a millionaire, you’re crazy. Just go work as an engineer at Google, you’d be a millionaire quicker. So, there is another reason why and this is the fundamental thing that people really need to understand. There has to be an internal why as to why you are doing this that transcends all the perks and what will happen like as an example, you. You are proud of your first book, which you should be. For whatever reason, you got lucky. People get lucky but the more harder you work, the luckier you get.

[0:25:55.2] VF: It wasn’t luck. It was I’d read zillion books, right?

[0:25:57.6] JB: There’s that too. So you did the work but again, it is not to say that it’s impossible because it is not impossible. It is to say, what’s your mindset on the journey to get there? Because if you are like, “oh I do a book, it doesn’t do well. I’m frustrated, I am done.” Okay, well you are not a professional. I mean I have written six books. My first book was a disaster, right? It’s like, “ugh,” you know? The latest book I did, The Entrepreneur Ethos, you know thankfully I found Story Grid.

Thankfully I applied it mostly. So, a big idea non-fiction book aboutThe Entrepreneur Ethos about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, I mean I am very proud of that. I don’t care if it is never a bestseller or whatever because I am like, “this is who I am.” Like I wrote what I am and what I believe and that is powerful. So yeah, I don’t like to be a Debbie-downer but the more you do it the better you get at it. Same with marketing, same with writing. But again, what’s the path you’re on?

[0:27:03.1] VF: Okay let me stop you there. So, for people who are listening, who are like me and really are beginning here with the marketing because I know a lot more now than I did a few months ago when Tim and I started and hopefully people have been able to learn along with me.

[0:27:18.3] JB: Oh yeah, it’s been a great podcast by the way. I really enjoyed it.

[0:27:22.3] VF: Thank you.

[0:27:23.1] JB: I listen to it often.

[0:27:25.2] VF: I don’t know if people are being inspired by it or just waiting to watch me face-plant, I don’t care either way.

[0:27:30.5] JB: Oh no, no, no I don’t think it’s that. I think the thing is, you are tackling a very scary subject for your audience and people are probably freaked out beyond freaked out.

[0:27:45.7] VF: I am not alone! Oh, hooray!

[0:27:48.1] JB: No, I can almost guarantee it because this is the thing about a mindset change, right? So, everyone says, “oh I want to do a new habit. I want to do this. I want to do that. It only takes 30 days.” Or whatever I mean whatever or however long it takes you to build the habit as an author to market yourself if you don’t have the mindset to begin with. It’s like, “oh I am going to run a marathon,” oh my gosh like similar analogy.

[0:28:17.5] VF: So, what can people do? What are some practical steps? We talked about constructing a story for themselves in their own company, how do they do that? I mean look, it is hard enough to figure out how to write a novel. Now we have to take those skills and massage them a bit to our company. You said that the way we do that is really to create a beginning hook and if you guys listening, if you don’t know what we mean, when you are done listening to this episode pop over to the Story Grid.

There is two podcasts, Jarie and I as I said off the top are both certified Story Grid editors. So, this is the language that we use and I can’t use any other language anymore. But it is the thing, the beginning hook in your story is roughly the first 25% of your novel and it is the thing that is designed to draw your reader into the story so that they can’t put the book down. They have to keep reading to the end. So Jarie, if I understand you correctly that when we are creating a story for our own company what we’re doing is actually writing that beginning hook.

And creating a story that will attract the readers in the first place and get them to read our books is that right?

[0:29:28.2] JB: Yeah or sign up for your website, email or follow you on Twitter, Instagram or whatever yeah. So, the first thing if you are new to this is write your narrative and I will send Valarie a link. I have done a bunch of articles on how to write your narrative and part of my PR business also wrote another book called Seven PR Secrets All Founders should know and it is a good start if you are a founder of your own author business as well.

So, the thing is that there is and again, I modelled it after the story grid. So, in the narrative there’s the beginning, the middle and the end or the beginning hook, the middle build and then ending payoff of the narrative itself and so the three components of this narrative and they are pretty easy. The first one is why you exist? And that is an internal why or as an author I exist to do. The second one is what makes you unique and you really got to think about this because there is a lot of noise out there.

And then the third thing, which I know probably sounds a little weird is what pain do you solve? And as an author, you think, “well what pain am I solving?” Well, what you want to do if you want someone to buy your book is at the end of whatever you write or whatever you are doing, you want them to somehow be satisfied that the time they spent on your book, on your whatever, was worth it.

So that is the pain you solve. Now, it could be you may need to play around with this, but for each one of those three, write two sentences and pick a single word that describes it because those words are really important. So, when someone asks you what do you do when you have your narrative in your mind and you just bang it off real quick, you’re like, “oh wow, hey I want to hear more about this.” So, I will give you an example.

So I run a PR and marketing firm and I have run this for a couple of years now but it is called JSY PR & Marketing and JSY PR & Marketing, its sole purpose is to help non-profit startups and professional athletes tell better stories so that they can make an impact in the world and we use the power of media to make that happen. So, if you’d meet me at a cocktail party and you say, “what do I do?” And I tell you that if you’re interested in that then you’ll ask me, “well, how does that work?”

[0:31:45.3] VF: Right and this is the same exercise that Tim had me do when I had to come up with a sentence, you know love stories for busy women, right?

[0:31:52.9] JB: Yeah, exactly. So, you actually already have a lot of this narrative. In fact, that is actually what would be your elevator pitch. So when someone meets you in an elevator and this is a classic entrepreneur thing, when someone says, “hey, what do you do?” And you’re like, “I write stories for busy women.” They’re like, “oh well tell me more.” And then now, you have an opening. So, all of this, all of this narrative and thinking about it and having this little snippets they are all to get you to have someone say, “oh tell me more.”

Not inundate them, not expand the horizons of human existence and coalesce the vapors of it in a tangible form. It is like give them the opening so that they give you permission, like Dracula, right? In order for Dracula to come in, you got to give them permission.

[0:32:47.0] VF: That’s right.

[0:32:47.4] JB: Right? So, we all know this, internally right? We don’t like to talk to are the ones that just ramble and like, “oh my god da-da-da.” When someone gives you permission to tell your story, you got them.

[0:33:03.0] VF: It is all about developing the relationship with your readers. So, when I think about it that way, then doing things like podcasts are not nearly as scary as they would have been if I thought, “oh well now I have to be a product.” No, I just want to meet other people who love stories too. When my friends are looking for a book to read, they call me and say, “well, can you recommend a book? I am looking for this.” Or that thing, which is part of the reason I started my book club, right?

So, the first of every month I recommend a novel by, for, and about women. Some of that gives me lots of breathing space to pick different genres because I like to read across genre. This is part of getting to know me and it is an opportunity for me to get to know other people and that I think is the essence of marketing.

[END OF EPISODE]

[0:33:49.0] TG: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Book Launch Show. For all the past episodes, the show notes, or to connect with me, you can go to booklaunchshow.com. I have dozens of free book marketing resources and articles that you can access at my website booklaunch.com. Lastly, if you like to support the show, you can do that by telling another author about the show and by visiting us on Apple Podcast and leaving a rating and review.

Thanks for subscribing and being a part of our work here at booklaunch.com. We will see you next week.

[END]

Valerie Francis
Valerie Francis is the author of love stories for busy women. When it comes to book marketing, she's made too many rookie mistakes to count. No doubt about it, on the Book Launch Show, Tim's got his work cut out for him.

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