There is a lot that goes into book marketing and building an author platform. You can probably easily list a bunch of stuff:
You’ve probably done some of those. Perhaps you’ve even put a lot of effort into them.
But they’re not working.
It often feels like you’re just talking into a void.
Or just talking to the same 12 people over and over like an echo chamber.
You’re not really growing anything. Everything is moving so damn slow.
You feel like you’re doing all the stuff, but it’s just not getting the results you want.
Maybe you’ve even slipped into some despair wondering if what you’re doing is a complete waste of time. Maybe it’s you. And you’re books. It’s just not good enough.
You feel like no matter what you try it’s just not going to work.
The problem is, if you keep going like this, you’re eventually going to give up and stop.
Maybe you can sustain it awhile longer, but eventually, if you keep pushing without getting results, you’ll reach a point where it’s just not worth it anymore.
You’re spending your precious little non-work, non-writing, non-family time on this and it’s not getting results. Maybe you’re even spending money on your website and email list and other stuff, just to go a whole month and get five new subscribers.
What’s the end result here?
How long can you sustain putting all this effort in with no results?
This is the problem I kept running into when working with authors.
They seemed to be doing all of the right things without getting any results.
Finally, I realized what was missing.
Five years ago I published Your First 1000 Copies.
In the book I introduced the Connection System.
After working with, coaching, and studying over 1000 authors, I found three common things that every successful author needs:
This forms a natural path for readers to follow.
First, they find out you exist through Outreach. Second, they engage with your Content. Third, they give you Permission to stay in contact with them long term.
It’s a system that just works. If an author solves all three of those problems (Outreach, Content, Permission), she will be successful.
So what have I learned in the past five years since publishing?
Where do authors get the most stuck in the Connection System?
Permission is pretty straightforward. You can setup an email list pretty easily now days and get a signup form on your website.
Content is work, but also pretty straight forward. Everyone can put content online for free. You can publish a free novella or post on your blog or put a PDF on your website.
Outreach! That's the hard part!
And without outreach, the whole system falls apart.
It’s like building the perfect rain barrel in the desert.
It doesn’t matter if you build the perfect website, social media, email list platform… if new people aren’t finding you, the whole thing doesn’t matter!
More than any other place, this is where authors (including myself) get stuck.
There’s a lot of reasons for this…
It can be awkward. How do you reach out to influencers? What do you offer them? Why should they respond? What’s in it for them?
It can feel sleazy. You’re trying to connect with these people just so they can help your writing career.
It can be unclear. Who should you reach out to? Other authors? Bloggers? YouTubers? Which ones?
It can be ineffective. Maybe you’ve gotten a couple guest blog posts or even got to be on a panel at a conference, but nothing happened. No spike in book sales. No new email subscribers.
But it’s vital.
Even if you get Permission and Content right, if nobody knows you exist, none of it will work.
This is my friend and author, Mike Thomas.
His first two books were recently published. They are the first two installments in a children’s series called The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls that he has been working on for years.
Mike had given me a call a few months before publishing to get my input on what he should be doing to market his book.
He was starting from ground zero.
He had a tiny email list. No social media following. No contacts with influencers. Nothing.
Sure, he had set up a website with great writing (content) and he set up an email list (permission). And he put some cool content on the page. But nobody knew the books were coming out, so what did any of it matter?
After hearing all of this, I gave him this advice: Podcasts.
Mike needed to do Outreach, and the place all authors should be starting for their Outreach right now is podcasts.
When he asked “Why podcasts?”, these are the reasons I gave him:
They have become a huge part of the online space. According to a 2017 study by Edison Research, an estimated 67 million Americans are monthly listeners to podcasts. 112 million have listened to podcasts at least once. And those numbers are growing fast.
They’re the easiest form of Outreach. You don’t have to come up with a new 1000 word articles and beg someone else to publish them. You don’t have to create anything new. You don’t have to do anything except get on the phone and answer some questions.
They’re a win-win for the influencer. A lot of podcasts are based on guest interviews so the influencers need people to interview. So when you get interviewed, you are helping them out. You’re doing a favor, not asking for one.
They create relationships with influencers. Some of the best long term influencers relationships I’ve had started when I was interviewed on the person’s podcast.
They build your audience. Podcasts are a different kind of medium. It’s very personal. You’re in someone’s ears while they go for a run or drive to work or take a bath. They hear your voice and connect with it.
This helps build your audience in amazing ways.
Mike went for it. He started reaching out to podcasts. And it started working. After the first one, he texted me “It went well. It was good practice also. Not as hard as I thought it would be.”
And since then, he’s continued expanding his reach through podcasts and he’s seen his book continue to sell well, even though he started with zero platform.
This is the power of outreach.
This is why you should START with podcasts for your outreach.
They’re the easiest way to do Outreach and it actually gets results.
But, of course, the next question is… How?
How do you find podcasts that you should be on?
What topics should you talk about?
How do you reach out to the podcasters?
How do you respond if they say “no”?
How do you respond if they say “yes”?
How do you make sure the podcast listeners actually connect with you?
How do you turn it into book sales?
How do you prepare for the interview?
How do you turn one opportunity into ten more?
My name is Tim Grahl.
I've been working with authors for over ten years to help them build their platforms, connect with readers, and sell more books.
I've launched dozens of New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestselling books.
At one point, I had five clients on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time!
I've done this for my big time, bestselling clients.
I've done this for myself.
And I've done this with author's like Mike who are just getting started.
The only step-by-step influencer outreach program built specifically for authors.
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3. PREPARING AND DOING
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“Easy Outreach does exactly what it says on the tin: makes the scary process of Outreach, easy. He also explains things I always thought were hopelessly complicated in such simple logical terms, that I realize even I can do them (and I'm a serious technophobe).”
Patricia Finney, author of 20+ conventionally published books and ebooks, including two Elizabethan crime novel series - the Sir Robert Carey books (under the pen name PF Chisholm) and the James Enys series (Patricia Finney).
“I have always been better at writing or reading pre-written words, so the thought of a recorded conversation had me shivering in my socks. But Easy Outreach made it seem less like the big bad wolf, and more like a hurdle that could be overcome. The teaching gave me the courage I needed to inquire about being interviewed on a podcast. As I prepared for the interview, Tim's lessons helped me step past my fear and become prepared. I have now recorded and shared my first podcast, and it built my confidence in a way that still makes me chuckle. Turns out the big bad wolf was just a toothless puppy dog.”
Christie Thomas, author of Quinn’s Promise Rock and Quinn’s Treasure, releasing in 2019.
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