3 Reasons to Join Me at Platform University

When I began my new venture into writing about three years ago, I knew very little about writing or publishing. As I researched and studied the industry, my heart began to sink. I read over and over that I needed to have or build a “platform”. I had no idea what that meant or entailed.

Photo Credit: whitebar via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: whitebar via Compfight cc

Not long after that, a good friend recommended Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. What a blessing! The timing was perfect.

You need to understand something else. Not only did I not know much about the writing industry, I knew very little about social media. Don’t chuckle too loudly—I didn’t have a single social media account to my name. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. Nothing.

I bought Michael Hyatt’s book and read it cover to cover  immediately able to apply effective principles to building a successful platform.

I used his book and his website—MichaelHyatt.com—as resources to walk me through this new journey.

Then Hyatt introduced Platform University.

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What I Learned from Creating My Book Proposal

This summer I decided to pursue traditional publishing for my next book—Living Free of Toxic Shame: Learn from Others Who Have Gone Before You. If you want to read about my decision to go the traditional publishing route, you can read about it here.

Photo Credit: harfang2011 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: harfang2011 via Compfight cc

Navigating the world of literary agents and publishers confuses a first-timer. I have had a few conversations with beginning writers, and most of us are clueless what agents and publishers want. Most writers wanting to get published probably think that the agents and publishers want a manuscript. Isn’t that what happens in the movies?

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7 Questions to Help Bring Closure to 2013

I am a member of Platform University which is a member site that provides coaching and resources to help those building a platform. Michael Hyatt, creator of Platform University, invites members to “look over” his shoulder to learn from him.

By: Joanne

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Hyatt shared the “importance of properly bringing the previous year to a close before beginning the new one.” Michael challenges us to answer seven questions that will not only bring closure to 2013 but also “lay the groundwork” for a great 2014.

I thought I would share with you my answers to the seven questions posed by Hyatt.

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How I Decide What to Write in a Blog

Writer’s block can face anyone who writes. Over this year of blogging, I developed a process (thanks to people like Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, and the staff at Copyblogger) that helps me.

 

 

When I began blogging, I often struggled with what to write. I still do sometimes. I remind myself that one of the reasons that I am blogging is to learn how to write. Yep, I write to write.

Some people who I read seem to have a natural ability. Stories fall out of them like water from a fountain. Not me. Maybe occasionally but not often.

I need a process to help me along the way. Here is what I do now:

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Tools I Am Using to Build My Platform

When I decided to become an author, I had no idea what a “platform” was. I soon learned that the experts suggest to build one first before writing a book. I was writing for six months before I knew about building a platform.

 

By: zzpza

 

I learned that even if you go the traditional route and get a literary agent who then finds a publisher, the marketing will fall heavily on you, the writer. In fact, if you don’t have a large amount of people already following you, a platform, you might not get a publisher even if your content is excellent.

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Author as Entrepreneur

Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson, uses the term, Author as Entrepreneur, in the video below.  He is sharing about WestBow Press, a self publishing division of Thomas Nelson.  Over the past few years, the status of self publishing has risen.

I put a lot of research into self publishing vs. traditional publishing.  Blogs, articles, and author friends of mine had a lot of different advice.  Some said to stay far away from self publishing.  Others said that self publishing is an excellent option.

For me it came down to a few things that helped me make this decision:

  1. The idea of being an author and an entrepreneur is attractive to me.  I like the idea of being in business for myself and ultimately being responsible for my success.
  2. It is also attractive to me to work with a division of Thomas Nelson.  I will be able to use their expertise and name recognition.
  3. I did not want to wait the length of time that it probably would take to go through the traditional publishing process of writing queries, hiring an agent, and finding a publishing house that would accept my manuscript.

Ultimately, the decision was mine to make.  But as I was on the phone with the WestBow representative, I felt very strange.  She even commented about how I did not seem very excited.  Believe me, I am excited!

The strange emotion lasted for most of the day.  Finally, as I was getting ready for bed, I processed with my wife what I thought was going on inside of me.  Why did I feel so strange?

I decided that making this commitment made everything seem more real.  Another thought lingered around the edges of my mind – “Do I really want to take the risk of sharing some of my life, my story, my passions?”

The answer is yes.  But, I do not take what I am doing lightly.

I appreciate everyone’s encouragement to follow my dream of writing.  Will you help me get the word out.  Like me on my FB page – Adopting a Father’s Heart – the book. You can do so by looking to your right on the sidebar.

Follow me on Twitter.  And join me on LinkedIn.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and Google+.  All of these are on the header of my home page.

Enjoy the video!

 

 

 

 

Personal Branding

I promised in my last blog post that I would share some of what I am learning about marketing which leads me to this title – Personal Branding.

When I began to embrace the idea of being a writer about one year ago after many years of encouragement from others, especially my wife, I had no idea of what all would be entailed.

As I wrote in my last blog about being a little bit overwhelmed by all of the publishing options that are available today for an aspiring author, I also find myself feeling the same way about the whole idea of self marketing.

With the growth of social media, the ability and opportunity to present yourself, your voice, your message in a consistent manner is incredible.

I have had a few factors that caused me to be resistant to the whole social media scene.  First of all, being in my early 50’s , I am used to more of a face to face way of networking.  I want to know who I am talking to just as much as that person probably likes being able to know me as well.  I like to look into the eyes of the person I am talking to.

Secondly, I have been overly protective of my online identity.  A couple of reasons for that.  One is that I have done missionary work in some countries where it was prudent to be “unknown”.  The other reason is that I have not wanted to be naiive about online relationships.  I know that it can be fun and sometimes beneficial to reconnect with old friends and create new friendships.  But, I have chosen to not go there out of respect of my marriage.  I believe it is important for me to build strong hedges.

Thirdly, and not lastly, but all I will share here, is that I have avoided the social media world so that I would not become addicted to it.  I have friends, as I am sure you do too, that spend countless hours on their social media sites.  I know myself too well.  Because I can easily become OCD about things, I made a decision to not even be tempted by it.

All these things were true because I viewed social media mainly as just that, a “social” activity.  I understood that it could be very useful for someone who was networking for business or politics, etc.  But, I had not seen the value for me until now.

Finally, I am getting around to the objective of this blog!  I am learning that I am not just writing a book, or hopefully, books.  I am beginning to form a business around who I am and what I have to say.

Now, I am beginning to see the tremendous value of creating personal brand.  And, social media is a powerful way of getting the word out about that brand.

As I mentioned in the last blog, Michael Hyatt has a lot good information on his blog about this topic.  www.michaelhyatt.com.  He even has taken a lot of his blog posts on the subject and has written a book about it – Platform – Getting Noticed in a Noisy World.

I found a lot good supporting and additional online also about personal branding.  Just a few of the general tips I have learned are:

  • Know who you are.
  • Know what your message is or you want it to be.
  • Be consistent in your message.
  • Know your audience and how to connect to them.

So, this is where I find myself.  I laid in bed the other night processing out loud with my wife about creating my personal brand and platform.  I less overwhelmed and becoming more excited about developing my personal brand.

Stay tuned to see how I roll it out in the weeks to come.

 

More research on publishing options

As I near completion of my manuscript, I continue to research publishing options.  The more I research, the more options I seem to find.  The first decision that I need to make is whether I want to go the traditional publishing house route or the quickly expanding self publishing route.

If I go the traditional publishing route, then I should strongly consider contracting a literary agent.  Someone who understands the publishing world and has the necessary contacts.  Being a beginner author, this relationship would be crucial for me.

Traditional publishing houses understandably receive tons of requests to review new manuscripts.  Because there are only so much time in a day, most manuscripts that are submitted without some kind of relationship already in place get quickly rejected.  It is not that the book is not a good one, it is just not the best way of acquiring a book deal in today’s marketplace.

If I go the self publishing route, I need to decide how much I want to partner with a publisher.  Many of the traditional publishing houses now have developed a division dedicated to self publishers offering them various packages in helping with the process.

My friend, Lance, turned me onto Michael Hyatt’s blog – www.michaelhyatt.com.  Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest publishers in North America.  His blog offers tons of great advice for authors, both experienced and novice.

Here is some advice he gave in a blog about deciding if self publishing is for you:

  • You are passionate about your book idea but can’t seem to find a publisher or agent who “gets it.”
  • You are weary of the rejection letters and just want to get your book into print—now!
  • You really don’t care about selling a gazillion copies and becoming famous. You just want something to give to your family and friends.
  • You are a public speaker and need a book to sell at your events.
  • You want a published book to explain your business philosophy and provide a “calling card” for prospective clients.
  • You know that even if a publisher agrees to publish your book, you are probably not going to get A-list treatment. You might as well do it yourself and keep the lion’s share of the profits.
  • You are the pastor of a church and want something to drive your sermon series more deeply into the life of your congregation.

I am not sure if any of these fit my situation exactly, as I have yet to try the traditional publisher route.

Another great piece of advice that Michael Hyatt gives is about the importance of self marketing regardless of the publishing route that I choose.  I will blog more next time about what I am learning about all of that.