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Building a platform online is a lot of hard work. You have to put in the time over a number of years. Johnny B Truant has done exactly that, becoming one of the top bloggers in the small business blogging niche. But then he decided to self-publish his fiction which is basically like starting again. In this interview, Johnny is amazingly honest about his experiences in marketing fiction.
Johnny B. Truant is the author of humor novel ‘The Bialy Pimps' as well as the Epic series of non-fiction ‘kick-your-ass' essays available on Kindle. He is also a popular blogger and internet entrepreneur, appearing on many top sites and also has a business building websites. [Video at the bottom of the text]
- How Johnny started with creative writing, but didn't pursue it as a career choice. He wrote his first novel 12 years ago but then started writing copy and articles for hire. Then he moved into websites and blogging, and later into business writing. More recently, he discovered self-publishing through people like Sean Platt who has been publishing serialized fiction and short non-fiction. [Listen to Sean's podcast interview here.]
- Johnny soul-searches about his own personal brand. He blogs about business, websites, human potential and challenges but it is all about questioning the norms and the rules. It's about breaking out of the box. So his brand can accommodate a total change of direction because he's breaking out of his own box. So the fiction has become a side event. We talk about The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (a recurring recommended book on this show!) Johnny was challenged to publish his fiction and so did release The Bialy Pimps.
- On the launch of ‘The Bialy Pimps' and how it hasn't done as well as Johnny would have liked. When you have a non-fiction niche, your audience won't necessarily carry over to a fiction audience but some people will check out the book out of curiosity or just support. Johnny started out with a free promotion but has a slow burn approach. Books online now are more or less evergreen so Johnny has more of a long term plan. There is no limited shelf space. Indies don't have to focus on a big launch, it can be an ongoing thing over time.
- The difference between fiction and non-fiction marketing. Johnny is learning and focusing on the long term building of a fiction audience, as well as writing new books. He has started a podcast with Sean Platt at SelfPublishingPodcast.com. He is also considering a blog blitz on the big name blogs but those are just ideas right now. Having an understanding of marketing in any sense is useful when coming into fiction but the launch week mentality of internet marketing is wrong with ebooks. There is a long tail with marketing over time which compounds the more books you write.
- On the Epic series of non-fiction mini-books. Johnny has also released a series of non-fiction ebooks based on big ideas, like ‘The Universe Doesn't Give a Flying F**k About You (Epic series)” It's a case of brilliant copywriting, a great headline that makes people want to buy. It was originally a blog post that was re-purposed as a book and sells more than his fiction. I bought it as I am a fan of Johnny's site and it resonated with the brand I am aware of. Johnny also included an advert for ‘The Bialy Pimps' at the back of all his non-fiction books which is always a good idea!
- Johnny B Truant is a pseudonym, used for Johnny's online profile and also for his fiction. But for Johnny, this is his persona online. So it's not a pseudonym in the way fiction writers might use one per brand. It's his online name that contains real aspects of his personality. He just wants to write what he wants to write and use the same name, regardless of genre. You can read why Johnny took a pseudonym here on Copyblogger. It was specifically about giving himself the freedom to write what he wanted without self-censoring. Johnny is a 110% version of himself. It's authentic without the boring bits.
- On creating a new blog for readers vs writers. I have done this with my new site JFPenn.com. Johnny mentions John Locke who advocates this, but Johnny prefers to keep it in one authentic place. His readers are his readers, and we don't know where our readers come from.
- The reader connects with the writer's intentions. This will help people connect to you – if you're authentic. People recognize your true motivations. Think about where you want to lead the reader. How do you want to develop the relationship? A book is not a standalone island
You can find ‘The Bialy Pimps' on Amazon and other online bookstores.
You can find Johnny at JohnnyBTruant.com and on twitter @johnnybtruant