Back in 2007, I read ‘From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur' by Stephanie Chandler and it helped me decide to focus on building a business online. Today I am thrilled to bring you an interview with Stephanie which I was so excited about since her book really did help change my life!
This is podcast episode #157 and you can listen to the audio on blog post or check out the podcast on iTunes.
Stephanie Chandler is an author, professional speaker and publisher, named as one of the Top 100 small business influencers in 2012. As well as being the author of 5 non-fiction books, Stephanie also helps people write, publish and market their books at Authority Publishing. Her latest book is ‘ The Non-Fiction Book Marketing Plan', out this month, June 2013 and she also has the Non-Fiction Author's Association which has just launched.
- Stephanie escaped corporate America 10 years ago and opened a bookstore, but discovered that she didn't want to have a physical business pretty quickly. In the process of doing that she learned about online marketing, websites and how to sell online which was a game-changer for the business. She wrote her first non-fiction book and started being asked to speak, and started to blog before it was ‘cool' and in 2007 she moved into full-time author-entrepreneur-speaker-publisher. This is very similar to my own journey from corporate business consultant into a physical business with scuba dive charters and then eventually into writing/speaking.
- How neither Stephanie or I have a degree in marketing but we have both learned along the way. It's about learning from other people and modelled what works, as well as wanting to be successful and playing with what's fun. But it is also about doing the work and putting in the time. Many people don't want to do this.
- You can still stand out in this crowded market as most people still don't know what they're doing. A good blog and social media directed at your target market, help your audience and produce great content. Certainly this works for non-fiction niches, as people are looking for information. For fiction, you have to look at the themes that run through your work and also you as the author and create interesting content based on that to draw people in.
- Mistakes people make: they get frustrated way too quickly and give up too soon. Blogging for example is a long-term commitment to consistency in order to build up credibility and search engine optimization. You have to commit to this kind of marketing for the long haul. Your book doesn't have an expiration date, so you can market it and sell it for years. Plan for the marathon. Watch less TV to make time. (Giving up TV is one of my tips as well!) Even NY Times bestselling authors have day jobs, so not having time is not an excuse. You have to play with your schedule to make time for your priorities. Stephanie and I have different views on what kind of writing ages. I think that non-fiction needs updating and rewriting, but fiction/stories don't age over time.
- Does traditional media sell books? This varies a lot but Stephanie mentions that unless it is newsworthy and current, you're unlikely to do really well. We both discuss how traditional media hasn't sold a lot of books for us personally. Media is a gamble and focusing on blogging is far more important. Readers of blogs trust buy recommendations, plus the buy link is just a click away whereas on TV and radio, there's no immediacy.
- On discovering your niche and what book you should write as a non-fiction author. Focus on narrowing down your niche as much as possible. Specificity scares people because they think they are turning people off, but specificity actually makes it easier to connect with people, as they self-identify. Narrowing your focus will make you far more successful, and then you can relate this to your book title. Using your keywords in your sub-title is critical so you show up in Amazon searches and on Google. Your book title shouldn't be an emotional decision, it should be about search. I talk about changing my book title to Career Change: Stop hating your job, discover what you really want to do with your life and start doing it!
- Marketing as a long-term career strategy – it's not about selling one book, it's about the opportunities that the book can bring for non-fiction authors and the long-term career for fiction authors. If you have a non-fiction book, then you can expand that into other business opportunities e.g. online products, speaking, events and consulting. The important thing is to focus on a specific niche. If you have expertise, you can teach that to others. Speaking is a great way to expand your business and is an important skill for authors. It's worth learning this professionally.
- Stephanie's last book was ‘Own your own niche: Hype-Free internet marketing techniques to establish authority in your field and promote your service-based business'. You can be successful with sales online without irritating people and being spammy. Stephanie gives a few examples. You definitely need an email subscriber list. Give great content, be useful or entertaining. It's simple, but it's not easy.
- Stephanie has just launched the Non Fiction Author's Association as a way to help and support authors. We talk about organically growing a community and how that happens over time. We also discuss co-opetition – helping each other in the community, even within the same niche and also about the positive vibe that we both enjoy online.
You can find Stephanie at her site: StephanieChandler.com and also at her publisher site, Authority Publishing. She's also on twitter @bizauthor