During the turmoil of 2020, a lot of people turned to podcasts to enjoy some education and entertainment unrelated to the pandemic.
The popularity of podcasts is only set to continue as people look for quality, in-depth listens that are more mentally nourishing than scrolling through social media. No matter the topic you want to learn about, there’s probably a perfect podcast out there for you.
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing some of the best and brightest over the years on the Self Publishing School podcast.
Today, I’d like to share four quotes and ideas from my guests. If you take action on them, they will help you experience even more success, whether you write fiction or nonfiction.
May these ideas serve you well in the year ahead!
“It’s about taking what you are teaching in a book and putting it into a format that could reach a greater audience” – Hal Elrod
Too often, authors see their book as a final product and move on to writing the next one.
In some situations, there’s nothing wrong with that, but in others, it’s shortsighted.
If you want to reach as many people as you can with the message of your book, consider repackaging its contents into another format.
In my interview with Hal Elrod, he talked about how making a movie from his book The Miracle Morning allowed its message to reach far more people. But what if you can’t make a movie? Can you still offer the teachings of your work in a new, more accessible format?
Absolutely! Here are just a few ways to consider repacking the content of your book to reach and serve more people:
- Online course. Online courses are more popular than ever with a lot of the world either under lockdown or looking to switch their work and employment to a virtual, remote lifestyle. Consider offering a companion course to your book to help people benefit from its wisdom more deeply.
- Video series. A lot of people will gladly watch YouTube but won’t take the time to read a full book. Could you offer a bitesize, video version of some of your book’s most important lessons? It might help people who would never have otherwise heard of you.
- Social media content. Social media isn’t going away anytime soon. Can you share nuggets of wisdom from your full book in a social media format that might inspire new audiences to then check out the full thing?
If your mission is to serve and reach as many people as possible, don’t limit yourself to just a book. Think about new formats to maximize your impact.
“Learning I needed space to do that kind of thinking and do that kind of writing – that was a big lesson I learned” – David Allen
When it comes to productivity, you could do a lot worse than listening to David Allen.
I had the privilege of interviewing him, and one of the key messages he shared that I feel is most pertinent to writers was the importance of the right space for deep thinking and work.
If you’ve been writing for some time, you are probably conscious that your output can vary greatly. There are some days when writing feels effortless, and others when it is the hardest thing in the world.
While we can’t always control how productive we feel, there is a lot we can do to boost our output.
To help you discover the best place for you to carry out deep, focused work such as writing, take the time to answer these three quick questions.
- Where? Where do you like to write best? Some people need a quiet, private environment, while others prefer the hustle and bustle of a busy coffee place. If you’re not sure, take the time to experiment. You might just find the place you’ve always chosen to write in isn’t where you do your best work.
- When? Which time of day is the most productive for you? A lot of writers find their productivity peaks in the morning while others favor the still of the night to get their work done. If you don’t yet know your optimal time, write at different times of day and track your output until you find the right solution for you.
- What? What tool or app do you like to write with? Maybe you prefer a fully-featured writing app on a desktop computer. Or perhaps a minimalist word processor running offline to minimize distractions is best for you. Some people still opt for pen and paper for first drafts. Take the time to find a tool that gives you the best results.
Recognize not only the need for proper space to do your best work, but also take the time to determine exactly what that space looks like for you.
“A lot of times, when you go traditionally published, they tell you what to put in your book, and I didn’t want anyone to tell me what to put in my book as I know how to help my audience the best” – Pat Flynn
If you want to experience serious levels of success in the online business world, you could do a lot worse than listening to Pat Flynn.
Flynn is one of the smartest minds out there when it comes to generating passive income. He’s also a bestselling author who has improved countless lives through his work.
When I chatted with Pat, I asked him why he chose to self-publish Will It Fly rather than opting for a traditional publishing route. He explained that we felt that it was the best way to convey his brand authentically and retain full control over how to best serve his audience.
Often, I find that aspiring authors don’t have the same level of knowledge about the pros of being an indie author as Pat does. Here are five of my favorite reasons to opt for the indie rather than the traditional publishing path.
- Content. Choosing to self-publish means you are the only person who has a says about what your book will contain.
- Collaborations. If you get a traditional publishing deal, you will probably have limited to no say over who you work with. Indie authors can collaborate at will.
- Marketing. A lot of traditionally-published authors end up carrying out marketing through gritted teeth as it’s unaligned with their values or style. When you self-publish, you can market when and where you want.
- Price. You can set your own price and promotion strategy as an indie author. That’s not the case when a big publisher is calling the shots
- Schedule. Traditional publishing is not only slow but restrictive. Even Stephen King got frustrated with being held back and invented a pen name so he could release more books. Indie authors have full freedom to be as prolific as they like.
Never let anyone make you feel that self-publishing is an inferior choice. Hold on to the examples of heroes like Pat Flynn if you need to remind yourself of why it rocks.
“The fear of judgment is massive. What people might think of me when they read my books” – Joanna Penn
Last, let’s finish with some mindset advice from the legendary indie author Joanna Penn.
Joanna writes bestselling fiction and nonfiction and we had a chat about her thoughts on each.
One thing she mentioned was her fear of putting herself out there in her fiction. She mentioned that nonfiction is written directly to the reader so is more about helping them than sharing one’s personal views. But when it comes to fiction, we inadvertently express our deep opinions and views.
Aside from the technical craft of writing, getting comfortable with expressing yourself as an artist is a huge key to success.
So how can you start to overcome your fear of judgment?
One thing that helps is to put yourself in the shoes of a typical reader. Think back to some fiction books you read. Were you more focused on enjoying the story, or forming personal opinions on its author?
Usually, our fear of judgment stems from our insecurities. Most people won’t give us a second thought, and if they do, it will probably be fleeting.
Applying these ideas
I hope you continue to learn and grow throughout 2021, whether that’s by listening to podcasts or any other means.
Try and strike a balance between taking in new information from podcasts and blog posts and putting it into practice.
Too much information for its own sake is just taking up space. Instead, try to focus on learning a few key things and applying them consistently.
I wish you success with all your author goals in the year ahead.