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#ContentWritingChat, best-selling author

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Becoming a Best-Selling Author in a Digital Age with Kristin Smedley

Are you an author or thinking about writing your very first book?

If so, there’s a good chance that you aspire to become a best-selling author! You want to get your book in the hands of tons of people around the world. That’s the dream when you’re a writer, isn’t it?

Well, we wanted to get some tips on how to do just that, so we invited a best-selling author to guest host our Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, and share her expertise!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Becoming a Best-Selling Author in a Digital Age with Kristin Smedley

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Kristin Smedley. Kristin is a CEO, a TEDx speaker, and a best-selling author. The Kindle edition of her book, Thriving Blind, debuted as a #1 New Release and a #2 Best Seller on Amazon. And the paperback version debuted as a #1 New Release as well!

Q1: Q1: Why should people consider becoming an author in 2020? And how do you know if writing a book is a great path for you to take?

If you’ve been on the fence about writing a book this year, let us convince you! Our chat participants shared the benefits of becoming an author and it’s sure to leave you feeling motivated to write!

Kristin feels a book is a great way position yourself as a leader in your industry. It’s also a fantastic way to serve your audience and provide value to them. She also went on to share that books can provide content for your social media platforms, your blog, and more since they can be repurposed into quotes, chapter summaries, and other options.

And of course, writing a book can definitely add some cash to your bank account, which is always a plus. Kristin mentioned that it might not be a huge revenue stream, but every little bit counts!

The resident author here at Express Writers, our CEO Julia McCoy, said that writing a book is the best kind of content you can create if you want to create a long-lasting presence. You can see her with all three of her book babies in the photos above!

A book can lead to many amazing opportunities, as Michelle mentioned in her tweet. If you’re looking to get into public speaking, starting with writing a book could be a huge help to get your career as a speaker off the ground.

Carla feels that everyone has a story to tell. So, the question is, are you ready to tell yours? She suggests examining the market and seeing if there’s anything new you could add through creating a book of your own.

Q2: Once you’ve decided to write a book, should you consider self-publishing? What are the pros of doing it on your own?

When publishing a book, you can really go one of two ways. And when it comes to self-publishing, it’s certainly increased in popularity over the years. It’s made it even easier for people around the world to become authors. But before you go all in, there are some things you should keep in mind:

Kristin self-published her first book, Thriving Blind. Doing so allowed her to see first-hand the difficulties in getting braille books for blind readers. She even plans to self-publish her next two books because she feels the process is fairly easy and she’s confident in her marketing skills. Being able to market your own book is crucial if you want to become a best-selling author through self-publishing.

Self-publishing is certainly for those who want all the freedom!

Maria feels self-publishing is beneficial because it gives the author more control and freedom when it comes to making decisions about the book. If you’re feeling good about taking everything into your own hands, self-publishing could be a great option for you.

Julia agrees that you’ll have full control over everything when it comes to your book if you go the self-publishing route. That means any changes, artwork, etc. all fall on you. Plus, getting to keep a larger percentage of your royalties is definitely a bonus.

Q3: Do you have any tips for the writing process to ensure you’re staying motivated and inspired?

Let’s be real. The writing process isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s downright challenging! So, if you need some help staying on track with your writing goals, keep this advice in mind:

Kristin suggests holding yourself accountable by telling other people that you’re writing a book. Share it with your online community, as well as friends and family. It gets them interested in what you’re working on and they just might check in on your progress from time to time!

She also put a “Best-Selling Author” logo on her vision board, which she sees every day. This served as a reminder of what she’s working toward and surely adds some extra motivation when you’re not feeling called to sit down and write.

Some other suggestions from Kristin to keep those creative juices flowing… Do you when it comes to your writing schedule, such as how much and how frequently you write. Also, become an active member of online groups that will benefit from your book. Observe their conversations and get to know them.

Julia finds it beneficial to have scheduled writing times that coordinate with when you’re most productive. If you’re an early bird that gets things done first thing, make this your writing time.

She also suggests avoiding writing when you’re burnt out (taking time for rest is important), stay hydrated and nourished, and make sure you sign offline to give yourself a break from the internet on occasion.

Remember who you’re doing this for. Think about your book being in the hands of your ideal readers and how game-changing this book will be in their lives. That’s sure to inspire you!

Also, don’t forget to keep a journal nearby because you never know when inspiration will strike!

Q4: What tools are going to be beneficial in the writing and publication process?

As you dive into writing and publishing, there are some things you’ll want to have in your toolbox to help the process go smoothly. Here are some recommendations:

Kristin relies on the Notes app, as well as Post-it Notes and a whiteboard. She also shared a very important reminder that it’s smart to have an external hard drive to keep everything backed up and safe.

Evernote is also another handy tool for brainstorming, storing ideas, and even writing if you want!

Julia’s go-to tools include notepads and journals, her Apple computer, Scrivener app, Google Docs, and an amazing team for additional support.

You really can’t go wrong with Google Docs! It’s all about using what works for you.

Q5: How can you be sure your book is actually going to appeal to your audience and provide value?

As you’re writing your book and well on your way to becoming a best-selling author, you may be wondering if this book is actually going to be interesting to your audience. Well, if you find yourself asking this question, here’s what you need to know:

Q6: Once your book is finished, how can you spread the word and gain more readers?

Now that it’s time to drive sales so you can become that best-selling author you’ve been dreaming about, there are some tips you need to know about spreading the word!

Kristin’s first tip is to start spreading the word early… Before you’ve even finished the book!

She also suggests building an email list so you have somewhere to promote the book and update them on your writing progress. Kristin also had some other great ideas like reaching out to bloggers in your niche and pitching yourself for podcast interviews.

Michelle knows the promotion stage is where some PR really comes in handy. She says to put together a press kit, a media list, and start pitching. Another option is to participate in book giveaways, plan a launch party (it can even be virtual), and have readings/signings at local bookstores.

Julia knows it’s all about the email list. She wrote a five-day launch campaign via email when her book launched where she shared her story and asked for reviews.

Besides email, make sure you’re spreading the word via social media. In order to become a best-selling author, you need to tell the world about your book!

Q7: For Kristin Smedley: What are some unique things you did in self-publishing your book, Thriving Blind?

Kristin really got creative when it came to self-publishing her book. Here are some of the things she did:

Kristin took some extra steps to get books published in electronic Braille. She won a Twitter contest where money was donated to create the Braille version of her book. And she even enlisted the help of her 6th grade English teacher to edit the book, while getting a former classmate to do the cover.

Want to join in for the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens on Twitter on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated!

turn your content into a book

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Turn Your Content Into a Book with Leah Ingram

Have you ever thought about turning your content into a book? If so, you might be wondering how to get started with this process! In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, this is exactly what we talked about.

We talked about what you need to do first if you want to write a book, the pros and cons of working with a publisher versus self-publishing, and more! If this chat is right up your alley, keep reading for out recap. It’s loaded with all the tips you need.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Turn Your Content Into a Book With Leah Ingram

Our guest host this week was Leah Ingram. Leah is a regular #ContentWritingChat participant, so we were thrilled to have her guest hosting. As a writer, she had a lot of amazing tips to help you create a book of your very own.

Q1: Why would you want to turn your content into a book?

Whether you’ve already been thinking about writing a book or you’re not convinced it’s worthwhile, this first question is for you. We asked everyone to share why they felt writing a book could be beneficial. Check out some of the responses:

Leah feels writing a book is a great way to build your platform as an expert within your niche.

Writing a book allows you to reach a new audience through a different medium, which is always a plus.

Julia said publishing a book instantly gives you authority in your niche. She was able to land a paid speaking gig and even secure new clients from publishing her own book.

For Carla, she felt a book was a beneficial way to answer all the questions she was commonly asked.

A book is a great way to put everything into one place, which makes it easier for your audience to consume.

As Ken said, portability is another benefit of writing a book. With all of your best content in one place, it’s easy for your audience to read and take with them wherever they go.

Q2: How do you know that your content is something your audience will be interested in?

Before you get started with a book, you want to make sure the topic you choose is something your audience will value. If they aren’t interested, they won’t buy! Here’s how you can make sure your book will be a hit with your target audience:

If you’re receiving a lot of comments or traffic on certain types of content, Leah said that’s a good sign you’ve got a winner. This is a great way to get started when turning your content into a book.

Make sure you’re listening to your audience. Take their feedback into consideration and allow it to guide your content.

Sarah’s advice is to research what your audience is responding to and sharing. This gives you a good idea of what their interests are so you can create the content that resonates.

If you aren’t sure what your audience truly wants, there are a few great options for you. Carla suggests doing surveys, asking questions, checking blog comments, and even viewing your Google Analytics. Discover what’s been a hit with your audience and go from there.

If you’re going to be repurposing some of your blog content as a book, that’s already going to be a good indicator of your audience’s interest. Were people sharing those posts or leaving comments? Those are signs that they liked what you were sharing.

Never be afraid to just ask your audience what they want. If you have an idea, present it to them to get their feedback.

Q3: What comes first — the book idea, the agent, or the publisher?

Do you need a book idea first or should you secure an agent or a publisher beforehand? To help answer this question, here’s some feedback from the chat:

Leah has always relied on traditional publishing, so she would create an idea first, then find an agent, and finally a publisher.

Iain recommends starting with a book idea. You want to have a topic that your audience will find valuable.

Julia said the book idea always comes first. She feels everything else will fall into place from there.

Carla starts with a book topic, plans out her idea, and then begins pitching.

Without an idea, there’s no book to be written!

As Tony said, it’s pretty hard to get someone to back you if you don’t have a great idea first.

Q4: How do you stay organized and productive throughout the writing process?

Once it’s time to start writing, you could use some tips to help you stay on track! Here are some organizational and productivity tips you can use:

Leah recommends setting daily word limits to give yourself a goal to work towards. This will keep you on track and ensure you’re making progress every day.

Don’t forget to block off writing time on your schedule!

Once you’ve got your writing time blocked off in your calendar, make sure you eliminate any distractions. You need to just focus on your writing.

You can get started by creating an outline of your ideas first. It’ll make the writing process much easier.

Julia recommends writing to match your flow, pacing yourself, and committing to deadlines.

Devin also sees the value in deadlines. They’ll ensure you’re progressing and staying on track.

Having a journal or a planner is a great way to jot down ideas and deadlines for yourself. It’s nice to have all of that information in one place for easy access.

Sarah said you should have a writing system in place. You can set deadlines to meet your goals. And make sure you’re taking breaks when needed to give yourself a mental reboot.

Whenever you get stuck, walk away from your writing for a bit. Do something else to refresh your mind and then come back to it later.

Q5: What are the pros and cons of working with a publisher versus self-publishing?

These days, many writers are choosing to skip working with a publisher in favor of self-publishing. There are benefits and downsides to both, so here’s what you need to know:

Leah said she’s more inspired when she already has an advance.

Working with a publisher gives you access to a wide array of contacts that can increase the visibility of the book, but that publisher will get some of your money from sales.

As Julia said, you can make more royalties with self-publishing.

Ken said that a publisher will hopefully set money aside for marketing, which is a major plus. If you go the self-publishing route, that task falls on your shoulders.

A publisher can also help keep you on track with deadlines, but some writers might not like having deadlines to meet.

With self-publishing, it’s all up to you. You have to be prepared to write, edit, and promote all on your own.

Q6: Once your book has been completed, what’s the next step? How do you spread the word?

Your book is done. Now what? To spread the word and increase sales on your book, check out these tips:

Social media, print, TV, radio, and guest posting are all great options to get your book out there.

You can reach out to your own network of friends and colleagues to help you with promotion. Influencers in your niche are a great way to expand your reach as well.

Your connections and influencers can really help get your book in front of more people.

Ken suggests engaging in online forms and on blogs. You want to put in the work before your book is released to build your audience and increase anticipation.

Utilize your social media outlets, network, and schedule TV and radio appearances.

Javier recommends running promotions that offer chapters for free or exclusive content. This is a great way to encourage sales and pique the interest of your audience.

Telling friends is great, but sometimes they won’t be your target audience. Make sure you’re spreading the word to people who would be most interested.

Q7: How do you actually make money once you’ve written a book (beyond an advance if you’ve gotten one)?

Your book is out there in the world and now you’re probably wondering how you can make money with it. Check out this advice for some great tips:

Leah makes money through her spokesperson income, as her books have helped her land gigs. She also suggests getting magazine assignments to continue building your platform.

For Julia, it’s all about the royalties that come in. She makes residual monthly income from her book.

You could even consider turning some of your book content into webinars that potential readers could tune into. The webinar should leave them wanting to buy your book. You can also run ads or land speaking engagements.

Make sure you continue spreading the word about your book via social media. Don’t forget about it!

As Cheval said, your book could help you land clients for your business. If your competition hasn’t written a book, you’re sure to stand out.

Zachary recommends building a website to continue growing your brand and to also try speaking gigs.

Q8: Any final advice on successfully turning your content into a book?

To close out the chat, we asked everyone to share their final tidbits on how to turn your content into a book. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Leah’s advice is that you shouldn’t try to go it alone. Having an agent can be a great support system for you as you write your book.

Work hard, set deadlines, and make sure you get an editor. These are important reminders from Iain!

Julia said you shouldn’t rush the process. It’s going to take time, so put in the effort that’s required. She also said to create a book you’re proud of.

Believe in yourself!

Katie said you shouldn’t force your content into a book format if it’s just not working out. You might find that something isn’t best as a book, which is totally okay.

Want to join our next #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat, then join us every Tuesday at 10 AM Central!