The #1 Secret to Becoming a Better Writer

This video will reveal the #1 Secret to becoming a better writer.

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The Secret Process to Unlimited Content for Writers

In this video I share the secret process successful writers use to have unlimited content.

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Run Your Own Race (Encouragement for Frustrated Writers)

In this video, I want to encourage the frustrated writers and share the route to success.

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The #1 Secret to Becoming a Better Writer

This video reveals the #1 secret to becoming a better writer

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6 Reasons Most Self-Published Authors Fail

The average self-published author will only sell 250 copies of his book, according to Forbes. This means all that work, all the struggle to produce and self-publish a book, on average, will produce 250 customers. The average is just that: an average. Some books will sell more and some will sell less. Most of the authors that sell 250 copies or less make the same mistakes. The following is a list of the reasons most self-published authors fail to beat average.

#1 No Built-In Audience

The biggest factor in selling books is having a following and built-in audience. The reason publishing houses love books by celebrities is simple. They have an audience that is hungry to buy whatever they produce.

The most successful self-published authors build an audience through their blogs. The blog acts as a hub where the author can share his expertise and create connections with his audience. If you do not have a blog that you regularly post valuable content to, stop everything and start one today.

Click on this sentence to read a blog post related to this subject titled “5 Magnetic Blog Posts Readers Love.”

#2 No Email List

The best way to communicate with your audience, as it grows, is through email. The email list gives you the ability to communicate directly with your audience without the filter or algorithm of social media.

Services like MailChimp and Aweber give you the ability to build a list through your blog with little effort. The main reason to have a blog, or to do any of the other suggestions I will make, is to capture your ideal client’s email address. The email list gives you control of your future and is a must for all successful authors.

Click on this sentence to read a blog post I wrote about this titled “5 Ways Authors Can Grow Their Email List.”

#3 No Social Media Presence

Social media has become an essential tool in author promotion. Social media gives the author the ability to find an audience. The key is to share relevant and quality content on social media that will be shared by others to help you grow your following.

This is a great place to share blog posts that can drive traffic back to your website as well. In order for an author to succeed, she must have a social media presence in today’s environment.

Click on this sentence to read an article I wrote about this subject for Entrepreneur that has been shared thousands of times titled “7 Ways to Set Your Twitter Feed on Fire.”

#4 No Guest-Posting or Writing for Other Sites

Having your own blog is great, but if all you do is post content on your blog, it can take a long time for your ideal follower to find you. The best way to find your ideal followers today is to go where they are and give them an opportunity to find you.

Guest posting for other blogs that share similar content with yours gives your ideal follower the ability to find you and your website. Large websites also offer writers opportunities to submit articles and offer a great opportunity to reach large numbers of ideal followers in a short period of time.

Each of these options gives an author the opportunity to share a line or two about his book and his website, with links back to them at the end of the post or article.

Think of this like an opening act at a concert. The opening act has an opportunity to share its music with the headliner’s audience. If the headliner’s fans like the opening act, they will buy the music or follow the artist.

Click on this sentence to read a blog post related to this subject titled “7 Tips to Land Traffic Generating Guest Posts.”

#5 No Promotion through Podcast Interviews

The popularity of podcasts is growing daily. Unsuccessful authors wait for their ideal readers to find them. Successful authors utilize podcast interviews as a way to share information about their books on a world-wide scale. Podcast interviews, unlike radio interviews, have a shelf life. They are available on demand into the future. Podcast interviews also provide quality content and social proof on your blog and social media sites.

Click on this sentence to read a blog post related to this subject titled “6 Reasons Every Author Should Do Podcast Interviews.”

#6 No Book Launch

Book sales are all about momentum. When I first released my book, I simply released it without any preparation for the launch. The sales were dismal. I reassessed my marketing plan for my book, built a launch team, developed a launch strategy, and re-launched my book.

The re-launch of my book led to my book reaching Amazon #1 bestseller, and the sales have been steady ever since. Developing a strategic plan to launch your book is critical to its long term success.

The key to beating the averages comes down to having a strategic plan and working that plan. Book sales are a contact sport. You must be continually marketing your book in order to have success. In the comments below, please share the most effective strategies you have utilized to sell books.

To receive a free video training on how I launched my book to #1 on Amazon in multiple categories click on this sentence. 

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5 Magnetic Blog Posts Readers Love

Most great blog posts can be broken into five types or styles. Once you understand which works best for your ideal reader, you will be rewarded with more ideal readers. The following are the magnetic styles that draw more eyes and shares.

#1 The List Post

We live in a microwave society. The list post gives the reader the ability to scan the post easily to see if they want to read further. They may only read one of the points, but that one point may be the value they were looking to gain.

This post is an example of a list. The title will usually tell the number of points or ideas to be shared in the post. People love organization and the list post provides an easy-to-follow organizational structure.

If you are wondering whether or not these posts are effective, go to any website that provides content. Look at their most popular posts and odds are you will see list posts near the top of the page.

Here is an example of another one of my list posts: “Top 7 Habits of Highly Successful Writers

#2 The Collection List

The collection list is a specific type of list that generates interaction, comments, and shares. An example of this list would be this post I did, “The Top 5 Forums for Self-Published Authors.” This type of list could be for forums, podcasts, conferences, blogs, or anything else. The beauty of the collection list is the interaction it generates.

The people listed will often share the fact that they made the list with their followers. The reason they share the list is to provide more social proof for themselves. This in turn exposes the post to their audience.

This type of post also generates above-average comments. Everyone has an opinion, so if the reader feels you missed something that should have been on the list, he will usually comment to let you know.

Including a person or a site you admire in a list is a great way to get noticed and make a connection. By noticing the person or his work first, you will be noticed.


#3 The Results Post

No one wants to recreate the wheel. With results posts, your reader doesn’t have to. These posts are like science projects without the hypothesis.

AppSumo does a great job with these types of posts. This post is an example of this type of post: “The Results of the 24-hour Business Challenge.”

This type of post focuses on sharing what happened when someone did something. Insert your someone, your something, your results, and voila. The curiosity kills the cat and the reader.

#4 The How-to Post

The internet made it easy to learn how to do anything. The how-to post gives step-by-step instruction on how to do something. These posts can be used in every niche. They often involve video or audio along with text.

These posts give actionable steps to your reader, and they are often shared if the reader is able to see results quickly and with limited effort. Here is an example of a how-to post I did: “How-to Get Booked on Podcasts/Radio Shows to Amplify Your Message

#5 Woe to Win Post

Brendon Burchard says everyone relates to a “woe to win” story. The woe is a struggle you faced that your ideal reader faces as well. The woe portion of the post includes sharing your story of facing the struggle. The win portion is how you overcame the struggle and the lessons you learned.

These posts give you an ability to connect with your reader. By sharing your struggle, you become more relatable. It creates a connection with your reader that very few other strategies can produce.

The fact that you overcame the struggle is inspiring to your readers. They realize that they, too, can overcome this challenge. The connection creates community, and your readers become committed to learning more from you.

Kimanzi Constable, who cofounded “Self-Publishing Success Academy” with me, is the best I have ever seen at the “woe to win” post. This post, “The Fourth Worst Day of My Life,” is a perfect example of “woe to win.”

These are only five styles of posts that are effective. There are dozens more. Find the style that suits you best and your ideal reader will find you.

What did I miss? Share the effective styles or types of posts you use in the comment section below.


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7 Tips to Land Traffic-Generating Guest Posts

Guest posting for blogs is still one of the most effective ways for entrepreneurs or companies to build their audience. Due to the effectiveness of guest posting, the competition to land guest posts has increased.

The question becomes, “How do I stand out from the crowd?” The following are seven tips that will help you land those highly targeted guest posts that will boost your business.

#1 Get noticed

You are far more likely to land a guest post if the blogger knows you or at least knows of you. Jared Easley, the host of Starve the Doubts Podcast, says that in order to be noticed, you must first notice. Following the blogger on social media, sharing his content on your social media outlets, and commenting on his posts will land you squarely on the blogger’s radar. All of these strategies can turn a cold email pitch into a warm conversation.

#2 Give the blogger what he wants

Blogs that accept guest posts will have a guest blog information page. The blogger will tell you the topics he is looking for, a range for the word count, guidelines, and instructions for submitting the article. These are all important, but in order to stand out, take your research deeper.

Find the last five guest posts for the blog. Identify any similarities in those posts. These posts were chosen over all the other submissions. Modeling these posts can be the difference in your post being accepted.

#3 Model the style of the blog

Every blogger has a different writing style. Some write short, to-the-point posts that include lists (5 Ways to, 7 Characteristics of, or Top 6 Tools for). Others tell stories and give examples. Whatever the style for your target blog, you must adapt your writing style to that blog’s style if you want to land a guest post on that site.

#4 Model the length of other guest posts

The length of your post is critical. The blogger will give you general criteria on the guest blog information page, but in order to increase your odds for acceptance, I suggest going deeper.

Identify the last five guest posts from the blog. Copy each post individually and paste them into a Word document. Make a note of the number of words for each post. Average those word counts and that will give you an ideal target word count for your guest post.

Small details like having the perfect word count for your post can make a huge difference.

#5 Write a killer title using site keywords

The title will either catch the blogger’s attention or it won’t. This is, again, where doing your research plays a huge role in your success. Analyze the titles of the blogger’s most popular posts (usually located on the right side of blog page) and his last seven posts. Are there any keywords that show up in multiple titles? If leadership shows up in over half of the titles, then leadership is a key word you should use in your title.

Do a majority of the posts contain lists? If so, then your title should include a list that includes leadership. If you struggle with writing a great title, use free title prompt apps like The Hub Spot Title Generator or Portent’s Content Idea Generator to generate awesome titles. These tools are free and can help you write eye-catching titles.

#6 Write an epic post

All of the strategies listed above are irrelevant if you don’t write a great post. By the time you write the post, you will have read a number of the blogger’s posts, studied his format, and identified the topics that are popular with his readers.

What can you add in your unique voice? What strategies, personal experiences, or illustrations can you use to inspire and add value to the reader of this blog? Be unique. Be bold. Above all else, give them your best stuff.

The best way to land future guest posts on other blogs or repeat appearances on the target blog is to write great content. Don’t just throw something together. Invest the time to write a quality piece and your effort will be rewarded.

In the comments below, share your experiences with guest posting.

For info on how I drove my book to Amazon #1 Bestseller with a list of less than 80 people click here.

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7 Ways to Set Your Twitter Feed On Fire

This is the first article I published as a contributing writer for Entrepreneur: 7 Ways to Set Your Twitter Feed on Fire

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How to Become a #1 Bestselling Author, (Podcast Interview)

I had the privilege of being a guest of Ani Alexander on her podcast Write 2B Read. Ani is based out of Armenia and she has a worldwide audience of authors and writers. During the interview we discuss how to drive a book to #1 on Amazon. To hear the interview click here.

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8 Self-Publishing Secrets You Learned in High School

High School can be tough. You are pulling away from your parents and testing your freedom. You know enough to be dangerous, but not near as much as you think you do.

Self-publishing can be tough as well. You’re trying to figure things out. You are excited about your future as an author, but you aren’t exactly sure how it is going to work out.

The following are 8 secrets about self-publishing we all learned in high school.

#1 Firsts are special

High School is a time for firsts. Do you remember your first kiss? Maybe it was before high school for you (overachiever). Do you remember your first paycheck and the sense of accomplishment? Do you remember your first car? Firsts are special. They give you confidence. They create an inner desire to replicate those feelings.

Now evaluate your self-publishing journey. Do you remember the first time you held your published book? Do you remember your first positive review? Do you remember the first email from someone telling you how much they enjoyed your book? These memories act as markers that we can look back on during tough times.

You may feel discouraged that your book isn’t reaching enough people. Remember your firsts. Smile at those memories and do all you can to recreate them. Keep moving forward.

#2 Trying new things is worth it

High School is a time to try new things to see what you might like. Maybe you tried out for a sporting team. Maybe you were in a play. Maybe you finally tried some new food that was instantly your favorite.

Some things you try work out. Others, not so much. The key is that you will never know what you enjoy, or what works for you, if you don’t try new things.

You must continuously try new things to succeed in self-publishing. Not everything will work out, but you have to keep trying new strategies. The self-publishing industry is changing at speeds never seen before. If you do what you did last year, odds are you will fail. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and try new things.

#3 You are what you eat

We all heard this saying in high school. Maybe an adult told you something along the lines of, “You’re going to turn into a french fry if you keep eating so many of them.”

Writers are a direct reflection of what they consume. All great writers are great readers. What are you reading these days? Is it in line with who you want to become as a writer?

#4 Fitting in is overrated

The desire to be a part of the “in” crowd in high school can be overwhelming. To be a part of the “in” crowd, you have to fit in. You have to dress a certain way. Talk a certain way. You have to become less like yourself and more like them. When you lose your authenticity, you lose your identity.

You must find your unique voice in your writing. You can’t fit in. Fitting in is boring. Fitting in slowly strips you of your authenticity and, in today’s publishing, environment, transparency and authenticity are crucial. Stop trying to fit in when you were created to stand out!

#5 Hard work pays off

I played athletics in high school. I wasn’t anywhere near the most talented athlete on my teams, but I loved to compete. I heard someone say one time that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I outworked a lot of guys who were more gifted athletically than me. My hard work paid off. I landed a partial athletic scholarship to college.

I carry that same mentality over to self-publishing. You may have better grammar than me. You may have a larger vocabulary than me. But I am writing this at 1:04 a.m. while most other writers are sleeping. I will not be outworked, and that has been the key to my success. Work hard and you will get results.

#6 We all need recess

Recess was a time to relax. It was a time to step outside and get some fresh air. A time to rejuvenate.

You need these times of rejuvenation as a writer as well. A time to move around instead of staring at a computer screen all day. When you get stressed, take recess. Go outside, breathe in the fresh air, and walk around.

#7 Lunchroom seating is important

Did you ever notice how high school lunchroom seating was cliquish? The jocks sat together. The nerds sat together. The popular kids sat together. Everybody in the lunchroom spent time with people like themselves.

You need to spend time with people like yourself as well. If you want to be a better writer, spend time with other writers. Facebook Self-Publishing Groups and writing forums are a great place to connect with other authors. Make connections and watch how it inspires you to be a better writer.

#8 Don’t peak too soon

We all know the guy whose high school years were the highlight of his life. He wishes he could go back and relive the glory days. It really is sad to see him focusing on the past so much that he misses his present and future opportunities.

As an author, you can’t keep focusing on the book you published a year ago. You must always be writing your next book. I have been guilty of this in the past. I now realize the best way to support my last book is to write another one. The new book will draw new eyes that will find the last book as well. Always focus on where you are headed instead of where you have been. The best is yet to come.

What lessons did I forget? Share them in the comments section.

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