Today I want to address some of the questions that I get in my inbox on social media. It is a good question on sales and it just gave me an idea to share.
I was asked how many books I have sold so far. I did not give my friend any figures. I said I would release the figures at some point. If you’re selling something, sales figures are important but I think it depends on what you are selling. If you’re selling bread, you expect the figures to be higher because it’s a perishable product.
When I started writing books, I was not looking to sell and get immediate high sales. I knew it was a long term game. I knew I had to be patient and persistent. People don’t produce best sellers overnight unless they produce something special first time.
I have to build my profile as a writer. If I write everyday you like I’m doing now with blog posts and monthly ebooks, I will establish myself as a writer. I think everyone should write. If you can tell a story, then you can write. If you can’t do it yourself, then get a ghostwriter.
There are platforms where you pay writers for articles and even ebooks. I prefer to write them myself because no one can communicate my ideas the way I want them told. I want my personality in my stories. If ever I am to use a ghostwriter, it would have to be someone who is actually living with me and documenting my ideas.
You have to identify your strengths. What is your preferred mode of telling stories? Is it text, audio or video? I can do all three so that splits my time between writing, podcasting, and video blogging or vlogging. But where do I get the content to do this?
I tell stories about what I do. We do a ton of things on a daily basis that we never talk about. We do when we meet friends but we could be writing about the same things on a daily basis. We could create podcasts and make videos of the same.
There’s a good reason why telling stories has become very easy. It’s called the internet and social media platforms. With a smartphone and an internet connection, we can write, podcast, and produce video with just this gadget. Right now the smartphone is the grossly under- yehutilised gadget. We’re using it to largely consume content rather than produce.
I have seen videos on Instagram where the person in the video waves frantically because they’re trying to get your attention. In another video the person says hey, stop scrolling and listen to this. They want my attention. Attention is the new currency. Once you have my attention, you can try to sell me anything.
So why are we fighting for attention? The internet has democratised attention. When all we had was terrestrial radio and television, those who could make it to the studio had our attention. Advertisers used these platforms because that’s where the people’s attention was based.
The attention has now shifted to the smartphone and to social media. You’re most likely reading this blog post on a smartphone or on social media, or both. I’m writing it on an app called Ulysses on an iPhone. I like to use writing apps such as Ulysses, Scrivener, and iAWriter because of their advanced formatting functionalities. I will then publish the blog post using the WordPress app on the same iPhone.
I will need to include some pictures or graphics. For pictures I normally use www.pixabay.com app on my iPhone. For graphics I use the www.canva.com app also on my iPhone. The new iOS 11 operating system allows me to Make screencast videos on my iPhone and iPad. I show how to use these apps by recording my iPhone or iPad screen.
I have not even got out of bed yet. I can do all this first thing in the morning before I get out of bed. It doesn’t take me time to do this because I write as I think. I’m telling simple stories of what I do so I don’t need to do massive amounts of research.
The only way I complement my writing is to copy and paste my articles into Evernote so that I can use the suggested articles at the bottom of the note. These are articles generated by Evernote which have the same keywords as my blog post. I can improve my article using these and referencing them. I do this for some articles depending on whether or not I get the time.
Once published, I use www.grammarly.com on the desktop version of WordPress to make improvements to the article. I also use the www.yoast.com plugin in WordPress for search engine optimisation (SEO). This helps my website to rank better when people search for the kind of information that I publish.
If I persistently tell stories about the things I know, and use social media platforms to amplify my message, I will find people who want to pay attention to this and they will most likely buy my books. It’s that simple. We buy from people we know and trust. Social media platforms give us the opportunity to build relationships and trust. If we do what we say we are going to do, we become a more trusted brand.
We have to realise that each and every individual has now got the opportunity to behave like a media company. It means they can produce content for anyone to consume. The competition for attention is getting tougher hence some people have to do ridiculous things to get attention. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to trick people into giving you attention. You just need to produce the content that people want to consume. You can either educate or entertain or both.
I’m an educator with entrepreneurial tendencies so that makes me an edupreneur.