I write about IT and web development from the business, sales and marketing angle.
written by Višnja Željeznjak on June 9, 2012
It's was my pleasure to talk to Everett Bogue, who is one of my favorite writers.
Ev is the author of Minimalist Business, a dangerous ebook that just might talk you into that thing you want to do anyway: to ditch your crappy day job and go live and work your dream from anywhere in the world.
Ev is interesting in many ways, one in particular: he publishes books the way software developers ship software. He publishes updated versions of his ebooks.
Ev was kind to answer a few questions burning inside me: about his writing process (part I of this intervew), and about building an internet marketing platform for your writing business, you're about to read right now.
You'll enjoy this part of the interview if you want to build a community and followership around your book.
Me: I believe there are three major hurdles every author must overcome to get published:
Let's talk about number 3, which is basically marketing and sales. I see many authors still clinging to old beliefs about publishing their work, namely they outsource the most vital part of their business (marketing and sales) to third parties (traditional publishers and distributors). They don't perceive themselves as "authopreneurs" and I think this is a mistake, I think every author must take his book's success into his own hands.
Imagine you were starting from scratch today, from an absolute zero. Nobody knows who you are and nobody cares.
How would you do it? What would be the first step you would take, in order to assure you have paying customers for your work?
Ev: I get this question once a week. I can never answer it. I have no idea what it’d be like to be writing to zero people. It’s been three years since I started, and the landscape has completely changed. What worked for me three years ago will not work now.
My only suggestion is to find one person you trust who really enjoys what you’re writing, but will also be honest with you when what you’ve written sucks.
It can be incredibly hard to find a person like this.
Me: What percentage of your time did you spend on marketing while you were just starting out?
Ev: I’m not sure, it’s hard to remember.
Here’s my current strategy, because I think it’s useful and relevant right now.
There’s a whole section in Minimalist Business about how to gather permission in this way on the web right now.
Me: How many readers, followers and subscribers you have right now, and how much time do you dedicate to promoting yourself today?
Ev: Readers don’t matter, dollars do. The most important metric to track, if you want to make it as a publisher in the world right now, is to track how many people actually buy the products you’re selling.
Me: Interviews work well for your bottom line. What else is working well for you?
Ev: Google+. I’m not sure why so many people are resisting joining. Anyone who isn’t on Google+ right now is becoming irrelevant by clinging to old platforms that aren’t evolving.
Me: Do you work on actively trying to find readers in any way, for example engaging people online, or actively participating in other people's communities?
Ev: I’ve tried "engaging people online", commenting up a storm makes people think they’re your friend. I have a chapter in Minimalist Business about how to identify who clients are. The basics are this:
There are three types of people who engage online.
Peers hang out with you to learn from you, but won’t buy your products because they pretty much understand what you’re teaching already.
Masters don’t care about you, they have work to do.
Friends are just chatting with you.
None of these three groups of people are your clients.
What I’ve found over the past three years is my clients aren’t chatter boxes. They’re people who buy my books, and do the work.
I don’t need to be online all day chatting with people. Whenever I’ve tried that strategy, it hasn’t been productive.
What’s productive is creating writing that benefits other people. Then it’ll spread on it’s own, because it benefits people.
Me: You're present on Google+, my favorite social channel. How much is Google+ contributing to your income, directly and exactly (for example, in percentage relative to what you earn - if you're tracking these numbers?)
Ev: The most important asset I have is the people I’ve asked permission to contact in their inboxes. There’s a lot of overlap in-between who follows me on Google+ and who receives my work to their inbox.
Me: Does Google+ have everything you as an authopreneur need from a social network, or are you missing something?
Ev: I know the Google+ team is working really hard, and they have some pretty brilliant ideas about how they want the network to evolve. I’m pretty fascinated by how they’re merging Google+ with almost every Google product I’ve used for years. I’m sure they’ll surprise me with new and interesting ways I can use the network.
Me: What platform-building strategies and tactics do you see yourself trying in the future?
Ev: I signed a personal NDA with myself, so I can’t speculate about the future. I am living pretty much day to day right now, so as things occur to me, I try them. Every day, I do the work.
Me: Do you plan to further upgrade your book "Minimalist Business"?
Ev: Yes. Like I mentioned above, Minimalist Business isn’t a bricked book. It will evolve and grow based on how my experience of the world changes. What I do have to say about it is this: if you’re waiting for the next version, you’ll be too late. Everyone who’s purchased is already implementing the work I put into the first edition, and you’re missing out.
Me: Are you working on something completely new right now? Any new books planned?
Ev: I’m always working on something new.
Maybe the most important question to ask yourself is this: what do you need to untether from before you can create something new? I always find I have an easier time coming up with what’s next when I’ve decided what I need to leave behind.
The world is changing faster and faster. In order to stay relevant, I have to keep untethering to evolve.
If you'd like to hang out with Ev, you can find him on Google+.
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