How I Helped This Author Grow Her Platform From Scratch

Today I want to share the specific steps I took to help a first-time author establish her platform and release her book. The topline results of our work together so far:

  • Her book was released this week. It hit #1 New Release in the Divorce category on Amazon.
  • She now manages a thriving private community of 1,350+ people. Imagine what it must feel like to see your readers share photos of themselves with your book two days after it is released. To not just hope your book is reaching people, but to see it. That is what this author has experienced this week.
  • She has 2,500+ people who like her Facebook Page, with lots of engagement. This is not about just gaining likes. The other day she shared an 800 word post that 31 people shared to their own friends and family. She has been focused on truly connecting her writing with people in a meaningful way.

Reminder: Tomorrow is the final day to register for my 4-week Be the Gateway program. Get personalized feedback from me each week to establish your author platform. Register here.


But there is so much more that she has accomplished too, which I will get into below. Okay, meet Whitney Boole. She’s a therapist who helps clients who struggle with issues including depression, anxiety, relationship struggles, codependency, infidelity, parenting, trauma, addiction, and grief and loss. This is Whitney and her book, You Got This: Healing Through Divorce.

Whitney Boole

When she came to me, she had written a first draft of the book, but had no online platform as an author. Like most writers I speak with, she was incredibly busy. Quite frankly, I am astounded by all that she does in life, it is truly inspiring.

For the work that she and I did together to establish her author platform and launch her book, I want to highlight two particular things that we did. I often recommend that an author should pick one or two specific things to focus most of their attention on in order to not spread themselves too thin, and to ensure that they are creating a meaningful connection with readers.

Too many writers try to do it all. They read a list of 100 marketing tactics, and they end up trying all 100 of them with the minimum amount of effort. The results are always the same… an overwhelmed author whose work was a mile wide, but only an inch deep. Vast, but with disappointing results overall.

The two specific things that I want to highlight which made all of the difference:

  1. The creation of a private Facebook group called You Got This: Healing Through Divorce. Early on in our work together, Whitney and I analyzed which social networks would be best suited to reach her ideal audience. It’s easy to justify any of them, but we finally concluded that Facebook had the right balance. So she doubled down on Facebook.

    The private group was created so that Whitney can provide people a place to come together and get support around a complicated topic: divorce.

    The result is that 1,350 people have come together to get advice, to cheer each other on, to go deep when needed, and give each other a good laugh when needed.

    It’s Whitney’s group, she sets the ground rules, she encourages certain conversations and shares her own advice when appropriate.
    To see this community come together from 0 to 1,350 is astounding.

    In the process, Whitney has heard from her readers again and again about what they need most. This has allowed her to not just tailor her messaging to meet their needs, but she actually wrote an additional chapter for the book at the last minute based on topic that she saw come up again and again in the group.

    This group has created meaningful human connections around Whitney and her writing. I don’t have the words to express how powerful that is.

  2. The second thing that Whitney did that made all the difference is to break the rules in order to go deep with her audience.

    I have helped thousands of writers get started on social media, and in that process, I have seen an endless stream of articles about “best practices” for using social media. You know, articles with headlines like “If you are doing this on Facebook, you are doing it wrong!” Or “241 tips to go viral on Facebook.” Or “The data is in, this is what science says works best (and what works worst) to succeed on social media.”

    Bleh.

    Instead, Whitney has been experimenting with a wide range of different ways to engage her ideal audience on her Facebook page. Links, photos, quotes, etc.

    Because her work is about truly helping people, she also breaks the rules in order to go deep.

    This Facebook post is 800 words, and even includes a photo that has words in it, which I have read Facebook doesn’t like. The result? 31 people shared it.

    When she shared a post just before her book came out about how terrified that made her feel, she had 70 people share it with their friends. This wasn’t a promotional piece, there was no link to the book or even a mention of the title.

    The ‘share’ is a powerful thing. It’s not just a ‘like’ where you click and move on. When someone shares your post, they are advocating for your work to the people closest to them: their friends and family.

    Again and again, Whitney goes deep and tries to connect with her readers in meaningful ways.

Beyond these two specific tactics, she and I worked through the processes I share again and again in my blog, podcast, and programs:

  • We got radically clear on her messaging.
  • We refined her public presence to include her work as an author, not just therapist who is in private practice.
  • We did deep research in identifying her ideal audience.
  • We studied the marketplace to understand who reached that audience, who were her colleagues.
  • We setup social media channels and created a content strategy of what to share.
  • She did direct outreach to total strangers who share the same mission she does.
  • We took a close look at her existing network and how to best encourage them to be a part of all of this.
  • She wrote blogs.
  • She learned how to be on camera and record videos.
  • She did her first Facebook Live event.
  • We strategized how every part of her platform connects to potential business goals down the road.
  • We went through the decisions in book production from cover design to book description and so much else.
  • She clicked “publish” and “send” on dozens and dozens of items to connect her mission to the people who would appreciate it most.

The platform you create for your writing and the ways that you connect with your ideal readers will be unique to you. That is why I am such a big advocate for not doing all of this work alone, of finding a collaborator or community to help you through it. That’s why in everything I offer, I truly show up to work with you. To ensure you feel heard. Where you get feedback consistently. Where you can brainstorm ideas based on your goals. Where you have a safe space to ensure that the ways you engage with your ideal audience are based on a meaningful human connections.

Whitney’s work has inspired me, and I hope she has inspired you as well. You can listen to me talk through all of this on my podcast by clicking ‘play’ below, or in the following places:

Thank you.
-Dan

P.S. The process I shared above part of my Be the Gateway methodology and program. Join me for 4-weeks starting Monday May 13th where I help you work through this. Register here.