After getting her book proposal rejected by a literary agent, Jean Wise decided to put together her own “Platform Power Up 100-Day Challenge.” In this episode you will learn how to grow your online platform through consistent action.
Get the PDF transcript here:
In This Episode, You’ll Learn:
- Why an online platform is essential if you want to submit a book proposal to have your book traditionally published.
- The tool Jean used to organize her 100-day platform challenge.
- The system she used to work through her challenge on a consistent basis.
- How Jean tripled her blog traffic and grew her email list.
- Discover a tip to get increased traffic to your blog around the holidays.
- And more!
Download Jean’s Platform Power Up 100-Day Challenge here: https://jeanwise.leadpages.co/platformpowerup/
Find out more about Jean Wise here: http://healthyspirituality.org/
Enjoy the podcast! It’s my hope that these episodes are bringing you one step closer to reaching more people with your message.
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Godly Gain Segment:
Each week, I share a Godly Gain segment for entrepreneurs who want to keep Christ at the center of their business.
Today’s scripture: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
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Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below:
SHELLEY. Today I’m rolling out the red carpet and inviting you into my community for a behind the scenes look in what’s working for authors just like you. My name is Shelley Hitz and I’m the owner of AAA.com, and the most rewarding part of my job is helping others get results and reach their goals. In this episode I’m going to position the spotlight on one of my members, Jean Wise. Hi Jean, welcome.
J. High Shelley, thank you for having me today.
S. You’re so welcome, and I’m excited about this interview and the topic that you’re going to share with us about your 100 day platform challenge, it’s just so fun. So I’m going to just share a little bit about your bio before we jump in, just so people can get to know who you are. Jean is a freelance writer, speaker, retreat leader, best friend, and spiritual director. I know we all have a need for a spiritual director some times. She’s a contributing author of devotions for six compilations published by Barber, plus the solo author for Every Heart Prepare Him Room, an advent devotion, she’s published numerous magazine articles, and—this is kind of cool—a former reporter for a local daily newspaper. She has a blog, healthyspirituality.org, where you can find all about her, so much more. Welcome Jean, I’m so glad to have you.
J. Thank you, thank you.
S. So when I was talking to Jean she told me about this process she wen through and she calls it the Platform Power-up, 100 Day Challenge. I love that, because having a solid author platform is really the key, I believe, to long term success. Jean, tell us a little bit about this whole concept and how it came about for you.
J. Actually, it started, if you want to call it that, in a failure, not a success.
J. I had met a literary agent at one of the Christian writer’s conference I went to, and we really clicked. I said, “this is the one.” I just really felt this was the one that was going to sign me and I would be this world famous best selling author. I sent her my book proposal and didn’t hear, didn’t hear, and just at the first part of Summer got my letter of rejection from her. Oh, I was crushed, Shelley. It was such a sweet letter though, she was very encouraging, she said positive things about my writing, she actually went to the owner of the agency and they discussed it. I think I was almost there, but didn’t quite make her cut, found out later she is working mainly with the big houses, and her comment was, “your platform is just not big enough.” I think I was close, I don’t think I was a beginner, I was kind of maybe in an intermediate, but I needed to grow my platform larger.
You know, as Christian non-fiction writers, that is a key element. So, I was discouraged, but I decided, I’m going to send this proposal off to another person” or I was going to quit altogether, I was kind of all over emotionally about it. Then, I decided to take her words of advice to heart, what could I do to take my platform up another notch? It was around that time, I think it was a God thing more than anything else, that I found Shelley Hitz and the AAA. I just said to my husband the other day, that was the best thing I did in 2013, to become a member of your academy, just for all the things that you’ve taught and shared with us.
S. I love hearing that.
J. So thank you.
The modules that you shared, the mind map system and you shared the free mind, free mind, I think that is the name of that application you use. What I started doing was brain dumping and collecting a lot of thoughts, and then I put them into a mind map and literally created a really complicated mind map. The middle one I named Platform Power Up 100-Day Challenge, counted out my days—by this time it was just about the end of September—counted out the days and it took me about this time as the 100 days. My nodules on the side—if anybody is familiar with the mind map there is one core piece, and that was the title of this, and then the next nodules on the side—they were social media, my blog, speaking, products, ebooks, books, and expanding expertise. Then, I just had a whole lot of to-dos branching out from there.
I think that one thing that was a little different about this process was that I ran this off every month and highlighted what was going to be my priorites each month, and I picked one or two kind of big ones that was going to take some time, like writing an ebook. Then I picked two or three smaller ones that might only take a few hours to get done, and each month would check more off and check more off, and I’ve seen some success from this project. I’m really pleased with this, and it started with you and your mind map, and your encouragement on that.
Some of the success I’ve seen is, I looked the other day, my page views have jumped quite a bit on my blog.
S. Was there a certain increase, did they double?
J. I want to qualify this just a little bit. I have a blog post on Advent Quotes, it’s on the first page of Google. So, it has a tendency to go a little wild every November and December. That kind of overshadows it, but I literally tripled my page views. Some of it is that blog post, but I some of that was because of this effort.
S. I like that you’re being very transparent and honest, because sometimes you can just say, “oh I had 300% increase,” and they don’t tell you that it was this, this, or this. But, you obviously did have an increase. That’s another key point, you can create a blog post around different holidays, different events, different things that can really help you to rank in Google and get traffic that time of year. On my sight, Training Authors, I have hashtags for the holidays and it’s going wild right now too. That’s another great tip. So, your blog visitors increased, what other success did you see?
J. I would say my email list did grow.
J. Yes, that was one of the things I wanted to see. One of the things I got into was that, I had never done before, was the offer to opt in, create something offer and opt in. If they wanted that then they could also purchase a book on Amazon, and that was the book I produced for Author Audience Academy, it’s called Monthly Musing Journals. When people opt in on the blog post, and I had this on several blog posts, they could get a PDF of some ideas of things that each month they can reflect upon. Then, I put it into a journal and into a book, and this became the book that I published. Then that became a product to sell. I had never played with opt ins and lead pages before, the amount that I have learned since I started this project has just been a dramatic learning curve. Once you get used to it it’s neat to keep up.
I expect my email list to continue to grow. So, I can see an uptick, especially the ones that connect through lead pages have grown.
S. I love what you’re talking about here. I think that for people who are listening, or are taking this information in, it might feel just a tad overwhelming, there is so much to do. That’s what authors always tell me, “Shelley I’m so overwhelmed, there’s so much with the platform.” But what you did was you broke it down into manageable steps. What I love about the mind map is that you can close certain sections so you don’t have to see them, so it doesn’t overwhelm me, I can just look at what I’m working on at that moment. Also, what I’m seeing you do Jean, and what you just said, was you built a foundation. When you’re building a house, when you’re building a property, when you’re building a retreat center—you know, you lead retreats—you have to build that foundation. Once you have that foundation everything else just seems to come up quick. If you watch people that are in the process of building a house it seems like the foundation takes forever and then all the sudden the walls are up and everything else.
J. It’s the infrastructure. I said to my husband the other day, “it’s all behind the scenes stuff right now, “ and you almost had to think that was going to be my goal in this quarter, this 100 day time, this was what was going to be my focus. That’s going to pay off in 2016.
S. Right. What I love is doing work one time that continues working for me ongoing. So, those opt ins you set up, they’re going to continue to bring you new subscribers, new leads, potentially new sales, with the work you did one time.
J. Right. I had three this morning come across the email from ones I created two months ago. I was very pleased to see that continue to give.
S. Yes, and I like to say auto-magically. I love that! Did you see any other results from your 100 Day so far?
J. One is sort of, it would be more personal than anything, is I have this greater sense of creativity, which I would have thought working behind the scenes, but I still was producing, I still was being creative, and it’s almost empowered me. It launched me into 2016. I think it’s going to be a year of creativity. I hope to produce more products, more ebooks,more print books and continue to grow my platform. It gave me an energy, a direction, I would say.
S. What I’m hearing is that it’s like a momentum.
S. You gained momentum, you started taking action. I’ve been saying this a lot lately, once you take the action the feelings will follow, the emotions will follow. You’re starting to feel like it’s an excitement, you’re starting to see some of those results. What advice would you give for someone who is maybe where you were 100 days ago. They’re feeling really overwhelmed, they don’t know where to start, and they’re just overwhelmed. That’s the main thing a lot of people feel, what advice would you give them?
J. When I was down there for a couple of weeks and stuff, it’s kind of more in hindsight than I realized, what got me out of that funk was taking action. Action got me out. I think even if they decide one little step to do, here I created this whole plan and it was a little overwhelming when I first looked at it. I shared it with a couple friends and they were just like, “whoa.” Like I said, you just take in the month of September, or the next two weeks, or the next week, “I’m going to do this.” One step at a time will get them there. I think it’s the action that will get them out of that funk and give them some encouragement. A lot of little steps make a difference.
S. It does. Consistent action over time brings the biggest results. What I like to have authors do, and you’ve heard me say this before, is to look. What is the time you have available? What are the resources financially you have available? What are your greatest strengths? Look at those things and make a plan. So maybe it’s just for the next 7 days you say, “I’m going to do something for the next 7 days.” You did 100 days, and that might feel overwhelming to some people, but this next month, maybe put a plan for the next 30 days, but do something. Don’t try to bight off more than you can chew, because we ahll have different time available. If you say, “I’m going to do this big thing,” and then you don’t do it, it’s a feeling of failure instead of looking at the time you have and setting some realistic goals.
I was talking to you about this Jean, but I think it would be fun for you to share your 100 day plan, or your 100 day challenge, with authors. Do you have any plans to do that?
J. We were talking and I hadn’t even thought about putting this into an ebook, but I could put this into an ebook using a lot of the techniques that you’ve taught us. Probably fairly quickly, because a lot of the work is already done. I know the benefits and the success, I know some of the ups and downs, some of the lessons that I’ve learned. I could put that together fairly quickly and have that even as a giveaway on my blog or sell it on Amazon. I’m really excited about that idea Shelley.
S. Now if somebody is listening to this, where could they find out more information or contact you to find out when that would be available?
J. I would say through my blog, healthyspirituality.org, I blog there twice a week. It’s a faith related blog, I kind of have some fun with it too, I encourage people to check that out and join the email list. Like I said, I look forward next year to be a big year of creativity over there.
S. Awesome, so definitely connect with Jean because, Jean I am excited for you to do something with this. Anytime we’ve had success and we have developed a system that’s worked, it’s always so fun to be able to share that with other people and it helps them save so much time. It helps them save the time of planning all those steps. You give them that 100 day plan, 90 day plan, whatever it will be. I love the title, Platform Power-up, 100 Day Challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing that come out.
J. I will get that.
S. So as we end today, I always like to end with a take action tip, because I love working with action takers. Like you mentioned earlier, taking action is going to help to move us one step forward to our goals, to what God has called us to do. What is one thing, practical thing, that our listeners could do today as a result of this training?
J. I always liked the slogan, plan your work and work your plan. So, if I leave anybody with that, that’s it. Whatever that looks like, whether it be a large one or a smaller one, or just the next step, plan that work and then work your plan. Do it.
S. Sit down, even if it’s just 15 minutes, 30 minutes, if you have an hour, set a timer and write out a plan for the next so many days. Like she said, whatever it is for you, take some action right now and think about what you could do to power-up your platform. We’re always working, and we all start at zero.
J. Right! There’s always things you could improve. Just take one thing, don’t be so overwhelmed. We went through your PlanIt Day and it really enabled me to think that this one idea I have is a good idea, but it’s not the very next thing in front of me, that I could postpone it for a while and maybe that will come around later. Sometimes you can have fourteen different ideas, just narrow it down to the one and work on that.
S. I think I said, strategic procrastination. This may even be something that, if you’re listening, if building your platform isn’t your primary focus right now you can strategically procrastinate and put it on your to-list for later, but don’t forget about. Contact Jean so that you know when her resource comes out, but stay focused on what you’re doing. That’s so important to have that focus. Thank you so much for joining us today Jean.
J. I had so much fun talking to you, in person no less.
S. Yeah, go check out Jean’s site, healthyspirituality.org, connect with her online, and I look forward to seeing what 2016 brings for you.
J. Thank you, thank you Shelley.
S. As we close I want to give you this backstage pass in this Godly Gain segment, which is all about keeping Christ at the center of all we do. It was interesting because Jean talked about how she had a plan to have this book proposal accepted and that plan did not work out. What it did was it gave her the motivation she needed to take this 100 day platform challenge, and it has had some amazing results already. It reminded me of the scripture in Isaiah 55:8-9. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Sometimes when something doesn’t work out it could actually, instead of being a rejection it could be a redirection, or it could be not now but later. So, I encourage you today, if you’ve had some discouragement in your publishing path, maybe take a step back and ask God, what is it he’s teaching you through this? Maybe it could be a redirection in your life.
Download Jean’s Platform Power Up 100-Day Challenge here: https://jeanwise.leadpages.co/platformpowerup/
Find out more about Jean Wise here: http://healthyspirituality.org/
ANNOUNCER. Thanks for listening to this episode of the “Author Audience” show. Connect with us online at AuthorAudience.com where you will find all the resources mentioned in today’s episode. While you’re there, grab Shelley’s free video training on how to write and publish your book using her “6-Step ASCENT Method. Join us again next week to learn how to reach your audience with your message.
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