In my last blog post, I talked about the five steps to elevate your career. The first of those steps, the most important one in my opinion, is mindset. The second of those steps was branding. During this blog post, I want to tell you all about a strategy I am doing to rebrand my series, myself, and my career as an author. It’s called The Trials we Face, and at the end of this post, I will be asking for submissions. First, though, I want to explain to you all what exactly is “The Trials we Face.”
How Did It Start?
As I have been in the process of shifting my mindset to become a professional author, I have been listening to a lot of author podcasts from Six-Figure Authors to the Sell More Books Show to the Self Publishing Formula. If there is one key takeaway for having success that I have heard repeated and repeated and repeated time and time and time again, it is this: Build Your Mailing List.
This isn’t advice for authors. This is advice for every company, big or small. We need a mailing list, or a WeChat Group (for the Chinese individuals reading) where we can sell, talk, and post to our subscribers directly. With how fragmented society is becoming and how many platforms are now vying for our attention, we are moving into what is known as “permission marketing.”
What is Permission Marketing?
Permission Marketing is a term coined by marketing genius, Seth Godin. According to a blog post from Hubspot, permission marketing is marketing where “businesses can market to a subscriber who gives their permission to be marketed to or ‘opts-in’ to receiving offers and announcements from a brand.”
Why is this Important?
It’s important because it is something that WE own. Us. The people doing the marketing. The brand. Facebook doesn’t have those email addresses. Nor does Amazon. We do. And I guarantee email will remain throughout it all. So if heaven forbid that either of these two behemoths collapses, we have the ability to still get in touch with these individuals directly. You may be thinking that this could be impossible with how bigger either of those two things are, but must I remind you about Myspace? Blockbuster? Large entities go under all the time for one reason or another, and gathering email addresses is one way we can protect ourselves. The more people we have on this subscriber list, the more people we can talk to about our products and services. Also, the more people we can potentially convert into superfans, which will spread our brand to more people than we could do by ourselves.
By opting in to a subscriber list, the people are giving us permission to market to them. Of course, we still need to be cautious about spamming them with useless information, and this is where I really struggled.
I knew I needed to build an email list, if I wanted a better chance at becoming a successful author. However, what value could I give to my list? What content could I share with them? How often should I share with them?
Some authors only release a newsletter when they have a new book to sell, and for some, that works. However, I find that akin to only asking for something when you need it. It doesn’t help in building a solid group of individuals who connect with you. Some authors do a weekly newsletter. These authors are typically more established in their careers. For me, I decided that I would focus on doing a monthly newsletter. Just started this year, here is my first newsletter that you can look at.
You’ll notice this newsletter is split into a few different sections. First, there is an introductory note, and then there is a section called “Rewind” where I talk about everything that has been happening to me. Next there is a section called “Fast-forward” where I talk about what I intend to do in the following month. Finally, I have a book suggestion for everyone to check out, followed by some questions readers of the newsletter can respond to me with.
While this is nice, it certainly isn’t anything worthwhile and would get old very fast. I mean, after all, I would be recapping all the things that I had just said I would do every month. Essentially, I’d be telling the newsletter list about myself twice. That’s something I don’t want to do. I wanted to give them value. Yet, I wanted this value to be related to my books in some manner because, again, branding is the second most valuable step we can take when elevating our career.
As happenstance would have it, I stumbled upon this idea of mine through an epiphany. I understood that the main message of my novel is about overcoming adversity in order to find ourselves. The second novel talks about overcoming everyday moments of adversity, or succumbing to that. And, as my faith in religion has grown over the past few years, and definitely has influenced much of my writing, I remember a nice quote from Romans:
I thought to myself, then, why not include a newsletter featuring and showcasing adversity in the hopes of helping others who may be going through a similar situation? Okay, good. But what to call it? Enter: The Trials we Face.
What is The Trials we Face?
The Trials we Face is a monthly spotlight on an individual overcoming some form of adversity in his or her life, big or small. While no moment of hardship is exactly identical, there are commonalities among most hardships. For example, to begin this newsletter thread, I showcased my life-changing decision to move away from America and start living abroad in Santiago, Chile. You can read that newsletter here.
It is that adversity, living away from home, that many other people can resonate with. I talked about the instances that I had to overcome such as making new friends and learning a language. I spoke about what I learned from my experience and I gave some helpful advice to those who also may be living abroad currently or those who are planning to live abroad.
Since then, I’ve received other submissions from individuals who want to showcase their own stories. One was from a woman who details the heartache she suffered from losing her mother and not taking her for granted while she remained on this earth. You can find that story here. Another describes her life as her father went through depression. You can find that story here.
Both of these stories are stories that are not unique to them alone, but stories that we can learn from and, hopefully, help us understand our own situation that much more.
What is Next?
Well, I would love to get your own story of adversity. What is a Trial that you have overcome? It can be big, small, or in between. You can choose to keep it anonymous or if you would like to include names or contact information, you can provide that as well. It is up to you. The only thing that I ask is that the story is genuine and not fabricated. I want real stories about real people so that others may find their own situation not as bleak.
If you would like to submit a story to be featured in the newsletter, please fill out this submission form.
If you would like to get monthly updates about my writing career, good book recommendations, and see fantastic, real-life stories of overcoming adversity, sign up for my newsletter “The Trials we Face.”
Until next time, stay strong and carry on. Remember…