I was talking to a friend the other day, and he asked me how my book was doing.
I get this question a lot.
I filled him in on the general statistics, and we proceeded to talk about the challenge of releasing a book project in today’s social media driven world. As I work on my next book project, I wrestle with the idea of pursuing a more traditional book publishing route for this project. I went the self-publishing route with my first book project. A more traditional book publisher could bring a wider audience and distribution which is attractive, but there are also pluses to the self-publishing method.
Either way, a larger platform is critical to success in today’s world – in terms of quantity of book sales. And this is where I struggle.
I heard it said by one of my author friends that 90% of books sell less than 200 copies.
This is the reality in today’s world. I’ve learned that it takes a lot of hard work and self-promotion just to approach this number.
Publishers are looking for a large e-mail list, lots of Twitter and Facebook connections, and a lot of blog traffic.
This doesn’t happen by accident.
How does a person remain humble with a correct focus while promoting themselves and their platform?
This is the problem with platform.
We are instructed to be humble. We are taught to put aside our own interests for the sake of others.
Is it possible to build a platform while staying humble and pointing people to Christ?
I think so, but I think it’s a challenge.
This is the challenge I now face. As I pursue my next book project, I’ll be taking steps to grow my e-mail list and blog traffic. Meanwhile, I plan to use this platform to point people in the right direction. I’d appreciate it if the Stretched Community would keep me accountable to staying on the right track.
This song by Colton Dixon speaks to me as I pursue this next project:
If you’ve been following the blog the past couple of months then you know I released my first book on April 22, 2014. On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is my first book which I self published through Createspace.com. Writing the book, reviewing the book and its cover, editing the book, and revising the book required a fair amount of work, but so much more of the work in releasing the book has been related to growing my platform and establishing a launch strategy and launch team.
The past couple of months have felt like I’ve been on a long promotional run of trying to get attention for my book and for me.
I’m guessing this is how many authors feel today. Marketing is left in the hands of the author. We have to push, push, and push some more. We have to talk about our book with as many people as possible. And it feels like we have to pump up our own name and brand in an effort to get the world’s attention. Today’s blogging and book writing worlds are all about platform development.
What if we have it backwards?
I think this is most likely the case.
I think we are pumping up the wrong thing – the wrong person. (Yes, I include the me in the we. I get it wrong more often than not.)
Our mission should not be all about bringing glory to Jon Stolpe. This is not my chief purpose in life.
My purpose is to bring glory to God. My main mission should be about bringing glory to His name. My chief goal in life should be to build God’s platform in this world.
Will this sell my books? Will building God’s platform bring me fame and fortune? Perhaps. It could I guess. But bringing glory to God most likely will not put me on the bestseller list. And this is okay.
I grew up at a Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and I went to a college with Presbyterian roots. The Westminster Shorter Catechism was taught or at least mentioned in both these places. The Catechism is a list of questions with answers and Scriptures which back up the answers The Catechism is used to help define and explain the key doctrines of the Presbyterian church. The first question from the Catechism speaks this topic:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, [a] and to enjoy him for ever. [b]
What are you chasing after? What are you pursuing? What kind of platform are you building?
Choose today to build a platform that will last – God’s platform!
Then go and enjoy Him forever!
Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.” Psalm 66:2-4
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt provides a step-by-step guide for getting people to listen to what you have to say. This book has been on my “To Read List” for sometime. I’m glad a finally got the chance to read Platform, and it will be a part of my library that I go back to again and again.
In Platform, Michael Hyatt writes over 50 chapters that will help readers get noticed in today’s social media driven world. Each of these chapters which reads like a blog post can stand alone but when put together provide a comprehensive look at growing your platform. As a fellow blogger, Michael Hyatt’s story and advice relate pretty well to my own platform. Even if you’re not a blogger, Hyatt’s knowledge can be applied to those who are creating a podcast, a book, a blog, or anything else that involves your voice.
Platform has definitely left me with lots to think about, and it’s an essential reference for bloggers, authors, and speakers. I’d recommend Platform to anyone who wants to get noticed in this noisy world.
How could establishing and growing your platform help you to get heard? What do you have to share that is worth being heard? What’s your platform? What would a platform make possible for you?
Last week, I announced that I would be giving away two prizes to lucky winners. The winners were selected randomly, but their chances increased based on interaction on the blog and other social media platforms. This was the first time, I’ve tried something quite like this, and I’m happy to say that the results were promising. I added several new subscribers to the blog and new fans of the Jon Stolpe Stretched Facebook Fan Page. There were also new commenters on the blog this week, and The Stretched Blog received several plugs this week via Twitter. Overall, the blog experienced the third highest week of traffic since the beginning of the year. I will definitely be trying this type of giveaway again.
Okay, I’ve delayed long enough. Here are the winners of this month’s giveaway:
(Mark entered by being a fan of the Jon Stolpe Stretched Facebook Fan Page.)
(Tim entered by being a subscriber of The Stretched Blog.)
I’ll be reaching out to the winners this week via e-mail to confirm mailing addresses. Thanks to everyone for entering this month’s giveaway!
What would you like to see me giveaway next month? What other giveaways should The Stretched Community check out?
This month, I’m trying something new – a giveaway! I’ll give away Platform by Michael Hyatt to one lucky winner, and I’ll give away Love Does by Bob Goff to a second lucky winner. Both of these books were recently released and are on my “to-read” list. You can increase your chances of winning by taking the following actions:
(1) Subscribe to the Stretched blog. On the right side of the main page, there’s an easy place for you to enter your e-mail, so you get Stretched delivered to your e-mail everyday. I’ll give you 5 points for this task. (If you’re already a subscriber, you’ll automatically get 5 points!) I won’t share your e-mail with anyone else.
(3) Post a link to this blog on Twitter. In order to get credit for this task, you must include my twitter handle in your tweet – @jonstolpe. I’ll give you 2 points for this task. I’ll throw in 2 points each day that you tweet this between now and the end of the contest.
(4) Leave a comment on this post. Finally, I’ll give you 2 more points if you leave a comment on this post. The best comments will answer one of these questions. What is something that you have won in the past? What do you think I should give away next month? What is on your “to-read” list?
You have one week to enter this contest. I will announce the winners next week.