What to Talk About When You Talk About Platform

Every writer wants to know how to build a stronger platform. We get constantly asked, How much is enough? What number should I shoot for? 


When asked how much money is enough, John D. Rockefeller famously said, “Just a little bit more.” The same goes for platform numbers. More is always better. Even if you have a large platform, it could be a bit bigger, right? Most writers are in platform infancy. So what do you do when you’re pulling together your proposal and you want to talk about your platform that you wish was, “Just a little bit more?”


Here are three ways to talk about your platform when you don’t have one: 

  • Talk about the good. What’s the strongest part of your platform? That’s where you want to emphasize the good. That’s a great place to focus on and explain why it will help sell your book. Good beats great when it comes to feeling like your platform has to be perfect. There is no perfect. As Seth Godin...
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Further Inspiration - Don't Miss Out!

Writing is hard. There’s no way around it. As the old saying goes, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” What often makes writing worth doing is that challenge. It’s putting pen to paper in order to make sense of our thoughts and share them with others. That type of work takes inspiration. 


Did you know we provide further inspiration on Instagram? If you’re not following Author Coaching on Instagram, you are missing out on our Tip of the Week posts:

 Need a jolt of inspiration when scrolling? We also provide quotes to keep you going.

 

If you’re not following us on Instagram, you are missing out! Like an aid station in a marathon, we’ve got what you need to keep going in the pursuit of your publishing dreams. Follow us today!


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It’s almost open enrollment for Author Coaching University – are you on our waitlist? We want you to be the...

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Need Thicker Skin? Here's How

In a recent inspirational post on Instagram (Follow us @author_coaching), a writer asked us, “I feel like I need thicker skin but also don’t want a hardened heart in the process. Any wisdom on how to do that?" 


That’s a great question. 


No one wants to become some Grinch-like writer living alone with a dog on top of Mt. Crumpet, envious of all the writers out there doing what you wish you were doing. If you’re an introvert that loves dogs, there might be something in that life for you, but for the rest of us - it’s tough to have thick skin. 


If you want to cultivate a thicker skin, the first step is to own the things you can control. You can’t control what that agent is going to say, right? Here’s what you can control: Putting together a well-researched query letter. You’ve done everything you can to give your manuscript the best opportunity possible: you know the agent’s genre of expertise,...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 9

Cue the marching band….


First Half Reports


With the publishing industry’s first half of 2022 in the books (see what I did there?), we all feel pretty good about the unnoteworthy results: flat.  If you’ve been with the Update for the last year or two, you know that the industry has been rocking and rolling (intentionally mixing metaphors because it’s fun).


Through June 30, 2022, trade book sales were hanging in there with the same period for 2021. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) reported survey results with sales off only 1.6% for the first six months of the year.  Adult sales fell 2.6%, but children and YA sales picked up much of the slack, coming in at 4.3% over 2021.  


Corporate earnings reports for Q2 are here, with publishing hot-shot—and the focus of so much courtroom drama of late—Simon & Schuster still crushing it. S&S saw revenues increase 34% and profits jump 54% over Q2 2021, with CEO Jonathan...

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Proper Etiquette

Etiquette matters. 


At Yates & Yates, we advise our clients to be the kinds of authors that people working on their book will stay after 5:00 p.m. to work on it. We want you to be a "nights & weekends" author. It’s not because we are some kind of publishing Scrooge. It’s because people will put in extra time and effort on the projects they like versus the ones they don’t. Maybe better put, they’ll go the extra mile for authors they really like.


No one in publishing stays late to work on projects they hate. Why? Because the ones you hate get the minimum, nothing extra. 


(By the way, we recently covered all of this in Author Coaching University. The enrollment period for the 2022-23 Author Coaching University term is not open yet, but you can join our waitlist and be one of the FIRST to know when the application window opens for the next session in the coming weeks.)


So how do you become one of those...

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Procrastination is Sneaky

Procrastination doesn’t look like Procrastination. It’s super sneaky. 


Let us give you an example. Sometimes procrastination looks like research: “Once I do a little more research, I’ll be ready to write my book.” Or it looks like conducting an interview: “I can write that next chapter once I schedule an interview with her.” It’s easy for these things to come between you and your writing. You think you need to do a "thing" before you can do the writing. 


The thing is, the writing is the thing. 


You have to make time to write AND do research, conduct interviews, etc. What separates pros from amateurs is their ability to recognize the difference. Schedule time for the writing and then schedule a separate time for the other things. That’s how you keep procrastination from getting between you and your writing. 


If you’re waiting on the right time to write your book, you are wasting...

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Adding the Urgency Factor

“Urgent!!! Act now.” “2 days left to save.” “LAST CHANCE!” 


We’re suckers for those subject lines, aren’t we?


One of the strongest tools in marketing is urgency. You see these tactics all the time. Here are the four most common ones: Time (limited time, last time, now, today only, deadline, seconds, minutes), Speed (now, act now, don't delay, hurry, rush, instant), Scarcity (once in a lifetime, one day only, never again, last chance), and FOMO (price going up, offer expires, now or never, final sale).


Like us, you’ve probably made a purchase based on one of those factors, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Understanding how marketing works is a super useful tool when writing your book. We commonly tell our clients to “bake in” the marketing hooks. That means viewing your manuscript through the eyes of a marketer. 


(Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a...

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5 Things to Do After You've Finished a Draft

So you’ve finished a draft of your…novel, business book, etc. Now what? There’s a strong tendency to want to go back and begin revising and working on it all over again. It’s natural to feel that pull. 


Let’s look at some options that will help you come back to your draft inspired and ready for your next steps.   


1. You’re going to be kind to yourself.
 There’s a strong temptation to look back after finishing a draft and think it’s crap. You’re not going to be mean to yourself. Everyone makes bad art. This is a part of the process.


2. You’re going to remind yourself that you’re showing up for writing and art.
 Be proud of that. Completing a draft, even an unpolished first draft, is a step most writers never get to, believe it or not. It’s hard to finish. Be proud of your efforts to get this draft completed. If you want to take it a step further: celebrate. Maybe it’s ice cream or a...

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PUBLISHING MARKET UPDATE; Vol. 3, Issue 8

For those of us who majored in Economics, the dreaded word “recession” always seemed straightforward. You’re either in one, or you’re not. While the economy has become rather nuanced in the first few years of the ‘20s, the downward pressures are clearly being felt. Except in some very rare situations, books are the definition of a discretionary purchase. So, a downturn—whether or not you want to call it a recession—is definitely going to rear its ugly head here in the Update.


The folks at Variety conducted a survey in early July and found that 55% of U.S. adults expected to reduce their spending on entertainment in a recession (a category that includes books). Only 10% said that none of their spending habits would change in the event of a recession, to which their credit card companies shouted “hooray.”


Amazon Down!


Regardless of what the politicians might be telling us, the fact is that Amazon saw a drop in revenues from its...

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Judge Your Book By Its Cover

New York Times Bestselling author Adam Grant recently said, “Instead of telling kids they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, should we teach them to judge negative and positive examples differently? Don’t doom a book by a bad cover—but give a book with a great cover a chance.” Adam makes a good point, as he often does.


The thing about covers is: No one intentionally makes a bad cover. No one wants to “doom” their book, but so many often do. In today’s email, let’s find a way to follow Adam’s advice by giving your book a better chance with a great cover.


Here are three tips (plus one bonus tip) for creating a great book cover:

  1. Know Your Genre. If you’re writing a detective novel or a thriller, you know the elements that tell your reader what type of book this is. Once upon a time, Amish fiction was a hot genre in publishing. That means the cover had to feature a bonnet. Whether it was on the head or in the...
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