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Ep 060: “Book Launches & Building An Audience”

Welcome to the 60th episode of The Author Hangout, a podcast designed to help authors, especially self-published and indie authors, with marketing their books and improving their author platform. Authors struggle with various aspects of marketing and we are here to help!

“The book marketing part is the tough part. Anybody can write a book.”– Joe Pulizzi

Book Launches & Building An Audience

In this episode, we interviewed entrepreneur and author Joe Pulizzi, who shared some great insights about launching a book for both fiction and nonfiction authors, how he builds an audience, and more.

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Intro

He’s an award winning entrepreneur, professional speaker and popular podcaster who’s founded several highly successful startups including The Content Marketing Institute as well as authored multiple bestselling books including, Epic Content Marketing. His latest title, Content Inc. offers a radical 6-step business building process driven by content and based on the smart practical and cost effective principles of building an audience before creating a product. Here to share his story is a pioneer of content marketing and the producer of Content Marketing World, Joe Pulizzi.

How did you become an author and publish your first book?

“In 2007, nobody knew me, and I had this expertise in what I was calling content marketing and I did have some connections because I was in sales for so long but other than that, nobody knew me. How am I going to get the word out that I have some expertise that I can ultimately sell and start a blog? So, I made the decision to take the leap, started the blog, I know the exact date, April 26th of 2007. I started to write and started to build a loyal audience over a few months or so but realized really quickly that if I was to really make an impact, I knew I had to have a book. I started [to] plan the chapters as we go and write blog posts. I need this chapter, I’m going to write a blog because I’ve got to communicate through the blog on a regular basis that I wrote to 3-4 times a week. At the same time I can accomplish 2 tasks and start writing chapters for the book. And lo and behold, 6 months later, Get Content Get Customers was born.”

What is your most recent book or project?

He talked a bit about his newest book, Content, Inc:

“This book could actually be for authors. I could have renamed it “Author Inc.” or “How a Book Author Builds a Platform and Grows a Successful Business”. I said, “Okay, look, we built this platform Content Marketing Institute basically from me starting as a blogger and author and into a very successful business. How did we do that?” I went out searching for all kinds of case studies…are there companies out there that are building an audience first and then creating a product second? Who are those people out there? We started to find them. We found dozens and dozens and dozens of these amazing case studies all throughout the world about entrepreneurs, individuals who are doing the exact same things that we’re doing in Content Marketing Institute.”

They also discussed nonfiction vs fiction, as well as how long it takes to build an audience. Be sure to listen to the podcast, as he talks about a specific fiction example that is about to be in the theaters at the time of this podcast (Sept 2015), that started as just a blog and growing an audience.

Can you tell us about a time when you really struggled as an author?

While not asked directly, he did share about his first book and his struggles there:

“The book marketing part is the tough part. Anybody can write a book and lots of people are writing a book but the main problem is… they’ve sold maybe 200 copies of it and are very frustrated with that. But that’s about 99% of the books out there. So, what we’ve learned is, fast forward to 2015 in my experience, I’ve spent the last 8 years building a platform. I’ve built an audience with the blog, now I’m building an audience with the podcast. It’s unbelievable and a great opportunity to help with the book launch.”

What one marketing tactic is really working well for you?

He talked about how to build your audience before launching the book:

“What I did with Content Inc. that was different than any other launch was, I basically started writing the book and I did the blog and the book. I would write the chapter outline and then I would write a blog chapter, which became a blog post. At the same time, I launched a podcast called Content Inc. It was the companion podcast to the book. To be honest with you, for everyone listening to this, you can buy the book but you can actually get every chapter for absolutely free. I podcasted every one, 5-7 minute podcasts. I basically take chunks of the book and I put them on as podcasts. I’m on episode 77 or something right now of the podcast. I’m getting thousands of people to download each of those episodes and then what’s happened is, when I did the transition is about the 6 month mark, no promotion… So we did that and about the 6 month mark I started to do things like, “Hey! September 8th, Content Inc. is available. You can buy it now on pre-order.” I’ve totally given away the book for free ahead of time in just different formats. Chunking it. So we’ll see. This seems to be the most buzz I’ve had about a book.”

How can people connect with you?

“Everything for the book, http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/content-inc/, you’ll find out about the book, the event, free chapters, ebooks and all the giveaways are there. Just in case you don’t want to buy the book, all information on me is on http://www.joepulizzi.com, https://twitter.com/joepulizzi and if you ever want to reach out to me I try to get back to you within 24-48 hours if you send me a nice personal note.”

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