Nina Amir is the bestselling author of How to Blog a Book and several other books. She is a successful author, bloger, and speaker.
In this interview, Nina will show you how to literally blog your book. It’s a quick, easy and much more fun way to create your first book in bite-size chunks one blog post at a time (and build your audience and platform at the same time).
Nina always wanted to be a writer. She started seriously working at the craft of writing in high school. Her mother always told her that she shouldn’t become a novelist. She was a voracious reader and writer from early childhood. Nina’s mother told her that only great writers become novelists and make a living at it.
When she took a class in journalism, her high school journalism instructor really inspired her and she decided to study journalism in college.
Becoming a Professional Writer
Nina learned how to edit her work and the work of others in college. She decided to work for regional magazines where she could write and edit columns after college. All of the big New York magazines would have required her to be a receptionist first, and that’s not the career path she was interested in pursuing.
Some years later while she was working as a regional magazine editor, Nina was asked if she could edit a nonfiction book. She said she thought she could because a nonfiction book is simply a string of articles on the same topic.
As it turns out she was right. The second self published book she edited was picked up by Simon & Schuster with no changes, and has since sold over 300,000 copies.
After editing a bunch of books for other people, she started thinking about writing her own book. She began to investigate what it would really take to become a published author.
So she wrote a proposal for her first book idea and got an agent who was interested enough to call her back. The agent gave her all sorts of complements about what a good writer was and then Nina was told, “But you don’t have an author platform.”
That’s when she began investigating what it takes to build an author platform and become a successful published author.
Building Your Platform Through Blogging
“An author platform is a built-in readership for your book. It’s created by everything you do that gets you known in your market.” – Nina Amir
There are three elements to every author platform.
- Visibility – the amount of people who see what you’re doing
- Reach – the number of people you connect with
- Authority – how many people believe what you’re saying because of your credentials, your experience, your trustworthiness, and your accepted status as a leader in the marketplace
All three of these areas help build and reinforce one another.
Today there are several channels you can use to create visibility:
- Do speaking gigs.
- Write articles for magazines.
- Write a blog.
- Do videos on YouTube.
- Guest blog.
- Use social media.
- Host a podcast, or do a podcast tour where you are interviewed on several podcast.
Basically, anything you do that helps you build an audience that will buy the book because you wrote it, is creating visibility and building an author platform.
The beginning of building your author platform is all about making yourself visible in the marketplace. Building your author platform increases the number of people you can reach directly with your message.
Reach More People
Imagine you’re speaking at a writing conference and members of the audience are tweeting about your talk. Your author reach includes everyone who is hearing your words directly and everyone who’s being exposed to your ideas through the tweets of the people in the audience. That’s why people retweeting your tweets is a good thing. It increases your reach. Also, on twitter the more people who retweet your tweets, the more likely your message will be seen by a wider audience. Like Facebook, Twitter gives more power to status updates that have social interaction.
Visibility leads to an expanded author reach, which leads to greater authority. Greater authority leads to larger visibility and author reach.
How Nina Built Her Author Platform
“I started blogging immediately. Blogging was the main focus. Then I began speaking because I felt speaking was important. Blogging, social networking, writing short books, those were the main things I did to build my platform.” – Nina Amir
Nina used 4 tactics to build her author platform.
- Writing short books
- Social media
Nina built her author platform slowly from 2002 to 2012. She started blogging almost immediately. She added speaking gigs because she had a mentor who encouraged her to do speaking engagements.
She wrote short books on the topic she was speaking about so she could sell them at speaking gigs.
What she’d do is take the introduction from the unpublished manuscript of her longer book and write short books that included all the steps to achieving the result her audience was hearing her talk about, and sell that short book after her speech was done. This way she could call herself a published author when speaking to the audience.
The reason it took Nina a decade to build an author platform is because her heart wasn’t in it for a long time. She just wanted to write her books—she wasn’t really interested in marketing.
That all changed in 2008 when she committed to becoming a successful author. That’s when Nina decided to follow the advice of her agent and write a business book. She also decided to build her platform at the same time she was writing the manuscript. That’s how she came up with the idea to blog a book.
The Attitude of a Successful Author
“Your attitude is important. You do have to be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed because there is a lot to be done. There’s a lot to marketing and building your platform, let alone writing the book, which can be very challenging.” – Tom Corson Knowles
The first thing you have to realize is that success is possible but it’s not going to happen overnight. You have to be committed to building a platform even if you want to self publish your work.
The successful author attitude has four components.
You have to have the willingness to do everything it takes to become a successful author. Successful authors do much more than actually write their book. You have to have the willingness to do the work to build your platform.
You have to be willing to make the changes necessary to become successful. You have to be willing to follow your intuition.
You have to have the willingness to ask for help. If you’re stuck consider getting a coach.
It’s important that you know what you’re not good at. You have to be willing to outsource and delegate the things you aren’t good at so you can focus on your strengths.
If you approach everything with a sense of optimism you’re much more likely to be a successful author.
Optimists are much less likely to get stuck because of rejection or temporary failure. They realize when their manuscript is rejected or they get negative feedback, it’s not a reflection on them as a person. Optimists understand that any negative feedback they receive is an opportunity to make their manuscript better.
They use negative feedback to improve their manuscript and make it better for their audience.
To become a successful author you need to be able to look at your work objectively. Look at your work through the lens of an acquisitions editor.
An acquisitions editor is a publishing professional. They have the experience to judge whether something will sell in the marketplace. Acquisitions editors evaluate both ideas and authors. They evaluate ideas based on what they think will sell, and they evaluate authors based on who they think will be a good production partner.
If you plan to be an indie author ask yourself, “Am I a good publisher?”
If you plan to get traditionally published ask yourself, “Would I be a good publishing partner?”
No matter which publishing path you choose it’s going to take some time for you to achieve the success you want. You have to be tenacious and persistent in the pursuit of your goals.
That’s the only sure way to become successful.
How to Blog a Book
The first thing you want to do when you blog a book is to make a plan for your book. Write an outline.
Nina makes a mind map with her clients that includes every topic covered in the book.
The mind map includes chapters and chapter subheads. Your chapter subheads will become your blog posts.
When you blog a book you don’t actually blog the entire book. You want 15% to 20% of the material in your book to be exclusive to the book itself.
After you’ve made your book plan, you want to blog 2-5 times a week.
Blogging your book allows you to build visibility and authority while you’re writing your manuscript. Google is searching for new content on the Internet every day. As you blog consistently about your topic Google will recognize you as an authority on your topic over time. Being on the front page of Google gives you visibility and authority.
Nina blogged How to Blog a Book over five months. At the end of that five month period Nina had the number one position in Google for the phrase “how to blog a book.”
Having the number one position in Google on that topic gave her the leverage to get a traditional publishing deal.
Nina didn’t use any special SEO tactics to be number one in Google. She simply wrote good focused content. If you’re consistent in your efforts, they will always eventually lead to success.
Follow Your Passion
If you have good content and a passion for your subject matter, you’ll eventually become successful if you work consistently toward your goal. If you follow your passion with a purpose you will be inspired and people will respond to your energy.
Building a platform isn’t about the latest tricks or spending money on ad campaigns. It’s about wanting to serve your audience. If you approach platform building with a spirit of serving it will come through in the way you communicate and people will help you spread your message.
Repurpose Your Book to Build Your Platform
So many authors think they have to sit down and write a book, and then sell that one product. The truth is there are many ways to write your book today.
- You can blog your book
- You can podcast your book
- You can speak your book and have it transcribed
- You can write a course and turn your course materials into a book
If you’re a nonfiction author it’s important to realize that you can repurpose and repackage your information in many different ways. You can use your information to develop different streams of income and help build your platform.
Nina’s new book The Author Training Manual started as a course.
Once you’ve researched, organized, and compiled all the information for your book in one place, there are many ways you can use that information to help people and earn money for yourself.
Resources Mentioned in This Interview
http://ninaamir.com/ – Nina’s website
http://writenonfictionnow.com/ – Nina’s blog about writing nonfiction that she turned into the book.
My Son Can Dance – Nina’s blog about her male ballet dancing son.
http://howtoblogabook.com/ – Nina’s blog about how to blog about how to blog a book, that she turned into the book.