I’m thrilled that my first guest on the Transmedia Mutts’ blog is marketing maven Amy Porterfield. I’ve been following her since I first started TMM several years ago, and I’ve learned so much about marketing and promotion. But with writing and publishing two books and making and releasing a movie, I haven’t actually made much progress with the TMM business. Oops!
Then I had a chance to read an advance copy of Amy’s book Two Weeks Notice, and it lit a fire under my butt. So I promised myself I would revamp the TMM website with a blog and launch it the same day Amy released her book. And that day is today!
Even more exciting, I had the chance to interview Amy about Two Weeks Notice, writing and promoting your books and yourself, and exploring how authors can approach their writing and publishing careers with a business mindset. Both Amy and her book are inspiring, so check out the full interview in the video below.
Here are a few of the things we chatted about, condensed and edited for readability and to take out my extremely excessive use of “you know.” You know, I had no idea I said you know so much until I edited the video, ya know?
Jocelyn: While reading Two Weeks Notice, I was struck by how your advice for starting a business is very similar to the advice for writing and promoting books: researching your avatar, creating something that resonates with them, social media, building email lists, and publicity. Not that you’ve done both, did you find a lot of similarities?
Amy: Absolutely. The writing of the book, for sure, understanding who I’m writing to, what my message is that I’m putting out in the world, really navigating how I want to lay it all out. That all comes when you’re creating a business as well. Inside my book, Two Weeks Notice, I literally map out a roadmap of how you get a business started from scratch, from websites to social to content to email, like all of it is essential.
I’ve never marketed a book in my life, but what I did – and I think a lot of people listening can do this – I asked myself, “where are my strengths?” just like you would ask when you’re starting a business. Where are my strengths? I went back to my roots of what I did well and just put my book into that type of marketing strategy. So much of what I know has been aligned with this book because I didn’t know any other way to do it.
Jocelyn: Yeah, it’s hard to put yourself out there with your book because we think our words are precious, but think of yourself as a business owner and come at it from that approach of getting your words out in the world.
Amy: That’s such a great point. Because I’m a marketer first, I was able to get creative and very strategic on how to market the book and get it out there.
Jocelyn: And then once we do get our books out there, the reviews roll in. I’ve heard the advice again and again to not read your reviews, but it’s so hard to resist. And then when we do get a less-than-stellar review, we obsess over it rather than focusing on the good ones. So I really appreciated your story in the book about your friend’s advice about negative Instagram comments. Can you share it here?
Amy: Yes, I was posting some stuff online, and I shared a strategy I had for business building. And this one guy chimed in in the comments, and he hated my idea. He thought it was ridiculous. And then other people started chiming in, and I freaked out and thought it felt like 5000 people were coming after me. It might have been, like, three people. But it felt like 5000! So I called up my good girlfriend, Jasmine Star, and she said, “You ain’t for everyone, boo.” Like, why do you think that you’re Santa Claus and everyone’s going to love you. That’s not how it works online.
And in that moment, I had to take a beat, like, oh, wait a second, why would I think that everyone on the internet would agree with everything I put out there. And so I really do think that we have to get thicker skins, and this is coming from a very sensitive girl, so I do not take this lightly. But we do need to get a thicker skin to say I’m not for everyone. And that’s okay. Because who I am for I could help change their lives. The people who do resonate with me, I could take them all the way into entrepreneurship and have a life they never even thought was possible. So why am I gonna let some stranger on the internet dim my light and encourage me to play small because I’m scared of what other people are gonna say? I can’t do that. But it’s been a journey. It hasn’t always been easy.
Jocelyn: It you’re having a hard time growing that thick skin, advice I’ve heard if go look at classics, like To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare, something by Stephen King and other best sellers, or the people in your niche that are killing it and read their one star reviews. And then you’re like, “Ohhh okay…”
Amy: Like everyone gets them.
Jocelyn: Exactly. It’s not you, it’s nothing to do with you. Okay, let’s talk about another thing that plagues authors – social media. Many writers are introverts. We’re shy and we’re camera shy. But there’s so many places we’re told we should be – what are your thoughts on social media and showing up there?
Amy: When Facebook Live actually became a thing, secretly in my head, I thought, I hope it fails. I hope Facebook Live does not work out because I don’t want to have to be going live all the time. Now, I probably go live 10 times a week. I will say I cannot possibly keep up with all things social media. I ventured out into Tik Tok, but I don’t think I’m going to stay there. I don’t think I enjoy making those videos. And I think there’s a fine balance between doing what you need to do to grow the business and doing what feels right and in your style. I don’t think I need to be everywhere all the time.
It’s been kind of a journey finding my authentic self in this online world. The best advice I can give is – please be yourself. Do it the way you want to, so your audience will find you. And you might not be for every platform, and that’s okay as well.
Jocelyn: Because of the ephemeral nature of social media, you’re very much an advocate for building your own email list. A lot of the Mutts are kid lit authors, and we really struggle with lead magnets for list building because our audience is kids, but it’s gatekeepers we need to target, like teachers, parents, and librarians. So I’m going to put you on the spot and pick your brain for ideas.
Amy: Yeah, that one is definitely more difficult. First of all, I always say that whoever’s paying the money – buying the product – that is who we’re marketing to. With children’s books, you can still have fun and put some stuff out there that might catch the kids’ attention, so they can tell their parents about it. But at the end of the day, you need to be talking to whoever’s paying.
But with lead magnets for children’s books, I could see where you’re like, what am I even going to give them that they’re going to want to be on my list? So we have to think way outside the box with situations like this. Let’s say you wanted to create a newsletter, the value you could offer is literally talk about the best children’s books based on different scenarios or different types of parents or different types of needs for the kids. Your newsletter lists the books you recommend and why you recommend them. So people come to you as not an author of a children’s book but as someone that really does a great job of breaking it all down and shining the light on what they need to get. And from there, they get to know you and they really trust you and like you. And then, “Oh, and by the way, I also have a children’s book.” So it’s kind of like the second thing that’s going to happen, you’re not leading with “I’m a children’s book author!”
Children’s books are the most beautiful gift you can give someone. I love them. ~ Amy Porterfield
Jocelyn: We’re running out of time, so I’ll end with: what does a writing session look like for Amy Porterfield? What is your process? Snack, music? What do you have going on?
Amy: It’s an early morning session. I’m an early bird, so we’re talking 5-5:30 in the morning. My office is really serene and quiet. And it’s just me. So I’m lighting a candle, it’s still dark outside. I’ve got my cup of coffee right next to me, my dog Scout at my feet. And it’s an hour and a half of writing. And there’s a lot of angst, a lot of frustration, a lot of “what did I get myself into?” But at the end of the day, it was a beautiful process. I’m so proud of myself. And I think the authors listening can relate to this – no matter how hard it was for me, I’m so proud of myself that I got through that.
Jocelyn: That’s awesome. Amy, thank you so much. This was so incredible. Thank you.
Amy: Thank you so much. And I wanted to mention that anyone who buys Two Weeks Notice, I’ve got bonuses to thank people for buying my book. Go to twoweeksnoticebook.com after you buy the book, enter your information, and I’ll send you some really cool bonuses to help you build your business and expand your email list and all this cool stuff.
Wow, so many great nuggets of advice from Amy to get us thinking about our writing careers like actual careers. So if you’re ready to treat your publishing journey more like a business, learn more about Amy and check out Two Weeks Notice.
Have fun and go unleash your creative bark!
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Through her best-selling courses and top-ranked marketing podcast Online Marketing Made Easy, Amy has helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs turn in their two weeks’ notice and trade burnout for freedom, income, and impact. Amy’s action-by-action teaching style provides aspiring business owners with the tools they need to bypass the overwhelm and build a business they love.
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