Episode 104B – Trisha Campbell – Author Platform

Overview

Tricia has done very well with her first book, and she attributes that to building her author platform. She has great advice about getting reviews and getting the book out in front of people. She has reached out to other authors and helped them with selling by building their platform.

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Transcript

I appreciate you talking to me about all that. So let’s go to some great authors stuff. And I love this because I always ask the authors, but when you’re writing. Products and services that you use and you right away [00:01:00] have journaling as part of that, that you had years worth of material already written.

[00:01:06] Tricia: Right? Right. So it’s like fodder for the grist, for the mill. You know what I mean? It was just there. So I think too, the habit was there. If that makes sense. The habit of writing, like one of the things people say, you really have to make it a habit every day, you sit down and you write I’m like, yeah. Yeah.

[00:01:30] Stephen: So were these journals like paper that you wrote in with a pen or did you do

[00:01:35] Tricia: those little journals that look like I’m the outside looks like a cow kind of black and white marble kind of thing. Yeah. That’s all they were. They weren’t anything special. They weren’t any leather-bound whatever they were just journals.

And I actually, after I had a handful of them, I was like, I better start numbering these puppies. I’m going to get confused about everything. I’m going to have to go back and forth to figure out the chronology. So I started [00:02:00] numbering them and there were umpteen of them by the time I got to this. So

[00:02:04] Stephen: when you wrote the book, did you do it longhand or do you use a computer?

[00:02:10] Tricia: No, I typed, although I use Google docs. And that was fine. But now in hindsight, I should have used word because when it came right down to it, I ended up having to go. I changed toward for the editing arts and I think I would use Microsoft word if I went forward at this point,

[00:02:33] Stephen: I know some people do.

Google docs if especially if they work collaboratively because you can have people. So I’ve heard, I hear Scrivener a lot too, so I hear it all over. Is there any, you’ve you read that book and you found book launchers and they help with all that. Is there any other services you used for the writing or that you like for the

[00:02:58] Tricia: writing, [00:03:00] but I have my website.

Is done with word WordPress and flywheel. And then my email services through convert kit. I like convert kit a lot, trying to think of anything else that I have used just convert kit was really good about organizing email, come pick campaigns and stuff like that. They were. I like them. And

[00:03:27] Stephen: you’re working with book launchers.

What are you doing to market the book? Are you doing the marketing or are they doing it? Is it a combination?

[00:03:34] Tricia: It’s a combination. Marketing is hard. It’s not something you should just dabble in. You really have to know what you’re doing. And I struggled with it. At first. I was trying to make my own website.

It was shoveling sand against the tide. It was dickless. I was working so hard and so frustrated and [00:04:00] I just like oh my gosh. I’ve been so out of my depth all day. And my husband finally is like, Trish, you are barely above water. You’ve got one nostril maybe. And you’re just trying to keep your head above, but you’re not doing it.

And he said, you really should hire this. So after I spent a truckload of time with Squarespace, I said, uncle and I hired somebody else to do it. It was so much easier.

[00:04:27] Stephen: And I like hearing that because it’s helpful to others. But so Squarespace is one of those that are here. A lot of people want to use, but I try and say, the problem is you’re stuck with it.

And your choices are. Once you want to move, it’s even worse. So I try and encourage people not to do that, to start with. And as you said, you spent a lot of time on it with subpar results, whereas just, oh, I don’t have the money to spend, but if you’re getting subpar results, you’re not going to make that money back either.

So [00:05:00] it’s one of those things that we know can be difficult, but it’s probably advisable to find someone good in the own, the site yourself.

[00:05:10] Tricia: The saying, stay in your lane. That’s a stay in your lane thing. That is not my lane. I am not in that lane at all. And even just updating it, I’ve gotten my husband digging involved, like to update things or put things on there, but it’s just so not in my wheelhouse.

And I just have to recognize that and accept it and then find a way around it. So that’s yeah, that’s what I, that’s what I.

[00:05:39] Stephen: Nice. Okay. So mentioned marketing a little bit, and that leads and the website and that leads right into the topic for the day is author platform. So that’s a great choice, especially for new authors.

So why did you choose that as our topic? And tell us a little bit about your author platform. [00:06:00] I

[00:06:01] Tricia: chose it because I felt like I blew it. I didn’t realize how early you need. That that is like really important and well, to begin, let me just say this author platform to make it super simple. It’s who you are and who you can reach.

That’s all it is. And. I didn’t, I don’t think I had any idea that I needed to make an author Facebook page and an author, Instagram page and a visitor that, and the other thing, and I just didn’t know about that part. And so probably six months before I finished the book, I actually started a Facebook group called a dose of hope with adopted and special needs kids.

And. I post to it. And then once a month I go on and do Facebook live on there. And it’s [00:07:00] created a following of people that are interested in adoption issues, special needs, kids, all that stuff. And it’s created kind of a, a group of people that, that have similar needs. And so that, that’s what I mean, like who are you in your area?

That’s what author platform is.

[00:07:23] Stephen: Okay. So did, uh, book launches help point you into these are some of the things you should do or ideas or tell you you have

[00:07:32] Tricia: no, I, I, actually, somebody else told me that earlier, I didn’t find book launches till I was well into the part where I was getting into editing and stuff.

Somebody else told me that you really need to start thinking about your author platform. And I was like, what is. I don’t know what that is. Yeah. Am I going to do a tap dance? What are you talking about? Yeah. Anyway, I’ve got an author page on [00:08:00] Instagram and author page on Facebook, and I have the dose of hope Facebook group, but

[00:08:09] Stephen: I totally agree.

And that’s one of the things I’ve worked on. I know a lot of others work on one of the pushbacks I hear from authors is I want to write, I don’t want to run a business. But if you’re not getting an agent and sending it out to random house and all the other publishers that you are a business and you need to do these things and you agree with that?

Yes.

[00:08:35] Tricia: I don’t know. It had, somebody told me it was all this involved. Maybe I would have shied away a little bit, but it was just like, it came alert. Oh. And now you have to do this. Okay. And now you have to do that. Okay. You just realize how many things are involved in actually publishing a book list, even like [00:09:00] 95% of the people that say they’re writing a book, don’t finish it at 95% of them.

Don’t publish it. We’re going down like this, right?

[00:09:09] Stephen: Yeah. I know some others that they still have that mindset in this. Valid because this is the thinking of the general public is, oh, I wrote a book now, Kevin Costner, and everyone else will come, especially. So you learn these things as you went like the website, you okay.

Here’s what I’m going to do. Now. I’ve learned you did learn from that. Here’s what I need. I figured it out what I need. I figured out how to do it and that’s not for me. I’m hiring someone. Just about every other piece of this, you could hire someone to now, you can’t be spending $3,000 a month on all your social media.

It all that probably make that back unless you’re, that’s a books and you’ve hit the time seller list a lot. [00:10:00] So you are learning all these things, but there are things you can hire out and things you can still learn from like your Facebook. It, doesn’t take a lot to learn how to have a group on Facebook.

And do you think that the people coming to the site are going and signing up for your mailing list or buying your book are telling others to buy your book? Is it helping? I think

[00:10:21] Tricia: so. I’ve gotten feedback from some of them and a lot of them are moms that are, they can’t sit down for six hours and read the book straight through.

Right. So. They’re going more slowly. And then I had another woman say that she was reading it slowly because she was just trying to savor it and think it through. I had another mom say, like I read and I’d never wanted it to end, but at the same time, but once see how it came out. And so, yeah, I, I think so.

I think I’ve gotten some reviews that, that sound like people that, that might be on my show, [00:11:00] but also. Another thing. I think that authors need to be mindful of is not just putting content out there on social media, which is good, and you have to do it and you have to do it consistently, but you also need to engage in other people’s content.

So let’s say I have a bunch of hashtags that I work off of, and I go into that hashtag and I just start seeing who other, the other people that are posting in that. Nobody else is doing hashtag eight. It was enough. That’s all mine. But if I go into hashtag foster parenting or hashtag special needs mom, or hashtag adoption journey, et cetera, I’ll go through and I find stories and I’ll write to people or somebody is struggling with something.

And I’ll just write that. I today it’s called engagement, by the way, I didn’t know the word, but they said you need to do engagement. I go, okay. Teach [00:12:00] me. And I learned that’s not something they can do for me. I need to be the one because I’m the one that has content and. I’m the one that has it in my head.

I’m the one that has the lived experience. They can’t do the engagement. They’ve never adopted a kid or they’ve dealt with an IEP or they’ve never dealt with a tantrum or whatever. So today I was engaging with a woman that was adopting a little boy. That was 14 months old. It was a young mom that she never attached to this little guy.

I don’t know how in 14. But anyway, she gave me the story about how this woman is contacting her a lot. And she might ask about the baby, but mostly she talks about her troubled life and she started to talk about different things. And as like this young mom has arrested development, it’s clear as a bell, but this lady didn’t see it.

And I. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the term arrested [00:13:00] development, but this woman, probably the size of Tunisia, she probably had a traumatic event that occurred when she was like 13 and she is forever 13. So when you speak to her, you need to talk like you’re talking to a 13 year old and you probably are going to want to try to steer her towards some professional help because she’s going to add.

More and more of your time and going forward, what you set up now is how it’s going to go forward and you don’t want that to happen. Cause it’s gonna, it’s going to get huge. And I knew that because I’d dealt with birth moms before I knew that because I’d been through some different things. My publisher can’t do that.

He has no idea. And then too, sometimes I’ll get instant messenger. Messages from people that, that watch the show and they just, they need input on their specific situation. And sometimes I’ll tell them, give me your [00:14:00] phone number, or we just need to talk. And that’s fine too, but that’s what it is. It’s all a kind of like a support system and, and that’s really what I wanted it to do anyway.

[00:14:11] Stephen: So this is a bit of a leading question, uh, cause I know where your answer is going to go. You’re engaging with other groups, other people on Facebook and probably Twitter and emails, uh, with the similar interests or problems, but you’re not, Hey, buy my book. Hey, buy my book. This is what you should learn.

It’s actually talking and being a part of the community. How does that sell your book though? That’s the

[00:14:40] Tricia: question, Mike, when I post. My dose of hope page. If it’s something like, this is just a quote that I say, this is not somebody else’s quote and I’ll make a meme out of it. And I’ll put Trisha Kate Campbell at the bottom because my husband told me people steal your content.

If you [00:15:00] don’t do that. So like, okay, so. One of the things I always say is children are books to be read, not to be written. And some people see kids as a blank slate. They’re going to write on. I’m like, yeah, that’s not right. And so I always say kids are books to be read, not to be written. And so I probably me and then I’ll put hashtag it was enough hashtag adoption journey, hashtags, special needs moms special by that, but all these different hashtags and.

Sometimes what happens is the personal go back to my author page and they’ll find me and they’ll see that there’s a website and then the connect to the website. And like that. So I’m not, you just assume that selling your book is going to be a side gig of that,

[00:15:53] Stephen: right? Right.

[00:15:55] Tricia: Yeah. You don’t, you, you’re not doing it to sell books.

You’re doing it to help [00:16:00] people. And then.

[00:16:02] Stephen: That does sell the books. You’re not writing the book because you are necessarily, you’re not engaging in telling people I wrote this book. This is what I did. You’re actually interested. This is a topic you’re interested in and this applies, I think non-fiction a little more than fiction, but you’re obviously in that.

Because you enjoy it. And it’s something you’re comfortable with. You’re knowledgeable about it and you want to help others pay it forward. All that comes through. So you’ve made yourself the expert also that you’re not getting on and you’ve hit them too. How many people are on their trolls that, oh yeah, that method sucks.

Go try this method. Oh, it’s so happens that I resell it. You get that.

[00:16:54] Tricia: Like some people that would be mean, like I had to block them. Some people [00:17:00] that are just not necessarily, even to me, like two people on my thing like that, I would be like, no, we don’t do that here. And you just have to, which is unfortunate. But for whatever reason, people think on social media, they can just be rude.

[00:17:16] Stephen: Yeah. Side note, I’ve told some other authors. Get like a one-star troll review. And I’m like, did you click on the person’s name? Because most of the time you do that and they have either two reviews and they’ve never done anything else. They just, it’s an account created to slam those two books or whatever, or they have 50 reviews and every single one of them is a one-star complaining about something it’s so often, but w when you’re engaging with people, I’m working on doing the same thing.

I, with my books, I want to work with middle grade kids and not just right, but to be prepared for the future work world, because [00:18:00] when they hit 18, going out for a job is completely different than what we had. You look going to look for our first job. Some of them don’t exist. The entry-level jobs aren’t there or.

We have 500 applicants for this job. And some of these people have experienced you don’t we’re hiring them. So you, you for 20 years to get an entry-level job. So, anyway, my point is, I’m trying to engage with the parents, uh, without coming across as, Hey, by the way, I do this to make money, the books are the talks and stuff.

It’s the balance that you don’t want to seem smarmy. Like I’m only here for this. Well, I know what I’m talking about and I want to talk about it because I’m that interested that it’s a part of my life and business. It’s a weird, hard balance sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with kids.

[00:18:55] Tricia: Yeah. Oh yeah.

I imagine so. And you’re trying to teach [00:19:00] kids to write, is that what you’re doing

[00:19:01] Stephen: or trying to my new TAC is. I’m working with, I want to work with more kids to teach them writing narratives for video games, because it’s becoming a huge market. And nobody really talks about that. And I think some of these kids that have a rough time in school, or don’t see where the future is or anything.

I love video games. You mean I can write a story and it becomes a video game. It’s one of the interest them. Get some of these kids that may not do so well in school, but they like video

games.

[00:19:42] Tricia: Got it. Okay. That’s interesting.

[00:19:45] Stephen: So have you ever had anyone accuse you, Hey, you’re only here because you want us to buy your book.

[00:19:54] Tricia: Nice. I’ve never had anybody specifically do that. I’m sure that there are people that think [00:20:00] that or whatever. And honestly, my husband and I both were like, you know what, at this point, it’s a zero sum game gain is, I don’t know how much money we’ve spent on this book, but, and that’s fine, but we is more, we want it out there for what it can do.

It’s not to make money. Hopefully does so that we don’t lose, but at the same time, it’s okay. It’s,

[00:20:28] Stephen: you’re online. You’re helping others through various social media is your own group, uh, that you’ve run. And that have you thought about other avenues that are connected, for example, talks or going into. I don’t know what, where the classes, where they’re talking to the high school kids about parenting and stuff, or, you know what, I’m sure if we sat here and brainstormed, we’d probably think of 50 different things, but have you thought about any of those types of things

[00:20:59] Tricia: you’re [00:21:00] speaking like a professionally speaking kind of thing?

I could, I, I don’t have trouble doing that. I, like I told you, I started out as a high school teacher anyway, so. If you can do that in front of a bunch of teenagers, you can talk to anybody. They’re a tough crowd. Yeah. I definitely could do that. But at this point, I’d say we just launch the book in December and we’re trying to get all this marketing stuff off the ground.

And I guess I need to do more of these kinds of things like with you and. There’s a radio station. That’s like a live call-in radio station that wants me on this month. And so that’ll be interesting. Yeah, that’ll be interesting. But once I think once we get all this initial stuff off the ground, maybe I could figure out like [00:22:00] how to design a talk that’s around the book or whatever.

I definitely could talk to the kids. You want to wait until you’re married and you want to wait to do this whole thing? It’s it’s no, it’s not for the faint of heart.

[00:22:16] Stephen: I, I, I mostly had to raised, and that was time consuming and difficult enough. I can’t even imagine eight growing up and I assume most of them were fairly young when you adopted.

[00:22:33] Tricia: Oh, yeah, nobody was over four with the oldest was four. And then we had one that was almost three, one that was 10 months. One that was six days and one that was four days. Wow. So yeah, they were little and, yeah, it’s it. And at one point the kids were zero to 14 and now they’re 22 to 36,

[00:22:59] Stephen: [00:23:00] 14 to 26. Got it.

Nice. All right, Trisha, it’s been great talking about your book and we are going to do a chapter read, but do you have any last minute advice for new authors before we sign off here?

[00:23:17] Tricia: Vice for new authors? I’d say number one, get it out. Sit down and write and just get it out. Don’t read. Don’t edit, just cut it out.

I tended to rewrite and edit as I went, because I was trying to remember where I was. So my other recommendation would be make yourself a note of where you were in the narrative. So you can just jump right in instead of going back and getting stuck into the editing thing, which you shouldn’t do, make yourself a little note and you just press.

[00:23:53] Stephen: I totally agree. I’ve heard more and more authors who spent a [00:24:00] long time redoing their book over and over. I know I’ve done that to some degree, but I also learned a lot from doing that and I’ve fallen away from that. And I think at some point you either get comfortable and feel like you’ve learned enough and it’s time to get the book out, move on to the next.

Uh, or you stay stuck in that because it’s a hobby and maybe you just enjoy writing and

[00:24:29] Tricia: massaging the heck out of every sentence. There’s something I know I am not that person, but I would type a person though. I would also say start your author platform sooner. I messed that up. Get marketing help.

That’s not in our wheelhouse. I creative. The author, people are, that’s not their wheelhouse. And one other thing, when I say the last thing I think is for [00:25:00] me, I don’t know if you found this book launchers, because they have a marketing department. I have liked the fact that I have all these things in one place and they’re coordinating each other because they’re all interacting.

So if you had so. When it writing help and you got it here and then you needed publishing help and you got it there and you need marketing help and you got it there it’s, uh, they’re not connected. Whereas for, with book launches, I was able to, I can access any of those kinds of things all along the process.

And they were all interconnected and they’re all coordinated that I thought that.

[00:25:46] Stephen: Great Trish. It’s been a great talking about the book today. It sounds wonderful. I am very pleased to know somebody who is doing all that work to help five kids that may have had a rougher life. So [00:26:00] that’s pretty cool. I like that.

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