As a long-time contributor to, and now manager of the editorial team at Copyblogger, one of the most widely-read blogs about content marketing in the world, Pamela Wilson has published hundreds of articles. Yet, until now, she has never written a book.
This year, Pamela set-out to change that when she decided to write a how-to guide that draws on her years of experience teaching thousands of people how to build an audience through effective content marketing.
A few weeks into the process of planning her book, however, she soon discovered just how different -- and difficult --writing a 50,000-word book is when compared with writing a 1,500-word blog post. So, rather than make her journey from blog to book all alone, she reached out to several successful authors for help.
Her overall strategy is founded on the principle of transparency: Everything she does, from writing draft chapters, to plotting her marketing strategy, she shares openly with her audience on her podcast and a dedicated website she set-up for her book.
What Pamela is learning along the way could provide a helpful case example to other aspiring authors looking to write, publish, and market their first book. In my recent podcast conversation with her, Pamela described the two creative marketing strategies she's using to build a loyal audience of readers for her book before she even publishes it:
The Book Factory
The primary place where Pamela shares her chapters-in-progress and solicits feedback is a website that she calls The Book Factory. There she actively solicits feedback from a group of beta readers that offer feedback on chapter drafts and cover art. Registration is free, and anyone who signs-up will receive a free PDF of her book when it's finished.
"There are people who have spent so much time just giving these really detailed comments about chapter content, what they found useful, and some people found mistakes. Having all those eyes on it made for a much better draft that I sent off to the editor, so I'm grateful."
Pamela is accomplishing two things with her site: By crowdsourcing feedback, she's collecting feedback that she can then use to make her book even more relevant to her target readership. She's also building a community of potential advocates for her book, some of whom are likely to to recommend it to friends and colleagues, or perhaps write a review on Amazon.
Zero to Book
When Pamela was seeking expert advice on how to self-publish her book, she reached out to several authors, like Jeff Goins, the bestselling author and blogger. At Jeff's suggestion, they decided to co-host a new podcast that would document -- in realtime -- the process she would be going through to write, publish, and market her book.
In their podcast, Zero to Book, Pamela bounces questions and ideas off Jeff, who then weighs-in with sage advice from his years of writing and publishing bestselling books. Topics they tackle range from finding a "big idea" for your book, structuring your writing time, plowing through your first draft, the role of story in writing nonfiction, working with an editor, and the pros and cons of self-publishing, the option Pamela chose after being approached by an agent seeking to represent her to a traditional publisher.
"I'm counting on the people who have been with me through this journey to be enthusiastic about it once the final product comes out."