In this new series, I plan to bring to you stories from authors who joined the dots in their Author Journey.
One of the main things that attracted me to Chris Johnson’s (Brother Minister Zumbi Y. Shawala) story was how he views his work as a way to improve people’s lives. It’s not just a book for him, it’s about showing his readers a path to success.
The idea of his book grew as Chris co-produced and hosted his weekly internet radio shows-FROM MIND 2 MARKET. The show ran from 2007-12 and during that period Chris started visioning his author platform.
“The book I felt was inevitable. It was a matter of when rather than if.”
Chris wrote his book G.O.A.T. (GOSPEL OF AFRONOMICS THEOLOGY): A 21st Century Blueprint for Black Economic Power and published it in February 2021 and in April he posted in a FaceBook group in which we both are members
“Update: Since I released my book on February 14, I’ve done a number of interviews, did vending for an event, had my book nominated for an award and now serve as a co-host for a podcast. All because of a book.
Regardless if you self-publish/indie publishing or traditional publishing, you must be the #1 seller, marketer and promoter of your work.”
I loved this post because it said so many things that I see with my authors:
- An author has to work on his/her platform. It’s your voice, it’s your story and it’s your reader. Talk to them.
- Do what you can do. Chris was a radio host and started with interviews. On an aside- One of the best things I learnt from Chris was his 24-hour rule.
“If someone presents me with an opportunity. I think about it for 24 hours before saying Yes or No”
That’s a brilliant way to respond rather than react.
- This post shows just what a book can do. A book is not your visiting card. It’s so much more. It shows that you are willing to share your knowledge and you are not afraid to say what you think. In fact, you can say it in bold letters!
After reading his post I reached out to Chris and he was so prompt in his response.
He said, “I firmly believe in ‘paying it forward.”
And here is all that he revealed about his writing journey and the author platform
How did you publish your book?
For publishing, I used Amazon KDP as the distributor. To put the book together, I used various freelancers from Fiverr (www.fiverr.com). Marketing was a combination of word of mouth, Facebook and podcast interviews announcing the release of the book
What were the tools you used to publish and market?
I had participated in a number of webinars where the facilitator taught that you only need to use 3-4 social media vehicles. I looked at what social media outlets where I had an existing account. There was Facebook, LinkedIn and websites like the Public Enemy website, founded by frontman Chuck D.
Authors often think they have to achieve everything for their author platform from podcasts to blog posts, LinkedIn and FB posts, YouTube videos. How did you decide on your social media platforms?
Things that worked for me included mailing a copy of my book and a packet to bookstores I targeted. I recently sent a copy to a bookstore in Baltimore, two bookstores in Philadelphia and a co-founder of an online bank based in Syosset, Long Island (NYC). Podcast interviews have been great. Participating in a number of Facebook groups that are relevant to the topic of the book. I also used events where I can be a vendor.
What things worked for you in your author journey and what steps didn’t?
Things that haven’t worked: using a Fiverr freelance marketer to promote my book. Regardless of whether you use traditional or independent/self-publishing, you are the #1 salesperson, marketer and promoter of your book. People need to know that you stand behind every word in that book, and stand with confidence.
Tell me about one of the campaigns you did after your book was published?
A campaign I used, was to do a series of interviews for various podcasts. The first podcast was a 90-minute interview. A caller called near the end of the show. That exchange led to an unexpected interview, which led to my regular appearance as a co-host of the show. I still did the other interviews I scheduled, but having an interview that led to an opportunity to co-host teaches a very valuable lesson: Always put your best foot forward. You never know when someone is listening to your broadcast for the first time.
Initially, I didn’t have a clearly defined vision for my book. I started out wanting to prove I can write a book from start to finish. As I travelled along the “author’s journey”, the vision began to unfold for me. The vision became one where my book can be used as a “blueprint” to lead people to financial freedom and economic independence.
Creating an author platform is not a sprint it’s a marathon. Every step defines the next step. What do you see evolving in your author journey?
I see myself building a movement through my book. I see myself conducting seminars, webinars and workshops. I see opportunities to spread this ‘Good News’ of economic liberation for African people
“A book can serve as not only a significant tool of one’s marketing strategy but also as a “salesperson” because you are selling your ideas in written form. These ideas will outlive its author and continue to have a tremendous impact (e.g., Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale). A book can also serve as the foundation for becoming an “infopreneur” (e.g. Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, etc.)”
Another great achievement.
After the interview, I also received a mail from Chris saying
“I received an announcement that I will be presented with an award for my literary contribution to African life, history and culture from the Nat Turner Library (Black Books Achievement Award). It’s a deeply humbling experience, especially knowing the price I paid to bring the book to life. I hope this will serve as inspiration to your clients.”
N.B: Creating an Author Platform is a marathon and not a sprint. After I shared the blog post with Chris he responded,
“Right now, I’m preparing for a vending opportunity on June 19. The event is called “Juneteenth”. Its historical origin is the celebration of formerly enslaved Africans who were released after the Civil War. This period began in 1865 and continued through approximately 1877. I am also working on converting my book into an online course and being asked to work as a consultant for a local chapter of the Urban League’s economic development program. “
A course and work as a consultant!
You go Chris🙌🙌
You have spent years gaining expertise in your niche…You know the correct solutions and can give people a roadmap to succeed…
In fact, many people come to you for help and guidance…
Now, you want to connect to a larger audience and build your own personal brand.
I can help you…For more than a decade, I have worked with business owners like you to produce in-depth content that explains how your products, services and processes work…
Want to build trust with your content and connect with your readers?
We should talk. Email me now: Nishka@Nishkawrites.com
Plussssss….Looking for more videos on the writing process?
Check my YouTube Channel. Subscribe and like:)