Today’s post features an interview with author, Jeff Goins. Tara Alemany, owner of Aleweb Social Marketing, had the opportunity to ask Jeff a few questions recently as part of his virtual tour for his new book, Wrecked, which came out in August 2012.
Jeff is a writer who lives outside of Nashville with his wife, son, and pup. He works for Adventures in Missions and blogs at goinswriter.com.
When you started your blog in 2010, you had some burning questions about making a living as a writer that you were trying to answer for yourself. (To see Jeff’s questions, click here.) With the recent publication and success of Wrecked, it looks like you found the answers. I’d love it if you could share part of that journey with my readers because it’s a trip they’d all like to take too!
1. What were the 3 most significant things you did to grow your blog’s readership?
Great question. First, I wrote content I could be proud of. This sounds like a given, but most bloggers don’t do this. They settle for “B” content, because they’re busy or restless or lazy, and they don’t think anyone will notice. But people notice. I made the decision to always write “A” content for my blog.
Second, and this is an important complement to the first thing, is I ship. I give myself regular deadlines and I meet them, no matter what. At first, this was blogging every day and since has scaled down a bit. The point, though, isn’t the frequency. It’s the discipline you learn when you have a deadline. So important (especially if you want to get published). It also gives your audience the sense that you’re going somewhere, and it builds anticipation.
Third, I wrote for other websites and blogs. I’m a big proponent of guest posting. I started small — with friends and other bloggers who were peers. But then as I built momentum, I started befriending bigger bloggers and leveraging those relationships to help them and then eventually publish content on their websites. This helped me reach a broader audience.
2. As a writer, which social media networks do you find to be the most useful, and why?
I’m not very innovative with this. I stick to what works. First, let me say that blogging is a form of social media, and the best network you can build is your own. Try to get as many people to your platform and get permission (i.e. subscriptions) to keep communicating with them.
Beyond that, I use Twitter and Facebook mostly. I like Twitter more, but Facebook offers better results in terms of driving traffic.
3. Many of my readers are self-published authors. I know you have some eBooks (The Writer’s Manifesto and You Are a Writer) as well as Wrecked, which was published by Moody Publishers. When would you recommend a writer find a traditional publisher versus self-publishing?
A traditional publisher will help you carry a message to more people (usually). They will also help you create a better product (most of the time). Self-publishing usually lets you make more money, but it’s limited to your own sphere of influence. I would recommend going with a traditional publisher if you have a message the world needs to hear and it’s really not about the money. That was the case for Wrecked. Plus, self-publishing helped me not need to make much money off of it. This is what we call the “hybrid publishing” model, and I’m a proponent of it. Self-publish to make money (and build a tribe), and traditionally publish to establish yourself and reach more people.
4. What does it really take to get published?
Really, all it takes is perseverance. If you work hard enough (and don’t completely suck at writing), you’ll build a tribe, find an audience for your words, and get your message out. And frankly, it doesn’t even take that. I mean, you could self-publish an eBook on Amazon tomorrow, if you wanted.
So I guess all it takes is the desire and the willingness to do it. Good luck.