I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue with Part 2 of my interview with Tom Blubaugh. When he told me that he offers training for authors who need to learn about building a platform, I wanted to know more. Every author prefers writing to marketing, and each of us knows that we cannot possibly know too much about marketing. Each of us wants a ready answer when a publisher says, “Tell me about your platform.”
In Part 1 of Tom’s interview I learned that he had business experience that included marketing business services. My first reaction was to assume that he had simply been able to work that experience into a marketing plan for his book. I should know from my own life that it is not safe to assume anything.
Tom, when did you start working seriously on your platform for marketing your work?
I didn’t start until after my book was published, which put me under a lot of pressure. This happened for two reasons—I didn’t plan on publishing Night of the Cossack, I wrote it for myself, my children and grandchildren and I thought I already had a strong platform. Unfortunately, when I analyzed it I found it to be very weak. Although I have been doing business on the internet since 1998, it was all under the name Grampa Tom’s Timeless Treasures—very few who did business with me knows my real name. I was also in business for myself some 22 years, but when I sold my business in 1995, all of the records went to the new owner—I have no access to them. Even though I have been a public speaker for 40 years, I didn’t know where all of my audiences were so I couldn’t contact them about my books. It was very frustrating to have to start from scratch.
Do you think an author who has self-published a book already will benefit from taking your workshop?
Definitely yes. Those who self-publish are a publishing company themselves. They must develop a market for their publications. Book selling is very competitive. The first place most authors place their book is on Amazon. There are between 5 and 10 million books listed on Amazon. The public has to know a book is there somehow. It isn’t likely that anyone would spend hours at a time searching through all the books to fine one to read.
Why did you decide to offer a marketing workshop?
Everywhere I go I hear authors talking about how hard it is to sell their books. An author platform is a new term, less than five years old, and there has been a lot of confusion about what it really is. The publishing business has changed rapidly in the last couple of years. Publishing companies and agents want to know how an author is going to sell a thousand books fast if they publish one. All authors have to market their own book whether self-published or published by a house. The only difference, for the most part, is who is going to pay to have the book published.
There are a lot of marketing workshops. What sets your workshop apart from all the others?
I was in financial planning for 22 years. There is nothing more difficult, from my perspective, than discussing financial problems with people under pressure. I learned to talk in simple terms and use concepts to help people understand. A lot of workshops are one hour long, which isn’t long enough to really get into the details of building a platform. My workshop is six hours. I break it down and example each aspect thoroughly. This allows time for questions.
What will an author take away from your workshop that will feel like a great return on the investment of time and money to attend?
I believe she will take away a plan with a clear understanding of how to implement it. A strategy, if you will. I like to think I partner with each person by encouraging emails and phone calls if necessary until the platform is built.
Do you schedule workshops on weekend? Nights?
Since this is my full time work, along with writing, I’m very flexible. My plan is to present my workshop as an online webinars, which will give me a lot of flexibility. Notice that webinars is plural. I thinking of doing a session a week and giving my participants to work with each session for a week before going to the next. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a continuing process.
What do you charge for your workshops?
I’m not trying to get rich and I want everyone to be able to attend my workshop. I’ve found that if there is no investment by my clients, what they receive is of no value. $50 is a very small amount for what they will receive over a six-week period. Using this format also allows be to speed up or slow down the process depending on my participants.
How can a writer contact you in order to learn more about your workshop?
Thank you for interviewing me. I hope your readers will contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
ebook for Kindle available at Amazon.com. Be sure to like my page and do a review when you finish, if you like my book.
Amazon Author page.
ebook for Nook available at Barnes & Noble
Night of the Cossack Facebook author page. Be sure to like my page while you’re there please.
Personal Facebook page
Visit My Blog. Be sure to sign up as a follower.
Author’s Den. A great Author/Reader site. You can join free. Look me up and be sure to become a fan while you’re there.
Check me out on Goodreads.
Co-author of The Great Adventure published by Barbour Publishing. (out of print).