Blogger and researcher Jim Fletcher has worked in the book publishing industry for 15 years, and is now director of the apologetics group Prophecy Matters. His new book, "Truth Wins," provides important analysis of Rob Bell and his Emergent friends.More ↓Less ↑
Except for the hundreds of wins, fame and cult-like status, I’m very much like former Alabama coaching legend Bear Bryant.
Well, okay, only in one way: Like the growling old coach, I can embrace change if I see a benefit.
When Joe Willie Namath and Kenny Stabler picked up their sheepskins from the U., Bryant installed a ground-oriented “wishbone” offense to better utilize the players he had. When that ran its course, he tinkered with an option game that incorporated more passing. Had Bryant remained in 1970, as a mindset, he no doubt wouldn’t have had the same success he had because he embraced change.
Because, let’s face it, if you still insist that you are above all that – that marketing is your publisher’s job – brother, keep living in your black-and-white world with Humphrey Bogart. Heck, even Mark Twain went on lecture tours and wrote for magazines and newspapers … the social media hound of his generation.
One simply cannot write a “great” book today and then sit back and let someone else market it. You either change, or you “die.”
“Platform” I found to be a quick-but-informative read, and beneficial for future reference, too. In other words, I’ll keep it handy. Can’t say that about very many books.
Hyatt, former head honcho at Thomas Nelson, has been around publishing since books were printed on paper; ba-dumdum. Anyhoo, he is a recognized expert on books and the marketing of them.
One of the things I like about “Platform” is that he covers a lot of ground, but doesn’t get bogged-down in technical detail. Once you finish “Platform,” you’ll have a very well-rounded education in book promotion.
About 60 topics are broken down into five sections. Not surprisingly, Hyatt starts off with a terrific gem: You must create a compelling product.
This guy has seen it all; from the “God told me you should publish my book,” to, “No one has ever published this topic before.” He says that nothing will help sell a “ho-hum product.”
Listen to him!
To begin with, if your book/manuscript isn’t of interest to a great number of people, re-think your agenda. If you can get past this initial part of “Platform,” you then will move on to some juicy tips on how to turn it into a bestseller.
As jaded as I am about the publishing game, I can learn from Hyatt, too. For example, he does believe securing “raving endorsements” is a real plus. As he points out, this doesn’t always mean a celebrity endorsement. Think! Hyatt writes that it is at least as important to find an endorsement from an expert in your field.
Another component found in “Platform” is the blog. This should be music to a writer’s ears.
Because you’re a writer.
Hyatt believes two types of blogging are best: write consistently about a single theme (but, as he points out, this takes great discipline), or, “focus on a primary theme, but occasionally deviate from it.”
What I found most exciting about “Platform” is the emphasis Hyatt puts on stretching oneself creatively. For example, “building a speaking page.” Hyatt emphasizes that certain things require real work, but for those who are tough enough, his advice and practical implementation is solid gold.
For building a speaking page, for instance, Hyatt advises that you “decide on a call to action.” In the beginning, he would ask readers to “call my booking agents and schedule me for your event,” but realized that was asking too much, too soon. He now asks that a reader of his page “check his availability.” It’s a very subtle but important change.
He also advocates creating a “one-minute welcome video.”
And for an elegant guy who moves in sophisticated circles, he’s also down-to-earth, saying, “Don’t make this complicated. My wife, Gail, and I shot mine in my study at home.”
He then goes on to provide a bit of technical detail (if you find it useful, and I do) by recommending a Canon 60D camera on a tri-pod and an Audio-Technica ATR 3350 lavaliere microphone with a mono-to-stereo adapter from Radio Shack. No special lighting required.
This kind of practical detail, along with Hyatt’s penchant for plain-speaking (“A good product does not stand on its own anymore”) make “Platform” a huge winner in my book. I think you’ll benefit a great deal and mine this rich deposit again and again.
I would recommend you check out his finished product at MichealHyatt.com. If you are serious about getting published, by all means, invest in “Platform” and learn as much as you can from one of the field’s great generals.