Tips for the Author Journey from Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

Photo by vesnacvorovic/

Photo by vesnacvorovic/

Today we continue our series of takeaways from Author Marketing Live with Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant who talked about what it means to be an artist and entrepreneur and how to find success. Platt and Truant are members of the self-publishing trio (including David Wright) who host the Self-Publishing Podcast and run Sterling and Stone, their story studio where they make stuff up and talk about it. These three storytellers are in it for the long haul and experiment with abandon. Here are five takeaways we gleaned from Platt and Truant at Author Marketing Live.

1. Be an artist first and marketer second. Be true to your art when you’re in creation mode, but then recognize it as a product when it comes time to sell. It’s easier to put your product on sale than your art.

2. Understand the difference between strategy and tactics. A strategy is a plan of action, and a tactic is a single goal in support of your strategy. If you rely too heavily on a single tactic, you may get caught short if that avenue closes. You want to be ready to shift direction quickly because there are plenty of surprises in publishing right now.

3. Observe other authors and then do what works for you. Pay attention to people who are successful at what you want to do, but chart your own path. Keep experimenting to see what works best for you.

4. You can’t plan to bottle lightning. Planning to get lucky is a bad strategy Lightning strikes rarely occur and almost never without substantial time and effort. To the extent that there is a formula for success it is this: Write good books that people love and want to talk about.

5. Selling direct is the future. Amazon has done a lot for indie authors, but you should understand they have a very different relationship with your readers than you do. Find as many ways as possible to interact with readers directly. One way the writers of Sterling & Stone do this is with their Platinum Readers program, a monthly subscription where readers get early access to their stories.

What’s next in your own journey to success? We invite you to share in the comments below what’s working for you and what you want to experiment with. We’ll keep providing resources and tips for your authorial journey right here. Sign up for regular updates from the Captain’s Blog: Publishing so you won’t miss any of these posts!