Welcome to episode 23 of Publish Your Purpose: An Author’s Journey.
In this episode we cover –
- Trust the process
- The book launch
- The impact of the Author’s Academy
- Marketing options
The Publish Your Purpose Podcast: An Author’s Journey features the unique relationship between an author and their publisher. This podcast follows author, Mark David Gibson, through the publishing process of his memoir “Served in Silence.” Alongside him you’ll hear from Publish Your Purpose Press Founder and CEO, Jenn T. Grace, as she navigates Mark through this journey. This authentic, empathetic, and at times comedic duo will take you on the journey from having an idea in your head to holding a book in your hands. You’ll go through all of the emotional ups and downs with Mark as this podcast covers his experience in real time. You’ll learn how to be better prepared when you set out to write your story. Whether you are writing a memoir or any non-fiction where a piece of your story is shared, you’ll be better equipped for success after having listened to this show.
Jenn and Mark have volunteered and donated their time. If you’d like to support the show on Patreon you can do so for just a couple of dollars a month, which is less than a cup of coffee! Your contribution will help with the hosting and transcription of the show. Support us on Patreon at Patreon.com/PublishYourPurpose.
Music provided in this episode was provided by www.bensound.com.
Publish Your Purpose Podcast
30:47 total time
Jenn: Hello Mark. How are you?
Mark: Hi there! I am great! How are you doing?
Jenn: I am fantastic and we’re on episode 23 of our podcast.
Mark: Wow. And I dressed appropriately!
Jenn: Of course you did. And when we actually talk about the conversation today your outfit, for those watching, will make perfect sense.
Jenn: I am Jenn Grace, CEO of Publish Your Purpose Press. And my co-host is…
Mark: Hi everyone. Mark David Gibson. The author of Served in Silence.
Jenn: We are on episode 23. We began this journey when you had your idea in your head and you were still kind of in the editing phase when we first started recording this podcast. And now you physically have your book in hand which is amazing. And you have your prop, which is awesome. And there’s a nice banner in the back behind you.
I believe that in the last episode we were talking about different ways that you can market your book. And different options and stuff to have. I know we were talking about the banner. But I’m not sure if you actually had it behind you in that episode.
Mark: No. I didn’t in that episode. I’m currently, physically, at our lake house. And that’s the where the banner was. The last episode we recorded I was in Atlanta. This is where I finished Served in Silence so I thought it would be appropriate to record this episode at the lake.
Jenn: I think it makes perfect sense.
We talked about different marketing tactics and ideas and things that you can do in the last episode. Today we want to talk about the launch and what that looks like. Whether it’s on-line, off-line, specifically talking about what YOU did. Then we will do a final episode that kind of talks about the “what’s next,” and that will come at a later date; episode 24.
I want to dive right into your launch. What would be great is if we could include some of your photos on the show notes page for this episode in particular. I think that your pomp and circumstance and showmanship and you name it, is probably hard to match. I think it would be fun to have some of those photos. We’ll make sure that we get some of those up there so while we’re talking, people can actually have a visual of the sheer magnitude of what you pulled off. And the outfit that you’re wearing currently is just a little glimpse of what we will witness at the launch.
Mark: That’s a great idea. We have a lot of great photos to show. This is great. We are just so excited. What a huge success! Such a meaningful and impactful event. We were very honored to have you there in person.
Going back a bit… What Mr. Wonderful and I did in planning for the launch – going back to the Author’s Academy course, after the writing phase about week four or five, then it begins. I looked at those building blocks for those opportunities to start laying the foundation for my vision and my idea for what I wanted to do for the launch. I was thinking about it today and I was talking to Mr. Wonderful about the launch. There’s no right way; there’s no wrong way. There’s not a perfect way. The sky is the limit. So take what you learn in the Author’s Academy and then take what you hear from this podcast and what we did from my launch, and those are all ideas. Bring those all together and then it becomes your way. And that’s the perfect way because it’s yours. How you want to set your book out into the universe and out into the world. You really have that reach back capability with all of those nuggets from the AUTHOR’S ACADEMY and if you just go back and take a listen or look at your notes over the 14 weeks… okay, the writing phase? You’ve got that done. And the branding and the marketing and the social media… all of those individual components… this is the time. This is fun. This is where you get to pull everything together. And that’s where it makes the AUTHOR’S ACADEMY so impactful and so beneficial to you when you get done. That you had all those resources in your tool kit to build something pretty spectacular.
Jenn: I think that the thing is, that at the time you’re doing them, if you look at the agenda of the AUTHOR’S ACADEMY itself, you might be thinking “why would I be thinking about marketing now when I’m really just writing? Why should I be thinking about my website now when I should be writing?” But what you’re saying is that it really is that building block and then at the end it’s kind of that aha moment of “Oh, that’s why it’s in this particular order!”
Mark: And it all snaps together beautifully. Trust me everybody. You’ll hear Jenn say it over and over again in the academy – Trust the process- right? The process. It really does snap together. I think I mentioned a couple of episodes ago, I was in the writing phase throughout the whole academy. It was a nice break for me to stop the writing process, come out of airplane mode if you will, and then go into the academy. At that time, like you just said, I can’t really be thinking about marketing materials. I can’t be thinking about branding and that stuff at that moment… because we had a very rigorous deadline for me getting my manuscript done. But, when you go back and then you look at those great nuggets and all of those great little ideas. You’re instructing, you’re informing and here is what you should be thinking about as the component. It’s up to you. You splash the color on whatever it is that you’re developing for your launch.
Jenn: I want to throw out that the way that you did it is not the only way. You do everything way over the top so I don’t want anyone to watch this and think “Uch. I couldn’t possibly pull that off. I don’t have the budget to do something like that.” I want to just be firm in letting people know that there’s a variety of options for the launch. It could be that there’s an intimate gathering at your home. Could be 15 people, 15 friends, family, there’s really no wrong way to do it. It depends on what your goals and objectives are for your book generally speaking. When we start to compile case studies of different launches, yours is going to be here, where the rest of the people are probably hovering around here and then there’s some people that are over here. And there’s nothing wrong with any one of those scenarios. It really is what fits your budget with what your goals are, your timeliness, your perspectives, etc. So with that having been said, that warning…
Mark: That disclaimer
Jenn: I wish you had your binder. Your launch binder.
Mark: I don’t. It is in the Atlanta office.
Jenn: Such a bummer because that thing is a thing of beauty.
Let’s go back. What was your inspiration for your book launching? Where was that core “I need to do it this way?”
Mark: Those of you following this probably remember when we did the cover party. When we did the cover party on the first of November… it has to go big in my house. It was the month of Mark. It was the cover party. It was a little informal party at my house. 25/30 people. We zoomed in Fern and you, and we had the six final cover options for Served in Silence. It was that night that we did the nationwide Facebook poll, we did the in-person poll, and we had votes and then we came up with this thing of beauty which is just amazing.
We cleaned up after the party. At this time I am still a little “wow, I’m really doing this! This is happening now.” When your publisher tells you to put accountability on your Facebook or LinkedIn, it gets really real when you have 25/30 people in your house that are looking at the cover and you’re now rounding the corner of the final stretch of the marathon. “What are you going to do?” people asked me. What’s the launch going to be? So you start scheming and dreaming and planning; thinking about it.
It was that night, after we got done. I was talking to Mr. Wonderful about it, and it just dawned on me; I got a vision in my mind. Running down Peachtree and looking up at the marquee and seeing my name on the Marquee. And that was the vision. Okay. What does that look like? How does that begin?
Within 72 hours of that conversation, in Mark fashion, I go and knock on the door at the Fox Theater across the street to the Georgian Terrace and I was under contract at the Fox and had the Georgian Terrace as our host hotel and now we just build it. It was pretty amazing.
Jenn: It happened so fast. You said “Here’s your hotel code. Go book it now.” I’m like “I’m on it, I’m on it.” And the Georgian Terrace is such a gorgeous hotel. It was so perfect. And then on top of it you had goody bags in everyone’s hotel room which is why I have a coaster from the Fox theater on my desk.
Let’s talk about the night of the launch. I personally think it was a very well executed launch. I want people to see both sides of it. The good side of it and the times when you were hectic and crazed and “OMG, Am I going to pull this off or not?” What were all those things going around in your mind? There were over a hundred people there, right?
[15:00 Insert Commercial]
Mark: I think it was like 140/150.
That was November. I went back to the AUTHOR’S ACADEMY. It’s those items that you bookmarked. That’s great information. This was the time to go back and review the notes. This is where PYP comes in super valuable because you’ve done it before. You’ve seen it before. You may not have seen it in that capacity but you know you’ve certainly seen launches for other authors. I utilized my one-on-one coaching time with you and the rest of the staff to ask very intentional questions on how do we, what do we, what’s next, how do we expect, what about the books, all these types of things. So I created a PowerPoint presentation. I created a spreadsheet. I started working it backwards.
What was my vision for the night of the launch? And then how do we get to that vision? I started breaking it down in baby steps. You can’t boil the ocean so one pot at a time. You can’t eat the whole elephant. So one bite at a time. And I’ll never forget… after this great big vision, I had no idea about costs. I guess that people that dream big, I just didn’t know. I quickly found out that it was going to be a little expensive. So in one of our talks with you and Niki, it was about “well, there’s a little bit of a challenge here. It’s kind of expensive.” And you said “well, I think you need a sponsor. I think you should look into what is next for the book and put a good plan together with that.” Okay. Sounds reasonable. So I went and put together a plan. Okay, I need a sponsor. I don’t know what that looks like or how that happens. So I put it together. I sent a draft to you. You had a couple of questions. We made a couple of tweaks. Move this up here. And I had a sponsors pdf form. And, lo and behold, the end of that week, I asked three people and all three became sponsors! Wow. There we go. Then it started to build.
I think what you said earlier is don’t worry about the ingredients. All launches aren’t going to have to happen at your local Fox’s Theater. They could be just as impactful in your dining room, or living room or in your local café or bookstore. What is your goal for after the book? When you launch it, what is your vision for the book? That really makes you laser in, go back early on to even the writing process. What was your vision statement? What was your mission? And then take a look at all of those. That was the time to bring it all together. It was a little nerve-wracking. That was a very big undertaking to step up to the plate for. I had one more in me I guess. We pulled it off. Superbly.
Jenn: I would agree with that. Are there any highlights that you want to share from the launch itself? Or any tips or shortcuts for people who might watching that might be thinking I want to launch my book I just have to figure out how to go about doing this?
Mark: I think the biggest tip I can give fellow authors is if you’re sitting in this chair and you’re writing a book, you’re visionary. You have a vision; you have your story. I think that if you get into your vision [for your launch] and capture it and just put it out here on paper, just like you did with your book and writing your outline and table of contents, and the chapters. Sketch it out. What does that look like in your mind? And to me when I actually envisioned myself at the event with friends and family there I even had it down to the menu. I had it down to what was I going to wear?
I’ll never forget this either… I was in Savannah, GA and I saw this jacket. This is the jacket that I would wear to the after party. I saw myself wearing this at a couple of different events as the coat of many colors for Served in Silence. I sent a selfie to my manuscript strategist, Fern, and she said “That’s great Mark but I need chapter blah, blah, blah and I need you to focus. We are not done with the manuscript and you’re already buying clothes for your launch!”
Jenn: I want to say that out of all the books that we’ve published, less than half of them have done an in-person physical book launch. Everyone else has done an on-line book launch. So I know that there are two different paths that someone might take. Someone might be very introverted and not want to have the showmanship of doing a very big, fancy launch or anything. But there’s a lot of ways they can do it on-line instead and still have the same results. A lot less risks involved in terms of overhead and the amount of money that you’re putting out to make such an event happen. I do want to balance this out. There’s the extreme of doing a really good well produced in person launch but there’s also ways you can do an on-line launch and have great results and never have to set foot in front of people and have to sign your book. Everyone has a different feel about that.
I know that for my book launch I partnered with another author and we did it at an insurance company in NYC. They were willing to host. They wanted to talk about the topic. And we were “sure, sign us up.” I showed up with my books and did my thing. I had no out-of-pocket costs other than bringing my books and getting into the city. There’s that type of launch. And then there’s the one with having 30 people in your home. And that’s all you need. And then you have yours where there’s 150 people and there’s a color guard and so many other things happening. I want people to not be scared by what you’re saying because there are so many different ways. I truly don’t think there’s any wrong way to launch your book as long as it’s in alignment with whatever your goals are.
Mark: I absolutely agree. We could have done an on-line presence just the same. The skies the limit. Just get creative. That was the fun part in the whole publishing process. Because you’ve worked so hard. This was the time to celebrate for us. The book is going to be a path for my personal vision for live authentically speaking campaign. Served in Silence subtitle is “The Struggle to Live Authentically.” We had a specific target and vision in mind for launching that powerful message out into the world. I think that you can do as little or as much as you want to as long as you’re going to feel comfortable at the end of it. I want you to take the time to celebrate and embrace your book baby. We were so honored and very, very humbled to have the Fox Theater and the Georgian Terrace. Earlier that day we went to the Margaret Mitchell house, the author of Gone with the Wind. Aaron read from Gone with the Wind and I did a reading from Served in Silence in her [Margaret Mitchell’s] apartment.
And the lunch beforehand in midtown Atlanta. It was a beautiful day. It was magical, it really was.
Jenn: We’re at the high. Now, what was it like the day after?
Mark: I think I was high for three days after! It was such a busy, busy weekend. The day after, I got a phone call from one of the publishers in the Atlanta market. They told me that they’re going to do a second run of one of the magazines that we were posted in. That was pretty powerful. Lots of media. We had a lot of media attention afterward. I captured that. It’s on my website. You can see the different formats and different media outlets that covered not just the launch but the book in general.
I was ready for that. We’ll talk about that in another episode – what comes after.
It was such a great, great feeling to release it into the world.
Jenn: Was there exhaustion after those three days of being high about this?
Mark I don’t know if I know how to gauge exhaustion. I tend to run 90-to-nothin’ all the time. Especially when I’m latched onto an idea. I was thinking this morning when we went for a walk around the lake. Some of you know I’m color blind, but for me I think I dream in color. Because when I see a vision and a mission and I’m really passionate about it, I really amp it up and run harder and faster.
Jenn: That I can attest to.
Mark: And I’ve done that when I’m most successful with other things in my life. I’ve done that with my work life. Everything doesn’t have to be over the top. I just try to make it over the top.
Jenn: I don’t think it’s try – I think it just happens. I think this was a good episode, sharing the launch and the chaos, excitement of a solid in-person launch. I know that you have photos on your website. I want to put them on the PYP website. Can you tell people where they are on your site?
Mark: We just funneled them all into MarkDavidGibson.com/photos. You can get a good flavor for how the room was set up. One of my favorite photos is the marquee.
Walking with my dad under the marquee was such a powerful moment. He grabbed my arm.
“What’s wrong dad?”
“Mark, Your Name is on the building!”
“I know dad, I know.”
Jenn: I put it there.
Mark: “We’re just renting it for a little while. We’re not buying this building.”
So yeah -it’s at MarkDavidGibson.com/photos. Then, if you’d like to see some different formats for the media engagement, it’s MarkDavidGibson.com/media.
Jenn: I hope everyone goes to check that out. We’ll pull that over to the PYP website.
This wraps everything up for today. The next time people see us will be our last recording. We’ll be talking about ‘You launched your book, now what?’ It will be an interesting discussion.
Mark; It’s just amazing and very, very exciting. I’ll have a lot to report for what’s next.
Jenn: Until then I will see you and everyone else on-line.
Mark: Bye. Take care.
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