Welcome to episode 24 of Publish Your Purpose: An Author’s Journey.
In this episode we cover –
- Final Goodbyes
- Final Thoughts
- The Author’s Academy
- Book Launch
- The Smooth Transition
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 – FP Amended
39:24 total time
Jenn: We cannot believe that we are recording our last episode. Isn’t that crazy?
Mark: It is mind blowing. 24 episodes! The Author’s Journey.
Jenn: I am so proud (and this is self-indulgent) of how we did this. I really truly feel like it shows from start to finish with your book. I remember the first episode where you were still in editing mode and now having your book banner behind you. It’s awesome to have done this really close to real time throughout. We’re recording this now in May and your book came out at the end of March.
Today’s episode we wanted to talk about: What’s next? You’ve had your launch and we talked about the different ways you can do a launch. But now it’s been a month since you launched so it’s the “what’s next?” I think every author has that question of “My book is out there. It’s on-line. I sell it in person here and there. But now what?” How would you answer that “now what?”
Mark: With the Author’s Academy and working with Lisa [Corrado]… that was such a great, smart move to have Lisa be your coach as an outlet. Lisa was in tune with the entire publishing process and our schedule. Those were really powerful meetings that I could have with her that totally took me out of the book process and out of the launch and editing and everything; and that was an opportunity to look at “What do you see for this book? What is the purpose?” That’s what I think is so powerful about PYP because you get the opportunity to not just write the book but there’s got to be a reason, a really heartfelt reason in your mind and your soul, why did you want to do it?
Lisa helps you build the why- bigger, faster, stronger- and it tied back in with one of the most powerful episodes for the Academy. The episode that we did in the very beginning to give yourself permission. And she links it all together nicely. After you’ve given yourself permission and now you’re here – what does that look like? And where do you aim your arrow? Aim your arrow high.
Right before the launch, she wanted to make sure she got in right prior to, because after the launch happens… it’s like you’re going on a roller coaster. You know when you’re going on an incline and then you’re at the very top and then phoooosh it’s off you go and you’re off and running. Well she had me think of a 90 day strategy. That way you didn’t just end and then have post stress. You actually had some time to rest, some time to think about [what you accomplished] but you also had your goals and your 90 day strategy that you can rinse and repeat. So that’s what I did. I came up with a 90 day strategy and so we’re right in the middle of just getting ready to pursue the second chunk of that.
Jenn: Nice. How did you determine what would be included in your strategy? Is that something that you and Lisa specifically talked about or is that something that Lisa (typical Lisa fashion) dream big, go higher and then you just sat down and chunked out how am I actually going to do all of these things?
Mark: Yeah. I think it was the latter.
What Lisa does is that she has the leading questions, the leading thoughts, to get you thinking in that right direction. And so that’s what I did. In Atlanta I have a white board and I just start going crazy on the white board. The 90 day strategy was going to be a potpourri of events – Served in Silence book signings and getting back into the community. And with our community partner and what type of events can we do there? Then the third component was media engagement. And what did that look like? And how can you increase your media engagement footprint? And then I just began making a strategy and charting the course.
Jenn: Have you been doing speaking engagements of any kind? Have you been doing more book launches or book signing parties or things like that?
Mark: Yes, absolutely. We got a request early on – but I was too busy focusing on the launch and thought maybe I would see after the fact – well it ended up that she wanted me to come before the launch. I thought “Well, okay. Just add one more thing in. So, the first speaking event was a breakfast. I was the keynote speaker, here in Atlanta. About 75 people. It was amazing. It ended up with a short talk and the process of writing the book and my vision and the mission for the book. And then we opened it up for a Q&A about the book. It was a great program to really get to know the audience and get your feet wet. Now what I’m going to be doing, we are targeting specific speaking engagements as we go on the book tour.
Jenn: Have you had similar questions that you get asked over and over again now that you are a published author?
Mark: Yup. I don’t know if you can relate to this but the common question was “how did you get started?” How did you get it out of here [pointing to brain], out of all the sticky notes, out of all the napkins, and thoughts and scribbly pads and your journals… how did you get started? I don’t know if they’re amazed because they know I can’t spell and I have a book. I think that’s the common question. You know – everyone has a story. We know lots and lots of people that say “Oh, I think I want to write a book! I think I want to write a book!” but they just don’t know how to.
Things like our podcast “Following the author’s journey”, I’ve heard back from many people that love it. They think you and I are a little crazy and a bit of craziness going on in the podcast. It’s very helpful to hear at least how to get started and to take some of those hints and nuggets of things like block writing, journaling, or voice recorder, and all those little tidbits and tricks to get you on your way.
Jenn: It’s interesting timing. I was going to bring this up eventually anyway. We have a program that I may have mentioned once in this entire podcast series, but it’s called “Getting Started For Authors” (gettingstartedforauthors.com.) It’s a low entry point that talks about the mindset and the tactical steps to just start writing.
However, for anyone who has been paying attention to the myriad of things you and I have been up to, if you text the word PUBLISH to 345345, you’ll get the Getting Started for Authors blueprint which is a combination of all of those Facebook Live videos that we did in December. It’s all broken out. There’s a table of contents. If you have mindset related things, here are the videos, here’s the transcript. And that’s a completely free item for anyone. I think that that should help people answer that question of how do I get started.
Anyone can go to the Facebook page. Anyone can go to YouTube. You can watch all the videos. But we have it broken out based on actual need that people have. I would definitely encourage people to do that.
Mark; In the very beginning I remember you were asking us, short introduction, who are you, what is your book, what is your book about? And I fumbled.. “Well, it’s Served in Silence.” And what’s the book about? Well it’s about the bup, bu bup, bu bup. And “No. You’ve got to get much better at this.” And started cleaning that up. Now, you know “Served in Silence, the struggle to live authentically; my memoir before, during and after, the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” Bam. You’re like “That’s what we’re talking about!”
Jenn: It takes a while to get to that place where you can just succinctly say what your book is about. I think a lot of people struggle with that. It’s not a surprise. It’s okay.
Mark: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Jenn: It’s a process. You have to give yourself permission to just chill if you don’t have that 30 second elevator pitch of what your book is.
Mark: It will come. Unexpectedly. Least expected. Settle back. Settle in. Trust the process. Follow the Academy. Follow all these great tips and hints and you too will be holding your book-baby.
Jenn: I want to show our Candyland graphic of what working with us looks like as well as going through the Academy. There’s more than 13 steps but we had to make it succinct so it made sense.
This is really what the process, generally speaking this is what the process should look like regardless of where you are publishing or how you are working on your book. I’m proud of how this graphic came out. It’s on our website. It’s part of bigger brochure that talks about who we are, how we operate, what we do. If anyone’s interested in getting a pdf copy of this, they can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark: I want to just send a shout out and kudos to your staff as well. Each and every one of them were so helpful and you [the authors] don’t work with all of them at the same time. There’s this kick off call, you get to meet everybody and then you get gently handed off to the next person, then the next person, throughout the process. What I really loved about it is that you didn’t have to rethread the needle. That when you got onto the next person, they took the same fabric, same needle, same string and they knew where you were in the entire process. That’s what made it so incredibly welcoming and just very productive. Well-oiled machine.
Mark: The Amazon and the Amazon experience has been fantastic. That was maybe in the middle of the Author’s Academy, your advice was to go out and get creative with your url name and so we have MarkonAmazon.com At the speaking events that I go to “If you don’t remember Served in Silence”, if you don’t remember MarkDavidGibson, very easy MarkonAmazon.
Jenn: Yeah. It works like a charm. I use it. I was just speaking in NY a few weeks ago. JennonAmazon. You can’t mess it up! Your first name is likely not going to change. There is a possibility that your last name could change at some point in time. Who knows? But your first name’s probably not going to change. At some point the options are going to be minimal. It is so easy to say at the front of the room. It takes you right to the Amazon page where you can get the paperback version, the e-version, the hardcover version and, if you have, an audio version.
The hardcover is something we are actively working on offering our author’s now. Introducing hardcovers to authors as well as trying to figure out the audio books. Because we want to be that full one-stop shop. It’s the thread that goes through seamlessly. No sense in throwing people to the wolves and hoping for the best that somebody else is going to do it right. That’s stuff that we’re working on as it stands right now in May 2018.
Mark: That smooth transition in between and working with the rest of the team, that’s also very important. As the author as you’re going through the manuscript and you’re going through the editing phase and the development, you don’t want a jolt of working with an entirely new person that doesn’t know where you are in the process. By the time we got to Heather, she already knew exactly where the cover was, the chapter titles were, that’s what’s also so powerful with working with the manuscript strategist. Working with Fern from the very beginning when you are nervous, when you don’t know how you’re going to pull this all together, it’s so comforting and she steps in and says “I got this. Sit back. You relax. I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions, but I’ve got it.” And it was just amazing.
Mark: And I’ve had so many people (I don’t know if they’re just super surprised “Wow, Gibson, You wrote a book? How did you do that?”) but there’s a lot of people that I’ve talked to at my launch, after the launch… “Can you help me? How did you do it?”… so it’s very exciting to get other potential authors plugged into such a well-defined system at PYP. I’m so excited for the future.
Jenn: We definitely talked about the Academy the entire way through the podcast because it was so integral to your publishing process. If you go to PublishYourPurposePress.com/Academy you can see when the dates for the next Academy sessions are starting.
We talked a bit about the launch and the post launch – some of it’s grunt work, some of it’s hard work, and it’s not all super sexy with the big Flash-Boom and there’s the launch, but there’s a lot of work behind it. The more we collaborate and we help people with some creative ideas – down to how do you envision yourself at the book signing? Who is taking the payments for the books while you are signing the books? Having conversations and keeping the line moving. There isn’t a right/wrong way to do it but there certainly is opportunity to plan for it and make sure it’s very successful.
Mark: I did two book signings in Savannah. Incredible event with hearing from the public and new fans that are super excited with you and proud of you; it was very memorable and so excited to host the two book signings there.
Jenn: Can you share the story of the person who reached out to you and what actions they are taking as a result of having read your story? It gave me goose-bumps when you told…
Mark: I just got goosebumps again. These are things that you don’t really expect. As an author, and there’s a business side of this, and you’re going 90 to nuthin’…
Mr. Wonderful and I were out to dinner and he said “Do you realize that you are THE MarkonAmazon.com?” I’m like “Whoa, that’s kinda cool!” No. Because you’re so busy getting everything done. It was right after the launch, social media was lit up and there were many articles. We got the cover of a couple of magazines. We got a great centerfold for the Goliath magazine. People were interacting with me through social media.
Then I got a Facebook messenger note. There were two of them that were really moving to me. The one I reached out and told you about that… it just really makes a difference when you hear that you’ve helped somebody. And when someone tells you that because of you and your book, I’ve been struggling with alcoholism, and because of your courage and talking about it, I am now seeking help and assistance to live a more authentic life. That was so moving that I had to share it with you right away, to share with the rest of your team.
It’s not that we forget that what we’re doing is important, it’s just moving so fast. Something like that to make you stop and pause, take it in. Wow.
Another thing happened in one of the Amazon reviews… the lady reached out to me. It turns out that we were in grad school together years and years ago. She sent a photo of her with her son, nestled into the side of her back, he was sleeping, the cat was there, and she was reading my book. Her review was thanking me because it was going to elevate the conversation in her household with her young boys on living authentically. Just so moving and powerful. People reach out to me all the time in emails. It’s just been such a beautiful experience.
Jenn: I think those are the things that are so hard to quantify because when we’re thinking about the business and marketing strategy, the speaker and distribution strategy, there’s all of the “stuff” that we’re thinking about but at the end of the day, it’s your book to one reader. It’s one person reading that book at a time. It could be 400 individual people reading it at a time, but it’s still a one to one experience. I think that sometimes we get all caught up in the business aspect of what you’re doing and forget that someone is reading this and being impacted in a small way or a really dramatic way, in the way that you shared with me a couple of months ago. It was intense. This is exactly why, for me, I do what I do. I want to be the person behind the scenes that shoves you into the spotlight for you to impact that person that’s in your audience. Think of the lives that you and I collectively (and our team) just helped!
Mark: A catalyst. Just propelling. Just last night, got a phone call from a gentleman who is re-reading my book to have a better understanding and a more rich and fulfilling relationship with his son. Amazing. He just wanted to reach out and say thank-you.
Jenn: Yeah. That is what it’s all about. There’s the transactional side where you’re making money, getting paid to speak, doing this, that and the other. But there’s that human side where you’re genuinely changing lives as the result of sharing your story. Which is why I am always saying that everyone has a story! Even if you don’t think you have one, whatever it is that you have to say, there is somebody out there that needs to hear it. And their lives are going to be impacted as a result of it. It makes it worth all of the times I had to talk you off the ledge, tell you to zip it and go take a run, cool off – you’ll be fine. All of that is in the past. You’re getting these trickles of holy shit, I’m impacting people. And you cannot beat that.
Mark: You really can’t. In Savannah a couple came up to me… they’d been together forty years. And they were kicked out of the military because he was gay. Super successful in the Navy and wanted to come to my book signing and thank me for writing my book.
Jenn: You’re sharing your voice for the voiceless. There’s a lot of other Mark David Gibsons that were operating the way you were within the military that are seeing themselves in your story.
Mark: Yeah. I’m so excited to take everything I’ve learned and all of this excitement and energy and be able to help somebody else. So exciting I can’t wait.
Jenn: You can find me at PublishYourPurposePress.com. You can find our whole team there. And me personally, it’s Jenn@publishyourpurposepress.com. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. We’re on all those channels so if you need anything, feel free to reach out. Of course you can go to meetwithpyp.com to schedule time on my calendar. Hopefully I can help you get through whatever it is that you’re trying to get through.
Mark: It’s very easy to reach me. If you’d like a copy of the book, markonamazon.com, my website is MarkDavidGibson.com. And you can reach me directly at info@MarkDavidGibson.com.
Jenn: That concludes Publish Your Purpose, An Author’s Journey.
Mark: It’s bittersweet. We won’t say good-bye. We’ll say “see you next time!”
Jenn: Correct. Because there will be a next time.
Coaching from the PYP Press Publisher
We have an opportunity for someone that just needs that kick in the pants, they have a problem with a current publisher, or they have ten publishers and they don’t know what to do, I always offer complimentary conversations with people. If you go to MeetwithPYP.com, you can get onto my calendar. I will talk with anyone. No sales pressure. Just me trying to help other people not get screwed over by the potential predators that are unfortunately lurking out there in this industry.
Mark: That is exactly right. It was just that easy that day back in May when I just jumped on your calendar. I was so surprised that I was actually getting a chance to talk to the publisher. And it was that Saturday morning, cup of coffee, “What’s up? Where are you in the process? How can I help? Gonna give you some advice and some tips and here’s some things that we do.” And Boom. Nine months later…
Jenn: PYP is not a one woman shop; that’s the thing. This is just something that I am personally passionate about. Is to help authors find the right path for them. Which may or may not be us. And that’s totally okay. We have nine people on our team, behind the scenes. Kicking ass and taking names on behalf of our authors every day. And yet I still am the one that will have these phone calls with people because I know that I’m going to be the best path to help clear the weeds or whatever may be in front of them because it’s amazing the amount of conversations I have on a day to day basis where somebody is getting completely screwed and they don’t even know it. It’s because you don’t know what you don’t know. And that makes me sad. And that’s why PYP was founded to begin with.
Our random Saturday conversation is not out of my norm. It’s because I personally enjoy it. It must be the extrovert in me where it’s like “If this is how I’m going to start my Saturday? Hell yeah. Why not? Let’s do it!”
Mark: Let’s roll.
Jenn: And in your case, you had already signed up for the Academy before I was even back in the house yet. That never happens. But that’s a good sign of what’s to come. And now we are 24 episodes later of this podcast. I think dispensing a lot of really good advice to people and I’m hoping, whether they want to join the Academy with us or they want to go it alone, whatever their path, I think that we really mapped out a good solid foundation for people.
Atlanta Office and in-person Academy
Jenn: And all of this has culminated into our fast friendship. It went from our Saturday morning chat while I was sitting in my car, to Academy, to we have to start a podcast, to doing all of the podcasts, to, a little hint (don’t want to give everything away yet), but we are working on a little somethin’ somethin’ that will be headquartered in our new PYP Atlanta office. And a certain someone named Mark David Gibson will be spearheading those efforts. That’s our big news I think. There’s lots more news to come as a result of this. We’ll now have offices in Hartford, CT and Atlanta, GA. How awesome is that? When there’s chemistry and it makes sense and you have two people who are a little bit insane (which anyone who’s watched any of these episodes realizes that we just one up each other in terms of insanity). It makes perfect sense that we would have an Atlanta office now.
We will also have out Atlanta version where you will be the facilitator. Anyone who needs a pep of energy will certainly get it in that version of the Academy. That’s just a little bit of all the stuff we are percolating on. I can’t wait for everyone to benefit or to learn something. Whether it’s taking the path of just watching everything we’ve done and reading everything we’ve put out, that’s awesome. Or if it’s working with us. It’s awesome if you do, there’s no hard feelings if you don’t. We still want you to follow us and keep in touch.
PYP will be launching another podcast soon. I do not have the name of it yet. It’s going to be something to the effect of how authors are changing the world. And it will be an interview podcast where I’m asking authors (with preferential treatment to our authors) but to others that are traditionally published, self-published, asking them what are they doing, what’s working, what’s not working, what were those road blocks. Dive a little deeper into the underbelly – where people are writing their book and posting Instagram photos of themselves at their desks but they’re not talking about the struggles going on beneath. That’s the stuff I really enjoy helping our authors through. You will see more me and maybe we can have you (Mark) be the first guest?
Mark: That would be GREAT!
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