SPS-396: Become a Book Rockstar – with Aryn Van Dyke
Who is your audience, really? And are you catering to them? Is there a way to cater to them more? All of these questions are things Aryn Van Dyke, the creator of a book consulting website (Book Rockstar) adresses with her authors. She joins the show with questions to ask yourself about your audience, and why they matter.
- What book rockstar teaches authors.
- Indie marketing beyond the standard checklist.
- Misconceptions around indie marketing.
- Content creation as advertising.
- Book Rockstar and it’s services.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
SPS LIVE: Get your digital tickets here
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST: How to Reinvent Your Author Brand
PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page
Become a Book Rockstar - with Aryn Van Dyke
Speaker 1: On this edition of the Self-Publishing Show,
Aryn Van Dyke: Whether it's through traditional publishing or indie publishing, like there's, there's the same questions and exercises that you can go through to, you know, start narrowing down so that once it comes time to social media, content, writing, you know, email newsletters, creating ads, you know, thinking of keywords going through and really determining the audience and getting clear on the message is the first step to really do anything that you would need to do in the implementation stage.
Speaker 1: Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers, no one standing between you and your readers. Do you want to make a living from your writing? Join indie bestseller Mark Dawson and first time author James Blat as they shine a light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch: Hello and welcome. It is The Self-Publishing Show on a Friday with me, James Blatch,
Mark Dawson: And me Mark Dawson.
James Blatch: It's been a long time since we've actually recorded one of these. Mark, can we remember how to do it?
Mark Dawson: I don't know. I'm not sure. I think we've, we'll manage, I think I've pressed the right buttons. We'll see.
James Blatch: I'll tell what has happened. The screen recording has stopped. The ashes playing.
Mark Dawson: Oh, oh dear.
James Blatch: I mean, I don't think it's actually stopped 'em playing cricket, but it stopped the sky streaming because obviously they don't want people to stream and record their
Mark Dawson: No
James Blatch: Ashes. So it's a tense afternoon in North London, but south London. But we shouldn't mention cricket, although I did see, I follow this girl on TikTok and she's massive into Cricket in America, and they've just launched M L C Major League Cricket in America.
Mark Dawson: Ah, okay.
James Blatch: I doubt it's going to be the, the next big thing, but it will get
Mark Dawson: M L C, it's Major League Soccer, major league based major baseball. Yes, you can get that. 'cause It is, you know, it is Major league, but I mean, it's not really Major League Cricket, is it? Not that I think the Indians might have something to say about that. Or, or indeed. T t Well, the hundred, whatever it's called these days.
James Blatch: A hundred and the T 20 or T 20. Yeah. Anyway anyway the greatest sport on Earth, we shall leave it there. Right. So we're coming up to a busy time. It's the autumn. We're going to be travelling. If you want to come and meet me and Mark in person, come and see us at nnc, we'll have a date for you in evening where we'll be in a certain place at a certain time. If you can't make the conference itself you don't need a ticket to the conference, just to come along and have a drink with us and press the flesh. So that'll be good. That's in Florida in mid-September. And in November we'll be at Vegas fabulous. Las Vegas at the Horseshoe Casino and Resort, or whatever it's called. Hmm. for 20 books, Vegas Craig Martel's, last Ever 20 book, some Vegas.
If you follow that story, Craig's been organising it very well over a few years, is taking a backseat to stepping down from that. And another announcement for us is that ads for authors is going to be open in September, on September the 13th. We will open ads for authors. This is the course that I use every day of the week to generate oodles. Well, pretty decent income for Fuse books. And yeah. My own books, 2 3 2 and a half Books in profit using it. And I have to say I've been using AI imagery quite a lot recently. I know AI is a contr controversial subject whenever you mention it, but I have been using the imagery for ads and I'm using using it to great effect, starting to have some really positive and good results. So yeah, I did notice, I, I did notice on the whole legal thing, that's not getting into that particularly, but I, I generated some images for some SS p f campaigns, and I asked it to imagine an author as a, like, as a, as a rock star, which goes with this particular episode, an author as a rock star.
So you might see these adverts floating about, and the female ones looked, you know, just kind of on script. The male author did look quite a lot like Neil Gaman the first one that came back and thought, Hmm, okay, that does look quite a lot like Neil Gaman. I think it was probably just the idea of an author has glasses and a grey beard. Might've been it, but wait
Mark Dawson: A minute, who knows? Sorry, you just described me.
James Blatch: Well, there you go. Look, it's three of us. Yes. And Neil.
Mark Dawson: Yes. yeah, no, I've, I've seen they're good images. Yeah. And see how they, they perform. I mean, I, I'm doing quite a few ads on ATUs at the moment. And as I mentioned to you other day, the, the first two books are doing, well, it's a three book series, but I'm only kind of tracking the first two, and they're, they're making about $200 profit a day at the moment. And that's advertising the first one, and then seeing read through into the second. And yeah, there's no question it's, it's working. It's, it's Facebook ads as well. It's running Amazon ads too, but it's definitely Facebook ads that are moving the needle on that, which is, is nice. So the first book has been kinda in the top 40, I'd say maybe sometimes top 25. Now and again, o over, I suppose, for the last six weeks or so.
And that's a full price book period, well, 2 99. That's great. And the second book, I think it's 3 99 in the, in the uk probably a bit more in the States. And these are, these are mainly advertising in the uk just because they're UK focused books. The second book has been in the top 2 50, 300. So, I mean, it's, it's been really good. And I'm going to run a countdown deal on the first one at the end of this week, and then really, really hammer the ads, maybe invest a decent chunk for a couple of days on Facebook ads and see how far I can push it up the charts which is fun. So, yeah. Yeah, when people say Facebook ads don't work, it's nonsense. They absolutely still work really well, you know, as, as we've demonstrated.
James Blatch: Yes, they do. And you can ask a couple of our Fuse authors, that's as well. Okay. Look, we'll we'll move on to our interview for today. One other thing I suppose we should mention is that the digital sessions of the conference are being released as this episode is being released actually on Friday. So Thursday and Friday, that's the third and 4th of August. They'll be available if you're not already enrolled, if you didn't come to the conference, you get it as part of that or you can enrol just for $99 and you get a lot of material, not just all the sessions that happened at the conference professionally filmed really well filmed, very clear, concise. In addition to that, we have a bunch of workshop sessions that people have created for us, all the work people from Steve Higgs to Stuart Grant how to create a website and an hour.
We've got BookBub doing sessions in there as well. So two sessions, three really two sessions, yeah. By bpa. So really, really good value for $99. And you can still pick that up at self-publishing formula.com digital. I think next week, if we have time, we'll go through exactly what's in that in those sessions in a bit more detail. Okay, mark, our interview today is Aryn Van Dyke. Aryn runs a, an organisation called Book Rockstar book rockstar.com. And I think it's quite an interesting character. I think she's somebody who's come from traditional business and industry and wants to be a part of the burgeoning and growing indie space as lots of people you know, the service provision is, is popping up all over the place. And I'll talk to you actually about a visit I made this week on that very subject. But Aryn is offAryng her services to indie authors, and here's your chance to hear, hear a bit more about launching professionally, launching your books, and getting the visibility at the right time for you as an author.
Speaker 1: This is The Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch: Aryn Van Dyke, welcome to the Self-Publishing Show from Book Rockstar.
Actually, I'm, I'm a bit slightly confused as to where you are because I thought you had a London address then you said you moved to Sweden. Now I'm talking to you. You sound American. So who are you? Aryn
Aryn Van Dyke: . Yeah, I know. It's a bit of a combination of all of those things. So I'm from the us grew up there, lived there for, I would say most of my, most of my adult life. Moved with my fiance to Sweden for his master's programme. We lived there for two years, and then he, his job after his programme brought him to London. So now we've been living in London for about two years. And it's been, it's been great so far. So we're, we're loving it. But originally, originally from the us.
James Blatch: Okay.
And whereabouts in the US are you from?
Aryn Van Dyke: I grew up in Michigan, but lived for about nine years in Nashville, Tennessee.
James Blatch: Okay. And now you're in Northern Europe? Oh, well, Sweden's a, well, Sweden's a nice country. London's quite a fun city. So you're seeing, you're seeing the world the best part of it. Whereabouts in Sweden? I'm sorry, I'm very nosy. Whereabouts in Sweden were you?
Aryn Van Dyke: Let's see. We were in the, in south the, the south. So we were in a smaller university town called Lund, just outside of Malama, which is right across the bridge from Copenhagen. So usually if I, when I say Copenhagen, it, it kind of lights the ball because not many people have heard of have heard of Lo.
James Blatch: I went to Gothenburg a few times to do some work down there for Volvo in the in the old days when I was doing video production. So I know that's that part of it, but, great. Okay. Well look, anyway, yeah, that's enough geography for now. Let's we've got the red bus behind you. Just to confirm Fe anyone's watching on YouTube to confirm that Aryn is in London. Absolutely. yeah, necessity. Let's talk about yourself and Book Rockstar.
So first of all, you have a background, I think, in publishing before you started branching out sort of independently.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yes. Yeah, so I work when I was in Nashville, Tennessee, worked for worked for one of the Har Harper Collins offices for a non-fiction trade division. So I, I kind of got my start on the publisher side in the kind of in marketing roles working with, you know, some of the, you know, bestselling authors in the faith-based space specifically. But we also worked on some, you know, pretty neutral memoirs, self-help kinda true, true crime books. So my, yeah, so my experiences on that publisher side, working on working on nonfiction titles. And then when we moved to Sweden, I branched out on my own, you know, realised, damn, I still love publishing, still love working with books. So then branched out to work with different publishers as well as independent authors. And using my knowledge from the publisher side back in the US and, and bringing that to independent authors who, you know, don't, don't always know where to go for a strategy or know exactly what they should be doing.
James Blatch: Yeah. Well, we'll get into that in, in a moment, but
I'm curious as to when you were at Nashville in the Tradd industry, how aware were you of the indie world?
Aryn Van Dyke: I would say at that point sly awareness, of course. But I mean, this was back before, you know, the pandemic when I feel like a lot of the, you know, indie publishing just really started to skyrocket. So, you know, there was definitely the awareness of it, but not, I don't think I quite knew the extent of, of how many people were already doing it pre kind of pre covid. And then that kind of lined up really well with me, you know, starting my own business and the pandemic. So really kind of, I think grew with some of the other authors who were like, you know, I've got all this time on my hands, I'm going to, I'm going to give publishing a try. So definitely aware of it, but I've learned a lot more about indie publishing in my, in my time post-traditional publisher. Yeah.
James Blatch: And, and was it that belief that indies don't have the support of a, of a publisher, they don't necessarily know where to start? I mean, it's, I think it's probably true for all of us when we first start until we join communities.
So, so you created Book Rock Star, I suspect, to, to give a kind of professional help to people working from their kitchen table, not knowing where to begin.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah. that, that's definitely a huge part of it. And, you know, even on the, you know, traditional publisher side, there's authors who are going that route that need, you know, extra guidance, extra support. So I think all around just noticing that there are authors in, you know, taking all different paths who still don't know what they're, what they, what they're doing, what they should, what they, you know, what they should be planning, you know, they're not getting the support that they need. And, and I feel like that's especially, especially true in on the independent side before, you know, authors find these communities and groups that are, you know, so good at doing, like the networking and supporting and providing, you know, tips and advice. So I think that there's just, there's I think, a need all around of authors who just feel really lost and not sure what what they should be doing.
James Blatch: 'Cause we shouldn't forget that. You're right. Trad authors absolutely are expected to market their books today. Probably every bit as indie authors and also sometimes don't always have that. So, well, they should, they should have the professional support from their publishers doesn't always work out like that. I know lots of trad authors listen to this podcast with not necessarily an intention to go Indie at any point, but to learn marketing techniques, male main list and, and so on.
Yeah. so Book Rockstar, that is the organisation that you created. Just tell us about that, what, what it actually does.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, so I created this as a way to, you know, I would say first and foremost, teach authors the marketing strategies, you know, both the, like, the fundamentals of how to be doing things and, but even further why to be doing them and why it's important to take, you know, take that extra second to think about how can I actually be connecting with my readers in a way that's going to be meaningful and impactful beyond just, you know, checking off the to-do list of, okay, I'm, you know, I see I'm supposed to be posting on social media, so check, but actually working, working with authors to dive a bit deeper and say, okay, well, you know, how are you actually going to be talking to your reader? What are you going to be communicating to them to really let them know that this is a book that they should be picking up and reading?
There's so much competition out there, so what can we do differently to make sure, you know, your reader knows exactly what they're going to find in your book. So that's kind of my, my main mission is to give that, give that clarity to authors of here's, you know, here's the, I mean, the ways that to be thinking about marketing that go beyond just the simple checklist and also helping them with the, the confidence of, all right, now I feel like I know how I can do this. Well, I know how to get, you know, ad campaigns set up, or I know how to think critically about my messaging and how I can be connecting with my readers through LinkedIn posts, for example. So really it's you know, my main mission is the clarity, the confidence so that authors can move forward and just really feel, feel like they can be a rockstar with with promoting their
James Blatch: Books. Annie, do,
do you do that with one-on-one consulting? Is that, is that the heart of your company?
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, so that, that's the, I would say that's main, the main thing. So one-on-one consulting and then also in some cases implementation. So if an author's coming and saying, you know, I need help with X, Y, Z, working with them on actually taking some of that implementation work as well. But I would say there's a lot of, there's a lot of authors out there who are, they are willing to roll up their sleeves and, and get the work done, and they just need to be pointed in the right direction. And they need someone who's kind of guiding them through the process so that they can, they can learn the, you know, the right ways to think about these strategies. And, and that's done, you know, at least through my company, through one-on-one consulting and working with them, whether it's approaching a book launch, sometimes even after a book launch, but they feel like, oh, I think I've missed the window of opportunity. But, you know, being able to work with them and say, no, there's still all of these things that we can think about and all of these strategies that we can start you know, working through together so that you can get your book out there in front of people.
James Blatch: So it's not too late for someone to come to you. They don't have to be free publication.
Aryn Van Dyke: Correct.
James Blatch: Yeah.
And is it just you, Aryn, or you've got a team now?
Aryn Van Dyke: For the most part it's just me. So I've got a, I've got a few contractors who help out with with that, with certain things. So, but I would say mainly it's just me, especially with the one-on-one consulting, it's, it's me and my, me and my authors chatting, getting to know each other, really diving into their, their book and what strategies are going to work for them. And then on case by case basis, if there's more implementation services that are needed. I've got kind of my, my trusted list of, of contractors that I, I work with for book launch implementation.
James Blatch: Alright. So let's let's delve in a little bit deeper.
So in terms of the areas, when an author comes to you, is there a kind of typical position that they're in? Are there recurring things that you see the authors are perhaps doing wrong or not giving attention to that you pick up on?
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, I think the big things are start with the, the, the, the clarity of their message and who their target audience is. So I think the biggest thing is, you know, oh, you know, my, my book's for every, every mom. And I'm like, okay, that's, you know, that's not going to be true. You know, let's dive a little bit deeper. So going through, you know, exercises to figure out, okay, what's for this, the target reader of this book, what's going to be the, you know, the biggest questions that they're, that they're asking themselves? What are the biggest challenges that they're facing? What are the desires that they have? And so authors can start to stream of consciousness like, oh, they're dealing with X, Y, and Z. And we start kind of writing down all of these different you know, what I would call felt needs that this target reader might have.
So we start to zone in a little bit more of, you know, it's not really just for, you know, for moms, it's for moms who have, you know, kids under five years old who are also starting, like, wanting to start a business in their, you know, in their spare time. And so figuring out, okay, what are the questions this person is asking? And we can start to create content that's going to speak directly to that person. And so, you know, it's taking what an author might think is this, you know, big pool of potential readers and saying, actually we're going to, we're going to find the bigger pool by short, like, making that a bit smaller. You know, starting with maybe the first 1000 people who are going to read the book, what, what can we find out about them? How can we talk specifically to them? So that is a big I would say a big misconception that people have is like, they think to reach more people, they've gotta widen it. And I work with my, with the authors through messaging exercises to say, let's make that a lot smaller. Let's be a lot more specific with how we are actually talking to this target reader.
James Blatch: Yeah, I mean, that's interesting. 'cause Of course that's quite a good industry approach that they will all create some avatars for their typical customer. And I think if you walk at the back end of a Home Depot or b and q here in the uk, you'll probably find in the staff room a cartoon of their typical customer. And what might sound completely irrelevant to most people is what they do at the weekend, what their weekend looks like to them, the stuff they, you know, how long, how many hours they work each week. And so, so have an idea of your audience that's very well trodden, but within the indie publishing world, probably even trad, publishing's not, not brilliant, but in the indie publishing world, we don't do enough of that, I don't think. So I guess that's a That's a really useful thing that you can bring to us, is to think more about who your audience is.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah. exactly. And, and I think what I, what I hear too, like when I get halfway through the messaging exercise, you know, it's, you know, authors being like, I never really thought about it that way. Or, oh, I, you know, this is making so much sense like this. So it's starting to break, kind of like chisel away at the preconception of my book is for all moms to Getting a bit more granular and thinking, you know, oh yeah, like, this is like the biggest question that, you know, that this reader would be asking. And this is what the like success scenario looks like for them. Should they read the book and implement the, the strategies, here's what the, the failure, you know, outcome is, and be being able to start thinking about the, how they can talk about their book in these different ways is very, it's very eye-opening and it, whether it's through traditional publishing or indie publishing, like there's, there's the same, you know, questions and exercises that you can go through to, you know, start narrowing down so that once it comes time to social media, content, writing, you know, email newsletters, creating ads, you know, thinking of keywords going through and really determining the audience and getting clear on the message is the first step to really, do you know anything that you would need to do in the implementation stage?
James Blatch: Yeah. just helps focus you. So every time you write something, you know, who's, who's in mind. I remember when I first started the B B C, they made some, somebody drew a, a smiley face on the microphone in the radio studio to remind people that you're talking to somebody which just helps you broadcast better. But this is the same sort of thing, is not, not writing some amorphous message.
One thing occurs to me is that it's possible we are wrong as well as to who we think our audience is. And I think that's fairly common is once you start marketing, you can start to discover it's important, I think then to react and be a bit more dynamic about your audience as you discover who who your readers are.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, I think it's, it, it can really, once you're thinking about, all right, this is the book that I've written, here's what, you know, if you've got a certain method or framework that you're sharing in your book, once you start thinking through that a bit bit more, it might shift your focus to say, oh, well this is the type of person who would really need to start implementing the strategies in this framework, for example. And that might look different from who you are initially thinking your target audience is. So if you've written a, you know, a, a business or leadership book, and you're thinking, oh, you know, it's going to be a book for other leaders likely once you start diving in a bit more to what your book is actually talking about, it's going to be for people who might be mid-level management Who are, you know, needing to start, you know, implementing some of these strategies to eventually become a leader or get promoted into a a more senior leadership position. So going, going through and diving deeper into the messaging, getting clarity on that can really shift who you think you are who you're promoting your book to.
James Blatch: Yeah. And commercially, I'm guessing there's a lot more people at that mid and lower level aspiring to be leaders than there are actual leaders So commercially it's probably quite a good market to aim for.
Aryn Van Dyke: Right, exactly. Yeah.
James Blatch: So, so that's, people come to you and that's a, that sounds like a good sort of typical thing that they might be misreading their, their audience or be fuzzy and, and unfocused at that time. And imagine most of us probably guilty of that and listening to this, I imagine if we were honest about ourselves, we don't have a clear idea who our audience is at the beginning. So that's a really good thing.
And then, and then do you move on to other things like the assets, like the cover, the blurb and stuff, you talk to authors about that and then make sure things are aligned?
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah. So when, yeah, when someone it comes to cover really taking a look at the other books in the genre, does it, does it match up? You know, are, are you using colours, fonts even words in the title or subtitle that are going to be relevant to the readers in this genre. Same with the blurb. You know, as we're thinking about the messaging and what does the book actually, what's the transformation that the book is actually helping, you know, this reader go through, making sure that that's being called out in the, in the blurb. Because so often it's just, you know, a big chunk of text, just like, you know, very quick description of what the book is about, but you're not actually pulling out some of those relevant key phrases. And again, felt needs that this target reader might, might want to see before they decide, okay, I'm going to add this to my cart.
So that's, that's part of it thinking too, you know, about the, the metadata. So keywords, categories, and again, going through and getting clear on on the messaging can help inform some of those decisions as well to think about, okay, it might not just be, you know, a leadership category, we might need to get a bit more micro and see what's going to be the most relevant for, for your book. It's diving into social media content. How can we use this to create content that's actually going to connect and make a difference for your reader? What's going to stand out and not just be a promotional post that, oh, you know, my book is available, but actually saying, you know, it, it's available, but here's what it's actually going to teach you, or here's, and here's why I wrote it. So really starting to, to dig, get a bit granular working on, you know, actual content creation or, you know, even just coming up with, you know, content buckets and helping them think, you know, in terms of, you know, thematically or topically here are, you know, based on the exercises we've done six different categories that, you know, your book and your expertise could fall into.
And, you know, helping them think about content creation and book promotion in a brand new way. 'cause It doesn't have to be buy my book, buy my book, buy my book. It can be, have you ever experienced, you know, bullying in the workplace? And you can talk about this topic that you might, you know, talk about in a, in a book about the workplace. And it's, it's kind of low key selling your book even without being a, you know, in your face advertisement.
James Blatch: Yeah. Nice. Now in terms of people working with you,
people might be wondering how much this costs, how long does the service last, and how, how, how is the mechanics of this this this offering work for authors?
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, so for for the like one-on-one consulting I'll meet, I'll meet with authors two times a month. You know, depending on maybe where they are in the cycle of a launch, it could even be increasing that to talking weekly, making sure that they've got everything you know, everything set up. But assuming it's the kind of two times per month, and, you know, that's also having conversations in between calls and saying, Hey, I've, you know, I've written this up. What do you like, what do you think of this? Like, does this, does this seem to connect based on what we've done in the exercises? That I'll, I'll charge about 750 and I'll do US dollars a month for just the kind of that really like one-on-one attentive to detail actually working through, you know, let's think about things this way. Let's, you know, let's sit down together, you know, in some of these calls and let's, let's do the research. Let's go, let's set up let's set up your email, you know, lead magnet together. So it's, it's, it's, you're doing it the right way and it's going to be set up and it's not just throwing someone out to the wolves and hope they figure it out, but actually let's do this together and make sure it's getting done the right way so that you can actually have effective marketing strategies around your book promotion.
James Blatch: Yeah, I mean, it's a technical support as well then. 'cause Some people do struggle with yep. Setting up all the nuts and bolts of that kind of flow, particularly, you know, giving away a lead magnet involves about three different organisations.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yes. Yeah. So the way it's, it's, it's something that, you know, it's, it's, it's really like one on really like truly one-on-one and you know, working together to make sure everything's clear, everything is you know, ready to go. I, I also have some digital products as well for people who, they might not be in the place to do one-on-one commitment or maybe they're just more interested in self-paced learning. So those are also available. But I would say, I mean, as, as with I think most, like most services, kind of having that, having that one-on-one support can be sometimes the best way, the best way to have accountability throughout the process. I think I'm always guilty of, you know, lacking, like, lacking accountability with myself of getting stuff done. So when I work with, you know, my business coach, it's like, okay, we're actually checking things off the list. Like, you know, there's someone who's holding me accountable to you know, post on social media to do you know, to get my ads running to get more leads. So it's it's helpful that way too, to have someone who's actually a, a teammate with you throughout the process and cheering you on and making sure, you know, you are doing the exercises, you're, you know, getting the tools to be successful.
James Blatch: Yeah. We all need to be held accountable. It is yeah, it is definitely useful to have someone to do that, even if it's just that conversation that means that, oh, I'm going to have a conversation next week, let's make sure stuff's done between Yeah.
Now and then I know you're gathering some success stories, Aryn, are you getting some some testimonials? Are you having some good experiences with your authors?
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, definitely. So I went to I was at the London Book Fair a couple of months ago and got a, worked with a couple of authors who I met from, from that fair on, just really doing some deep dive strategy. One author, it was post book launch, and so, you know, someone who felt like they missed the mark, you know, the first time around. And so that's, you know, been one-on-one, one-on-one work with with them to really say, okay, here's how we can still move forward. Your book is still out, that, that, that hasn't changed. But we, what we can change is actually implementing strategy on the marketing side so that people can can know that it exists. And then another author who is, you know, they're six plus months out from their book launch. So it's, you know, sitting down now and saying, here is what, you know, strategy we can start thinking of to do now, but then here's strategy that you've got now this timeline.
So, you know, all right, when October hits, these are some of the things that you can start doing. So getting, you know, really ahead of the ball, getting ahead of the curve and knowing what to do. So there's there's, you know, authors really in, in all stages that I've been able to work with who, you know, they're, they're finally getting the, the clarity on what they should be doing, whether it's, you know, as an evergreen marketing strategy or getting set up so that they know exactly what they should be doing on the, kinda, on the pre-launch side to make sure that once the book is coming out, it's, it's going to be set up the best way for success.
James Blatch: Hmm. And it sounds like one of the side effects of this would be a sort of training and mindset, because I think working with you would would force the author to realise that they're in a business and running a business.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And that's I mean, that's one of the kind of three pillars that I'll I'll go through is, is that final piece is the mindset. So it's really taking off the author hat and putting on the marketer hat. And it doesn't have to be, you know, like I said before, overly salesy being a good marketer is really just about connecting with your audience, connecting with your reader in a way that's meaningful to them, and showing them that you actually, you know, you get what they're going through and you've got, you know, a resource that's going to help them through it. So that's, that's what I'll also, you know, work with the mindset piece on is, you know, the fuel for the marketing isn't, you know, for you to necessarily be this bestselling author. Maybe that will happen, maybe it won't, but really that main driver should be, you know, there's someone who's going through, you know, an experience, whether it's good, whether it's bad, but they need to get from point A to point B.
I know that what I, you know, my expertise can get them there. And so using that transformation piece as the fuel for getting out there and, and posting social media content, that's going to matter. One of the examples I've used in, in some of my webinars is Donald Miller is a business and leadership author who's just written a book for small business owners. And so, you know, he's, he's posted social media posts that really started off saying, let today be the last day. You're stressed out with your small business. And so it's, it's having that mm-hmm. Mindset of, you know, you've got a key to a box that someone needs to unlock. Like, I don't want to feel stressed to my business, so maybe I should pay attention to what this guy's saying. So it's really starting to transform the, oh, I've got a new book about small business to let today be the last day that you're stressed about small business because, you know, as, as a reader, as someone in the target audience, that second option is a lot more appealing. I'm still being sold a book at the end of the day. It's just in a way that's more meaningful to me. So that's kind of the, the, the strategy in terms of mindset that I'll work with authors on, on shifting. So it's less about, less about selling yourself, more about selling your message,
James Blatch: Solving someone's problem effectively. Yeah. Which is a, a great, great marketing. Well, Aryn, you bet.
Tell us where people can find you and how they get in touch.
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, so my website, book rockstar.com got, you know, product services that are listed there. Got a blog that's there with some additional information some articles on Instagram at the book marketer. So at the book marketer. And then I'm on LinkedIn as well, if you search my name, Aryn Van Dyke. So I'd love to, I'd love to connect on LinkedIn as well. But yeah, book rockstar.com is probably going to be the best hub for all of the different, all of the, all of the content, all of the social links.
James Blatch: And I think you have a did you say you had a, a launch guide as a pdf f you could perhaps offer readers?
Aryn Van Dyke: Yes. Yep. So I've got a free launch guide on on the websites. So book rockstar.com. I've also got a, I what I, what I call rock your book launch toolkit that I've got, I'm creating a code for $15 off. So it'll be, you know, a $5 book toolkit. So there's either a free guide or a kind of deeper dive toolkit, and the code is SS p s pod so people can, can go download that for $15 off.
James Blatch: Sounds good. Well, Aryn, thank you very much indeed. The well travelled Aryn Van Zike currently residing in London. How long do you think you'll be in London? Is this based on your partner's work?
Aryn Van Dyke: Yeah, yeah. We're, it's, it's, it's up in the air. We love living in London, but you know, at this point we've been away from our families for a a while, so there's always that, always that pull to, to be a bit closer to family, a bit closer to friends. So we'll, we'll see we'll see where the wind takes us. Yeah,
James Blatch: Well my suggestion is when October comes and it becomes grey permanently for six months, that's a good time to go back to Nashville
Aryn Van Dyke: . Exactly.
James Blatch: I might come with you. Yeah. Aryn, thank you very much indeed for taking the time to join us today. Yeah, good luck with everything.
Aryn Van Dyke: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Speaker 5: This is the
Speaker 1: Self-Publishing show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch: There you go. Aryn Van Dyke, part of that service industry that's growing quickly around us, a Mark and I actually visited along with Stuart Grant, who works here at S P F and is our website guy amongst other things. We visited a Printworks in Peterborough we visited Book Vault, if you haven't heard of Book Vault, check them out. So they are actually quite an old established printers in Peterborough, which is very close to me about 20 miles away. But they have again, just started to see the indie side of things take off and they've really put their eggs in that basket. They think it's an exciting future for them, much more exciting and vibrant and dynamic than the old world of printing. So they are gearing their entire business around this. And if you simply want to print a book and you want them to fulfil it, so you can have like a, you don't even need a Shopify account if you've got a Wix website now they're about to launch a plugin where you literally, I think you pay a bit more for that plugin.
But basically you will be able to put your book up, people will be able to order it, it'll be printed on demand by book vault cheaper than you can get printed elsewhere, and they will send it out as well, which is great. But you can also get special editions done. So if you want to do a Brandon Sanderson style Kickstarter with Gold Leaf or anything like that, they are the people to do that. And again, with fulfilment. And this is part of the sort of, again, fast growing two, two areas of fast growth, I think at the moment. One is AI and the other is direct selling seems to be on the up at the moment and quite a few authors, I suppose probably genre dependent, but certainly the fantasy type authors are doing really well with direct selling and not just books, but all sorts of things, merch and t-shirts and that sort of thing.
Mark Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. No, it's it is a good area to get into. And yeah, the Wix plugin is quite interesting. I had a good chat with Stuart. He actually came to visit us in South Wal when we were were in holiday last week, and with his wife and, and his daughter as well, which was lovely. And we had a good chat about the, the plugin and I think he's going to be offAryng a kind of a onetime service to authors who've used him to design their websites. And there's quite a lot of authors now where he'll, he'll be kind of switching that functionality on for people. So we will see how that plays out, but it's definitely interesting.
James Blatch: Yeah, yeah, really good. And it was fabulous to to go to the printers. It's always fascinating to watch a print run on. I mean they, it's incredible how they do it. It's big wide sheets and of course they're printing like eight pages one way, eight pages the next way, and then the machine's automatic cutting at incredible rate. Mm-Hmm. And in the middle of this one long machine, I will put together TikTok on this. We did do some filming is this brilliant sort of glass cage, you can see, see the big rolls going through. And every now and again it fills up like this and it goes down again. And what it is, it's like a buffer if the front end of the machine can't quite cope with the pace it buffers up here before it needs to slow down the sec second last part of it or first part of it I guess.
It was, it was fascinating, left it all and there's still quite a lot of hands-on stuff. So there were people there doing some of the more bespoke stuff. Some of the hardback stuff requires a little bit of hang, they work very quickly through stuff. But it will ul ultimately all be automated and book Vault have just announced their partnerships with the US so they're starting to expand into the us. I don't think it'll be long before they open their own factory somewhere in the US but at the moment they're using partnerships and relationships. So yeah.
Mark Dawson: Yeah. Very good. Lots of interesting developments coming through. And yeah, exciting time for doing this. It's options for authors all the time and new options. Definitely. Definitely.
James Blatch: Good. Definitely. And it is ultimately still about visibility, which does bring me back to the Facebook ads for authors course and ads for authors course actual launch in September. That's got to be a foundation. But if you've cultivated your own audience, and there are some authors I was thinking of walking around this factory who do have big fan bases, they really need think seriously about having their own direct sales because their margins are much better, better than you're going to get from any online retailer. Yeah. When you're producing and selling it yourself. Okay, mark, that is it. That's it for this week. Thank you very much indeed to the team in the background and to Aryn Van Dyke. Aryn. Aryn, I think is Aryn. Aryn, it's spelled a r y n, but it's Aryn. I think it's Aryn. I've forgotten now, but you'll know because you just listened to the interview. Right. Anyway, thank you Ms. Van Dyke. .
Mark Dawson: Oh my
James Blatch: Goodness. Van Dyke. I, on God, I'm so, don't
Mark Dawson: Worry. No's no's a singer at this stage. James, it's no,
James Blatch: If you're still listening to this stage, someone probably some sort of metal. Yes.
Mark Dawson: Yes. Oh. Good.
James Blatch: Okay.
Mark Dawson: Emails for a free t-shirt. Don't I
James Blatch: Can need the Oscar. I can need the Oscar's music. Yes. Playing now time to move on. Thank you very much indeed. All that remains for me to say is it's a Goodbye from Him
Mark Dawson: And a goodbye from me. Goodbye. Goodbye.
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