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6 Ways to Differentiate Yourself When Everyone’s an Author

The last time I caught up with my friend Ivan Misner, CEO and Founder of BNI and New York Times bestselling author several times over, he gave me some great insights. Just for background’s sake, BNI is the largest business networking organization in the world, Ivan is a PHD and his business is growing at an unprecedented rate.   Ivan is an all around great guy who “walks the talk.” He’s generous, authentic and incredibly savvy and passionate about his business.

I asked him what his biggest challenge is as a thought leader in the current market and what he said really surprised me.   He said, “Everyone is an author now. Getting media attention is incredibly difficult; in fact, getting attention at all is harder than it has ever been.” WOW. That really resonated with me. On an annual basis there are over 4 times as many books published industry wide. It’s getting very noisy out there. How can we expect readers and followers to separate the signals from the noise? The crap from the solid content?   If everyone is now an author (or at least it certainly seems that way) then being an author no longer differentiates you. Being a successful author (and success can be defined many different ways) that can garner the attention needed to grow their platform is even more difficult.

While I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer, I do believe there are a few things you can do to stand out from the pack.

1) Create great content.   Sounds pretty simple but given that there are 4 times as many books in the market place today than just 10 years ago that means that the reader is overwhelmed with choices. Too many choices may seem like a great thing but people actually make better choices when they are not burdened with sifting through countless options. Make your content compelling, exciting, relevant and powerful.

2) Engage, engage, engage.   Your book should be seen as the beginning of a relationship with your reader, not a transaction between two parties. Continue to give them all sorts of content in as many formats as you can fathom (video, online tools, articles, contests, etc.).

3) It goes both ways.   Your role as a thought leader is no longer to show that you are the only expert. Create an environment that encourages your followers to communicate with you, that allows them to share their thoughts, ideas and views with you and the community.

4) Be authentic. You aren’t Ernest Hemmingway and you aren’t Tom Peters, you are you. Don’t try to emulate another author, allow your voice to be heard in the right tone so that it is truly authentic. People today have very good “BS” detectors and tune out quickly when they smell a phony. Don’t be that guy!

5) Be grateful!   Share your trials and tribulations with your followers. Show them you are human and that you appreciate them. People don’t thank the people that are responsible for making them a success today nearly as often as they should.

6) Ask for help.   Very few authors today can create killer content, package it and sell truckloads of books on their own. You need to develop relationships with other authors and thought leaders. You need to constantly offer to help them achieve their objectives as best you can. Most authors don’t view other authors as a threat or a competitor but as a respected peer. You’d be surprised at how many others will offer to help you without a hidden agenda – you just need to have the courage to ask.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Peter,
    one tip—ask how you can help others. If you are there to really help entrepreneurs, businesses, or your targeted audience, don’t just sell, add value..and see if you can really help them.–Jane

  2. Hi Peter, interesting and informative article. Those stats on self published authors are very telling.
    Cutting through the crap as you put it is a challenge for Joe public.
    I bet their are a whole lot of garages filled with a whole lot of self published books – I wonder if we can get a ‘garage book count’ stat, that would be interesting!
    Agree it’s all in the marketing…
    Thanks Glenn

  3. Thanks for sharing this article with me. Very informative, inspiring and evocative. I think it boils down to creating value to your audience using your best abilities. Keep up with the good work.

  4. I couldn’t agree more with this: “People today have very good “BS” detectors and tune out quickly when they smell a phony. Don’t be that guy!”

    Finding your authentic voice is difficult. But it will be obvious if you don’t.

  5. Peter:
    Excellent post as I begin to consider whether or not to write a book. I need to keep in mind the other forms you mention (video, online tools, articles, contests, etc.) to begin and continue to engage my audience. It’s not a platform for getting rich as much as it’s an opportunity to interact with others and transform lives. Food for thought! Thanks for sharing!

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