Date Archives January 2020

How to make your reader furious

 

Principle #7 – The Power of Storytelling

Let’s talk about the spinning top.

It’s spinning and spinning and the audience, we’re waiting for it to fall over. And then – cut to black.

I mean… Are you kidding me? I want to know if it falls over or not. And we’re all rooting for it to fall over, but we will never know. Enraged, furious, discussing and rewatching the movie, again and again, to find out if he is in a dream or not.

I’m talking about Inception of course, and I hope you’ve seen it. If not, go ahead and do that. And I mean, is it a stroke of genius or was it a mistake to use the cliffhanger? And is a cliffhanger even worth it using it at the end of the story? Let’s find out in this new episode.

Hi, I’m Diana, and this is Story Artist.

You’re probably familiar with the term, but let’s still define cliffhanger. It’s supposed to come from a serialized version of Tom Hardy’s book where one of his protagonists is literally left hanging on the cliff at the end of the story. So what does it mean? It means that you never give an answer to a matter of life and death.

You never fully release the tension. You never fully give answers to the questions raised in your story. And is it a good idea to do so? How can you use this tool? Because this tool can be quite powerful. But how can you use it in order to be effective?

Recently the final season of The Man In The High Castle was released and it got quite bad reviews because it was left hanging on a cliff. It has a cliffhanger as an ending in the final episode, where the people would walk through the portal and it’s like: Where are they coming from? They’re coming from everywhere. Who are these people? What’s everywhere? We don’t know, and we’re left hanging on a cliff.

It can be quite a difficult question. So today we’re going to discuss the why, the when, and the how of the cliffhanger, because it’s quite a powerful tool in the storytelling arsenal if you know how to use it right.

Why a Cliffhanger?

Let’s talk about the why first.

Why end on a cliffhanger? The obvious reason is to raise tension and to leave the reader anticipating more. And it makes absolute sense.

If you are stopping with a cliffhanger in the middle of your story or at the end of an episode or at the end of a serialized book or at the end of a chapter, for example – we are going to talk about it more in-depth in the WHEN section. So the why is to raise tension, to build anticipation and to leave your reader wanting more so that they cannot stop reading or watching or whatever medium you’re walking on.

But they cannot stop. And they cannot go out of your story because you leave them hanging with tension. If you end on a cliffhanger and the story is over, it’s obviously to provoke discussion. So why did Nolan do that? He did it because he wanted to end the story on something that would provoke discussions. And it definitely did.

I mean, Nolan’s kind of, he likes those cliffhanger endings. He did the same in Memento  and it provoked discussions. I mean, everybody who’s watched inception can discuss endless hours about whether he was in a dream or not and bring arguments. And it might be a stroke of genius if you do it right.

But with The Man In The High Castle, the cliffhanger was more of a confusing moment rather than something: is it? Or is it not? And this is something of that R. L. Stine says. We’re going to talk about it in the HOW section, but just for now, the WHY is to provoke discussions and to leave your reader wanting more, even if the story’s over.

When to use a Cliffhanger?

So let’s talk about when to end on a cliffhanger.

The best use for ending on a cliffhanger is inside your story. So, for example, at the end of a chapter, at the end of a paragraph, or if it’s a serialized fiction piece at the end of every episode, every series.

You can also use this amazing tool with content marketing, and with emailing, for example. If you end an email like this or, but then the next email is to come, obviously in a couple of days and a couple of the next days. Or you can end, let’s say with a blog post, if you normally divide your blog posts into sections, or you have a series of blog posts. But let’s talk about one first.

When you divide it into sections, it’s good to end with a cliffhanger. By the ending of a section, when you go into the next one when you have like 5 hacks to lead a more productive life, and then by the end of the first half, you end with a cliffhanger and release the tension in the second or third hack for example.

This way you force the reader to go on reading because he wants to find out the answer to the question you’re raising. He wants to release the tension. You can do this with a blog post or at the ending of paragraphs and blog posts, emailing, YouTube videos, podcasts – if you want them to listen to the next podcast.

So with every piece of serialized fiction or in the middle of your story, it’s an amazing tool. By the end of your story, it’s quite tricky. But I like what R. L. Stine suggested with the cliffhanger ending. And he likes to do it because it obviously fits the genre. And this is one of the other very important examples: It has to fit the genre.

I don’t think that romance readers will appreciate if you end with a cliffhanger. I really don’t. I don’t think that historical movies or period pieces will appreciate a cliffhanger ending. Not so much. It has to be science fiction. It has to be horror. It has to be something that is quite supernatural or fits into that niche because the genre does kind of expect that.

But you have to be careful about this. This is why the ending of  Chris Nolan’s film works better than The Man In The High Castle. First of all, because The Man In The High Castle’s ending is a serialized  TV piece with several seasons. I don’t think it’s a good way to do that because you had the readers or the audience invested into that for such a long time, and you really want to answer all those questions and you really want to bring those character arcs to a satisfying ending.

And the problem with The Man In The High Castle is that it was not only a cliffhanger, but it was really, really confusing. So what you want to do instead, let’s get back to R. L. Stein’s trick, you answer all those questions, you bring it to a satisfying ending. And in the very end, when the reader thinks everything’s fine, you raise the question: Or is it?

And this is the thing that Chris Nolan did. So he brought everything to a satisfying ending, and we have this amazing of Cobb, he returns home to his kids. And then you have this spinning top. And he asks: Or is it?

So this is an amazing device if you want to end on the cliffhanger. But be aware if you do that, you might raise a lot of discussions and you might scare off readers who actually wanted to see a happy ending for your character, or at least a satisfying one. One where all of the questions are answered.

How to use a Cliffhanger?

Let’s talk about the how.

So there’re actually only two possible scenarios for ending on a Cliffhanger or bringing in a cliffhanger, and it’s:

– Some new information enters the scene, and that raises a question your reader needs to have answered

– the character gets into a situation where you don’t know how he’s gone and get out of it, because it’s quite tricky and it might be a matter of life and death, but it doesn’t have to be, it just has to be tricky and it just has to fit the context of the story in order to raise this question: how the heck is he or she going to get out there?

Now, let me introduce the open-loop technique. I heard about it in a Andrew Chaperone’s from tiny little businesses email course, and it’s quite simple. But it kind of blew me away.

And the open loop is the technique of when you raise a question, introduce something, you raise some new information, and then you move on to something else.

And there is like: What? I need this answered. Why isn’t he answering it? Where’s the answer? And you have to read.

For example, for this course, it was about email. So if you raise this question about something new and then you move on, the reader has to read the next email because his brain won’t let him do otherwise.

He has to finish the thought. He has to answer the question.

Let me give you an example. If in an email you say: I know one amazing secret of success that will turn every reader into a fan. But then I move on, talking about something else, about productivity, blah, blah, blah. Or I say: Let’s talk about it in the next meal. First I want to tell you this.

You’re like: What? Okay, I need to find out the secret. What is this amazing secret?

Or if you’re talking about fitness, I have an amazing diet that will blow you away and you will lose, I dunno how many pounds in how many weeks, but something that really works. But I’ll talk to you about it in the next section. First, let’s explore healthy living. You’re like: What? Okay, this is a cliffhanger and I need to know that. So I’m going to keep reading. I’m gonna keep reading the next section, paragraph, the next email in order to find out.

And this is an amazing technique, both for fiction and nonfiction as well.  So you can introduce it in fiction, too.

You can bring up some new information or some new person, and then move on to the next chapter, to another POV, for example, or you have something else happening that prevents this question from resolving right now. They’re starting to talk and the main character says, okay, I have this new information. Have you heard about that? And before they can start talking about it, something happens and they have to flee, blah, blah, blah, and you need to know: What was he talking about? I need to resolve this. I need to find the answer to this question.

And this is an amazing tool, an open loop, be it in fiction, be it in nonfiction.

So a cliffhanger is all about raising intention and about creating a sense of urgency. And this sense of urgency has to prevail in every piece of content. Fiction, nonfiction, blog posts, marketing, sales, speech even.

You can use cliffhangers in sales pages in order for your reader to finish your sales page. You can use it to really strategically open a new loop and then finish the loop at the end of your sales page. Or if your reader is asked to click somewhere in order to find out.

But make sure that you find a plausible reason to withhold this information from your reader. Because if your reader feels teased, if he has the impression I’m just getting teased here and it’s no fun. He’s just withholding this information for no reason at all. He will feel cheated.

Instead bring in something new, some new information. For example: , I’m going to tell you this secret of how to turn readers into superfans, but first, you need to understand this and this principle in order to understand the secret.

Okay, this makes sense, you tease him but then you have to explain this principle. And I don’t feel cheated because I feel like, okay, if I need to understand this first, I’m going to read this first in order to find out.

The same with fiction. Bring in some plausible reasons, not just, okay, I have this piece of information, but I’m not going to tell you right now. Why not?

And you have to create this sense of urgency with every piece of content. Because, in this day of age, people don’t really finish reading content. And I know from myself, like when I watch YouTube videos, I’m just scrolling forward.

I’m just doing something parallelly. Like I’m listening to that. I’m working on that. I’m commuting. And our attention is always on demand, and we are battling for the attention of our readers. So a cliffhanger is a huge, huge thing. It’s an amazing tool. It’s an amazing weapon in the battle for the attention of your reader.

So be sure to use it right. Be sure to use it in order not to disappoint your reader and make him furious and angry. But to raise tension, create a sense of urgency and then move him along the story. It’s really important to not reveal everything at once. If you do this, you have lost.

For example, if you have a blog posts and blog posts, and you have subdividing titles, don’t reveal everything in the title. Why should I read the section if you said everything in the subtitle? Make the subtitle instead a cliffhanger. Something that leaves the reader hanging, and he’s like: okay, I need to read the section in order to understand the subtitle in order to have this question answered that you as the author raise in the subtitle. And this is a mistake. Many, many authors make.

The same with email. The same with storytelling. Don’t try to squeeze exposition, explanation, information into huge blocks. Instead raise questions and answer them as the story’s progressing and make sure that there’s always one or several questions that are creating this sense of tension and urgency in your story. If there are no questions hanging in the air, there’s no real reason to finish reading your story.

You have to make sure there is always one or several questions hanging in there. And once you answer one, because we need it in this very moment in your story, make sure to raise another one. And bring it to the very end of your story. You can end with a cliffhanger if it fits your audience, but the cliffhanger is most powerful when used inside the story in order to bring your reader through the story as it is progressing.

There’s one huge mistake that many authors and writers and bloggers make that cost them a lot of readers, literally losing readers. And they could fix this mistake really easily. What it is and how to do this, I’m going to tell you in the next episode. Yeah, it was an open loop, but you will get the answer to the cliffhanger in the next episode.

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Why your story is boring

 

Principle #6 – The Power of Storytelling

Boring second act. 
This has become a cliche, but why exactly can the middle of your story especially become boring and how can you beat second act problems forever? 

Hi, I’m Diana, and this is Story Artist.

Welcome to another episode of the Story Artist Podcast, and we will be discussing principle number six of the Power of Storytelling series, and I hope you’re excited because many authors are afraid of the middle. And there’s really no reason to be, because if you can grasp the power of this principle and the simplicity of it at the same time, you will never again have problems with the dragging and boring middle – be it in novels or short stories. Even in emails where you’re afraid that people just skim over the middle of your email and never read the whole of it, and so will never understand the ending. Which technique is this powerful technique and the simple technique to beat second act problems?

This is the Turning Point.

Let’s define turning point first: A turning point is a time at which an important change takes place which affects the future of a person or a thing.

A Turning Point is an important change. So something has to change, and it has to be important. It has to have an irreversible effect on the future of a thing or a person. This is what it’s all about.
The turning point is about an important and irreversible change.

What are the big five?

Especially in the three act structure, we have the big five turning points that have to happen in order for the story not to become boring. But you can actually use the big five technique for every aspect of your story writing.
Of course, if it’s a very short piece of writing, you cannot bring in five turning points in. That’s obvious. But you can still work with one or two or three of them.

But let’s discuss the big five that are classically embedded into the three act structure and see what they’re all about. You can use one of those and or use several of those and integrate them into every piece of content you do. Be it email, be it even a sales page, for example. Throughout the sales page you can work with those big five turning points, considering your reader as the hero that you take through this structure.

Let’s look at those big five turning points.

#1 The inciting incident.

It occurs roughly around the 10% mark of a story, and it sets stuff into motion.

It’s still not like the big, big turning point that is to come as the second one. It’s only something that comes before the turning point to keep your reader invested into the story, to hint to this main conflict. But it’s actually only a hint to the main conflict and brings in some new information or some change or some event that will get you here, towards where you want him to go to this second turning point we will talk about just right now.

It’s one of the smaller turning points of all those big five because the next one is actually one of the biggest and the greatest turning points ever, and it’s number two.

#2 First main Turning Point

The first huge turning point of your story and it occurs around the 25% mark of the story. It’s all about setting things into motion.

This is also called the point of no return. 

So something happens and new information or a decision or whatever it is that happens that sets things into motion and introduces the main conflict and sets off your hero’s new journey that he cannot go back to.

And it marks also the end of the first act and the beginning of the second act. Or some people like to talk in four parts, not three acts. And it marks the ending of the first part of your story. Because in the first part we are in the ordinary world. We are talking about the ordinary life of your hero. And here at the 25% mark approximately, we have this turning point, this change that is the point of no return.

It changes everything. And the reader or the hero or whoever the hero of your story is, cannot go back to the ordinary life because something has changed and has set things into motion, has introduced this main conflict and brought your hero on this path, on this journey that he has to go right now. And this turning point is the main turning point.

That is the trigger, the main trigger for your whole story because if you look at how long the parts are, the second act is actually the longest act.

#3 Midpoint

And in order for it to get interesting and to become interesting, you need the third turning point that occurs roughly around the 50% Mark of his story directly in the middle of your story.
You need to have a turning point that is surprising and that turns your story yet around yet into another direction, introduces something new, something unexpected. And if you have this turning point, your story will not get boring.

The problem with the second act is that there is no turning point.

People are just moving, something’s happening, but nothing turns the story around. And it’s quite difficult because with the turning point before, the second one that we just talked about, you set things into motion. You say, okay, this is the path and my hero has to go this path. And so to introduce yet another turning point in the middle of the story means we’ll have to get him from this path that you set him on.

This turning point is so important because it changes the way your hero looks at things. Consider it like this: so the first part, or the first act of your story is the ordinary world. The normal life. The second one, the second part,  everything that comes before the 50% mark is the passive reaction of your hero. He’s just reacting to people or circumstances or whatever is doing to him.

So this major thing happened that set him off on this path, but he still wants to go back. He still wants to go back home. To his normal life. And he’s just reacting. But at this 50% mark, something has to happen that sets him off to be an active part, to take matters into his hands.

And I think this is why also many stories fail. Because in the end, we need an active hero, but he never reaches this point of where something happens that changes his outlook on this whole story where he says: okay, I’m going to act, I’m going to do this. Where he has this motivation to act.

Most of the time we never have this thing occur or it’s not organic. It just happens, but it’s not a major thing that we understand: okay, that’s his motivation for going from passive to active. So you need this turning point in order to get your hero from passive to active. And the same goes for when you’re copywriting a sales page or when you start writing a series of emails.

You need something to happen or you present the reader was a new information or with something new that gets him from being passive and just listening to you and being maybe a little invested into your concept to: wow, okay. I want this! I want to be active. I want to do something. I want to be proactive with this, and I want to know how to do this.

And if you can manage this, it’s a huge thing. But don’t forget, this is not how the story ends. And I think this is a problem with many marketers, the end of the story with: okay, when the reader goes, okay, I want this. And this is where they end. But this is not the end of your story. There are still two more turning points to come.

#4 Lowest Point

And number four is roughly at the 75% mark of his story. And this turning point also marks the lowest point of your hero. So you went from being passive to being active, and he’s actually quiet and motivated and you think, okay, he’s going to do this. And then something happens that gradually, one by one, up to this terrible turning point, brings him to his knees.

And why do we do this? Because we need an emotional high to have an emotional low and the other way around. If you want this emotional highs to arise in your reader, if you want them to be glad, if you want them to have this tension, you need to introduce highs and lows.
This is what we talked about actually in the last episode and the principle number five: Pacing. If you haven’t seen it, go back and look at it. It’s also really, really helpful in order to understand emotional highs and lows.

And this is why I need this turning point where you bring your hero to his knees and showing him, okay, but everything is still bad and you want the reader to be asking: how’s he going to get out of here? It’s impossible. This is like the worst thing that could have happened to him and you don’t expect that, right? So you think, okay, right in the middle, he’s like the hero and he wants to go, and this is where the real adversity comes into place. This is where, when he’s motivated and wants to take matters into his own hands, you bring up the real adversity.

And guess what?  With sales and with a sales page, for example, when you have this reader and he’s motivated, and he wants to take matters into his own hands, if you don’t bring up this adversity and this turning point, something else will.

So if you want somebody to buy your course and you’ve got them to this point where they say: Okay, wow, I want to have this; I want to do this; I want to buy this – something will come up that will, that they will face adversity, be it financial reasons, be it their spouse saying: oh no, we can’t afford this; do you really need this, can’t you do it on your own? And stuff like that. So you have to think of the possible adversities and present the reader with them one by one, and ending with the worst one saying, okay, how are you going to get out of here? And this is where the tables turn and you present them with a solution.

#5 Climatic Turning Point

And this is where we go to the climax of the story, and point number five, turning point number five.
And I think this is where many people forget that there’s actually a turning point due at the very end. They just go with the climax and that’s fine. And the climax is the rising of the tension, if we talk about sales and marketing, the wish, the desire to get this product, to be involved in this course and so on.

But you have to bring in a turning point yet again to get the reader to the resolution of this. And this is a turning point where all the facts are on the table. There are no open questions. Everything is out into the open. Every question’s answered, and we’re just realizing we’re seeing the big picture.

This is where we finally, when we look back at the whole story, we realize, okay, this is how it’s been all along. And I finally understand that all the tension in this final turning point is resolved.


So what kind of changes can those turning points be?

This can be a new reveal off information. So some new information enters the stage and we realize okay, it has been different all along if it’s a detective story,  or a crime novel, you get new information from there and a whole new angle opens up to you. So this is mostly  something that especially happens in the very beginning. Those first turning points are those points where new information enters the scene.

The second one is the turning of events. It’s a very obvious one. So something happens that turns everything upside down. Somebody dies, or somebody falls in love or somebody is betrayed by another one. So like something happens, some action occurs, and  it turns everything for the main hero.

And a third one is a decision. So a turning point can also be a decision, definitely. It doesn’t have to be this major thing of death or betrayal. It can be a simple decision of your major character to say, okay, I’m going to do this. I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before and  go away from my ordinary world, my daily life, and try something new.

So a decision can also be a turning point, but it has to be, obviously, it has to be motivated. It just can’t come out of the blue. So you have to set up this decision. A turning point can also be a reveal of character. Those are actually quite interesting ones. So if you’re writing fiction specially, you can reveal the truth about some characters.

So someone we thought was a friend is in fact a foe or the other way around. Someone who we thought was an actually is somebody who’s helping us and can be our friend . And you can do the same thing with the sales, if you’re talking about like say some kind of products or some kind of stuff.

Like when let’s say you want to sell something that will help people be more prolific and be less distracted by technology. And first we think technology is the enemy. But in your argumentation, in your turning point, you say, you know what? Technology’s not the enemy, technology is neutral, and it depends on what you do with this. And it can also be your friend.

And it’s this kind of like a turning point where you start off with letting people think that something is like that, but then it’s completely different. And this is actually something that is reserved for the letter turning points in the climax and in the absolute low point, is the revelation of some deeper truth. Especially in theme, and we’re going to talk about theme later on with the principles, the revelation of a deeper truth is something that your hero understands in depth.

It’s some principle. It’s some system. And it’s actually I think also very important for sales that you let your reader and your customer understand some, some deeper truths, some principle you are building, everything you in your story, the story you’re telling, be it with your fiction, nonfiction, or sales.
Those are the things that we can use to create turning points in our stories. And I think this actually applies a lot to sales and marketing.

Don’t take your reader just there, but take them there with turning points.

Introduce turning points into your sales pages, into your book marketing strategy, your blog articles, your emails or email, your series of emails. Probably try to get away from this linear thinking. I think this is where we’re often stuck, especially when it comes to smaller things in content or to nonfiction and sales that we say, okay, I want to get my reader, my customer from A to B.

And that’s it.

We draw a straight line from A to B and we’re done. And this is why all of these things are actually sometimes so boring, and if you want to stick out from this, and if you want to do something different and get your reader through the middle of your sales page in the middle of your email, try to think in a nonlinear way. Try to think from, okay, I have A, I have B, and I want to get the reader, the customer from A to B, but I won’t do it in a leaner fashion.  I will go from a to B to C to D to F to E, and then I’ll go to B. And I think if you just switch this thinking a little of okay, I’m telling the story, I want to go from A to B.

Yes, but how do you go from A to B? Don’t go there in a linear fashion. Instead, introduce the big five, or if it’s a short content, two or three turning points and decide: Where do you going to introduce them? What kind of turning points they’re going to be? And how you can use them in order to still get your reader from A to B, but in a more interesting fashion.

And I hope this was helpful and I see you next time in the next episode. Thank you for listening and don’t forget to subscribe and to rate my show. If you’re listening on a podcast app or watching YouTube, please subscribe, please let me know in the comments if you’d like me to improve anything.
If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them. I see you next time.

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The 2 pillars of content creation – how to build an author career in 2020

 

There’s tons of content out there, and the content overwhelm is growing and competing for the audience’s attention. Books, podcasts, YouTube videos, blog posts, articles, and the new decade is bringing even more content. So is it still worth it being a content creator in 2020?

Hey, I’m Diana and this is Story Artist.

Hi. Welcome to this new episode in the new decade and I’m really excited to bring this to you. Today, I’m going to share with you the two pillars I’m building my author and content creator business on this year and the coming decade. I had a quite rough 2019 with ups and downs. My greatest achievement was to get back on track and finally get into my routine and start working with my little child, which was kind of a big thing for me because it’s my first one, and it’s a huge change in your life and I’m quite proud of it, but I still have so many more goals. 

And I was talking to you in the intro of this episode about the content overwhelm. And when I thought about this question, I thought about myself and how I look at content.

The thing is, yes, we are overwhelmed, but we filter the content through what we like. So there are tons of YouTube channels and videos out there, but I only subscribe to those that I enjoy and that I like, and I filter them. And those that bring me the best content and the most enjoyable and useful content, I stick to them for years and years.

And I think this is the key to becoming a content creator. Find your tribe, find your audience, and know what your audience wants. And if you know that, you can be a successful creator in this new decade. 

So let’s jump into those two pillars I will base my business on in this coming decade. And I will also talk to you about my goals and maybe it’s helpful for you. Maybe you can also have your own goals through that, I will talk to you about my achievements and everything that I think I can do better in this new year. Feel free to skip forward when I talk about my goals if you’re not interested in them. Just listen to the principles. I will talk to you about the principles first and then I will talk to you about how I want to apply those principles in my own business, and the practical goals in my own business. 

Let’s start with pillar number one. 

#1 Create regular and excellent content. 

This is really my priority number one. 

And when I think about the fact that there’s so much out there already, I get overwhelmed.

But the truth is that the market is still growing. It’s growing beyond the US and the UK because so many people in developing countries like India or other English speaking countries are having access to the internet right now through mobile phones, through mobile internet. So they’re only beginning to grasp what’s happening.

Here in Germany where I live, the self-publishing revolution is just starting. So what has happened in the US in 2012 is just happening right now in Germany, which is kind of crazy. So if you think about it, Amazon has just expanded its Amazon ad market into France and Germany and other European countries. You couldn’t put your ads in those countries before, which is crazy. So it means it’s just expanding. 

And over the next decade, the markets will get bigger and bigger and bigger, and we have to use that by bringing out more excellent content. 

And the second trend in this new decade is that authors are growing more and more empowered.

So if 10 years back, there was no real self-publishing and there were the gatekeepers who decided who will get published and who won’t, today, there’s nothing anymore to hold you back from publishing, so you can just go ahead and publish your stuff on Amazon and all the other distributors just like that.

I think actually Lee Child said in the conference that his career path, the way he made money being an author, is not possible anymore. So if you still stuck in this: I will get published and I will become the next Lee Child, the next Stephen King. I don’t think that this is a possibility anymore because the market is changing and there’s so much out there.

It’s like playing the lottery. It really is, but you have a real possibility because you are empowered and you can move on in your own terms, with your own rules. And it can be scary because you have to know the market. You have to know the rules to bend the rules. You have to work really hard, not only on story writing but on all the other stuff, on marketing, on publishing.

But it’s worth it because, in the end, you get to control what your author’s life looks like and how successful you are with your writing. And it can’t emphasize enough how important it is to bring out new content, not only just to bring out new content, but excellent content. To create an excellent backlist, to bring out new articles, new stuff into the world that is good. I think the days of like publishing an article daily, a short article just to publish and just to have this backlist, they are over. Because Google has changed its algorithm, Bird, into longtail keywords. And it will favor those articles that are longer, that are more in-depth, and that it thinks that they have more quality. 

So quality content is now on the rise. It is about quantity still, no doubt about it, but quality content is what counts now. Look into Google. Look into the long tail keywords because it’s all about how we search also with our language, with talking with audio.

Many people are searching on Google with Siri now. So they’re saying like: Siri, how to write a book? So the keyword with that is “how do I write a book”, a long keyword that sounds like speech. And this is what will be favorite in the future because audio search will rise and audio will rise more and more in the next decade.

So my goals are regularity. Definitely regularity because it was really hard for me to do that in the past year, and I hope I can accomplish that. And I want to bring to you one podcast episode a month, two articles per month, one article on my own blog and one on Medium or a guest blog. 

And I’m thinking about starting a Medium publication. 

I’m not sure about it yet, but I’m kind of excited about this idea and I might start writing a travel memoir and a little bit more fiction on this Medium publication. I’m not sure if it will bring me any readers, but it’s just something I want to do for me. And I want to try out. 

I just read in James Clear’s email – which is by the way, amazing, he always sends his email I think it’s on Wednesdays. And he said that you can only know if something works by trying it out. So just try things out, do trial and error and those things where you see that they’re working – double down on them. And this is what I actually kind of want to do with this publication.

I just want to see if it’s gonna work, how people receive it. If it’s not working, I can just stop. But if it’s working. I might really enjoy it. I want to double down on my email marketing. I want to send regular emails to my fiction list and my nonfiction list. And I also want to publish two books to see are two fiction books.

I’m really excited about that because I’m finishing my trilogy, finally, and want to start a new series. And that the story writing idea for the series has been lingering inside of me for years already, so I can’t wait to get started on that as well. And I really want to finish my trilogy. I finished the rough draft by the end of the year, the first draft.

And I love the editing stage, so I’m so excited to start editing and to start polishing, and I will Polish all of those three books to make it a good, solid trilogy that I can market now, and start with my new series. 

Thinking about writing a nonfiction book maybe, thinking about it for years already, but I’ve never done it. It will be about storytelling, obviously, and I’m wondering, yeah, does the world really need another storytelling nonfiction book? But I think what’s been missing out there is: How storytelling can change our lives; how we can use storytelling for ourselves; how we can use storytelling to change our lives and lives of the people around us.

This is something that’s really on my heart. And I really want to emphasize again, the importance of storytelling. Maybe something like that, but I’m still not sure about that. 

And I want to create more bonus material for my two courses that I created last year which I’m really proud of. I want to give more bonus material, market those courses more, create excellent content for those who have bought them already.

And I really want to improve my writing and copywriting. I already bought, bought two storytelling books, two writing craft books, and I’m watching Masterclass and I love the classes in Masterclass from other writers and directors. I really want to improve because I saw in the last year I improved a lot through learning and practicing, writing irregularly and learning.

And it helped me and I want to keep doing that and I’m going to keep improving my language, my writing craft, and getting better in what I do. 

#2 Reach more new readers. 

So traffic has been a huge issue for me. 

Last year I built a lot on my plot platform, so I did a new website design, improved my email marketing, did two courses, blog posts. But the traffic has been missing. 

So this year, I really want to double down on getting new readers, getting more subscribers, getting more traffic. And I think the readers are out there. There are still people and you only need to find your 1000 true fans, and they’re out there.

So I’m going to keep searching for them and I want to meet my readers where they are and focus on all the platforms. So, I still am an advocate like Joanna Penn for going wide with your books because I want to reach a lot of readers, not only those who are on Amazon. And I want to reach them where they are, and I want to have several streams of income from several mediums.

I wanna do audio. I want to do video because I know that there are people out there who want to watch YouTube, and there are people out there who want to listen to audio, people who want to read blog posts. So wherever my readers are and whatever they need, I want to give it to them. I want to serve them with my content.

And this is why I’m going wide on all the platforms – to reach the readers. And now let’s look at the trends in this new decade, in this new year. 

So there’s the global reading growth, like I said before, in pillar number one as well. People from all the countries outside the US and UK starting to read digitally and especially on the Google and Android platform.

So if you’re not on Google with your books and your content, you should be. You should definitely be on Google and be available for those people who don’t have an iPhone and don’t have a Macbook. And the trend is also to decentralize and distribute wide. 

And I know that there are people who still depended on Amazon. It’s absolutely your choice, but I’m an advocate for going wide just because you never know what happens to Amazon and if they change their algorithm. And you don’t want to depend on one platform. This is why I also think, or I don’t want to be a YouTuber and just depend on YouTube for my income. I want to be someone who’s not dependent because I’m an independent author and I don’t want to be dependent on any platform.

I want to learn from them. I want to deliver to those platforms, but I want my income to be from several different sources. And serve the platforms and go wide with my distribution. 

And obviously, audio and video will grow even more and more so become a master of both of them or one or two of them. If you don’t like video, I know that many authors don’t like video, but I myself as am someone who studied film, I’m actually quite excited about the growth of video. I would love to do more with video than just sitting around here and telling stuff, but filming. But it’s just too complicated it for now. But I plan and I hope I can do that in the future, especially with traveling and so on.

And if you like audio, I know many authors prefer audio because it’s just something that – you feel freer, you don’t feel that observed. You can just focus on one of those if you want, and become a professional in those. 

So don’t think that if you’re doing audio or a video, you can get away with bad quality. Please. I know that there are authors doing videos out there and the quality is just so, so bad. Please don’t do this. Be a professional, become a professional. And do good quality content, not only with the content itself but with the format as well. And buy a solid microphone, they’re not that expensive.

Buy a good camera and, learn how to use this camera because a good camera won’t help you make an amazing image if you don’t know how to use it. So become a professional for one of those two mediums because it’s growing and this is how you can reach your readers and get more traffic.

Definitely, I think those authors and those content creators will thrive who know what the reader wants. Who meet them where they are, and who provide what the reader is looking for. 

So my goals for the coming year are keyword-friendly articles. I talked about the Google bird algorithm, and I want to go into those long keywords, searchable keywords, and also in-depth articles that are really qualitative and that are rich in information and that serve the readers in the best way. 

And also want to use Medium and, guest blogging as a means to gain your readers, see how it goes. And I want to double down on YouTube and learn about this platform in itself because I want to learn how to be more efficient on YouTube.

How to also know the YouTube algorithm, the YouTube keywords, and SEO and YouTube. So I want to really learn about this platform and how to get the most out of it. 

And once I’m finished with my trilogy, I really want to start aggressively attacking paid ads because I have been avoiding them for a long time. It’s quite complicated, but I thought it’s no use advertising and paying for ads before I finished my trilogy. So once it’s finished, I will start trying paid ads, Amazon, maybe Facebook and BookBub definitely, and start testing and start finding the best ways to use paid ads to gain a larger readership and sell more books.

And I know that audio is the new trend and I really dream of having my books in audio. But it’s quite expensive. So I’m not sure if I can do it this year. Maybe next year, we’ll see how it goes and how my business grows this year. I really do him about it, definitely do. And I know that Findaway Voices has a great deal for authors where you I think you pay 50 or 60% to the narrator, and then you have like a royalty share deal.

And I definitely want to do that, but it’s still too expensive for me. I have this dream of an audiobook and then definitely want to do it. But first I need to polish my trilogy, start doing paid ads and see how it goes. And maybe, if I’m successful, I can do also audiobooks this year, because I think this is where the trend is going.

Definitely, we need to have audiobooks. I will, if not this year, I will definitely do an audiobook or audiobooks in the coming years because this is a trend we need to understand and a train we need to jump on before it drives away, a wave we need to ride before it swallows us.

Don’t be afraid of the trends. My recommendation is: always know the trends. And I always listen to Joanna Penn and the creative Penn, her amazing podcast. And the Alliance of independent authors has a podcast as well. And I listened to that one where Joanna Penn and Orna Ross were talking about the new trends of the new decade and the new year. And it was really helpful for me to derive the trends that are relevant for me and for my business and to see how I can use them to my advantage. And this is what you should do. I help it helped you. I hope it gave you more ideas on how you can grow your business in your writing and your readership in this new year.

Don’t think that there’s too much content out there. There is, but if you have great content, your tribe will be there to read your content and to consume it. I think there are people out there who need your content still, who are still looking for someone just like you, to bring them what they need because everyone is unique and every individual is bringing something of their own self into their content. And people need it. And your 1000 true fans are out there, as are mine. And I think we can do this. 

And this is going to be an amazing, exciting decade to be a content creator because the possibilities are as big as they’ve never been before.

And it’s an exciting age to live in. I think it’s the best age to become a writer.

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