To write or not to write has never been the question for Bonnie K.T. Dillabough. She is a budding author and is currently promoting her own book, The House on Infinity Loop, and creating a self-brand. Today, she walks us through the path that led her to write her book, identify her target audience, and continue meaningful engagement with them. Bonnie teaches us that building relationships and finding an inspiration fuel you to achieve your own goals. Learn tips on how you can create and publish your own book.
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Building Relationships, Finding Inspiration, And Self-Promotion With Bonnie K.T. Dillabough
I have an authorpreneur with me. Bonnie is with us and she is a budding author and promoting her own book and creating a self-brand. Bonnie, welcome.
Thank you so much for having me, Sam. I appreciate it. One of the characters in my book is named Sam.
Hopefully, I get inspired by Sam. Bonnie, you self-published as an author. What took you down the path of writing books?
I’ve always been a writer since I was a kid. I wrote my first 26-line poem when I was eight and performed it at my church for the church’s Christmas party. It was my Christmas ABCs, one line for every letter of the alphabet. I’ve been doing a lot of other things. I’m a mom of six kids, I have seventeen grandchildren. I’ve been on broadcast television for years and I was a professional climber. I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. The one thing I always wanted to do was write a novel.
You self-published and you’re self-promoting. What are some of the challenges you’ve had with creating your own brand?
For one thing, it’s tooting your own horn. I worked as a consultant in online marketing for many years. It was always easy to get enthusiastic and excited about somebody else’s product. I always brought on clients that I could get excited about what they had. I’m excited about my book, but it’s hard not to feel like that cultural thing of not wanting to brag on yourself.
A lot of heart-based business owners, they’re making a difference in the world. It is hard to toot our own horn. What have you learned and what advice would you give to somebody where we are our own marketing people, so get excited about yourself and then how do you promote yourself?Wise people learn from the mistakes of others and keep from having to deal with the consequences in the first place. Click To Tweet
What I’m finding is it’s all about creating relationships. When I find out that somebody has read my book, I bring them into my little family. I love and support them in every way that I can. You don’t always know who’s reading your books. You have to do some trolling out there to find out on social media and stuff. Slowly but surely I’m assembling my own little tribe.
Bragging and trolling.
Different trolling, like fishing then the other kind. The point is I’m going out there and I’m actively engaging with my fans. It’s something that is my entire goal. These books I’m hopeful will impact people. It’s a novel. It’s science fiction. How does that relate? It relates in that I try to present principles within my book as part of the entertainment that hopefully people can grab onto. This is a great example for this particular show. One of the people who read my book was my daughter’s boss and he runs a large corporation. He said that in some of the things that were going on in my books, he developed a new strategy for dealing with his people within his meetings to make them more productive.
We can pick up inspiration anywhere. What you are doing is like an edutainment, which is what I like to do. They’re getting educated while they’re being entertained.
That’s my hope. They’ll come away from the book wanting to reach out to others in kindness and wanting to accept their selves and their own flaws as potential learning opportunities.
Bonnie, many of our audience, we all have a book inside of us. What would you tell them about self-publishing? What tips would you give them about that?
First, don’t expect that you’re going to make $1 million that fast. J.K. Rowling didn’t build her brand overnight. As a matter of fact, it was a real struggle for her in the beginning and there was a lot of rejection. I used her as a pattern and I do suggest that. Find someone that you know is doing it, that you can honestly admire the way they do business and follow that because success leaves clues. It’s not going to happen overnight, but persistence pays off. You will find that in the beginning, you’re going to go crickets out there, “Nobody’s out there. What would they possibly want with my book when there are great authors out there that are doing all this and the competition is fierce?” Stop talking to yourself that way. Instead say, “Who can I help?” Whether that’s a self-help book or a novel, it doesn’t matter, “How will my book make a difference in someone’s life? Who are the people I should be talking to right now that are most going to be interested in my book?” Target it in a way that doesn’t feel salesy to you because you won’t follow through if it does. Unless you are a hardcore entrepreneur, sales is not a comfortable thing for us.
You’re saying start with service, start with helping people and figure out how your product or your message is going to elevate someone else.
Be very specific about who you’re talking to. It took me a while to realize that my books should be classified as a young adult. I made the classic mistake that I used to hate in my clients. Who’s your product for? It’s for everybody. That’s the kiss of death in marketing. Instead, who specifically are your book’s going to do the most good? I have people reading my books from age 9 to 83 who loved them. The target for this particular set of books, after lots of research, is a young adult.
Give me a little glimpse. What are these lots of research? Was it trial and error or was it tracking who was purchasing the book? Was it doing market surveys? How did you end up with that genre?
It was actually asking people who had read the book, “What do you think? Who do you think this book is for?” Without giving them any of those answers and time and time again, the answer that came back is a young adult. I was resistant to that at the beginning, but now I’m not only comfortable with it but I’m also enthusiastically promoting it in that venue and my book sales are going up.
You found your niche and you’re talking to the right niche.
Sing the right voice to talk to that niche because it’s not what you obviously would think. It’s not necessarily talking directly to young people, although I do a lot of that. It’s also talking to parents.
How did you come up with the marketing of talking to young people and the parents? How did you figure out that the parents were also a factor?
It was a chance encounter. Serendipity is a wonderful thing. I was out by neighborhood and this lady comes up to me and she says, “You’re the lady that wrote the book.” I said, “Yes, I wrote a book.” She said, “I’ve been reading that book to my kids and they love it. They’re teens and we like to read together as a family. We’re loving it. By the way, can you come and speak to my homeschooling group about being an author and writing this book and stuff?” I was like, “Parents, yes. How could I forget that?” A lot of times it’s about listening.Multiple streams of income can be a very important thing, especially when you're in the process of branding yourself. Click To Tweet
I’m getting some nuggets here. Get feedback from your readers. Be open to getting feedback from your readers and then be out and about in the world and see which way life takes you. When life gives you a clue, follow up on it.
Clues are good. I made my living online since 1996, so I’ve been marketing for a very long time. The publishing industry is new to me. Maybe the industry you’re in, in terms of marketing is new to you as well. The other thing that I do is I talk to a lot of other authors, other people in my industry who are being successful. I listen to their advice and I followed through. There’s nothing that can substitute for a great mentor or more than one. I have a friend and he said there are three kinds of people in the world. There are stupid people. These are the people who make the same mistakes over and over again and consequently don’t do very well. There are smart people. They’re able to learn from their mistakes. When they make a mistake, they go, “That was dumb,” then they take steps to correct it. There are wise people. Wise people are able to learn from the mistakes of others and keep from having to deal with the consequences in the first place.
It sounds like you’re doing the same with the J.K. Rowling example. You find someone that’s successful. You find someone that sees the path a little further down than you and then you’re modeling whatever strategies they’re using.
For instance, I’m not confining myself to just books. I am working on merchandising too that goes along with the books. Multiple streams of income can be a very important thing, especially when you’re in the process of branding yourself. There will be t-shirts, mugs, lunchboxes and stuff.
It’s stuff for young adults. Bonnie, this has been fascinating. How do people find you?
The best way is to go to either Facebook, Bonnie Dillabough. I’m there and I’m open to that thing. I also have a fan page called The Dimensional Alliance – Fan Gate, which is consistent with my book. You can find me on Amazon. Just go look for Bonnie K.T. Dillabough for my author page.
Thank you so much for being on our show. You can find out about Bonnie more on Amazon and check out her book, The House on Infinity Loop. I am Sam Mak, your guest host. Find out more about me and diversity and inclusion consulting at www.SpeakerAuthorMotivator.com. You can also find like-minded heartrepreneurs and share great ideas and also tell us what you’re doing at #Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine on Facebook.
- Bonnie Dillabough – Facebook
- The Dimensional Alliance – Fan Gate – Facebook
- Bonnie K.T. Dillabough on Amazon
- The House on Infinity Loop
- #Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine – Facebook
About Bonnie K.T. Dillabough
Bonnie K.T. Dillabough wrote her first 26 line poem at age 8, entitled “My Christmas ABCs”. She then memorized it and performed it for the church Christmas party. This wasn’t terribly surprising. She started reading before Kindergarten and Dr. Seuss was one of her favorite authors, so rhyme came very naturally to her. She has been writing all of her life, as long as she can remember. A lot of poetry, short stories and, of course, the usual school reports. she always got high grades on her writing assignments, even when she didn’t in other classes, simply because she loved to write.
Then, adulthood set in. She went into the Army after high school. Always a voracious reader, she dreamt of writing a novel, but got gloriously side-tracked with a wonderful husband and six amazing children.
During that time, she still wrote: Musical plays for her kids at church and school, songs, poetry and even an occasional newspaper article streamed from her pen.
Then, she got involved in jobs that required clear concise writing and a lot of marketing copy. She put up her first website in 1996 and made her living on the internet for over 20 years, writing everything from blog posts to sales copy to scripts for online videos, not to mention copy for the websites she built for her clients.
Now, at age 65, a grandmother of 17 and a great-grandmother and still married to the same amazing man, she has finally published the first novel in an ongoing series. “The House on Infinity Loop” is the first book in a trilogy that will become just the first part of the Dimensional Alliance series.
When she is not writing, she likes to read, crochet hats for the homeless and gifts for friends and family, is active in her church, engaged with all of her adult children and their families and looks forward to being very involved with the fans of her books.
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