whitefox: helping brands, thought leaders and writers create beautiful bespoke books
Nina Amir is known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach. As one of 800 elite Certified High Performance Coaches working around the world, she is the only one who works specifically with writers to get them from the light-bulb moment to the day they publish their work.
Nina is also an Author Coach who supports writers on the journey to successful authorship. She has written three traditionally published books for aspiring authors, How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual and Creative Visualization for Writers, as well as a host of self-published books and ebooks, including the Write Nonfiction NOW! series of guides. She has had 19 books on the Amazon Top 100 List and as many as six books on the Authorship bestseller list at the same time.
Nina is the founder of the Nonfiction Writers’ University, the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge and the Author of Change Transformational Programs. Most recently, she opened the doors to her Inspired Creator Community. For more information, visit ninaamir.com.
Can you tell us a bit about your work as a coach and trainer for non-fiction authors?
While I wanted to write fiction when I was younger, I took a writing path that turned me into a nonfiction writing expert. I worked as a magazine editor and journalist prior to editing nonfiction books. I began blogging about nonfiction writing and publishing on one of my sites, Write Nonfiction Now!, and I aligned myself with other experts in this area by asking them to provide me with guest posts. This led to my books on blogging and nonfiction writing and publishing, as well as talks, courses and programs on these topics as well. Much of what I coach and teach is relevant to any type of writer, however.
Now, I work as an Author Coach primarily for nonfiction writers and authors. This includes coaching on topics like book ideas, business plans for books, book and blog content plans, writing blocks, platform building, writing for publications, and publishing options. My clients come to me with questions and concerns related to the full gamut of nonfiction writing and publishing topics. I also offer group Author Coaching in the Nonfiction Writers’ University.
I also offer a series of eight Author Training sessions. This is a proprietary curriculum based on The Author Training Manual which takes writers through the process of building a business plan for a book. The purpose of this training programme is to help them step into the role of ‘author’ and develop a marketable book idea – one that will sell.
In addition, I offer Certified High Performance Coaching to writers. I do this in one-on-one and group coaching sessions. The group coaching is offered through the Inspired Creator Community, which now encompasses everything that was included in the Nonfiction Writers’ University Masters programme.
I don’t see myself as a writing coach per se, although I used to edit books and magazines. I take a big-picture view of becoming an author and developing a career as a writer. There’s more to successful authorship than just writing a manuscript or publishing a book. You have to become someone who can write and publish a book that will sell – and help it sell. That requires personal development as well as writing and publishing knowledge or skill. So, I focus on the person – the writer – as well as the book or blog.
How have technological developments in publishing changed what you teach your clients?
Technological developments have not really changed what I teach my clients. I’ve always stressed the need to develop an author platform long before publishing a book. Now, there are just more options for how to do that. I used to focus primarily on blogging. That’s still something I tell all my clients to do, but I advise them also to consider podcasting or YouTube videos – not just Facebook or Twitter, for instance.
Many e-commerce tools have been developed over recent years that enable authors to sell directly to their customers online. How do you think this direct-selling capability will impact independent authors and their ability to reach their readers?
I believe direct-to-customer e-commerce tools give authors the chance to take control of their books and to follow up directly with their readers. However, if an author does not have an enormous amount of website traffic, the book will be difficult to find and sales are likely to be low.
Today you can sell books to people all over the world from your own website, but you need to have a large audience and lots of visibility. You need to understand online marketing strategies, like funnels and advertising. If you know how to drive readers to a landing page or to your email list, you can be successful selling your book from your site.
However, by not having a book available on Amazon, authors reduce the opportunities for that book to be found by readers. Books listed on Amazon are easily found on the site and in a Google search for a topic.
Can you share a few tips with us on how independent authors, particularly those who write non-fiction, can successfully market their personal websites or online storefronts to drive traffic?
Sure. Here are my tips:
- Become a blogger!
- Publish blog posts – valuable content on the subject of your books – consistently and on a schedule.
- Share this content on social media sites. Promote or boost it with a few bucks, if you want to and can.
- Rinse and repeat.
Your blog turns your website from a static brochure in cyberspace to a discoverable engagement machine. Every time you publish a blog post, Google’s bots and crawlers index the content looking for keywords. If you write about one topic long and often enough, your site will rise up and be easily discovered in an online search for that subject.
Your website or online storefront is not like the ‘Field of Dreams’. If you build it, people likely will NOT come – unless you tell them it exists. More than that, tell them why it benefits them to visit, stick around and buy something.
And – bonus tip – use whatever other tools you like to drive people to your site and store – podcasts, live online events, YouTube videos, Instagram stories, or whatever ones you enjoy and your audience accesses.
What is your advice for an independent author who wants to begin selling their books online but doesn’t know where to start?
Again, blog. Really. This is a fabulously powerful tool for writers. Content is king. And it will get you, your book and your website discovered. Just be sure to focus your posts on topics related to your book. Then branch out into video. Video is the king of kings right now. Use video on your site but go live and use YouTube, which is another search engine. Stick to your topic area! Also, use images of all types. Images are queen. Every post should have one. And then use these on social sites to drive people to your blog posts.
Do not be afraid to sell your wares. Do it from your heart. Be authentic. That said, learn about book promotion and online marketing strategies. Put them to use. Don’t be a perfectionist. While your blog posts need to be well written, edited and proofread, videos and images you share on social can be rough. People like it when you show up authentically.
Just start. You’ll learn and get comfortable as you go – and in the beginning, very few people will be paying attention anyway.
What effect do you think the COVID-19 pandemic has had on e-commerce and on independent authors who sell their books online?
I believe COVID-19 has presented an opportunity for anyone who wants to market a product – including a book – online. People are stuck at home. They turn to the internet for everything from buying a car to shopping for groceries to purchasing educational programmes.
While book sales dropped off early in 2020, they later picked up. In fact, the book industry fared well last year. Non-fiction authors are also in a great position to also build an online business around their books. Now is the time to turn content into online coaching, training, and education programs.
Do you think the sudden acceleration of online book sales during COVID-19 will diminish once the pandemic ends, or do you think it will have a lasting effect on how we buy books for years to come?
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would hope they would continue to trend upward. I think those readers that enjoy perusing the bookshelves in a physical bookstore will return to brick-and-mortar stores. However, many people are now comfortable and happy with the convenience of online shopping. Therefore, I would assume these readers will continue to purchase books online even after the pandemic ends. COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As readers develop online shopping habits, these will be difficult to break.
Can you share with us a couple of your tips for a non-fiction author to create a successful blog for their book?
I’ve mentioned a few already, but…
- Stick to your book topic as much as possible.
- Publish a 600–2,000-word post at least once per week.
- If possible, publish 2–3 posts per week for the first 6–12 months after launching your blog.
- Include related images with each post.
- Create a 3-month blog plan. (Do this every quarter.)
- Share your most current post at least once each week.
- Let your audience know you have a blog – and ask them to subscribe.
- Be sure your website/blog has a lead magnet, or free gift, that allows you to build an email list.
- If you plan to write more than one book, create a blog that encompasses all the topics while not being too broad in focus. By that I mean, find a thread – a theme – that runs through all your books, and then use that as the main topic of your blog.
Finally, check out my blog How to Blog a Book for more tips.
And finally, what are your reading at the moment?
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini (audio)
Mind to Matter: The Astonishing Science of How Your Brain Creates Material Reality by Dawson Church (Kindle)