In this show I interview Catherine Carrigan of the WhatIsSocialMediaToday.com society about the benefits of community for authors and how it can help a starting author have success with marketing their book.
Interview with Catherine Carrigan
Tim Lewis: [00:01:21] Hello Catherine welcome to the show.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:01:23] Thank you Tim. And thank you everyone out there in the audience for taking your time to listen.
Tim Lewis: [00:01:28] Now you come to my attention because I gave an online webinar in your community What is Social Media Today. What do you think is the benefit to authors of joining a community like that?
Catherine Carrigan: [00:01:41] Well first of all Tim as you know from personal experience writing of itself is a very solitary profession. You’ve got to be by yourself in order to do the work.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:01:53] You don’t necessarily have to be an introvert because lots of famous authors like Tom Clancy or Ernest Hemingway, Paul Coelho, Salman Rushdie, Mark Twain. There they are or were extrovert. OK.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:02:09] But the act of writing in itself you do all by your lonesome. So there are four great benefits that I see for having a community as a writer and as an author and this has helped sustain me as I have just published my seventh book.
The Four Benefits of Community
Catherine Carrigan: [00:02:29] So the four benefits of community. So the first one that I would like to talk about is co-creation.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:02:37] So one of my best friends here in Atlanta is a fellow bestselling author. Amazon number one bestselling author Maxine Taylor. Maxine has got seven Amazon more bestsellers. I only have four Amazon number one says bestsellers out of my seven books.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:02:55] And I joke with her you know hey you’re the one to beat. And she just says Hey honey I’m just a little bit older than you. So periodically what we do is we have our own little mini mastermind group and we get together for lunch.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:03:11] Now this happened pretty organically as friendships usually do. We got together for lunch. She was a great example for me early on about how to be a generous author because one of her first lunches she handed over the contact information for her Twitter guru, her editor and her amazing Amazon marketing lady.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:03:33] So as our friendship progressed we would get together and talk about the books we were working on and she gave me plenty of good advice: know write about this, don’t write about that, nobody cares about this but everybody cares about that.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:03:49] She’s interviewed me on her radio show more than any other radio show host.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:03:55] She’s asked me you know what can I do to make more money? And she’s an astrologer, Georgia’s first licensed astrologer, so I came up with the idea.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:04:08] I said you need to do something called the Trumpology report which is using astrology to help people understand the newly elected president Donald Trump and his associates.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:04:19] So from there I’m a medical intuitive healer. That’s my main profession. So Maxine asked me to do a series of medical intuitive readings about Donald Trump, about White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and first lady Melania of Trump and from these I wrote blogs.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:04:36] Now I’ve also worked with her to help her develop the idea for the next book that she’s writing. So in our program at WhatIsSocialMediaToday.com, my partner Ramajon Cogen, he’s a mountain biker.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:04:52] I’m a medical intuitive healer, Ramajon’s a mountain biker. We are the unlikeliest of friends however we are fellow authors. One of the things to really think about is this strategy of survival.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:05:06] So if you look at the world’s largest living organism; the world’s largest living organism is something called Pando the Trembling Giant.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:05:17] And what it really is a series of quaking aspen actually happened to be one organism 160 acres of trees and they work together.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:05:28] And if you think about it even though I’m an author and I write books about natural healing and Tim you write time travel books. We are both representatives of this writer archetype.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:05:42] And you know we just like the quaking aspen who we’re being threatened by overgrazing from deer and elk, the writing profession and the book writing profession is threatened by multimedia, by the social media and by movies, by YouTube and all these other up and coming things.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:06:03] So the more that we learn to band together to act as one living breathing organism the more likely I feel our profession will continue to thrive. So co-creation is a big one.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:06:16] The next one is actually in counselling because if you’re a writer you’re sooner or later going to get stuck. I’m in a Facebook community with the writer Jeff Goins and he put out a little post recently saying who’s stuck and I responded back and I said you know I think writing is the process of getting stuck and then getting unstuck.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:06:39] So recently a friend of mine was working on his first novel asked me for advice. Now you would think that he would be the beneficiary of our interactions. But any time that I as an author take the time to reflect on what I’m actually doing then I get to study my own process and refine it and hopefully over time get better.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:07:03] Another author friend of mine, Indika De Fonseka, was stuck one day so he reached out to me also through Facebook and I ended up writing a blog called three ways to go after inspiration other than with a club.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:07:19] So the more that we help each other out the more that we refine our own process and we develop this community so that when we do go by ourselves to write I happened to write early in the morning I wake up early 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and start writing first thing then I don’t feel alone because I have these people who I know are supporting me.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:07:43] Now the third C in this cooperation is cross blogging. Now I regularly individually encourage other author friends of mine to cross blog with me so I will publish one of your blogs for every blog of mine that you publish.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:08:01] When I do that I put in a picture of your book or your books plural links to your website and your bio’s and the benefits of cross blogging are legion. My fans learn about your books your business your world view and your fans discover about my books my business as a medical intuitive healer and absorb my opinions.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:08:23] So this is spreading our ideas and our books around the Internet. And this is the epitome of a win-win. And nobody spends a dime on advertising.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:08:34] So this could be the seed of viral marketing especially when we develop networks of authors willing to cross blog as I have and frequently I’ll get a little message either by email or through Facebook from somebody saying gee I really like that blog that you wrote may I share it with my folks?
Catherine Carrigan: [00:08:55] And I’m like of course, or people will send me a message saying Hey I just wrote about this subject that I think your fans would like to hear about. And I’m happy. Always happy to promote my friends.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:09:08] Which brings me to the last C which is cross promotion. Now when one lady in our program, Lynne Cockrum-Murphy, published her second book, she had the benefit not only of the knowledge she gave in our program of how to market through the social media, she also had a wonderful community of fellow authors to support her.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:09:32] Now, Unfolding the Mystery of Self, her second book, reached number one in one of her categories on Amazon even before the book launch officially started. By the time it was all over her new book had reached number one, not in just one category but three categories on Amazon.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:09:52] So she had way bigger book sales and on top of that she told me she said I had the best January ever in terms of her business. Now our community has crossed blog with her. We’ve shared her book throughout our Facebook friends and our Twitter feeds and also talk to each other about working through the nitty gritty details.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:10:16] So you know if you think about it most people who work in a conventional office or business they’ve got other people who are working with them.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:10:26] But when you’re just all by your lonesome writing your time travel books or writing books about natural healing you could fall into the belief system that there’s nobody out there willing to support you.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:10:38] But nobody understands what you go through as much as fellow authors. And when you cooperate with fellow authors I feel you’re going to win even bigger so that in a nutshell are my four C’s of cooperation amongst the community of writers.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:10:59] Again it’s co-creation, counselling, cross-blogging and cross-promotion.
Tim Lewis: [00:11:05] OK, I mean I know your community is fairly large, I mean I know there is more than 10 people probably.
Tim Lewis: [00:11:15] What sort of numbers of people are cross-promoting with each other? I mean you find there’s not an optimum number?
Tim Lewis: [00:11:25] I mean I’ve seen a share of a blog in effect so four people each write a post one post a week.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:11:33] Well one of the things that we talk about is that nobody wins the game of social media by yourself.
Tim Lewis: [00:11:40] Yeah.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:11:40] And nobody succeeds as an author by yourself. You’ve got to have you’ve got to develop readers. And as you develop raving fans then they will tell their friends about you. Even if you don’t have any readers to start out with if you develop friendships with other authors when you promote them they will be willing to promote you.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:12:06] This is the law of good karma. So if I promote, for example Tim when you do your next book release, I would recommend that you send me a message and ask me to share about your book on Twitter and on Facebook which I will be more than happy to do because when I do my next book launch I would just love to reach out to you and say hey will you share this with your friends and followers.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:12:32] So even a brand new author is starting from zero,you can begin to create a tribe of readers through your fellow authors.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:12:43] And for example I’m writing about natural healing. You’re writing about time travel. So even if I was writing about time travel we’re our books are going to be different even if you’re writing about natural healing our books are going to be different.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:12:57] You have to realize that you as an author have a unique voice and a unique contribution to make.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:13:04] So when you get out of survival mode and realize that you were that the most successful living organism is actually one organism. This grove of aspen trees then you are going to want to form a community with as many authors as you can.
Tim Lewis: [00:13:24] So how do you handle let’s say that somebody was writing a book about a topic that you really didn’t agree with.
Tim Lewis: [00:13:33] And they had promoted your book, would you feel the need to promote then and the similar issue with the cross blogging I mean let’s say you got five of you in the community and one of the persons blogs is basically terrible.
Tim Lewis: [00:13:48] I mean is there an element of looking at quality control should you just be more sort of open and maybe just get back to the person and say could you improve like this and this.
Tim Lewis: [00:13:59] How do you deal with those kind of issues with community?
Issues with Communities
Catherine Carrigan: [00:14:02] Yeah I think there’s really two ways of looking at it. First of all for example I know you’ve done this and I’ve experienced myself. There have been times when I’ve written something I thought oh my god this is the most beautiful brilliant thing I’ve ever written. And then nobody cares.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:14:21] And then other times I just jot something down you know in a hurry. For example the most well-read article on my website. CatherineCarrigan.com I probably wrote in 30 minutes and I just had an idea I thought you know I really need to write about the difference between pain and suffering.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:14:39] I wrote that blog in 2013. Somebody reads that article literally every day of my life. So my first comment is that I think we have to acknowledge with due humility that I’m not necessarily the best judge of quality.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:14:55] I may read somebody’s article and think this is drivel. Nobody will care. And there it is. I mean for example look at who is the president of the United States there are a lot of people who didn’t think that he was worthy of being president.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:15:10] So you can’t judge. I don’t I think you have to be humble about it and realize that if somebody has sat down and put pen to paper you know fingers on the keyboard and written something that there may be an audience out there for what they have to say.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:15:26] Now I have encountered some of what you’re talking about. I have a fellow author friend who is a trans gender individual or cross-dressing. I don’t think he’s transgender he’s across-dresser.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:15:40] And my marketing lady approached me one day and I was saying I’m not naming this individual. And she said Katherine I cannot promote this work. She when she said I can’t even read a paragraph it’s not just pornographic it’s filthy and offensive.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:15:58] And I said to her I said you know we all have our own community standards. So if I had somebody who was writing something that was violent or obscene I might say to that person you know this is this is not the forum for this sort of material.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:16:18] I’m not your community but there’s probably other places where that would be that would fit. So I would even encourage that individual to rewrite it in such a way that wasn’t so graphic.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:16:33] So in the case of the example of the author I have a friend actually who was working with that individual to not just remove the completely disgustingly obscene information but to make the story a little bit better.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:16:49] But in that case that individual that I’m discussing he wanted to be part of our original group and I encouraged my business partner RamaJon Cogen to work with him individually because I didn’t feel that he would be a good fit for our group.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:17:07] So I think you know whenever you have a group you want to maintain the comfort and safety of everybody concerned. But as far as quality I tend to be on the more humble side and realize that you may write something that I think is awful and you know 95 percent of my reader is going to think it’s the best thing they’ve ever read.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:17:30] So I tend to err on the side of humility on that that.
Tim Lewis: [00:17:35] If we come back to the counselling part where it seems like what you’re suggesting is that you almost like a relationship with somebody either further ahead or behind you in this publishing journey.
Tim Lewis: [00:17:52] Because I know that you try and put people together in terms of accountability buddies and things. How do you come to the process of working out who you should be counselling who and how those situations should work?
Catherine Carrigan: [00:18:05] Well I think as you know we all have personalities and some people really tend to get along with each other and have you know good communication and I think it’s more about the quality of communication than about who’s farther along.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:18:20] For example I feel that I personally benefit when a writer who is maybe even working on their first book asked me a question because it makes me stop and think you know how do you get your ego out of the way to write a book.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:18:35] Well it makes me remember what I do. And at the same time I obviously benefit from talking to writers who are far more accomplished than I am. I feel I could learn from anybody.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:18:47] So I think that the entire process of just reflecting on what you’re doing whether it’s writing or publishing or marketing or promotion the more aware you are more successful you’re going to be.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:19:03] One of the things that I always talk to my clients about is even when you’re doing well figure out what you are doing well sort of analyze yourself so that it becomes a repeatable process.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:19:14] So for example if I write a blog I’ve written blogs I write it on Sunday morning and by the end of the day you know over a thousand people have read it. Well then I look at that. What was it about. What was the subject matter. How did I write it in such a way that really struck with people.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:19:33] So we want to reflect on what we’re doing so that we can be even more successful. So the informal counselling of other authors is part of that self-reflection process.
Tim Lewis: [00:19:46] So in terms of your books and you clearly are writing very specialized non-fiction books. Is there any general advice you give to say somebody who’s in a similar position, they’ve got their fundamental career in terms of what they work on.
Tim Lewis: [00:20:04] And they want to write a book about and use that as a way to kind of get more clients. Do you have any general advice in that area?
Advice to Non-Fiction Authors
Catherine Carrigan: [00:20:12] Yes. First of all it goes back to the scarcity mentality. We need to let go of the scarcity mentality. I feel I can give away every bit of information that I know and still have plenty of business because people need somebody to hold their hand and put them together.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:20:30] So whether it’s WhatIsSocialMediaToday where we’re holding your hand and helping you learn social media and show you what you’re doing right or wrong or whether it’s in natural healing. I mean I’ve got plenty of businesses have come to the healer helping people understand what’s really going on with their body.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:20:50] When I write a book Tim I try to make it as comprehensive as possible. I try not to leave anything out. So for example my book Unlimited Energy Now goes over how to have more energy. Is applicable whether you’re a writer or a CEO or a cyclist or a stay at home mom.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:21:11] Everything we do requires energy. So I go over what’s happening how you can build the energy on the physical level on the energetic level and the emotional on the mental and the spiritual. And I view my writing of books as several things.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:21:27] It’s part of my legacy when I’m dead and gone in the ground which could happen tomorrow by getting hit by a bus. What I leave behind is my books. And secondly there are always individuals who do not have the financial resources maybe to work with me one on one but I can say hey you know go read my book.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:21:48] One of the things that I do in my business is I offer a free 15 minute consultation and last week it was in fact I got a call from a lady who’s a housekeeper, she cleans houses for a living, and she calls her free 15 minute consult so obviously she wasn’t able to afford my services one on one but I said hey you can download my audiobook, each audiobook but you can get for less than $5.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:22:15] And here’s all the information that I would explain to you if I was working with you one-on-one. So it’s our legacy, it’s give back.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:22:25] And also it is a way of establishing yourself as an authority on a subject so that way people know hey if I’m exhausted I can turn to Catherine.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:22:37] And she can help me get my energy back, she can figure out where I’m losing my energy and what will work to help me get better. So I’m kind of like a little detective, so but I put you know all the information about that subject in the book so don’t be afraid to give it all away because it’s going to come back to you.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:22:57] That’s the law of karma. You can’t out give God. And again some people also look at books from a purely financial point of view. When I think about the financial returns on my books I don’t just think in terms of number of books so although obviously I have so much to be you know have gotten four of my books to number one on Amazon including my two books on social media marketing.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:23:24] I’m looking at what’s the overall net effect on my business. So for example last year in 2016 my overall revenues were up 32 percent over my revenues in 2015. So that shows me that everything that I’m doing: the book marketing, the book writing and the social media marketing it’s all working together to get the message out and positively benefiting my bottom line.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:23:54] So it’s definitely a way to go. The other piece of advice that I give to people is make audio books: audio books are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:24:05] And I myself were listening to me. I don’t think my voice is that great. I hired a professional reader just like James Earl Jones the actor.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:24:15] I could listen to James Earl Jones read the phonebook and be happy. You have a great voice Tim Lewis, you know, I hope you’re making audiobooks of your books.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:24:25] I hired a professional reader and made audio books for my most recent books. And this makes it more accessible. So the more that we as author can think about how can I make books more accessible than that you’re going to increase your sales and your audience that way.
Tim Lewis: [00:24:43] I kind of got a couple of follow up questions then? I presume when you’re saying number one Amazon bestsellers you talking about in the categories that you books are in?
Catherine Carrigan: [00:24:50] Absolutely.
Tim Lewis: [00:24:51] The other thing is about your audiobooks. I’ve covered them in previous shows. But what did you go through ACX and Audible?
Catherine Carrigan: [00:25:00] Yes. All my audio books were uploaded to Audible and ACX. Again the wonderful thing is a lot of people talk about how you know the world’s going to hell. I don’t particularly believe that, I feel that today as authors really have more advantages than ever before.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:25:17] The fact that here we are here in the U.K. I’m in the US and we’re having this conversation which will go out to benefit a worldwide audience. That’s huge.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:25:26] So with audio books, absolutely upload them to audible and ACX. My producer, my audio producer is in Arizona and my business partner is in Hawaii and when we do our program, WhatIsSocialMediaToday.com we have authors from literally all over the world who tune in at a specific time and then we’re meeting with them one on one.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:25:49] So yes Audible and ACX are great platforms. And I feel that if you as an author are not making an audio book you’re leaving money on the table and you’re neglecting a huge growth opportunity for your audience.
Tim Lewis: [00:26:07] Yeah I certainly think they are. I haven’t actually done audio books yet so I’m guilty of that but.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:26:11] …you’ve got a great voice…
Tim Lewis: [00:26:14] I think in nonfiction it’s almost a nobrainer. Anyway I think that wraps up most of the interview. How can people find out about you and your business and also all your books and WhatIsSocialMediaToday.com?.
About Catherine Carrigan
Catherine Carrigan: [00:26:28] OK. Well thank you so much for listening. My name is Catherine Carrigan at CatherineCarrigan.com. You can find out about my work as a medical intuitive at CatherineCarrigan.com.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:26:44] I do offer a free 15 minute console with clients anywhere in the world either by phone or Skype or zoom video conference and with my books you can find all my books on Amazon.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:26:57] My number one best sellers include What is Healing, Awaken your Intuitive Powers for Health and Happiness, Unlimited Energy Now, Banish the Blues Now and Unlimited Energy Unlimited Intuition Now.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:27:11] I’ve got them hung up inside me hiding on the wall. I can just read them off the wall and then my two recent books about social media marketing.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:27:22] They’re both called, they both start out with What Is Social Media Today. The first one is Get Ready to Win the Game of Social Media. And the second one is What is Social Media Today: Keywords and hashtags and You, Oh My!
Catherine Carrigan: [00:27:37] Now if you are interested in our program at WhatIsSocialMediaToday.com being part of our community we’d love to have you. If you’re curious about the program you can come and be a guest of one of our webinars. We meet every Saturday.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:27:50] You can also get a free consultation either with myself or with my fellow Amazon number one best selling author Ramajon Cogen.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:28:00] We are very passionate about this program because so many people are really great at writing the books and then nothing happens and they’re seriously disappointed. I’m a self-published author.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:28:13] Interestingly enough I had both experiences because my first book was published in 1997 back in the old days of publishing. It was published by a traditional publisher. It was the best selling book of the original publisher.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:28:28] And interestingly enough I made $3000 for three years work and that is why I stopped writing books. And then what happened to me Tim was one of my clients in Los Angeles bound my book translated into Chinese in the Los Angeles library. And I thought gee if I wrote a book good enough to be translated into Chinese I should do this again.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:28:53] So in 2012 I published my second book and I’m a big believer in what you’re doing Tim in helping people self-publish because it is the way.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:29:04] This is the way! self-publish! and I’ve talked to lots of people who’ve gone on to bigger publishers and I asked them well how is it working for you?
Catherine Carrigan: [00:29:13] And they said same old rat race. If you’re an author you have to learn not just how to write the book you have to learn how to market the book and that is why Rama and I started WhatIsSocialMediaToday.com to help you be even more successful and to set up this community where you can get the support you need to take your business and your books to the next level.
Tim Lewis: [00:29:37] Well thank you very much for being on the show today.
Catherine Carrigan: [00:29:40] Thank you so much Tim. Thanks to everybody out there for listening.
If you liked this interview then you might like The Benefits of Mentors with Calvin Wayman, Twitter Chats with Madalyn Sklar and How to Use Promoted Pins with Alisa Meredith