Today we have a special guest: Donna Galanti from Your Awesome Author Life to talk about she can help you build your author platform.
- 0:16 Welcome
- 0:41 1 | Tell us more about you & what you write
- 1:50 2 | Where are you located & where do you live?
- 2:20 3 | Can you tell us more about Your Awesome Author Life & how it can help
- authors & can they jump in right now?
- 4:08 4 | What is Author Platform? What does it include and not include?
- 9:03 5 | For authors who want to invest $0, what tools should they at least try
- to invest in?
- 12:18 6 | What is okay to DIY vs Outsource?
- 15:38 7 | Whose author platform is killing it right now + is a best practice?
- 24:25 8 | What is the #1 takeaway authors should walk away with from this talk?
- 26:22 9 | You mentioned you have 4 websites – do you want to share those with us?
- 28:16 10 | Are all of your characters adopted?
- 30:41 Speed Round
- 31:25 Donna’s Course closes Sunday November 19, 2017
TO CONNECT WITH DONNA:
Writers, want to build your author platform before your first book comes out? Check out Donna’s course Create Your Awesome Community for Debut Authors. Limited time enrollment through 11:59pm EST 11/19/2017! Details HERE
Miss the deadline? If you’re reading this after 11/19/2017 You can get on the waitlist for enrollment and enjoy weekly resources & freebies that were mentioned in the video! 🙂
Donna Galanti is a speaker and bestselling author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.
Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at www.elementtrilogy.com and www.donnagalanti.com. She also loves building writer community. See how at www.yourawesomeauthorlife.com
Lisa Siefert: Hi, everyone. I’m Lisa. And today we are lucky enough to have Donna Galanti. Am I saying that right?
Donna Galanti: Donna Galanti. Yes.
Lisa Siefert: Donna Galanti. And it was like a lucky find. I was searching the YouTube first, and I ran across Donna, and she was amazing and awesome. And she has a great Facebook group. And so I just thought you guys should all know about her, and what she’s doing. So welcome Donna to YouTube channel.
Donna Galanti: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me Lisa, and it’s definitely mutual. Your energy was just bouncing off me, the minute I connected with you online as well. So, I’m glad we did.
Lisa Siefert: Super. So why don’t you tell everyone a little bit more about you, and what you write and what you’re doing.
Donna Galanti: Well, sure. I’m Donna Galanti, and I write … I guess the simplest way to say it is, thrillers for kids and grown-ups. So I started out writing paranormal suspense. I have a series out with that, called The Element Trilogy. And then I also started writing middle grade, the Lightning Word series out with that. And so I’m also writing adult, and picture books. So I guess you got a whole there. I went to challenge myself. And then lately, for the past year or so, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my writer friends and new author friends, saying, “Hey, how do I launch a course? How do I launch my book? How do I build my [inaudible 00:01:21] platform ?” It’s 99 questions a month about his.
Then some of my friends go, “Hey, you know [inaudible 00:01:31] but things out there and help other writers online” and start putting your [inaudible 00:01:35] Share what I know that building platform and then also the Facebook, where we’ve connected you know Facebook writers can learn about resources and craft and just share celebration.
Lisa Siefert: Awesome, and where are you located and you know where live and.
Donna Galanti: So, I’m in Pennsyliva. I live right here the border of New Jersey. So, there’s a lot of [inaudible 00:02:00], we love living here lots of ghost stories. I actually live in an old farm house you can probably tell by the background behind me.
Lisa Siefert: Cool.
Donna Galanti: It has a lots of fire places but also lots of mice and snakes and bats.
Lisa Siefert: So, its very [inaudible 00:02:15] it’s very authentic.
Donna Galanti: It is authentic for sure.
Lisa Siefert: Alright, so why don’t you tell us about you awesome author life and how it can help authors and could they jump in try now?
Donna Galanti: Yeah, absolutely, so I’m actually right now in the process of launching my first course for it. It’s a digital course called, ‘Create your awesome community for [inaudible 00:02:36] authors’ and so it’s really for first time authors and those who are seeking publication and it’s all digital. The ten module step meaning I walk you through, you know step by step holding your hands with things like public speaking and connecting with readers and bonding with other authors.
And so it has ten modules and has also 15 bonuses connected to all the modules, that you an download tutorials like walking through twitter and goodlead and all these kind of business writers. And it also has seven experts section, so I have a lot of meet the experts, New York Times Bestseller, [inaudible 00:03:14] and audio book correction company. People [inaudible 00:03:18] inside your secrets, you helping writers launch their you know their author platform.
Though, I’m really excited to be launching it right now. Actually, I’m [inaudible 00:03:26] this Sunday November 19 but people they can get on a wait list. And it will be opening around January, but every week a weekly [inaudible 03:38], I think you’re getting some af them now lisa and they will be getting great tips as they wait for the course to open again.
Lisa Siefert: Cool. Yeah, it’s true I mean if you get mailing list every day is like Christmas, you just randomly popping in and you don’t have to do anything. It’s like your, here it is and here is all this great information and it’s free, and here is a pretty PDF to go with it.
Donna Galanti: Well I have to thank my husband for that, he’s my design guy. So, I do the clients and he does the design so.
Lisa Siefert: So, let’s just take a step back and let’s just talk about what is Author Platform? Like, what does it include and not include? Like, what is the definition.
Donna Galanti: Well, I think you know, cause it was kind of mystery thing I get, what is author platform? What is Author brands? A lot from writers. So, I think it has to do with not just about twitting and spamming with your sales message. It’s really about finding a way to connect with your readers and your best fit followers, who can potential become your readers and creating a trusting relationship and an emotional connection with them. Though, it’s not going to just happen over night, it’s all about how you put yourself out there, how you are able to reach those readers. You know, whether it’s your book catalogues or doing special giveaways or connect with group that are talking about things in your book, so it’s about creating that trust with them with what your willing to share about yourself and about sharing your brands. And I actually like to say, “Author persona”. Not author brand, cause it’s really about connecting person to person making that relationship, that emotional connection and so hopefully. These best fit followers, will come along with you for the ride and become your loyal fans over time.
Lisa Siefert: Yeah, I think it’s great you said that. I don’t know it you notice, I did a book giveaway other day and every time I do a giveaway. All you have to do win is just write your favorite author, and one person put a comment and they said, “I use to love so and so author” I won’t name him. And they said, “I met them and I didn’t like their personality, and I won’t read their books anymore.”
Donna Galanti: Wow.
Lisa Siefert: And kind of funny like, people don’t realize yes people like your books but it’s also good to be just a nice person and you know connect with readers. And those are the people that are spending money on your products.
Donna Galanti: Oh, absolutely. And they do really put your face and personality with your books. So, again it’s about that emotional connection, you know.
Lisa Siefert: Right, yeah. Exactly. So, what do you see as the biggest mistake authors are making right here with there platforms?
Donna Galanti: Oh gosh well. The one that I see … And I actually have authors tell me about is that they get on social media, with the best intent to sell their books. So, and that’s they think social media is for, and it’s really not. It’s about creating that bridge with your readers, that trusting relationship, that emotional connection. It’s about really sharing you … I mean readers are going to buy into you. I think long before they can buy into your book, so you want to use social media or to create that bridge to not just be you know, “Buy my book, buy my book”, because I think after some time I know I just kind of skim over, those messages and don’t even pay attention anymore.
Lisa Siefert: Exactly. It’s funny cause there was another book tour … Clearly, I spend too much time on youtube, and so there was another [Inaudible o6:48] the other day and she was like … She was like our platform and she is not an author, but was like the biggest [Inaudible 06:55] I have is when I see people spamming, “Just buy my book, buy my book. My book is on sale” She’s like that make me not buy your book.
Donna Galanti: Right. Exactly. Be the genuine you, I think is some of the biggest advice, other’s could get and figuring who that genuine you is your going to put out there. What your willing to share and what your just not willing to share.
Lisa Siefert: Exactly. I think people should remember like you said … Like the most popular magazine, people, US …. People like knowing about other people’s life and you know that’s the part the reason they read books too, is to just read about made-believe life about characters.
Donna Galanti: Yeah, no …. Absolutely I completely agree and you know there is so many things that new authors can do for free or nearly free to build their author platform and I think one of the keys is to build their [inaudible 00:07:45] list for their subscriber list whether it’s for a news letter or for a blog. You know, try to find those best fit followers to follow you, people who would likely buy your book. One of my favorite ways to do this … I have been doing this for years is to do a raffle giveaways and so [inaudible 00:08:02], you are probably aware of it Lisa. It’s a free place you run contest, I mean they do have paid services, I only just use the free version. I love to actually go through my book shelf and get books that are similar to what I write.
And the people who sign up for that giveaway are people who likely like my book. And a really great way to build your subscriber list for a very little cost is band with other writers and do blank giveaways. This can be huge I found and I will get you an example of last year I did one, with some other authors jargon and age range. We put like 20 to 30 each in a pot and we giveaway $200 amazon gift card. Well, you get like over 12 thousand entries to this contest and I got 100 followers [inaudible 00:08:50] it feel really great.
Lisa Siefert: Perfect, yeah. I mean I still think … So what would you say those are really great options, what would say to an author who said you know what I want to invest zero dollars in my platform cover? What tools … Should they try to at least invest in?
Donna Galanti: Yeah, you say that’s a really not practical because as an author it’s a business just like any other business and you have to invest in your business. So, some free tools I would think are definitely investing or some tools that you might have to pay for investing in a website and this is something you could do yourself, you really want that presents out there. Just even a basic website and …. A lot of writers say, “Oh gosh”, they put off doing a website, because they are not publish yet or they think it’s a big and it’s going to cost them thousands of dollars. I just say create a basic website in a day, because you know done better than perfect, and your website evolve, right.
Lisa Siefert: Exactly.
Donna Galanti: I know mine has change so much, since I start just as a blog. So, you can do this yourself, I recommend wordpress. Definitely get it self hosted, meaning you pay for hosting and maybe that cost you $80 a year, whatever … It makes you have control over your website, you have sign options and yes …. Your website invest in that. Build your email, your blog list with those subscribers, do these giveaways. You know, even if your doing you know a $20 gift card or whatever it may be. Also invest in book marks and business cards and some you can design yourself and then get printed. I actually use a designer of mine and I use [inaudible 00:10:33] to get them printed. I actually just ordered book marks yesterday, I think it was $73 for a 1000 of them. I give them away a lot at school visits.
Lisa Siefert: Yeah, so I go through them like crazy especially when I do classroom visits and I think also invest in giving away your book. You may notice already at least too as an author that giving away your book to your book bloggers so your reviewers can help boost your reviews, which help give you more exposure online especially with Amazon and if you [inaudible 00:11:05]. So, I have use that many times to get reviews for my books as well. There’s a cost of giving away books on your website, whether you put or have it design, your email list.
Donna Galanti: Right. Those are all great points. I think … You know I actually have a website in an hour like a free class.
Lisa Siefert: Wow.
Donna Galanti: Its just so easy, I don’t know why more people don’t do it.
Lisa Siefert: Exactly.
Donna Galanti: And … You know like honestly like just like Donna says, you don’t need to be perfect. Get something over there, people just want to see your face some time and, “Hey, I’m working on this novel” and enjoy my list.
Lisa Siefert: Exactly, have a little bit of about you, you know maybe a little Q&A and things you add on to your site as you go so. Done better than perfect.
Donna Galanti: Exactly. So, when you think about DIY versus outsourcing …. I mean I always tell people don’t DIY, your know book cover unless your a graphic designer. Are there some other rules? Do you agree with that?
Lisa Siefert: I definitely agree with that. It’s so important especially for self publishing not just your book cover, but I think there is three key things, you really want to outsource. That would be your cover, also your formatting for your book for online bookstore and usually editing. This is there a lot of the class you come into, you can spend a fee thousand dollars , couple thousand dollars on good editing. So, your cover, formatting and editing are three key things how to make a book has so much more success once you get that out there. You want to [inaudible 00:12:56] on any of those things, you know so.
Donna Galanti: Yeah, I think it’s a great … Even like just a copy edit at the very least. So, some people write to me before I did that because I was being cheap and they would say, “I couldn’t even read your book, it has so many typos and it’s driving me crazy”. So, you never want to do that and they were small things right. You could have … It’s like you said after you read your book so much, you can’t even see the typos.
Lisa Siefert: I know and you know what I was actually reading something like it’s expectiable to have 20 typos in a book. Like publishers won’t redo it. If you think about a book having 90000 words and having 15 typos, that’s not that many, right?
Donna Galanti: That’s so true.
Lisa Siefert: I have seen them in books like Harry Potter, I have seen them in books like Steven Kings. You know the typos are out there no matter what publisher you are with.
Donna Galanti: Yeah. You know, what should people do if … That’s a good point let’s say have a character who has a hobby … Like mine is a car thief [inaudible 00:16:44] as a hobby. So, [inaudible 00:16:46].
Lisa Siefert: You cut out there for a second, can you say that again?
Donna Galanti: What if I’m stealing cars by characters does or I have other characters … Like I have another characters who likes baking kind of like all over the place?
Lisa Siefert: Well I say definitely research comes into play with that . Which is something I love to do, I also research when I’m prostating about my writing. All of us writers do that, right? So, I would say research comes into play if there’s anyway you can interview somebody who does these things. Hey if your lucky enough to talk to a [inaudible 00:17:27]. It’s in their mind set or you know [inaudible 00:17:32]. So, I would definitely say I love talking to people, you know getting all sorts of information about different kind of characters in real life to add into my own story. So, [inaudible 00:17:44] including myself.
Donna Galanti: Awesome. Okay, cool. So, let’s see … Oh, I know … So, sorry … Stats. What kind of stats, do you think people should be tracking from their own platform?
Lisa Siefert: Oh gosh, cause you know it could be abstract, when you are talking about that kind of numbers. I would definitely look at your email your, subscriber list, tracking those kind of stats, how to increase it you know either by doing [inaudible 00:18:14] or joined giveaways. I think one way to increase your best fit followers, people who are read it and buy it, and hopefully share it you know, and shout it all over the world. What I like to do occasionally is I go to authors that are similar to me and I follow their followers. So, I like through their list and if they look like hey, they are readers not just spammers. I will just go through and follow a whole bunch of them. And then many of them follow me back.
Donna Galanti: I think it is important to band with other authors and this how you create your followers my banding other authors, your jargon or your age range. So, if you are a [inaudible 00:19:23] and you want to band with other authors [inaudible 00:19:29]. Monitoring traffic for blogging your website if your blogging constantly and putting content out there, checking the statistics of that, how many people are reading it? Where can you get it be seen? Can you twit about it with the hashtag [inaudible 00:19:50] blog, in order to gain more followers.
Also, monitoring your social media following. The kind of people that are following you. Are they your best fit followers? So, looking for the people that are following you and go [inaudible 00:20:04] I guess when it comes to statistic and tracking.
Lisa Siefert: Every reader is usually inspiring writer and vice versa, and so every writer is a reader. Right?
Donna Galanti: Right, exactly.
Lisa Siefert: Grace thin line.
Donna Galanti: Exactly, and one of the thing I want to mention too is that. I think the really key things that new authors especially can do is to guess blog. This can be a great exposure for them. When you are on someone else’s blog your instantly position as an expert that, just by having you on there. They’re validating you, hey this person knows stuff. She’s here and that’s why I’m having her on here. And then people will hop into over your blog, connected with you on social media and you could archieve those on your website as well. Guess blogging is a great way to put your stuff out there, those is your best fit followers. One thing I love to build followers to follow a book bloggers, because book bloggers are friends of authors. They love to promote your book and share your book and if you nurtrute relationships with them long before you get published. When you do ask for a review from them and they are them likely to say, “Hey, yes”, because they all have a huge [inaudible 00:21:30].
Lisa Siefert: Yes.
Donna Galanti: Book bloggers, so. Even, on their site. Even if they can’t review your book and being on it, guest post can really gain you a lot of exposure and more use as well.
Lisa Siefert: Yeah, great. That sounds excellent, I think the best type of … If you are listening to what Donna said, is to make those relationships early, so don’t wait till your book is ready and be like, “Hey, I have a release”. That’s so ingenuine.
Donna Galanti: Right, now I’m with you.
Lisa Siefert: Right, exactly. So, let’s talk about, why don’t you tell everyone, what’s your current tool step for your author platform?
Donna Galanti: Oh my gosh, I have so many of them I would definitely say wordpress. You know, I have four websites all are wordpress. So, highly reccommend that. It’s very search engine friendly meaning that google loves wordpress, and so it will place you high in search engines, where people are looking for you, but it also has a great support community and it has lots of options as well. I think something like 20% of the world’s website powered by wordpress now, So.
Lisa Siefert: Exactly.
Donna Galanti: I definitely recommend wordpress. [inaudible 00:22:32] I already recommend that using surveys. Facebook, especially for group, there are so many writer groups on facebook and reader groups as well. So, definitely using facebook group does it’s [inaudible 00:22:43] is great. Aweber, that’s the email service provider that I use for my platform. What I love is fiver.com, F-I-V-E-R-.COM. You can get just about anything on fiver for as little as $5. You probably know these stuffs. I’ve had formatting services, I mean [inaudible 00:23:06] you get on fiver.com, it’s great.
Also I love abay for free images. A-B-A-Y, I think is spell and you have so many great images that you can use there, so that’s one.
Also canwa.com, C-A-N-W-A.com. I love using canwa, it’s where you can use your own images or other pictures and create those media banners, whatever you need. So, I love canwa.com. Also giphy.com, G-I-P-H-Y. I use a lot of gifts for high school visit. They are all animated graphics and I love gipy.com. Also, [inaudible 00:23:46] for scheduling … I don’t always automate my social media, but I do schedule some. Especially if I have [inaudible 00:23:54] green, I like to call it’s always relevant content that never goes old. So, I will schedule them out over time. I mention quick place that’s where I get my book blogs and business cards, and I use [inaudible 00:24:13] for my website. That was a lot.
Lisa Siefert: Yeah, that is a lot. So, I guess what is the number one takeaway if nobody remembers anything else from today, what do you want them to takeaway from my talk?
Donna Galanti: Oh gosh, well let me see. I mean my first book come out so many years ago and as a day view author I really struggled To kind of sale my books, find my audience, all of that and then through the years I aline myself with the masters and I found my advisor to help me and I think that’s so key. Cause I have that when we write alone, we can’t get publish alone and we certainly can’t succeed alone. So, I would recommend for new authors and new writers to aline yourself with those advisors. You know make connections with those similar authors to you. Whether it’s online or in person, have a conference. You know many of them have been lucky to meet up with. They ended up ordering my book, they donated my book to contest, they’ve help me out in so many ways and you know … The things that I learn I teach it back first [inaudible 00:25:18], so I don’t have any magic powers.
You know I mean as a fantsy writer I like to think I do. Every thing I’ve done to create this down for success. Others can do it, and it’s all authors and writers. You know we have to get out of our comfort zone right, but we also have to do that as an author, we need to be online or in person public personalities nowadays, and it’s not that comfortable at times, I know. I use to have a big fear of public speaking and if you told me years ago that I would be sitting infront of 356 students [inaudible 00:25:54], I would say, “No way”.
There’s no way that would happened, but as again aline yourself with the masters and build a community and got more comfortable in zone. You know it’s what writers can do to get into a whole new community comfort zone, I like to call it. Get out, get into another, build that network and you can do it at any times. It’s never too late.
Lisa Siefert: Awesome and then you said you have four websites. You want to share those with us? That’s a lot, I though there was just one.
Donna Galanti: Sure, now that I’m thinking about, do I have even more? I have ‘Great your awesome community’, which is the bases for my course. I also have ‘yourawesomeauthorlife.com’, which is kind of the parent platform for the different products that are going to fall under that because next year I … Hopefully launching a new course, where authors on school visit. So, I do a lot of school visits and this will be about how to get school visit gigs, how to create your presentation and give it. I’m really excited about putting that course together. And then I also have my children’s book website, donnagalanti.com and my thrill adults websites element[inaudible 00:27:04].com, but they are both connected and they have a really similar look and feel I use the same template as well. So, yeah I have four websites.
Lisa Siefert: Do you publish under different names for those two jargons?
Donna Galanti: I don’t. That was something I considered but … And this is something that every author can make their decision on. I don’t recommend depending, it all depends … I guess what you are looking to do, what you are looking to publish. Become the persona you want to have. For me, I just didn’t want to have different book personas. So, that was my choice, you know every body choice is different and … The funny thing is in my writing whether it’s picture book, middle grade or adult, I have the same themes across them all. So I talk about these … It’s all about my general personality, [inaudible 00:27:49].
Lisa Siefert: Your an adopted only child?
Donna Galanti: I am.
Lisa Siefert: I am an adopted only child.
Donna Galanti: No, I didn’t know that, no way.
Lisa Siefert: It’s funny those things you just can’t tell from looking at someone, right?
Donna Galanti: No of course. I have it on my forehead right.
Lisa Siefert: That’s crazy. I didn’t know that. So, all of your characters are usually adopted or do that have that has a theme?
Donna Galanti: Either adopted … And I mean I didn’t plan this, you know it just kind of comes from your own life. You know [inaudible 00:28:27] your real life. So, they are either adopted or foster children, which I was as well or they just don’t know who [inaudible 00:28:35]. You know, which I didn’t until I was 18 and my natural mother found me. So, all of these feelings, a kind of feeling that you don’t belong because when growing up nobody else I knew was adopted. Nobody in my family was I felt like I didn’t fit in and that all comes in the play with my characters, and what I love to do is the whole play on genes versus requirement. So, that comes out in my writing a lot, people are all adopted but they grow up in different environment.
Lisa Siefert: That so neat. I’m obviously Asian, my whole family is white, cause I was adopted.
Donna Galanti: So, you weren’t adopted my an Asian family, interesting.
Lisa Siefert: Yeah, so that’s why my last name is Seifert. A lot of people just assume I’m married or divorce or something, but.
Donna Galanti: Wow, have you ever met your natural family?
Lisa Siefert: No, I was abandoned in Korea. I was born and sold they think, nobody knows, and someone just found me in an Alley as a baby.
Donna Galanti: Oh my gosh, lisa.
Lisa Siefert: Yes, that’s so weird. You know it’s Korea it”s like [inaudible 00:29:51]. So, someone just drop the baby off, supposely, at the police station report saids, “Baby founded”.
Donna Galanti: Oh my gosh, [inaudible 00:30:01] drop you off, who knows where you could have end up.
Lisa Siefert: Yeah, that so random right?
Donna Galanti: Amazing story. Funny enough my natural mom, didn’t know whether I was actually a boy or a girl. I mean this was the 60s, so they took me away so fast she didn’t know. She had two kids that were on that day that, she was researching. She didn’t know which one it was a boy or a girl.
Lisa Siefert: But you found her to you know your birth mom?
Donna Galanti: Yes, she actually found me, she’s a police officer and hire a private investigator. so, there’s a whole story behind that.
Lisa Siefert: Awesome. So, let’s go ahead and do the speed round.
Donna Galanti: Oh, my gosh.
Lisa Siefert: Are you ready?
Donna Galanti: I forgot about that, okay.
Lisa Siefert: coffee or tea?
Donna Galanti: Definitely tea. Although I use to drink coffee.
Lisa Siefert: Ice-cream or frozen yogurt?
Donna Galanti: I have to go with Ice-cream.
Lisa Siefert: Any particular flavor?
Donna Galanti: Yes, mocha- swirl, even though I don’t like coffee.
Lisa Siefert: Android or iphone?
Donna Galanti: Android.
Lisa Siefert: Mac or pc?
Donna Galanti: Definitely PC.
Lisa Siefert: Awesome, okay. Well thank you so much for being on and we have four of your website. Which I will link below and I will try to get this to you Friday. So, today is Friday November 17 I think.So this course closes Sunday November 28. Right?
Donna Galanti: 19 right.
Lisa Siefert: So, it close the 19, I will try to get this video today, so it your seein this time you can register. You can still join.Bye everyone.