By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur.
JB Owen has been helping people get published. Joining all the way from the west coast of Canada, she shared how she helps entrepreneurs get noticed in the latest episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur.
Sharing Authentic Stories
JB considers herself privileged to work with a multitude of authors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and experts. What she likes to do is to help people tell their authentic stories — the real story about them, the journey, the process, and the steps that they took to get to where they are. And she feels blessed to teach people how their story matters in their business.
According to her, the business has changed so much.
Now, people are really wanting to work with people who share the same vibration as them. Today, there are so many businesses and people are blessed to be able to work with others from all over the world.
Helping Authors Get Published
Like any great entrepreneur, she saw a problem and figured out how she can make it better.
For many years, she was publishing solo authors. What she found was they just weren’t making it to the finish line. How does one single person know how to write a book — and edit, manufacture, type-set, print, produce, ship, sell, and market it? It’s a lot of stress on authors.
This is why many authors weren’t making it to the success that they wanted. Books were on the shelf but have never been marketed out.
This prompted her to look at her skillset and the things where she’s really good at. And it’s about being incremental. She loves those micro wins, those little moves along the way that get people there. She broke it down into incremental ways that can help people accomplish publishing.
Then, she also looked at the second part: loneliness. A lot of authors get really lonely. It’s a lonely process — you will be so introspective; you won’t have people to bounce ideas off of if you’re not sure if you’re going in the right direction.
At Ignite, she and her team created this community where you could work with authors and have them as partners in accountability and masterminding. Then, JB and her team will do the heavy lifting for you.
They will do the editing, the producing, the marketing. They will help you become a best-seller. They will load up everything and create the files you need. All that you have to do is to show up with an idea, a vision, a message. Then, they will help you take that and go to the stratosphere with your exciting idea.
It’s a real win-win situation because they will let you be good at what you’re good at and they will be good at what they’re good at. It saves time, money, and effort while making the process really fun.
For JB, if she doesn’t enjoy something, she won’t be doing it.
Currently, Ignite has 700 authors on its roster. They’ve also done 17 internationally best-selling books in the last two years. They’ve done multiple solo books while she did her own book in the process. It goes to show how they’ve mastered the strategy.
JB stressed out that it’s about tools, strategies, and systems. Success comes from them. Through the said milestones, they have proven that they know how to put book-publishing through a system that works for clients.
For her, the great thing about being a coach, publisher, trainer, and mentor for authors is that once she shows you the system, you’re off to the races. You can already do it multiple times.
In fact, they have authors who are writing two or three books. Their top author has written six books. As they’ve shown them the system, they can quantify again their message and delivery, and produce a fantastic book.
Writing for Your Readers
One of the things that JB wants to do is to teach you how to fish — not just give you the fist.
She’s the kind of person who lets herself show how to do things so that you can also do it yourself, because she may not always be there and you may part company at one point. She does this because she wants you to be a success because your business, your message, and your book can help someone else — it’s going to move the needle for someone else’s life.
This is why she always teaches her authors to know who their readers are. Understand who is their customer: Who wants the book? Who’s going to walk into the bookstore and say, “I’m looking for a book about this.”?
If you’re writing a book that only satisfies your needs, understand that it’s a passion project. It’s something that you’re doing for yourself. And that’s still fantastic. At Ignite, they have authors who have written stories about death and suicide. One of their authors wrote a story about her husband who died and how he helped 800 people through organ donation. While it’s a very interesting book, it’s not a book for the masses. It’s a book for her.
JB emphasised that you have to know the difference between writing a book for you and writing a book for your customer.
If you want to have the next best-selling business, tech, or self-help book, you have to think about your customer: What’s your customer’s problem? What does your customer need? What can you answer for them? Then, you have to make it interesting; that what’s in it is important for them.
It’s not about you. It’s not like a bad date where the other person goes on talking about himself or herself over and over again. Many authors make this mistake. They write books that are all about them. And the reader asks, “Where am I in this process?”
When you’re writing a book, JB pointed out two key things: Think about the process and imagine your reader. Because when you do so, then you will be writing for your reader and not for yourself.
Keeping the Momentum
I published a book and it’s a curation of 50 interviews that I’ve done. One of the challenges is about keeping momentum. People often start with gusto and they’re excited about the launch. Then, there’s that middle part where they drift.
When asked about how she helps people get over that, JB shared a personal story.
Last summer, she turned 50 and she decided to do something monumental for her birthday. She cycled on her tandem bike with her husband 5,000 kilometres across Canada. She did it for a couple of reasons.
She wanted to show that it’s possible; that you can have an idea, get off the couch, and do it. She wasn’t an athlete, she’d never cycled that distance before, and she wasn’t even athletic her whole life. She wanted to make an example showing that you can do it.
Talking about momentum, she shared that if all she focused on was getting to the 5,000-kilometre mark, she would have never made it to the 200, 500, or 1,000-kilometre mark.
Here’s the interesting part about the whole process: She needed to cycle 5,000 kilometres in 56 days. This meant she had to cycle 150 kilometres a day. Since she’s in Canada and they have snow up until May, she couldn’t practice. What she did instead was to visualise herself cycling. She saw herself pedaling and getting there. She saw the mountains, the vistas, the horizon. She saw her legs moving.
When she visualised the process and got on the bike on the very first day, she was able to cycle 98 kilometres, then 100, then 150. She and her husband even got up to 200 kilometres a day.
It’s all about momentum. You do a little bit each day, which gives you the courage and the knowingness to do more the next day, which then gives you the power and the strength to do it the next day.
How do you apply that to your book? You should map out your book launch over a period of time. For example, you can map out that your book is going to come out in e-book, in Kindle. Then two months later, it’s coming out on hard copy or on a soft-cover copy. Then three months later, it’s going to come out as an audiobook. Three months later, you’re coming out with a supplementary course.
What you want to do is to add things to your book and go for the long haul. A lot of people only go for the short game, the short reward, the instant gratification. But it should be about the long game: How can I keep engaged with my clients? Because with that, you’ll always make somebody happy.
The Making of a Best-selling Book
Recently, Forbes magazine picked up JB and talked about her being a heart-centered publisher. Being heart-centered in publishing means being authentic and vulnerable in your sharing.
JB shared that a lot of people are asking her about ghostwriting. What she says is that you can’t have anyone swing the bat for you. You can’t have anyone kiss your first love for you. You can’t have anyone birth your baby for you. This is why you shouldn’t really be having somebody go straight for you — because when you go through the process, do the work, climb over the broken glass, dig deep to find the answers, then you’ll be so proud and courageous to do whatever it takes to make your book work.
You’d want to stand up on stage and share it. You’d want to do podcasts. You’d want to attend summits because it’s your work. You authentically and knowingly believe because you’ve done the work.
The common denominator among the 17 best-sellers in their roster is that the authors have done the work. They’ve gone through the process. They’ve learned what they needed to learn. They’ve studied. They’ve had the highs and lows of writing: I hate this. I don’t want to do this. This is so hard. Why did I sign up for this? Then they’ve known the exhilaration of being a writer: I can do this. My grade three school teacher told me I wouldn’t amount to anything, she was wrong. I can do this.
All these things can lift the lid. All entrepreneurs know that they need to have their lids lifted — their limiting beliefs, the ceiling of whatever they thought was impossible that needs to be shattered. This happens when you do the work.
JB shared that Ignite is known to its authors as the leader of empowerment publishing. They empower their writers and their readers. And that’s what makes them different.
Empowering and energising is important because to say that you can do something is great. But you’ve got to keep them going along through those long miles of the journey.
Ignite has many authors whose English is not their first language or are dyslexic. They even have an author who is visually impaired.
Despite these challenges, JB shared that there are great tools out there that can be used. For example, she recommends Authors AI. It’s a great tool that you can speak into and have it recorded and transcribed at the same time. You can also write on Microsoft Word and in Google Docs and have these apps read it back to you. This is helpful because it helps you catch those little mistakes that you didn’t realise you made.
There are also companies like Upwork where you can find editors or proofreaders who can assist you and help you move along.
JB revealed that she herself is not great at spelling. She has hearing imparity. She never learned to spell phonetically; she learned to spell through memory. For example, if there’s a word like “infatuation” and she hasn’t written it for a while, she’s got to remember how it’s spelled. As a person with spelling issues and hearing imparity, her school teachers always told her that she’d never amount to anything. She was that kid who got her paper back with a hundred red scratches, marks, and corrections.
But here’s the thing: Spelling and grammar are the least of your worries. For people who are obsessed with their spelling or grammar, you can hire somebody for that. What you want to do is think of a concept, theory, theology, philosophy, message, or impact. This is where you want to head to — don’t get caught up in the spelling and grammar.
Tips from Her Experience
JB’s favourite tool to tell everyone is to get up 30 minutes early each and every day and write. Write before you look at your phone and before you talk to anyone. For instance, JB gets up at 4 in the morning, before the phone starts ringing and her kids wake up; it’s her writing and sacred time.
As a great tip, she also advised turning off the WiFi on your laptop. When she writes, she doesn’t want to spell-check and see those words underlined with red lines. She’ll just write in Google Docs to her heart’s content and do the editing later.
She assigns concept writing time, then research writing time, and editing time. Depending on how you’re feeling, decide if today is going to be writing, researching, or editing day.
Before you sit down to write in those 30 or 60 minutes before you start your day, just sit with yourself for a few minutes and ask: What’s best going to serve me today? If you’re feeling creative, write. If you’re feeling like you want to catch up, edit. If you’re feeling like you want to be inspired, do research.
You are the master of your writing. There are no guidelines. You don’t have to write 260 words every single day. Trust yourself and where you’re at. So it really is about you creating a habit and cadence and working the muscle of writing. This is what’s going to get your book done.
If you did a paragraph a day, you’d be done. If you did a page a day, you’d be done. Many people often say that they want to go to a cabin, block off six days, and write every day. Yet it never happens. The book never gets done.
So do a little bit each day and you’ll make it to the end.
As long as you’re creating something authentic, there isn’t a right or wrong way. Many people suffer from the anxiety of thinking if what they’re doing will be good enough. If you can share something authentic, you can worry about the polishing, the editing, and the promotion later.
And if you think about who your ideal client is, you can imagine yourself talking to them and sharing something with them.
For instance, JB wrote a beautiful book called “Enjoying Parenting” and it became a best-seller in eight countries. She had taken his kids out of school and “unschooled” and “world-schooled” them. She had sort of done the gamut of all the schooling and parenting things.
She then started writing a book about enjoying parenting and. at first, she’s writing to all those conscious parents. Then she realised that they already know that. So she needed to shift her book and write it for parents who want to understand what conscious parenting is.
When she sat down to write thinking who her reader is, she gave her a name and a persona. She knew exactly what her needs, wants, and problems were. When she actually wrote, she was writing to her; to that persona. This helped all of the writing flow, because she knew who her customer was and who needed the book.
One mistake that many authors make is that they write for themselves or for the intellectuals or for the masses. They want every single person to like their books. However, not everyone is going to like your book.
When you write with a very specific person in mind, it will be like a magnet that will help you hone your book.
Get Noticed by Being You
When asked about how she gets herself noticed as an entrepreneur, JB said that it goes right back to authenticity.
People want to do business with people that they like and they get to know. When you tell your authentic story, you’ll be vulnerable and you’ll be you. So be exactly who you are because when you’re you, it’s so much more relaxing and enjoyable. It’s much less stressful when you just get to be you. This is why you have to be you all the time.
Don’t try to be somebody you’re not. Don’t try to compete with anyone. Don’t try to follow someone else’s journey. It’s your journey, your process, your experience, your fingerprint, your snowflake — it’s unique to you.
The way you get noticed is to be you. You can be fun, quirky, silly, or intellectual — whatever it is, you have to be that wholeheartedly and authentically. These are the kind of people that other entrepreneurs want to work with.
You’re going to be loved or to be hated; going to be enjoyed or not. But when you are yourself, people who resonate with you will want to work with you.
In JB’s case, she vibrates her own way and she lets herself be silly, quirky, fun, and full of life. She wants to get things done. She’s hard-nosed. She wants to get increments and make things happen. And as for people who don’t like that, she considers it a gift. Because she wouldn’t be wasting her time and their time. It’s all about not attracting the wrong customers.
Many people say that their customers are not fitting in. Or that they don’t like their customers. This happens because your customers aren’t authentically understanding you — and it’s because you’re not authentically delivering you.
So how do you get noticed? Be yourself on every level, JB advised. Find your quirks and your strengths and use them to your advantage. Be that wholeheartedly because that strength and talent were given to you for a reason. The universe, God, or any higher power wants you to use that strength.
This is how you can pull people in and make them be drawn to you. You want to work with people who like and enjoy you, who accept and admire you for being you. These are the kinds of clients that you want to have.
This article is based on a transcript from my podcast The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, you can listen here.