Belief in my Message — Once you believe in yourself, you start trusting your gut and listening to your heart. That’s when you know what you’re meant to be doing with your life. I discovered my message — that everyone has an important story that is meant to be shared to help others and heal the planet — a couple years into my entrepreneurial journey. Holding onto that message helped me push forward with writing a book when I had two small children at home and wasn’t sure how I’d find the time for it. It led me to finding the simplest way to do it so my message would be available to a bigger audience.
As a part of our series about “How You Can Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cori Wamsley.
Cori is the CEO of Aurora Corialis Publishing, and she works with business owners who have a transformational story to share. She helps them quickly and easily write and publish a book for their brand that helps them create a legacy and be seen as an expert while building a relationship with the reader that leads to coaching and other business goals. Cori is a book coach, author of eight books, and contributing author to two anthologies, as well as a mother of two and a wife.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what motivated you to become an expert in the particular area that you are writing about?
I used to write novels in my spare time while working a 9–5 as a writer and editor, so I spent a lot of time writing, revising, and loving language. When I started my business, I had two little ones at home, so I thought I would just do small jobs for entrepreneurs like web copy and press releases, the kind of things that I did at my job. But every time I mentioned my experience with writing books, people got excited. “How do you write a book?!” Clearly, there was a niche there because business owners, especially coaches and speakers, need to write books to get noticed, get their ideas to a bigger audience, and cement their spot as a powerhouse in their industry. The issue is that many of them are busy and don’t have time to figure out the whole book writing and publishing process. So I took that on as my specialty. As a writer, I already knew the best tricks to create a powerful book, and I married that with my experience in marketing writing to help the book attract the author’s ideal clients.
Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?
My first year in business was a little scary. I had to figure out literally everything . . . and having kids at home who needed a lot of attention meant that I had to work smarter to be both a business owner and a mom. I had no connections, so I wasn’t sure what to do to find clients. A friend suggested a couple networking events, and eventually, I started meeting the right people.
I attended a book event for a local author at a book store, and after the event, I chatted with the owner of the shop, letting her know that I’m an author and do some writing. It was something I had learned to do, just making connections and hoping they might pan out.
She was such a kind, warm person that I got brave. I asked her how authors get to do a reading at the shop. Her answer was, “You ask.” I’m sure my jaw dropped open. That’s it? That’s what people do to get to the thing they want? They just ask?
As someone who grew up believing that I didn’t have the right connections so I couldn’t reach my big crazy dreams, this was important. Actually, this was revolutionary! I asked right then if I could do an event, and we scheduled it. After that, I realized that I needed to do a lot more asking, and yes, that does mean a lot of pitching that gets a “no.”
I asked people to partner with me on events. I asked people I wanted to work with to join my coaching programs. I asked the fabulous speaker coach Darieth Chisolm to write the foreword for my book The SPARK Method: How to Write a Book for Your Business Fast.
You can’t sit around waiting to be discovered. You have to connect, reach out, and ask for what you want.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?
In March of 2021, after five years as a writing coach and book editor, I launched Aurora Corialis Publishing. Since then, we have already published two new authors. Our first was in June, and it was a breathtaking anthology from over a dozen writers, collected by Leigh M. Clark. Living Kindly: Bold Conversations about the Power of Kindness is the kind of book that everyone needs in their library to lift you up AND make you think. I was surprised and delighted by the cerebral responses of these authors who chose to write about the power of kindness in their own lives, detailing their dark moments, inspiration, and love for other humans. I am so proud of this book and the light it brings to the world!
Our second book just came out at the beginning of September. German History Conveyed through Coins: Love, Money, and Power: The Legacy of King Ludwig I, was inspired by Slava Martyn’s love for collecting coins from the Ludwig I era, along with the history surrounding their minting. He developed conversations about the coins that feature the king and those around him, and it’s a really interesting presentation of the history that excites coin lovers and history buffs alike. He originally wrote the book in Russian, his native language, and it was translated into English by his son. We are honored to publish such a unique text!
Both books are available as paperback and ebook from Amazon.
Aside from my clients’ books, I’m also writing a new book, my first novel in several years. It’s about twin sisters about to celebrate their 35th birthday when a major event shakes up their world. The story follows one of the sisters as she navigates memory loss to put the pieces of her life back together and determine if that’s still who she wants to be or if she wants to forge a new path. It’s a story about love, home, and self-discovery, and I’ve had so much fun writing it over the past two months. In fact, I only have a couple chapters left to write in the first draft (thanks to the writing method that I developed, which I teach my clients). I’m hoping to publish in the early spring of 2022.
Thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you please tell us a bit about your book? Can you please share a specific passage or story that illustrates the main theme of your book?
The book I wrote for my business, The SPARK Method, is a quick read to give business owners the basics for book writing. But writing a book is more than just a list of instructions. You need to have some mindset around the book, as well as a belief in yourself that this is exactly what you need to be sharing with the world. That’s all driven by your desire to make an impact in your life AND the life of the reader. I shared this little story from my life in the introduction of this book, and I’m sharing here to help illustrate the desires and goals for book writing.
I wrote this book in the spring of 2019 and did a soft launch for the Pittsburgh Business Show in May because I knew I was showing up to talk to business owners about writing books and would feel really silly not having a business book myself.
It took me about six weeks to write and publish it, and in the middle of that journey was a spring break trip with my kids to visit my parents in Florida.
I did it by myself (yay for being brave!) because my husband’s work schedule was insane. So I hopped on a plane with a four-year-old and six-year-old and hoped for the best.
When we landed in Florida and got on the tram to go to baggage pickup, I ushered my daughters into the last car and told them to sit in the seat at the back. Trust me. As the tram popped out of the tunnel and into broad daylight, we were zinging backward through the air. The sun was beaming. Palm trees burst out everywhere. It felt amazingly magical.
That’s when my six-year-old yelled, “Yeah! This is the kind of life that I want!”
I was shocked. Everyone in the car laughed and commented about how great that was. Girlfriend knows what she wants!
Honestly, I almost started crying. At that moment, I felt off-balance. I felt like my months of “in flow” work ground to a halt. And that’s when I started looking at the bigger picture.
If that’s what she wants, then what do I want? And how can I use a book to get me there?
I realized quickly that travel had been missing, aside from visiting my parents. I realized that I wanted to speak more. I wanted to explore and have adventures. I needed to start looking at my books as a vehicle to progress in my business. They don’t stand alone. They are part of the whole Cori Wamsley brand and process.
And that’s what I want you to do when you’re writing, too. Think about the bigger picture. And the places you’ll go so you can impact more people! Make a plan, and do it!
You are a successful author and thought leader. Which three character traits do you feel were most instrumental to your success when launching your book? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Belief in Myself — I never would have gotten anywhere if I didn’t believe in myself. It’s what got me through the scary beginnings of starting a business, and it’s what got me through the writing and publishing process. Once it was time to launch The SPARK Method, I knew that I could either post it on Amazon and be done with it or do it the right way. Believing in myself led me to connect with a marketer who planned the launch and the launch party. I remember standing in front of everyone at that party and talking about my book, which had become a bestseller. I never would have thought that I would be there just a few years before, but because I believed in myself, I didn’t let the challenges stop me. That leads to the second character trait —
- Belief in my Message — Once you believe in yourself, you start trusting your gut and listening to your heart. That’s when you know what you’re meant to be doing with your life. I discovered my message — that everyone has an important story that is meant to be shared to help others and heal the planet — a couple years into my entrepreneurial journey. Holding onto that message helped me push forward with writing a book when I had two small children at home and wasn’t sure how I’d find the time for it. It led me to finding the simplest way to do it so my message would be available to a bigger audience.
- Patience — This isn’t something that I’m “good at” yet, per se, but I’ve learned to be more patient with my mission and my big goals, including book publishing and promotion. It’s rare for a book to see a huge immediate success that is reflected in dollars and cents. You have to structure your business or brand to dovetail with the book and use the book to magnetize clients and opportunities. Typically, you will sell some books off the bat because it’s new and exciting, but to see true longevity, you have to be patient. That means continuing to talk about the book, continuing to market the book, and continuing to believe in yourself and your message. That’s when you see growth. I have several clients who started with a small audience and grew massively over the first couple years after publishing. This took patience, though. They had to pitch, accept rejections, and move on to the next thing. They had to find their tribe and attract others who believe in their message too. Any message that is worth sharing with a bigger audience is worth your patience!
In my work, I have found that writing a book can be a great way to grow a brand. Can you share some stories or examples from your own experience about how you helped your own business or brand grow by writing a book? What was the “before and after picture?” What were things like before, and how did things change after the book?
I saw the biggest change right after I wrote the book. Because of the marketing I did around the book, I had a lot of appearances on podcasts and a local TV show, as well as several speaking gigs at local networking groups. Those allowed me to not only sell the book but also connect with my ideal audience and enroll some people in coaching programs. Many of those who bought the book or reached out because they met me at these events weren’t ready to write at the time but have continued to follow me, stay on my list, watch my videos, etc., and I know that they are being nurtured till they are ready to work with me. It all started with that book!
The change in me was huge as well. Because I had leveraged my ideas to write my book, I had more confidence in what I was teaching and the value of it. I raised my prices and actually had more people sign up for my programs. It was like flipping a switch on how I showed up in my business. People KNOW I’m the person they need to talk to when they are working on a book, and I FEEL that when I talk to them. It’s changed my energy, and that changes how people perceive me.
My clients have seen amazing results with their books too! Since publishing, my clients have tripled speaking fees, increased their business revenue by 30–50%, and received invitations for amazing opportunities. They have been asked to keynote big events, become a paid executive coach for a high-level mastermind community, be a guest on a nationwide TV show, and do a documentary based on their book. One attracted paid speaking gigs totaling over 25K dollars in the first two years after publishing.
The revenue doesn’t come overnight when you launch unless you’re a big name, so don’t focus on that. The goal is to leverage your ideas for the book and then use the book to get the media attention. After that, the book boosts you into a new level of leadership that then lets you bring in more income from speaking, coaching, and honestly anything else you can come up with. The key is to get the book out there and stay in the spotlight afterward!
If a friend came to you and said “I’m considering writing a book but I’m on the fence if it is worth the effort and expense” what would you answer? Can you explain how writing a book in particular, and thought leadership in general, can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?
It is absolutely worth the effort and investment. When you write your book, you are kicking off a circle of attraction that brings people back to your business. You don’t want to think about just how much you will make from a book. True, you’ll make some royalties from the book, but the key is to write your book in a way that it encourages your ideal readers to come back to you for more.
Imagine that you wrote a book and then pitched a speaking opportunity that your ideal clients would be attending. That book is something that will demonstrate to the person running that event that you are serious about your work and have unique ideas you want to get to the world to help more people. They book you to speak. At that event, people hear you speak and sign up for your mastermind. Or they buy a copy of your book. That’s three revenue streams from that book on that day (the paid speaking engagement, selling the books, and people signing up for your intro program). The readers may then sign up for your mastermind after they read the book. Then mastermind members could sign up for 1:1 coaching. It’s a funnel that builds on your personality, your energy, and your connection with what your audience needs, and then you get to help them overcome their challenges, all because of your book!
Why choose a book instead of some of the other ways that you can get people into your sales funnel? A book is a relationship tool. It gives people a deep immersion into your story and your work, letting them see the authentic you because you’re sharing your challenges and how you overcame them. By the time someone has finished reading your book, they feel like they know, like, and trust you. It’s a quick, simple way you can connect with them with minimal effort on your end after the product has been published.
What are the things that you wish you knew about promoting a book before you started? What did you learn the hard way? Can you share some stories about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?
Definitely start promoting six months before you launch. Make sure that you are cultivating an audience before that and start dropping hints about the book. If you don’t get out there with it, then no one knows you’re writing a book . . . and that means that you won’t get the big push from everyone commenting, sharing, downloading, etc. at the time of launch.
You also need to build a launch team with your colleagues and friends. They don’t need to do a lot, but sharing some posts and maybe interviewing you for their audience will help too.
And don’t neglect podcasts and media opportunities! Podcasts, TV, speaking opportunities, press releases to local papers and your alma mater, etc. Create a plan, and work with a PR professional if possible.
One of the things that holds people back from all this isn’t necessarily that they don’t know that they need to do it. Often they don’t feel worthy on some level. They cheaped out on some part of the book production. They didn’t work with professionals. Or maybe they are nervous about sharing their story. When this happens, they end up hiding the book, maybe doing a little announcement to their Facebook friends on launch day, and then wondering why they didn’t sell any copies. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy! You have to believe in yourself and your book so hard that you work with the right people and get that book some attention! That’s the only way to make your book work for you.
These aren’t lessons I learned with The SPARK Method, but I learned them when I was doing my novels a few years ago and then over the years with my clients. Planning and setting a goal of reaching bestseller, for example, are great ways to actually do something with the book instead of just putting it up on Amazon and crossing your fingers that someone will find it.
Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging an expert?
If you have a budget for it, engage an expert from the start. Know what your goals are and what you expect from your PR team, and make sure that’s what they do. Someone with the right connections may cost a little more, but they will also get you closer to the results you want. You can do some things on your own, but know what your expertise really is and stick with it. If you can write press releases or pitch well, great! But someone who can connect you with an influencer or stakeholder, people who can get you and your book in front of your ideal audience, have them do it. You’re more likely to get a return that way.
Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experience and success, what are the “five things an author needs to know to successfully promote and market a book?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Know the Goal — When I work with writers, one of the first things we talk about is how they can use their book. Yes, before they write it. I’ve seen plenty of writers get really excited about writing a book, get a few chapters in, and then put it aside for years because they don’t know what to do with the book or what the point of the book is. Trust me, delicious words won’t get you as far as having a plan for who you want to reach and why. If you don’t know what you want to do with it, you don’t write in that direction, and you certainly can’t market in that direction.
- Build your Audience — Always, always, always be building your audience. Show up authentically. Connect with people. Talk about what you love to help people with. Launching to even a hundred people is way better — and more exciting — than launching to crickets. Bare minimum, give yourself six months before you release your book to talk about your topic and sprinkle in bits about the book so you will have people ready to purchase when it comes out.
- Work with Professionals — I can’t stress this enough. If your book looks cheap or doesn’t read well, then you are negating everything you have done by marketing and reaching your ideal readers. It’s like putting glitter on a zit. That book will stand out, but not in a good way. It won’t make you look professional or speak to your brilliance or help you get booked and get clients. Have a budget, and connect with professional cover designers, editors, and PR, or work with a hybrid publisher where all of those pieces are in house. I could talk forever about the books I’ve seen with covers that place them in the wrong genre or copy inside that reads like it’s the first draft. You may have a lot of talents, but seriously stick to your wheelhouse and bring in team members who will make you look good!
- Believe in Your Mission — If you aren’t excited about your book and all the amazing things that it will do, then no one else will be either. Write like you love it. Promote like you love it. Talk about the book to everyone in your audience like you love it. Even if you aren’t into “woowoo” stuff, people can feel that energy. If you want them to buy a book, support your launch, book you for speaking and podcasts, or just cheer you on, then show up like you really meant to write and publish that book! People have pitched all kinds of nonfiction books to me, and the ones I end up working on are always the ones that the person has sold me on how important that story is. If someone shows up, tells me their story, and then says, “It’s just like a lot of stories out there,” then I know they are going to have trouble selling. Yes, I do work with them on their mindset, in case you’re curious, but you really need to have that under your belt before you write because that belief shows up in your work. Know going in that your story is unique because it’s yours. And then believe that so hard that you can get through the whole process and tell everyone about it. What we believe about our stories is where our power lies.
- Make that Book Your Bestie — Talk about it wherever you go. Fit it into conversations and interviews. Give it away. Keep a copy in your purse. List it in your bios and media kit. Use it to get people into programs as a bonus. Throw it (strategically) into swag bags and giveaways. Keep a copy on your desk to show off during live interviews and videos. Basically, don’t miss an opportunity to be the author with authority. Once you’ve written it, it’s done. It’s a business asset. And you can use it over and over and over to show the world who you are, build your business, and make a bigger impact. When I used to do a lot of networking events, I always brought a couple copies of my books, and someone usually asked about buying a copy of one. It’s natural for people to ask about it when you mention that you’re an author, so don’t leave home without it!
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
I admire a lot of women who are in the public eye. In particular, I think meeting with Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Brené Brown, Reese Witherspoon, or Jane Goodall (my daughter is a huge fan!) would be interesting and inspiring because they all have amazing stories, and I would love to learn more about their challenges, how they overcame them, and the courage they have to make change in the world.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Please connect with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cori.smithwamsley/ and in my free group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/elevateyourleadershipwithabook. Or subscribe to my YouTube channel for all my video content at https://www.youtube.com/c/coriwamsley. For more information, please visit my website, www.coriwamsley.com.
Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success with your book promotion and growing your brand.