Jas Rawlinson: “Writing my book has also been a huge confidence booster for me”

Writing my book has also been a huge confidence booster for me. It’s allowed me to go from dreading public speaking, to being a professional storyteller and speaking with confidence. 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 […]

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Writing my book has also been a huge confidence booster for me. It’s allowed me to go from dreading public speaking, to being a professional storyteller and speaking with confidence.

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 Jas Rawlinson.

Jas Rawlinson is an award-nominated book coach, ghostwriter, and best-selling author who specializes in helping mission-driven women to transform their life stories into powerful memoirs that create global impact. Endorsed by high-profile names including Kevin Hines and Lifeline, she is regularly featured across global media outlets to speak on issues such as domestic violence, suicide prevention, and storytelling. In 2021, Jas will star on the award-winning TV series ‘Adventure-All Stars’ as part of her mission to end child sexual exploitation. Above all, she believes that everyone has a story with the power to inspire, impact, and change lives.

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?

Whenever I think about my journey into the world of storytelling, I find myself drawn to one particular memory; an image of myself at age 10, lying across the covers of my bed, journaling and writing. And most importantly, the promise I made to myself to one day be a voice for kids who — like myself — felt silenced.

As a child growing up with family violence, I know how much it would have helped me to feel seen and heard. To know that I wasn’t alone. And it’s this memory, this promise, that has stayed with me throughout my journey to becoming an author and book coach. As a writer, there are many areas I could focus on, but none are as meaningful to me as being a voice for tough conversations — particularly around mental health, domestic violence, and child abuse.

Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?

Taking a chance and writing my book! It really was the catalyst for the life I have today. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of creating my own business as a book coach and speaker (or realised it was possible) if I hadn’t written that very first book.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?

I’ve actually just finished the final volume in my series ‘Reasons to Live: One More Day, Every Day’ — a best-selling anthology series that gives a platform to everyday people who have found hope, healing, and purpose after trauma or mental health battles.

I started this series in 2017 — after my own experiences with adversity — as a way of giving a platform to trauma survivors, and breaking the stigma around suicide and mental illness. In that time I’ve worked with over two dozen incredible humans and helped them write, edit, and publish their stories. It’s been an absolute privilege to be part of their healing journey, and see the way that their stories are now helping to change and save lives all across the world.

I’m a big believer in the importance of sharing our stories and being vulnerable about the difficulties we experience in life, because you just never know who is waiting to hear a story like yours; you never know whose life might be dramatically changed from reading your words and experiences. And that’s what I’ve set out to achieve with the ‘Reasons to Live’ series. I’m so excited to bring this newest volume to the world.

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?

“I’d be lying if I said that I don’t still struggle with my mental health, imposter syndrome, or self-doubt. There have been many moments in the last two years where I’ve considered throwing away all my dreams and going back to a ‘normal’ life of working for someone else. I’ve felt despair and overwhelm as I’ve looked around at others and compared my ‘smaller’ achievements to their ‘massive’ ones. I’ve had moments with past trauma, where it has snuck up on me without warning and made me feel like a stranger in my own body. Nights where I’ve been out on a date with my husband and seen my abuser’s face in that of a stranger; felt my speech slow, and my tongue become heavy as I fight against the way that my body freezes. But those are the moments where I’ve reached out for support. Whether it’s for my mental health, or investing in a business professional to help me get out of the rut I’m in and continue my mission to change lives through storytelling, I’ve chosen to get support. Resilience is about knowing that hardships will come, but that you will overcome. It’s about believing that, with the right support, you can get through whatever comes your way. Anyone can build resilience and there’s never been a better time to start than now.”

This is a quote that I wrote for the introduction of my newest book, and one that I think really illustrates my core beliefs. Trauma doesn’t have to be a life sentence. We have the power to rewrite the script of our life story at any moment.

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?

  • Sensitivity. Contrary to what many people think, being a sensitive person doesn’t have to be a character flaw — in fact, it can be your greatest asset. Particularly when launching. For example, think of the last time you received a message on LinkedIn about someone’s newest book. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say it was probably a generic cut/paste message where they blurted out a massive script about their book and told you to buy it. And I’m guessing you probably scrolled away without a second though. When I’m reaching out to connect with someone or launch my book, I take the time to personalize every message and create a point of connection with that individual. As my mentor Selena Soo says: You have to care about someone first, before they’ll care about you.
  • Commitment. Launching a book isn’t about being an extroverted expert who knows exactly what they’re doing. It’s about showing up, and being committed to following through. Naturally, I’m an introvert. But I commit to doing what I need in order to make my book as successful as possible — including pitching myself for a lot of media interviews.
  • Organization. Don’t wait until your book is published to start promoting it — you’re wasting valuable time. The reason I’m able to sell out an entire print run before my book has even officially launched, is because I have organized my launch, secured high quality testimonials/reviews from industry experts, created a strategy and plan, and have all my spreadsheets ready to go (detailing the exact media outlets I want to feature in, contact details of their editors, and what I’m going to pitch to them). I’m already promoting the book well ahead of the launch.

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?

Oh I love this question! Hands down, my book was the best investment of time and energy I ever made. I wouldn’t have a career without it! It helped me go from being a freelance writer and introvert with no confidence in my ability to be a leader, to speaking on global stages, creating and running my own book coaching business, and helping to change lives. The first client I ever secured came to me because her friend had read my book and recommended me. That $20 book sale resulted in a $6000 client! And that was just the beginning.

Writing my book has also been a huge confidence booster for me. It’s allowed me to go from dreading public speaking, to being a professional storyteller and speaking with confidence.

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?

Unpopular but honest opinion? If you’re considering writing a book, you need to ask yourself this question first: ‘What is it that I want this piece of content to achieve for me? Why do I want to write it?’

It’s important to ask yourself this, because the reality is this: writing a book is not a walk in the park. It’s not easy to create and edit a whole book (and even if you hire a ghostwriter, you’ll still need to invest the time to give them the content they need). BUT…if you know WHY you want to write this book, and what you want it to achieve, then I can promise you that it is absolutely worth the investment and hard work to bring it to life. In fact, it’s the BEST investment you’ll ever make in your personal development as well as your career.

Anyone can share information, but storytelling is the best way to break down barriers, attract your ideal client/audience, and make them feel as though they know, like, and trust you. From securing lucrative speaking engagements, to running workshops, increasing your 1:1 rates, getting featured in huge media publications, and changing lives globally, a book is the fastest way to grow your brand.

For example, earlier this year I read a $20 book from a money mindset expert. After reading it front to back, I then went and signed up for her course — which was several thousands of dollars. There’s no way I would have done so if I hadn’t first gotten to know, like, and trust this person through their book. Storytelling is the best way to assert yourself as an expert and leader in your field.

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?

Promoting your book is a job in itself! It’s easy to feel like everyone should want to read and support your book, but the harsh truth is that you really have to prove to people why they should care. For example, why should they stop what they’re doing right now, and focus on your book? It’s not enough to post a few times about your newest release and expect people to buy.

In the past, I learned this the hard way — but I now know that you need to be consistent, and create a community of loyal readers and fans who will help spread the word for you!

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?

There are lots of things you can do yourself when it comes to launching your book, but one of the biggest is to create meaningful connections with people who you admire, and who could be helpful in promoting your work at a later stage. I recommend researching outlets that you’d like your work/book to be featured in, and making a list of all these platforms or podcasts. Then, find out who the host or editor is, and begin to create meaningful connections with them (joining their mailing list, engaging with them on socials, sharing their work etc). Engaging a PR team is great if you can afford it, but only you can create genuine connections with influential people.

When it comes to launching your book successfully, I 100% recommend getting an expert to design your book cover, create your website, and professionally edit and format your manuscript. I also recommend engaging someone to help with your marketing and publicity — particularly if you’re thinking of running social media ads.

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.

  1. Build your email list early. I’ve said this before, but it really is crucial! While socials are incredibly helpful, the most important thing you should be doing if you want to successfully launch is to build your email list early. Learning this important lesson was the difference between my second book selling out before it had even launched, versus my first book, which cramped up my house with boxes of books that took years to shift!
  2. Good things take time. Everyone wants to go from zero to featuring in the NYT — but it takes time to build a genuine presence within the media. Don’t give up! It took me four years to go from small newspaper write ups, to double-page spreads and features in places like Yahoo Finance, New Idea, and House of Wellness.
  3. Don’t fear spending money. I know you want to save every dollar of your hard-earning book sales, but that money is best invested in further promoting your book. Don’t be afraid to invest in Facebook ads or affiliate partners if it means greater reach/sales.
  4. Self care is everything. Launching is exhausting, and marketing your book is a never ending journey. Personally speaking, it can be hard not to burn out during the publishing/launch process, but there are small things you can do. For example, it’s okay to space out your interviews during the launch phase. Make sure you’re not (literally) running from one interview to another, or doing a bunch of high-pressure interviews the day after an event.
  5. Make it easy for people to support you. From creating a smooth-user experience on your website’s purchase page, to crafting a short yet punchy media bio that highlights your achievements and expertise, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to promote/buy your book. For example, with my latest book I ensured my pre-sale page was short and sweet, included at least 3 expert endorsements, and didn’t have any distractions that could tempt the reader to bounce away (such as additional menus or links).

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 🙂

My publicity coach and mentor Selena Soo! She is a genius when it comes to publicity and connection, and I’d love to spend a day with her.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I’d love to connect with you! Send me a DM on Instagram at @jas_rawlinson or head to www.jasrawlinson.com. If you’re an aspiring author, I’ve also added a link here to my free author checklist: ’10 steps to becoming a published author’.

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.

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