Michael Hyatt and Platform University

I stumbled upon ‘Platform University’ today. And my first thought was “Why hasn’t anyone told me about this before?”

Have you heard of Michael Hyatt?

I hadn’t until I attended a Hay House Publishing writer’s conference. They said that if you were serious about succeeding as an author, the one book you had to read was Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Michael is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers (among many other things). He is a very accomplished person and you would think that this would make him distant and unattainable. But Michael comes across with a warmth and sincerity that is difficult to manufacture.

Anyway today, while vacuuming, I had the brilliant idea of asking Michael to write a guest piece for me. He has hundreds of thousands of people who visit his site every month. I have about a dozen. Surely, if I could contact him and convince him to write a guest blog, I would definitely get catapulted into the stratosphere. Let me just say here that I personally am not that interested in getting catapulted into the stratosphere. But I am committed to spreading the message of my children’s book; believe in yourself and anything is possible. And while I would like to stand in the background and watch it happen, I’ve conceded that it just doesn’t work that way.

So I decided to try and contact Michael via his Google+ profile. I figured it was probably the least busy of his social media pages so my message might have a chance of getting through. Anyway, long story short, I got to his page and found a link to ‘Platform University’. Because I was already reading his book ‘Platform’ I decided to investigate further.

Platform University is a place where, for $25 US per month, you get Michael’s insights into a range of topics. This is a man who can charge $1500 for a conference ticket! He knows the publishing industry inside out and he has a wealth of knowledge which he delivers in an easy to follow manner. Today I listened to the master class on ‘Speaking to the Media with Confidence and Skill’. I downloaded a study guide which basically summarized the video and I got even more helpful tips from the comments section. And this was just one masterclass in a long list of others. I felt like I had struck gold.

The price will be going up on the 13th September to $30 US per month. You can save $60 per year by becoming a member before that date. I am telling you about this because Michael is a person who genuinely knows his stuff and shares it with insight and understanding. It can be hard finding these people so I think we owe it to each other to spread the word.

If you want excellent value and a wealth of tried and tested information, then visit: http://michaelhyatt.com/4-reasons-to-join-platform-university-now.html.

You won’t be disappointed.

Shine on!


Traditional Publishing – The Big Secret

Once I had finished writing and editing my manuscript, I felt compelled to publish it. I sent the manuscript to Karl’s mother to read. Karl and his journey with Autism had inspired the book so I wanted him to create the drawings to illustrate it. With his mother’s help and guidance he was able to do so.


(Illustration by Karl Gabriel from ‘Shine’ by Justine Edward)

I received a beautiful series of crayon drawings in the mail which were exactly what I wanted; but would they be what a traditional publisher wanted?

Over the past decade I had sent half a dozen manuscripts to traditional publishers with no success. I knew my subject matter and I knew my manuscripts were well written and edited. So I was at a loss to understand why they were rejecting my work yet simultaneously publishing works which I felt had much less merit.

It was not until recently that I discovered the BIG SECRET. And here it is, so if you are an aspiring author take note. Traditional publishers “don’t buy books, they buy authors” to quote Reid Tracy, President and CEO of Hay House books. They are only interested in budding authors who come with a ready-made audience. How do you do this? You have to develop your ‘platform’.

I’m not talking about diving here. I’m talking about things like:

  • your facebook page
  • blog
  • twitter account and
  • website (subscribers/email list)

Even your email signature can help to build your platform. They want writers with lots of followers. Not tens or hundreds (like most of us mere mortals), but thousands. Or, better yet, tens of thousands.

No wonder traditional publishers had rejected me in the past. I didn’t even have a twitter account and I was very proud of the fact that, when you Googled my name, nothing about me came up. At least some things were starting to make sense.

Editors were not the visionaries I imagined them to be; sitting in their offices pouring over manuscripts trying to find the next amazing piece to bring to print. They were business people who sat in offices, reading the overview of a manuscript in a book proposal and then flipping straight to the marketing section. No ready-made audience. No chance!

Thankfully there is more than one path that leads to success. And self-publishing does offer a viable alternative if you want to publish but don’t have a big enough platform to impress a traditional publisher.

If, like me, you feel compelled to publish your manuscript because you believe with all your heart that you have a message that needs to be heard, then there is another way.

Be aware that both paths require you to develop a platform but with self-publishing it is not a prerequisite to getting your work into print. If you want your self-published book to be successful then you DO need to start working on it and in coming blogs I will share everything I have learnt with you.

In my next blog I will tell you which publisher I chose and share my experience with self-publishing.

Until then, shine on!


In The Beginning – From Inspiration to Manuscript

Writing a book can seem like climbing Everest; impossible! But if you break it down into a series of steps it is achievable.

My book was inspired by my close friend’s son; Karl. Karl was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at three years of age. He had been facing some challenges at school and I remember wanting to create something that would help and inspire him. I have known Karl since he was born and I see such a light within him. I felt compelled to find words which would communicate this to him and others.


So I began writing.

And I found words and verses would come to me everywhere and anywhere; at all times of the day and night. So, when you start writing I recommend the following:

1) Always carry something to record your thoughts. My phone rarely leaves my side so I tend to use ‘Notes’ and email them to myself.

2) Write when inspiration comes. I know this can be hard but try to make the time. Or at least jot down your ideas so you can return to them at a later stage.

3) Don’t force it. When you don’t feel inspired to write, forcing yourself to carry on will probably not result in your best work. Go and live your life and let your mind focus on something else for a while.

4) Read your manuscript aloud. By doing this you will often pickup errors previously missed.

5) Give chapters or the whole thing (if it is short) to others to read. Try to find people who have experience in your field. As my manuscript was a children’s picture book I gave it to a school librarian, a teacher, some parents of young children and a friend who does proof reading as part of her job. All these people gave me valuable feedback.

Finally, you can try to do the editing yourself but you tend to get so engrossed in your project that you can’t see the forest for the trees. So think about investing in an editor.

This is one site where you can find an editor: http://www.edsguild.org/node/13

For an idea of rates check out http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php

In my next blog I’ll talk about publishing options and why I went down the self-publishing path.