Today I am excited to share blogging tips by the inspiring and talented writer Sean Platt from, well, I guess all over the place.
Sean is well-known online as Writer Dad, Ghostwriter Dad, and one half of the publishing imprint Collective Inkwell. While you might have read one of his 20 or so posts at Copyblogger, you’ve probably also read his copy without even realizing it.
Sean’s a ghostwriter who has serviced the online marketing space over the last two years, so you may have read sales letters written by Sean or downloaded information products created by him without knowing he was the ghost behind the words.
Here's an exclusive interview with Sean. I hope you enjoy it and gain as much inspiration and information from his tips as I did.
1) Please can you tell us the biggest successes that have come to you from blogging?
Sure thing, as long as you promise it’s not going to sound like bragging!
My company invoiced nearly a quarter million in 2010, its second year in business.
I’ve written everything from info products to sales copy, and now have the skill set required to build myself a limitless chain of online assets that will produce and grow passive income for my family for years to come. Right now that means moving mountains of fiction.
I no longer look for clients. I write what I want, for who I want, when I want. When I do accept the odd ghosting or consulting job, my rate is $300 per hour (unless I make a rare weekend exception, in which case it doubles).
I’ve published my first six books this year, including two co-authored with David Wright, and have another dozen in the writing and publishing queue.
It’s been a busy several months!
2) How did you get into blogging to begin with?
I got into blogging because I knew publishing was quickly evolving. I didn’t want a traditional contract, but I did want to make it big as a writer, and figured the best way to get from A to Z was to start my own blog and develop an audience I could sell to directly.
That was 3 years ago, and things have changed immeasurably in that time. Both slightly different and far faster than I expected.
I’ve loved the journey, but as most bloggers will admit (if they’re honest), it was far harder than anticipated. My 10 tons of mistakes taught me everything, though, and eventually enabled me to run farther and faster than I would have managed otherwise, helping me to pull off things like this juggernaut project Dave and I just finished.
3) Many writers don’t have a blog or even a website. What do you think about that?
Honestly? I think that’s ridiculous.
A writer without a website is running a marathon without feet.
WordPress is best, but if you don’t want to manage your own domain, you can at least sign up for a free Blogger account.
If you’re a writer, you must broadcast your voice, and a blog acts as a central hub for Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media hotspot to integrate with and revolve around.
You don’t want to only broadcast exclusive from those platforms, unless you’re hip on being a digital sharecropper. You must own your space.
4) What have the biggest hurdles been with blogging and how have you overcome them?
Great question! The biggest hurdle I had online, at least at first, was getting too much attention and not knowing what to do with it. I’d only been posting for a few weeks when I was getting between 50 and 100 comments per post at my first site, Writer Dad.
That may sound grand, but it was the worst thing that could’ve happened to my early blogging career. Unfortunately, I chased more of the same, wrongly seeing comments as bricks on the road to monetization. Alas, they were not.
With no money and plenty of attention, I should have swung the car around and started driving toward the money. But I kept on going for the easy attention, digging and digging until I found myself in a whole to deep to crawl out of. That’s when Ghostwriter Dad was born, and I started trading time for money to keep my family from losing our house. I failed, lost my house anyway, then learned to write copy sharp enough to cut glass. I ghost wrote anything that hit my desk, and learned to write everything from fiction to sales letters in the process.
After building my writing business to a point where I could finally take a break from work-for-hire, I started investing my time and fiction, which is where I wanted to be from the beginning.
5) Do you make money from your blog and if so how?
As of now, no. Not really. A couple of weeks ago, yes. I was selling both services and information products at Ghostwriter Dad, but my heart is in publishing and I don’t want to make my money from struggling writers. If everything goes well, and our new fiction project POPS! the way I believe it will, then I can run Ghostwriter Dad as a pro bono site to help writers who are in the same place I was two years ago.
I want to make my money from readers $5 at a time, rather than writers buying $97 information products. I’d rather take that information, put it out on Kindle, then use Amazon as the broadcast platform, and sell it for $5 instead. I just feel much better about the value, and can reach a much higher percentage of the writing population
I’m not taking any work for hire right now, so I can focus on the fiction, so Services at Ghostwriter Dad are shut down. I had a couple of information products, including a $97 video training that showed writers how to write an effective sales letter without wasting their time, but as of last week I made it free on the site.
There are still a few channels to make money on the site, such as affiliate links in our resources guide, but the site as it stands now is built for attention and not direct monetization, and I hope to keep it that way.
6) What’s your hottest tip for bloggers who have reached a plateau they need to break through?
You must look at what you’re doing and ask yourself why you’re doing the things you are. And never be afraid to keep pushing. There were many times in the last few years when I felt at my end. Yet what was actually in front of me was just a thin membrane to push through.
Online success is about consistency, constant learning, and being unafraid to dig deep, and then keep on digging. It isn’t easy. Anyone who tells you it is trying to sell you something.
It’s hard, but totally worth it. I know more millionaires than I can count, and most have made their money online. All struggled. All fought through the membrane. You can, too.
7) Finally, please tell us a bit about what you’re up to now and what your plans are for the future.
I’ve never been more creatively or professionally happy. After three years, I have finally climbed to where I always wanted to be. And I’m just getting started. There’s nothing on my plate more exciting than my newest project, a serialized fiction series for Kindle and other eReaders. As far as a quality product and a powerful business model, this series has everything.
I’ll start by letting the trailer do some of the work. Reading this in an email? Click here to see the trailer.
Yesterday’s Gone is a title worth paying attention to. Whether you’re a reader, writer or marketer, it’s a potential game changer, well worth following.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, you can also click here to become a “goner,”and get exclusive chapters with shocking endings, along with a ringside seat to all the behind the scenes stuff Dave and I are doing at the Inkwell (perfect for readers AND writers!)
That sounds brilliant Sean. Thanks so much for sharing all your blogging, business and writing tips. I loved hearing about your blogging journey and can't wait to read Yesterday's Gone.
What do you think? Is fiction the best way for bloggers to grow? Got questions or comments? Join the conversation below. We'd love to hear from you.