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Book Review 5 Things Every First-Time Author Needs to Know: How to Publish a Book and Build Your Platform


5 Things Every First-Time Author Needs to Know: How to Publish a Book and Build Your Platform

A Blueprint for Becoming a Bestselling Author This straight-talking how-to guide for authors explains how to reach more readers, make more money, and avoid the costly mistakes that most new (and seasoned) authors make when they publish a book. It's written specifically for new and aspiring non-fiction authors who want to leverage a book to build their platform, practice, and/or business and can be read in under an hour.

by Kim Vermaak

My thoughts on the book “5 Things Every First-Time Author Needs to Know: How to Publish a Book and Build Your Platform by Geoff Affleck.”


As a published author, I know that overwhelm is one of the biggest challenges that new authors have to overcome. You need to find time to write and you need to find time to market. Many authors focus on the question, “How do I write a book?” But that is only one part of the equation. You need to find readers. And “How do I find readers?” is a question answered in the marketing for authors process.

I must admit that when I started publishing, I was also stuck in the mindset that I had to nab that traditional publishing contract and start earning royalties. In the book, 5 Things Every First-Time Author Needs to Know, Geoff Affleck also debunks the myth that traditional publishers are going to snap your book up without an existing audience. Publishers don’t buy books on merely how good your book is. They buy based on how many books they think you are going to sell. This means they wanting authors who already know how to produce a following.

As an author I have learned that we have two sells. The first is your book, and the second is you. This means that you have to write a good book, but you also have to build reader loyalty, not just to your book, but to you as a brand.

While there are other books that delve deeper into many of the self publishing concepts, it is good to have a straightforward guide on the key areas authors have to master.

Many authors think they have one key job, and that is to write the book. In reality, you have two jobs, writing and marketing. The good news is that author marketing is not the hard sell approach that many of us fear. Rather, it is about relationship building.

This book cuts through the massive amount of things that authors need to master and simplifies them into some core principles. Once you have wrapped your mind around some of these principles, you can begin the process of mastering them.

Geoff Affleck does not go into a lot of detail on the concepts. But that is the beauty of this book. Think of it as a kindergarten for authors. I appreciate these kinds of books because it gives new authors a simple road map and then it is up to them to take action. More than that, Geoff covers some mindset adjustments that authors need to make.

I also like that he suggests you try to master just one aspect to start with. Early in my career, I worked on my Instagram page as I was looking for reviewers and that is a great place to find them. However, once I had designed and website and linked my reader magnet to my website, I had a place that my new social media followers could go to get a sample of my writing and that is when I started building loyal fans. It sounds like a lot, but the steps are simple and produce results if you are willing to implement and be consistent.

Even though I am already a self-published author, and book marketing coach, I have a love for continued learning and in every book; I can rethink and realign my priorities for the next season on my self-publishing journey.

Overall, the biggest mindset that you need to have is being of a person who takes action, because only activity produces results.



Kim Vermaak is an entrepreneur, published author, marketer and coach based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kim helps self-published authors to move from being hobbyists to full-time businesses.

She served a term of office as the Vice Chair of the Johannesburg Business Women’s Association and is a former winner of the Regional Start of Business of the Year. Kim is also a former Cosmopolitan Mover of the Months and a recipient of the Women of Wonder “I Conquer Awards.”

After working in branding for almost all of her adult life and helping hundreds of brand managers and event coordinators build customer relationships, she craved creative something that would create a legacy for her family. When South Africa had its first series of power cuts, Kim used the power of stories to create stories for her frightened daughter. This was the start of her storytelling skill set, but she only wrote and published her first stories when a friend introduced her to the world of self publishing.

Kim is the publisher of a medieval fantasy range of books and an author of self-help publishing books.

Kim offers some free training for authors on her YouTube Channel.


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