Self-publishing a book - how to find a tribe

Through Balboa Press, a division of Hay House Publishers, I just published possibly a most unusual book that may have a very small slice of willing readers.

My question: how do I discover a tribe that would be open-minded enough to read this book? I’ve approached my local bookstore, and the owner is considering it. Would Google ads somehow reach people who would enjoy an interesting, somewhat spiritual ride?

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Hey Tim, can you give me a little bit more detail about the contents & title of your book? I’m currently in the Christian spiritual growth market, searching for my narrow slice of the HUGELY diverse Christian market. Maybe I can offer some suggestions, but need a bit more to go on. =)

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Hey JerDogg - thanks for the follow-up. The book is called The Elements Parade, by Tom Burnett. While not exclusively Christian, the archangels (Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Emmanuel) make speaking appearances in the book, along with others, such as the artist Michelangelo. I’d be curious to find out your reaction. I feel it’s something like “Lincoln in the Bardo” if you know that book by George Saunders - spiritual but a bit “out there.”

Could tell more but I think I’ll leave it at that for now.

What are your aims in the spiritual growth market?

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Hi @Tim_Prentiss,

You’re asking the million dollar question: How to build an Audience? :slight_smile:

Probably the biggest burning question today on every single entrepreneur’s mind :slight_smile:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’ve mentioned to me previously that this has something to do with a Ouija board? And this book was written in the memory of a friend who passed away, and you completed his incomplete works and released it on his behalf?

Now, based on the limited knowledge I have about this project, it’s possible that maybe you’re not the actual “Subject Matter Expert” (SME), maybe you have not been building a brand in the space, maybe you don’t have a built-in audience to promote this to - an audience to which you’ve been providing value over a period of time, maybe you don’t have intimate knowledge of the niche, maybe you probably don’t “speak their language”, etc.

Sometimes, even when all of that is true, it’s still hard to get sales, because being the SME and being able to market it are two different things.

But ultimately, it comes down to credibility, name recognition, and audience.

And building an audience usually involves doing a lot of the stuff that I talk about on both my podcasts at and - which is, providing value via relevant Facebook groups, building a list via your website by giving away reports, marketing via video, paid promotions, local meetups, etc.

There is no single thing unfortunately. If you’re starting to build an audience from scratch, then make a list of the top 5 places your audience hangs out at, and then start promoting on those platforms, not all at the same time, but one at a time, starting at the top.

– Ravi Jayagopal
PS: This is the kind of stuff that I help my coaching clients figure out with my coaching program. And I have an online course coming out in 2019, about this very subject, about building an audience of your 1,000 true fans, and taking Kevin Kelly’s concept to the next level.

Very good advice, Ravi, all of it. You are correct in what you’re saying about the process: the author is no longer among us to be the subject matter expert. I could only reach that SME through a Ouija board - and I don’t have that knack. But the subject matter itself is worth getting out there, so that’s why I asked.

As you know from our (great) coaching sessions, I have myriad interests. This is one that I’ve kept under wraps, as working with a Ouija board isn’t all that well-accepted, thanks to Hollywood horror movies. But I believe there would be interest, if I could locate that tribe of 1,000.

Though I’m not a SME, I may try to reach people through an online course - giving them background, highlighting influences, etc. Much was cut from the manuscript, so I could cover that material as well as the words that were published, giving extra value. By teaching it, I might become more of a subject matter expert than before.

I’d like the book to speak for itself, but I think Ravi’s right: a marketing campaign needs credibility, name recognition and an audience built from the ground up, in this case.

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A bit more about the viability of online courses in this day of free resources on YouTube, etc. I checked in with an expert this week and got an encouraging answer.

Author Bob Burg hosted Glenn Garnes on the Go-Giver Influencer’s Facebook Live show. Through the chat, I asked if people were willing to pay for self-help courses online. Glenn’s answer was that the self-help segment of paid online education was $11 billion now and will double in the next few years. Courses that are curated, saving people the time and trouble of searching here and there for the info they need, will be worth paying for, he thinks.

I’m going to try include an e-book in the price of an online course, and maybe students would want a physical version of the book as well. It’s all a great adventure…

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There has never been a doubt, that people have always been-, and will always be, willing to pay for online courses and membership sites. And that’s why pretty much my entire business - the software, training, coaching and even my two podcasts at and, and even this very forum - have ALL been built around helping entrepreneurs and digital creators create online courses, and create-, sell- and deliver digital content.

So I’m glad you got your validation, if you hadn’t already.

It’s now time to pick one thing, and crush it till the cows come home. Don’t get distracted. Put on your blinders and focus on the most impactful thing first that is in alignment with your goals.

Shiny Object Syndrome is what kills wantrepreneurs. It’s so easy to get sucked into rabbit holes, new projects, and keep spinning our wheels on a new, flashy thing every so often.

“To strike gold, you have to dig deep, not wide.” - by Yours Truly :slight_smile:


– Ravi Jayagopal
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