Marketing entepreneur, D’vorah Lansky, interviewed Gina Akao during a spotlight on success series.
Enjoy listening to Gina’s Virtual Book Tour Success Story and read the featured article below:
There are very few people I know who are in the business of changing lives, but D’vorah Lansky is one of them. The term “life-changing” has been used so much in media today that it may be even a cliché, so when I use the term, I don’t use it lightly.
Almost seven years ago, I dropped out of law school. And by dropping out, I don’t mean I flunked out or partied too much or was too lazy to do my homework. If anything, I studied too much in law school. Before applying, I was a straight ‘A’ student and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Nevada, Reno. In fact, when I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Music and English from UNR in December 2004, I had the highest GPA of any student in my graduating class in the College of Liberal Arts, earning the accolade of Senior Scholar. After law school, I went on to receive a 3.97 GPA, earning a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from UNR. So what happened to me in law school? To find out more about my tortuous law school experience, you can consult my memoir, Tales of a Law School Dropout, available on Amazon.com as an eBook. In my book, I’ve included everything I wish I had known prior to attending law school.
When I published my eBook in February 2013, I knew very little about marketing a memoir. I shared the Amazon link to Facebook, and a few of my most enthusiastic friends purchased the eBook, but after the first announcement, I didn’t sell many books. Luckily, I was subscribed to an email list that led me to a free webinar by marketing entrepreneur, D’vorah Lansky, on Virtual Book Tours. In the digital age we live in, authors, even famous ones, gain little by going from town to town doing book readings at local bookstores. Unless you are J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, the traditional book tour doesn’t pack a punch. That’s where Virtual Book Tours come into play: instead of traveling to book stores,
D’vorah advises authors to travel virtually to the blogs of successful authors who cater to a similar target audience. What do the blog hosts get out of it? By featuring your articles, they gain readers from your list and vice versa. They gain visibility and potential customers and you gain credibility and potential book buyers. It’s win-win!
After D’vorah’s VBT course revolutionized the way I thought about book marketing, I started to develop relationships with the other students in the VBT class through the private Facebook group. After one particular blog post that I wrote on how to set up a blog in WordPress, one of the other students in D’vorah’s course contacted me. The student’s name is Amara, and she told me that she had been struggling for years to launch two different websites. She was registered for D’vorah’s VBT course, but was stuck on Module Zero: building the author blog. I had just built my blog, www.GinaAkao.com, and had amassed a good amount of visibility for it through the use of social media, so when Amara contacted me, I told her I would help her with her blog.
And help her, I did. It turns out that Amara had spent three years in a refugee camp in Nigeria before coming to America at the age of 23, where she completed her education, ultimately persevering and earning a doctorate in Education from Boston University. Her husband at the time, also native to Nigeria, committed adultery and fathered several children from other women. Most women would have resented such blatant infidelity, but not Amara. She cared for the other women’s children, and made sure they were clothed, fed, and educated. Amara’s story was amazing, but she needed a good virtual assistant to help her develop continuity of her personal brand and to orient her to the world of social media and blogging.
Through the course of several months, I helped Amara create her blog, www.AmaraCares.com, edited her blog posts, and planned the launch of her redesigned main site, named “Doctor Mother Love,” a title her brother-in-law coined after she cared for her husband’s children out of wedlock (“Dr.” was added after she earned her doctorate). Not only did I gain a client, I found a friend. Amara, her son Okey, who is a graphic designer, and I have developed a team to share the story of this amazingly caring woman. Amara’s nonprofit, AmaraCares.org, is collecting donations to bring care packages to third world countries. All of this has come about based on marketing concepts I learned from D’vorah Lansky’s Virtual Book Tour course. Although my book has not become a best seller yet, I have gained something far more valuable—an opportunity to make a difference in the world, as I had originally sought to do by attending law school.
Through D’vorah Lansky’s course, I have now found the courage and support of an exciting virtual community, and my business, www.WritingandEditingToday.com, is reaching newfound successes. Through D’vorah’s community, I have been connected with Kathleen Gage, and will be attending her live event, Power Up for Profits, in October in Portland. I know the event will be nothing short of a game changer!
A few months ago, I never would have imagined the success I have now, and I am excited to see what the future holds. I’ve come a long way for a kid who dropped out of law school, with a little help from my friends, D’vorah Lansky and Kathleen Gage.
Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today and offers consulting services to authors and small business owners who need websites, blogs, and social media management.