Sage Advice and A Tribute to Shelly Longenecker

In this latest episode of the PublishHer Podcast, I paid homage to a dear friend of mine who recently passed a few weeks ago, Shelly Longenecker. This special interview was recorded a few years back for the Women in Publishing Summit, where she shared excellent tips on book marketing, audience growth, and how to grow your business with a book. She will be greatly missed, and you can learn a ton of knowledge from her amazing story in this episode.

Shelly was a valued member of the Women in Publishing Summit, having been a guest three times at the conference. It would have been her 48th birthday this year, and I know she had so much more that she wanted to give into this world. She was the author of “Dinner for a Dollar,” a book full of great tips on preparing clean, wholesome meals for your family on a budget. Shelly used this book to grow her email list and make collaborations and partnerships to scale her business.

Shelly was more than a client, and it was wonderful how I witnessed her amazing story and how she walked through life with cancer. She launched her book and business on the same day, October 1st, 2018, without considering having an audience. Quickly realizing her mistake, Shelly booked a call with me, and that was the beginning of many appointments and marketing calls. By mid-January of the next year, she launched her book on Amazon. By March, she was getting ready to release her audiobook. And by April, she got diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And as you can imagine, getting a cancer diagnosis was devastating and put her in a dark place. Looking back on her life, she realized that she had been putting it on hold for 17 years. She was at a point where she was ready to live fully and get back to pursuing her career and doing the things she loved. Shelly was finally having the time of her life publishing her book and building a business, but all that came to a sudden stop.

“Why don’t you keep having the time of your life?”

Shelly was depressed and talking to a friend when they said those powerful words to her. It changed her perspective. She realized she had a choice on how to live, fight, and recover from cancer. By facing death in the face, Shelly gained clarity. She made a promise to never forget that she was going to die. That may sound morbid, but it’s true for all of us. We just tend to ignore it most of our lives. In every choice that she made, she made sure to consider them in her five-year plan. She would ask herself, “if I were to die in five years, would I do this?” This was her blueprint for making the decisions for her life, family, marriage, friendships, community, and business. It was one of the main reasons why Shelly was so passionate, intentional, and laser-focused. She completely believed in her business because she knew her mission was important.              

Out of her passion, her book was born. We all know that eating healthy is essential, but we don’t do it. Maybe because we often think having a healthy lifestyle is expensive and takes too much time. But Shelly breaks down those common misconceptions in her book and teaches us how to save while eating healthy. So, she published her book in mid-January, got diagnosed with cancer by April, and received her last treatment by November. When December came, Shelly decided to spend those quiet moments with her family as she recovered her health. By January 2020, she already had 18 speaking engagements, and from here, she started to grow her email list. Shelly was doing lives, setting up book clubs and programs to accompany her book. Everything was exploding for her, and she had multiple revenue streams set up. By this time, Shelly had one goal, and that was to grow her email list from 900 to 10, 000. She discussed in detail all of the things she considered in making her list grow, which all came down to providing value to your audience.

As authors, we aim to have a system that would bring money all year round. I have talked about this topic in multiple episodes and I want to emphasize again the importance of having multiple revenue streams. Shelly extensively discussed how she built her system around her book in this episode. And it begins by knowing who you are and what you have to offer your audience. Once you have those foundations, you can build your marketing strategy around that and build a system that will work for you and your business. 

Shelly was a light in this world, full of knowledge and wisdom. I hope you listen to this episode and witness how amazing of a woman she was. She will be missed. 

Key takeaways:

  • It is essential to grow your email list because you cannot sell to the same audience over and over again.
  • When you have a growing audience, engage and communicate with them regularly to add value.
  • Market your strengths and leverage them to add value for your audience.
  • Make use of micro-holidays. Find the ones related to your topic and use them for marketing your book.
  • Know your audience. Know what they need and provide services that will answer those needs.
  • Understand affiliate marketing, and you will know the value of networking.
  • Establish yourself as an expert in your field by doing speaking engagements.
  • Learn how to promote yourself.

Mentioned in this episode: