As a developmental editor of fiction, I often find myself pointing something important out to clients. Novels should not be episodic. The plot should have a structure, with each event like a domino falling over which then hits the next domino.
This should also happen on a psychological level, which I find particularly gets missed by writers. But that post is for another day.
The point I wanted to make here is that one thing in fiction impacts another, which impacts another, etc.
And this is also true in real life.
You wake up and decide you’re going to tidy a cupboard and, before you know it, you’ve somehow moved on to cleaning the whole room, or trying to track down the stuff that you suddenly realise you’ve misplaced.
Okay, I hear you saying, what does this have to do with the title of this post?
And who is Ash Ambirge? (If you don’t know the answer to the second question, shame on you!)
Look, I’m getting to the point – or points – so bear with me.
It’s the chain of dominoes. And how it relates to funnels and marketing. And real life.
How it all started…
I’m a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association where I get access to a few free webinars.
When Covid hit last year, business owners like everyone else were panicking. So, there were some useful webinars to help people through the crisis.
And in one webinar Ash Ambirge and The Middle Finger Project were mentioned in passing.
I’d never heard of her – or The Middle Finger Project.
So, shame on me.
However, being the kind of person who can’t wait to open a new tab on a computer screen, I immediately looked her up.
The audio version is actually narrated by Ash Ambirge herself – if you get it, you’ll really get a sense of her personality. I totally recommend it.
Anyway, I listened to this book in big chunks. Ambirge grew up in a trailer park, the daughter of a disabled single mother on benefits, who then loses her mother as a young adult.
The story of what happened then is a masterclass in human callousness. I’m talking about the way she heard about her mother’s death. Disgusting.
But our heroine came through and later, in a business capacity, the middle finger story comes up. I’ll leave you to find that out for yourself.
But she also told the story of how she found out the guy she was living with had multiple passports and multiple identities.
And when she confronted him, he got aggressive and threw her out. She had no money or anything, so she had to go back, and then he had his hands around her throat.
Fortunately, she escaped and spent the night in her car. And that’s when her life changed. When she was sitting in her car, homeless, listening to the radio. An ad came on and said something along the lines of: the new Rihanna CD is available on preorder.
A truly life-changing phrase.
Because it was at that moment that Ambirge realised you can sell things that don’t exist yet.
She already had loads of experience in marketing and copywriting. So, she started furiously writing some copy on her laptop and uploaded it to the internet.
Then the money started rolling in. Her product was legit and she started working on it.
But she sold it ahead of making it, and the demand proved to be there.
So, with $300 in her bank account, she flew off to Chile, where rents were cheaper, and set herself up in her new enterprise.
Now she’s incredibly successful and specialises in motivating those who want to set up in business, or who need to refine their business skills like marketing and copywriting and dealing with clients, etc.
Where it all led…
At the end of her book, there’s a link you can follow. It takes you to her site, The Middle Finger Project, and a downloadable book called You Don’t Need a Job, You Need Guts. This is also very inspirational and deals with setting up your own business. It’s particularly strong on building the reader’s confidence and enthusing them to change their life.
As a consequence of following the link to the downloadable book (which you have to pay for), and signing up to her email list, I then got some witty emails periodically, often on very useful subjects.
There was also a chance to buy a previous mentorship course she ran – Unfuckwithable Freelancer.
This course consists of a generous series of modules in the Kajabi course format. Everything is laid out in a well-structured way and takes you through the best steps to setting up your business.
There was a considerable number of modules and because it was no longer live, but a recording of a previous mentorship, it cost $97.
Definitely one of the best $97s I’ve ever spent. (The other one was an Alex Cattoni copywriting course, also a recording of something previously live.)
I admit I do love courses. I love learning new things.
But a recorded course doesn’t have the same gung-ho motivation as a live one. So I signed up to the beta version of her live course, 48-to-Freedom, which is about setting up a business website, payment processing, email list, offers, service packages, etc, in two days.
Now that did push me harder, especially since she totally underestimated how long it would take for people to complete it.
In fact, it spilled over the weekend and finished on Tuesday. But it was great – she literally showed you what to do on her screen and then you just follow along according to your own business needs.
Because I’d already done copywriting courses, I largely skipped using her copy templates. But her reasoning for the structure of her copy templates was very insightful.
I’d studied Alex Cattoni’s sales page course and had already written up most of the content for one of the individual sales pages. But I hadn’t quite finished.
48-to-Freedom encouraged me to finish and get it uploaded and live. And then do the other two pages.
Sales funnels and email marketing are a big part of both Ambirge courses.
Setting up an email list was on my list of things to do. But, with other things on the go, and not being as organised as I should have been, I had yet to sort it out.
Conquer Your Novel challenge
Now I have a free email 5-day challenge/course sequence.
This free course is titled Conquer Your Novel. It addresses issues like your logline, character hierarchy (to prevent chaos ensuing), Mary Sues, plot structure, and more.
If you want to check it out, there’s a sign-up form below.
So, that’s what Ash Ambirge taught me
But that brings me back to the topic I had in mind when I started this post – funnels, dominoes.
It started with someone mentioning Ash Ambirge and The Middle Finger Project – and this led me down a rabbit hole.
I learned lots of new things.
However, I needed that kick up the backside to finally sort out my email marketing sequence.
Later my intention with my IndieCat newsletters is to talk about common problems I come across in manuscripts.
I’ll also review useful books for indie and other authors, point to courses you might be interested in taking, discuss side hustles for those of you who are thinking of getting one.
I’ll also be talking about training as a developmental editor, and the process of working through a manuscript.
Topics I’ll cover in IndieCat emails
But that brings me back to the dominoes and the funnel.
If you’re an indie author (or any author), you want to funnel people from social media over to your site.
And I will be writing another post on why that’s so important.
If you are selling books, you’re in business. If you’re an indie author, you’re an author-entrepreneur.
And it’s really worth thinking about yourself that way. Just as freelancers need to think of themselves as business owners.
Ash Ambirge talks about us being the fiduciaries of our business.
It’s our duty to look after our businesses and act in their best interests.
It’s partly about separating ourselves from the business. If we think about the business – my editing business or your writing career – as a separate entity that we have a duty of care over, then we make better decisions.
And marketing funnels are part of that decision! Marketing funnels that get people from A to Z.
Which in your case might be getting people to buy your books.
Or, if you’re an editor, getting people to buy your services.
But first, you have to let potential readers or clients know that you understand their needs. Not to mention, why they should choose you (or your book) over someone else.