Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Fine Line Between a Brilliant Idea and ...

By Iola Goulton

I am currently in the midst of executing an idea which could be brilliant—or not.

A little context …

I had a bunch of projects on my 2017 to-do list:

  • Edit my short novel and enter the Genesis Award.
  • Write the companion novella that’s going to be my opt-in bribe.
  • Write the next three books in the series—the ones that come before the novella I’ve already finished (which won the 2016 Genesis Award for novellas).
  • Edit and publish the book about deciding on the best path to publishing for your novel.
  • Finish, edit, and publish the book on getting reviews for your novel.
  • Finish, edit and publish the three (three?) other non-fiction books kicking around in my head.
  • Investigate online training courses and write one on a specific writing topic.

All this around the usual business of blogging, freelance editing, and occasional human resource consulting. And speaking at a couple of conferences. And participating a local writing group. And regularly meeting up with a couple of writer friends for accountability. You know. The normal.

And then that still small voice arrived.

You know the voice. I’m sure you’ve heard it yourself. The voice said February was for developing an online email course encouraging pre-published authors to start building their author platform.

There was even some cute alliteration to go with it: March Marketing Challenge (hey, there’s nothing like a deadline!).

No matter that this wasn’t on my list. In my plan. But it was what I needed to do.

So, in what was either a moment of brilliance or a moment of stupidity, I set up a new mailing list, designed a basic graphic, and started telling people I was hosting a March Marketing Challenge: Kick-Start Your Author Platform.

Nothing like a deadline to get me motivated. I do my best work as deadlines stare me in the face (it’s that or watch them go whooshing by. Thanks, Douglas Adams).

And people started signing up. Not many, by Nick Stephenson standards. But a lot, by Iola Goulton standards. Like, more than just my two best friends. Although they did sign up (thanks, Cat and Narelle!).

So I started writing.

I used two models in creating my challenge: Natalie Lussier’s free 30-Day List Building Challenge (click here to sign up), and BadRedHead Media’s 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge (click here to win a copy— and customers only. Sorry).

Natalie Lussier’s Challenge is delivered through 30 short videos, each about three minutes long. BadRedHead Media’s challenge was delivered through 30 short emails, each about 500 words long (it’s now an ebook).

There was no way I was doing videos. But I could write 500 words a day for 31 days. Yes, I could do this.

Except …

If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you’ll know that keeping to 500 words is impossible (unless it’s a book review. Even then, it’s a challenge).

So after three weeks of writing, I’ve got a scary 25,000 unedited words in Scrivener. And eight days left to write. And eight days until the Challenge officially begins.


This is bigger than me.

I’m not the expert (and the idea that anyone might think I am petrifies me). I don’t know it all—but I know where to look (Google), and who to ask (who knows the emoji for a cute up arrow?)

I’m out of my depth. I have no idea where this is going. Whether it’s any good. Where it needs to go.

And, as I write this, I know again that out of my depth is I’m exactly where I need to be. Exactly where He planned for me to be. Because He has authors out there who need this kind of prompt, this kind of kick-start. And apparently, I’m the person chosen to deliver it.

So please pray for me. And if you’re interested in a free one-month challenge to kick-start building your author platform, click here to sign up and join me on the journey.

By Iola Goulton

About Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. Visit my website at to download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction. 

I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more

You can also find me on:
Facebook (Author)
Facebook (Editing)


  1. Wow … that's some list of goals you've got Iola.

    And I'm going to check out your challenge.

    1. Yes, there is a slight possibility I've bitten off more than I can chew.

      But I'm committed to the challenge. It's going to be a challenge for me as well. I hope to see you join in the fun!

  2. Iola, thanks for diving in the deep end with your March Marketing Challenge! I'm looking forward to learning more about building my author platform. :)

  3. OH yes Iola, I so identify. The busier my schedule looks, the more other things "scream out" at me. Like this challenge! I'd love to sign up --but I have already signed up to do a "Viral Marketing" course with the Shaw Academy during March. So sorry, not this time. But have fun, and learn lots.