I just released a BRAND NEW video training for 2017.
Over the last few years, I’ve invested over $20,000 and thousands of hours studying how the greatest authors and experts alive wrote, published, and launched their first books to bestseller status – and how they kept publishing bestsellers year after year like clockwork.
I studied how they used their books as tools to grow their business, brands, and authorities.
Then I took everything I learned, refined it into a step-by-step system anyone can follow, and put it to work in my own business (and grew my business to over 7 figures in less than 2 years as a result).
Now, I’m releasing that entire system to you for free. It’s broken down into 3 training videos that show you exactly how you can write your book in record time (even if you don’t have an idea), launch it to bestseller status, and leverage it to bring you a 6 figure income – in just 30 minutes a day.
I just dropped the first video yesterday, titled The 3 Steps to Writing Your First Book in A Weekend.
Last updated December 2016: At the time of writing this post, I’ve published 6 bestselling books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks. The success of my books has been directly responsible for the success of my business, which I’ve grown to over 7 figures in revenue in less than 2 years.
Less than five years ago, this level of authorship success would have been reserved only for those select few authors who were lucky enough to catch the eye of an editor at one of the “Big 5” publishing companies (a process that relied just as much on luck and “who you knew,” as it did on the quality of your book).
Frankly, unless your name is Stephen King or J.K. Rowling…there are very few reasons why anyone would want to be traditionally published in 2017.
Which is why, whether you are trying to grow your authority and your business by writing a book, or are trying to leave your mark on the world, self publishing is the best option for you. Read on for the exact steps you need to take to write, publish, and launch your first best-selling book.
1. Decide What To Write Your Book About
The very first thing you need to decide when self-publishing a book, is what you want your book to be about.
What’s your why?
Are you trying to build an asset that’s going to earn you passive income month over month?
Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business, trying to accelerate your growth and authority in your market by publishing a book?
Do you have an existing, well-established business, and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
Or have you already had a successful career, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience with those who come after you?
All of these are perfectly valid reasons to write a book, and we’ve had students at Self-Publishing School publish books that went on to be best sellers for each of those reasons.
2. Choose Your Book Topic
Once you’ve decided on your why, it’s time for you to decide on the topic of your book, not your title (that comes last). When choosing your book topic, there is only 1 rule to follow:
Use the rifle approach, not the shotgun approach.
When deciding what you want your book to cover, it’s tempting to try and make your book about anything and everything you know. This is a mistake I see many first time authors make, and it negatively impacts their book sales as a result. If you can’t summarize what your entire book is about in a few words, then it’s probably too broad of a topic (and sales will suffer as a result).
Free Course: Discover my blueprint to go
from blank page to bestseller in 90 days
If you want to finish your book, you need a roadmap. That’s why I’m sharing some of the best strategies and tricks other bestselling authors paid thousands of dollars to get — yours FREE.
Here’s what you’ll get:
The EXACT blueprint to FINALLY cross “write a book” off your bucket list — in just 90 days
The Bestselling Book Launch Blueprint behind dozens of bestsellers
Case studies of bestselling authors who made $1,287, $5,500, even $12,424.03 from their first book
After you read that, watch this video where I discuss the simple process I use to write over 1500 words per hour!
4. Market Your Book & Form a Launch Team
It might seem backwards, but you should start your book marketing process before your book is even edited (it’s that important).
The most effective way to market your book is to create a launch page where you can collect email addresses for those who might be interested in reading your book, and build your launch team.
Then, send people over to that page using social media (we have an action plan in our Mastermind Community that provides a step-by-step template for this). Post about your upcoming book, post about the process you’re going through to write your book. Ask friends and family if they’d be interested in helping you promote. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help make your book a success!
Tell people to visit your page and enter their email address to learn how to get your book for free or at a steep discount. Try MailChimp or Aweber for collecting email addresses.
Then, a few weeks before your launch, start reaching out to influential bloggers and podcasters in your market (there’s an Action Plan for this, as well!). If you think their audience would be interested in the topic, offer a free copy of your book, and ask them if they’d like to review your book or interview you.
When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.
Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear. Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.
6. Choose a Title
Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you writing yourself into a corner into the title of the book, rather than writing the book that needs to be written.
Therefore, it’s not until after your first draft is written that you need to worry about a title for your book. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught in “Book Title Land” when trying to come up with a title. Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t try to be too clever, or try to be “punny.” The truth is…the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to Keep It Stupidly Simple. As catchy or clever as you might think your title idea is…it will probably go straight over your audience’s head (and they won’t buy it as a result).
For example – if you’re writing a book about Home Renovation, the title “7 Steps to Flipping Profitable Homes” is much better than “Zen and the Art of Restorative Architectonics.” The former is simple and to the point (and most importantly, people will know exactly what the book is about). The latter is fancier, but most people have no idea what that means.
Once you’ve narrowed down your book title to a few possible options, send out an email to your friends, family, and audience (if you have one), or put a poll up on Facebook and ask for an opinion. You might be surprised what your audience’s favorite is.
Tim Ferriss took polling his audience to another level when writing his first book which went on to become a bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim set up a split test in Google Adwords and spent $200 testing 3 titles for his book:
The 4-Hour Work Week
Broadband and White Sand
Companies like Pickfu.com also offer very simple and affordable polling services…you can even define your audience demographics and have your poll answered by people who match those demographics!
6. Hire a Great Editor
Hiring a great editor can mean the difference between writing a bestseller, or a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary on this stage of the process.
To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any English teachers or others in the editorial field? Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor?
If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry! Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor, or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork. Self-Publishing School also has a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job.
No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you. If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then lat that $25 go, and find an editor that’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake.
Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.
7. Design a Book Cover that Converts
Despite the saying (and contrary to many writers’ beliefs) people absolutely do judge books by their covers…especially books on Amazon.
You don’t have to like it, but the truth is if your book doesn’t have a cover that looks 100% professional, people are simply going to skip it and look for something else. Which is why taking the time to purchase a professionally designed cover that converts is so important.
Unless you’re a graphic designer, you need to hire a professional to put the cover design together. However, before you approach a cover designer, you should have at least a rough idea of what you want your book cover to look like so you can give your designer a brief. This helps prevent wasted time and money on covers that don’t fit your vision.
One easy method to spark some ideas when creating your design brief is to take a look at other books in your market (especially other bestselling books). You’ll notice that in most genres, book covers tend to follow a design theme, and these themes are what your audience expects. While you certainly don’t want your cover to be an exact clone of another design, you also don’t want it to look completely out of place. A good designer will help you to find this balance.
To find a designer, check out Fiverr.com or Upwork.com. Make sure your designer has experience meeting the specs for an Amazon book cover and plenty of positive reviews. You may wish to pay more than one designer, and choose the best design from all of them. The choice is up to you, just make sure the end result is something you’re proud of. It will be your reader’s first impression of you!
7. Format Your Self-Published Book
If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting. You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you.
If you want to pay for formatting, Liber Writer is a low-cost, effective option for converting a Microsoft Word file to Amazon’s Kindle format. If $60 is too much, you can also find people on Fiverr to format your book for Kindle. No matter what option you choose, preview your book using the Kindle previewer to make sure there are no formatting errors.
8. Complete the Self Publishing Process
When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book. You should be just about ready to transform into a published author, but you aren’t quite ready to publish yet, so hit “save as draft.”
Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book. Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.
Amazon allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience. To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.
9. Decide on a Price
You’re almost ready to hit publish, but there’s just one more step before you can do that: price your book. This is not a “set it and forget it” process. You’re going to select a list price, but then you’re going to choose a discounted launch price by clicking “Promote and advertise” within your KDP dashboard.
Amazon crosses out that higher list price and shows how many dollars buyers will save. This lets users know they are getting more bang for their buck during your discounted launch, which will tempt more readers to buy. Now you can hit publish! (Doesn’t that feel good?!)
10. Reach out to readers and influencers
Now it’s time to really leverage the launch team you created in step 4. As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, the time is right to reach out and let your email subscribers know that your book is available.
Sending as sales email can be scary, but you’ve got to do it for two reasons: first, these people signed up to your list because they want to know about your book! And if you’re launching it for free or a discount, then they’re going to be very happy to hear about your deal. Furthermore, these people have been with you and have been following your success since early on in your book launch process. They want to help you!
The initial sales generated from your launch team will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, and will increase the chances of Amazon’s algorithm recommending it to shoppers, which will drive even more sales.
During this time, it’s also a great idea to follow up with any influencers you’ve made contact with and firm up plans to promote your book. You might offer to give away a free copy of your book to a winning audience member, or make some other offer to sweeten the deal.
11. Celebrate! (Now, decide what’s next)
Publishing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self-publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche. This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise. Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.
Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Getting clear on what you want will also help you to be more effective when expanding your network along on your journey.
If publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need to watch this free 4 part video training, where I walk through the exact steps I’ve taken to write, publish, and market 6 of my own best-selling books (and how I’ve helped over 200 students do the same).
It’s officially launch day of my new book, Published.! This has been a long time coming and I’m so excited the day is finally here. Haven’t heard about it yet? Let me tell you a bit about this new book…
Are you tired of just “thinking about” writing a book (even planning on making it a New Year’s Resolution), but never actually doing it?
Are you looking for a map that will take you from blank page to published author as fast as possible…without the frustration, the heartache, and the dreaded “staring at a blank page” syndrome?
Are you curious what the “secret sauce” is that’s responsible for over 264 bestselling book launches (and millions of dollars in revenue and business growth)?
Then on behalf of myself and the entire Self-Publishing School team, it is with great excitement and anticipation that I’m announcing the release of my 6th and most recent book: Published. The Proven Path from Blank Page to Published Author.
And if you answered “yes,” to any of the above questions…I wrote this book specifically for you.
What is Published.?
Published. The Proven Path from Blank Page to Published Author is my most valuable book yet, and is a complete compilation of everything I’ve learned writing, publishing, and launching 5 bestsellers (and teaching over 1,000 students at Self-Publishing School to do the same).
Published. is not just another boring “how to” book on how to write & publish your first book…
Inside this book, I’m giving you the exact systems, tactics, and blueprints to become a successful bestselling author, even if you’ve never written a book in your life.
In this book, you’ll learn… My 3-step method that takes you from blank page to complete rough draft in less than one week (or how to write a better book than you thought possible in 1/10th the time!) How to save $1,000’s of dollars in your book editing and production process (or how to publish a book as good as or better than most “traditionally-published” books…on a budget) My proven “Pre-Launch Buzz Blueprint” that will guarantee your book launches with a bang
How to leverage your book to maximize your product and service offering sales
In Published., you don’t just get a 204 page book packed with tips, tricks, and hacks…you get a SHORTCUT to becoming a best selling author.
I’ve Never Done This Before…
Whether you are a beginning entrepreneur trying to grow authority in your market and build your business…
Or an accomplished pro, looking to create something that will leave your mark on the world…
I know from first hand experience that writing a book is the best way to accomplish your goals.
But I also know that writing a book can be a frustrating, painful process…even if it’s your sixth book (and especially if it’s your first!)
I’ve watched from afar, feeling bad for the people who struggle through this process. They take months – even years – just to finish their first book….and then ultimately launch to the sound of crickets.
I’ve also seen firsthand the success, ease, and joy my students at Self-Publishing School experience…and how each book they publish changes their lives.
Which is why I’m doing something with this book that I’ve never done before.
I’m giving it away for free.
That’s right – no strings attached. This book retails for $14.95, but I’m buying it for you. We simply ask that you help us with the shipping/handling costs in order to receive it.
How To Get Your FREE Copy
To claim your free copy of Published., simply click here to fill in your shipping information, and we’ll have your book sent straight to the address you provide – free of charge and no strings attached.
I hope that by giving you this book, you’re inspired and empowered to finish your own.
The theme today is productivity: how you can take control of it and make the most of it as a new writer or even as someone who has been writing for a long time.
Our interviewee from the Self-Publishing Success Summit, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, is an accomplished author, speaker and Silicon Valley innovator who was an early employee at Twitter. She holds a MBA among other degrees she has received from Stanford and Oxford Universities. She has been named one of the top 100 most creative people in business today by Fast Company and has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. On top of that, Claire also produces valuable content at her in demand business blog: www.clairediazortiz.com.
Being a journalist and best-selling author himself, Claire’s father was her biggest influence growing up. Naturally, writing has always been second nature to her. Had she been asked what she wanted to be as a grownup at the age of four her response would automatically have been writer.
It was a few years after finishing grad school that Claire seriously considered writing her first book. The first action she took was Googling “How to write a book.” That yielded her some information but she hit the jackpot of her search when she refined her wording to “How to write a book proposal.”
The internet is an invaluable tool that can lead you to discover various resources that will help you get started and guide you on your book writing journey.
You should banish any attempts at perfectionism unless you don’t want to make any real headway. Claire says, “It’s much better to have 10 terrible chapters than three great ones and seven that you haven’t even started.”
It was during grad school that Claire was assigned a book called “The Clockwork Muse” while writing her thesis which greatly impacted her own writing productivity. In it the author proposes a methodology which assists prospective writers develop a workable time framework to complete all their projects. You can time your muse by setting up your writing schedule to conspire for your success. By understanding how you write, when you write best, and scheduling accordingly you can own your writing process instead of allowing it to overwhelm you.
For your brain, the act of researching is very different from the actual writing process therefore it is crucial to separate the two tasks. If research is required for the type of writing you are doing it is better to complete this separately since you will want to call upon this information during your writing process. Otherwise, you will constantly be distracted from writing if you have to keep browsing the internet for supporting articles and other forms of research to back your claims. You have to keep trying to just write. When you focus your energy on one task it generates the best results. When you intentionally give yourself less time to work with through Parkinson’s Law your work will expand to fit into the time allotted for its completion. Editing down your time on tasks is another great tool because it forces you to focus.
Here are some helpful tips Claire gives on controlling your productivity:
Seek help from others: It is valuable to consider what others think about your writing because they could provide you with some great insight on how to make it even better. Regardless of how “right” you think you are due to the sheer amount of time and effort you’re putting in, it is wise to hear people out. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring someone’s input, criticism can turn into one of your best teachers.
Write when you’re most productive: Figuring out what time of day you have the most energy is vital. You may even discover what specific days of the week you’re more productive as well. This process is easy to do. You take two weeks out of your schedule and intentionally omit caffeine out of your diet. Then you proceed to monitor how your energy is feeling on a scale of 1 to 10 at every half hour or hour mark. You will soon see consistency with energy levels during certain times of the day versus others. By tapping into your “Magic Hour” you’re really unlocking a new level of productivity.
Plan a writing retreat for yourself: One final golden nugget that Claire relayed to you is to go on a writing retreat. The best way you can make some real progress is by literally disconnecting from the world around you and only focusing on your writing for a concentrated period of time. Even spending one full day will leave you with a lot of valuable thinking and work done to get your writing process moving forward. Ideally three or more days work best to get your first rough draft completed. Figuring out spaces where you can be creative and focused is critical to your success no matter if you’re in your usual daily rhythm or on a retreat.
Increasing productivity as writers is becoming more challenging in a world where the number of distractions and demands upon our time and attention is growing. Given these circumstances it’s not surprising why so many people want to write but very few follow through. In spite of this, the advice you have been given can alleviate this struggle if you choose to apply them and adjust them accordingly to meet your personal lifestyle needs. Claire Diaz-Ortiz is just one shining example of an individual who took action on these tips and turned on the ignition to her successful career. Knowing what you now know, will you be next?
A former at risk foster kid, Josh Shipp is now known for his renowned TV series, breakthrough work with teens, for being listed on Ink Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list, and for being the bestselling author of “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination.” In his interview with Chandler Bolt during the 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit, Josh discusses many of the lessons he learned, as well as some advice that could dramatically impact the life of a writer. Some of his advice provides insight on how to write a timeless book that sells 500,000 copies and how you can use that book to grow your business.
It’s easy to feel incompetent as a beginning author (or even as a well-known author!), but Josh’s story goes to show anyone can become an author. After countless hours of counseling, as well as being kicked out of multiple foster homes, Josh began speaking as a teenager. Wanting to find a healthy medium between doing work that matters and having a good business he began writing.
Check out this short video clip from the Self-Publishing Success Summit:
How can a speaker turn into a writer? And how can that writer write a timeless book that sells more than 500,000 copies? The answer is simpler than you think. It might be difficult to change someone’s life through a one-hour speech, but it is possible to impact him or her through a phrase or few sentences that spark an epiphany. This strategy is one Josh uses when writing his books. Creating tidbits that stick in readers’ minds is a big part of the writing process, and a tactic that can be borrowed from speaking.
Also part of Josh’s writing career is his desire to elicit feedback from his readers. Creating a focus group using three groups of people (Twitter followers, personal friends, and random people), Josh then sends a portion of his book out to the group via a Google doc and asks for their feedback on how the book could be 10% better.
How Did He Do It?
There is one catch to his focus group: the group must consist of those who make up his target audience. Using outside friends or strangers who do not make up his audience would defeat the point of feedback. Josh desires to receive feedback on how to make his book better for his target audience, not random people. Getting advice from those who do not make up your target audience is counterintuitive as making the book more applicable to target readers is the goal.
In addition, it is important to get advice from as many points of view as possible to ensure clear and understandable content. As the author, Josh understands what he is trying to say. After all, he is the one who spends hours crafting his sentences, writing, and editing. His readers do not have his background with the content. Getting his reader’s feedback on what could be explained more efficiently is a big part of Josh’s writing process and ensures quality material.
Josh did not start as a bestselling author. He did not start as a man renowned for a documentary TV series. He started as an at-risk foster kid. But look what he has achieved with a few simple tips. With Josh’s story in mind, take encouragement. You, too, can become an author and write content that matters. You don’t need to shoot for changing a life but simply work to spark an epiphany in a reader’s life. You, too, can ask for feedback from your target audience. You, too, can become an author.
In the difficult times remember what Josh says: “Don’t think there’s something broken in you and that it’s only difficult for you.” Anyone who has accomplished something significant has at some point viewed himself as incompetent. This is natural because failure is part of the process. Yes, there is prestige in writing a book, and yes, there is a sense of accomplishment. As there should be! But in hard times, when the words don’t seem to be coming and the epiphanies seem lost, remember Josh’s words. “The icky period is the price tag.” Success is born of failure, and writers realize failure is always the precursor to success. Embrace the icky so that in the end you can embrace the success.