steve kamb

Level Up Your Life by Writing Your First Book (And What to do if You Hate Marketing) [Steve Kamb Interview]

Steve Kamb is the author of the recently released “Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story.” He is also the creator of nerdfitness.com, a worldwide community of average people looking to live better lives. He hopes to one day become Captain America.

During our 2016 Self Publishing Success Summit, Steve shared some helpful tips for those who want to become a writer, but maybe don’t know where to start.

It’s All About the Baby Steps

If you only sit down to work when you have five hours of free time you likely won’t accomplish much. Instead, make progress getting small things done consistently, instead of finding time to cram everything all at once. And we all know, cramming is usually not the smartest way to get work done anyway, right?

Write Now, Edit Later

Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated but regardless, it’s still important to write! Sit down and write, even if you just have ten or fifteen minutes. You can edit later. Being a writer starts with getting content on the page, and if you never sit down to write, that content won’t be there when it comes time to edit. So write now, edit later! The first draft is always the messy one. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly how you want it. The editing will be taken care of in later stages. In the words of Steve Kamb, “Screw motivation, cultivate discipline.”

Promote Your Book

So you’ve taken all of those spare minutes and crafted a book out of them, you’ve edited that content, and now it’s time to really promote it. This is not the time to step back! If you feel good about your work, you are doing a disservice to yourself and your message if you don’t promote it. At first it may feel uncomfortable to promote something you’ve done, but if you really believe in the message of your book, let that override any feeling of discomfort. Go for it! This is what you’ve worked so long and hard to complete. Give other people the privilege of reading it.

Reach Out to Your Followers

Many people have at least some type of a social media presence or following. Having followers of your content is great, but reaching out to these followers in real life and connecting with them as people, not just as numbers, will bring you so much progress. Reaching out to people personally will create much more value and loyalty for your work and your brand. This personal connection will take you far.

Create a System

Progress is necessary if you are to see any success as a writer, but physically tracking your progress can bring levels of encouragement you didn’t know you needed. Everyone needs encouragement to continue once in awhile, and creating a personalized, fun system to track your progress could be the factor that keeps you going. Spend some time developing a system, or even finding an existing one, where you can track your progress. This will encourage consistence, resulting in more content to work with.

Just Start

Steve Kamb put two years of thought into his process of writing. He said starting was the hardest part of the journey for him. Four months in he hadn’t written one word. With only four to five months left before his first draft was due, he realized he had to start writing content. After figuring out he had to write about five hundred words a day, Steve got to work. Every week day he woke up, made coffee, turned on one of his favorite playlists, and wrote. Sometimes he would exceed his word count for the day, other times it was hard to even make it to five hundred words. But with consistence, Steve wrote his book and has achieved the success he is known for today.

As parting advice, Steve says to just “shut up and write, shut up and market.” An introvert at heart, Steve loves the writing part of the process but not so much the interviews, the guest posting, the photos, or even the marketing as a whole. Despite this, he says to enjoy the process. You will never write a first book again, so you should enjoy the moment, taking pride in what you have worked so hard to accomplish. In addition, Steve’s main goal was not for people to simply buy his books in bulk, or buy himself onto a bestseller list. Instead, Steve Kamb wants the message of his book to spread. After all, this is where the impact lies!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

eileen wilder

From Self-Published Author to Front of Store Placement at Barnes & Noble [Eileen Wilder Interview]

Eileen Wilder is a bestselling self-published author, life-coach, and pastor on team at her local church where she teaches women how to experience unstoppable self-confidence. After going through Self Publishing School she experienced explosive success self-publishing her first book on Amazon. Just eight months later a publisher asked to acquire the rights to her book, releasing it nationwide. Since then, she has gained national TV coverage, speaking engagements, and out-front placement at Barnes & Noble. In addition to this, she has enjoyed the privilege of serving more people than she could have ever imagined.

During an interview with Chandler Bolt in the 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit, Eileen shared some valuable information from her personal experience on her road to becoming a writer.

Go to the Gym

Eileen started her morning getting up before her kids did and going to the gym. After her workout she fulfilled her writing quota of 1000 words. This routine encouraged her to get writing every morning and she found it not to be a burden, but an encouragement to her daily life. Maintaining this focus is a big asset to writing. Eileen says, “Leisure-like focus is such a gift when you’re able to get it.”

Be Careful Who You Share Your Book With

Eileen focused on the importance of not putting your book in the hands of the wrong people. Some individuals will not agree with what you are writing. They might simply negate what you are trying to do out of jealousy, or maybe just not have an interest in your book. Be careful who you draw feedback from. Don’t let others get you down. If you have a message to share, get it out there! There will always be naysayers. Sometimes they just happen to be professionals. Be careful who you listen to.

Haters are Going to Hate

Not everyone will like your book or support it. Some people might even hate it. Your focus should be on reaching out to the people you intend to reach (your target audience), not on the negativity you might be receiving. Writing a book is a special privilege. Focus on your target audience and ignore the negativity coming from those who do not support you. Of course, something can usually be learned from negative comments, but the last thing you should do is let the negativity get you down. Some people will hate your book. That’s ok because it simply means it was not meant for them. You’re meant to speak to who you are meant to speak to. Don’t worry about the rest!

Don’t Know the Way? Press On!

Go for it and start writing even if you don’t have complete clarity on what you’re writing about. Have fun writing and don’t let the stress consume you. If you hate the process of writing you probably don’t actually love “being” a writer. You love the idea of “having written.” Enjoy the process and take pleasure in crafting that first draft. Publication can come with time, but enjoy where you are at and make the most out of every moment!

“Form, Maintain, and Continue Your Relationship!”

Follow up with your followers. Be careful not to just put the book out there and hope for the best. Interact with your target audience in person, via social media, or another communication medium. Build rapport with your followers. This will give you and your book further value.

Follow Your Passion

How can your message benefit those around you? Let your passion drive you and serve people through the message of your book. Writers and authors have a great opportunity for serving their readers and creating impact through words. Eileen says, “You be you… People don’t need you putting something on.” Let your personality show through your writing and influence people by making use of your own unique writing voice. Your readers will love it. “Don’t make it about you. Think about how your life is meant to serve others.”

The Gift is the Mindset

Once Eileen experienced the joy of getting up early and writing before her kids were even awake, she said, “The gift wasn’t the book but a new mindset.” The book was a wonderful bonus to learning the process of writing, creating a goal, and sticking with it. “Until a desire becomes an obsession, you really won’t accomplish big goals.” Enjoy the process and you will grow by leaps and bounds.

Eileen had a goal and she pursued it every morning after her workout. She “clocked in” her 1000 words and put in the work necessary to reach her goal. But more than just meeting her word count, she enjoyed the process and how she was able to serve others through sharing meeting her goal. You never know how your book might impact someone.

So as Eileen says, go for it even if you don’t know what you’re going to write about or have clarity around the message or have it all together. If you just have the inking…go for it! Think about how your life is meant to serve others and realize you can serve through your message. The writing is just the beginning of the journey.

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

getting noticed in a noisy world

Getting Noticed in a Noisy World with Your First Book [Michael Hyatt Interview]

Michael Hyatt is the co-author of “Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.” It is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best seller. In the book, he discusses the importance of creating a life plan and also goes a step further by explaining how to do it. Along with this, he is also the author of “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.” It too, is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best seller. It provides step-by-step guidance on how to gain visibility online for your product, service, or cause. As if these aren’t sufficient credentials, Michael is the founder of 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever,™ Platform University®, and Get Published.

Michael has enormous amounts of wisdom to share with wannabe writers, authors, and even entrepreneurs. He shared some of that wisdom during his interview with Chandler Bolt during the 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit. He discusses how to get your book noticed in a noisy world. Here’s what Michael Hyatt had to say:

Just Start Blogging

Want to write a book but not sure where to begin? Start a blog and keep it up regularly. And by this Michael doesn’t mean write a post every three weeks. Try posting once or twice a week and go from there. This will help you build a platform as you grow your email list and create content. Your blog is your workbench. Test and see what posts get a lot of traffic/comments. Later on you can expand these posts into a course, a podcast, etc.
Like a quilt, all the individual squares of blog posts can be connected into a blanket of helpful information.

Content Matters

Still not sure what to write about? Create content people actually want to read and give nothing less than your best effort. What will readers want to share, what will make them look smart and resourceful? Crafting good content will also help up the numbers on your email list. Michael says, “Content is king, platform is queen”
Grow You Numbers

Has the importance of getting an email list been mentioned enough times yet? Getting a list is far from going out; in fact, it’s the big game of getting a platform. Create an opt-in magnet. Make some form of content you can send people in return for receiving their email address (such as a video messages or an E-book). Getting that email list will grow your platform!

Form a Strong Platform

Publishers count on your platform, as they cannot make you famous or successful on their own. What is a platform? Simply put, a platform is your social structure such as followers and contacts. You have direct access through your platform to potential readers. Michael lists three different facets of a platform. First comes Definition (who is the audience, what do they want and dream of). Make sure you can articulate what they want better than they can and you’ll be successful. Next comes Activation (get involved in social media through blogging). Lastly is Attraction (there’s an art to getting readers)

Learn Media

Michael went through media training four times. Learning what likely interview questions are and how to answer them will lead to a much higher success rate on media interviews. Let the host direct the conversation. Make him/her look smart and make sure to speak in sound bites. Answer in one minute or less. During one season of his earlier writing career, Michael went through twelve to fourteen interviews a day, back to back. Talk about tenacity! Learn media and it will promote you, for you.

It’s Not About You

Selling something can’t be about you and how much time you spent on it or how many people you pitched it to. What is in it for the reader? One of Michael’s beginning books was, according to him, not pretty or brilliant, and he didn’t have backing. The book just covered a current problem. Make sure your focus is the reader, not yourself.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small

Michael didn’t start as the CEO at Thomas Nelson. He was in publishing first and worked in every facet of it, marketing, sales, editing, and management leadership. Learning to be an advocate for those who worked under him served him well when he became a CEO. Servant leadership is a big part of leading, and something Michael stresses. Helping others become successful helps the whole company.

As a parting piece of advice, Michael tells us to write a book proposal for yourself. You need to have a plan, a blueprint, and a track to run on. Start by writing the easiest chapter of your book and then moving to the hardest will ensure you cross that finish line! Who knows, you might be the next author being interviewed and giving advice on how to go from wannabe writer to successful author.

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

Jeff Goins

You are a Writer, So Start Acting Like One [Jeff Goins Interview]

As a part of our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit, we brought in Jeff Goins for an interview to discuss what it means to be a writer. Jeff is a full-time writer living just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. He is also a husband, father, and has a pet Border collie. He is the author of four books, including the national bestseller “The Art of Work.” His website, Goinswriter.com, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world. During his interview, he talked about what drove him to become an author and what it truly means to be a writer.

Here are some of our favorite Jeff Goins Self-Publishing Success Summit takeaways:

Act Like the Person You Want to Be

Jeff is a huge advocate that you are a writer when you say you are a writer. It’s a mindset, not a name someone can give you. If you want to be a writer, simply start putting words on the page! Activity follows identity, so think of yourself as “a writer” and the activity of writing will follow. “Act like a writer: activity follows identity.”

Know Why You Want to Write

Jeff focuses on the reason he writes. He is passionate about helping people through writing and believes he has met his calling and purpose through writing. Writing is not always fun, but it’s always gratifying. Figuring out what drives your passion to write will help you keep writing when it gets hard or you hit a roadblock on the page. Keep pressing on!

Blog, Blog, Blog

Keeping up a blog can be a big training tool as you learn to write a book. But it can also teach you some bad habits. Focus on the discipline of writing, write regularly, and get into the habit of sitting down at the keyboard everyday. Adding content on a regular basis will help you add quality to your content. Remember, the process is messy. With the last book he wrote, Jeff says he wrote it all down, then scrapped it and researched and rewrote. Embrace the process and your writing will excel.

Every Movement Begins with Words

Connect people with ideas. Create words that change and impact culture. Talk is not cheap. Talk sparks conversation and every movement begins with words. Jeff talks about the importance of taking someone out for lunch or coffee and explaining the idea of your book to them. You don’t even need to tell them you want to write a book, simply talk to them about your idea and see if they get excited about it. This will help you find out the interest of potential readers. Start with words over coffee, then take them to the page because according to Jeff, “It all begins and end with words.”

Research!

Read books in the genre that correlate with the idea you have. Check to see if you have anything new, different, or interesting to say. You don’t need to repeat what someone else has said. Find a niche that still needs filling and fill it with your writing! Put your ideas into an Evernote folder so you can keep track of them and maintain easy access. Research is important because it helps ensure you write a book an audience wants to read. Write in a way that connects with your audience, and write to help people. Proper research will enhance your ideas and turn them into a viable book. The right idea at the right time will produce tremendous results.

Always Move Forward

Writing a book with a strong character arc or a strong plot is a huge factor contributing to success. However, writing every chapter with a great arc is vital to the movement of your story. Every chapter should move the book forward. Every word counts. Don’t let this stop you from writing. You call yourself a writer, so write! Be encouraged as you progress word-by-word and chapter-by-chapter. But make sure you have a good chapter arc for every chapter. The plot isn’t just at the beginning, middle, and end. It’s a thread that winds throughout the entire book.

Jeff Goins finished by reminding us anyone can be a writer, but it rests on sitting down to do the work. The best marketing is done before the work is finished, so enjoy the process. Share your excitement with those around you, and take note of when they get excited as well. Think like a writer, write, and you will be a writer. Take that writing and get it published, and you will be an author.

As Jeff says, “It all beings and ends with words!” So what are you waiting for? Time to get writing!

For more information on Jeff Goins and to learn how to get 10,000 fans, write a book, and $100,000 in 18 months, click here!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

finish your book

Eliminating Distractions and Practicing Deep Work to Finish Your Book [Cal Newport Interview]

In our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit interview with Cal Newport, he discussed the different approaches you can take to eliminate distractions and practice deep work to finish your book.

Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work. “Deep Work,” which is his most recent book, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace. The ability to concentrate without distraction is rare in our society but extremely valuable. Cal previously wrote “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” debunking the long-held belief that “following your passion” is good advice, as well as three popular books of unconventional advice for students.

Here is what he had to say about what you can do to finish your book:

Know Your Format Before Writing

Cal says to know your format before you begin the writing process. If you know where you are headed it’s much easier to get there. Having a goal and understanding what needs to be written will make for a much smoother writing process. Know how much you want to write and when you want it to be finished, then work out the math backwards. This is a method for success.

Separate Planning from Writing

Thinking about his book about a year before he actually sits down to write, Cal stresses the importance of mentally planning the book before writing a single word. You can use commuting time to add to the hours needed to accrue a new book. This would normally be time spent zoning out, but using it for deep focus on the topic will quickly grow the planning process.

Mentally decide to plan as you walk, literally, and notice when your attention wanders. Cal enjoys going for long walks and planning his books out as he walks. This is a great stimulant for the mind and can enhance planning.

Treat the Process with Respect

Like any job, working only when you feel like it will not get the job done. Purposefully sitting down and putting words on the page comes with the territory of being a writer. Treat the process of writing with respect by growing that word count, regardless of whether you feel like it or not. Don’t wait until the last minute. It won’t always be easy, but it comes with the privilege of being a writer! Just as training to be an athlete takes time and consistent dedication, so does training to become a writer. Don’t give up! The process is what creates the result. Cal says, “Writing a book is like a job. It’s not supposed to be easy all the time and it’s not something you’re supposed to just wait till three weeks before some self-imposed deadline and then just go crazy. That’s just unprofessional.”

Prep for Writing as if You Are an Athlete

Work deeply, embrace boredom, and quit social media. Really! According to Cal, working deeply is a specific type of work ethic that can be learned…but it takes time and effort. Learning to stop grabbing your phone at the first hint of boredom, and rather embracing the boredom, will keep your mind focused. Think about one topic at a time and your writing will improve. Part of focus comes with limiting distractions – notably, social media. It is far too easy to log in to Facebook, check your Twitter feed, or scroll through Instagram at your first inkling of boredom. Taking a break from social media will improve focus and ultimately, enhance your writing!

Slow Down for Business

These days everyone is busy, right? Cal said being busy is like having the flu. It slows you down and hinders you from getting the important tasks done. Business takes away from your focus, forcing you to split your thoughts between multiple tasks. Instead, slow down and focus on one or two majorly important things. You’ll be surprised at how much your work will thrive!

Hone Your Skills

Every book you write will hone your skills. Writing more will grow you, and even if the end result is not exactly what you were hoping, for you will still learn from the process! Just like it takes countless reps to gain muscle, writing requires many hours in order to build your competence in the craft. Write in time that presents itself for you (Your meeting was cancelled? Write!) as well as time you specifically give yourself (Set your alarm half an hour earlier, write on your lunch break, or go to bed a little later!). Breaking down articles of people you respect will also teach you invaluable lessons as you learn from those a little further down the writing road.

Where to start? Cal says for the next two weeks, for four hours a week, work at your one most important task. Turn off your phone and eliminate social media. Pick one activity that pushes you to concentrate and make one change to show yourself you are prioritizing your time. This will result in deep work, work that you will appreciate and find satisfaction in. Remember, the goal is to appreciate deep work and find satisfaction, not for it to seem easy.

Writing is a hard craft to learn, but the rewards are worth the effort!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.