SPS 019: How I Self-published My Way onto the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List with Pat Flynn

Posted on Sep 5, 2017

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Written by Chandler Bolt

Home > Blog > Podcast > SPS 019: How I Self-published My Way onto the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List with Pat Flynn

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Today, I am talking with Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income Blog and the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Pat is an entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, speaker, author, and an all around great guy. He one of the OGs of the Internet. It doesn’t matter how many people you talk to, some of them will say they got started after listening to his podcast or reading his blog.

Pat is the author of two books. Let Go and his newest book Will It Fly. I’ve talked to him in the past before he launched his books, now it is time to take a peak on the other side after launching his books. When Pat wrote Let It Fly he wanted to create a book about a topic that people wanted to learn about. Instead of writing what he wanted to write about. He asked questions, used surveys and polled his audience to find that correct topic. Then he went beyond this and used several methods to validate the process. Including a bold and unique process that he writes about in Will It Fly.

You can find Pat here:
Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income Podcast
Pat Flynn on Twitter @PatFlynn
Pat on Facebook @smartpassiveincome
Let Go by Pat Flynn
Will It Fly? Book

Show Notes
[01:49] Why Pat wrote Will It Fly. He always knew he wanted to write another book and a business book at that.
[02:29] He tried to discover what would help the most people to find a topic to write about. With surveys and conversations, he discovered that people struggled with finding a business idea.
[03:29] He also used his Ask Pat Podcast to find out what people really wanted to know.
[04:00] He also asked random people on his email list to pay him $10 to show that they would actually buy the information.
[04:53] Fears and unknowns are what scare people when starting a business.
[05:32] Validation experiments buying AdSense ads by Tim Ferris.
[06:59] Why Pat chose to self-publish.
[08:55] The book also became a Wall Street Journal Bestseller.
[11:19] Pros and cons of self-publishing and timelines. Pat hired an accountability coach.
[12:21] He had notes all over his office and then he used rev to record each chapter and have them transcribed. This was a giant messy first draft.
[13:32] This method saved a lot of time, but the challenge was editing the draft. He only kept about 10%.
[16:09] How authors make the mistake of not sharing with their audience before the launch date.
[17:14] He also used two editors to catch everything that needed to be edited.
[17:47] Pat was open to iterations and changes because the book was getting better and better.
[18:54] When just starting out plant a seed and tell people the book is coming.
[19:56] Forming a launch team and getting people involved in early access and leaving reviews and sharing on launch day.
[22:21] He had a great designer that made everything look great. Kindle books need to be designed and formatted too.
[23:29] Write before the launch he shared a lot more detail on his blog and podcast.
[23:53] He didn’t sleep the night before launch day. He had a launch party and sent an email to his list of 150,000 people.
[24:52] Quick tip – give yourself enough time for the Kindle version to get published. Give yourself time to get everything done. Make sure the Kindle and hardcopy book get listed on the same page.
[26:55] He also went to a studio and made an audio version. He got it all recorded in 2.5 days.
[27:32] The importance of collecting email address. He used a free course that is a walk along course with the book. The book and course reference each other.
[30:06] He got the course idea from his favorite show Walking Dead and their story sync website.
[32:31] He sold 12,000 paperbacks and 5,000 ebooks and he got on the Wall Street Journal ebook list.
[35:23] Top movers of books were Pat’s list, and podcast guest appearances, he did about 60 interviews that were posted in a two-week time span.
[36:33] He had relationships with many of the people who helped out. He also tried reaching out with a personalized video.
[38:14] He also used his normal platforms like a blog and his podcast and he wasn’t shy about asking people to buy.
[43:00] Pat’s parting advice is to get validation for your idea or maybe even try a guest post and see if it is engaging or use it as a lead magnet. Validate on a small scale first.

Links and Resources:
4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
Daniel Decker
Will It Fly? Companion Course
Azul Terronez
Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income Podcast
Pat Flynn on Twitter @PatFlynn
Pat on Facebook @smartpassiveincome
Let Go by Pat Flynn
Will It Fly? Book

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.
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