SPS 190: How To Launch A Book Successfully with Julie Broad

Posted on Dec 28, 2022

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Written by Chandler Bolt

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Chandler Bolt [00:00:02] Hey, Chandler Bolt here. And joining me today is Julie Broad. She’s an author and the founder of a company called Book Launchers. You may have seen her on YouTube. She’s got a popular YouTube channel. Crazy popular. I can’t go anywhere on YouTube without seeing her face. It’s called Book Launchers TV. And yes, she helps authors write and market better books. Today, we’re going to be talking about how to launch a book to market a book. I suspect this will be a book launch and marketing masterclass. And so we’re just going to get straight to it and hopefully this will be really helpful interview for folks. So Julie, welcome. Great to have you here. 

Julie Broad [00:00:43] Yeah, thanks for having me. 

Chandler Bolt [00:00:45] So first foremost, why books? You’ve got multiple and you’ve written multiple books yourself. And obviously this is the core business that you’re in. Why books as a whole? And then what’s the why behind being in the business of helping people launch books? 

Julie Broad [00:01:00] Yeah, I mean, why books? That was kind of a little girl. I thought I’d be a writer. People told me writers didn’t make money, so I went to business school. But I eventually kind of came upon an opportunity, which I thought was going to be with Wiley getting a book published. But in the end, they turned me down and it was it was actually a really great thing that they turned me down. But at the time I was pretty devastated because I had friends who got book deals and I didn’t understand why I didn’t get one. But what it did was free me to actually write the book I wanted to write and and also do it with a little bit of like, okay, Wylie, I’m going to do it better than if you did it with me. And I ended up taking the book to number one on Amazon. So I had a Dan Brown ahead of Game of Thrones, number one in print books. And I don’t think I would have done that without the kind of vengeance fueled motivation that I had. But in saying that what the book did for my business is because I had a real estate investment company and a real estate training and education company at the time. And, you know, it wasn’t instant. It wasn’t like book comes out and business is double. But over the year after that book came out, people who I’d never met before were calling me up saying, Hey, I’ve got $250,000 to invest in your one of the properties you’re buying. And I was like, Is this a scam? Like, really? You want to get me? You don’t know me and you want to give me money. But it started happening regularly. And then our training and education company, the classes filled faster. We raised prices. And so I just saw that massive, massive benefits of books. And so I will just keep writing books for the rest of my life because they help people. When you’re not in the room and they grow your business, they grow your brand, and they even like my mother in law, she even was like suddenly really happy with me. So I had other benefits, but I never got along with her. 

Chandler Bolt [00:02:50] My blue book game. Your mother in law’s acceptance. Think that’s awesome? I have not heard that. I heard a lot of reasons why to write a book. I have not heard that one. And amazing. So let’s maybe jump straight to it on the book line side of things. I think a question that you probably get asked all the time I know we get asked all the time is, hey, how do I launch this book successfully? And so I think that’s my I mean, you do this all the time, all day, every day at your company. What if you were to give a big picture view for an author to ask that question? What would the answer be? 

Julie Broad [00:03:31] First, look at your bigger picture goals, because a lot of people are measuring their growth crunch based on book sales. And yet their bigger picture goal is that they want speaking engagements or they want to get consulting clients or they want to gain investors. And, you know, book sales are a measure of some of the activities that you’re doing and whether those are successful or not. But at the end of the day, you might get far more results out of giving away 2000 books to the exact right people who can hire you for speaking engagements than you’ll ever get selling 2000 books. And so I think that’s the first thing before you launch your book is get super clear on what’s most important to you, like looking back after two years of your book being out, what are you going like? That was the awesome thing I wanted my book to do for me and then reverse engineer that. So your launch is focused on creating that result. Book sales will probably happen as a result of that, but you want to make sure you’re measuring and focusing on the right thing. 

Chandler Bolt [00:04:28] So focus on the metrics that matter. Exactly what what are the 3 to 5 most common metrics that. Well, because the metrics that people think are important. And then there’s the metrics that from your experience you’ve seen, are actually important. Maybe what are some of the metrics that people think are important that are not that important? And then what are the handful of metrics that actually matter in your opinion? 

Julie Broad [00:04:51] Yeah, I mean, again, it depends on your goal. But, you know, a lot of people are focused on book sales and I mean, book reviews. I actually would argue book reviews are important no matter what your goals are because nothing it gives that social proof for anything that you’re trying to do. But a lot of people focus on the book sales, but what they really should be focused on are the number of leads or even contacts you’re making. As far as, you know, just speaking engagement example, how many people are calling you and saying, hey, you know, I’m interested in having you speak or how many books if you want to start at the beginning, how many books are you getting in front of the right people and then how many of those are leading to. Phone calls that are potential speaking engagements. And then how many speaking engagements are you looking like? Those would be the metrics that you focus on and the things that are working to get the calls and to get the bookings or the things you should do more of. For some other people, they’re using it as a lead generator. So look at how many options you’re getting into your email list, how many people are visiting your website and then converting into some sort of an action that’s important to you or your business. So those are some of the metrics that we focus on. But again, it really depends on that goal and kind of figuring out which metric know, like you said, the metrics that matter, what are the metrics that matter to make sure you’re moving towards your end goal. 

Chandler Bolt [00:06:10] Goal, which I’m pretty sure that’s actually a title. And I’m like probably subliminally because I think that’s metrics that matter. I want to say John Durrett talks about OKRs or objectives. 

Julie Broad [00:06:22] Yeah, I think you’re right. 

Chandler Bolt [00:06:23] At Google and it’s really talk about metrics that matter. I mean, it’s really interesting. What do you have a lot of people come, you say, hey, I want to be a New York Times bestseller or Wall Street Journal or whatever. And. Do you think that is the right or wrong goal? I’m trying to not ask a leading question because we get asked this all the time. And but I’m really curious, like what it is and if you see that. 

Julie Broad [00:06:48] Well, first, I mean, you know this, The New York Times is not a real bestseller list. It’s a curated list by editors who have political opinions as well as, you know, who discount books that are not published by a certain deemed worthy publisher. So for anybody who’s self-publishing, the New York Times really isn’t an option anyways. But the other ones, you know, the bigger thing is kind of going back to what we’ve already talked about, which is why know. So it’s fine to pursue, you know, Wall Street Journal or USA Today, but why is that important and what’s it going to do for you after it happens? Because, you know, if you’re not ready to leverage it into that six figure consulting gig, is it worth all the time and effort and energy to put into becoming it? And a lot of it is a game. So that’s the other part of it is, you know, a lot of the people who hit it have played a game and it’s fine. I don’t think it’s right or wrong. It’s just a choice to play a game. And if that game is fun and you enjoy the game, go for it. But if you have bigger picture goals that are more important, I would put that energy and time and resources into those bigger picture goals, and maybe it’ll happen anyways. I mean, we’ve had authors that weren’t going for it that have had it happen because they just had a really solid launch plan and a really clear vision of what they’re trying to execute. 

Chandler Bolt [00:08:05] Got it. So as Stephen Covey would say, begin with the end in mind. What’s the why behind the book? What are your end goals with the book? Focus on that and focus on those metrics and then kind of structure your life plan around that. I want to backtrack to the the big picture. Like how to launch a book like and so it sounds like that’s going to vary based on what are those metrics that you really care about. And then that might, you know, kind of scrub some things off the list that don’t serve that goal and might add a couple of things on the list that are specific to that goal. If you were to say like kind of maybe big picture 3 to 5 things again for that that first time author, that’s like, hey, how do I actually launch this book? What would kind of those 3 to 5 big things or the overview be? 

Julie Broad [00:08:53] Well, first, you have to look at your resources because a lot of people are thinking, I’m going to be a Wall Street Journal bestseller, but they don’t have an audience. They don’t have a platform. And so one of the things we do, we have four launch strategies that are kind of overarching strategies, but it’s not a matter of what do you want? It’s what do you what are you starting with? Because if you want to be a Wall Street Journal best seller, you need to see a path to how you’re going to sell 5000, 7000 books in a single week. And if you have no audience right now and you’re thinking you’re going to get there, well, you’re going to have to have the outreach to reach the people who do have enough people in their audience to hit those those numbers. And so that’s that’s kind of step one. It’s not even really what you want. It’s what’s what’s possible with what you have. And the the some of the a lot of it can be solved with money. You can buy a lot of these things. But at the end of the day, most people want to get there by their own means. So who’s in your audience? Who’s in the audience of your network? And those are some of the resources that you kind of have to start with before you can figure out, am I going for that Wall Street Journal best seller? Am I going to go for you know, am I going to do a 99 cent bestseller launch on Amazon and focus on getting one of those orange flags in launch week? Or am I going to build momentum? Am I going to launch with what I’ve got and then build my audience and build momentum post-launch? Those are kind of some of the approaches that we take with it, but it really starts with that platform. So it’s who’s listening to you and who can you access? 

Chandler Bolt [00:10:20] Got it. So starts with looking at what are the resources that you have. And so let’s maybe make an assumption. And then I would love for you to kind of give me your your thoughts around what would your launch plan be with this assumption. So let’s make the assumption that I am a first time author. I have a small, quote unquote audience, but not really. Not really a ton of maybe you got a few hundred people on an email list or kind of all my friends, family and customers list and I’m self-publishing and let’s see what else I’ve got maybe ten, 5 to 10 grand that I want to invest for this book to be successful. What would be kind of your what’s what’s the best case scenario and overall strategy that you would recommend for that person? 

Julie Broad [00:11:12] Yes, I would we would we would put them into our phase momentum launch, which is really looking at that launch with whatever you can and then build afterwards. And so part of that is in the three months prior, we want to start looking, you know, make that list of all the people that you can reach out to for support and letting them know the book is going to be coming out just seeing like maybe they have an email list that they’re interested in sharing the book to. And so just kind of three months before, figure out who is in your audience and what are those kind of resources that you have there. And then as you get closer and you’ve got a physical book and you can start setting it out, we would start trying to get editorial reviews so that you can get the credibility that will help you with kind of the post-launch marketing that you want to do. And so some of those things would be going through. You can even do a good reads giveaway to try and get Amazon reviewers. But we tend to use net galley as one of the places to get some reviews. And there’s plenty of other kind of review places like Kirkus that you can pay to get reviews depending on your book and your genre. You may or may not want to do that. And by the way, net galley reviewers are pretty harsh. So if you have not invested in editing at a good cover, don’t pay for that quality because they’re they’re going to give you a four out of five if it’s a great book, just. 

Chandler Bolt [00:12:32] That’s good enough. Yeah. 

Julie Broad [00:12:34] But, but I mean, there’s a great source for them. And then as you get closer, this is where you look at what can you do to drive the launch momentum. So can you give people an incentive to buy the book and share that? So something for you like a checklist, a video course, you know, those kind of things and then be promoting that. Have your network that’s agreed to help promote promote that and you can even drop your book down to $0.99 at that launch week and paid for places to promote your book. There’s lots of 99 cent place on e-book sales sites. You can just search 99 cent e-book sales and you’ll find lots of sites and all of that will help you build momentum. And then, of course, always be asking for reviews. That would be kind of a crash course in what a launch strategy would be controlled. 

Chandler Bolt [00:13:21] That’s great. Thanks for walking through that. So that’s the phase momentum launch, which I think is, you know, as the title suggests, you’re you’re building momentum in phases. And I’m assuming that’s one of the you mentioned four launch strategies that you guys recommend. So it sounds like that’s one of them. What are the other three? And then how do you kind of decide who who should implement which one? 

Julie Broad [00:13:46] Yeah, I mean, maximum momentum is another one. That’s more like what I did when I launched my first book that went to number one that’s rallying. You’ve got more resources. So not not even money. When I say resources, I’m really talking about your network and your audience and those kind of pieces. And that’s how my book went to number one was I ended up actually having somebody who had a course that was a really great fit for my book, who was no longer selling that course. He gave a copy of that course to anybody who bought three or more copies of my book in that launch week. And it was a course that was a perfect fit with my book. And and so that was something that everybody wanted to promote. So I only had an email list of 10,000 people, but there was lots of it was in the real estate space. There’s lots of realtors and mortgage brokers and people in that real estate investing education space that look like heroes for telling people, you know, by $60 worth of print books and you’re going to get this $300 course that you can’t even buy anywhere else. So that was part of the phase. Moments are that maximum momentum is like, what can you do that’s really massively valuable? And drive that traffic and build everybody that is in your network to all promote in that single week. And that’s what happened. And so that’s maximum momentum. It’s like leveraging everything that you’ve got and pushing it all into, you know, a five day period of sales. And that’s, you know, that gives you the maximum momentum and then that can be paired. If you you know, one of our other launch strategies is a periodical launch going to that periodical list. So you would be doing that maximum momentum strategy at the same time. But the difference is we go for a longer pre-sale period because those periodical lists, they, you know, all the sales that happen in pre-sale count towards that launch week sale on those periodicals. So we usually do a four month pre pre-sale where we’re trying to drive as much sales in the sale period versus the maximum momentum launch was in that one week period. And then the other one is is a 99 cent bestseller launch. So it’s really focused on that 99 cent Amazon bestseller, which you can kind of incorporate all these strategies, but your focus on launch week $0.99, and you’re doing that largely to get reviews because you’re definitely not making money on that. 

Chandler Bolt [00:16:06] I’m just I’m typing some of these out. So you got 99 bestseller taking notes here tonight and bestseller 99 cent bestseller list at our best hour lunch but you that one phased momentum launch and then maximum momentum launch and you said you could pair that maximum into one other one I just missed the name of. 

Julie Broad [00:16:24] Yeah, it’s the periodical bestseller. 

Chandler Bolt [00:16:27] Okay. If you’re not a best seller and that sounds like that is like you were saying, focus a little bit more on prerelease and presales. 

Julie Broad [00:16:34] Exactly. Yeah. 

Chandler Bolt [00:16:35] Got it. That makes sense. So you talked about. Or actually, before I ask that, what in your experience, what have you seen as the two or three biggest things that sell the most copies of books for authors during launch their audience? 

Julie Broad [00:16:53] It’s not even two or three things. It’s having an audience that’s a really great fit for that book. And your network, too. You know, one of our one of our authors had to eat my words because I often talk about how Twitter doesn’t sell books. And he only had about ten or ten or 15,000 Twitter followers. So, you know, he was like, I’m going to sell thousands of thousands. And I was like, well, you know, we should have some other strategies. And and he actually sold thousands of thousands with his Twitter audience. But the thing that I didn’t account for was the fact that he had some really, really influential people who were very engaged with him on Twitter, and they retweeted and shared and talked about his book. And so it wasn’t just his 10,000. It was the engagement he had with these influencers. And so I think, you know, when I say it’s your audience, it is your audience, but also the people who are closely engaged with you. You know, another one of our authors has built a relationship also on Twitter, funny enough, with Tom Peters. And Tom Peters has been a huge supporter of her book and is now even writing a foreword for her book and for her next step. And so that’s something that is really vital. And I see that consistently. It’s not. I would love to tell you it’s the magic of book conchas and we have this magical approach that’s going to sell all the books. But first and foremost, it’s that ready made audience that’s excited and ready to support your book. 

Chandler Bolt [00:18:19] Nice. That’s great. So you talked about we’ve talked a lot about the launch. I think you know as well as I do is the launch is a great start, but it’s not the end all be all right and I talk about in my new book published is this concept of the Lamborghini launch versus the Toyota Camry approach. And so most people take the Lamborghini launch where it’s gone in a flash. They use up all this energy and it’s sexy and exciting, but then it’s gone. Right. This is the Toyota Camry approach is like a long term selling books long term. And I call that the one year launch. Right. So instead of launching for a weak launch for a year, what in your experience have you seen work well to sell books after launch and kind of more long term? What do you. Yeah. 

Julie Broad [00:19:05] Yeah. I mean, a lot of different things. I always tell people try to do one thing everyday and that one thing can be reaching out to podcast, to get yourself on a podcast, pitching yourself or submitting speakers. Speaker Submissions to different events, running e-book sales every 90 to 120 days, so that you are constantly getting yourself in front of the Amazon algorithm, checking your keywords. Make sure that your keywords haven’t gone out of date, you know, giving your bio and book description a quick update, running Amazon ads, you know, there’s lots of different things submitting every 90 days you can submit for a book feature and it’s hard to get it, but if you just keep submitting, a lot of times you will eventually get one. And that can be a huge boost to your sales as well. So it’s a lot of those things. But to your point, look like a lot of the best results I’ve seen from our authors happen the year after launch and they’ve just kept going. They’ve just kept doing something. And that’s where we see people getting documentary features. You know, one of our authors about a year and a bit after his book ended up landing a TED Global Ideas Talk. It’s now been viewed over 2 million times. And now it’s again, it’s not that sexy launch that did it. It was the consistency of getting their name and their book out there day in, day out that kind of landed. And it almost feels like an accident when those things happen. But it’s not. It’s that consistency of using that book to find new places to talk to, to connect with people. 

Chandler Bolt [00:20:32] That’s great. And let’s switch gears a little bit. I’m curious to hear. So, I mean, you’ve got a huge YouTube audience and they’ve done really, really well. You are YouTube girls. I’ll have you are actually not the last to hang on a second but first why why YouTube for yourself and and your business and then also for four books. 

Julie Broad [00:20:59] Yeah, two reasons. I mean, when I did in my previous business, I had a little flip camera and no editing. I was often in a renovation site, so I look terrible and I would just shoot these videos and upload them to YouTube. And that was often that segment generated trust with people and interest if you know, my channel did okay, but it was kind of that interesting factor that people felt like they really do me as a result of the videos. And then when I hit, when I launched Book Watchers Looking in the space, a lot of the videos were there was some good information, but a lot of them were from, you know, and I won’t name any of those organizations, but there were some, you know, good organizations, but they were boring. I saw a real opportunity to kind of get that know like and trust factor that video gives you and and have fun with it and and make it more entertaining as well as educational and and I mean also selfishly I love YouTube like I like writing hooks but I love I love YouTube. And so those are those are the reasons for me. 

Chandler Bolt [00:22:00] So it’s fun. And you felt like there was a gap in the marketplace where you could provide real value. Yeah. And and so. So and then is there a strategic component? Like, do you feel like, hey, this is going to be this is one of the best platforms that I can I can use to grow the business. Like, is that. Or is it more of just, hey, this is fun, I want to do this and it might not be a huge, huge ROI, but I enjoy it. 

Julie Broad [00:22:26] Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely I mean, it’s fun for me. And so that’s something I’m going to do. And I tell our authors to do that too. Like, don’t worry if everybody’s telling you, be on tick tock, tick tock. Like go the place that you feel a connection and it’s fun because you’ll build your audience there inevitably. And so, you know, I do the same thing with with YouTube. And, you know, in the first year we saw it immediate our like from from YouTube. And so I doubled down on YouTube as far as like, okay, yes, I’m going to invest in editors and other pieces and really put time and energy and effort into it. So, so yeah, there was an element of sort of strategy. But honestly, it’s more like for me, I’m not a social media person. If you follow me, you’ll get to see pictures of my son. But I don’t really talk about business that much on on social media. It’s just not my place. But YouTube. Yes, that’s my place. 

Chandler Bolt [00:23:18] I’m cool. I can relate to that. I guess I can relate to that. On the social media side of things, it’s like everyone’s always told us we need to go heavier on social, social, like. But I don’t want to do that. Yeah, I don’t want to always be, like, livestreaming my life. And, you know, we were joking before the interviews. Like, I have fun every now and then posted pictures of me with my book in an airport or something. But like outside of that? Yeah. No, thank you. I am only on Facebook. That’s it. And so I love that encouragement to just say, hey, what do you actually enjoy as a business owner, as an author? Great. Do that. Lean into that. YouTube specifically. Any any tips for growing a YouTube channel? 

Julie Broad [00:24:11] Yeah. I mean, for me, it’s I’ve actually been asked to give talks on it and they’re like, what’s your like, how do you crack the algorithm? Like, I haven’t honestly, I haven’t done a lot. I do a little bit of keyword research. My favorite tool is one that a lot of people haven’t heard of. It’s called Morning Fame and it’s Morning F 8.8, but it’s $15 a month. And it is like a summary of your thumbnails, of your keywords. It gives you a little like a button that’s like create more of these kind of videos, create less of these because they hurt your channel. And that’s all I really use. I take a look at it and I still create some of the videos that it says hurt my channel because sometimes I’m creating them because clients are asking this question all the time and we just want to have a video to send to our clients. So I’m like, Forget what the algorithm says, I need this video, but it does give me I look at what it says to create more of and I do create more of those and I learn from that. But that’s about as far as it goes in terms of like my best advice, I put my content into three buckets, so that might be valuable to people. One of the buckets is that piece of kind of what’s going to feed that YouTube algorithm. So what’s kind of done well in the past. So create more of those. And then I do I pay attention to frequently asked questions. So I answer frequently asked questions. And that is a lot of the video content comes from those questions, either in YouTube or our clients or potential clients. And then the final bucket would be keywords. But I don’t do a lot like I don’t spend hours and hours toiling over what the ideal keywords would be. But I do I do pay attention to that as well and create content around those keywords. 

Chandler Bolt [00:25:52] That’s great. I love those three buckets. So three buckets were to feed the YouTube algorithm paying attention to and answering frequently asked questions and then keywords and kind of as a as not the main thing, but something to be mindful of that can rank which will help with long term viewership and, and all that good stuff from an SEO standpoint. So it’s been awesome. Julie, what would be your parting piece of advice knowing what you know now from all the books that you’ve launched both yourself and through your company? For the person launching their first book. 

Julie Broad [00:26:29] It’s My own saying is the missing piece is always action. I mean, your book is not going to do anything if you don’t publish it, and it’s not going to do anything if you don’t talk about it. So you need to you need to get out there and take action. 

Chandler Bolt [00:26:43] Awesome. Where can people go to find out more about you, your books, your business, whatever will be most helpful? 

Julie Broad [00:26:50] Yeah, I mean, I’ve already told you I’m hanging out at bookconscious.tv So that’s the YouTube channel. I am the one that responds to all the comments. That’s it’s it’s me over there so you can hang out there. I’m book launches dot com is our website you can find out how we help you write publish and promote nonfiction books. 

Chandler Bolt [00:27:06] Julie, thank you so much. It’s been great. 

Julie Broad [00:27:09] Yeah, thanks for having me. 

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