SPS 018: Scaling Up Your Business Using Books with Verne Harnish

Today, I am speaking with Verne Harnish the Founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Founder and CEO of Gazelle’s. He has written three books including Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and The Greatest BUSINESS DECISIONS of All Time and Scaling Up. He also has to be one of the best presenters that I have ever heard. He is a great guy, and I’m excited to have him on the show today. Verne lives in Barcelona, Spain with his wife and four children, and besides being a businessman and private investor, he also makes time for hobbies like piano, tennis, and even magic.

We dive into why Verne based his book on the habits of Rockefeller, and how Verne went from a traditional book style to more of a textbook on steroids style in Scaling Up. He also shares a trick to finding a good ghost writer and his interaction with the Rockefeller family. Verne writes on Thursdays for thoughts and research. Then when it is time to write the book he sits down and writes for 6 to 8 hours a day for 2 to 3 months. We even talk about his morning routine and the time advantages of being in Barcelona to how he scales from books to major business investing.

You can find Verne here:
Scaling Up Website
Gazelles
Verne Harnish on LinkedIn
Verne Harnish on Twitter @agilescaleup
Scaling Up
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
The Greatest BUSINESS DECISIONS of All Time
 

Show Notes
[02:27] Verne wished he had written his first book earlier.
[02:49] He launched an executive program for EO and he featured the Rockefeller habits which started out as a series of articles
[03:59] If you need a writer find someone who has written about you.
[04:31] All of the articles about the Rockefeller habits became his first book.
[04:56] How Verne decided on the Rockefeller habits.
[05:08] How Rockefeller had put in place habits critical to scaling a business.
[05:56] How the Rockefellers didn’t seem to have a problem with the book. Although, he changed his name to Scaling Up.
[07:34] How the book made sense for everyone in the company to read not just the CEO.
[08:49] The importance of having a great title and a great cover and a book can make a great business card.
[11:53] How Scaling Up is like a textbook on steroids.
[12:12] The process of going from the first book which was a traditional style book to the Scaling Up textbook format.
[13:32] Scaling Up references 40 books because nobody has all of the answers.
[14:01] Verne writes every Thursday and he also has writing partners.
[16:16] It takes 10,000 hours to find your voice and become an expert at something.
[19:39] Verne’s morning routine includes a breathing meditation and exercises then he works on his biggest thing.
[22:06] Educating and not selling is how we market now. A book is a great way to do this.
[24:17] How having the books have helped impact Verne’s business. He gives books away with his speeches which leads to more book sales and coaching clients.
[29:28] Harne also invests in the companies that he helps to scale up. This is a big way to monetize.
[32:57] The sales of Scaling Up have been very consistent since the beginning.
[34:40] How a lot of the information is open source and having a mentality to give information away.
[35:39] Being able to update your book is another advantage of self-publishing.
[36:10] If you don’t have time to write your own book, have it written for you.
[38:11] The multiplier effect of having books published.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
The Art of Living
Entrepreneurs’ Organization
Build Direct
Barcelona Housing Systems
Rackspace
Great by Choice by Jim Collins
Adam Witty Advantage Media
Direct from Dell by Michael Dell
Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime by Bill Gates
Scaling Up Website
Gazelles
Verne Harnish on LinkedIn
Verne Harnish on Twitter @agilescaleup
Scaling Up
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
The Greatest BUSINESS DECISIONS of All Time

Book Formatting 5 Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid self-publishingschool

5 Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

There are many benefits to self-publishing your book versus a traditional publishing deal. One aspect in favor of self-publishing is the control you have over all aspects of your finished manuscript—including book formatting.

However, one downfall of the self-published author is a messy manuscript. The book formatting process is a crucial part of your readers’ experience. An unprofessional looking book layout will both distract readers—and make you look like an amateur. You want your completed self-published book to convey professionalism in all aspects.

The 5 Most Common Book Formatting Errors

In this article, you’re going to learn what the most common book formatting errors are and how to avoid them. If you have a completed manuscript with botched formatting on your hands, this article will teach you how to fix it using Microsoft Word.

1. Just Say “No!” to Hard Indents

A hard indent is when paragraph indentations are created by manual use of the keyboard’s Tab key. Many of us learned how to type using the Tab key to create an indent at the start of each paragraph, so this can be a tough habit to break. When it comes to book formatting, use of the Tab key is a no-no, because it results in an indent that’s far larger than you need.

When it comes to writing fiction, you want to have just a small indent at the start of each paragraph. If your book is non-fiction, generally speaking, you want to use block paragraphs rather than indents, unless your book is a memoir or historical fiction. (More on that in tip #2.)

If your book is fiction, you may be wondering how to create paragraphs without the Tab key. The fix is simple: In Microsoft Word, set the Paragraph settings to automatically create indentations for the first line in each paragraph. This simple auto fix will make your book formatting process way easier.

If you’re wondering how big to make your indents, my advice is pull your favorite book off the shelf, open it up, and take a peek. How big are the paragraph indents? Experiment with making yours larger or smaller, printing out the page, and comparing them to the book in your hand.

But what if your 535-page tome has already been drafted, using the dreaded Tab key for each and every paragraph? No need to set fire to your laptop! Here’s what to do to clean it up:

  • Use the Find and Replace
  • Enter ^t in the Find (This will help you find every “Tab” in the document.)
  • Leave the Replace field blank.
  • Hit Replace All.

 

Going forward, set your Paragraph settings so that you don’t have to remove hard indents again. Presto! You now have a much prettier, easier-to-convert document through the magic of technology.

2. Choose Carefully: Indentation vs. Block Paragraphs

Works of non-fiction today typically don’t use indentation, except for some notable exceptions we will discuss momentarily. Rather, a popular format for modern non-fiction books is the block paragraph.

What’s a block paragraph? A block paragraph doesn’t have indentation on the opening line, but instead uses a horizontal line of white space beneath each paragraph. This helps to delineate separation between paragraphs.

For instance, I used block paragraphs in my latest book Published., which looks like this:

book formatting

The reasoning behind whether you should use indentation vs. block paragraphs is this: in works where one thought should flow smoothly into the next, such as in a novel, paragraph indentations are used with no line spacing between paragraphs. In books where complicated information is being consumed, having a single line space between paragraphs aids the brain in processing one piece of information before moving on to the next.

Here is an example from a fiction novel of what it looks like to use indents instead of block paragraphs:

book formatting

An exception to the block paragraph for non-fiction / indents for fiction guideline: non-fiction narrative, such as a memoir or historical fiction, should use the same indent style described above in tip #1.

In non-fiction works where some information should flow, and other sections require more brain power to comprehend, some authors decide to mix formatting types and use indentation where appropriate and block paragraphs where useful. But in general, to avoid confusing the reader and to make your book look uniform, clean, and as if you didn’t make a book formatting error, it’s best to choose one style or the other and stick with it throughout your book.

However, if you insist on getting crazy and mixing it up, knowing how and when to use block paragraphs versus when to indent results in a more professional manuscript.

3. Avoid Double Spaces After Periods

Here’s the truth: Two spaces after a period is wrong. Period. (Ha!)

Just as with the good old-fashioned Tab key indent, two spaces after a period may have been the norm back when you were learning to type. This is because with typewriters, characters were all the same width, so the two-space rule allowed for greater readability. With modern computer fonts, the characters all fit closer together in proportional fashion, thereby eradicating the need for that one additional space.

Most major style guides—including the Chicago Manual of Style, which is used by traditional publishers—now formally recognize the more modern single-space rule. From an aesthetics angle, one space looks neater, which your readers’ eyes will appreciate.

Before you convert your manuscript, change all double spaces to single spaces. The result will be a better formatted, stylistically correct book. You’re going to use that super handy “Find and Replace” function again:

  • Enter two spaces in the Find (This will help you find every double space in the document.)
  • Enter a single space into the Replace field.
  • Hit Replace All.

Voila! Like magic.

4. Be Cautious With Hyphens

Improper hyphenation is a common error that may be harder to stay on top of because the rules of hyphenation differ depending on the grammatical situation. Generally, keep these three rules in mind while you write to stay on top of your hyphens:

  • Two or more words that, together, function as an adjective are joined with a hyphen. For example, dark-pink skirt or two-way street.
  • Two words or more that form a number are joined with a hyphen. For example, twenty-one.
  • Compound words, which are two words that are joined together to make a single word, do not require a hyphen. For example, toothbrush or starfish.

When in doubt, look it up! For a more detailed treatment of the hyphen, here is an important source to consider: Elements of Style.

5. Know When to Use Quotes vs. an Apostrophe

Few things scream “new writer” like punctuation errors. You want to make sure you’re using quotes and apostrophes correctly so you don’t lose credibility with your readers. Here are a few quick rules of thumb:

Use of Quotes

  • When you’re quoting someone, use quotes! This means either a person is speaking—like in fiction—or you are borrowing material verbatim from another source, like in non-fiction.
  • Use of quotes is rarely needed for common expressions.
  • Ironic terms can be set off in quotes.
  • Overuse of quotes can get annoying, so be judicious in their application.

Use of Apostrophes

  • Use an apostrophe for possessive form (except the word its). For example: The cat’s toys are blue.
  • Use an apostrophe for contractions, such as it is. For example: The cat’s playing with its toys. It’s a happy cat.
  • Avoid using an apostrophe for plural forms. For example: Five cats ran past her.

Again, the rules can be complicated such as when to use an apostrophe when dealing with an acronym, so when in doubt, look it up.

Conclusion

Of course you want your book to stand out because of its invaluable content and amazing writing. Don’t let book formatting or grammar errors hamper your book’s success. You have all the tools you need to produce a flawless manuscript, so take the time to review your book—and hire an editor—to make sure your book formatting is perfectly professional.

 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March of 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.

SPS 017: How I Went From #1 NYT Book Launch to $5.1M Product Launch with Jeff Walker

Welcome to episode 17 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Jeff Walker the #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams. Jeff’s launch strategies have transformed the way products are sold online. Before he started talking about his product launch formula, there was almost nobody else talking about product launches. The idea of a million dollar launch even seemed ludicrous, but now no one even bats an eye at a million dollar launch.
 
His techniques aren’t just for gurus or people with established platforms. He has helped thousands of students in hundreds of different niches, and they have generated over 500 million dollars in sales using the product launch formula. His book launch was a huge success and we are going to dive into that and the impact it had on his business and The Product Launch Formula itself. We also learn how Jeff was involved in online business since 1996 and created The Product Launch Formula in 2005, and how he hopes the book will cement his legacy.
 

You can find Jeff here:
Jeff Walker Website
Product Launch Formula
The Launch Book

Show Notes
 
[01:46] Why Jeff wrote and published Launch. He began online business in 1996 and became really good at launches.
[02:04] In 2005, he began teaching launches through the Product Launch Formula.
[03:05] Jeff wrote the book to get credit for his Product Launch Formula that he created. He also did it for legacy.
[04:43] He also wanted to help people and generate leads for his course.
[05:29] Writing the book was a challenge because he was obsessed with making it a good book.
[07:03] How writing and editing at the same time wastes time.
[08:02] Jeff used early morning writing time on his writing days to get his writing done.
[09:06] He used relaxed melodies and binaural beats for 50 minutes at a time. Then a 10-minute break and then back on for another 50 minutes.
[10:53] Having a big following and a large list helped make the marketing easier. He also used JV partners and affiliates.
[11:55] During a launch you shine every asset you have on your book or product.
[12:22] If you don’t have a list, start one now.
[13:40] He used a 99designs contest for an awesome book cover. Then he let his community vote on the best cover which was great publicity for the book.
[15:36] He also created an unboxing video of his first box of books being opened.
[16:14] The pre launch gets people engaged and excited. Then he had a pre-sale launch with bonuses.
[17:44] He also tested upsells to use with the book like his list-building course.
[21:35] Then he ran a special on The Product Launch Formula.
[23:38] How the book has impacted future launches of The Product Launch Formula.
[24:19] There is one PLF launch a year, the year after the book launch PLF increased by a million dollars.
[25:12] Then it increased, even more, the following year up to 5.1 million.
[26:10] PLF is a process that romances people into the sale with content.
[29:02] The launch ends when you pull the product or when the price goes up or when the bonuses go away.
[29:56] For books or lower priced items deliver value ahead of time and get people excited.
[32:30] Sustaining sales and gaining momentum.
[35:53] How Jeff doubled up marketing efforts to try and make the New York Times Bestseller list.
[37:28] To get a bestseller make a great book.
[39:02] The book has case studies that drive readers to Jeff’s website. This generates leads and they ask for recommendations through word of mouth.
[41:05] The book has impacted his business with high-quality leads and opt-ins.
[43:02] Podcasts and interviews are also a result of the book.
[44:09] Jeff ended up playing tennis with Richard Branson.
[44:39] Writing a book is hard and rewarding. Have discipline and write. Get an editor. Launch with a plan and build anticipation. Don’t stop after the launch.
 

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Relax Melodies App
99designs
Brendon Burchard
Michael Hyatt
Reid Tracy
Richard Branson
Jeff Walker Website
Product Launch Formula
The Launch Book

SPS 016: My Exact Process for Writing 16 Books with Joanna Penn

Welcome to episode 16 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Joanna Penn, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She writes thrillers and nonfiction. She is a professional speaker and entrepreneur who was voted as one of the Guardian UK Top 100 Creative Professionals of 2013. Her website The Creative Penn is regularly voted as one of the top 10 websites for writers.

Her site has a lot of great content, but today we are going to dive into her writing process. Joanna is a prolific writer, and she shares a lot of value. Her writing gets a lot of accolades, but she also has a lot of books out. She is known for publishing quality and quantity in the fiction and nonfiction arena.

After college Joanna became a consultant, but she was in search of the thing that she really loved and tried many different things. Joanna wrote a book about Career Change which ended up changing her career trajectory. In writing this book, she learned that she loved writing. She didn’t get to where she is overnight. It has been a 15 year journey. Today, we talk about that journey, Joanna’s writing, and more.

You can find Joanna here:
The Creative Penn
Books by Joanna Penn
The Creative Penn Podcast
Joanna on Twitter @TheCreativePenn

Show Notes
[01:30] Joanna’s journey began with journaling as a teenager. She studied Theology at Oxford and then became a consultant.
[02:25] Joanna tried many things like a scuba diving business and property investment, but she was searching for what she loved.
[02:36] She wrote a nonfiction book called Career Change. This actually changed her life because she learned about writing and publishing and she quit her job 3 years later.
[03:57] How reading a lot is important to understanding nonfiction. She wrote notes and made her first book up as she went along.
[04:53] She used beta readers for her first book and listened to their feedback.
[05:16] She also paid for an editor and cover design. She also learned that she loved the process.
[05:51] How working for a paycheck you don’t feel like you have earned anything. A book can earn and create a permanent impact.
[07:10] How reading someone’s book is like access to their brains.
[07:33] How Joanna’s first book really changes your life.
[07:56] If you enjoy writing books and you love the process you are a writer.
[08:28] Joanna’s passion was in the writing and learning and helping other people.
[08:47] Her business came out of a passion.
[09:38] Joanna’s writing process. She uses Scrivener. For nonfiction, she brainstorms the chapters and table of contents and then fills in the blanks.
[11:27] She prints out and goes over her draft and then gives it to her editor. Then her beta readers and proofreader.
[13:08] How writing improves over time. She is now a better writer. Every time you write a book you learn new things.
[15:20] Things that Joanna has done to be a better writing include using better editors and understanding flow.
[16:26] How a book needs to lead people through a journey.
[17:02] How Joanna also takes courses from people who are doing what she wants to do.
[18:02] How reading a lot is a great education. Read in your genre to understand how it works.
[19:06] The more book you write the more you earn. For writers, it keeps on going up.
[19:40] How she went from nonfiction to fiction and learned to tell a story. She started with NaNoWriMo.
[23:07] Choosing your mentors carefully and learning from people who do what you want to do.
[25:58] How with fiction it is more personal because you become part of the book. Fear of judgment.
[27:51] Writing the novel was “type 2” fun which is fun but it is hard work.
[29:19] How tiring writing fiction can be making so many decisions. It is work with a sense of achievement.
[30:59] Listening to waves and rain and thunderstorms helps relax Joanna when she writes.
[33:17] How it is important to get out of the house. Creativity is hard and needs to be done in the morning before Joanna is tired.
[36:07] Setting a timer and getting away and actually committing to writing. Learning structure and having a series also helps.
[39:27] Joanna uses a wall calendar to keep track of her word count. Our creative sides are children. She also uses stickers and adult coloring books.
[42:18] Balancing writing for her books and for her blog posts. She mostly focuses on podcasts now and writes for books.
[44:07] Joanna’s best writing productivity tips are using Scrivener and getting into the flow state with rain sounds. She also writes in the mornings.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
All About Joanna’s First Novel
Alastair Humphrey
On Writing Stephen King
National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo
The Creative Penn
Books by Joanna Penn
The Creative Penn Podcast
Joanna on Twitter @TheCreativePenn

SPS 015: How to be a Writing Machine with Steve Windsor

Today, I chat with Steve Windsor. He is a best-selling author who writes wild and irreverent thriller books. He also writes how-to books on being an author. He is also one of my earliest and most successful students here at Self-Publishing School. Steve is a writing machine. He writes quality content fast with his no nonsense, no BS, and sometimes controversial style. Many writers strive to be as talented and productive as he is.

Steve worked in IT and start-ups. He was always a good writer, and he always wanted to write. After a failed Google interview and being prompted by his wife, Steve decided to head to the coffee shop and give writing a try. His routine was to go to the coffee shop before it opened and then sit in the corner and let himself go inside and write. By writing about his own inner dialog, Steve learned to rip off every filter and crank out the words. He still practices this no nonsense style today. He also shares his methods for writing fiction and nonfiction along with a lot of other great stuff.

You can find Steve here:
Steve Windsor Website
Books by Steve Windsor

Show Notes
[02:04] How Steve began writing and became the writer that he is.
[05:31] Steve is a project oriented person who likes to see the finished product.
[05:51] Without a finished product, you have nothing to work with. He dives in and writes his first drafts fast.
[06:33] He consumed everything he could get his hands on and learned about dialog and writing.
[08:12] Steve blocks out large amounts of time and gets immersed in what he is doing and imagines the world he creates in his mind.
[09:22] Steve says he writes 15,000 words in a day using his immersive method.
[12:02] Some of the questions that Steve had to get past before becoming a writer.
[13:48] Going to misery school (your job) for most of the year. This caused Steve some hardcore introspection.
[15:32] Doing something for just money wasn’t the lifestyle that he wanted.
[16:08] Everybody asks if their writing will be commercially viable.
[17:18] Steve has been cranking out a book a month. He would do the writing in about a week.
[19:38] Steve’s writing methods for non-fiction.
[19:59] He wanted to learn story structure. There is story structure for fiction.
[20:43] How bad guys monolog instead of shooting the bad guy.
[22:03] There is a formula for writing fiction. Learn the basics, craft the story, and improve.
[23:09] How Steve would plot out the novel and put the points in the proper place. Then he would focus on those areas. Being immersed in the world Steve stays in the zone and doesn’t stop.
[24:53] How writing through structure helps him to keep focus and control the story.
[26:23] To write decide that it is important to you. If that is what you are going to be then you have to dedicate time to it. If people put time and money into something that is what they care about.
[28:07] Block off a day to get immersed in the world. Take 3 days and go to the coffee shop from 4:30 am until the afternoon or evening.
[30:13] Finding a sacred place to write. Steve likes a coffee shop, but he has written just about everywhere.
[31:40] Self-Publishing School helped Steve hone his writing skills and discover how to market his books.
[34:34] Challenge yourself to write as much as you can. There is no reason why you can’t put out a lot of content. Human beings can do amazing stuff.
[35:43] There is a lot of competition with fiction. Fiction makes more money once you figure it out, but it’s a long haul game.
[38:50] Getting over the fear that you can do it. Learning the mechanics. Practice becoming a good writer.
[39:59] Non-fiction takes a little less practice than fiction.38:01] The core problem that fiction is solving is boredom.
[42:33] Turning nonfiction books into solid info without fluff.
[43:56] How there is a need for nonfiction books especially those that encourage would be writers.
[46:29] Once you start writing and know the path your confidence level will go up.
[49:05] Get started now if you want to write a book. Just do it. Find a community and it will be easier.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Russell Blake
Story Engineering
Steve Windsor Website
Books by Steve Windsor