My guest today, is Daniel Decker. He is the CEO of Higher Level Group and an expert at platform development, book launching, and marketing for authors and speakers. He has worked with such notable authors as Jon Gordon, Michael Hyatt, Ryan Blair, Mark Sanborn, Crystal Paine, Allison Pataki, and Tony Robbins to name a few. If you haven’t heard of him, you have probably heard of one of the books he has helped launch.
We talk about his first book marketing venture, and how he crushed it and moved on to creating even bigger launches and platforms. We also talk about the importance of having a team, and how self-publishers still need to get out there and hustle on their own. Daniel shares the importance of offering something of value when trying to find promotion opportunities. He also shares his past successes and lessons learned along the way. He talks about platform building for speakers and authors and more.
[02:10] How Daniel got started on the book side of things. He had an ad agency. His friend, Jon Gordon, wrote a book and they crushed it on marketing. [06:25] Jon had a 4-week Today Show segment with ways to get your energy up. Taking it national worked. [07:12] How Daniel focuses on relationship capital and adding value. He presented already researched ideas to producers which would help the producer as well as themselves for promotion purposes. [12:52] If Daniel can help better the world and feed his family it is a win win. [13:33] Daniel gets enough business by referral that he doesn’t really have to market his services. [14:31] On the first launch the combination of everything was the key, but being on The Today Show really helped. They also ran a Dr. Weil ad. [17:44] Being a giver and meeting Michael Hyatt through his blog. He offered to add value to Michael’s platform and proved that his ideas were good. [19:03] The importance of leverage and having a special landing page instead of an AWeber form. [24:00] Daniel takes every client as an individual and what their goals are before creating and condensing the campaign. [25:38] How it’s harder for self-published authors to get on the New York Times list. Presales are important and distributing sales among retailers. [26:54] Having a 50/50 strategy between pre-sales and launch marketing. [27:39] Getting strategic with launches including using free books on the back-end. [28:59] How the NYT list is not only based on volume. They are subjective. [33:33] Methods for incentivizing offers and growing a mailing list. Using things an audience will perceive as value. [34:33] How people tend to devalue their offers and how it is surprising how well it does. [34:53] The importance of having a launch team. [36:06] How people want to help other people succeed and help spread the message. [36:40] Always offer something of value when you reach out. [38:22] Having a launch team with a thousand people. Usually, 60 to 70 percent participate. How creating a launch team is not shooting yourself in the foot. [40:02] Nurturing a launch team and asking for support and creating a net gain of book sales. [41:16] Not burning people out by communicating only things that need to be communicated. [42:18] Remembering that people are people and use your launch team strategically and be sure to engage with them. [45:50] Asking a launch team to read and critique the book. Asking for reviews and to buy a copy. Taking the team on the journey with you. [50:29] Partnering with charities and nonprofits as an incentive to get views etc. [53:01] Long tail promotion strategies include defining who you want to be and where you want to go. Do you want to monetize the book or promote your core product? [56:19] Having your book sales tracked by BookScan and metrics that publishers use to track sales. [01:01:19] Daniels plan for using a publisher for his first book and self-publishing for his second book. [01:05:08] Parting advice is to find a publishing plan and then act on it.
Today, I am speaking with Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom. Crystal is a wife, mother, speaker, and author of several books. Money Saving Mom is a coupon and blogging website about intentional living, finance, family, and business. Crystal began couponing while living on a strict budget while her husband was in law school. Her couponing and blogging eventually turned into her Money Saving Mom blog which exceeded her expectations and helped allow her and her husband to purchase their home outright.
Being around Crystal is contagious. She is just one of those people who you would trust to let your kids go to her house. I’m excited about this episode as we discuss how Crystal used her books to help promote and grow Money Saving Mom to phenomenal levels. Crystal wrote her first book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget when she was contacted by a publisher. She had a following, but she didn’t really know how to write a book and really didn’t understand the contract.
Her first book deal was a bit rocky because she did everything wrong, but it was a great learning experience. She shares her lessons and inspiration for writing a book the right way. Some of these include having a thorough plan, outline, and proposal. As well as having a ghost editor to help with cohesiveness, accountability, and input. With these experiences learned Crystal is now a book writing machine, and she shares all of this and more in today’s episode.
[01:34] Why Crystal decided to write her first book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. [04:43] Lessons learned included needing to have a plan before writing a book. [05:31] On her second book she spent time finding the idea and then focusing on that topic and writing a proposal that outlines every single step. [07:20] Using ghost editors made the full-length book process much easier. [08:21] The editing process helped with accountability and organizing and strengthening the text. [09:54] Having published books gives a form of legitimacy and credibility that opens up opportunities. [11:18] Going through a publisher is not as strong an income stream as self-publishing. [11:56] Crystal had to make the time to work on her books because she is extremely busy and it becomes a family endeavor. [13:01] Getting up early helped with her first books. She wrote her third book from midnight to 4:00 am to find time to focus. [14:49] Her husband also helped with the homeschooling and allowed Crystal to sleep in. [16:51] She put together a marketing plan for her first book. Publishers expect you to do the work of marketing. [18:27] She planned 7-9 months in advance and found hot topics to write on and promote on social media. She thought about the marketing while writing the book. [19:33] On her third book she was honed in on marketing from the beginning including finding her target audience of overwhelmed moms. [21:35] She focused on sharing the value the book would give people in the form of articles and creating awareness. [24:00] Using a launch team also helps get the word out. [27:58] The book has opened doors and helped Crystal’s confidence grow. [31:05] Being a real person has been key to Crystal’s success. [32:18] Crystal used Periscope to promote her 5-day Money Making Mom course. [37:27] Crystal offered a free 1st-day offer on her courses. This was a great teaser that led to a lot of sales. [38:13] Her biggest revenue is from email sign ups and blog readers which lead to affiliate sales. [38:56] Her books are also in the library which has led to readers. [39:45] Giving away coupons and freebies from companies fell flat on its face until she gave away a chore planner. Focus on the freebie that will be the biggest incentive for people. [44:02] Share your own unique gifts and your own unique story.
Today, we talk about the worry, fear, and doubt side of writing a book. We talk about how there is a huge disparity of people who want to write a book compared to people who have written a book. Circumstances sometime have something to do with it, but the main problem is usually mindset. Mitch shares his ideas about how to think better and to create the right mindset to crush our goals and dispel worry, fear and doubt. Mitch also touches on his 3 ways to punch worry in the face, tips for productivity, and hacks for getting that writing done.
[02:06] Things that get in the way of thinking better. Worry. [03:59] How we get nervous right before publishing a book. Worry is why so many people never take the final step and publish. [05:33] First step is to acknowledge worry. Sometimes we don’t even realize it has overtaken us. [07:11] How fight or flight can be good when it comes to safety, but chronic worry has negative effects. [08:19] How worry narrows our ocular nerve and makes us see less, great for escaping predators but not so much for creativity. [10:45] Acknowledging the worry is there and then replacing it. [11:14] Taking an inventory of what you are actually concerned about. [14:06] How many of the things that people worry about can be overcome with training. [14:22] Getting so caught up in the fear that you don’t take that first step. [14:40] Distinguishing between good and bad worry. [15:31] How journaling can help get a handle on the worry so that you can acknowledge it and make adjustments. A worry journal. [16:44] Replacing the worry. If you are told to not think about purple cows, replace it with pink elephants. [20:31] How worry is unproductive imagination. [22:53] To replace worry ask yourself better questions. [23:30] Asking what success looks like. [25:51] Asking what I can control and what I need to let go. [26:28] Step 3 is doing something intentionally. Worry may make us react in a way we don’t want to. After acknowledging worry and replacing worry, take intentional action. [28:43] Having an action that you can take immediately even if it is only for 15 minutes. [29:13] Giving yourself permission to skim a book in 15-minute chunks. Give yourself permission to listen to the book’s author on podcasts while working out or when you can fit it in. [33:35] The difference between worrying and being tempted to worry. [38:37] Giving yourself grace if something goes wrong instead of just going off track permanently. [44:39] The importance of surrounding yourself with supportive people. [46:21] Having other people’s back, so they will have yours and not defining your circle of influence to your zip code. [49:04] Punching worry in the face. Acknowledge or write it down. Replace it by asking a better question. Getting it out of your head and then doing something intentional or taking action to shift that state of mind. [50:33] Acknowledging your worry may be the genesis of what you need to teach about. Teach the lessons you break through.
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.
[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.