SPS 022:Behind the Scenes of Multiple NYT Bestsellers with Daniel Decker

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.

You can find Daniel here:

Daniel Decker
Higher Level Group
Daniel on Twitter @DanielDecker
Daniel on LinkedIn
Daniel on Instagram
 
Show Notes
 
[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.

Links and Resources:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Energy Addict by Jon Gordon
Dr. Weil
Michael Hyatt
AWeber
Platform by Michael Hyatt
Get Published Course Michael Hyatt
Platform University Membership Site
WishList Member
Bury My Heart at Conference Room B by Stan Slap
Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair
Money Saving Mom
BookScan
Daniel Decker
Higher Level Group
Daniel on Twitter @DanielDecker
Daniel on LinkedIn
Daniel on Instagram

make a book

How to Make a Book

Let’s make a book! If you’ve authored an eBook, you may be interested in printing paperback books—either to keep for yourself or to sell. Luckily, we’ve got great news: the process of how to make a book isn’t as challenging as you might think. And, we’re here to walk you through the process.

IMPORTANT: No matter what you decide, I recommend getting your book published on Kindle first, and then moving on to creating your physical paperback copy.

1. Ask Yourself Why You Want to Make a Book

The first step to making a book is to ask yourself why? There are several valid reasons for turning your eBook into a paperback.

First and foremost, because you want to! You put the blood, sweat, and tears into authoring a book. Now you want tangible proof that you can see, carry around, and display on your bookshelf. That’s a good enough reason!

Some authors, especially those who identify as non-fiction experts, find that paperbacks serve as glorified business cards. These copies are especially useful for speaking engagements or professional development events, such as conferences or continuing education courses.

Passing out free books to interested readers is a terrific way to build a solid fan base as well as spread the word that you’re an author. If you elect to sell your books at events, you can recoup some of your costs and potentially even turn a profit.

Using your printed book to generate leads and make network connections is never a bad idea. If your book genre lends itself to this type of network development, then definitely go for it.

2. Important Factors to Consider Before You Print Your Book

The Cost of Making a Book

If you’re basing your decision strictly on revenue, then you’ll want to think about it before heading down the printing path. Paperback can be costly to produce. Luckily with Amazon’s CreateSpace, they take care of the cost upfront, but they will take a higher percentage of your revenue to make up for the printing cost. This means you won’t make as much money off the sales of a paperback as you would with an e-book.

We’ve often seen that the most lucrative path for e-authors is the combination of a Kindle eBook and an audiobook.  If your goal is to make as much money as you can, and you have to choose between the two, then consider pursuing an audiobook over a paperback. (Although funding an audiobook can be pricey, and you are responsible for that upfront cost, so do the math!)

Who to you choose for printing and fulfillment?

You may have heard that KDP recently started printing paperback copies of books on demand. So the big question everyone has on their mind is “CreateSpace or KDP?”

Since you’ll already be familiar with KDP from uploading the Kindle version of your book, it may seem like KDP paperback publishing is the easy choice. But that’s not necessarily true, at least not yet.

At Self-Publishing School, we recommend CreateSpace over KDP (in the meantime!) while KDP works out some of its kinks. As of right now, KDP does not offer discounted author copies for resale, print proofs, and expanded distribution.

With CreateSpace, you get all of those benefits and your work is manufactured to meet demand, so your title is always in stock. There are no upfront costs and no need to carry inventory because they print on-demand through Amazon. It makes creating a hardcopy much simpler!

For more information on this, check out this helpful blog post from our friends at Kindlepreneur.

The Length of Your Book

Before you make a book in print version, make sure that your book length allows for the optimal outcome. We usually recommend printing books that are over 15,000 words. That’s not to say that a lighter word count should preclude you from printing—for instance, children’s stories, photography books, and travel books are all examples of shorter genres that are easily and commonly converted from eBook to paperback.

Should you decide to create a paperback version of your eBook, it might be easier to wait until after your book has been published digitally.

3. The Pre-Printing Checklist

You’ve given it some thought and considered the factors above, and you’ve decided that you do want to print paperback copies of your book. Before you take the next step, it’s important to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s.” Run through our pro-developed, pre-printing checklist to make sure you’ve checked all the appropriate boxes.

  • Choose the size of your book.
  • Decide on black & white or color (Note: The prices may vary).
  • Price your book properly.
  • Create a rough concept for your covers.
  • Decide whether to outsource your cover graphics and design.
  • Write your author bio for the back or inside cover.
  • Pick your author headshot for the back or inside cover.
  • Pick the reviews you want to include.
  • Pick your spine design and layout.
  • Decide whether to outsource the interior formatting.
  • Work out an interior layout—from fonts to chapters to margins.

4. Your Cover Design

The next step on the road to printing your masterpiece is to design a Louvre-worthy cover. Ok, that’s a lot of pressure, but you should aim for at least a Barnes & Noble-worthy design.

Meeting with a designer can help you verbalize and align on your creative aesthetic and vision, resulting in actionable suggestions. If you decide that you’d rather design your book’s exterior on your own, there are online programs that can help. CreateSpace allows the non-professional artist to render pro-quality graphic designs with relative ease.

Some design elements you’ll need to consider are: whether or not you’ll want a matte or glossy cover, which fonts you’d like, and the design of your book’s spine. Typically, books with less than 101 pages should have a completely blank spine, due to space restrictions. Books with more than 101 pages have room for a title on the spine.

You know that, of course, your book will need a front cover, but you shouldn’t neglect your book’s rear. In addition to the cover art and fonts, you’ll need to create a back cover design. Most back covers provide a brief description of the book, an author headshot alongside a quick bio, and an optional barcode and ISBN.

5. Your Book’s Interior Formatting

Formatting your printed book pages is a finicky, technical process. For this reason, many authors say that outsourcing this chore to a professional book formatter is well worth the cost. Page margins, titles and subheading, and fonts are all tough to layout properly. Handing this over to a pro can save you a big headache. Moreover, at the end of the process, a good formatter will give you an archival quality product.

If you do decide to tackle the interior formatting yourself, then there are programs that can make the process simpler. Word has downloadable templates to make the work easier. These formats vary, depending on how many pages your book has. Make sure to experiment with multiple formats to help you decide which works best for your specific layout needs.

6. Upload to Amazon’s CreateSpace

Once you’ve created your printed book, the next step is to find your fulfillment house. There are many options available. Fulfillment houses pack and ship, and provide customer service for your books. We tend to overwhelmingly recommend CreateSpace. Their services are user-friendly and simple to follow. And CreateSpace works with Amazon to sell your books on demand, so you can curb the costs of printing more than the number of copies you need.

There are multitudes of resources out there to help you turn your eBook into printed paperbacks. Whether you want to sell your printed books, use them as pro marketing tools, or simply admire how lovely they look gracing your bookcase, realize that with a few easy steps, you can create your own beautiful paperback version of your eBook.

 

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

SPS 021: Using Books to Grow My Blog, Following & Online Business with Crystal Paine

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.

You can find Crystal here:

Money Saving Mom
Books by Crystal Paine
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
Money Making Mom Book
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode
Show Notes

[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.

Links and Resources:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Sell Your Book Like Wildfire
Periscope
Motivated Mom’s Chore Planner
Money Saving Mom
Books by Crystal Paine
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
Money Making Mom Book
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

SPS 020: How to Punch Worry in the Face with Mitch Matthews

I am really excited about today’s guest. It’s the man, the myth, the legend Mitch Matthews. Mitch is a speaker and entrepreneur and the host of the DREAM. THINK. DO. podcast. Mitch is an inspirational guy. He is a success coach and the author of Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works. He is also the founder of the BIG Dream Gathering where people can get clarity on their dreams and goals and then build a plan that enables them to take massive action towards those goals.

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.  

You can find Mitch here:

DREAM. THINK. DO. Podcast
Mitch Mathews Website
Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works
Mitch Mathews LinkedIn
BIG Dream Gathering
Show Notes

[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.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Brendon Burchard | Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power
DREAM. THINK. DO. Podcast
Mitch Mathews Website
Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works
Mitch Mathews LinkedIn
BIG Dream Gathering

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

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:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
Rev
Daniel Decker
teachable
Will It Fly? Companion Course
WalkingDeadStorySync.com
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