Josh Shipp is an author, global youth empowerment expert, and an acclaimed speaker. He is a former at risk foster kid turned youth advocate. He is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his groundbreaking work with teens. He is also the author of the national bestseller “The Teens Guide to World Domination”, and was listed on Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list.
Today, Josh shares a little about his background and how he started speaking. Along with why he decided to write a book. He shares the mistakes that he made during his first attempt at writing, and how his writing process is now more like an assembly line that incorporates a writing partner and insight from a focus group. He shares inspiration for life, writing, and more. Josh is a good friend of mine and a great guy. My mom is even a fan of his.
[01:51] Josh was giving speeches when he was a teen. He had been kicked out of several foster homes and experienced abuse and neglect, but he also had a chip on his shoulder. With counseling, things started slowly turning around for him, and he started speaking about it.
[02:35] He became an unintentional success story and started speaking at high schools.
[03:18] The only product Josh had to sell was himself and his speeches. He needed a book to establish himself. Plus, it would help him leave his message behind for people to use.
[04:39] Josh tried going into isolation to write his book. He tried it, but it wasn’t for him.
[05:48] Having personal guilt over a preconceived idea of how he should write. Now, he thinks of his books as an assembly line. Every writer needs to find what works for them.
[06:36] Josh has a writing buddy that he partners with. They get together and decide what the chapters will be about. Josh decides the three things that need to be said. Josh’s partner takes the big picture and starts writing about the idea and concept. Josh is a better visionary and editor. He edits and gives notes. Then after a back and forth, they give the book to a focus group.
[09:07] They share small parts of the book with the focus group and ask how it can be 10% better. This process has been a game changer.
[11:29] How only about a 5th of the people in the focus group would reply, so he made sure he had about 75 people in the group.
[12:55] This writing process plays to Josh’s strengths which makes writing something that he can do repeatedly.
[14:41] Josh doesn’t recruit people who do what he does in his focus group. He wants to focus on the actual readers.
[16:02] Beginning with the reader in mind.
[18:43] A trick Josh would use was reading Amazon 3 star reviews in his category to find a gap in his space.
[20:29] Josh’s platform can move a good number of books, but the best way to sell a book is to create an outstanding book.
[22:28] How the content of the book needs to be evergreen and timeless.
[24:21] Creating a book that is helpful and prescriptive.
[26:00] Committing long term to building a platform for an outstanding prescriptive book.
[27:30] Have your Amazon page read as a persuasive sales page. Have a headline about the reader and testimonials and social proof in a scannable format that uses bullet points. Reviews are also important.
[31:26] How the book has helped Josh on the backend. He emphasizes the importance of the book having lasting substance. He then puts URLs in the book, so he can continue the conversation with readers. He can capture their information and sell to them in the future.
[34:05] Capture information and survey those readers to get ideas about creating further courses and information for backend creation. You can also segment personas.
[37:19] Don’t think that there is something broken in you, and things are only difficult for you. It’s easy to question yourself in difficult moments. Keep going and write that book.
Links and Resources:
Josh Shipp Website
Josh on Facebook
Josh on Twitter @JoshShipp
Josh on YouTube
Books by Josh Shipp
The Teens Guide to World Domination