SPS 035: Using a Book To Get Booked with Grant Baldwin

Grant Baldwin is a nationally known keynote speaker, podcaster, author, entrepreneur, and the creator of the Booked and Paid to Speak training program. He hosts The Speaker Lab Podcast and training site which provides weekly training to speakers at all levels. As a speaker, Grant has given hundreds of presentations and has spoken to over 400,000 people in 45 different states. His book and curriculum for students Reality Check is taught in over 400 schools around the country.

Grant and I met in San Diego, and he is a good friend of mine. I think Grant is a genuinely good hearted guy and one of the good guys in this space. Today, we talk about how Grant discovered his career as a speaker, why he wrote his book, how he self-published it, and more. Grant has sold a lot of books and has given a lot of speeches, and he shares a lot of wisdom and tips with us.

You can find Grant here:
Grant Baldwin
The Speaker Lab Podcast
@GrantBaldwin on Twitter
Free Speaker Lab Workshop
Grant Baldwin facebook
Reality Check by Grant Baldwin
Booked and Paid to Speak

Show Notes
[01:17] Grant has enjoyed speaking since high school. He started learning about and marketing himself in the speaking business.
[02:45] High school students would ask a lot about how to prepare for life after high school. How does real life work.
[03:22] He created his book around these questions and it was also a great speaking tool and it has gotten Grant speaking gigs and it has been an additional revenue source.
[04:12] Grant self-published. It’s nice to combine a book with speaking because when you speak you have a built-in audience.
[04:43] Grant speaks and then people buy the book afterward.
[04:57] Grant wrote the book at his mom’s house and created a timeline. Having a deadline helped him finish the book. Set a deadline and reverse engineer from there.
[05:35] His sister and an old English teacher helped him edit it. Since this was 2008, he actually sent the book to a book printing company called Books Just Books.
[06:59] The biggest challenge is staying on task and getting the book done.
[09:14] Why do you want to speak? Who do you want to speak to? What do I want to talk to them about? Get clear on the answers to these three questions before you begin.
[11:07] Then decide where these people gather.
[11:52] Being a speaker first really helped Grant refine his message.
[12:32] Having a well done book is great. People judge books by its cover. Have a good website and demo video as a speaker. These are critically important because people want a sense of how you communicate and if you are a good speaker.
[15:11] Have a demo video that is like a movie trailer. The point is to make your audience want to see more.
[18:15] Use Google to find cold reach out opportunities. Find an event and try to find out information about when and where the conference is and who to contact. Send an email inquiring about when they are going to hire speakers. A simple email to get them to reply.
[22:32] If they answer the goal is to get them on the phone. The sale happens on the phone. Speaking is a relationship business.
[25:16] Ask what would I Google to find events. Build momentum and reach out to people.
[26:31] This is a numbers game. The more you reach out to the more likely you will be a good fit. You may hear from two or three people and book only one.
[27:40] Do the follow-up call especially if you say you will.
[28:20] Have a system for the follow-up either some type of calendar or CRM type software.
[29:38] Having a long-term perspective keeps you from being disappointed and time and effort builds momentum.
[30:42] Following up makes people’s lives easier. You aren’t annoying them. Stay top of mind.
[33:32] Deep psychological influence of getting a commitment of front.
[34:49] What you charge depends on the market and your marketing materials and your experience. Speakers get paid $1000 to $3000 on their first gig. It’s also good to build relationships with other speakers in their market.
[36:42] Paid versus free. Free can get you course sign-ups and other speaking clients. Speaking for lead generation for coaching businesses.
[38:01] Speaking can be leveraged in other ways.
[38:31] Get the book done and make sure it aligns with the intended audience.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Books Just Books
Highrise
Contactually
FollowUp.cc
Influence: The Psychology of Influence
Grant Baldwin
The Speaker Lab Podcast
@GrantBaldwin on Twitter
Free Speaker Lab Workshop
Grant Baldwin facebook
Reality Check by Grant Baldwin
Booked and Paid to Speak

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Jeff Goins

SPS 034: Clinton White House Speech Writer at Age 23 with John Corcoran

My guest today is John Corcoran. He is a fellow Californian and a good friend of mine. John is an attorney, writer, father, and former Clinton White House writer and former speechwriter for the Governor of California. Throughout his career, he has worked in Hollywood and the heart of Silicon Valley. He owns his own boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area where he works with small business owners and entrepreneurs.

John is a renaissance man who has been in a lot of different careers on a lot of different sides. Today, he shares how he ended up landing a writer job at The White House after college. Along with a smart tip for positioning oneself for success. John also shares stories about working in the white house and the importance of having normal conversations with people to connect and build relationships. He shares all kinds of fun stories and great life and business advice from embracing whatever you are doing to the importance of surrounding yourself with people who energize you.

You can find John here:
Smart Business Revolution
The Smart Business Revolution Podcast
John Corcoran LinkedIn
@JohnCorcoran on Twitter

Show Notes
[01:50] John interned at The White House after college. Then he went back to school, but he kept in touch with people there and the other speechwriters. The day he was asked for a writing sample he happened to have a letter to the editor published in the New York Times.
[03:05] A great example of things we can do to position ourselves for success.
[04:56] Working at The White House was a great experience for a guy who was 23 years-old. He would run into Bill Clinton and other dignitaries in the hallway.
[06:07] He also saw the Easter Egg Toss, and met The President and introduced him to his family in the oval office.
[07:02] Be multifaceted and embrace whatever you do that is unique about you.
[07:34] A story about having a conversation with The President about old movies, and how it is important to have normal human conversations with people. That way you are more likely to have a connection and build a relationship.
[09:51] A couple chance meetings ended up landing John the speechwriter job for The Governor. Every topic would come across his desk and he would have to learn about it and then distill it down to something quotable.
[11:29] Writing has its own unique requirements. John studies and reads other writers, and for speech writing he listens to how they speak.
[13:15] Thinking about what is in the audience’s head and how you can move them to take an action or sell them an idea. You can do this by addressing all of the objections.  
[14:18] How the language you use frames a topic. The importance of practicing over and over. Understanding the other side when making a persuasive argument.
[15:55] Understanding from a place of compassion to understand other people’s objections.
[16:22] John writes for Forbes, Psychology Today, Art of Manliness and many other major publications.
[16:57] How John reads about a topic and writes ideas then eventually creates a structure.
[18:39] Ironically, John is more structured now for his blog posts. He grabs attention with the headline and the first line that speaks to the pain. Then he works into why it matters or is relevant. Then maybe a story then 5 or 7 ways to solve the problem. Then wrap it up with a callback.
[21:55] Guest posting really helped John get his name out there. Now he is getting more results from webinars and other different forms.
[22:43] Entrepreneurs love to ask other entrepreneurs what’s new. Entrepreneurial ADD. Sometimes an idea in a conversation is inspiration for John’s writing.
[24:37] The importance of honing in on your area of focus and the core thing you want to write about. Define and master your niche.
[26:05] Ideas can come from other books or their table of contents. Having conversations is a great place to get ideas. By doing more research the topic will flesh itself out more.
[27:31] How first person pontificating is the least interesting type of writing. Weave in other’s perspectives. Interviewing people will give you ideas.
[28:54] John uses free planners and The Five Minute Journal to plan his day. He also goes to coffee shops to write, but after doing the research and having all of the content.
[31:01] Triage your emails and find the greatest impact you can have. You can’t answer all of the one-on-one emails.
[32:52] You have to be willing to give things up to write. You also have to accept you can’t do everything. Getting things done boils down to day-to-day habits.
[35:11] Constantly battling the decision of how you spend your time. Do whatever it takes to get things done.
[37:00] The importance of spending your time getting what is inside of you out and not wasting time. The benefits of creating content snowballs for life.
[39:57] The satisfaction of being a creator is so much more than the short term satisfaction of being a consumer.
[40:41] John used guest posting to increase his subscribers from 1000 to 6000.
[44:51] How a guest post creates email subscribers. If starting today, John would just use Leadpages and guest post before building a blog. Giveaway a resource with something relevant. Topic of guest post, topic of site, and topic of free resource.
[48:23] How John is one of the most well-connected people Chandler knows.
[48:57] Writing is a great tool for building relationships. Interviewing people will give them exposure and create a connection for you.
[50:05] How relationships create all kinds of opportunities.
[50:26] Mindset do the opposite of ask and help. Don’t let fear of rejection to stop you.
[51:34] Take the time to write down 50 people you would like to meet or interview in the next six months. It gets easier as you work your way up the ladder.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Jim Kwik
Art of Manliness
The Five Minute Journal
Lise Cartwright
Productive Flourishing
Enounce
John Morrow
Leadpages
Andrew Warner

You might also enjoy:

 

Click here to be taken to the Self-Publishing School podcast on iTunes.

Book Marketing: How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book self-publishingschool

Book Marketing: How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book

Just because you wrote a new book doesn’t mean that your book is guaranteed to sell. Even if it’s the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective conscious of the public. This is why your book needs good marketing tactics to back it up.

Marketing takes planning, organization, and consistent action; it’s hard work. But the good news is that marketing is also about fostering connections and relationships, which can be rewarding to you and your fan base. And since you’re the one who knows your book from cover to cover, your backstory, your reasons for writing it, and who your ideal reader is, it’s your duty to put a plan in place to best connect with your intended audience and share your story.

We know, we know…you’ve put a ton of effort into writing, editing, and getting your book ready for publication that the thought of adding another layer of “work” is not the most appealing idea.

But realize that if you launch your book without a marketing plan, FAR fewer people will read it. It will hamper the success of the book you’re working on now, as well as others you plan on publishing in the future. So if you dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author, or if you want your book to help you reach other lifestyle goals, a book marketing strategy is your essential key to success.

Having seen and been involved in so many book launches ourselves, we know what works and what doesn’t for marketing your book. We’ll walk you through a play-by-play of exactly what you need to do so that your readers can find your book and buy it.

We’ve broken this guide down into three main sections:

  1. Pre-Launch: Building Your Book Marketing Launch Team
  2. Pricing Your Book for Maximum Sales
  3. Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

Let’s get started!

Pre-Launch: Build Your Book Marketing Launch Team

The first step of preparing for your book launch, and the marketing behind it, is to build your launch team. The ideal launch team is a dedicated, hand-selected group eager to make your launch successful. If you use your team’s talent and communicate well, there’s nothing your launch team can’t accomplish! Here are the 7 steps to get started:

Step 1: Size

The first step is to determine the projected size of your book marketing launch team based on the size of your audience.

Your audience is anyone interested in you, your book, and your product. They could be five of your lifelong friends, members of your community, big organizations you’re connected to, social media followers, email subscribers, anyone who might be interested in what you’re sharing.

If you have a smaller following, we suggest you aim for a launch team of 10-50. Those with hundreds in their network can aim for 100-250 team members.

How to Find Followers

If you don’t have much of a following right now, start by looking at your personal inner circle— your family, your close friends—then branch out to their connections, families, and colleagues.

You can reach out to peers from college, your volunteer work, or even your first job. You may even consider parents at your child’s school, fellow dog owners, or members in your yoga class.

Even though you may not know these people well, they are a part of your network, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re inspired by your book and would be eager to share it.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should have an initial list of potential launch team members!

Step 2: Recruit

Now that you’ve determined your potential recruitment pool, the second step is to initiate contact and gauge their interest level. The most important lesson to consider about your book marketing launch team is that QUALITY trumps QUANTITY. One top-quality, dedicated team member trumps a handful of mediocre ones.

To begin recruitment, create a simple questionnaire process that describes your book, your expectations of the team, and questions asking:

  • Why are you interested in supporting my book?
  • What part of my book speaks to you?
  • What specialized skills can you contribute?
  • What’s your available time commitment?
  • Who are influential people you can reach out to?
  • Why would these influential people be interested?

To sweeten the recruitment deal, feel free to offer a free signed copy of your book or an inclusion in the “acknowledgments” section.

You can easily do this through email, or through online forms like Typeform.

Step 3: Record a Welcome Video

Take the time to record a warm welcome video for your new supporters! In your video, first, congratulate your team for being selected and express gratitude for their help. Then, detail your expectations, your unique mission for writing your book, and why you want to share it with as many people as you can!

This welcome video will help you create a more personal connection with your book launch team, and show them a bit more about why you’re creating it and what message you’re trying to convey. Be sure to send it to everyone who completes your questionnaire

Step 4: Establish a Communication Style

Here’s the secret to a successful book marketing launch team: Effective communication.

Communicate with your team regularly to keep them focused on weekly tasks, progress, and innovative ideas by doing the following:

  • Strive to send one email per week preceding launch then increase it to three or more during launch week.
  • Use a Facebook group to engage, share ideas, and post feedback. Set the tone by posting “Dos and Don’ts” to keep conversations focused and positive.
  • Boost morale and build rapport by sharing inspiring quotes, gifts, and goofy photos to keep energy high and build vital connections.

No matter which mode of communication you’re using, remember people like to be treated well. Always make sure your team knows how grateful you are to them and their dedication!

Step 5: Book Marketing Launch Team Assignments

You can’t just build up a catalog of supporters and not use them, though. You have to give them small assignments to help you with launching your book.

It might feel weird telling people to help you, but don’t worry about it! They’re here because they want to support your project, and as long as you’re gracious and ask nicely, they’ll be happy to support your work.

Facebook Groups will be the most effective way to dole out weekly team assignments. Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team to do:

  • Share snippets of content from your book across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Add their reviews to Goodreads
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Record a testimonial for your book
  • Buy extra copies to give to their friends
  • Give you more marketing ideas!

Step 6: Utilize Talents

Your team members will have a different variety of skills and talents, and it’s your job to effectively manage your team by assigning work based on their strengths.

To identify your team’s talents, write a post during the introductory week and say the following:

“If you have any special talents or connections you’d like to lend towards my book launch, please comment on this post and let me know. I’m looking for ways to help spread my book’s message to a wider audience.”

Step 7: Have Fun and Say “Thank You!”

Your launch team will commit weeks of their time, energy, and talent, so make sure you thank each and every person for their contribution! Ensure that each person on your team feels valued and appreciated for their efforts.

And most importantly, let them know how to get your book for free (or at least at a deep discount)! Which brings us to…

Pricing Your Book

One of the most important factors in how successful your book launch is will be how you price it.

To find out how to price your book for success, we recommend reading Book Launch. But for the sake of this article, here are some of Self-Publishing School’s biggest secrets that will get your book to soar up the Amazon’s charts:

  • If you have a sizable audience, we recommend launching your book for $0.99, and then increasing the price to $2.99 or higher after about a week.
  • For first-time authors, we recommend Amazon’s Free Book Promotions for your book launch.

Although you won’t get paid by putting your book out for free, realize that it will be featured on another author’s page which instantaneously increases your exposure and recognition.

Once the free promotion has ended, switch your book’s price to $0.99 for the following week, then slowly increase the price up $1 per week until sales stagnate.

Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

All marketing—no matter which market or industry—is fundamentally about people and making connections. Part of pitching your book will be figuring out how your book relates to your readers and how they will benefit from it.

Now that your book is out in the wild, you want to get as many people to it as possible. Here are the eight best strategies for doing just that.

Build Your Book Website

Can you imagine if you came home one day and your house was…missing? Well, that is what an author’s life can be like without a website to post fresh content. You’ll always be missing a home where you can park your books. Many authors think they don’t need a website because they can promote their books through social media or the author platform on Amazon.

Sorry, not exactly.

There is a huge difference. Having an author website is the difference between renting or buying a piece of property. When you rent, you are living in someone else’s space. It doesn’t belong to you and they can cancel your lease at any time.

Maintaining your own website on a hosted server with your domain name is the same as having that piece of real estate. You can customize your site your way, publish your own content, and you are always in complete control of how it looks and what gets published. When it comes to marketing your book, the sky’s the limit. You can:

  • Publish your book’s landing page on your site.
  • Post blogs about your upcoming book
  • Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.
  • Set up an affiliate link to your Amazon page so you get commissions on book sales
  • Include sample chapters from your book
  • Link to video clips about the book on your website
  • Communicate directly with your email subscribers about new releases or your current blog post

And you can also set up a Google Alert so you can be notified about where your name and your book show up online. If someone gives you good feedback or a stellar review, reach out and thank them and ask them to link back to your book’s website.

Action Step: If your book doesn’t already have a website, get one started! To setup your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy and use WordPress for building your site.

Build Your Email List

There is a saying going around that says: “the money is in the list.” Why? It’s simple. A list of followers who are in love with your writing will be the first to line up when you have a new product to sell. These people are essentially your customers.

Your email list is yours. It doesn’t belong to Amazon or social media. You control what you want to say, how you say it, and when. Imagine if every time you had a new book ready to launch, hundreds or thousands of people were waiting for it so they could get it first.

If you are serious about promoting and marketing your current and all future books, building your list should be top priority. Nothing else comes close. Although building a list takes time, in the long run it is the easiest way to market. These are the true fans that will get the word out and be the first to leave verified reviews after buying your new release at the special price of 0.99. But that is just the beginning.

You can continue to build your list by including a reader magnet at the front and back of your book. Get people hooked on your brand and then keep them there by writing your next book, and then, including them in your next launch. As your book reaches more people, and you get more signups, your marketing capacity grows…exponentially.

Action Step: If you haven’t started on your list building, go to an email management system such as Mailchimp or AWeber and sign up for an account. Then get building and start to funnel your fans into your books today.

Reach Out to Influencers

When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers. What is an influencer? Influencers can be podcasters, bloggers, or authors with strong email lists. It’s someone with an established platform that can get you noticed if they notice you.

An influencer is someone who has a lot of promotional weight and can spread the word about your book to thousands of people with just a brief mention to their email list, on their blog, or by sharing on social media, for example. Influencers have a long reach. What you can do is identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Tell them who you are and ask if they can help to promote your latest book.

Influencers can have a major impact on your exposure as an author, so try to set up interviews in your hometown or reach out to someone online and offer to do an interview so you can deliver value to their target audience.

Guest post blogging on an influencer’s is another way to market your book. For example, if you wrote a book on recipes for Italian food, you could try connecting with people in the Italian cooking niche. They may have a blog, podcast, or a webinar on which you want to appear.

Action Step: Identify at least one influencer in your market and reach out to that person. Tell them who you are and what you do. Get on their podcast or get interviewed. Exposure to fans in your niche will have a big influence on book sales.

Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

Social media is a powerful way to promote your book to potential readers. We can engage with thousands of people just by hitting a few buttons. But with social media sites, the big scare is the amount of time we can get sucked into trying to do everything. If you try to connect with everyone, you’ll match up with nobody.

When promoting and marketing your book, you can’t be everywhere doing all things at once. That is why we recommend you choose two social media sites to work with, and post your content regularly to these two sites.

For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos. After a few months you could build up a library of content, engage with new subscribers and even create a course out of your videos.

With Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads that drive new readers to your Facebook page or your book’s website. You could also post popular quotes or snippets of material from your upcoming book.

With Twitter you can post multiple times a day with brief quotes or messages under 280 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

And if your book is more business-focused, you may find that LinkedIn works best for you, since it allows you to connect with new readers on a more professional platform.

We recommend choosing two social media platforms and focusing on consistent engagement. This will keep your book’s appearance fresh and invite new people in to check out your work.

Action Step: Choose two social media platforms and commit to publishing content regularly. If you only want to focus on one, master it, and then move to another that is perfectly fine! It is better to do one thing and get it right then do two things poorly.

Get on Bookbub

Bookbub is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. In fact, you should submit your book for promotion as either free or for 99 cents right after your book launch.

Bookbub has a massive following and can get your book delivered to thousands of readers. It really is the “Big One” when it comes to book promotion. The cost isn’t cheap and can run you anywhere from $200 to $2,000 for a promo, depending on the genre, category, and the price of your book.

But is it worth it?

Yes. Definitely.

For example, if you are running a promo for 99 cents in general nonfiction, you could potentially sell, on average, 2,000 copies of your book. Not only will you make a profit, but this could bring in hundreds of subscribers and leads to your email list. From there you can upsell readers on your other books or even a course if you have one.

Action Step: Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

Interviews and Podcasts

A local radio or podcast interview can introduce you to new readers. While this may sound intimidating, you can pull this off like a pro with a little preparation.

Look to local colleges, podcast hosts, or local radio stations for interview opportunities (Pro Tip: Hosts love to interview up-and-coming authors, so you may be surprised at the many offers that come your way when you reach out).

Reach out, let them know a little bit about your book and why it might be interesting to their audience, and include a free sample of it so they can see if you’d be a good fit. If you have a press release describing what your book is about, feel free to include that as well to give them more context.

Then be sure that when you go on, you present a great story about your book and get their listeners excited to read it!

Action Step: What are three podcasts or radio shows you could go on to talk about your book? Find their contact info and reach out with a pitch about having you on.

Book Clubs

Local book clubs are another goldmine of new readers; you already know they like books! Find and connect with these groups. You can offer to attend a meet-and-greet and hand out copies of your free signed book.

You can also get your book listed in Facebook Groups and other groups dedicated to readers. There are also paid lists, such as Buck Books, that can reach tens to hundreds of thousands of readers. Book Launch also teach what lists are out there, and which ones are the best to use.

Action Step: Are there any book clubs you could join? Look on Facebook for groups that would be a good fit for your book.

Write Another Book

Publishing another book is great for brand building. In fact, it’s much harder to market just one book unless it is a ground-breaking phenomenal masterpiece. Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.

With every new book you put out there you increase the chances of your work getting recognized by influencers and people online who are hanging out in all the places you can target for promotion and sharing.

Launching your book is only the beginning. The real work begins after the initial “bang” is over and you have to dig in deep to promote, engage, and provide solutions to readers’ problems. Remember: Marketing is about delivering a product [your book] to the right people [your audience] who need desperately what you have to offer [your solution].

Create this product for your readers, ship it to them and communicate in a way they understand—and you’ll become a great marketing guru as well as an amazing author.

No matter which marketing tactics sound best for you, remember that choosing a few key strategies and executing on them regularly is crucial to increasing book sales.

Let these strategies be your secret weapon to a successful book launch, and you’ll be on your way to being a bestseller in no time!

build a book launch team

How To Build and Manage Your Book Launch Team

When it comes to launching a bestselling book on Amazon, the biggest leverage an author can invest in is building a stellar book launch team. Your team will receive an early bird copy of the book, read through it, and write an honest review to be posted when the book is live. But a launch team can be much more effective in other ways too that we will look at in this post.

In this post I will walk you through the steps for building, guiding and managing your book street team. If you follow this system, you will be investing in the most critical part of your book launch, setting your book up for the long term success it deserves.

What is a Book Launch Team?

Your launch team is a group of people who are going to set you up for success when your book launches. They could be fans of your previous work, readers of your blog, friends who want to support you, or the members in your mastermind group. And, ideally, a combination of all of the above.

The launch team has a massive impact on, not only the success of your launch but, the long term success of the book. They are a group of people who are passionate about your book, your brand, and they want you to succeed as much as you do.

Your job, as the author of the book, is to guide your team to take action both before the book is launched and then during the launch window.

Why do you need a book launch team?

Launch team members will help you to get reviews during the launch and, help you to share the book launch as well as get downloads for your book. If you have a weak launch, you have weak book sales and you’ll be forever struggling to drive traffic towards your book.

Your launch team will read the book before anyone else and prepare an honest review of the work to be posted during launch week. Amazon favors books with review activity. The more reviews you can get posted, your book moves up the rankings faster and gets promoted by Amazon under the “books you also might like” section.

Reviews also sell books. If you manage to get 20-30 reviews in the first week, this would create serious momentum for your book rankings. It is the best social proof that your book is getting read and people are taking an interest in the content. The bottom line: Reviews convince browsers to buy. Amazon will rank your book higher as well if there is activity taking place.

Building Your Team: Where do I recruit?

The question that I often get is, “Where do I find people to join my team?” This is a challenge if you don’t have much of a  following and have never launched a book before. Let’s assume that this is your first book launch and you are looking for people to join your launch team. Where do we begin to build? Who can we ask?

Here are a few suggestions:

Make a list of 20-30 people you can contact directly.

These can be business contacts, online relationships, or subscribers to your email list. This list functions as your core team, what I call your level 1 launch team. They are the most committed to your launch. Perhaps they joined a previous launch you had and now they want to sign up for this one as well.

Post to your Facebook/Social Media Platforms/Mastermind Groups

This is where you can gather a lot of your level 2 launch team members. If you are going for a large launch team, this would be the next phase. If you want to keep it more personal and limit the number of people, just follow through with the first step and leave it at that.

Keep in mind, with your level 2 launch team, you could get anywhere from 20-200 people sign up. The reason we call it a level 2 group is, many of the people joining may not know you personally, but they have an interest in your book. But the question is, how committed are they to following through? It is just a fact that not everyone on your team is going to follow through. Maybe they didn’t like the book, they had no time to read it, or, they were uncertain what to do during the launch. There is the possibility that they won’t leave a review for whatever reasons.

This is why we have to be clear with our team as to:

  • What actions to take
  • When to take it, and;
  • How to implement the action plan

The best you can do is encourage people throughout the launch and keep the pressure momentum turned on. This is where team incentives and providing value will deliver in the end. When people feel as if they are a part of something important, they are more likely to follow through.

Team Incentives: What to offer?

This is the part of the process in launch building that you can really make a difference to the strength of your team. By adding incentives to what you can give your team, you will increase the commitment of your team.

Decide what you will give to your team to offer quality incentives that makes them feel a part of the team.

What can we offer?

Check out Kevin Kruse’s post “Sample invitation to build a launch team.” In this invitation to join his street team, Kevin offered up a bundle of incentives to the launch team when he published 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. Some of these perks included membership into a Mastermind Group on Facebook and an exclusive “ask me anything” webinar before the launch.

Likewise Michael Hyatt, when he launched Living Forward, offered launch members an exclusive look into how the book launch was structured as well as access to a special 30-minute group phone session with him prior to launching the book.

So, what you can offer your team is:

  1. The digital version of the book way before anyone else sees it. This can be in PDF or Mobi file. For creating a PDF or mobi file of the book, check out the free calibre software.
  2. A free hardcopy of the book delivered right to your door.
  3. A free webinar or a facebook Live Q&A session: you can get close and personal with your team by hosting a live webinar where you talk about the book, get into behind-the-scenes strategies of the launch, and share inside tactics that nobody else can get.
  4. Exclusive access to a private Facebook group. Here you can post videos, share posts, and converse with your team in real time as they get excited about the launch
  5. Free training videos based on the content of your book
  6. Additional freebies that you want to share with your team.
  7. An advance copy of a workbook that you will be offering to subscribers
  8. Early access to course material that won’t be available until the book is launched.

The goal is to provide your team with a lot of value so that they know they are part of something important. This will increase the level of commitment you will get from members reading and promoting the book during launch week.

Building a Quality Team

When it comes to launch team members joining your team, it isn’t about the numbers. It is the quality of the team. It is much better to have 40 people who are committed than 200 that just sign up and don’t do anything. You want your team to be involved and take action. So, how do you build  a quality street team fully committed to launching your book to bestseller status?

Here are four strategies:

  1. Reach out to people personally. By contacting people you know on a personal basis you can get a solid commitment from that person with a personal email.
  2. Create an application form process. This creates a barrier to entry. The people who are serious players will fill out and commit. You can check out an application form template right here. In the application process you let the potential member know what is expected and what they will be responsible for. The application process creates accountability and exclusive access to the launch team material.
  3. Invite people  who you have worked with and trust, such as podcasters, bloggers and influencers, to help you with the launch.
  4. Create a team of committed reviewers and promoters to set the launch on fire when it takes off.

Setting Expectations for Your Team: Your Big Ask

This is when you are up front with the launch team about what is to be expected during the launch. What actions are you asking them to do? On what days will they take these actions? What is at stake as far as the success of the book is concerned.

Remember: The success of your launch plan is critical, and the launch team is the all-important component to making it happen.

Expectations should be made clear from the beginning. When you put up a post for early bird readers, let them know that taking action is a must. This is the big ask and what you will expect from the team if they are selected to join your launch.

Here is what you could ask of your launch team:

The ‘Call to Action’ Plan

  1. Read the book before the launch day. Provide feedback if they pick up on such as formatting problems, misspellings, etc…
  2. Write up an honest review of the book and post it during launch week.
  3. Share word of the launch through your social platforms, mentioning the book in a weekly blog post, and starting a discussion about the book in chat forums. This could also include tweets, Facebook posts, or post the cover to Pinterest and Instagram.
  4. Share promotional ideas within the launch group. This is where a Facebook Group would come in. Members can easily post ideas and swap strategies for promoting the book.
  5. Take a photo of you holding up a copy of the paperback. This would require that the paperback be ready in advance to send to select team members so they have time to take the photo before launch.

Provide your team with a list of action strategies they can take during launch week. Let them choose what strategies they like and fits into their schedule. You can encourage the team by adding a points system.

The members who take action and complete each promotional strategy earn a number of points. This could lead to receiving even more freebies.

Organizing Your Team Communication Portal

Now that you have your team together with emails, you have set the expectations, and outlined the launch plan, you have to decide how you will communicate with your team. People need to feel connected to you during the launch or else they lose interest and you lose the trust of your team. Set up your method of communication and invite everyone into the launch.

Email Campaign

Set up at least 6-10 emails to be delivered throughout the launch. You can add your team emails to a campaign in your email service provider such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Convert Kit. You can set up email autoresponders to go out on certain dates, or customize your emails as you go.

Launch Team Emails: How often and how many?

One question that comes up often is, “how many emails do I send out, how often and what should the content look like? Once again, if you are running a Facebook Group and using that as your main source of communication, I still recommend you have a set of emails set up to be delivered throughout the launch.

I send out an email every second day. Here is a breakdown of what these emails would look like:

Email #1: Welcome Email: Includes Intro to the team and the PDF of the book.

Email #2: How is the book reading? General overview of the launch plan.

Email #3: 5 Days Before Launch. Include a video of how to leave a review on Amazon

Email #4: The day before launch—Are you ready?

Email #5: LAUNCH DAY! It is time to take action.

Email #6: Review reminder, update on book status and current ranking.

Email #7: Final reminder. Leave a review and FREE paperback giveaway reminder.

Email #8: Final email. Thank you for joining the launch team.

What you want to do is take time to customize your own emails. You can space the emails out accordingly. I like to keep them balanced so that the team is getting the support they need without feeling too overwhelmed.

Facebook Group

A group you can add your members to for easy access and communication. You can post regularly and easily add video and communicate with regular updates. Members can, as we mentioned, share ideas for promoting the book during the launch day.

Even if you do a Facebook Group, I recommend sending out regular emails regardless. Not everyone is going to be into joining a Facebook Group, so communicating with regular emails set up to be delivered on select dates will cover all the bases.

Sending Out Your Book

There are three ways you can get the advance copy to your team.

PDF Form. Attach the PDF to the welcome email if you are delivering it this way. For larger files, you can drop the book in Dropbox and share the link with your team. Dropbox allows people to download the book without having to sign up for an account.

Bookfunnel.com This is a great way to deliver your book. BookFunnel has a yearly subscription fee but it’s worth it if you launch regularly. The basic price is $20 a month for 1 pen name and 500 downloads per month. You can check out the features of bookfunnel right here.

the pigeonhole. I’ve used the pigeonhole before and I really liked it. How it works is like this. You upload your book in PDF form to the team at Pigeonhole. You provide them with your launch team emails and then, Pigeonhole posts a chapter a day of your book on their site. Members read right on line and can comment on the book as they work through it.

This is a great platform for improving the quality of the book as well. Early readers catch the small mistakes that were missed and you can fix everything up before launching.

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Team

Sending out email with long gaps in between.

You want to be consistent in communicating with your launch team. Long gaps in between emails will result in people losing interest and not following through when they should. I average an email every 2-3 days. For a Facebook group, you could post something everyday, even if it is just a short blurb.

Failing to set expectations.

Remember the list of expectations we looked at in the beginning? By not setting your expectations you are leaving the launch wide open to chaos. Be sure people know what they need to do and when they need to do it. Don’t just assume people will take action. They need you, the author, to lead them. Be upfront and let them know they are with you until the end to take action.

Setting your initial price point too high.

Okay, you might think this is common sense but, you want to launch your book right away at the lowest price point possible. That would be 0.99, and then possibly free after you’ve set set your promo up in the KDP dashboard.

If your price is upwards of $5-10, people may not download it. You want your price to be low so the launch team especially can download it to leave a verified purchase.

When it comes to Amazon rankings, a book that has the verified purchase tag weighs more than a non verified review. Make it easy for people to download. Set your price low and get the rankings moving. You can increase your price point after the launch.

Directions that are unclear.

You want everything to be so easy for your team that it can literally run itself. What this means is, setting up all the steps so that people know exactly what to so. Some of the questions I have had from team members were:

Where do I leave  review?

How do I leave a review?

Where is the link for the book?

What is this Goodreads website?

You can eliminate confusion and wasting time answering basic questions by setting up the steps so it is like paint-by-numbers. For example, shoot a short video of how to set up a review. Walk people through the process. Video is a fantastic way to visually teach the steps and can be done easily. You can then post it in the Facebook feed or embed the link in an email to be downloaded from Dropbox or Vimeo.

It all comes down to planning ahead. By foreseeing possible problems that can slow down your launch, prepare ahead of time and set your team up for success.

The Power of Sharing

Swipe Copy for Your Team is a set of pre-formatted/written emails and/or posts that the launch team can use to share either via email or online. You want this to be as simple as possible so people can just copy and paste to their social media platforms or deliver by email without it taking too much of their time. The easier it is for your team to deliver, the better.

Create swipe copy for your book launch and make this available to your team via dropbox or upload to your Facebook Group. The swipe copy should be easy to use and provide material for sharing online or via email.

You should include specific instructions as to how to use the swipe copy. Not everyone has used this before and you will get questions from people if they have difficulty. I would recommend shooting a short video explaining how to set this up on launch day. Show people how easy it is. Encourage them to share where they can and as often as possible.

If each of the people on you team threw up a post on their Facebook page, and they had an average of 500 friends each, that would exponentially share your book with a large community that you otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

Street Team Team: Setting up a permanent funnel for future books

Once the launch is over, your facebook group will most likely be disbanded. You could try to keep it going but after the launch is over, but without a specific purpose for the group that extends beyond the launch, it is a lot of work to keep the interest going. This is where a long term strategy for your books could be put into play.

Are you planning to launch another book? Do you want to use some of your core launch members for another book launch? In that case, you could set up a street team of reviewers that are ready to support you on, not only this launch, but all future launches.

Remember: a launch team is more than just getting someone to review your book. You could take the relationship to the next level. Consider setting up a private facebook group for people who want to stay in touch and support your work in future launches. And, if they agree to this, it will be far easier to tap into a group that is already in place then recruiting new members.

Build Your Launch Team [Master Checklist]

Here is a review of the steps to build your launch team.

  1. Reach out to at least 20-30 people directly to begin the recruitment process. Ask for permission to put them on your launch team.
  2. Expand to social media circles like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
  3. Put together an incentive package: free digital copy, paperback, question and answer group call, or a sneak peak at the launch behind-the-scenes.
  4. Choose your method of communication: email, a Facebook group, or both. [Both methods are recommended together]
  5. Be clear about your expectations for the launch [launch goals for reviews, ranking, and book sales]
  6. Create a series of emails to send to your group. You can set these up beforehand or create as you go for a more ‘on-the-spot customized feel.
  7. Decide the method to deliver emails: gmail template or email server campaign template [recommended]. You can use Mailchimp, free up to 2000 subscribers.
  8. Prepare a “Welcome to my launch teamVideo or Post.
  9. Send out your Welcome Email. This includes the digital copy of the book. In your email outline the expectations for being on the launch team.
  10. Create a “Swipe File” for the team to share. Deliver this to your team the day before launch.
  11. Keep track of your team emails using an excel sheet.
  12. Send out a “review reminder” a week after the launch.
  13. Final email/posting: Thank your team for their support during the launch. Follow up on any final incentives promised.
  14. Stay in touch with members of your team. Continue to build relationships with people so that your book launch can get bigger with every new book release.

Conclusion

Now that you have a roadmap for setting up your launch team, it is time to get to work. Remember that the best time to start building your team is right now. Work on you relationships with people interested in your material. Connect with other authors and begin to get the word out about your upcoming book launch. It is never too early to start.

SPS 033: How I Used My Book “Podcast Launch” to Help Create Podcasters’ Paradise with John Lee Dumas

I am joined by the one and only John Lee Dumas. John is the man behind the Entrepreneurs on Fire website and the super popular EOFire podcast. This podcast is an award winning podcast that reveals the journey of inspiring entrepreneurs seven days a week. John has interviewed a list of who’s who in the business and entrepreneurship world including Barbara Corcoran, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and even me.

John is also an amazing example of a successful entrepreneur in the podcast industry. I don’t have to tell you this because his numbers and income reports speak for themselves. Today, we are going to talk about his first book Podcast Launch and why and how he wrote it. We also talk about how the book was the inspiration for JLDs successful podcasting course and community called Podcaster’s Paradise.

We also talk about how John built a list and used his book and podcast as a lead generation tool. He created a free podcast course and didn’t hold anything back. Some people said he was crazy for doing this, but the lead generation results of the course also speak for themselves. This is fun episode where my friend John shares how his book, course, and funnel led to his biggest earner at the time which was Podcaster’s Paradise.  

You can find JLD here:
Entrepreneurs on Fire
Entrepreneurs on Fire Podcast
Books and Course by JLD including Podcast Launch and Free Podcast Course
Podcaster’s Paradise
Podcast Launch
@JohnLeeDumas Twitter
John Lee Dumas facebook

Show Notes
[01:41] In hindsight, writing a book seemed liked the most obvious step. Entrepreneur on Fire was meant to be about entrepreneurship, but listeners wanted to know John’s method for podcasting, so he decided it was time to tell his story.
[03:34] John and Kate wrote the book from start to finish, and he has rewritten and revised it several times. The day it launched it was the number one ranked book in Amazon for podcast and podcasting. He wrote the book in a weekend.
[04:29] The book launched in February of 2013 and Podcaster’s Paradise launched in October of 2013. Writing the book helped John realize that he did have a process.
[05:14]  How starting is hard, but once things are started they flow. It took about 70 hours for John to write the book.
[06:29] The book helped John realize that there was an audience for people wanting to podcast. This sparked the idea for Podcaster’s Paradise.
[08:51] Podcast Launch was the MVP for Podcaster’s Paradise. John also had more to share and knew that people wanted a community.
[09:54] How John created a wire frame of what his course would look like, then he told his book readers that he was creating a live podcasting workshop. He also gave his early readers early access at a discounted price. He also said it would open in 45 days at a higher price.
[11:25] The webinar proved that it was a viable product and he created everything and opened the doors at $397 and he still has his lifetime founding members that got in at $197 early adopter discount price. Now the product costs much more.
[13:09] John was able to bounce ideas off of his 35 founding members as he built out the course. The feedback helped in the creation process.
[14:18] John put an offer for the free audio version of the book on the second page of the book. This was a great optin for his webinar. Even people browsing the book would find the optin link. This method combined with others helped build a nice targeted email list.
[17:39] Podcast Launch has been a great lead generation tool for Podcaster’s Paradise and the book continues to make sales.

[18:26] All of the funnels lead to Podcaster’s Paradise because at the time this was his biggest source of revenue.
[19:33] The best thing he did was create the FreePodcastCourse.com It teaches everything without being a cliffhanger. This allowed him to build a 12,000+ person email list that he can use to market.
[22:01] There is an image leading to the free course right at the beginning of the book, and it drives leads every single day. He also uses the Entrepreneur on Fire intros and Leaddigits.
[24:44] John has several intros that he uses to present his calls-to-action in his podcast.
[25:14]  John shares how Chandler helped him increase his lead generation sign ups into the free podcast course.
[31:54] How John has found some great podcast mentors who he can recommend to his readers and listeners. The referral system generated revenue for John.
[33:07] How we have to pay our dues and have our seasons of work before we can learn and scale in a massive way.
[33:54] John also has people he recommends for intro, outros, and logos. He is also one of nine affiliates for LibSyn. Use promo code FIRE for two free months.
[35:18] When he has a guest recommend a book he mentions his Audible.com affiliate link.
[37:47] John recommends coming from a place from within to provide genuine value when writing a book. Then take a step back and add on marketing tactics and tools. Focus on email capture and bonus content that will grow your list.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Ernest Hemingway
Leaddigits
1755: Growing your business past 7 figures using a book (how I did it) with Chandler Bolt
Entrepreneurs on Fire
Entrepreneurs on Fire Podcast
Books and Course by JLD including Podcast Launch and Free Podcast Course
Podcaster’s Paradise
Podcast Launch
@JohnLeeDumas Twitter
John Lee Dumas facebook

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Click here to be taken to the Self-Publishing School podcast on iTunes.