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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not having an audibook version of your book might, quite likely, be the death of your success.
We’re in the age of podcasts, radio apps, and audiobooks, and now couldn’t be a better time to convert your eBook into an audiobook. But many writers get scared off by the thought of creating an audiobook.
“Isn’t it expensive?”
“Won’t it take a ton of time?”
“How do I even do it?!?”
Thankfully, self-publishing an audiobook now is as easy as self-publishing your book. It has become cost-effective and approachable for self-published authors, and there is a range of options depending on the budget you want to spend on it.
Here are the exact steps you need to follow, and our suggestions for turning your book into the next big audiobook.
NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here
#1 – Prep Your eBook Content for Audiobook Recording
If you’re starting from the beginning, you may have no idea how to convert your manuscript from writing to audio. Your first step will be to prep your eBook content for audiobook recording.
This creates a script you can read as you record the audio version of your book. You don’t want to get tripped up while you (or someone else) is reading through the manuscript, so you need to remove everything that won’t make sense in the audio version.
These are the pieces you should go through and look for to cut out:
Remove any calls to actions or click here prompts
Once you’ve created your new script, read through it one last time to make sure it all makes sense in audio form.
#2 – Record Your Audiobook
The next step in the creation of your audiobook is actually recording the book.
You have a few choices for this step:
Hire someone to record it for you.
Record the book yourself in a studio.
Work with an audiobook producer.
Do it yourself at home.
Hire an ACX narrator.
Option 1: Hire a Freelancer to Narrate Your Audiobook
Most authors find that hiring a professional to record their audiobook is the most expeditious and least painful route. You may be concerned about the cost of hiring a pro for voice work, but you may be surprised to learn that the cost for this service can be quite reasonable.
In fact, converting your self-published book into an audiobook using a pro can cost less than half the price of doing the work yourself.
Many freelancers will quote a price of under $500 for a full eBook to audio conversion; so don’t let the perceived high cost deter you.
If you’ve never worked with a freelancer before, you might not be familiar with the steps necessary to find the right talent. First, you’ll need a proposal.
The purpose of your proposal is to help delineate the work that’s needed. You’ll want to make sure to include the scope of the work and terms of your offer in your proposal. Your second step is to create sample audio content to share with potential freelance narrators. This is your “retail audio sample.”
The purpose of your retail audio sample is two-fold:
It can be shared with potential narrators during the freelance-hiring phase, and
It can later be shared with your future audience on Amazon to peak their interest in your book.
Have some fun creating your retail audio clip—it can be anything you want it to be! You may opt to read a full chapter, or simply condense a summary of plot highlights.
The ultimate goal of your retail audio sample is to intrigue both potential narrators and your potential audience. If you can capture their collective attention and peak their interest about your book, they’ll want to hear more.
If you’ve never worked with a freelancer, check out Voices or Upwork for a list of narrator pros.
You can also do a simple Google search to find those who have a career in narrating audiobooks.
Option 2: Self-Recording in a Studio
Your second option for creating an audiobook is self-recording in a studio. Realize that self-recording may be more costly in terms of effort, time, and money, especially from the paid time to use a pro recording studio.
We recommend that you block out a significant amount of time to complete your self-recorded audiobook.
Here’s a good timeline for self-recorded audiobook production:
Book your recording studio three weeks ahead of time.
Record your book in-studio. Plan for up to sixteen hours of recording studio time.
Plan for at least two weeks of post-recording editing.
Of course, these times are just guides; the time-frame may change once you start your project. Obviously, a longer book will take longer to record and edit.
Plan accordingly, and give yourself plenty of time to polish, edit, and finalize a professional product.
Option 3: Work with a Producer
The third path to creating an audiobook is to hire a professional producer. If you have never recorded an audiobook before, working with a producer would help you through the technical difficulties.
Audacity. Audacity is a free, open source cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. You can download Audacity here.
You could go fancier and get higher-end equipment, but these tools should be more than enough to get the job done.
Location and Space: You want to find an isolated, padded room or recording box. “Room Tone, or “Noise Floor” can bring in all sorts of sounds from around the environment.
Recording in your room is an option but make sure your space is set up for recording and that it is “silent.” If this is difficult, hiring a producer in this case would be a recommended option.
Recording Tips: Next you need to make sure you avoid any random noises that might pop up, and any variances in the recording quality.
Here are some tips to help make sure you do that:
Turn off all fans and machines.
Read in a small, carpeted area
Stay a consistent distance away from the microphone.
Be prepared to make mistakes and record sentences over when necessary.
Read the chapter through from start to end.
Keep your voice at a similar level and tone across recording sessions.
Modulate your breathing and don’t hold your breath.
Read from a Kindle or device. No page turning sounds.
Schedule sessions several days apart. Avoid sounding exhausted.
With the Audacity software and your mic, you should be able to get a decent quality recording of your book. But keep in mind that, recording you own audiobook is an exhausting process and it isn’t for everyone.
You have to set yourself up with the proper environment, and set aside the time for recording. If you have never used Audacity or any type of recording equipment before, there is a learning curve that adds weeks to the audiobook production.
For these reasons you may decide to hire someone for the first audiobook, learn what you can, and then try it for your next book.
Option 5: Hire an ACX Narrator
The final option that may be the simplest is to hire a narrator and producer directly from ACX.
They have that option built into their service for writers, where producers submit auditions for reading your audiobook and then you can choose who you want to work with.
Then once the book is published, you share some of the royalties with them, depending on the agreement you come to. If you don’t want to do the recording yourself or pay for everything up front, this could be your best option.
#3 – Upload Your Audiobook to Audiobook Creation Exchange
Now that you’ve recorded your book, either by yourself or with the help of a freelancer, you’ll need to upload your book to Audiobook Creation Exchange, also known as ACX.
When you publish on the ACX, your audiobook will be made available on Amazon, Audible, and the Apple audiobook store.
It’s the only place you need to go to make sure your audiobook gets heard by as many people as possible. You retain all of the audio rights, while ACX handles all of the distribution for you, similar to how the Kindle Direct Publishing platform works.
While there are a lot of steps, uploading is a user-friendly and self-explanatory process.
Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to upload your audiobook on ACX:
Click “Add Your Title.” [Note: You must have a Kindle ebook published]
Search and find your book then click on “This is My Book” prompt.
Click on the “I have this book in audio and I want to sell it” prompt.
Choose your territory and distribution.
(Note: We recommend the “World” rights options with 40% royalties for the best results.)
Choose the language(s) you’d like to sell the book in.
Agree to the “Audiobook License and Distribution Agreement” terms
Complete the “About My Book” section.
(Note: You can duplicate the content from your Amazon page or create original content.)
Complete the proper copyright information.
Complete the info about the narrator, audiobook publisher, and any reviews.
Click the “add audio file” prompt.
Go to browse for the first section of your audiobook to ensure it was added.
Continue this process until your entire book is uploaded.
Don’t forget to change the chapters and section titles as you go.
Finally, upload your book cover.
Make sure all info from your printed book matches that of your audiobook. Your author name should be the same and the book cover should be the same as appears on your eBook.
ACX will not allow you to continue if there are discrepancies in identifying information.
What royalty is paid on ACX?
When you publish your audiobook on the ACX, you’ll earn between 20%-40% of their title royalties. If you work with a producer, then you’ll have a royalty share with them, and the rate that you receive is dependent on how your producer is compensated.
If you work by yourself you keep the whole 40%, if you split it with a producer, you could each earn 20%. It all depends on how you decide to share it, and you can read more details on the ACX site or check out this directly from their site:
Also, a quick heads up: Your audiobook will not post immediately. ACX will hold your submission to confirm that all is in order before it posts you audiobook.
Don’t be alarmed if you see an ACX note telling you “This title is: Pending audio review.” That’s a normal part of the process and not something wrong on your end. When ACX approves your book, you’ll then have the green light to sell the audio copies online.
For a detailed, step-by-step explanation of the entire process—from production to distribution—check out ACX Author’s page.
Even if you’ve never done it before, technology makes the process of creating your audiobook easier than you can imagine.
A well-produced audiobook can help you expand your fan base and earn you new readers.
Don’t be deterred by the idea that creating an audiobook is outside of your wheelhouse—we promise it’s not!
With pro help (or even a little elbow grease on your part), you can have a completed audiobook within weeks, and be on your way to boosting those book sale numbers!
Recommended Resources for Learning How to Make an Audiobook
Ryan Deiss has taken email marketing, sales funnels, and creating and selling products to another level. He is the founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer which is a premier online community for anyone marketing online. Ryan and his team have invested over $15,000,000 on marketing tests, have generated tens of millions of unique visitors, sent over a billion emails, and have run over 3000 split tests.
Today, Ryan shares his marketing expertise as we talk about his book the Invisible Selling Machine which is all about email marketing and is also based on a product that supplies marketing email templates. Ryan shares how a book is a great tool to jumpstart a business and the importance of having a back end in place. He also used a unique webinar concept to test the title and write the book fast. Ryan shares how he and his editor collaborated and then how he edited everything to make sure it was in his voice. He also shares insights into marketing, writing, and being an effective entrepreneur.
Show Notes [01:49] Ryan feels that books are timeless because people get it. Ryan wrote The Invisible Selling Machine because he had something to say and there weren’t a lot of books about this topic. [03:27] The book is great as media and a lead generation tool. A book isn’t a business, a book jump starts a business. [04:15] After the book Ryan had the next step which was The Invisible Selling Machine template product. The concept stands alone and that information is the foundation of the book. [04:59] Even though he had a course on the topic, writing the book took a lot of effort. Ryan had to think through how to teach the concepts. [06:21] Ryan created a webinar and split tested titles to get the title for the book. The webinar bullet points were on the back of the book. [07:16] He wanted the story in the webinar to create a foundation and then share the result. Then he wrote a step by step and addressed objections and it turned out to be a good format for a book. Ryan had an editor that helped turn the webinar into the book, then Ryan rewrote a lot of it. [10:49] How it’s important for a book to stand on its own and not just be a disguised sales letter. [15:15] The importance of turning a glance into a stare with a title and subtitle. [15:45] How Ryan accidently sent the wrong cover to the editors and how the printer messed up on the first print. He was so disappointed to see his first copies looking so bad. He had 10,000 copies and was able to use them for a free promotion with paid shipping only. [24:13] Ryan has total control over his book and he uses it for marketing purposes that he controls. [24:56] His book has produced millions of dollars of revenue for him and he owns all of it. He doesn’t want to have to buy from a publisher to use his book as a tripwire. Although, someday he may go the traditional route. [26:14] One of the biggest issues with using a publisher is the timeline. If you take your advance and put it back into the campaign it would be effective, but 12 to 18 months is a deal killer. [29:03] The importance of having a funnel in place before you public the book. There needs to be steps in between like additional training or mini-classes. [30:39] He also made a quick optional upsell video. It was passive, but it performed well. [32:24] Having a permission based micro commitment upsell. [33:54] The thank-you page had another video which also gave away free videos. Which are used as a perpetual launch. He is also driving facebook ads to the book which will always sell because of the backend. [37:02] For immediate revenue it came from the Secret Selling upsell. The 30 and 60 day revenue was trumped by The Machine. [38:43] Ryan uses that money to put back into the campaign to get subscribers for Digital Marketer Labs. You have to reinvest money if you want to grow. [40:11] People want new products. With a membership, you can deliver the new without selling the new. [43:00] People join membership groups to have a community. [44:57] How Ryan hired key people who are responsible for his membership even a dedicated community manager for the facebook group. [48:23] How the team tracks campaigns to make sure they are effective. How a $500 buy on facebook ads is a good risk. It’s hard for Ryan’s team to justify a funnel that goes past 90 days. [50:47] The importance of the cost of customer acquisition and customer lifetime value. Looking for ways to maximize the value of the customer. [52:39] The dangers of big companies getting too comfortable and dying a slow death. [53:13] How Ryan’s business isn’t a launch centric business. [54:24] How having subscription revenue and ongoing sales and products is so much safer than the launch model as the sole method of selling.