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.
Last updated December 2017: At the time of writing this post, I’ve self published 6 bestselling books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks. The success of my books has been directly responsible for the success of my business, which I’ve grown to over 7 figures in revenue in less than 2 years.
Less than five years ago, this level of authorship success would have been reserved only for those select few authors who were lucky enough to catch the eye of an editor at one of the “Big 5” publishing companies (a process that relied just as much on luck and “who you knew,” as it did on the quality of your book).
Frankly, unless your name is Stephen King or J.K. Rowling…there are very few reasons why anyone would want to be traditionally published in 2018.
Which is why, whether you are trying to grow your authority and your business by writing a book, or are trying to leave your mark on the world, self publishing is the best option for you. Read on for “How To Self Publish A Book in 2018”: the exact steps you need to take to write, publish, and launch your first best-selling book.
What’s your why? What’s the book going to do for you?
Are you trying to build an asset that’s going to earn you passive income month over month?
Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business, trying to accelerate your growth and authority in your market by publishing a book?
Do you have an existing, well-established business, and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
Or have you already had a successful career, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience with those who come after you?
All of these are perfectly valid reasons to write a book, and we’ve had students at Self-Publishing School publish books that went on to be best sellers for each of those reasons.
2. Choose Your Book Topic
Once you’ve decided on your why, it’s time for you to decide on the topic of your book, not your title (that comes last). When choosing your book topic, there is only 1 rule to follow:
Use the rifle approach, not the shotgun approach.
When deciding what you want your book to cover, it’s tempting to try and make your book about anything and everything you know. This is a mistake I see many first time authors make, and it negatively impacts their book sales as a result. If you can’t summarize what your entire book is about in a few words, then it’s probably too broad of a topic (and sales will suffer as a result).
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Tell people to visit your page and enter their email address to learn how to get your book for free or at a steep discount. Try ConvertKit for collecting email addresses.
Then, a few weeks before your launch, start reaching out to influential bloggers and podcasters in your market (there’s an Action Plan for this, as well!). If you think their audience would be interested in the topic, offer a free copy of your book, and ask them if they’d like to review your book or interview you.
When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.
Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear. Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.
6. Choose a Title
Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” into the title of the book, rather than writing the book that needs to be written.
Therefore, it’s not until after your first draft is written that you need to worry about a title for your book. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught in “Book Title Land” when trying to come up with a title. Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t try to be too clever, or try to be “punny.” The truth is…the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to Keep It Stupidly Simple. As catchy or clever as you might think your title idea is…it will probably go straight over your audience’s head (and they won’t buy it as a result).
For example – if you’re writing a book about Home Renovation, the title “7 Steps to Flipping Profitable Homes” is much better than “Zen and the Art of Restorative Architectonics.” The former is simple and to the point (and most importantly, people will know exactly what the book is about). The latter is fancier, but most people have no idea what that means.
Once you’ve narrowed down your book title to a few possible options, send out an email to your friends, family, and audience (if you have one), or put a poll up on Facebook and ask for an opinion. You might be surprised what your audience’s favorite is.
Tim Ferriss took polling his audience to another level when writing his first book which went on to become a bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim set up a split test in Google Adwords and spent $200 testing 3 titles for his book:
The 4-Hour Work Week
Broadband and White Sand
Companies like Pickfu.com also offer very simple and affordable polling services…you can even define your audience demographics and have your poll answered by people who match those demographics!
Hiring a great editor can mean the difference between writing a bestseller, or a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary on this stage of the process.
To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any English teachers or others in the editorial field? Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor?
If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry! Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor, or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork. Self-Publishing School also has a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job.
No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you. If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then let that $25 go, and find an editor that’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake.
Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.
8. Design a Book Cover that Converts
Despite the saying (and contrary to many writers’ beliefs) people absolutely do judge books by their covers…especially books on Amazon. Your book cover design is very important and needs to look professional.
You don’t have to like it, but the truth is if your book doesn’t have a cover that looks 100% professional, people are simply going to skip it and look for something else. Which is why taking the time to purchase a professionally designed cover that converts is so important.
Unless you’re a graphic designer, you need to hire a professional to put the cover design together. However, before you approach a cover designer, you should have at least a rough idea of what you want your book cover to look like so you can give your designer a brief. This helps prevent wasted time and money on covers that don’t fit your vision.
One easy method to spark some ideas when creating your design brief is to take a look at other books in your market (especially other bestselling books). You’ll notice that in most genres, book covers tend to follow a design theme, and these themes are what your audience expects. While you certainly don’t want your cover to be an exact clone of another design, you also don’t want it to look completely out of place. A good designer will help you to find this balance.
To find a designer, check out Fiverr.com or Upwork.com. Make sure your designer has experience meeting the specs for an Amazon book cover and plenty of positive reviews. You may wish to pay more than one designer, and choose the best design from all of them. The choice is up to you, just make sure the end result is something you’re proud of. It will be your reader’s first impression of you!
If you want to pay for formatting, Liber Writer is a low-cost, effective option for converting a Microsoft Word file to Amazon’s Kindle format. If $60 is too much, you can also find people on Fiverr to format your book for Kindle. No matter what option you choose, preview your book using the Kindle previewer to make sure there are no formatting errors.
10. Self Publish Your Book
When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book. You should be just about ready to transform into a published author, but you aren’t quite ready to publish yet, so hit “save as draft.”
Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book. Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.
Amazon allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience. To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.
11. Decide on a Price
You’re almost ready to hit publish, but there’s just one more step before you can do that: price your book. This is not a “set it and forget it” process. You’re going to select a list price, but then you’re going to choose a discounted launch price by clicking “Promote and advertise” within your KDP dashboard.
Amazon crosses out that higher list price and shows how many dollars buyers will save. This lets users know they are getting more bang for their buck during your discounted launch, which will tempt more readers to buy. Now you can hit publish! (Doesn’t that feel good?!)
12. Reach out to readers and influencers
Now it’s time to really leverage the launch team you created in step 4. As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, the time is right to reach out and let your email subscribers know that your book is available.
Sending as sales email can be scary, but you’ve got to do it for two reasons: first, these people signed up to your list because they want to know about your book! And if you’re launching it for free or a discount, then they’re going to be very happy to hear about your deal. Furthermore, these people have been with you and have been following your success since early on in your book launch process. They want to help you!
The initial sales generated from your launch team will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, and will increase the chances of Amazon’s algorithm recommending it to shoppers, which will drive even more sales.
During this time, it’s also a great idea to follow up with any influencers you’ve made contact with and firm up plans to promote your book. You might offer to give away a free copy of your book to a winning audience member, or make some other offer to sweeten the deal.
13. Celebrate! (Now, decide what’s next)
Publishing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche. This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise. Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.
Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Getting clear on what you want will also help you to be more effective when expanding your network along on your journey.
So there you have it…that’s how to self publish a book. If self publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need to watch this free 4 part video training, where I walk through the exact steps I’ve taken to write, publish, and market 6 of my own best-selling books (and how I’ve helped 1,000’s of students do the same).
Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!
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.