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

You might also enjoy:

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.

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

You might also enjoy:

 

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

Creating an Audiobook: What Every Author Should Know self-publishingschool

How to Make an Audiobook: What Every Author Should Know

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 are 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.

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:

  • Delete hyperlinks
  • Delete captions
  • Delete visuals
  • 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:

  1. Hire someone to record it for you.
  2. Record the book yourself in a studio.
  3. Work with an audiobook producer.
  4. Do it yourself at home.
  5. 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:

  1. It can be shared with potential narrators during the freelance-hiring phase, and
  2. 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.

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.

For example, when Joanna Penn did the recording for her own book Business For Authors, she hired professional producer Andy Marlow. A producer for your audiobook can ensure the quality of the audio tracks as well as mastering the file for the final production load.

You can find audiobook producers [audiobook engineers] on freelancing sites such as Fiverr or Upwork. Go to Fiverr.com, type in audiobooks, and select the “mixing and mastering” option on the left side. This will give you plenty of choices for finding audio engineers, editors and producers.

Option 4: Do it at Home

Many authors feel very close their work and would rather the content be told in their own voice. This is particularly true if the book is focused around personal stories or a family memoir. There are many books that do sound better when told from the voice of the author.

Do you have the confidence and the voice to create your own audiobook at home? If yes, then here is what you need to know to get started in doing that.

Equipment

If you are a podcaster or music recording talent, you may already have access to the necessary equipment for recording your audiobook. If not, what you will to get the job done is:

  1. A good USB mic. The Blue Snowball condenser mic or the Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone are recommended.
  2. A pop filter. The Earamble Studio Microphone Pop Filter is recommended.
  3. 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:

  1. Turn off all fans and machines.
  2. Read in a small, carpeted area
  3. Stay a consistent distance away from the microphone.
  4. Be prepared to make mistakes and record sentences over when necessary.
  5. Read the chapter through from start to end.
  6. Keep your voice at a similar level and tone across recording sessions.
  7. Modulate your breathing and don’t hold your breath.
  8. Read from a Kindle or device. No page turning sounds.
  9. 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 add 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. You can learn more about it directly on the ACX help for authors page.

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 (“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:

  1. Go to the ACX website.
  2. Log in to your account at amazon.com.
  3. Click “Add Your Title.” [Note: You must have a Kindle ebook published]
  4. Search and find your book then click on “This is My Book” prompt.
  5. Click on the “I have this book in audio and I want to sell it” prompt.
  6. Choose your territory and distribution.
  7. (Note: We recommend the “World” rights options with 40% royalties for the best results.)
  8. Choose the language(s) you’d like to sell the book in.
  9. Agree to the “Audiobook License and Distribution Agreement” terms
  10. Complete the “About My Book” section.
  11. (Note: You can duplicate the content from your Amazon page or create original content.)
  12. Complete the proper copyright information.
  13. Complete the info about the narrator, audiobook publisher, and any reviews.
  14. Click the “add audio file” prompt.
  15. Go to browse for the first section of your audiobook to ensure it was added.
  16. Continue this process until your entire book is uploaded.
  17. Don’t forget to change the chapters and section titles as you go.
  18. 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.

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

Want more on how to create your own audiobook? Start with our in-depth tutorial with Derek Doepker:

Then check out these other helpful resources:

How To Record Your Own Audiobooks For ACX by Joanna Penn

How To Record And Create Your Own Audio Book For ACX Audible by Kevin Kruse

The Audiobook Book: An Audiobook Production Guide for Indie Authors & Narrators by Renea Mason

How to Create an Audiobook for Audible: Advice for Authors, Recording and Formatting Info, and More for ACX, Audible, and iTunes by Buck Flogging

Narration: A Beginner’s Guide to Recording Audiobooks in Audacity: Work From Home Recording Audiobooks for ACX, Audible & iTunes by Krystal Wascher