SPS 051: Traffic Secrets Book Launch: A Behind The Scenes Look At How I’m Launching The Book with Russell Brunson (How I Use Books To Grow My Software Company)

Russell Brunson is the founder of ClickFunnels and the author of three books: Dot Com Secrets, Expert Secrets, and his most recent book, Traffic Secrets. He was also a guest on episode three, where he talked about how to outline a book. To date, Russell has sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his books. Today we are going into how Russell is conducting his launch for book three of his trilogy.

As ClickFunnels grew, his business became less challenging and less exciting. For Russell, “Selling books extend my message more than anything else I’ve ever done.” Although never planning to write a trilogy, however, when he was offered to purchase Traffic Secrets from another offer, he realized he could easily create a trilogy series.

Russell brings us through his journey of writing, rewriting and republishing his books in hardcover. He tells how he revised his first two books while publishing the third in his series. Then, with his first advance from his new publisher, he realized he had to buckle down and write the third book by the deadline.

Although COVID has affected his book launch, his click funnel is sending thousands of people to his site, which is converting at a rate of 20,000 books per month sold for his latest edition. His book launch includes three phases, which involve social media, interviews on podcasts, and long-form content.

Listen in to find out how COVID affected his book launch, how he is using his click funnels, and the types of ads he is using for his funnel. Learn how Russell is using the content of his book to drive traffic to his book, the short term and long term strategies you can use to promote your book, and Russell’s plan to add radio, infomercials and social media buys into his three-phase book launch.

Show Notes

[02:37] Why books are the hardest project for Russell to make happen.

[03:46] Did Russell plan to have a trilogy from the very first book?

[06:06] Each book has its own stand alone funnel and how he manages his book funnels.

[08:25] How he manages so much content in a very short amount of time.

[11:12] Russell’s team and how they assisted him in writing his book. 

[13:48] The launch plan for his new book Traffic Secrets

[15:49] Phase II of his book launch and how COVID affected his launch, focusing on email traffic.

[17:29] Phase III of his book launch, which includes interviews on podcasts and social media.

[18:49] Short term and long term strategies for promoting your book.

[20:50] How to buy ads to target your market on other channels and platforms.

[25:43] Email marketing and click funnels.

[26:42] Russell’s thank you pages and how they lead into more sales.

[27:39] How Russell and his team have designed click funnels to be mobile-friendly.

[30:12] Lessons he has learned from writing his three books in his trilogy.

Self-publishingschool.com

ClickFunnels’ Funnel Challenge

Spsfreetraining.com

Circle of Profit

Recorder Plus

Self Publishing School Episode 003 Video

Expert Secrets

Russell Brunson on the Web

Russell’s podcast Marketing Secrets

His three book trilogy and web classes

how to make an online coure from your book

How to Create an Online Course: 11 Clear Steps to SUCCEED

Learning how to create an online course is becoming more and more relevant as time goes on, and the coronavirus pandemic has proven just how valuable that is.

While we here at Self-Publishing School hopped on this trend much earlier than the pandemic by creating our Course Building for Authors program, we thought it would also be helpful to break down some tips for creating an online course for all of you.

While we obviously can’t give away all of the secrets for how our students of that program are launching their courses to $10,000+, we can give you a step-by-step rundown of how to create one for yourself.

Here’s how to create an online course:

  1. Make a course plan
  2. Know what your course outcome is
  3. Get feedback on your course idea
  4. Decide if you want course creating guidance
  5. Create a course outline
  6. Develop the entire course content
  7. Choose your course building platform
  8. Finish your course!
  9. Launch your course to a beta group
  10. Make course edits
  11. Launch and sell your course!

FREE ONLINE TRAINING

The Strategies To Launching A 10K+ Course

Learn the strategies we’re teaching our students RIGHT NOW to use to take their knowledge and expertise, build an online course, and launch it to $10,000 and beyond…without massive lists, affiliate connections, or sales experience

How to Develop an Online Course With NO Content Yet

If you have nothing and are starting from scratch, you’ll likely be a little more behind than others.

This blog post will help you but most of the time, having some sort of blog or a published book will make creating an online course much easier, faster, and overall better.

Our Course Building for Authors students often either come to us with a book published or another asset they’d like to turn into a higher revenue-generating business.

This gives them a solid base of content to turn into a course outline, an email list generated through a lead magnet inside their book, or a popular blog or other content asset they’ve been making for a while.

That said, if you truly don’t have any content, you can still learn how to create an online course! You’ll just have to understand that it may take a little longer to generate a solid outline.

Online Course Platforms to Use

While we’ll get into more of this specific step later (and how our students save 50% off a high-rated online course platform’s annual pricing), I wanted to drop a few options for you when it comes to where your course will live.

It’s important to have a reliable, trustworthy, and customer-service centered course platform in order to ensure your customers’ needs are met.

Here are some of the top online course platforms to consider:

  • Teachable
  • Kajabi
  • LearnWorlds
  • ThinkiFic
  • LearnDash

There are plenty of more out there, but those are the best from our research.

How to Create an Online Course Step-by-Step

So you have your idea, you know you want to use a course to create a passive income revenue source, and you’re ready to go!

Let’s get into how to create an online course that does well and sets you up for success when you launch in order to build your online business.

#1 – Make a plan

You could just put some content together and run with it, but we’ve found this is why most people fail with their online courses. They have the desire but don’t plan appropriately.

You should be aware of what you need, the expenses involved, and how you’ll make a return on that investment (ROI).

(By the way, you can check out the Self-Publishing School ROI Calculator to understand just what you can make and how much your business can grow by using one of our programs.)

Here are a few things to plan for if you want to create an online course:

  • Where will it be hosted? (Your own website = $ for hosting, domain name, etc.)
  • How will you collect leads to convert to course buyers?
  • Will you be the “face” of your course?
  • Do you have a platform with people asking for a course?
  • Do you have a platform to sell to? (We teach you how to do it without one in our program!)

These are just a few of the items you want to plan for while thinking about creating an online course.

From there, you should build an action-plan to tackle some of these prior to launching your course (though you can start developing the outline and content before).

#2 – Know what you want the course OUTCOME to be

Most people don’t think about what success looks like for their customers before they develop the course. This is a huge area of importance we cover in-depth in our Course Building for Authors program, mostly because it sets you up for the long-term.

The more of your customers who find success, the more likely they are to refer, give you a high rating, and ultimately grow your business.

After all, the course is about them. Not you or what you’ve made. It’s about their struggles and how you’re solving that problem for them.

So ask yourself: what will the outcome be? What will be changed from starting the course to finishing? What will they have when they’re done?

You can use our program promise as an example: Turn your book into an online course and get your first 10 sales.

The result of this program is that our students will walk away with a complete course based on their book, and a guaranteed first 10 sales (because we also cover how to SELL your course).

If they don’t receive that, then we have some serious making up to do.

This also gives us a clear line of sight into what success means, which allows us to track this in order to make sure our students are getting what they paid for.

#3 – Get feedback about your idea

This is most helpful if you have an actual platform to go to. One of our Course Building for Authors students had a bit of a large Facebook group, and she was able to use that to ask them exactly what they wanted.

While we don’t necessarily advise people to make a course only to give people what they want, you should absolutely make sure that what you are covering is needed.

If you create a course on how to create a solid morning routine when what your audience really needs is a method of getting their tasks done throughout the whole day, it won’t perform as well.

Ask your friends and family, search forums, take to social media and research the need for what you want to create. If there’s a great need and little help, that’s the idea to go for.

FREE ONLINE TRAINING

The Strategies To Launching A 10K+ Course

Learn the strategies we’re teaching our students RIGHT NOW to use to take their knowledge and expertise, build an online course, and launch it to $10,000 and beyond…without massive lists, affiliate connections, or sales experience

#4 – Decide if you want guidance creating your course

You’ve already read all about how we help people build online courses with our program. But this is where you should decide if you want that help, or if you want to risk the odds alone.

You can check out that program page linked all over this post, and you can also research other methods of creating an online course.

All I can really advise you on is this: if you want to succeed, to make money from your course, and create a course that truly makes a difference, getting guidance from someone experienced will make a difference.

Imagine yourself without any help, trying to navigate this by Google search…and then imagine if you had a program walk you through step-by-step how to make it, with 1-on-1 coaching for specific questions, as well as a large exclusive community to support you.

You can absoutely have success without going to a coach or program to teach you this. However, it’ll likely take a lot longer and you’ll have to put forth much more work.

As a company that’s gone from $0 – $16 Million in 5 years from online courses, we know a thing or two…or ten 🙂

And we’re teaching you our exact methods, our sales tactics, and more.

Click here to check out the program page and decide for yourself if you’d like a complimentary 1-hour strategy call.

#5 – Create a course outline

If you have a book, this step is likely a lot easier, though there are some major differences between a book’s content and a course’s content.

That being said, creating an outline is super important. Think of each line item in this outline as a module for your course.

Having a clear plan with your destination (what you’ve determined “success” to be for your course) will help you create a better course, faster.

And in the age of time being the most valuable resource, this is really important.

Here are the steps for outlining your course:

  • Create “modules” for each section that differentiates from the one before it
  • Then go through and list 2-5 topics for each module
  • Then go deeper and indicate the biggest “takeaway” for those unique topics as well as for each module
  • Don’t forget to make a section for proof, examples of someone or yourself accomplishing what you’re asking them to do
  • Review your outline to determine if it needs anything else in order for people to succeed in your course promise

#6 – Develop the entire course content

Now’s the time to dig deep and make your content!

There are a few options you can use to put the course together:

  • Written content
  • Audio content
  • Video content

We here at Self-Publishing School recommend have all three available. But first, start with the written content (unless you’re more of a speaker, in which case record, then transcribe).

The reason for having several different types is because people learn in all sorts of ways.

By giving them choices, you create a better user experience and will be more likely to have people succeed and then leave positive reviews, boosting your course sales (not to mention the testimonials you can use for marketing).

#7 – Choose your course building platform

As stated above, there are a lot of online course platforms to consider.

You want to make sure you find one that works for you and your needs, and also fits your financial budget on this project.

Here are some things to consider:

  • The price
  • Does it host your content for you (otherwise you’ll host it on your own website, increasing the hosting provider cost)?
  • Can you send emails from it?
  • Can you check customer’s progress / achievements?
  • Is it easy to use (for the tech challenged)?
  • Will you have to learn an excessive amount in order to create your course?
  • What kind of build is it–drag and drop or a single format?
  • Will you be able to customize your course with branding?
  • What’s the customer support like (AKA: will you be able to quickly solve issues making it hard for your customers)?

We encourage spending a lot of time considering these, goingthrough free trials, and more in order to find the course platform that suits you.

For Self-Publishing School Course Building for Authors students, they get 50% off an annual subscription with Teachable because of our partnership with them.

#8 – Finish your course

Take the time needed to get your course content created, uploaded, and in whatever course platform you want to use.

This will be the longest step simply because you have to sit down and do the work. Nobody can do this for you (unless you hire someone to transcribe videos).

The steps for finishing the course content are actually very similar to finishing the first draft of your book.

Remember to be clear with your instructions, use metaphors to make it easier, and use examples from your own life. People love authenticity. Be real about what you did and how it worked in order to get them to take action.

#9 – Launch to a BETA group

Before you go live, you should always launch your course to a beta group at a lower offer price than you plan to go public with. This is super important for setting your course up for success later on.

It can be hard for those of you without a platform, but even offering a discounted price and letting people know it’s for a testing phase can help you get conversions through your website.

This stage is really vital for understanding what people are actually getting out of your course. Much like with writing a book, you can’t always tell what’s working and what’s not because you created it.

Have others go through, let them tell you what’s confusing, what didn’t work, and what was even hardest for them.

This gives you a list of “fixes” you can make before launching publicly that will give your new customers the most success.

#10 – Make any adjustments from the beta group

This is pretty self-explanatory, but make those changes! Don’t just ignore the feedback you get.

While you don’t need to change everything, especially if only one person had an issue and others didn’t, you do want to make sure you’re adjusting things that several people spoke up about.

Make your course the best it can be for your customers, and remember you can always make tweaks and updates later on as well.

#11 – Launch & Sell!

Now’s the time! We know these are a lot of steps, but they’re necessary to build a course that will perform well and bring you and your customers success.

That being said, selling it all on you. Whether you’re selling straight from a landing page or you’re getting on sales calls, the important thing is to focus on their need and how your course helps them solve it.

In our course building program, we actually have an entire section on selling and how to do it without feeling “salesy,” with our own blueprint for what we do here at Self-Publishing School.

online course platforms

Best Online Course Platforms: 2020 Deep Comparison

If the Coronavirus pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that online course platforms and e-learning definitely has a bigger place in our future.

Panicked with what to do without school or work, a staggering amount of people have taken to the internet to educate themselves, their kids, as well as simply pass the time.

With that comes the need for online course platforms that perform reliably.

Since Self-Publishing School is an online education company featuring several programs all hosted with an online course platform, we’ve got some tips for you!

And if you’re new to online course creation and are looking to get your foot in the door of this online learning growth, you’ll need a reliable course platform.

While we cover this process of choosing a course platform and even creating a course in its entirety in our Course Building for Authors program, we also wanted to provide you with a list of the best online course platforms for you to decide for yourself.

FREE ONLINE TRAINING

The Strategies To Launching A 10K+ Course

Learn the strategies we’re teaching our students RIGHT NOW to use to take their knowledge and expertise, build an online course, and launch it to $10,000 and beyond…without massive lists, affiliate connections, or sales experience

Here are the best online course platforms:

Best Course Platform Criteria

• Price

• Special Features

• Tech level needed

• User rating

• Customer support

• Ease of starting

• Integrations

What are online course platforms?

Online course platforms are softwares and other technical programs used to host an online course you’ve created, including videos, photos, quizzes, and more.

Instead of learning how to code or hiring someone to code on your website in order to encompass everything you want for your online course, you can use one of these course platforms.

They usually have features of hosting, brand customization, email integrations, and more convenient features you can easily hit a button and use.

Online course platforms take a lot of the technical work out of creating and launching your course.

Questions to Ask to Choose the Best Online Course Platform for You

Knowing your goals, your own technical capabilities, as well as what you need in terms of features will go a long way in helping you decide which online course platforms will work for you.

Here are some questions to help you understand what you need in a course platform:

  1. What’s your budget for a course platform?
  2. What’s your current tech use level?
  3. What special features do you want your course platform to have (email integration, quizzes, etc.)?
  4. How much do you want to be automated?
  5. Do you need video, images, text, and other formatting features?
  6. What email provider will you be using (needed for special integrations)?
  7. Do you need an all-in-one payment and course platform?
  8. What type of customer support do you need (quantity, do you employ someone already, etc.)?
  9. Do you need your course platform to save user data and results?

For this blog post, you’ll see some boxes at the bottom of each course platform indicating the price, overall rating by users, as well as a “tech level” needed to use, on a scale of 1 – 5: five being “a lot of tech knowledge needed,” meaning coding, and extensive web development knowledge and one being so easy a chimp could do it.

So if you struggle with tech a little bit, look for a software with a lower score in that department.

How to Create an Online Course Platform

We have all of these steps covered, along with how to actually sell your course in our Course Building for Authors program, but we’ll give you the main steps here.

This is how to create an online course platform:

  • Decide on your course topic
  • Outline the content in full
  • Decide on what “success” looks like for your course
  • Choose a course platform that best fits your needs
  • Create the course content (quality is key!)
  • Upload materials to the course platform of your choosing
  • Make sure all integrations are set up and working flawlessly
  • Price your course to sell (& generate revenue)
  • Sell your course!

There are obviously many steps involved with creating a course, it’s why we have an entire program about it. However, the above steps can get you there if you know what you’re doing and what you want.

The Best Online Course Platforms

Let’s get to the good stuff!

Below you’ll find 11 of the best course platforms in 2020. These will have several categories covered along with a summary box at the end in order to help you choose with course software is best for you.

#1 – Teachable

This is the course platform we use here at Self-Publishing School, and have for years. We rate Teachable higher than others because it’s been really easy to use, is highly customizable, and you can even host it on your own website with certain plans.

We also have a 50% off of a yearly subscription deal for our Course Building for Authors students.

— Price

Teachable, like other course platforms, has a few different plan options you can choose from based on your own needs, business size, and more.

Below you’ll find a screenshot of their pricing tiers.

Teachable Pricing Tiers

Their tiers are based on different needs and sizes. If your business is just you, the Basic plan will likely fulfill the needs you have. But if you’re looking to grow your business or expect a large launch, the Professional plan is usually the way to go.

The Business plan is going to be best for larger buisnesses looking to switch to Teachable or those who have a very large platform launching a course.

Also note: there is a FREE plan with Teachable, but it’s very, very limited. For example, you can only. have 10 students with a free plan and an unlimited amount with all other plans.

So if you do want to try Teachable before paying, you can start with the free plan!

— Special Features

There are almost too many features to count with Teachable. You can check out a full list of features here, but we’ll touch on some of what we believe are the best ones.a

Here are some of Teachables best features:

  • Quizzes
  • Certificates
  • Course Compliance
  • Highly customizable, from landing pages to in-course branding
  • Student feedback
  • Coupons / promotions
  • Payment enabled
  • Great integrations (we’ll cover below)
  • Analytics
  • Data reports
  • Web hosting capabilities for your own domain
  • Mobile app

— Tech level needed

You don’t have to know a whole lot about tech or we development to create and launch a course with Teachable. They make it super easy to upload and edit content.

We’ll say you’d need about a 2/5 tech level in order to use this course platform.

— User Rating / Reviews

We love Teachable here at Self-Publishing School, which we’ve already mentioned.

So instead of rehashing that, I wanted to give you a few reviews and ratings from actual users from this site right here.

Overall, Teachable has a high rating with 4.6 out of 5 stars with 89 ratings from one site.

However, another review site has a lower rating of 3/5 stars.

Overall, teachable has a relatively high rating with a couple issues regarding cancellation, but they do seem receptive to this feedback and even replied in once case above.

— Customer Support

We’ve personally found it really easy to work with Teachable’s customer support team. Tickets are usually handled with a couple of days, which is saying something for a company of their size.

However, others in some reviews state having difficulty with support, so this may be an area that’s not as consistent as some would like.

In addition to tickets and support from an actual person, they do have a large knowledge base with really easy-to-follow articles.

Our suggestion would be to first search Teachable’s knowledge base before sending a customized help ticket. This can cut down on your own time, as well as theirs, which only increases ticket response for more urgent matters.

— Ease of Starting

We love Teachable for how easy they make it to start. It’s why we recommend this platform to our students.

Here are the steps from sign-up to creation:

  • Visit their site and click “create a course”
  • Make your account with name, email, and password
  • Confirm. your course’s name
  • Answer a few questions about you and your business
  • Access your dashboard and start!

It’s really that simple, and that few steps. So long as you can create your course content, you’re good to upload in minutes.

course-platform-teachable-dashboard
Teachable Dashboard – Course Creation

— Integrations

Teachable has really great integrations! We’ve found the better the course platform, the more integrations they likely have due to their size, which makes it easier for them to create partnerships between companies.

Here are some of their featured integrations:

  • Zapier
  • MailChimp
  • AWeber
  • Infusionsoft
  • Mixpanel

Teachable Course Platform Overalls

PRICE: Free – $249 per month

USER RATING: ★★★★☆

TECH LEVEL: ⬤⬤◯◯◯

FREE ONLINE TRAINING

The Strategies To Launching A 10K+ Course

Learn the strategies we’re teaching our students RIGHT NOW to use to take their knowledge and expertise, build an online course, and launch it to $10,000 and beyond…without massive lists, affiliate connections, or sales experience

#2 – Kajabi

If you’re familiar with Jenna Kutcher or other big name business owners, you’ve probably heard of Kajabi promoted by them. It’s one of the most popular course platforms, rivaling Teachable and even ThinkiFic.

— Price

In terms of overall pricing comparison, Kajabi does run more expensive than Teachable for their Basic, Growth, and Pro plans.

However, Kajabi also markets themselves as an “all in one business platform” and not just a platform for courses.

Below you can see the pricing breakdown with what’s included, with the Growth plan being the most popular at $159 per month (billed annually), which breaks down to $199 per month if you choose to submit monthly payments.

They do offer a free trial period so you can test it out!

best online course platforms kajabi pricing
Kajabi Pricing Tiers

— Special Features

While there isn’t a specific page dedicated to all Kajabi’s features, their home page does a good job of breaking some of them down. Remember, this has far more capabilities than just course building.

Here are the best features:

  • Course creation and hosting
  • Many integrations, including your website hosting (WordPress, Squarespace, etc.), Infusionsoft, WooCommerce, and more we’ll cover below
  • Email creation and customization
  • Fully integrated sales pages (Leadpages, Clickfunnels, etc.)
  • Lead tracking
  • Mobile app
  • 24/7 support
  • Hours of detailed training

— Tech level needed

Because Kajabi is far more than just a course platform, the learning curve can be a bit steeper.

And that means you may benefit from being proficient in using tech and automations if you want to go with Kajabi. Remember, it does have its “Kajabi University,” which includes a ton of training for those of you who can learn quickly.

However, if you are rather tech challenged, this might not be the best option for you just yet.

Overall, we’d give this a 3.75 / 5 (rounded up to 4 in the overall score below) for tech knowledge needed to use and create.

— User Rating / Reviews

You can find a ton of great things said about Kajabi’s interface. However, we don’t just want the success stories posted on their homepage, so we did some digging for real user ratings and reviews, ranging from very happy to less than ecstatic.

Overall, ratings for Kajabi’s course platform do steer in the 4/5 star rating area, with a smaller number of users rating it less than 3-stars.

It seems that you really need to make sure you can handle the large interface and capabilities before going with Kajabi, like we said in the tech rating above.

— Customer Support

Some distaste for Kajabi comes from a lack of support, while others rave about how great their 24/7 support is.

One great thing to remember is the help center and articles and videos they already have that could answer your questions for you.

— Ease of Starting

The ease of starting for this course platform isn’t as seamless as it is for say, Teachable. But they do have more capabilities that you might want to set up before actually creating your course.

Getting signed up for an account is actually easy–all you need to enter is your name and email and you’ll have access to your account.

From there, you’ll have to choose integrations, get familiar with your portal, and watch some training videos to learn how it all works. It’s less straightforward than other course platforms.

— Integrations

This is really where Kajabi shines in terms of its integrations. It seems they can connect with most softwares your business may already be using.

Here are some of their integrations (you can also find listed here):

  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook
  • Aweber
  • Mailchimp
  • Drip
  • ConvertKit
  • Paypal
  • Stripe
  • ClickFunnels
  • Leadpages
  • Segment
  • ActiveCampaign

Kajabi Course Platform Overalls

PRICE: $119 – $319 per month

USER RATING: ★★★★☆

TECH LEVEL: ⬤⬤⬤⬤◯

#3 – LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds is a software specific to building online courses and monetizing them, specifically on your own website.

— Price

LearnWorlds offers very competitive pricing for what you get, plus an additional customized plan if your needs exceed their highest offering.

This is very convenient for those of you hoping to grow extensively and don’t want to have to switch to a larger platform (which can be a huge pain). You can see their overall pricing plans below.

They also have a free trial that’s 30-days long, which is double the time Kajabi gives you free, so you can really get a feel for the software before committing.

LearnWorlds Pricing

— Special Features

What I appreciated a ton about LearnWorld’s website is that they have a really thorough breakdown of each plan on their “Features” page, so you really understand what you get and which will work best for you.

Here’s a screenshot of what this looks like as well as another that’s what you get when you click “+ Expand All” button.

LearnWorlds Features
LearnWorlds Features Expanded

Overall, the pricing is very comprable with Teachable’s when it comes to what you get for the price. Having unlimited courses and students with their Starter tier is very convenient, with the loss of unlimited landing pages and you can’t use their hosting for a blog.

The Starter tier also only allows for 3 customizable pages (home, course cataglogue, and after login), which means if you want highly customizable options, you’ll want to go for their Pro Trainer or higher.

Another note: if you go with the Starter plan, you will have to pay a $5 fee per course sale. So doing some math to see if going with the Pro Trainer tier would end up saving you money is a good thing to consider.

— Tech level needed

Once you sign up, you’ll go to your dashboard, the typical view with the menu on the left of pages you can navigate to, as seen in the image below.

LearnWorlds Dashboard

In full honestly, this looks more intimidating than it is. However, because it does look complicated and has a lot of moving parts, the tech level needed to create and navigate would be a bit higher.

If you can log in to something and figure out where stuff is, you’ll be just fine with LearnWorlds. Just know that is can be a little overwhelming at first.

— User Rating / Reviews

On this review site, LearnWorlds has an overall 4.9/5 star rating, which is really good for software like one for course building.

You can find more detailed user reviews as well, covering the most helpful features along with some pros and cons as well.

One thing of importance to note: I’m trying to find some lower rated reviews to share some of the other end of experiences, but am having a hard time finding them. This is good!

Most people rate LearnWorlds 4-5 stars.

— Customer Support

All but the Starter plan come with 24/7 support, the starter plan with 24 hour support 5 days a week.

However, the only tier that has phone support is the Corporate High Volumne, which is their customized plan for larger entities.

All the tiers do have a Help Center you can access, but the Starter plan does not have any onboardng help, whereas the other plans do, along with increased time as you move up the tiers.

— Ease of Starting

It’s pretty simple to create your course and get started on your free trial. All you really have to do is hit a button and you’ll enter your email, school name, as well as answer a few questions to help set a few things up.

LearnWorlds Setup

From there, you can hit “finish” or “OK, take me to my school now” and be greeted with your dashboard, which you can hit “Courses” and “Create Course” to begin.

When you do the above, it’ll lead you to a pop-up questionairre to set your course up, which is really easy to navigate and it “plugs in” your answers where needed.

LearnWorlds Course Creation

— Integrations

LearnWorlds is another larger course platform, meaning it has more integrations than the average, which you can see a full list of details for here.

Here are some of the listed integrations for LearnWorlds:

  • Zapier
  • Mailchimp
  • ActiveCampaign
  • AWeber
  • Convertkit
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Mixpanel
  • Facebook-pixel
  • Sumome
  • Hubspot
  • ReferralCandy
  • FreshChat
  • Zendesk
  • Olark
  • Tawk To
  • Fomo
  • Intercom

They also have an area for businesses to connect with them to set up integrations, which may be why they have so many.

There’s also an option for getting an API for further integrations, which would require a bit more tech knowlege to get going.

LearnWorlds Course Platform Overalls

PRICE: $24 – $249+ per month

USER RATING: ★★★★☆

TECH LEVEL: ⬤⬤⬤◯◯

#4 – ThinkiFic

ThinkiFic is another top runner when it comes to the original course building platforms out there. You’ll find this one on most lists you end up researching due to its longer reputation.

— Price

Not only does ThinkiFic have a money-back guarantee, they also have a free version that allows up to 3 courses with quizzes and surveys, content hosting, as well as ulimited students.

Of the course platforms we’ve covered so far, this is the best unpaid offer for small creators.

They also have a 30 day money back guarantee if you do decide a paid version isn’t quite right for you.

ThinkiFic Pricing

The paid versions of ThinkiFic are a tad bit higher than other course platforms, but overall very good for what they offer, particularly getting Drip content and emails included in their Basic tier for $49 per month.

— Special Features

A feature many tech-challenged will love about ThinkiFic is their drag-and-drop building feature. It’s easier to design and edit than other types of course platforms.

What’s less great is that you can’t really view all of their features in a list format or comparatively very easily. Their “Features” page leads you to a landing-page style that goes through all the features without indicating which pricing tier it would be in.

However, if you navigate beneath the pricing table, you’ll see an option to view more comparisons, which is where they give you a thorough breakdown of what’s in each plan.

Overall, here are some of ThinkiFics key features:

  • Immediate payouts
  • Security
  • Website builder (Basic plan and up only)
  • Unlimited students
  • Quizzes
  • Drag-and-drop course creation
  • Video, PDF, and other content storage
  • Student progress tracking
  • Daily backups
  • Course packaging and payment options
  • Ability to host course on your own domain

— Tech level needed

ThinkiFic is a relateively user friendly course platforms, offering the ease of a drag-and-drop builder.

That said, we’d rate the tech level needed as a 2 out of 5. It’s easy to navigate, it’s clean and uncluttered, and most people with a working knowledge of the internet can likely maneauver it.

— User Rating / Reviews

This review site here has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars with 80 total submissions.

Below you can find a couple reviews from this site, one good and one with a couple issues highlighted you might want to think about.

— Customer Support

It’s a bit difficult to find how to gain support through ThinkiFic. If you go to the footer, you’ll find a “Support” column with a Help Center and other links, but nothing to contact them directly.

I had to search through their Help Center for “support ticket” in order to find this page that teaches you how to get help and how to contact the support team.

Overall, this could be improved with a button on your account dashboard to bring you directly to this page or others, as I can see this being difficult for some people who aren’t as tech knowledgable when it comes to searching for help and information.

— Ease of Starting

Getting started is just as easy as other course platforms, including a great questionairre to help tailor it a bit more.

ThinkiFic Starting Questionairre

Thankfully, the dashboard for ThinkiFic is far less overwhelming than that of LearnWorlds. It’s clean, clearly labeled, and also gives you a checklist for “onboarding” to learn the material better.

ThinkiFic Dashboard

— Integrations

Thinkific Course Platform Overalls

PRICE: $0 – $499 per month

USER RATING: ★★★★☆

TECH LEVEL: ⬤⬤◯◯◯

#5 – LearnDash

LearnDash is probably the most unique of the 5 best course platforms we’ll cover. Instead of logging into an account on thier site, it’s a paid plugin you can use to add to your WordPress website and manage in the backend.

This gives you high customization and complete ownership of the hosting, meaning if another course platform’s servers go down, it will be down for your students whereas with LearnDash, the plugin is more likely to avoid server problems, so long as your own domain and hosting provider are in good shape.

However, this also comes with a steeper learning curve, meaning the more tech and web development knowledge you have, the better for this program.

— Price

Since LeardDash isn’t a subscription model, you pay full price for the plugin to use this software. This also means you pay for this yearly, it’s a recurring annual purchase, not just a one-time purchase.

LearnDash Pricing

If you want to break down these packages to monthly rates, they’d be:

  • Basic – $13.25 / month
  • Plus – $15.75 / month
  • Pro – $27.41 / month

Comparing these prices with the monthly rates of other course platforms, LearnDash is actually very affordable for what it offers.

Plus, they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you’ll be able to purchase, download, upload to your site, and try it out within 30 days before choosing to keep it for good.

NOTE: Because this is a plugin, all course content will need to be hosted on your own domain, meaning you will likely pay more for storage through your hosting provider than you would with a course software that allows for free content hosting, like Thinkific. So while these price breakdowns are really affordable, there may be other expenses elsewhere to think about.

— Special Features

Because LearnDash is a WordPress plugin, it does have certain features that are unique to it.

This includes the fact that you can host it directly on your website or multisite (yes, it has multisite capabilities!).

There are so many great features with LearnDash, especially the forums, where students can congregate, discuss, and learn even more.

Here’s a breakdown of the features listed on their Features page:

LearnDash Course Features
LearnDash Monetization Features

What’s really convenient about LearnDash’s monetization features is that you can set up subscriptions easily, you have a shopping cart, and you can also bundle and sell your courses.

LearnDash Admin Features

Another great feature is the “Expire Access” admin capability, which can help increase on-time payments in order to keep revenue coming in, without having to manually manage this.

— Tech level needed

Because LearnDash is a plugin and not an actual online platform, having a bit more tech knowledge, specifically that of using WordPress, is really handy.

I would not recommend this course platform for people who aren’t proficient in WordPress.

That being said, we rate this a 4 / 5 for technical capabilities.

However, if you know WordPress like the back of your hand (like me!), this platform offers so many customizable features you’d be crazy not to love it!

— User Rating / Reviews

Out of 85 submitted reviews on this site, LearnDash has an overall score of 4.6 / 5.

Most of the reviews listed boast about it’s customization and customer service. Others with lower ratings usually feel that way due to their tech challenges, which is just confirming that you should have more tech knowledge if you want to use this course platform seamlessly.

— Customer Support

LearnDash’s support isn’t quite up to the level of other online course platforms. However, it does have standard support, with their support conditions stating:

“Support is available from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays of the United States.”

Many reviews, however, praise the support and thoroughness of replies and feedback, which is good news! So while they don’t have 24/7 support, it sounds like their support thoroughly solves your problem quickly.

— Ease of Starting

This is where LearnDash does have some drawbacks, simply because it’s a WordPress plugin and requires a few steps to install and begin.

For a seasoned WordPress-er, they’re really simple steps:

course-platforms-learndash-
  1. Purchase the plugin
  2. Download the plugin
  3. Log in to your WordPress site (or create one if you don’t have one)
  4. Go to your dashboard
  5. Go to “Plugins” on the left sidebar
  6. Click the “Add New” button at the top left
  7. Click the “Upload Button” at the top left
  8. Click “Choose File” and select the zip file of LearnDash OR just draft the zip file over the “Choose File” button
  9. Click “Install Now”
  10. Wait until it’s done and then click “Activate”
  11. Your LearnDash section will be at the top left of your dashboard in those menu items
  12. Navigate to “Overview”
  13. Open the email you got when signing up, it should have your LearnDash license number
  14. Copy and paste that where indicated on the “Overview” section of LearnDash
  15. Your course platform should be goo to use now!

If you’re using a multisite through WordPress, make sure to first navigate to the site you want to use’s dashboard before uploading the plugin.

From there, it’s as easy as navigating to your specific area and adding course content. They also have helpful videos on how to use each section and how to proceed.

— Integrations

Because this is a WordPress plugin, that integration is the most important. However, there are other integrations for payments, emails, and more.

Here are some of LearnDash’s integrations:

  • Zapier
  • WooCommerce
  • SamCart
  • Slack
  • Stripe
  • MemberPress
  • Gravity Forms
  • GamiPress
  • MailChimp
  • Visual Composer (WordPress plugin for display/theme layout)
  • ConvertKit

You can see more integrations and extensions for LearnDash here.

LearnDash Course Platform Overalls

PRICE: $13.25 – $27.41 per month (annual payment options only)

USER RATING: ★★★★☆

TECH LEVEL: ⬤⬤⬤⬤◯

Which online course platform do you think you’re going with? If you want to save up to 50% off of a Teachable annual subscription, you can do so by becoming a student of our Course Building for Authors program.

SPS 050: How To Land Sports Teams & Corporate Consulting Clients From A Book with Jon Gordon (Lessons Learned From 20 Books & 2M+ copies sold)

Jon Gordon, an author of 20 books, speaker, and consultant, comes on the show today. His clients include Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Heat, and Publix. Over his career, he has used books for his business marketing. Books have also been a big driver for clients and businesses.

He always knew he wanted to be a writer and a speaker. However, he had a very negative mindset. Until one day, when his wife told him to change his mindset or their relationship was finished. Jon researched ways to be more positive and began his journey of writing with a newsletter, “A Weekly Positive Tip,” with five subscribers, all of which were his family and friends.

A publisher came across Jon’s weekly newsletter and reached out to him to write a book. His first book, “101 Ways to Get Addicted to Positive Energy,” was tip-driven and did not go well. Another publisher brought him to the Today Show, and his second book, “The Ten Minute Energy Solution.” His career started to slump, then one day, while walking and praying, he came up with the idea for his next book, “The Energy Bus.”

https://youtu.be/5BIMi1utPUA

Writing this book in three and a half weeks, his book was rejected by 30 publishers. This is the book that started Jon’s career. Jon’s advice is to continue to do the work, continue to write, and eventually, you’ll find your voice. He discovered his voice when at a book signing with the author of Marley and Me, he realized he wanted to try and write a story. Jon explains how the characters took on a voice of their own while he was writing his book.

Listen in to find out Jon’s trigger point for the Energy Bus to take off, when and how Jon gets his best ideas for books, and the types of positive impacts made when you author several books. Learn why you shouldn’t write to make money, why speaking and consulting assist you with book writing ideas, and why you should think about additional sources of revenue when writing your book.

Show Notes

[01:53] Jon remembers his first book and what spurred his motivation to write his first book.

[05:00] He comes up with the idea for the book, “The Energy Bus”.

[06:42] How Jon found his voice with his books and realized he needed to make a shift in his genre.

[08:13] What Jon put in place to get the The Energy Bus written in under one month.

[10:02] The differences between writing a story and his first two book genres.

[12:48] How his business came from writing his book. 

[15:32] Jon’s favorite book that he has published and why this book is his favorite.

[17:52] Was there a correlation between The Energy Bus sales and previous books?

[20:10] Why he thinks his book The Energy Bus sells so well.

[20:22] Jon doesn’t write just to write, he writes because he loves to write and what he is meant to share.

[24:12] Do what you are called to write is Jon’s message to other writers. 

[26:26] How Jon and Chad Morris became a team from Chad’s training camp.

[30:33] Chad’s training camp videos and Chandler’s take on the videos.

[34:24] The power of writing and why more people don’t become authors.

[37:48] While writing, think of an additional source of revenue such as a playbook.

[40:12] What happened to Jon’s business when COVID hit.

[43:35] The effects of Jon’s books on other leaders in business.

Links and Resources

Self-publishingschool.com

Spsfreetraining.com

Circle of Profit

Recorder Plus

Rev

Find Jon’s books here

About Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon on Twitter

Jon Gordon on LinkedIn

how to become a speaker

How to Become a Speaker at Events: By a Speaker of 40+ Events (Templates)

When it comes to your career, your business, and even your author goals, learning how to become a speaker at events might be on your mind.

After all, thousands of people go to events to hear from authorities on topics they’re interested in learning more about. In order to place yourself as that authority, speaking at these events is important.

Over the past couple years, I’ve spoken at over 40 events on the topic of writing and publishing a book successfully.

This had brought in over 7-figures for my business, not to mention all the people who are now aware of me, what I do, and Self-Publishing School as a whole.

We recently launched a new product here called PR & Speaking for Authors on this very topic, with even more information. But in this post, I’m going to unveil our own process for becoming a speaker at events.

Here’s how to become a speaker at events:

  1. Finding events to speak at through networking
  2. Finding events to speak at cold research
  3. Reaching out to networked events
  4. Cold event outreach – with templates
  5. Follow Up
  6. Your first call with event coordinators
  7. Call recap email
  8. Confirming the event!

How Speaking Gigs & Podcasts Generated

$750,000 In Sales in Less Than 10 Months

Learn the exact step-by-step methods I’ve used to speak at over 40 stages and generate more than $1.5 Million in revenue over the past two years. I’m giving away my secrets!

How to Get Paid to Speak at Events

This might be a hard pill to swallow but the truth is that if you want to get paid to speak at events, you have to have experience, a message worth the price tag, and authority.

Usually, people pay to speak at events when they first start. Sometimes you pay to “sponsor” the event, which you then get to speak at.

Until you become someone who has a platform and can bring more people to the event. In most cases, being able to show extreme authority in your field can also benefit getting paid to speak at events.

And for authority, we always recommend at a minimum, publishing a book. Being a published author is like having an immediate “authority” stamp on your forehead.

https://youtu.be/D3vpBm3W5PA

Here are other ways you can get paid to speak at events:

  • Publish that book 😉
  • Grow your platform
  • Build a resumé of high-quality events you’ve spoken at
  • Network with people who can vouche for you
https://open.spotify.com/episode/4qU7ZWgHWsS3UjUtzq5j4H

How to Become a Speaker at Events: Our Foolproof Methods

I’m basically handing you our playbook for booking stages and becoming a speaker at events. Most of this was formulated by my Head of Business Development, Pedro Mattos.

He’s been largely responsible for this process and booking speaking engagements that have generated over $1.5 Million in sales for our business.

You’ll see a couple different types of steps for becoming a speaker at stages. These are separated by “networked” steps as well as “cold”.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, networked steps involve getting speaking gigs from people you’ve met and connected you to the right people whereas cold research and outreach are the opposite, where you find the information and reach out without having any prior connection to the event or coordinator.

Both are really important, though networking will usually get you the most bang for your buck down the road. When you’re starting out, cold outreach will be your most lucrative, since you likely don’t know many people in the event business…yet 🙂

#1 – Finding events to speak at through networking

Say you’re in a position where you’ve been able to connect with people who are in the event business. By that, I mean they either work at events, throw them, or speak at them regularly.

These people can also be a past or current client, colleague, or strategic partner or someone’s event you’ve already spoken at.

Here are some people you can get in touch with in the “event business”:

  • Think customers
  • donors
  • subscribers
  • raving fans
  • mastermind groups
  • past stages
  • social networks
  • board members
  • associations you’re a part of
  • professional clubs
  • online groups or forums
  • bloggers
  • podcasters
  • authors
  • experts you know

We recommend listing some names you can think of and putting those all in one place where you can track the progress of this before actually reaching out.

Organization is KEY for becoming a speaker at events. You’d be surprised how many opportunities can fall by the wayside without organized outreach and follow up, which we’ll cover.

For Self-Publishing School, we use Asana’s “Board” structure, as you can see below:

This way, it’s super organized. You know exactly who is in what stage so you know which steps you need to take next to become a speaker at their event.

You can also create something similar in a spreadsheet if you don’t want to use other software. Either way, make your list, label each step, and keep track!

#2 – Finding events via cold research

This is where the majority of you will likely fall if you’re just getting into the speaking world. You’ll do “cold” work when you don’t have any prior connections to people who work at the event, the event itself, or speakers.

Most of this requires good, old-fashioned online research, and we have a few tips for that.

Here are the top places to look:

  • National Organization Document (See Gold Mining Folder of the Google Drive)
  • Google:  Determine our Search Criteria 
    • Topic 
    • Types and Names of Stages 
    • Niches & Industries 
    • Geography 
    • Example: |Chiropractic| conferences| in San Diego|
  • Market Place Lists   
  • Social media
    • You can use some of these hashtags to find posts: conference, event, keynotes, speakers, motivationalspeaker, meetingplanners, associationevents, eventplanner, organization
  • Associations: you can find some here
  • Online conference directories:
    • Allconferences.com
    • Eventsinamerica.com 
    • Lanyrd.com 
    • Conferensum.com
    • Conferize.com
  • Google alerts: set up a Google alert for certain keywords that pipe right into your email inbox

This will take some work. It’s not an instant result. That said, it’s worth it and you’ll likely make some connections within your niche that allows for other opportunities as well.

Keep track of these events and contact information in a spreadsheet or task organization software like Asana.

#3 – Outreach for networked events

You should have two lists at this point, one for people you know/of and another for cold outreaches. Once you’ve got that research down, start with the people know you, since these are usually the best chances of becoming a speaker at events.

When getting in touch with these people, there are certain methods that work better than others.

Reach out via channels in this particular order until you get a response: 

  1. Text (ideally voice memo) 
  2. In-person meeting 
  3. Facebook messenger 
  4. Email 
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Direct mail via a hand-written letter 

Here’s an example of a message Pedro sent out about an event.

We like to follow a specific formula for outreaches that we’ve figured out gets the most responses.

Here are a few things to remember for this:

  • Mention how you know them 
  • Don’t ask for a referral, instead ask where they are going (and give a reason for your ask)!
  • BONUS: End by asking for their address and sending a gift 

#4 – Cold outreach to speak at events

Your cold outreach will be a little different than messaging those you already know. While a little more of an uphill battle, there are a few ways you can put yourself ahead of others.

Knowing event planners main problems can help you craft your outreach to get attention.

Here are their 3 main problems:

  • They need to fill their event (aka sell tickets) 
  • They need to provide amazing content that solves a problem for their audience
  • They need to cover their overhead / make revenue from the event through means other than ticket sales (sponsorship revenue, back-end sales revenue, etc)

With that stuff in mind, you need to at least mention and cover one of those needs in your first outreach, specifically how you can solve that problem.

Remember that with an initial outreach, you are not selling the event planner on having you on their stage. You’re selling them on getting on the phone with you for a 15-minute call. 

Here are all of the components I would cover in the initial email: 

  1.  Direct subject line that talks about the opportunity of you and them working together. Ex: Partnership Opportunity  
  2. In the first line two lines, explain who you are and why they should care (hit on one of the 3 pain points above)
  3. In the next line, explain why you believe that would be a good fit for their stage, and what your ideal scenario would look like. 
  4. End with a CTA to book a short 15-minute call or an opened ended question asking if they have completely filled their speaking slots (this really works)
  5. Add a PS. with a link to something that proves your credibility (if you have a book, this should always be linked in your signature to begin with)

COLD OUTREACH TEMPLATES: Book Speaking Gigs  Get 4 different types of email outreach templates for speaking opportunities,  formulated by our own Head of Business Development, and are responsible for generating over $1.5M in revenue over the past 2 years.  YES! GET THE TEMPLATES!

#5 Following up with initial outreaches

Follow-ups are arguably even more important than anything else. If you don’t bake this into your system, you’ll lose out on a lot of opportunity.

Our philosophy is “the money is in the follow up”. 

If you are not getting a response, it’s probably one of three reasons: 

  • Your message is not relevant for them right now 
  • You are not talking to the right person 
  • You are not using the right medium (Facebook vs. email vs. text)

With that said, it is important to address all three of those points in your follow up – which means: 

  • Reach out to different people in the organization and ask to be directed to the correct person
  • Change your ask, subject line, etc
  • Try multiple mediums until someone replies (but don’t annoy them, spread out your contacts over some time to give them a chance to look at your messages)

#6 – Navigating your first call with event coordinators

We’ll cover two things in this point: how to schedule your first call and how to execute it to book the event.

How to Schedule Your First Call

If and when someone replies to your initial outreach positively, you’ll want to get on an actual phone (or video chat) call with them as soon as you can to close the deal while you’re fresh in their mind.

Your initial outreach should have included something about hopping on a quick call to chat details (since that was the purpose of it). Now when they respond, try to make that call happen in the next 48 hours to increase your chances of booking the event.

From here, you’ll include a link to a calendar where they can book, or you’ll confirm the time and send out a detailed calendar invite.

You’ll see an example of a Google invite below:

What to do While on Your First Call

The goal of this call is to familiarize yourself with the meeting planners and get a better understanding of their goals, challenges, and really anything you could help solve.

The second purpose is to get some logistics around stages and offer a solution that includes you speaking at or “sponsoring” their event.

Here’s an “outline” of what you should be shooting for during this conversion:

Step 1 – Introduction and rapport

  • Ask where they’re from
  • Introduce everyone on the call and provide:
    • Context for who you are and what you’re doing
    • How what you do relates to them and their event

Step 2 – Give context and figure out their goals

  • “It’s so great to connect, and I really appreciate you taking the time to hop on this call. I know we don’t have a ton of time scheduled and I want to be respectful of yours, so to give you some context…”[give context around the call, sample below]
    • Provide them with some more details about your mission, passion, and overall purpose, as well as why you want to grow our event connections and speaking resumé
  • End this bit with: “So with that said, I’d love it if you could give a quick overview of the top projects / goals you’re working towards over the next few months, and we can see if there’s a way we can help.”

Step 3 – Let them know what you’re working on and why you’re building partnerships

  • Give an overview of a few projects we have in the works that lend themselves to partnership opportunities
  • Your goals
  • Start off with a content sponsorship pitch “I think one easy win to start this relationship off is to start with a sponsorship. I’m sure you’re always looking for new sponsors, we’d love to see what would make sense”
    • Go with an assumptive / “this-is-a-no-brainer-and-the-obvious-next-step” tone and you’ll pretty much get a 100% conversion on this
  • Then ask them what it would look like to have you do a 45-60 minute presentation on your speech topic
  • Finally, if it’s a fit and they have a decent-sized list (10k+ for bigger platforms, smaller if you’re just starting out), pitch an affiliate webinar:
    • “Last thing that I think could be really cool for your audience and this relationship, is I’d love to do a live training around [your niche topic/speech]. We’ll set it all up, your audience gets access to some great content, and the best part to you is you get $x for any person you send to the training who becomes a student. Is that something we could get on the calendar in the next couple of months?”

The idea with these steps is to move through the conversation seamlessly and in a way that makes sense to them.

As with any professional call, don’t interrupt or ignore questions, etc. You want to have a cordial conversation that’s upbeat, fun, and makes them want to be around you, which will help with their decision to include you in their speaker lineup.

#7 – First call recap email

Yes, even your call needs a recap email. This helps to clear up any confusion and have a physical reference for both of you for what needs to happen next.

Ideally, this recap email should be sent to ALL relevant parties less than 3 hours after the call takes place.

It should recap EVERYTHING that was discussed, and specifically note dates, percentages (for discounts), specific next steps, and the names of people responsible for those steps.

If additional intros need to be made (content teams, for example), include everyone on the recap email, and indicate that the introductions will be made in a separate thread.

Be hyper-specific here. It might feel unnecessary or OCD. It almost certainly won’t come across that way.

Here’s an example of a solid recap email:

#8 – Confirming the event!

Now, don’t just go taking any event you can. It’s tempting but remember, you’re also vetting the event owners, their mission, and ensuring it aligns with what you’re doing.

BUT, if the event checks all of your boxes and meets all the requirements you set up for yourself, here’s what you’ll do next:

  1. Email the meeting planner confirming that you will be attending the stage
  2. Send an email to connecting anyone within your business (if there’s more than you) to the event planner
  3. Add the event to your personal calendar so you don’t forget 
  4. Move this event over in your planning / tracking software or spreadsheet
  5. Transfer all known information, contracts, etc into the task you have in order to have all the info in a single place. 

That’s how you become a speaker at events! It seems complicated, but this process isn’t as simple as sending one email.

We’ve nailed down this process and our Head of Business Development swears by it. Let us know how it works for you!

publishing programs

Book Publishing Programs: Top Picks & What to Look For

When you make the decision to write and publish a book, for whatever your unique reason is, like growing your business, establishing authority, or just wanting to make an impact, having the right program to assist you makes all the difference.

You can do it all by yourself. But the level of success you have will mostly depend on the strategies you implement.

And if you’ve never done this before, you’d want to work with someone who has to get it right.

That means you’re likely searching for the best publishing course or program to get you there.

We’ll cover some of the best publishing educational programs over a few different fields and certain publishing software programs, along with what you should look for in one to make it worth your time, investment, and effort.

Here are book publishing programs to consider:

  1. Education – Self-Publishing School
  2. Education – Balboa Press
  3. Education – LuLu
  4. Education – Book Baby
  5. Education – Outskirts Press
  6. Software – Scrivener
  7. Software – Blurb
  8. Software – KDP Wizard
  9. Software – Press Books

What’s the difference between a book publishing program and a publisher?

A book publisher will basically do everything but write the book for you…including taking the majority of your royalty earnings.

On the other hand, a book publishing program that’s education-based, meant to teach you how to do it, shows you the process and allows you to keep all of your royalties.

If you’re looking for a publishing program like a software that helps you take your book from a document to a published piece of work, that’s a whole other set of needs you can learn about below.

What’s the difference between a publishing course and a publishing program?

Some people use the term “course” and “program” interchangeably but they’re actually very different.

A book publishing course is often pre-made or pre-recorded that you can go through in your own time without the assistance of its creators or support.

A book publishing program, on the other hand, often has the course plus other materials or assistance, like our Become a Bestseller program that has 1-on-1 coaching along with group coaching calls, a community, and more.

So the main difference is the level of content and assistance you get with each. A book publishing program will likely be more interactive with support and interaction whereas a course will likely only be online content with nothing else, unless it’s an in-person course like at a college.

Book publishing program for education or a book publishing software program?

You may be in both camps or you may just be in one. Are you looking for a computer software to help you publish? We’ll cover that here!

But we’ll also go into some book publishing programs that are actually education-based where you’ll learn the entire process, start to finish.

Click here to look over book publishing software.

Click here to learn more about book publishing programs that are educational.

What to Look for in a Book Publishing Program

Obviously you want to make sure you get what you need in order to publish a book successfully. But what we’ve learned through working with thousands of students is that most don’t exactly know what they should be looking for.

It’s one of those “you don’t know what you don’t know” situations, and we want to clear up a few things.

Here’s what you should look for in a book publishing program for education:

  • Ample support
  • A community of some sort
  • Thorough, up-to-date content
  • Lifetime access to the information
  • NO royalties taken (if you self-publish, you should never sign over royalties to a company with a publishing program–those are YOURS)

Here’s what to look for in a book publishing program software:

  • Ease of use
  • Editing capabilities
  • Outlining capabilities (for the writing–a “nice to have”)
  • Formatting capabilities
  • Access-anywhere features (like Google Docs)
  • Multiple document formats (.pdf, .png, .txt, .mobi, .azw,)
  • Low cost
  • Multi-device functionality (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop)
  • Great customer support
  • Auto-save feature (probably the most important!!!)

Book Writing & Publishing Programs

Are you looking for something that encompasses both writing and publishing all in one?

Since these two are so closely related, and you should often write the book to go along with your publishing plan, having a program with both can be even more beneficial.

Here are some book publishing programs that also cover the book writing process and how to write a great book (especially for self-published authors!).

Online Book Publishing Programs

Want to work on your book without having to go anywhere? There are a ton of book publishing programs online.

These mostly allow you to log in from home, work on it in your own time, and give you the flexibility most of us need to get something like writing a book done.

#1 – Self-Publishing School

That’s us! We’re actually a self-publishing education and coaching company, dedicated to teaching you how to write, market, and self-publish your book successfully.

Here are some program details:

  • Several self-publishing paths to take: including Nonfiction, Fiction, Children’s Books, Specific Marketing, PR & Speaking for Authors, Course Building for Authors
  • 1-on-1 coaching with each program
  • Lifetime access to online step-by-step program materials
  • Exclusive Mastermind Community Facebook group
  • Up to 4 additional free coaching calls within the community weekly–including 1 per week with Chandler himself
  • Expert interviews by industry experts in the Mastermind Community
  • From blank page to published author, and everything in between
  • Over $1000 in exclusive Self-Publishing School author discounts for services like editing, cover design, and more!

We truly believe our program is the best out there (and was one of the very firsts!), and we continuously upgrade and improve our programs in order to ensure this by keeping track of industry trends, Amazon’s updates, and listening to the needs of our authors.

Check out the image below for a sneak peek of a portion of our program (we don’t share these often!):

publishing programs - self publishing school
Self-Publishing School Program Sneak Peek

Our specialty here is 1-on-1 coaching as well as a Bestseller status guarantee on Amazon (in as little as 90 days if you follow the program!), which increases exposure, boosts your book in Amazon’s rankings, and helps you sell more!

You can check out more about our baseline Become a Bestseller publishing program here.

Check out some of our student success stories to hear it from them!

#2 – Balboa Press

If you’re searching for publishing options and programs, you’ll likely come across Balboa Press at some point.

This publishing program has several options, including “done for you” services that allow you to sit back and let someone else take care of the majority of the work, aside from the actual book topic and contents.

Below is a chart for their services along with price points.

publishing programs - balboa press
Balboa Press Services & Prices

This publishing program has services from hardcover publishing to copyright information, social media setup guides, and more depending on the package you choose to go with.

Full Balboa Press Review

More Balboa Press Frist-Hand Experiences

#3 – LuLu

LuLu Press has been around for a while now, since 2002! While it’s not exclusive to just books, it’s a good option for those looking for a book publishing program that has several features.

In the image below, you can see the different options they have available to you, including printing, distribution, selling, and more.

publishing programs - lulu
Book Publishing Services from LuLu

While this is less of an educational platform and certainly not a course-like program, it does offer plenty of helpful blog posts to get you going.

However, it does lack the expertise of a more robust educational publishing program that can help you rank and sell more books.

Full LuLu Publishing Review

More LuLu First-Hand Experiences

#4 – Book Baby

BookBaby has a lot of options on their site. It may even be a little confusing as to what they do and how you can benefit from it, but we’ll break it down for you.

This book publishing program does a few main things for you:

  1. Prints books
  2. eBook services, including formatting and more
  3. Book design
  4. Editing
  5. Bookselling services

As you can see, this is a wide range of different options for the self-publishers out there. They have a lot of great reviews and also some complaints, as is the case with something this big.

Among the biggest complaints, however, is that if you want to make changes to your manuscript, you do have to pay a fee.

publishing programs - bookbaby
Image Courtesy of SelfPublishing.com

Pricing for BookBaby can be hard to find. We grabbed this information from SelfPublishing.com for you:

  • Express Package: $890
  • Complete Package: $1,790
  • Deluxe Package: $2,290

Full Book Baby Review

More BookBaby First-Hand Experiences

#5 – Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press has been around for a long time, another publishing company taking advantage of the self-publishing boom since 2002.

They offer a variety of services, including publishing, marketing, and book production assistance.

I had a hard time finding any prices for Outskirts Press and their website was a little hard to navigate, making me think I’d likely have to go through channels to get prices for what they offer, and even find everything they offer.

Below you’ll see a screenshot from their “All Publishing Packages” menu item in the “Publishing” dropdown menu item.

publishing programs - outskirts press
Outskirts Press Publishing Package Options

If you do some digging, you’ll be able to find the pricing for specific packages, ranging from marketing information to genre-specific “done for you” services, as you can see in the images below.

publishing programs - outskirts press
Outskirts Press “Marketing Discounted Bundle”
publishing programs - outskirts press
Outskirts Press “Spiritual Books” Publishing & Marketing Suite Price

As you can see, it looks like pricing for their services ranges widely, from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on what you’re looking for.

First-Hand Outskirts Press Experiences

Book Publishing Software Programs

On the other side of book publishing programs that are full of educational materials and “how-tos” are the software programs you can use to write, edit, format, and even upload to Amazon.

Let’s take a look at some of the best publishing programs out there.

#1 – Scrivener

If you’re starting to write a book but haven’t heard of Scrivener, I’d be surprised! This is one of the most popular writing softwares out there right now.

If you want to keep your writing highly organized, outline it effectively, and write directly inside the software, this is a great one for you.

We’ve got a video detailing a few of their features below:

#2 – Blurb

If you’re looking for more of a book formatting software, and not necessarily a writing one, BookWright by Blurb.

This publishing program boasts features like customizable templates, really high quality, and that it’s free! You can upload the content you need, add images, and formulate a layout that works for what you want.

If you head to their “Sell & Self-Publish” menu item, it’ll show you the various things you can do with this platform.

Check out the image below for a few ideas:

publishing programs - blurb

From what I could conjure, this service really does look free. Blurb doesn’t charge fees for using its platform for distribution. However, if you sell through the Blurb Bookstore, they’ll obviously take a cut of your royalties there, similarly to Amazon and other retailers.

Here’s another handy comparison chart on Blurb’s website that compares its services to other book publishing programs.

publishing programs - blurb
Blurb Publishing Services Comparison Chart

#3 – KDP Wizard

KDP Wizard is a publishing program that keeps all your KDP data, books, and information in a single place for you to keep track of it.

It saves data ranging from descriptions to reviews to categories, and more, all in one place.

You can see the pricing and plan options below:

publishing programs - kdp wizard
KDP Wizard Pricing and Plan Options

While these are monthly subscriptions, you can actually get the entire thing for a lifetime for $699. So if you’re looking to be a career author, this might be an option worth considering.

#4 – Press Books

If you’re looking for a quick publishing program that allows you to upload, “click a few buttons,” and have a great looking book, Press Books allows for just that.

Here’s an image of their prices if you want the paid options:

publishing programs - press books
Press Books Self-Publisher Program Options

As you can see, they’re pretty affordable and according to them, super easy to work with.

College Book Publishing Programs

There are more and more courses being developed at colleges for learning how to publish a book successfully. While you’re probably already aware of creative writing or journalism majors, book publishing programs are newer in terms of their content.

More and more, universities are including content surrounding self-publishing and the know-how surrounding this.

If you’re going to college or you want to and publishing is your focus, know that you can get the information you need with online programs, unless you want to end up at a traditional publishing house. In which case, it helps to have a degree in publishing.

Ultimately, the publishing program that’s best for you will meet your unique needs as an author or author-to-be.

book deal

How to Get a Book Deal: The Complete Process

The only reason you’d need to learn how to get a book deal is if you’re pursuing traditional publishing, which means not self-publishing.

Book deals are when a traditional publishing company offers you a contract selling your book to them under certain conditions, like an advance, a specific royalty rate, and other requirements and specifications.

Ultimately, it means you’re going to be a traditionally published author!

But it typically takes a long time to land a book deal and if you’re writing a nonfiction book, it’s even longer with fewer chances you’ll be able to publish. Either way, our hopes are to detail the process for you so you really understand everything that goes into traditional publishing…

Everything that you could avoid if you were to self-publish a book (but that’s a topic for this blog post).

Here’s how to get a book deal:

  1. Be sure you want a traditional book deal
  2. Write a book proposal
  3. Find an agent / query an agent
  4. Wait
  5. Get your agent!
  6. Get your proposal to publishing companies
  7. Wait
  8. Book deal offered
  9. Book deal acquired

Which Is Better For You Based On YOUR Author Goals?

ANALYSIS: Self Publishing vs Traditional

Get a full, deep-dive self-publishing vs traditional publishing analysis including royalty rates, book sales, marketing details, and more! Make an informed decision and set yourself up for success with your book.

Self-Publishing VS Traditional When it Comes to Book Deals

You only need a book deal if you’re traditionally publishing, so that’s what this blog post will follow. And while we self-publish books here at Self-Publishing School, we ensure to know and understand traditional publishing in order to better help our students (many of whom come to us after waiting years with no word on a book deal).

Here are the main differences between traditional and self-publishing:

What You GetSelf-PublishingTraditional Publishing
Sole control of your book's outcome
X
Sole control of your book's rightsX
Control over the story X
Control over the coverX
100% of royaltiesX
Editing includedX
Cover designX
MarketingXX
DeadlinesX

How do book deals work?

A book deal works by a writer querying an agent for representation, that agent pitching the project to traditional publishers, and publishers buying the rights to that book from the author.

There are a few main components of getting a book deal we’ll go over in this post:

  1. Creating a book worth buying
  2. Querying an agent for representation
  3. Your agent pitching your book to publishing companies
  4. The publishers either accepting or denying the proposal

This is a very simplified explanation, which we’ll explain in much further detail below.

How long does it take to get a book deal?

It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to get a book deal, so it varies greatly. Because of the long process and subjectivity within the traditional publishing industry, there are many hands your proposal must “pass through” before you can get a book deal.

We actually recommend that if traditionally publishing is your end-goal, your dream, that you self-publish in order to build social proof that your books sell and in order to build an audience.

While you should not query a book that’s self-published, you can pitch a brand new book to an agent and provide details about your book sales, email list, and overall platform size, which can increase your chances of an agent taking interest in you.

This happened to an SPS friend, Hal Elrod. You can hear all about how he got foreign book deals from the success of his self-published book, The Miracle Morning, here.

More than ever, both agents and publishing companies are looking to your online platform/presence in order to determine if you’ll be a good “bet” to publish.

How much do you get for a book deal?

Most first-time authors with a traditional publishing company will get between $5,000 to $10,000 as an advance. While outliers do make much more, those cases are very far and very few between and their advance is often the result of a “bidding war” between publishers.

The more offers you get for your book, the bigger your advance. This only really happens if you have the next big book idea or series and your agent is very well connected.

But ultimately, your first advance likely won’t be enough to quit your job. You’ll usually have to keep a full-time job while finishing your book and waiting for publication.

How to Get a Book Deal: Step by Step

The time has come! Let’s get into the details about how to get a book deal, broken down step by step so you can ensure the best chance of getting published.

Remember, some of these steps may vary per agent, but the overall structure of the process is the same.

#1 – Be 100% sure of your publishing decision

Nowadays, the biggest publishing decision you’ll make is choosing self-publishing or traditional publishing.

The self-publishing industry is soaring, it’s growing, and it’s very lucrative for people now. It’s nothing like it was when it first started, where books were of poor quality and anyone with Microsoft Word uploaded ramblings they called a book.

Now, there are more great books than ever (especially by people who have the right process to follow to self-publish), and they’re rivaling traditional publishing.

So why would anyone want to traditionally publish then?

Well, there’s the lure of the NYT Bestsellers list, for one. As well as the “prestige” still connected to traditional publishing because of the fact that your book has to pass through several hands, making people think your book is “better” than others.

The above is the main reason people still want to traditionally publish.

But if you’re a business owner looking to grow your business with a book or a nonfiction writer in general, self-publishing is almost always the better route unless you’re famous, very highly known, or have a massive platform.

So before going through the work and time to traditionally publish, make sure it will really work for you.

Which Is Better For You Based On YOUR Author Goals?

ANALYSIS: Self Publishing vs Traditional

Get a full, deep-dive self-publishing vs traditional publishing analysis including royalty rates, book sales, marketing details, and more! Make an informed decision and set yourself up for success with your book.

#2 – Write a killer book proposal

You want your book to sell, right?

Then you need to have something that will sell it. In this case, it’s a book proposal. This is what will convince the people with decision-making power to give your book a chance, to prove that it will sell.

You want a combination of your personality, writing skill, and a strong book description in this letter.

#3 – Find a book agent / Query and agent

This is a really long, arduous path to traditional publishing that does take some luck and situational advantages into account.

The truth is that a lot of the time, knowing someone who knows someone who can get you in touch with an agent is the quickest way to find out. Otherwise, you’ll be left with the old fashioned method, which is somehow finding agents online, getting their contact info, and sending a query letter.

What’s a query letter?

A query letter is something a writer sends to literary magazines, literary agents, or other publications in order for them to request their full work. This query letter is essentially “selling” both you and your work so they’ll want to know more.

There’s a specific structure that works best for query letters in order to better sell your idea.

Here’s a basic structure of a query letter:

  1. Opening: Start with any credentials, awards, and more that would basically “qualify” you as someone worth taking a chance on.
  2. Tell then what you want them to take on. List the title, word count length, and book genre.
  3. Describe your book, but the main hook! What will set your book apart from something else? Make this concise and yes, you can include some spoilers here. Overall, you should communicate who the main character is, why we care about them, and what the overall plot is.
  4. Write a short bio with details like other published works, self-published books, what you do, maybe even a fun fact about you.
  5. Conclude the letter with some more details about if you have a series in mind, and any other requirements listed if there are guidelines for that specific agent available.
  6. Follow. The. Guidelines. You should do enough research about the agent to know if they have certain guidelines. Follow these. It only increases your chances.

If you want to increase your “luck” in terms of landing an agent, network. Figure out where these agents and editors are hanging out and make yourself available to connect with them.

Tips for networking to find an agent:

  • Go to writing conferences where editors frequent
  • Ask great questions at panels
  • Get on Twitter! So. Many. Agents.
  • Participate in writing-related hashtag games on Twitter
  • Embed yourself in the publishing world
  • Guest post on authority websites around writing and publishing (to increase credentials)

Ultimately, querying can be difficult and it’s all up to whether or not the agent is interested in your idea…or how well connected you are to people in the publishing world.

Example of a hashtag game on Twitter: #SlapDashSat, weekly themed writing sample

#4 – Wait…and wait…and wait some more

It’s a torturous part of the book deal process, but you do have to wait a while.

For the agent to check their email and get back to you.

For any agent to show interest.

And even for the agent to read your full manuscript if they requested it, which is something that may happen and is a great sign! It means they liked your query and book idea and want to see your overall writing abilities and how the story you told them about plays out.

While you’re waiting, work on your manuscript or start writing a new book!

#5 – An agent loved you, yay!

If you get an agent, congratulations!!! That is a very difficult step some writers never, ever get to. Many give up before this happens.

Having an agent means that you will most likely sell a book, but not necessarily the one you pitched to them. After you land the agent, the ball is in their court and now they get to do what they do best: their job, selling your book.

#6 – Push your proposal out via your agent

You do nothing right now, except maybe work on the second book (if this is a series) or move on to your next project.

Let your agent do their job, check in with them to see if they need anything, and keep doing what you have been and keep writing!

#7 – Wait and wait for a publisher to pick up your book

It’s a waiting game, like I said earlier. I’m not an agent and have not worked with an agent, so I don’t have all the details about how they go about selling your book, how long this takes, and what that process looks like.

But this is a great post all about what a literary agent does to actually sell your book.

The overall process is this: the book agent typically knows editors at publishing houses that specialize in the books they usually represent (which is also your book). They send these manuscripts off to them in order to gauge interest in the project based on market trends, current events, and what’s simply “hot” right now.

#8 – A deal has been offered!

If your book has interest from a publishing company, your literary agent will do the negotiating. This is another thing that comes in handy with an agent: they have the sales skills to get you the best deal.

And they will, because their pay comes as a result of your overall deal. The more you get, the more they get.

If your book has interest from more than one publishing house, a bidding war could commence! And this is great, because that’s how you get those massive, 7-figure advances.

#9 – Book deal acquired

Once you and your agent are good with the contract, you sign and BOOM, you now have a book deal!

After this, you’ll likely work with an editor, meet deadlines, and then wait until your book is up next in the publishing queue. This can take up to two or three years at times, depending on how much work the book will take to get publish-ready.

Usually, you’ll have to wait over one year minimum after you have a book deal in order for it to launch.

That’s how you get a book deal. Remember, it can take years to get a book deal for a single piece of work. Oftentimes, writers query a project while working on another project so if they don’t hear back, they can query another project.

This is one the longest processes for publishing a book and usually, publishers don’t take nonfiction books unless you have serious clout or backing.

So good luck, and let us know if you have any tips below in the comments!

publishing courses

The Best Self Publishing Courses: Top 5 Publishing Courses

The time has never been better to write and publish a book. If you are thinking of writing a book but you are stressing out over all the steps to write, publish and launch to market, you should seriously consider enrolling in one of the best self-publishing courses available today.

Why take an online publishing course?

There is a lot to know beyond writing a book. Not to say the writing part is easy, but you will have greater confidence in writing and publishing your book with connections to a support network walking you through the steps.

Now we will take an inside tour of each best self-publishing course, the benefits of each course, and the best online publishing program for you.

Here is a list of the best self-publishing courses we will cover:

  1. Self-Publishing vs Traditional
  2. How to Choose the Best Online Course for you
  3. Criteria to Choose the Best Self-publishing Course
  4. Self Publishing School with Chandler Bolt
  5. Authority Pub with Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport
  6. Self Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson
  7. Your First 10,000 Readers with Nick Stephenson
  8. Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins

Although all the best online courses here come highly recommended, the course content and purpose of each course varies depending on:

  • What you need as an author. Are you writing your first book? Scaling up your author platform to 6 figures a year?
  • Your budget. How much cash are you willing to invest in your self-publishing business?
  • Your expectations. What are you expecting by taking an online publishing program? A strong return on ROI? Can the course deliver on its promise?

If you’re a business owner looking to make a solid ROI and see how a book can help grow you business, just fill out the ROI calculator below.

But, before we dive into the best self-publishing courses on the market today, let me ask you this:

  • Are you writing a book? If yes, have you finished your book?
  • Are you ready to launch and earn passive income from book sales?
  • Do you have a plan for marketing and selling your book to international sites?
  • Are you building an email list of raving fans through your book empire?

Depending how you responded to the above, this should give you an idea what course to enroll in.

Every day, thousands of books are self-published through various publishing companies: Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble Press, or Apple iBooks to name a few.

Thousands of authors—just like you—have a dream to see their books in print, on a bookshelf, or for sale online in the Amazon store, the largest ebook retailer in the world.

To get your book to the publishing stage takes a lot of work. If you are not familiar with everything needed to self publish a book, you could end up spending more money than planned or, unknowingly fall into the hands of a deceiving vanity press publisher that waits for new authors desperate to publish.

Don’t let haste or desperation lead you to a bad decision. Check out the best courses here and any questions, contact support through the course so you can be confident you’re making the right decision.

Why Self-Publish Instead of Traditional Publishing?

Here are 7 reasons to consider self-publishing your book instead of traditional publishing:

  1. Writing a book makes you an authority in your area of expertise.
  2. Self-publishing a book, or series of books, creates an additional income stream that could lead to you making a living from writing in 6 months to a year. Publishing your book through one of the big 5 trade publishers could take years.
  3. Self-publishing lets you build your own business at your pace with the freedom to make key business decisions.
  4. Potentially you can earn more because it is easier to scale up when you have control over marketing and book launch pacing.
  5. Tax breaks by forming your own business and working from home.
  6. Publish more, publish faster. This means the potential to earn more in a shorter amount of time and scale up your email list at a faster rate: The key point here is, it’s faster all around.
  7. 0 rejection letters. That’s right, you can never be rejected as a self-published author. 

Some of the big titles available today started out as self-published books before being picked up by a major publishing house.

Recognize any of these self-published books?

  • Fifty Shades of Grey—E.L.James
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit—Beatrix Potter
  • The Martian—Andy Weir
  • The Shack by William P. Young
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • Swann’s Song by Marcel Proust
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • Hacker series by Meredith Wilder

So yes, self-publishing can be a great path to launch your writing career. You can work from home, set up a writer’s temporary workstation at your local Starbucks, or hunker down in a library hammering away at perennial bestseller after bestseller.

How Do I Choose the Best Online Course?

As a self-published author of 12+ books, I know firsthand what it is like to navigate through all the steps involved in writing a book. And writing the book can be the easy part!

Now, you might be thinking to just do it yourself without any help from a self-publishing course. I did this too, and I made a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided had I invested in a course with a built-in blueprint.

This is why I have put together a solid list of the best self-publishing courses on the market today. Only the best made this list because I know what it is like to waste money on courses that went nowhere.

I have personally been inside each of these courses so I can share with you first hand the pros and cons of each.

Why take a self-publishing course?

Good question. Take into account the marketing, networking, and getting the book ready for print. The steps are many and it is a big investment of your time and effort.

Do I need a course to write a book? Can’t I do this myself?

Yes, you can. But…

Publishing can be difficult with lots of moving parts. You start to feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air! And if you’re already spending the time to get it done, why not do it right.

That’s what we do here, and you can check out our bestselling Become a Bestseller program right here.

The good point of joining a course is, you are not alone. And, without support, a launch team to help launch your book, it is easy to make a lot mistakes could otherwise be avoided.

So, this is why we bring you this list of professional experts, each with years of book writing experience and marketing confidence, sharing with you the best strategies for writing, launching and selling more books. And yes, despite the flood of material out there these days, you can make money from self-publishing…if you do it right and learn from the best.

Making the Cut: The 7-Point Criteria for Choosing the Best Self Publishing Course

  1. The instructors for each course are multi-bestselling authors with the sales and platform to show it. They are trusted by the industry with solid reputations for being honest and driving their business with integrity.
  2. The course content is current and up to date. In an industry that is constantly changing, publishing courses can become outdated within a year. The courses here are updated regularly with additions and updates every few months. 
  3. Based on industry reviews and student satisfaction, the courses are praised and recommended by authors who have been through the programs.
  4. The strategies and business practices of the owners do not break any rules pertaining to Amazon’s rules and are morally sound.
  5. I have personally taken these courses and recommend each one.
  6. The material, content and overall course is professionally packaged and high quality.
  7. Support: When you run into trouble, you want to know that you can talk to someone and get everything sorted quickly and efficiently. No-fuss. 

Take note: Several courses are open for a limited time only at certain times of the year. The enrollment period is usually every three months, but this varies. 

Self Publishing School with Chandler Bolt

self-publishing-school

Self-published entrepreneur and bestselling author Chandler Bolt quit college back in 2014 and set out to write a book called The Productive Person. The book was hugely successful and Chandler soon set up an online course to help authors self publish their books…in just 90 days! 

Yes, the professionals at Self Publishing School are making big claims: You can go from blank page to published book in as little as 90 days. To date, close to 5000 authors have been through the course since it started in late 2014.

The online publishing course has been featured by INC 5000 as one of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America.

With this comprehensive go-at-your-own-pace blueprint, the school has created an easy-to-follow system to take you from first time author to course creator with three pillar courses available.

Breakdown of Course Content

When self-publishing school first started out they had a basic course for writing and publishing a book. There are now four premium courses to choose from on the platform, including a full fiction course piloted by successful self-published fiction author RE Vance.

Become a Bestseller—Blank Page to Published Author and Everything Inbetween: From blank page to published author, write your book in 90 days with this course. There are 3 modules to walk you through the program with over 4 hours of video, bonus content and an outsourcer rolodex to assist with hiring professionals for all phases of the book production along with over $1,000 in exclusive Self-Publishing School student discounts and specials.

  • Mindmap / Outlining
  • Target Audience Deep-Dive
  • Writing
  • Book Production Instructions/Guides
  • Marketing and Publishing
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book
A Peek Inside the Self-Publishing School Become a Bestseller Program
best-self-publishing-programs
Modules 3-5 out of 12 of Self-Publishing School’s Become a Bestseller Program

Fundamentals of Fiction & Story: For all the fiction writers looking to learn everything you need to in order to write a high-quality fiction book that actually sells! Fiction is a different game than non-fiction, and Self-Publishing School knows that, employing a bestselling fiction coach to work through plot, the craft of writing, and selling.

  • Writing, editing, and mindset
  • Launching your book
  • The business of writing
  • Children’s book module
  • Memoir module
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Sell More Books: For authors that have already published a book and are focusing on book marketing and promotion to achieve sales results. Most often, these are business builders using their book to grow their business or those looking to make being an author their full-time job.

best-self-publishing-course-marketing
  • Launch Strategies
  • Email Marketing Strategies
  • Foundation Strategies
  • Author Brand Strategies
  • Advanced Marketing Strategies
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Course Building for Authors: Building a course from your book? This premium course is made specially for those authors ready to take their platform to the next level.

  • Plan & Develop Your Course
  • Create and Upload Your Course
  • Market and Sell Your Course
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Each course comes with its own customized, professional workbook. The best part of these courses is that you will be assigned a personal coach after being accepted into the program.

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: Speak to an SPS representative to discuss best course options and pricing, as each program price varies.

Availability: If you meet the course requirements you can start right away

Target Author: Writing your first book, advanced or pro authors, business owners or future business owners. SPS has courses to cover any level.

Enrollment Availability: If you qualify for access to the course, you will speak to a self-publishing representative who will set you up with the best course to meet your publishing goals.

Sound like something you want to do? Click here to schedule your FREE 1-hour Breakthrough Sessions with a Publishing Success Strategist.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Self Publishing School

  • The one-on-one personal coaching that comes with each course. You will get the best results by working with a professional student success coach.
  • One hour clarity call with your coach to drill down into your book idea.
  • Up to 4 weekly live online mastermind group trainings & Q&A, one with Chandler Bolt himself
  • Customized workbook comes with each course
  • Mastermind Facebook Community of 2500+ active participants.
  • 4 premium courses to meet your publishing goals

Self Publishing School has a long track record of successful students that have written, launched and turned their dreams of being published into a reality. The course is fast-paced and doesn’t waste time on details.

Authority Pub Academy With Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport

publishing courses

Steve Scott [also known as S.J. Scott] is one of the biggest names when it comes to self-publishing. He has been marketing online for a long time and when the eBook craze started back in 2011, Steve was one of the first authors that as in there doing it.

Steve Scott has published over 70 books and has been branded as the “Heavyweight of Self Publishing.” He runs the blog Develop Good Habits. Together with his writing partner Barrie Davenport [Live Bold and Bloom], Steve and Barrie created Authority Pub Academy.

With the combined talents of two bestselling authors, Authority Pub is everything you would expect it to be: A self publishing course that is focused on teaching authors to write and publish, not just a book, but focuses on building out an author platform.

self-publishing-courses

In today’s overwhelming jungle of books, with thousands being published daily, Steve Scott recognised the importance of turning your book platform into a brand and a book business.

This is the strength and focus of this course, and there is loads of videos, downloads and information taught from two authors that have been engaged in the self-publishing business from the beginning.

Breakdown of Course Content

Authority Pub Academy is made up of 6 modules:

  • Module 1: Setting the Author Mindset and Building a Writing Habit
  • Module 2: Niche Focus and Researching a Perennial Bestseller
  • Module 3: Outlining, Writing a First Draft and Editing
  • Module 4: Pre-Publishing and Setting Up Your Book in KDP
  • Module 5: Lead Magnets, Reviews and launch Strategies
  • Module 6: Advanced marketing and Scaling Up Your Author Library

Authority Pub is a plethora of knowledge and both Steve and Barrie have learned everything through years of trial and error. Authority pub is a “one-stop resource to help writers streamline the whole process.”

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: $597 or 2 payments of $348

Availability: Anytime

Target Author: If you are just writing your first book, or already published and looking to scale up your author platform with more content and strategies that increase long term growth, Authority Pub is for you.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Authority Pub Academy:

  • Advanced supplementary materials includes WordPress blog setup mastery, Canva tutorial, email walkthrough using Aweber and Evernote tips for productive writing
  • Course content professionally delivered via high definition videos supported by quality downloads
  • Solid case studies and examples of writers who have made it work
  • Effective advanced marketing strategies to scale up your books
  • The course removes any guesswork and provides students with a clear roadmap
  • 30 day “try it, test it, apply it” money-back guarantee

Self Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson

publishing courses

I became interested in Mark Dawson’s platform as a big fan of his John Milton action series books and Isabella Rose thrillers. If you’re looking for a great read this weekend, I’d highly recommend these books.

As a traditionally published author who used to write for a big firm, Mark Dawson started self-publishing his action and thrillers and, to date, has sold over a million copies. Mark has published 25+ books, has three series in the works, and is constantly launching bestseller after bestseller. His monthly earnings in 2015, according to an interview in Forbes.com, Mark Dawson was being paid $450,000 a year for his works.

So, who better to learn the craft of self-publishing than an established author with both a library of successful bestsellers and the income to show it. This brings us to Self Publishing 101, Mark Dawson’s course for authors.

If you are new at self-publishing or have been publishing for a while, this course has something for everyone. You will learn the basics as well as advanced marketing strategies to scale up your author platform.

With Self Publishing 101, you’ll write, launch and market a quality book that sells. Although Mark Dawson is mainly a fiction author, the course can be customized for nonfiction writers. The same marketing strategies apply to both.

Breakdown of Course Content

Inside Self Publishing 101, the course is broken up into 8 modules that includes:

  • Build Your Platform
  • Pre-Publication
  • Amazon Exclusive or Go Wide
  • Go Wide
  • Generating Traffic
  • Advanced Teams & Launching
  • Getting Reviews

As additional bonuses, there is also a tech module that walks through how to build a website, lead magnets, email service providers, and formatting your book. 

The best part of this course is the system Mark teaches for email list building through an author website. Building an email list is critical to the success of any author, and Mark and his team have these bases covered.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $497 or 12 monthly payments of $49.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Closed after enrollment begins. Cycle is every 3-4 months.
  • Target Author: Beginner, intermediate and advanced authors looking to build a rock-solid fan base through email list building and advertising.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Self Publishing 101

  • Deep dive into the Amazon algorithm
  • Focuses on subscriber communication and building an email list
  • Bonus tech library with an introduction to using advanced apps and tools
  • Active Facebook group with high response time
  • Additional “Writing Copy for Facebook Ads” module
  • Reasonably priced course for the value it delivers 

Your First 10k Readers with Nick Stephenson

self publishing options

If you are looking for a comprehensive, in-depth, no-holds-barred course on marketing tactics, Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 Readers is that course.

Created by a bestselling fiction author, Your First 10k Readers is a different beast from the other best courses listed here for one defining reason: It isn’t about writing your first book.

The course assumes you already have a book, or a library of books, and now you want to take what you’ve got and line it all up in order to grow your list to a 10k readership…and beyond. 

Your First 10k Readers is really better suited for the more seasoned author. It gets into the nitty-gritty of the Amazon algorithm, merchandising, keywords and niche marketing, email marketing, landing pages, giveaways, and what Nick calls “You’re secret sauce.”

So yeah, there’s a lot going on here.

Let’s take a look inside.

Breakdown of the Course Content

The course consists of 6 modules that you can work on at your own pace. The modules are:

  • Module 1: Rule the Retainers.

This includes Amazon Algorithms, Merchandising, Broad Reach VS KDP Select, and Pricing.

  • Module 2: Generate Endless Traffic.

This includes Keywords & Niches, Using Free Books, Smart Promotions, and The Author Dream Team

  • Module 3: Convert Traffic Into Fans

This includes Traffic Funnels, Optimize Your Website, Giveaways, and Events Marketing

  • Module 4: Build Engagement and Sell—Without Being “Salesy”

This module includes Why Readers Don’t Buy, Priming the sale, Scarcity, the Secret Sauce, Social Media Mastery, Getting Reviews, and Auto-Responders

  • Module 5: Launch Strategies

This module includes Launch Teams, Building Buzz, and Launch Day

  • Module 6: Facebook Advertising

This module includes Intro to Power Editor, How to Track Results With Pixels, and Ninja Tricks.

writing and publishing courses

In addition to the 6 core modules, there is also a wide range of bonus content that includes rock star author interviews, email swipe files, and tools of the trade bonus section.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $597 or 12 monthly payments of $59.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Enrollment anytime.
  • Target Author: Intermediate and advanced authors needing advanced tactics to scale up author platform and build your publishing business into an empire

6 Reasons to Enroll with Your First 10k Readers

  • Membership includes author interviews with big industry authors Mark Dawson, Joanna Penn, Simon Whistler, Bryan Cohen, and Nick Loper
  • A powerhouse of book marketing tactics for both fiction and nonfiction authors
  • Video content is high quality, fast-paced and engaging
  • Comes with a highly-engaged private Facebook group
  • Includes a BONUS course “The 60-Day Author” for writers who haven’t published yet
  • Includes a members cheat sheet that breaks the course down into a comprehensive blueprint

Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins

publishing courses

Jeff Goins is the best-selling author of five books including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve. He is the owner of Goinswriter.com where he shares his thoughts on writing, life and creativity.

With a successful blog and five bestselling books, it isn’t any surprise that Jeff has a writing course to market to his raving fans of authors: Tribe Writers

Jeff’s course is packed with material. With the formula presented in Tribe Writers, you as the author can create your own path to creativity. There are twelve steps of a tribe writer that allows you to tailor fit the best plan while keeping your unique voice.

Tribe Writers is broken up into four individual modules:

  • Module 1: Honing Your Voice
  • Module 2: Establishing a Platform
  • Module 3: Expanding Your Reach
  • Module 4: Getting Published

In addition to the four modules, you also get:

  • Exclusive interviews with over a dozen authors, bloggers, and publishing experts
  • Access to the Tribe Writers community of 6000+ members
  • Live conference calls to ask questions and get help
  • Downloadable PDF workbook that summarizes every lesson
  • Admission to a private Facebook group only for students

The modules take about 2 weeks to get through but you can move at your pace.

This course comes with five additional bonuses to support you including You Are a Writer eBook + Audiobook and The Perfect Book Launch.

Where Jeff’s Tribe Writers is different from the other courses is, a strong emphasis on honing your ideas and creativity as a writer to create a unique brand. There is a strong foundation for support and networking with hundreds of other authors.

Best 6 Reasons to Enroll with Tribe Writers

  • Loaded with tools to help get you started
  • Community of writers to help you when you get stuck
  • Lots of valuable content and expert interviews included
  • Designed to show you how to find your voice and audience
  • Monthly conference calls to keep you on track
  • “12 steps of a Tribe Writer” that clearly outlines the expectations of the course.

Ready to Write and Publish Your Bestseller?

All of these courses are excellent in their own way. Depending on your budget and writing goals, you might choose one over the other.

Now that we have taken an in- depth look at the best self publishing courses for you to write your bestseller, you have a solid idea of what to expect from each course. The question is: Are you ready to write your book?

The best writing course you decide depends largely on your goals as a writer.

Are you writing one book only and need a step by step process to guide you through to published author? Self Publishing School could be a match. Keep in mind they do have additional courses for marketing and business including Sell More Books and Course Building for Authors.

Do you want to build a solid library of books and focus on your author platform? Authority Pub Academy could be your best match. Let Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport guide you towards your success of being a multiple bestselling author.

Do you want to learn the essence of email list building, creating an author website and setting up landing pages that convert readers into subscribers? Self Publishing 101 could be the best choice to make.

Need more advanced marketing tools from one of the best in the business? Your First 10k Readers is the path you might consider, and…

Interested in a course that focuses on honing your creative writing talent while showing you how to connect with your unique voice? Tribe Writers with Jeff could be the best option.

Or, you might decide you need two courses and combine together for maximum impact. Self Publishing School can show you how to go from blank page to published author in 90 days. But Nick Stephenson’s course can teach you the more advanced analytics and how to really build out an online book business.

So now, make a choice. You have been sitting on this long enough. Your book won’t write itself and if you have written it already, take it to the next level.

Your move.

Life is short.

Take action now.

It’s your time to write that next perennial bestseller!

author bio

How to Write an Author Bio Examples & Tips to SELL

Your author bio matters. As much as we wish we could write up a few words about our lives and just stick it up for the world to see, there’s a lot more to it than that.

How you write our author bio can change the way potential readers and those who’ve already purchased view you and your platform.

It can also impact whether or not they buy another of your books, if you publish multiple.

But knowing the best way to write your author bio and how to make it speak to your readers in a specific way is the key…and we’ll cover just that for you, with examples.

Here’s how to write an author bio:

  1. Author bio formatting
  2. Know your readers
  3. Include your background
  4. Stay factual in your author bio
  5. Use your personality in your author bio
  6. Include awards and such
  7. Get personal
  8. Learn from author bio examples
  9. Keep learning about author bios

ONLINE CLASS

Write and Publish A Book in HALF the Time!

Learn how 100 people finished and published their books in the last 60 days and how you can do it, too! Choose a time below to join the online class!

Your Author Bio & YOU Do Matter

If you’re looking for a deep-dive on your author bios and the self-publishing industry as a whole, your best bet is to check out this video.

Not only will you learn a lot you didn’t know about self-publishing a book as a whole, but you’ll learn why these small details are so important.

It’s the first stepping stone to truly understanding what makes a successful author.

The other steps take quite a bit more time…unless you have a solid system to teach you the way. We help save our authors tons of time, even after some have wasted years, by showing them how to write and publish a book in as little as 90 days. Check out what we can do for you and your author career here.

What is an author bio?

An author bio is a paragraph or so about you, your credentials, your hobbies, and other information you wish to share with readers.

It’s how readers get to know you beyond the pages of your book. While your books are a great way to introduce yourself, an author bio can set you apart, bring in more fans, and even sell more books if you know how to write it correctly.

That’s what we’ll teach you here today.

How to Write an Author Bio That’s Impactful

So you’ve finished your draft and are ready to tackle the next steps of putting it out there in the world. (Promise me that you’re not procrastinating by reading this blog! If you are, get back to writing right now!)

The first step is to figure how who you want to be perceived, how you want to brand yourself, is in your author bio.

This is the blurb that will go on your Amazon author page, your Book Bub author profile, your Goodreads page, your author web page, on the back of your book and so forth. It’s a really important little piece of work that you want to get right!

While your book cover design is the most important tool when marketing a book, your author bio is easily number two. This is where you convince your audience why you are the best person to tell them about the matter at hand.

It’s a place to connect with your readers and build your legitimacy.

You’ll want to stay factual while interesting. You want to make yourself approachable and toot your own horn, just a little bit.

Here are some tips to master these.

https://youtu.be/PB2UdSGSPRw

#1 – Author Bio Formatting

Although you are writing the author bio, it still needs to be written in the third person no matter how quirky it is. In other words, avoid using “I” as your sentence subject but utilize your name or last name instead.

Additionally, you’ll have many drafts and varieties of this author bio. You’ll want to change it up depending on the application.

You may have a punchier version on your website while your bio for that speaking engagement session at a writing conference that you’re leading (and we’re confident that will happen for you!) will be more serious.

Today, we’re working on the basic draft that you can tweak as needed.

Remember to keep the bio short, less than 300 words. It seems that three sentences is a well-tested length (more on this later). Your author bio is not an entire list of every single award you’ve won or your life story.

Even if you did win the “Young Writer’s” award in middle school, unless you’re still in middle school, this little known fact probably doesn’t deserve to be on the back of your book.

Feel free to have a “full accolades” section on your author website where you can list every single thing you’ve ever done, won or written.

Your mom will be super proud of this list but readers browsing Amazon don’t need to get into the major details.

Here’s how to format an author bio wrapped up:

  • Use third-person POV when writing it
  • Keep it under 300 words
  • Add relevant/recent achievements
  • Minimize the number of sentences within those 300 words.

And remember: an author bio longer than 300 words or so will take up too much space and become an oversell.

#2 – Know Your Readers

Your bio is an extension of your book.

Write it for your audience. Keep the same writing style and connect this text to your subject matter.

If you wrote a book on productivity, a lengthy sentence about your lazy vacations doing nothing is not relevant and in fact, can persuade readers to avoid your books because they’ll think you to be uncredible.

Here are a few tips for getting to know your audience:

  • Interact with your readers on social platforms
  • Listen intently to the feedback during the beta reading process
  • Run your author bio by a group for feedback and adjustments
  • Ask people close to you if the bio embodies your personality and is accurate

#3 – Include Your Background

In order to sell yourself to new readers, you will want to include your pertinent background. If you happen to have other books, do include their titles and how many languages they have have been translated into or how many countries they’ve been sold in.

List your related education and memberships. Any higher education beyond college is usually noteworthy too.

Keep your lists short though. Only list three books, for instance, and a couple of memberships. A list of ten books, three degrees, and five memberships will only be skimmed by potential book buyers at the very best.

A huge list like this will become white noise so only include the most important and interesting stuff.

Your fanboys and girls (and your mom’s friends) will look to your aforementioned author website for more info and you can keep the tidy, complete list there.

#4 – Stay Factual

Statements like, “has always dreamed of writing a book,” while certainly may be true, are hard to back up and aren’t going to help sell your book.

Stick to the facts and to what you can prove. 

Another reason for this is if you claim achievements that aren’t true or invalid, there will always be someone there to point it out in an attempt to cut you down.

This can reduce your credibility, and therefore, readers’ trust in you.

#5 – Use your personality

One of the best things about being an author is that you get to put your personality, views of the world, values, and more into your writing.

What some don’t understand about authors is: if a reader likes you, they’re very likely to enjoy what you write, because your essence bleeds into the pages.

Being able to showcase this with your personality can do worlds for your readers connecting with you and wanting to read your book out of curiosity if nothing else.

Here are a few tips to add personality to your author bio:

  • Exaggerate your tone just a little in order for it to be more evident
  • Be goofy and creative with how you describe yourself (See Jenna Moreci’s example in #11)
  • Have fun with it!
  • Throw a joke in your bio

#6 – Include an achievement or award

In addition to your backlist of books, your awards, and education, you’ll want your readers to know any higher-profile stuff you have going on.

Be sure to cover your awards, your following, and any big deal author interviews or features.

Again, if any of these this happened decades ago, it may not be relevant. But if you have a quarter-million followers on Twitter or on your blog, this will sell your authority (and yeah, a quarter-million sounds better than 250,000 but are the same number!).

If your writing has been nominated for awards but didn’t make the cut, that is often fitting for an author bio too. “Award-nominated” anything is pretty cool!

#7 – Get personal in your author bio

Provide a bit of personal information to connect with your audience. The reason for this is if a reader sees something they have in common with you, it’s an automatic bond and gives them more of a reason to buy.

It’s standard for authors to share where they live and what their family make-up is.

A few non-divisive hobbies and interests are also often included. If you have experiences that are related, such as extensive travel or extreme situations, they may relevant to share as well.

Again, know your audience and choose wisely. Maybe (terribly) you were part of a cult as a child?

That’s really interesting but unless you’re sharing this story in the book or proves your authority on the subject at hand, skip including it in your author bio!

Bonus Author Bio Tip: Keep these bits broad enough to include a larger number of people. For example, if you play the flute, simply mention that you’ve been playing an instrument for however many years as this is more inclusive, and there’s a higher chance of others connecting with you.

#8 – Author Bio Example – Chandler Bolt

We all known and love Chandler Bolt, Self Publishing School Founder. We wouldn’t be here learning about writing without his hard work and book writing methods. Chandler’s author bio on the back of his book Published is only three sentences long but packs in a lot of authority building, states facts plus toots his horn a bit.

These three sentences along with the killer book cover art work well to sell Chandler’s mastery of book publishing.

author bio example chandler bolt

Chandler’s Amazon Author Page is another version of his author bio. Here, Chandler gets really personal stating that his birth was almost miscarried!

He also gives some background about his entrepreneurial experience and awards.

#9 – Author Bio Example – Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller and nonfiction author who also writes under the pen names of JF Penn and Penny Appleton.

She’s written and self-published nearly 30 books so she really knows what she’s doing. On her Book Bub author page, Joanna’s short bio is only (surprise!) three sentences.

author bio example joanna penn

It concisely tells potential readers a short version of her accolades and narrows down her writing style quickly. Then it tells us where she lives and one of her favorite drinks.

On her own website, The Creative Penn, Joanna provides a different three-sentence version of her short bio and then gets into the details about all her books, the many awards and best-selling experience she’s had plus where she lives and her favorite wine (a different drink mentioned here!)! Joanna’s short bio on her page is three sentences and shoves in a ton of accolades into a small space.

Joanna Penn author bio example

#10 – Author Bio Example – Amy Twigg

SPS alumni, Amy Twiggs, wrote her first book the Self Publishing School way and can now call herself a best selling author among her many other accomplishments (and there are many!).

Within her first book in the Flippin’ Awesome Series, Flippin’ Awesome Gymnast: 5 Tools to Crush Fear & Increase Confidence for Gymnasts (Volume 1), Amy uses the last page to tell her audience more about herself in her author bio.

Here she tells about her family, her gymnastic prowess as well as her authority and love of athletic mental training. T

his all builds strong authority for her book and brand.

On her Goodreads page about the same book, she sells the book by telling prospective readers that she’s been where they are and know “what it feels like to try your best and to fail.

author bio example amy twiggs

I also know how it feels to work hard to achieve your goals.” She sells her wisdom and experience. Note that it is the norm to write in the first person on Goodreads but this is a big rule breaker everywhere else.

All of these examples have variations of author bios written in just a slightly different way for different applications. They all say very similar things about the same person.

#11 – Author Bio Example – Jenna Moreci

If you haven’t heard of this full-time self-published author and Youtuber, that’s surprising!

Not only does Moreci have ample experience when it comes to self-publishing, but she’s also among one of the best examples of how to market your book effectively, including how she’s written her author bio.

Here’s an example of her Amazon author page with her bio:

Notice how Moreci keeps it short, brief, but very clear with who she is, what she writes, and even has enough personal information to let readers into her life at an appropriate level.

If we take a look at her personal author website’s “about” page, we’ll see she has something similar, but with a few more additions, including her books and more.

author bio jenna moreci

In this example, Jenna has also doused us with her personality, giving us insight into how she operates and therefore, the tone of some of her books.

More Ideas for Writing an Author Bio

Know the very essence of your book and find keywords that your readers may search for to find your book. When crafting your author bio, use these keywords that search engines can catch. 

Although it may be irrelative in some bio spaces, add links to any free giveaways (we’ve got some ideas on that here..) on your website, your newsletter, social media or whatever web presence you have. 

Also, feel free to add a call to action where applicable.

Final Author Bio Thoughts

Remember that there is no perfect bio, and there are no two alike. Although these are all good ideas, it’s not an exact formula. Your author bio will be unique and will change as you write more books and gain more accolades (because we know you will!). 

Now tell me the truth. Is your book really done? We can help you finish your manuscript and really make use of this carefully crafted author bio! Check out the training below to get started!

ONLINE CLASS

Write and Publish A Book in HALF the Time!

Learn how 100 people finished and published their books in the last 60 days and how you can do it, too! Choose a time below to join the online class!

Do you have more author bio tips to share with our writing community? Do you think bios should be longer than three sentences or do you like this standard size?

how to publish a novel

How to Self-Publish a Novel: A Start to Finish Guide

So you wrote your novel. If you haven’t learn how to plan a novel first. You put in the time, got your story structure down, and are likely finishing up revisions or self-editing while working on the next phase in your author journey. In this guide we’ll show you how to self-publish a novel.

But how do you take your novel to the next level? What do you need to prepare for and set up.

We’ll explore how to self-publish your novel and market it to the audience you desire.

The fact is that you know you want to publish this piece of work and I’m here to steer you in the right direction, being a published author myself.

If you’re actually ready to learn how to successfully market and publish your book today, this training is by far the best place to start.

Here’s what you’ll learn about how to publish a novel:

  1. What to do after you’ve written a novel
  2. Pros and cons of self-publishing a novel
  3. How to self-publish your novel
  4. Pros and cons of traditionally publishing a novel
  5. How to traditionally publish a novel

What do you do after you’ve written the book?

In the writing world years ago, you only had one option: find a publisher who wants it. If no one wanted to buy and publish your book, you were out of luck. Onto the next manuscript, toss that one in the bin.

Fortunately, things are different today.

The great thing about being a modern author is that you’ve got options! Gone are the days of mandatory querying, submitting, waiting, rejections, and repeat. Now you can take your book and your publishing experience into your own hands with self-publishing.

So which one is better? Traditional publishing or self-publishing?

It really depends on your goals and resources. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the differences between traditional and self-publishing, the pros and cons of each, and what you should consider when making this decision.

how to self-publish a novel

Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing: A quick overview

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing is a hot debate among authors-to-be everywhere. Let’s cover self-publishing first, as this is a new ever-growing industry.

Self-publishing might seem like way too much work! Or maybe it seems like an amazingly fun adventure of choosing your own fate, expressing your creativity, and making your own choices.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of self-publishing your book.

Pros of self-publishing a novel:

  1. Creative control. With self-publishing, it’s all up to you! You maintain all creative control. Write any story you want, include whatever characters you want, market however you want, put your own face as the book cover if you want—it’s all your decision.
  2. Business control. You get to decide everything on the business side too! Cover design, marketing, book trailers, promotions, advertisements—you’re in control and can do whatever you’d like.
    For example, I was able to offer a free ebook of my short story collection to encourage people to stay home during the COVID-19 outbreak. My goal was to calm people down and provide a distraction. But some unexpected benefits for me were extra Amazon reviews, hype about my next book, purchases of the physical copy, and word-of-mouth advertising that I couldn’t have created on purpose. This isn’t something I could have done with a traditionally published book, because the publisher has control of pricing and promotions.
    NOTE: Business control could be a con if you don’t have a background in business, don’t take the time to research beforehand, or if you’re just not interested in running the business side of a writing career—so keep that in mind.
  3. Higher royalties! Book royalties for a traditionally published book usually range between 8% to 12%. For self-published books, the range is much higher. For example, publishing a paperback with KDP gives you a royalty rate of 60%. That’s a significant difference, and certainly something to keep in mind.
  4. You don’t have to do it alone! You can have hands-on help from Self-Publishing School to guide you through the self-publishing process, from planning your book, to writing, to editing, to publishing, to promoting! 

Cons of self-publishing a novel:

  1. You pay for everything.Editor, cover art, marketing, copyright—all you, boo. There’s no publisher there to pick up any of the financial slack.
  2. No advance, so no guaranteed payment. With traditional publishing, as we’ll cover in a little bit, you typically receive an advance, which is an upfront payment for your book. This guarantees you make something for your efforts, at least so long as your book sells (otherwise you often have to give that advance back). No such luck with self-publishing. You either sell enough copies to recoup costs, or you eat the loss.

Self-publishing your novel might be the route for you if you:

  1. Want to retain creative and business control
  2. Have the money to invest in producing the book

How to Self-Publish a Novel

If you’ve discovered this is the right direction for you, here are some steps to get you there.

#1 – Produce the book

Write the book

Whichever publishing path you choose, ya gotta write the book. There are many processes and strategies, and it will look different depending on the author and their preferences.

Edit the book

Just like writing, there are several different processes and strategies available for editing your book. Ideally, you’re going to go through multiple rounds of edits. For example, a lot of writers will edit their book in this order: developmental edits, line edits, and copy edits.

You might try in-house editing. This isn’t recommended. Even writers who are also professional editors would be better off hiring an editor for their book. It’s just so easy to miss things when you’re close to a story. It takes an outside perspective to spot mistakes, especially in developmental edits.

Cover design

You might do this in-house, or you might hire someone to do it for you. If you have the ability to invest in something, I recommend investing in a cover. This is your customer-facing element and a major marketing tool, so investing makes sense!

Interior format

This is something else you could do in-house, but you should consider your skill level and amount of time you’re able to invest. Think about what you have more of: time or money. If you have more time, maybe it’s worth it for you to learn to format the book yourself. If you have more money and less time, it might be worth the financial investment.

Publish the book

There are many options for indie authors to self-publish with. KDP, IngramSpark, iBooks, Kobo, and more. Each has different levels of accessibility, different learning curves, and different requirements. There are also differentiation between your publishing and licensing rights between them, so research carefully before making your selection.

Self-Publishing School also has step-by-step processes for publishing through each of the above in their Become a Bestseller program so you don’t have to waste the time learning on your own.

#2 – Market the book

Build a platform

Possibly the most powerful marketing tool to sell your book is having an audience—your author platform—ready to buy it before you’ve finished writing it. There are many things you can do to build a platform for your book. Jenna Moreci’s Skillshare class is a great place to start.

Book launch

The most crucial time frame to market your book is before and during its release. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hype the art you’ve been working so hard to create! Jenna has another great SkillShare class all about book launches.

Giveaways and promotions

Hosting giveaways on social media is a great way to build hype for your book and platform. 

Advertisements

You might buy ads to run where your demographic might see them. For example, if you’re writing romance novels for the age demographic of 40+ readers, a Facebook ad might be a great investment. If your target demographic is teenagers, a Facebook ad would be virtually useless (unless you’re targeting their parents!).

Does self-publishing work? Of course! Is it worth it? That’s up to you. Let’s look at traditional publishing to see if that’s a better fit for your writing goals and resources.

Pros and cons of traditionally publishing a novel

Traditional publishing might seem like an unattainable dream. Or maybe it seems like the PERFECT way to launch your writing career! Let’s look at it objectively with some pros and cons.

Pros of traditionally publishing a book:

  1. Less financial investment up front. Your publisher will cover expenses like editing, cover design, and interior formatting. You don’t have to worry about putting your own money on the line. If your book doesn’t sell, you still make off with your cashbag.
  2. The cashbag (guaranteed paycheck).
    While self-publishing provides you with significantly higher royalties, traditional publishers often offer the incentive of an advance payment, which typically ranges from $5,000 to $20,000. Advances are not a guarantee with every publisher, so always be sure to read your contract. Royalty payments for traditional publishers kick in if and when the book has sold enough copies to surpass the advance. (Most books never meet that threshold and never start paying royalties to the author.)

Cons of traditionally publishing a novel:

  1. Traditional publishers don’t have your best interest at heart.
    They’re a business. They have goals and standards that have nothing to do with you. Sure, they’re there if you have questions, and they have the industry know-how, but your book is just another product and you’re just another writer.
    In some cases, publishers will buy rights to a book they never intend to publish, just to keep another publishing company from getting their hands on it. This is a business practice in many industries—it’s a way to minimize competition. While this isn’t the likeliest drawback of traditional publishing, it is an example of how they’re not “on your side”. They’re running a business.
    NOTE: Vanity presses are technically publishers, and they certainly don’t want what’s best for you and your book. Vanity presses are publishers who charge writers to publish their book—they don’t care about quality because they’re not making their money off of readers: they’re making their money off of you.
  2. Publishers maintain creative control. If you have specific ideas about how you want your book to be presented or marketed, if you have a picture of what you want the cover to look like, if you want to write about something extremely controversial or that there may not be a market for—you’re going to be disappointed. Publishers know the industry, and they have their own goals with your book: they’ll do what they want with it. They can even control the content of your story. If that bothers you, this probably isn’t the publishing option you should take.
  3. Publishers maintain business control. Just like creative control, the business control lies with your publisher. Like I said earlier, I was able to offer my ebook free, just because I felt like it. With traditional publishing, you don’t have a say in how your book is sold.
  4. While you typically have a guaranteed paycheck in that initial advance, it often isn’t much! If you’re getting $10k per book, and that’s all, you have to have a day job or make sure you stretch that $10k until you can rip out another book fast. While self-publishing doesn’t promise a lucrative life right away either (unless you know how to work the algorithm and gain exposure, which is taught in Self-Publishing School’s Sell More Books program), keep in mind that advances—especially early on—just aren’t that much.

Traditionally publishing a novel might be for you if:

  1. You don’t mind giving up creative and business control
  2. You don’t have the money to invest up front
  3. You’re okay with receiving smaller royalties in exchange for the publisher covering production costs
  4. You understand that they don’t have your best interests at heart, and you’re ready to proceed with a business frame of mind, taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your work

How to Traditionally Publish a Novel

If you think traditional publishing might be the right move for your book, let’s look at the steps to do it!

1. Write the book.

Gotta do this either way! A drag, right?

2. Gather application materials

This includes:

  1. A clean manuscript of your book
  2. A strong query letter
  3. A high-quality book synopsis

3. Apply for a literary agent

Here’s Meg Latorre, writer and former literary agent, teaching us how to get a literary agent and how NOT to get a literary agent.

4. Wait

Most of the traditional publishing process is spent waiting. Some writers can wait for months or years trying to snag a literary agent. You might even end up tossing your manuscript and trying again with the next one.

TIP: Try to use this time productively, like by working on your next manuscript! 

5. Edit!

If/when you find an agent, you’ll go back and forth with your agent and editor to edit your manuscript over and over again, until it’s right!

6. Market

Once your book is edited, you wait for publication. Again, this could be months or years, but once it happens, time to market.

Unfortunately (and contrary to popular belief), being traditionally published does not guarantee that your publisher will market the book for you. In fact, they almost definitely won’t.

Unless you’re an established author, publishers really don’t benefit from spending money making sure your book sells. They’ll invest their marketing budget on authors who have already proven to be profitable.

The one guaranteed element from a publisher that you might consider marketing is the book cover (which you have no say in designing). This doesn’t mean publishers are evil and they want you to fail, but they have no incentive to spend any of their marketing budgets on a new author or a debut book—it won’t make them any money, and they’re just running a business.

Self-Publishing A Novel In Conclusion…

To sum up, there’s no one-size-fits-all publishing solution that will work for every writer. Consider your goals, your expectations, your strengths and weaknesses, and the amount of time and resources you’re ready to commit to publishing your book.

Do you want to invest less time and money for a smaller reward? Traditional publishing might be your route.

Do you want to invest a little more initially for potentially a more profitable long-run? Self-publishing might be your route.

Here’s how to get started on your self-publishing journey if you’re ready to become an author and publish your novel.