SPS 162: How Are You, Really? – Behind the Scenes Of Writing & Launching My First Book with Jenna Kutcher

Jenna Kutcher is the host of the Goal Digger podcast and author of the brand new book, How Are You, Really? This book is about living a life that exists outside the cliche of “having it all” and finding time to soak up the richness of experience. We talk about so many things, including why she finally decided to write a book and how she got that last bit of motivation by seeing a mouse and receiving a massage. She takes us behind the scenes with her writing process that wasn’t traditional, but it worked for her creative side. We learn about her publishing process and why it was traditional. She appreciated the structure and the team to help pull everything together. 

We talk about identity foreclosure and how Jenna was able to move from business to lifestyle, and how valuable this shift has been for readers and female entrepreneurs. We got a sneak peek into her launch strategy and how she created an insider’s team to help build the launch team. She also reached out to trusted students to enable admin and make her community. She even shares a great way to add a personal touch when asking for reviews from some of her biggest fans. We also learn how she was able to release perfectionism and write a great work without having her life’s work be in the balance. Jenna shares how being a mom changed her. She talks about her pivot and becoming a brand shifter into the lifestyle space. I love this episode, and you will too! Jenna is inspiring and authentic.

Show Highlights

  • [02:03] Writing a book is something that Jenna never thought she would do, but it’s a beautiful reminder of how we can change our minds. She loves writing, but a book seemed like a big commitment. She had the time, since she built a business that says time is her currency.
  • [03:52] During a massage, she was told that she is avoiding something that she needed to do. This was the motivation to finally do it.
  • She also saw a mouse which means avoidance. It was time to write.
  • [07:40] She started writing stories and then started her outline. It may have been backwards, but the process felt creative in Jenna’s mind.
  • [09:33] The personal chapters were in the proposal. She loved the process and writing was such a reminder of slow growth and deep roots. Her middle ground is where the woo meets the work.
  • [12:12] Her editor scrapped the business parts and kept the stories that mattered. There is a whole village of people involved in writing and publishing a book.
  • [14:08] Don’t shorten your timeline when trying to balance. Traditional publishing worked for Jenna. A book release is releasing your book and letting go. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • [17:02] Having a team and being guided through the process was an advantage of traditional publishing. Publish in any way that you can publish.
  • [19:50] Identity foreclosure. Jenna loved business, strategy, and launching, but becoming a mom changed a lot of things for her. The invitation to talk about more was an opportunity to pivot and be a brand shifter into the lifestyle space. 
  • [22:10] She’s now been getting more speaking opportunities which she is actually interested in at this point. It also opens up more opportunities for her to speak about things like body image.
  • [23:55] She didn’t announce her book until it was done. Timing and money can squash creativity. She also created an insiders list where people could sign up and get updates. Go sixty days out, because most people buy the book two weeks before it’s released.
  • [26:40] They broke their 60 days up into three campaigns. The first one was a live training on Zoom. The second bonus was a digital download. She participated in Zoom calls with people who she knew would help promote her book. 
  • [29:09] The insider’s team helped funnel the launch team. They were really thoughtful with their timing, and they focused on serving instead of overselling.
  • [31:24] She also reached out to her students and asked if they wanted to be community admins. She had 15 women spearheading a group of 1000 people. 
  • [33:05] She shares chunks of the book all 
  • [35:35] Think outside the box and connect with book buyers. 
  • [37:01] Jenna shares how she leaves personal voicemails and asks for help from her fans. The personal connection is powerful.
  • [37:41] Have a short link for reviews. 
  • [38:47] Jenna uses the Showit platform for her website. 
  • [40:23] Parting advice for Jenna of the past would be to get quiet with herself. 

Links and Resources

SPS 161: Sneak Peak: John C Maxwell Interview from AAL

Author Advantage Live is coming up, and I wanted to give you a sneak peak with one of our guests from last year, John C. Maxwell. This interview was everyone’s favorite and brought down the house. I grew up reading John C. Maxwell books. They’ve been fundamental in me becoming a better reader. I also want to announce that tickets are available for Author Advantage Live 2022. We have amazing sessions that will help you sell more books and unlock the author advantage. John C Maxwell is a number one New York Times bestselling author. He’s a speaker, coach and leader who has sold over 33 million copies of his 83 books written. 

He’s often called the country’s No. 1 leadership authority. He’s been identified by Inc. as the most popular leadership expert in the world. He runs multiple organizations including The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, John C Maxwell Leadership Foundation and his nonprofit called Equip. His books and training have been read by presidents and business leaders alike. He has trained millions of leaders from every nation and multiple organizations. This conversation is about his books, his writing method, his views on personal development and so much more. His passion is contagious in this great interview.

Show Highlights

  • [02:55] My brother is in the rock and roll band Needtobreathe. He was playing Chick-fil-A Leadercast and I attended. This was my first conference, and I met two people, John Maxwell and Jack Welch.
  • [03:50] This event was like a life-altering moment for me. The whole thing has now come full circle.
  • [05:31] John C. Maxwell has written 83 books. When he started he felt he wasn’t that good. His mentor told him he could influence people with books, and he became an author. 
  • [07:32] His first book was only a hundred pages, and yet it took a year to write. 
  • [09:30] It took seven books before John really got the hang of writing. 
  • [10:51] It’s okay if you’re not very good when you first start out. You can get help and improve.
  • [13:45] The Secret Sauce in writing and speaking is your own personal development and growth.
  • [14:55] The more you know. The more you don’t know.
  • [15:45] He has an extensive filing system, so he doesn’t lose any of the golden nuggets he’s discovered.
  • [18:05] John gets up around 5 a.m. and starts writing immediately. Anticipation is his motivation.
  • [22:58] When you get really good everything compounds. If you’re going to quit, do it at the beginning.
  • [25:35] John’s writing process is strategic. He has a system. His five essentials are know what you want to accomplish, have the right tool, take action, stay focused, and be consistent. 
  • [28:38] His five essentials for writing every day include reading, filing, thinking, asking questions, and writing.
  • [35:33] John shares his top selling books. He has 11 books that have sold over a million copies. The number one is The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You.
  • [39:03] He believes his leadership books sell so well, because he’s known for leadership.
  • [44:10] Publishers have great strengths and weaknesses. They publish, but they don’t really sell the books. 
  • [46:16] John speaks to a million people a year which helps move a lot of books. Their launches are a combination of things beginning with getting a team together to brainstorm. 
  • [48:49] They’ll often use their advance from the publisher to fund their marketing efforts. They use things like videos and a launch team. They also use book clubs and pre launch efforts.
  • [51:42] John started as a speaker. He then began writing. Coaching came last. The different assets create an upward spiral and distribution channel. 
  • [56:35] Parting advice: write books to add value to people. Keep learning and growing. 

Links and Resources

Send Advance Reader Copies

Advance Reader Copies: Send to These 6 Groups So You Can Conquer Your Next Book Launch

If you are writing and self-publishing your book, you need to send out Advance Reader Copies to create buzz for your book before you launch. However, if this is your first book, you might be wondering why Advance Reader Copies are important. And more importantly, you might be wondering where you should send them.

We wrote this guide to Advance Readers Copies to help you get started with this important piece of your book marketing.

What are Advance Reader Copies?

Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) are printed and bound manuscripts of a book that has not been published yet. ARCs (also called a galley) have been through most of the editing stages and function as the almost-complete version of the book. 

Some of the finishing touches might not be final versions such as the book’s cover art, illustrations, back cover information, and any notable reviews. The point of the Advance Reader Copies is the book itself is ready to read and review, even if the aesthetic details aren’t finalized.

Advance Reader Copies are printed for promotional purposes and not printed to sell. Advance Reader Copies will be marked very clearly on both the cover and inside the book with the words “advanced reader copy” and are marked as “not for sale or distribution”. They might also include disclaimers that this is an unedited manuscript for review only.

If you are distributing electronic Advance Reader Copies, those versions are also marked to show that is not the final version. 

Advance Reader Copies Are Not Final Versions

Advance Reader Copies are not:

  • First drafts of the book. By the time someone is holding a copy of one of your advance reader copies, the manuscript has already been read by a team of editors and beta readers. The major plot holes have been worked out and the characters have all been developed and critiqued. The manuscript should be in its final stages.
  • Full of spelling and grammar mistakes. In addition to the beta readers, your book should already have been edited by a proofreader. There should be very little, if any obvious mistakes or anything else that would detract readers from the book. 
  • Finalized. You might still be finalizing the final details of the book such as the cover art, the forward, the author bio, and more. Just because you printed and sent out Advance Readers Copies does not mean that minor details of the story can’t change or mistakes can’t be fixed after the ARCs are distributed.

Benefits to Using Advance Reader Copies

Advance Reader Copies are typically sent to people that can review, promote, or help the book’s launch and distribution. They should be sent to strategic connections and used in a way that helps generate excitement to your book. 

They can also be signed and given as gifts to people that have helped you with your book writing. This early release copy is a special book that most people won’t see, so it’s a fun way to thank someone for their support.

Who Can Use Advance Reader Copies

Advance Reader Copies are not just for authors who publish with big publishing companies, they are also important for self-published authors as well. 

Self-published authors can utilize many of the same marketing strategies that well-known authors utilize when they send out Advance Reader Copies to their contacts. As opposed to expensive marketing campaigns, sending out ARCs is a great way to create buzz for relatively low cost. 

When self-published authors can get honest reviews and high ratings prior to a release, it can organically draw people to their book. Plus, when readers can see reviews both on the cover of their book and also where people can buy their books online, it helps to build more confidence with potential readers.

6 Places To Send Advance Reader Copies

Think strategically about who will respond positively and help create buzz for your book. For example, do not send Advance Reader Copies to everyone on your email author subscription list that you are hoping will purchase your book. 

Instead look at the people that you have relationships with, the people that have the same audience that you are trying to reach, and people that have the capability to help market and sell your book.

Send Advance Reader Copies To:

  1. Book Reviewers. Send Advance Reader Copies to notable book reviewers or to author friends that are willing to read and review your book. 
  2. Launch Team. Send Advance Reader Copies to your launch team to write reviews, create posts, and help stir up excitement. For more information on the importance of your launch team read this article about How to Build and Manage a Book Launch Team. In addition to sending ARCs to your launch team for them to read, make sure to send them copies they can distribute as well.
  3. Journalists. Especially if your book covers a newsworthy topic, some journalists are interested in writing about upcoming book releases and reviewing new literature after reading advance reader copies.
  1. Goodreads readers. Send ARCs to Goodreads as part of an author giveaway. Goodreads is widely known for its passionate community of readers. Hosting giveaways with them and other online book clubs is a great way to reach readers and get people excited and interested in your book and in you as an author. Plus you can see a boost to your book sales when your book finds its way to the book clubs both on Goodreads and on other sites.
  1. Influencers or book bloggers. Look for people that have the same audience you are trying to reach. Request a shoutout or review if you send out one of the Advance Reader Copies. 
  1. Booksellers. Booksellers, both from independent shops and from larger chains, are important people to send ARCs to. You will want their excitement and buy in to get your books on their shelves. You should also be interested in securing in-person author events after they have reviewed and committed to stocking your book.

How Many Advance Reader Copies Do You Need?

Advance Reader Copies are used to create buzz for your book. However, they do not directly make you money like the book launch will, so be careful that they do not become a substitute for the actual copies of your book you want people to buy. 

Do not send out so many that you saturate the market with your book before you get a chance to sell it. Instead, plan out the people you intend to send them to and try not to print too many beyond that. 

You may find you need to print more ARCs after your initial print. Thankfully regardless of how you intend to print your books for purchase, Advance Reader Copies are typically printed as a less expensive paperback book, so they will be less expensive if you need to print more copies.

When To Print and Distribute Advance Reader Copies

If you are an author writing your book, be prepared to print ARCs at least 3-6 months before you are planning on launching your book. 

This gives you time to send copies out, gives your readers time to read and review your work, and lets you make any changes in response to feedback before your final books are printed.

If you need help with your book launch plan, be sure to check out our guide How to Launch a Book for More Sales.

Next Steps

For more help with your writing and self-publishing journey, take a look at one of our many courses for self-publishing! We have the best author community that is ready to connect with you and help you self-publish your book!

[PRINTABLE] Book Launch Checklist

Publish Your Book The RIGHT Way & Ensure It’s Success!

Download your FREE book launch checklist to get your launch right the first time. Hit the button to claim yours.

SPS 160: Quitting My Corporate Because Of My Book with Mick Spiers

Mick Spiers is the author of You’re A Leader Now What?: The proven path to high performance leadership, a book about successful leadership through the skill of relating to others. This book is for new leaders, millennial leaders, and those mentoring and training leaders. It’s about inspiring people into action and building up our next generation of leaders. Mick has a strong track record in developing high-performance teams. He is also the host of The Leadership Project podcast and a leadership coach. 

We dive into how Mick became obsessed with talking and teaching leadership and how his book helped propel his coaching success so much that he could leave his corporate position and focus on what truly lights him up. We learn how he found Self Publishing School through the podcast and eventually became a client. He shares how his book helped him maximize his impact and share his message. He shares his writing process, including tips from our coach Aaron who helped him create a plan with a mind map, outline, and the right mindset. 

He knows he has more books inside of them. His initial writing process took eight months, but now he is collecting notes and information for his future book ideas. We talk about having a launch team, book promotion, and reaching out to everyone you know. Building relationships is something that Mick has been doing all of his life. Having the support from those relationships helped him move forward when he started to promote his book. Mick shares great parting advice and talks about why having a coach can be beneficial. 

Show Highlights

  • [02:34] Mick started his podcast, because of the great resignation. We’re having a leadership crisis in the world.
  • [03:29] On his podcast, Mick had amazing conversations with leaders around the world. Then he became a certified coach and started coaching. He was in the flow State whenever he talked about leadership.
  • [04:04] He loved coaching and talking about leadership and decided a book would be a great way to get his message out there.
  • [04:18] By the time his book was finished, Mick had his own Leadership Academy, and he had left the corporate world. He now works full-time on the Leadership Project.
  • [05:14] He discovered SPS by chance through the podcast. After researching, he knew he wanted to be part of SPS.
  • [06:09] Why a book? To maximize impact and get his message out there.
  • [07:39] A book is like a business card that someone can’t throw away.
  • [08:10] The writing process took eight months. Getting started with a mind map and outline was thanks to the teachings of SPS. He was able to finish with the help of his coach Aaron.
  • [10:11] He now makes notes about all of his thoughts for future books.
  • [13:15]  It’s important to get into the head of the Avatar of whoever you are writing the book for. For Mick, it was first time leaders who he was targeting.
  • [14:29] The 4 P’s include person, pain, promise, and price.
  • [15:01] Mick launched, because he wanted to get it out there. He then used a launch team to get reviews etc. They were number one in six categories.
  • [16:40] The number one thing that helped with the launch and promotion of the book was his network. Reach out personally to everyone.
  • He invests in relationships and has built up a network of people. 
  • [20:42] He was intentional about coming from a place of authenticity.  Authors also need a good supporting environment, for Mick, it was his family. He shared his moments of joy with the world.
  • [22:55] The power of self-awareness and surrounding yourself with people who compliment you.
  • [23:51] The community and the done for you services were extra helpful for Mick.
  • [24:53] Parting advice is Do It! And get some help, and get going!
  • [25:53] Watch out for imposter syndrome. We all have a story inside of us that’s worth sharing. 
  • [26:51] Book a call with Aaron and get going. They will coach you through the process and the mindset process. Have an open mind and be coachable.

Links and Resources

SPS 159: How To Get A Multi 6 Figure Advance With Your First Book with Brian Dixon

Brian Dixon is the author of Start with Your People: The Daily Decision that Changes Everything, a book about maximizing one of our most essential resources, relationships. He’s also a podcaster, speaker, and business coach. He’s passionate about helping aspiring authors and speakers share their messages through building and growing online businesses. He believes in simplifying the marketing strategies to have an impact. We will talk about traditionally publishing a book, getting an advance, selling copies, and streamlining marketing. 

Brian Dixon is the author of Start with Your People: The Daily Decision that Changes Everything, a book about maximizing one of our most essential resources, relationships. He’s also a podcaster, speaker, and business coach. He’s passionate about helping aspiring authors and speakers share their messages through building and growing online businesses. He believes in simplifying the marketing strategies to have an impact. We will talk about traditionally publishing a book, getting an advance, selling copies, and streamlining marketing. 

We kick off the show with why Brian wrote this book. He also shares a personal story of how he realized that he needed to focus more on the importance of relationships with people. We talk about the reality of imposter syndrome and pitching your book. Brian walks us through some interesting facts about pitching a traditional book, using an agent, and creating that all-important book proposal. He also shares why he thinks he got a boost by focusing on his email list and marketing in his proposal. This episode is full of exciting and motivating information. 

Show Highlights

  • [01:19] Brian decided to write Start with Your People: The Daily Decision that Changes Everything, because what’s obvious to us is magic to other people. As a driven entrepreneur and a growth guy, Brian wanted to stay how he is and still have a soul. 
  • [03:07] He wanted to focus on relationships. He did a 360 assessment and the consistent theme was that he wasn’t putting people first. 
  • [05:29] Go on your social media and ask what you are good at? 
  • [06:13] Brian wanted to create a business book with a heart.
  • [07:52] We all have imposter syndrome and ideas about what we are allowed to do. Brian started pitching books when he wanted to share with the world. He pitched book ideas and was rejected.
  • [09:37] Then when he wasn’t trying to go for it, he got the thing he wanted for so long, a traditional publisher. 
  • [10:54] If you’re trying to pitch a traditional deal, you need to spend about 70% of your book proposal on your marketing plan. Marketing plans are very important. Brian’s ft proposal was heavy on marketing strategy.
  • [11:48] He made a PDF non-fiction book proposal that was probably about 40 pages long. An advantage of working with an agent is they know a lot of people and have a lot of connections. She sends warm emails with the book proposal opportunity.
  • [12:30] Brian also had a big email list, and publishers were interested in the book because of the marketing plan. The golden ticket to book marketing according to publishers is the email list.
  • [13:28] He had a huge prelaunch opt-in bonus strategy. He gave access to his courses and had a niche summit with influencers. He used a strategic strategy that publishers could use in future book promotions.
  • [16:39] His agent pitched a meeting with him, not the book. He sold the book in the meeting. He brought drive and hustle to selling the book.
  • [19:54] Assume you’re on the team and bring your A-game. Add value wherever you are and assume yes. 
  • [22:36] These meetings were all on Zoom. 
  • [23:44] When it comes to getting a big advance, you have to treat it like a business and take negotiation seriously. Do the best you can and trust God with the results.
  • [26:46] Once you’re past your window of launch, the publisher moves on to the next project.
  • [27:19] He made a list of people he knew and thanked them for the impact they had on his life. We are constantly making investments in people throughout our lives and sometimes those investments can help us with future projects.
  • [29:37] The book helped establish a level of credibility and trust. The know, like, and trust factor. 
  • [30:59] You can also launch ancillary businesses as a result of your book.
  • [31:27] Parting advice includes writing that book. We have an entire lifetime to create our body of work. It’s okay to be a beginner.

Links and Resources