SPS 017: How I Went From #1 NYT Book Launch to $5.1M Product Launch with Jeff Walker

Welcome to episode 17 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Jeff Walker the #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams. Jeff’s launch strategies have transformed the way products are sold online. Before he started talking about his product launch formula, there was almost nobody else talking about product launches. The idea of a million dollar launch even seemed ludicrous, but now no one even bats an eye at a million dollar launch.
 
His techniques aren’t just for gurus or people with established platforms. He has helped thousands of students in hundreds of different niches, and they have generated over 500 million dollars in sales using the product launch formula. His book launch was a huge success and we are going to dive into that and the impact it had on his business and The Product Launch Formula itself. We also learn how Jeff was involved in online business since 1996 and created The Product Launch Formula in 2005, and how he hopes the book will cement his legacy.
 

You can find Jeff here:
Jeff Walker Website
Product Launch Formula
The Launch Book

Show Notes
 
[01:46] Why Jeff wrote and published Launch. He began online business in 1996 and became really good at launches.
[02:04] In 2005, he began teaching launches through the Product Launch Formula.
[03:05] Jeff wrote the book to get credit for his Product Launch Formula that he created. He also did it for legacy.
[04:43] He also wanted to help people and generate leads for his course.
[05:29] Writing the book was a challenge because he was obsessed with making it a good book.
[07:03] How writing and editing at the same time wastes time.
[08:02] Jeff used early morning writing time on his writing days to get his writing done.
[09:06] He used relaxed melodies and binaural beats for 50 minutes at a time. Then a 10-minute break and then back on for another 50 minutes.
[10:53] Having a big following and a large list helped make the marketing easier. He also used JV partners and affiliates.
[11:55] During a launch you shine every asset you have on your book or product.
[12:22] If you don’t have a list, start one now.
[13:40] He used a 99designs contest for an awesome book cover. Then he let his community vote on the best cover which was great publicity for the book.
[15:36] He also created an unboxing video of his first box of books being opened.
[16:14] The pre launch gets people engaged and excited. Then he had a pre-sale launch with bonuses.
[17:44] He also tested upsells to use with the book like his list-building course.
[21:35] Then he ran a special on The Product Launch Formula.
[23:38] How the book has impacted future launches of The Product Launch Formula.
[24:19] There is one PLF launch a year, the year after the book launch PLF increased by a million dollars.
[25:12] Then it increased, even more, the following year up to 5.1 million.
[26:10] PLF is a process that romances people into the sale with content.
[29:02] The launch ends when you pull the product or when the price goes up or when the bonuses go away.
[29:56] For books or lower priced items deliver value ahead of time and get people excited.
[32:30] Sustaining sales and gaining momentum.
[35:53] How Jeff doubled up marketing efforts to try and make the New York Times Bestseller list.
[37:28] To get a bestseller make a great book.
[39:02] The book has case studies that drive readers to Jeff’s website. This generates leads and they ask for recommendations through word of mouth.
[41:05] The book has impacted his business with high-quality leads and opt-ins.
[43:02] Podcasts and interviews are also a result of the book.
[44:09] Jeff ended up playing tennis with Richard Branson.
[44:39] Writing a book is hard and rewarding. Have discipline and write. Get an editor. Launch with a plan and build anticipation. Don’t stop after the launch.
 

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Relax Melodies App
99designs
Brendon Burchard
Michael Hyatt
Reid Tracy
Richard Branson
Jeff Walker Website
Product Launch Formula
The Launch Book

SPS 016: My Exact Process for Writing 16 Books with Joanna Penn

Welcome to episode 16 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Joanna Penn, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She writes thrillers and nonfiction. She is a professional speaker and entrepreneur who was voted as one of the Guardian UK Top 100 Creative Professionals of 2013. Her website The Creative Penn is regularly voted as one of the top 10 websites for writers.

Her site has a lot of great content, but today we are going to dive into her writing process. Joanna is a prolific writer, and she shares a lot of value. Her writing gets a lot of accolades, but she also has a lot of books out. She is known for publishing quality and quantity in the fiction and nonfiction arena.

After college Joanna became a consultant, but she was in search of the thing that she really loved and tried many different things. Joanna wrote a book about Career Change which ended up changing her career trajectory. In writing this book, she learned that she loved writing. She didn’t get to where she is overnight. It has been a 15 year journey. Today, we talk about that journey, Joanna’s writing, and more.

You can find Joanna here:
The Creative Penn
Books by Joanna Penn
The Creative Penn Podcast
Joanna on Twitter @TheCreativePenn

Show Notes
[01:30] Joanna’s journey began with journaling as a teenager. She studied Theology at Oxford and then became a consultant.
[02:25] Joanna tried many things like a scuba diving business and property investment, but she was searching for what she loved.
[02:36] She wrote a nonfiction book called Career Change. This actually changed her life because she learned about writing and publishing and she quit her job 3 years later.
[03:57] How reading a lot is important to understanding nonfiction. She wrote notes and made her first book up as she went along.
[04:53] She used beta readers for her first book and listened to their feedback.
[05:16] She also paid for an editor and cover design. She also learned that she loved the process.
[05:51] How working for a paycheck you don’t feel like you have earned anything. A book can earn and create a permanent impact.
[07:10] How reading someone’s book is like access to their brains.
[07:33] How Joanna’s first book really changes your life.
[07:56] If you enjoy writing books and you love the process you are a writer.
[08:28] Joanna’s passion was in the writing and learning and helping other people.
[08:47] Her business came out of a passion.
[09:38] Joanna’s writing process. She uses Scrivener. For nonfiction, she brainstorms the chapters and table of contents and then fills in the blanks.
[11:27] She prints out and goes over her draft and then gives it to her editor. Then her beta readers and proofreader.
[13:08] How writing improves over time. She is now a better writer. Every time you write a book you learn new things.
[15:20] Things that Joanna has done to be a better writing include using better editors and understanding flow.
[16:26] How a book needs to lead people through a journey.
[17:02] How Joanna also takes courses from people who are doing what she wants to do.
[18:02] How reading a lot is a great education. Read in your genre to understand how it works.
[19:06] The more book you write the more you earn. For writers, it keeps on going up.
[19:40] How she went from nonfiction to fiction and learned to tell a story. She started with NaNoWriMo.
[23:07] Choosing your mentors carefully and learning from people who do what you want to do.
[25:58] How with fiction it is more personal because you become part of the book. Fear of judgment.
[27:51] Writing the novel was “type 2” fun which is fun but it is hard work.
[29:19] How tiring writing fiction can be making so many decisions. It is work with a sense of achievement.
[30:59] Listening to waves and rain and thunderstorms helps relax Joanna when she writes.
[33:17] How it is important to get out of the house. Creativity is hard and needs to be done in the morning before Joanna is tired.
[36:07] Setting a timer and getting away and actually committing to writing. Learning structure and having a series also helps.
[39:27] Joanna uses a wall calendar to keep track of her word count. Our creative sides are children. She also uses stickers and adult coloring books.
[42:18] Balancing writing for her books and for her blog posts. She mostly focuses on podcasts now and writes for books.
[44:07] Joanna’s best writing productivity tips are using Scrivener and getting into the flow state with rain sounds. She also writes in the mornings.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
All About Joanna’s First Novel
Alastair Humphrey
On Writing Stephen King
National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo
The Creative Penn
Books by Joanna Penn
The Creative Penn Podcast
Joanna on Twitter @TheCreativePenn

SPS 015: How to be a Writing Machine with Steve Windsor

Today, I chat with Steve Windsor. He is a best-selling author who writes wild and irreverent thriller books. He also writes how-to books on being an author. He is also one of my earliest and most successful students here at Self-Publishing School. Steve is a writing machine. He writes quality content fast with his no nonsense, no BS, and sometimes controversial style. Many writers strive to be as talented and productive as he is.

Steve worked in IT and start-ups. He was always a good writer, and he always wanted to write. After a failed Google interview and being prompted by his wife, Steve decided to head to the coffee shop and give writing a try. His routine was to go to the coffee shop before it opened and then sit in the corner and let himself go inside and write. By writing about his own inner dialog, Steve learned to rip off every filter and crank out the words. He still practices this no nonsense style today. He also shares his methods for writing fiction and nonfiction along with a lot of other great stuff.

You can find Steve here:
Steve Windsor Website
Books by Steve Windsor

Show Notes
[02:04] How Steve began writing and became the writer that he is.
[05:31] Steve is a project oriented person who likes to see the finished product.
[05:51] Without a finished product, you have nothing to work with. He dives in and writes his first drafts fast.
[06:33] He consumed everything he could get his hands on and learned about dialog and writing.
[08:12] Steve blocks out large amounts of time and gets immersed in what he is doing and imagines the world he creates in his mind.
[09:22] Steve says he writes 15,000 words in a day using his immersive method.
[12:02] Some of the questions that Steve had to get past before becoming a writer.
[13:48] Going to misery school (your job) for most of the year. This caused Steve some hardcore introspection.
[15:32] Doing something for just money wasn’t the lifestyle that he wanted.
[16:08] Everybody asks if their writing will be commercially viable.
[17:18] Steve has been cranking out a book a month. He would do the writing in about a week.
[19:38] Steve’s writing methods for non-fiction.
[19:59] He wanted to learn story structure. There is story structure for fiction.
[20:43] How bad guys monolog instead of shooting the bad guy.
[22:03] There is a formula for writing fiction. Learn the basics, craft the story, and improve.
[23:09] How Steve would plot out the novel and put the points in the proper place. Then he would focus on those areas. Being immersed in the world Steve stays in the zone and doesn’t stop.
[24:53] How writing through structure helps him to keep focus and control the story.
[26:23] To write decide that it is important to you. If that is what you are going to be then you have to dedicate time to it. If people put time and money into something that is what they care about.
[28:07] Block off a day to get immersed in the world. Take 3 days and go to the coffee shop from 4:30 am until the afternoon or evening.
[30:13] Finding a sacred place to write. Steve likes a coffee shop, but he has written just about everywhere.
[31:40] Self-Publishing School helped Steve hone his writing skills and discover how to market his books.
[34:34] Challenge yourself to write as much as you can. There is no reason why you can’t put out a lot of content. Human beings can do amazing stuff.
[35:43] There is a lot of competition with fiction. Fiction makes more money once you figure it out, but it’s a long haul game.
[38:50] Getting over the fear that you can do it. Learning the mechanics. Practice becoming a good writer.
[39:59] Non-fiction takes a little less practice than fiction.38:01] The core problem that fiction is solving is boredom.
[42:33] Turning nonfiction books into solid info without fluff.
[43:56] How there is a need for nonfiction books especially those that encourage would be writers.
[46:29] Once you start writing and know the path your confidence level will go up.
[49:05] Get started now if you want to write a book. Just do it. Find a community and it will be easier.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Russell Blake
Story Engineering
Steve Windsor Website
Books by Steve Windsor

SPS 014: Before Book” vs. “After Book” with Brian Tracy

Welcome to episode 14 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Brian Tracy, Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company that specializes in the training and development of people and organizations. Brian is a coach, speaker, and bestselling author with over 45 published books. He has consulted with more than a thousand companies and has addressed over 5 million people in his over 5000 worldwide talks and seminars.

Brian has written and produced over 300 audio and video learning programs, including his bestselling Psychology of Achievement. He speaks to worldwide audiences on the subjects of personal and professional development. Prior to founding his own company, Brian was CEO of a $265 million development company. Brian speaks four languages and considers himself a bibliophile and obsessive reader with a huge library of books. I am excited today, to talk with Brian and find out how he used his books to build a massive International brand and speaking and coaching career.

You can find Brian here:

Brian Tracy International
Brian Tracy Books
Brian Tracy on Twitter @BrianTracy
Brian Tracy on YouTube
Brian Tracy on Facebook
Brian Tracy on LinkedIn

Show Notes:

[01:55] After selling a million audio programs Brian was approached by a literary agent in 1978. His first book was Maximum Achievement.
[03:19] His second book was on selling, and he became the top sales trainer. Books help establish you as an expert.
[04:33] Brian made a decision to write a book every 90 days. This was 15 years ago.
[05:13] He reads about 2-3 hours a day and he has the intellectual capital to write his books.
[06:37] He writes for some of the greatest publishers in the world.
[06:57] Characteristic that determines success is long term perspective. Long term goals.
[09:52] Think like rich people and you earn far more money. The way you think changes your life.
[10:56] Brian researches subjects he enjoys until it reaches critical mass and he has enough knowledge to write a book on the subjects.
[11:50] Successful entrepreneurs help people, and successful books help people with great ideas.
[13:54] Brian’s writing process and how he expands chapters based on his knowledge.
[18:51] When to write your second book, after your first book. Just get on with it.
[20:58] In the 70s and 80s there were major book promotion industries. Radio and TV interviews were what you wanted to do.
[24:02] Being prepared to invest an enormous amount in promoting a book. Books don’t sell themselves.
[25:30] How self-publishing is great, but the books still need to be promoted. Put your whole heart into promoting your book.
[27:43] Brian has a 20 point system for writing a book.
[28:37] Brian creates videos and announces the release of his book to his mailing list.
[29:28] Brian’s publishers have a system for sending out announcements of his books and sends them to book fairs, and Brian will add a video to help promote. If there is an opportunity to promote a book he will promote it.
[36:40] You never know what will happen when you write a book. Brian turned a book into a bestselling talk called The Success of the Journey.
[39:07] Brian’s series of short books or small books that sell for $9.95 each. Each book has 21 ideas and chapters in it.
[42:05] Balancing being an International bestseller with a speaker. Brian Tracy is the most popular author in Iran, he makes no money from his books there, but he does get paid for speaking.
[43:51] How being an author establishes you as an expert and your income doubles after writing a book.
[45:14] How to have proven success formulas.
[46:33] To write on a subject, you must know 10 words for every word you write. Really know your subject matter. Put in 300 hours on your subject.
[53:53] Maximum Achievement is Brian’s favorite book he has written. It changes people’s lives.
[58:04] Save yourself years of hard work, by learning how to write a book before you write. You can learn any skill you want to achieve anything you want.

Links and Resources:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Edward Banfield Long Term Success
Winning Through Intimidation
Your Erroneous Zones
One Minute Manager
Tom Clancy Novels
The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
Brian Tracy International
Brian Tracy Books
Brian Tracy on Twitter @BrianTracy
Brian Tracy on YouTube
Brian Tracy on Facebook
Brian Tracy on LinkedIn

SPS 013: Beyond the Bestseller with Hal Elrod

Welcome to episode 13 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Hal Elrod the #1 Bestselling Author of “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM).” Hal has managed to take this one book and build a business, following, and movement around it. He now has an entire “Miracle Morning” series and has had crazy success as a coach and speaker.

Hal is also a good friend of mine who happens to live in San Diego. His book has had an amazing impact on my life as I have been consistently applying the principles. His book is not only life changing, but his story is incredible too. When Hal was 20 years old he was in a car accident where he was hit head-on by a drunk driver. He actually died for 6 minutes and ended up with 11 broken bones and was in a coma for 6 days. He was told that he would never walk again.

He went on to not only walk but run a 52-mile ultra marathon. He was also prompted by his doctors to write a book about his experience. The beginning profits of his first book “Taking Life Head On! (The Hal Elrod Story): How To Love The Life You Have While You Create The Life of Your Dreams” were stolen by his first publisher. Hal bounced back again and went on to he create the life-changing “Miracle Morning” book, community, and business. Today we discuss Hal’s book and how he built a business around it.

You can find Hal here:

Miracle Morning Website
Miracle Morning Facebook Community
Hal’s Miracle Morning Books
Hal Elrod Website
Hal on Twitter @HalElrod

Show Notes

[03:05] Hal’s first book was actually “Taking Life Head On”. He was so happy and positive in the hospital that the doctors suggested he write a book. It took 6 years because he thought he wasn’t a writer.
[05:23] Hal used a small Mom and Pop publisher for his 1st book “Taking Life Head On”, it even made it to number 6 on Amazon. He’ll never know how much profit this book made to get to number 6 because his “publisher” left town and disappeared with all of his royalties.
[05:56] The difference between writing a good book and a book that creates income and impact.
[07:58] Looking at people from a place of non-judgement. Feeling sorry for people who wrong us rather than being angry.
[08:51] Biggest takeaway: everyone should write a book.
[10:43] Books are the new “business cards”.
[11:50] Our story, our struggles, and our strategies. We all can write about these three things.
[13:16] The Miracle Morning was Hal’s story, struggle, and strategy.
[14:24] Miracle Morning took 4 years because of lack of clarity and other issues.
[15:30] Hal hired a coach because he knows the power of accountability.
[16:16] Having accountability, and the book was finished in 4 months.
[18:42] To market his Miracle Morning book Hal created a launch team. He also put up an opt-in page with the first two chapters offered for free. He also made an audio opt-in which ran for two years while he wrote the book.
[21:13] An email list is income on demand.
[22:46] Have an audience ready months in advance before your book goes live.
[23:48] The launch team reviewed the book and shared on social.
[27:46] Hal had an assistant create a graph of how many books were sold. His biggest sales month was December 2014. It was nice watching the graph curve up.
[30:52] Hal is working on Beyond the Bestseller. Writing a good book is the most important component. Change someone’s daily behavior, and you create a movement. Build word of mouth into your book the book needs a story to share.
[34:08] Get an accountability partner, don’t go it alone.
[37:55] Creating rituals around your content. 3 practices you do every day.
[39:48] Podcast interviews really drive sales.
[41:15] Hal is self-published and sells lots of books. His speaking fees have gone up and he has more opportunities.
[47:27] Podcasts are great for promoting books.
[48:38] Add value over and over, then ask when needed.
[55:38] After writing a book the real work of marketing begins.

Links and Resources:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
How to Launch a Bestselling Book by Michael Hyatt
Your Podcast Guru
Miracle Morning Website
Miracle Morning Facebook Community
Hal’s Miracle Morning Books
Hal Elrod Website
Hal on Twitter @HalElrod