SPS 025: You Are a Writer, So Start Acting Like One with Jeff Goins

Joining me today is my good friend Jeff Goins. Jeff is a full time writer living just outside of Nashville, TN with his wife, his son, and a border collie. Jeff is now the author of 5 books. Including the national bestseller The Art of Work. He is a podcaster and a blogger with his website Goins, Writer visited by over four million people from all over the world. If you Google “how to write a book” Jeff’s website is the number one result that comes up.

Jeff shares his writing process and how he has evolved as a writer. He also shares how much he loves writing and being a writer and how important words are in everything we do or want to do. We talk about the importance of preparation, writing outlines, and investing the work up front before writing. Jeff shares how he flushes out and explores ideas along with the importance of writing every day. He also shares his inspirational ideas about how to know when you are a writer and more.  

You can find Jeff here:

Goins, Writer
Jeff Goins on Twitter @JeffGoins
Jeff Goins on Facebook
Books by Jeff Goins
The Art of Work

Show Notes

[01:28] Jeff continues to write because it is his calling and purpose. It’s his purpose in life to connect people with ideas.
[02:05] Words have the power to change the world. Every great movement begins with words.
[02:41] His writing process consists of creating an outline and then writing at least 500 words every day. Blogging helped give him the discipline to write on a daily basis.
[04:55] Jeff wrote Art of Work then scrapped that writing and did a lot of research and then rewrote it.
[05:58] The more Jeff’s writes the more time he spends preparing to write.
[06:24] The importance of the process of thinking about writing and finding the right idea.
[07:38] Jeff spent 5 months doing the research for his book that will take him 6 months to write. He first starts with an idea and then researches and tests that idea.
[09:23] Have an idea where you are going before you start. Invest the time before you start writing.
[10:39] Jeff chases what he is curious about, but most of his books come from personal experience.
[12:12] When Jeff gets an idea he then reads about that idea to see if he can put a unique angle on the topic.
[13:42] Read a few books and figure out what is missing and fill that niche.
[15:31] Writing in a way that will connect with the needs of the audience. Jeff tests his ideas on his blog and social channels.
[16:39] Making sure that you are talking about the right thing at the right time for the right person.
[18:10] Entering into a conversation and realizing that you have something that these people need.
[18:32] What it means to act like a writer. You are a writer when you say you are.
[20:57] To become a writer, you own the title and then start writing. Think like a pro and you will act like a pro. Practice writing.
[22:38] Books get written by a slow and steady prodding process. It all begins and ends with words.
[25:26] How easy it is to get discouraged. You need to love it and write for the people who need your message.
[26:26] People who love the writing and hate the marketing and people who hate the writing and love the marketing. Jeff is a marketer, but he loves both. Marketing is part of a writer’s job.
[27:46] The best marketing is done before the book is finished.
[32:18] Begining with an idea and a reader and filling in the in between.

Links and Resources:

Goins, Writer
Jeff Goins on Twitter @JeffGoins
Jeff Goins on Facebook
Books by Jeff Goins
The Art of Work
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Peak by Anders Ericsson
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Love Does by Bob Goth

SPS 024: From Self-Published Author to Front of Store Placement with Eileen Wilder

Today, I am speaking with Eileen Wilder. She is a bestselling author, pastor, and coach who teaches women how to experience unstoppable self-confidence. After going through Self-Publishing School, she experienced breakout success publishing her first book The Brave Body Method on Amazon. Then eight months later, a publisher asked to acquire the rights to the book and released it nationwide. She has since gained national TV coverage, speaking opportunities, and out front placement at Barnes & Noble.

Through the success of this book, she has managed to serve more people than she had ever imagined. Although, starting wasn’t that easy. Eileen had an epiphany while at her grandmother’s funeral and realized she needed to do something great and share her gifts with the world. She still struggled with confidence, but was able to push through and build confidence through going through Self-publishing school and developing a powerful writing habit into her daily routine. Eileen shares her story, her book, and more with us on this episode.  

You can find Eileen here:

Eileen Wilder Website
The Brave Body Method
Eileen on YouTube
Eileen on Twitter @eileenwild
Eileen’s Facebook Page

Show Notes

[01:33] Eileen had an epiphany at her grandmother’s funeral and decided that she needed to write a book.
[02:25] Eileen asked herself if she was really contributing to life. She needed to speak the message inside her heart.
[04:28] How Eileen struggled with lack of confidence and had a gradual awakening.
[06:21] The habit of writing 1000 words a day in Self-publishing school helped give her confidence and discipline to accomplish her goal.
[07:08] Her routine consisted of waking at 4:30 and going to the gym. Then she would sit down and write for an hour and a half.
[08:18] Through focused time and doing it every day and eventually her book was finished.
[11:08] Through SPS she learned how to structure, write, break things down, and market her book.
[12:44] How Eileen became obsessed with finishing her book and completing her goal. The power of laser-like focus.
[13:54] The domino effect of having discipline in her life and the ripple effect.
[14:40] Mindset changes and not having limiting beliefs when it comes to completing goals.
[16:19] Don’t share your writing with the wrong people.
[16:34] Being yourself and writing with your voice alone.
[19:26] Finding someone to support you and not letting others discourage you. Eileen found a lawyer and language master that helped her with her book.
[20:34] Your book won’t be for everybody. How we are meant to speak to who we are meant to speak to.
[23:06] Naysayers and people who are contrarians or people who may be jealous.
[23:53] How other people can discourage you when you make a decision to do something.
[25:39] Eileen reached out to everyone she could when she launched her book. She gave out advance copies and invited people to write reviews. She emailed everyone she could. When she launched she had 114 reviews from this method. It also helped her confidence.
[27:07] She also posted on forums and did all of the online marketing she could including reaching out to friends who had bigger platforms than she had.
[29:53] She had a small email list when she started, but since the book has been out it grows everyday. She put a call to action in the book for sign-ups.
[32:18] How Eileen met her publisher at an event. After researching her success, he made an offer. This opened more distribution channels like Barnes & Noble.
[34:55] Eileen used a coach for the contract negotiation and she was given a great deal.
[38:15] Creating one-page sales sheets for books and being your own PR agent and approaching producers of TV shows.
[41:31] Getting on Barnes & Noble was the craziest thing that happened, along with a book signing there.
[43:21] Final parting tip is to go for it and share how you can serve others.

Links and Resources:

The Power of Habit
Eileen Wilder Website
The Brave Body Method
Eileen on YouTube
Eileen on Twitter @eileenwild
Eileen’s Facebook Page

SPS 023: How to Use Books to Book Yourself Solid & Grow Your Speaking, Coaching & Training Business with Michael Port

Michael Port an entrepreneur, podcaster, and keynote speaker. Michael is the author of six books including Book Yourself Solid and Steal the Show. The Boston Globe referred to Michael as an “uncommonly honest author” and Jonathan Fields has called him “a public speaking phenom.

Michael also hosts the Steal the Show Podcast and is the founder of Heroic Public Speaking and Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training. He was trained as an actor and has been on television shows like Sex In the City and Law and Order. He especially shines as a keynote speaker and has even been know to offer live coaching sessions while on stage. Michael is a successful guy, and I’m really excited to learn about how he used his books to promote his speaking career and establish himself as an expert.

You can find Michael here:

Michael Port
Book Yourself Solid
Steal the Show
Books by Michael Port
Steal the Show Podcast
Heroic Public Speaking
Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training

Show Notes

[01:34] How everybody was writing a book and Michael thought it was a natural progression for him to do the same.
[02:41] Being a writer and finding the right narrative. Writing as practice for writing.
[03:33] How Book Yourself Solid reached #2 on Amazon.
[04:49] The importance of organization and being perceived as the expert.
[05:10] Breaking all of the content down into sequential modules.
[06:06] The modular framework and how well it works. Along with the chronological and numerical framework and more.
[08:18] The framework combinations Michael used for his books.
[10:01] How stories and jokes often follow the 3 act structure.
[10:27] Playing the right role and stealing the show. Getting a standing ovation for all of your performances.
[11:39] How public speaking is like putting on a show and creating an experience.
[12:22] Selling more books if you are a great speaker.
[14:01] Numerical, number of keys, rules, sequential, chronological, modular, problem-solution, compare-contrast, 3 act structure, reference and combined are also possible frameworks for creating content for books to speeches.
[17:05] After Michael’s first book he got more money, more clients, and his confidence was boosted along with doors opening.
[22:39] The difference between a message book and a curriculum book.
[24:50] Having something to sell on the backend when writing a book.
[33:33] Using a book as a driver or a must and using other promotion methods are choices. The books promote your products and other methods promote the book.
[35:04] Finding your platform. The books are Michael’s platform.
[39:35] Going from the book to buying a program. Offer a free resource with an opt-in from inside the book. Then you can begin a funnel.
[46:15] Maintaining confidence and not getting discouraged from criticism. Deliver what you promise and ask if it is you or them?
[47:36] How Stealing the Show is designed to drive Michael’s business. He is driven to create this book.
[52:19] The best stories are the ones the audience doesn’t realize is a story until they are into it.
[53:08] Turning speeches into performances.
[55:33] Things like absolutes put holes in your argument.
[57:51] Knowing who you are to be a performer and strip away the armor be yourself.
[01:00:09] Do the work and don’t be a perfectionist. Due dates can also help with getting things done.

Links and Resources:

Jonathan Fields
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Think Big Revolution on YouTube
Tribe by Seth Godin
Duct Tape Marketing
Art of Charm
Michael Port
Book Yourself Solid
Steal the Show
Books by Michael Port
Steal the Show Podcast
Heroic Public Speaking
Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training

SPS 022:Behind the Scenes of Multiple NYT Bestsellers with Daniel Decker

My guest today, is Daniel Decker. He is the CEO of Higher Level Group and an expert at platform development, book launching, and marketing for authors and speakers. He has worked with such notable authors as Jon Gordon, Michael Hyatt, Ryan Blair, Mark Sanborn, Crystal Paine, Allison Pataki, and Tony Robbins to name a few. If you haven’t heard of him, you have probably heard of one of the books he has helped launch.
We talk about his first book marketing venture, and how he crushed it and moved on to creating even bigger launches and platforms. We also talk about the importance of having a team, and how self-publishers still need to get out there and hustle on their own. Daniel shares the importance of offering something of value when trying to find promotion opportunities. He also shares his past successes and lessons learned along the way. He talks about platform building for speakers and authors and more.

You can find Daniel here:

Daniel Decker
Higher Level Group
Daniel on Twitter @DanielDecker
Daniel on LinkedIn
Daniel on Instagram
Show Notes
[02:10] How Daniel got started on the book side of things. He had an ad agency. His friend, Jon Gordon, wrote a book and they crushed it on marketing.
[06:25] Jon had a 4-week Today Show segment with ways to get your energy up. Taking it national worked.
[07:12] How Daniel focuses on relationship capital and adding value. He presented already researched ideas to producers which would help the producer as well as themselves for promotion purposes.
[12:52] If Daniel can help better the world and feed his family it is a win win.
[13:33] Daniel gets enough business by referral that he doesn’t really have to market his services.
[14:31] On the first launch the combination of everything was the key, but being on The Today Show really helped. They also ran a Dr. Weil ad.
[17:44] Being a giver and meeting Michael Hyatt through his blog. He offered to add value to Michael’s platform and proved that his ideas were good.
[19:03] The importance of leverage and having a special landing page instead of an AWeber form.
[24:00] Daniel takes every client as an individual and what their goals are before creating and condensing the campaign.
[25:38] How it’s harder for self-published authors to get on the New York Times list. Presales are important and distributing sales among retailers.
[26:54] Having a 50/50 strategy between pre-sales and launch marketing.
[27:39] Getting strategic with launches including using free books on the back-end.
[28:59] How the NYT list is not only based on volume. They are subjective.
[33:33] Methods for incentivizing offers and growing a mailing list. Using things an audience will perceive as value.
[34:33] How people tend to devalue their offers and how it is surprising how well it does.
[34:53] The importance of having a launch team.
[36:06] How people want to help other people succeed and help spread the message.
[36:40] Always offer something of value when you reach out.
[38:22] Having a launch team with a thousand people. Usually, 60 to 70 percent participate. How creating a launch team is not shooting yourself in the foot.
[40:02] Nurturing a launch team and asking for support and creating a net gain of book sales.
[41:16] Not burning people out by communicating only things that need to be communicated.
[42:18] Remembering that people are people and use your launch team strategically and be sure to engage with them.
[45:50] Asking a launch team to read and critique the book. Asking for reviews and to buy a copy. Taking the team on the journey with you.
[50:29] Partnering with charities and nonprofits as an incentive to get views etc.
[53:01] Long tail promotion strategies include defining who you want to be and where you want to go. Do you want to monetize the book or promote your core product?
[56:19] Having your book sales tracked by BookScan and metrics that publishers use to track sales.
[01:01:19] Daniels plan for using a publisher for his first book and self-publishing for his second book.
[01:05:08] Parting advice is to find a publishing plan and then act on it.

Links and Resources:

Energy Addict by Jon Gordon
Dr. Weil
Michael Hyatt
Platform by Michael Hyatt
Get Published Course Michael Hyatt
Platform University Membership Site
WishList Member
Bury My Heart at Conference Room B by Stan Slap
Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair
Money Saving Mom
Daniel Decker
Higher Level Group
Daniel on Twitter @DanielDecker
Daniel on LinkedIn
Daniel on Instagram

make a book

How to Make a Book

Let’s make a book! If you’ve authored an eBook, you may be interested in printing paperback books—either to keep for yourself or to sell. Luckily, we’ve got great news: the process of how to make a book isn’t as challenging as you might think. And, we’re here to walk you through the process.

IMPORTANT: No matter what you decide, I recommend getting your book published on Kindle first, and then moving on to creating your physical paperback copy.

1. Ask Yourself Why You Want to Make a Book

The first step to making a book is to ask yourself why? There are several valid reasons for turning your eBook into a paperback.

First and foremost, because you want to! You put the blood, sweat, and tears into authoring a book. Now you want tangible proof that you can see, carry around, and display on your bookshelf. That’s a good enough reason!

Some authors, especially those who identify as non-fiction experts, find that paperbacks serve as glorified business cards. These copies are especially useful for speaking engagements or professional development events, such as conferences or continuing education courses.

Passing out free books to interested readers is a terrific way to build a solid fan base as well as spread the word that you’re an author. If you elect to sell your books at events, you can recoup some of your costs and potentially even turn a profit.

Using your printed book to generate leads and make network connections is never a bad idea. If your book genre lends itself to this type of network development, then definitely go for it.

2. Important Factors to Consider Before You Print Your Book

The Cost of Making a Book

If you’re basing your decision strictly on revenue, then you’ll want to think about it before heading down the printing path. Paperback can be costly to produce. Luckily with Amazon’s CreateSpace, they take care of the cost upfront, but they will take a higher percentage of your revenue to make up for the printing cost. This means you won’t make as much money off the sales of a paperback as you would with an e-book.

We’ve often seen that the most lucrative path for e-authors is the combination of a Kindle eBook and an audiobook.  If your goal is to make as much money as you can, and you have to choose between the two, then consider pursuing an audiobook over a paperback. (Although funding an audiobook can be pricey, and you are responsible for that upfront cost, so do the math!)

Who to you choose for printing and fulfillment?

You may have heard that KDP recently started printing paperback copies of books on demand. So the big question everyone has on their mind is “CreateSpace or KDP?”

Since you’ll already be familiar with KDP from uploading the Kindle version of your book, it may seem like KDP paperback publishing is the easy choice. But that’s not necessarily true, at least not yet.

At Self-Publishing School, we recommend CreateSpace over KDP (in the meantime!) while KDP works out some of its kinks. As of right now, KDP does not offer discounted author copies for resale, print proofs, and expanded distribution.

With CreateSpace, you get all of those benefits and your work is manufactured to meet demand, so your title is always in stock. There are no upfront costs and no need to carry inventory because they print on-demand through Amazon. It makes creating a hardcopy much simpler!

For more information on this, check out this helpful blog post from our friends at Kindlepreneur.

The Length of Your Book

Before you make a book in print version, make sure that your book length allows for the optimal outcome. We usually recommend printing books that are over 15,000 words. That’s not to say that a lighter word count should preclude you from printing—for instance, children’s stories, photography books, and travel books are all examples of shorter genres that are easily and commonly converted from eBook to paperback.

Should you decide to create a paperback version of your eBook, it might be easier to wait until after your book has been published digitally.

3. The Pre-Printing Checklist

You’ve given it some thought and considered the factors above, and you’ve decided that you do want to print paperback copies of your book. Before you take the next step, it’s important to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s.” Run through our pro-developed, pre-printing checklist to make sure you’ve checked all the appropriate boxes.

  • Choose the size of your book.
  • Decide on black & white or color (Note: The prices may vary).
  • Price your book properly.
  • Create a rough concept for your covers.
  • Decide whether to outsource your cover graphics and design.
  • Write your author bio for the back or inside cover.
  • Pick your author headshot for the back or inside cover.
  • Pick the reviews you want to include.
  • Pick your spine design and layout.
  • Decide whether to outsource the interior formatting.
  • Work out an interior layout—from fonts to chapters to margins.

4. Your Cover Design

The next step on the road to printing your masterpiece is to design a Louvre-worthy cover. Ok, that’s a lot of pressure, but you should aim for at least a Barnes & Noble-worthy design.

Meeting with a designer can help you verbalize and align on your creative aesthetic and vision, resulting in actionable suggestions. If you decide that you’d rather design your book’s exterior on your own, there are online programs that can help. CreateSpace allows the non-professional artist to render pro-quality graphic designs with relative ease.

Some design elements you’ll need to consider are: whether or not you’ll want a matte or glossy cover, which fonts you’d like, and the design of your book’s spine. Typically, books with less than 101 pages should have a completely blank spine, due to space restrictions. Books with more than 101 pages have room for a title on the spine.

You know that, of course, your book will need a front cover, but you shouldn’t neglect your book’s rear. In addition to the cover art and fonts, you’ll need to create a back cover design. Most back covers provide a brief description of the book, an author headshot alongside a quick bio, and an optional barcode and ISBN.

5. Your Book’s Interior Formatting

Formatting your printed book pages is a finicky, technical process. For this reason, many authors say that outsourcing this chore to a professional book formatter is well worth the cost. Page margins, titles and subheading, and fonts are all tough to layout properly. Handing this over to a pro can save you a big headache. Moreover, at the end of the process, a good formatter will give you an archival quality product.

If you do decide to tackle the interior formatting yourself, then there are programs that can make the process simpler. Word has downloadable templates to make the work easier. These formats vary, depending on how many pages your book has. Make sure to experiment with multiple formats to help you decide which works best for your specific layout needs.

6. Upload to Amazon’s CreateSpace

Once you’ve created your printed book, the next step is to find your fulfillment house. There are many options available. Fulfillment houses pack and ship, and provide customer service for your books. We tend to overwhelmingly recommend CreateSpace. Their services are user-friendly and simple to follow. And CreateSpace works with Amazon to sell your books on demand, so you can curb the costs of printing more than the number of copies you need.

There are multitudes of resources out there to help you turn your eBook into printed paperbacks. Whether you want to sell your printed books, use them as pro marketing tools, or simply admire how lovely they look gracing your bookcase, realize that with a few easy steps, you can create your own beautiful paperback version of your eBook.


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July of 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.