Articles for Aspiring Authors

How to Write a Book: From Blank Page to Published Author in 90 Days

How to Write a Book: From Blank Page to Published Author in 90 Days

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you know how it goes:

You stare at a blank page for 5 minutes, but it feels like hours. To combat boredom, you stand, stretch, and brew another pot of coffee. While you wait, you do some stretches, look outside and daydream about mowing the lawn. But then you stop yourself. You told yourself today is the day you’ll finally start writing your book.

You take your cup of coffee back to your desk. You now feel refreshed, you’re certain the words will flow and you’ll write that perfect book your audience will love. But first, you quickly check Facebook. You tell yourself you’ll only take five minutes…

The following week, a friend asks how your book is coming, and you think, “Book? What book?”

There are plenty of reasons why writing a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, puts most writers directly into procrastination mode. Maybe you’re just not sure how to get started. Perhaps spilling your guts onto the page for the world to see makes you want to run far away from the nearest computer. Or maybe you’re insecure about the quality of your writing, and you’re afraid of getting slammed by negative review after negative review.

Or even worse: what if once you do publish your book, nobody ever buys it and all that effort goes to waste?

How to Write a Book in 30 Days.

Take a deep breath (but no more coffee, you’ve had enough.) Remember that all authors have been exactly where you are right now. All successful writers—from William Shakespeare to Walt Whitman to Stephen King—began by staring at a blank page. You’re in illustrious company!

I’m here to help. This IS something you can do, you just need to know the steps to get there. You can—and will—write your book in 30 days. I’ve got you covered on all aspects of getting started. Read on and crush your fear of writing and publishing your book.

The More You Write, the Better You Get.

From the terror of the white screen to a completed book in 30 days—how is that even possible?

You’re probably thinking, “I’m not a good enough writer. I need to do_____ before I start writing.”

Well I’m here to tell you that:

  • You don’t need a creative writing class.
  • You don’t need a good writing mentor (though it does help).
  • You don’t need to read thousands of good books.

You only need one thing. You need a system.

Practice is not only how you get an entire book written. Practice is how you get a good book written.

As with anything we learn, writing is a skill. And as a skill it is to be honed over time, because it requires practice to master. Letting go of the idea that you’re not good enough will help you make the mindset switch from “I Can’t!” to “Let’s Get This Done!”

When it comes to good writing, the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

Purpose Driven Writing: What’s Your WHY?

Before you open your laptop and start daydreaming about which photographer should take your best-selling author headshot, or about getting interviewed on Oprah, you need to answer one question:

Why do you want to write a book?

It’s not enough to have an inspiring book idea. Before you put pen to paper, you need to know your purpose.

I won’t lie, writing a book is rewarding, but it requires hard work. It requires emotional labor, long nights (or early mornings), and facing a constant self-critical process that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Solidifying the purpose fueling your book will carry you through this difficult process, and ultimately, the publishing and marketing process.

Ok, you’re thinking—“Don’t worry, I know why I want to write a book. I want to write to feel important!” That’s an interesting thought, and feeling important may be a byproduct of becoming a published author.

However, feeling important isn’t the same as your purpose—your WHY. Feelings are fleeting, whereas a purpose is a deeper, intrinsic motivator which will keep you burning the midnight oil to power through Chapter 23 when the rush of feelings have long dissipated.

While thinking of your own purpose, you may consider why other published authors have taken the leap to write their own books:

  • Authority: To build credibility.
  • Money: For financial gain or business success.
  • Grow a network: To meet and connect with others in the industry.
  • Passion project: To share an empowering story for the greater good.

Authority, money, networking, and passion may resonate with you; one of those might be your purpose. Or, your purpose may be something completely independent from this list. There are no wrong or right purposes for writing a book. Your WHY will be unique to you.

Sandra Bass Joines, a member of the Self-Publishing School community, wrote on Facebook about finding the WHY behind her book, and how it helped to fuel her creative process.

Sandra writes:

Having just gone through a pretty nasty spine surgery, I decided to write about that topic, although I questioned what I had to offer. After struggling through mind mapping and outlining and writing about 10,000 words, I still did not know why I was writing the darn book.

I am a person who needs to know not only the what but also the why, how, when, where… all of it. Drove my teachers and parents crazy. Sitting in the waiting room before a follow-up appointment with my surgeon, I overheard two women talking. It was apparent that both of the women were recovering from surgery. One woman had legs and feet that pretty much resembled those of an alligator. She was telling the other woman how she had asked her husband to put lotion on her feet and legs, but he never got around to it, and she was so tired of not being able to do things for herself. The other woman agreed.

Having discovered a method of putting lotion on my feet and legs without bending and therefore preventing pain, I asked the women if I could share something with them. So, sitting in the waiting room, I began to show these two women my method. Soon, there were others who were standing around. When I saw the surgeon, he smiled and said that he understood I was conducting classes in his waiting room.

Well, the light went off. I could help people. I could write a book. I could share how I prepared my home and found efficient ways to take care of myself that helped relieve my caregivers of their duties and reduced my pain and stress.

I went home, tossed my 10,000 words and started over. I had a why to my what. I had a purpose. And I think that is the secret. If there is a purpose, there is a book.

Now, I have a book that has been through the formatting stage and it is almost ready to start its life, and I feel it will actually help many people.

SPS [Self-Publishing School] works. It is an awesome program. My comments to you new folks, find your why and follow the program. The rest will come. Best of luck to all of you.

Once you’ve honed in on your WHY and your purpose, let your purpose help focus your writing. By keeping your purpose at the forefront of your creative process, you’ll make the writing process quicker and smoother than you thought possible.

 

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Excuses Be Gone.

You’ve figured out your WHY and articulated your unique purpose for your book. And right on cue, something is going to begin: your excuses.

When there’s nothing standing in your way, it’s sadly typical to start letting excuses become the obstacle to your success. It’s perfectly natural, and it’s part of being human.

But you can overcome it.

It’s worthwhile to spend a little time addressing some common excuses many of us make to prevent us from writing. Once you’ve cleared out the cobwebs and smashed those mental roadblocks, you’ll be better prepared for the writing process ahead. Getting your mind ready is one of the first steps to producing valuable work.

Excuse #1: I don’t know what to write.

You have a story. In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised to find as you write that you have more than one story and you’re having a tough time narrowing down the content.

Your first book should be about a topic you’re comfortable with. You can literally write a book about anything, so go with what you know. Start by brainstorming and let your thoughts run free.

Excuse #2: I don’t have enough time.

Today, we’re all busy. Writing a book takes less time than you think. Find an hour a day you devote to something mindless—social media, video games, internet, or TV—and start writing.

And if you don’t have an hour, try 30 minutes. Even 5 minutes 3 times a day can be a source of massive productivity. Think about it. The average person can type 60 words a minute. 60 words x 5 minutes = 300 words. Do that 3 times a day and you’ll produce close to 1000 words a day.

You’ll amaze yourself at how an hour per day adds up to something productive!

Excuse #3: Good writers spend all their free time reading.

You might actually need to cut down on reading, at least temporarily, in order to give yourself time to write.

Besides, you don’t need to be a literary connoisseur to write. Your writing style is your own. As you write, you’ll find your natural voice, in fact, trying to emulate another’s style or tone will stifle your own process.

Excuse #4: I’m not an expert.

According to Google, the definition of an expert is “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of, or skill, in a particular area.” An expert can also simply be someone who knows more about a subject than someone else.

Do you know a lot about a certain topic? Congrats, per the above definition, you’re an expert!

Excuse #5: The first draft must be perfect.

A draft is a work-in-progress, and the goal is simply to get it on paper. A draft will have mistakes and that’s okay—that’s what the editing process is for.

As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “Done is better than perfect.” If it works for a multi-billion-dollar company, it should work for your first self-published book.

Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve already said, writing is hard work. But shedding these excuses should help get you into a positive frame of mind for the writing process.

Once you’ve got the right mindset to write, it’s time to start thinking and planning about how to carry out the physical process of writing your book.

Setting the Stage: Get Ready to Write.

The day is here, the day that sets you on the path to becoming a published author. How exciting!

We’ve talked about the WHY and obliterated your excuses. It’s time to start your prep work. Before words make it onto the page, you need to focus on three prep elements: planning, time, and environment.

Plan When You’ll Write.

Without a plan, it’s too easy to let your book writing goals get pushed to the background, eventually fading into the soft mist of someday. Don’t let your book end up in the graveyard of dreams. In order to realize your end goal, you need actionable steps to follow. Here are three things you can do to create your own customized book writing plan:

  1. Plan writing sessions using your calendar
  2. Choose the time of day you plan to write
  3. Set a schedule for your book-writing project

1. Plan writing sessions using your calendar.

Assess what’s going on in your life in the next 30 days, then block out when you can write, and when you can’t. It’s common for new writers to set unrealistic time goals, which in turn generates stress when it’s impossible to meet those arbitrary deadlines. Avoid this and stay realistic. Thirty minutes (or even 5 minutes) spent writing is better than nothing, so resolve to make it happen and find the time.

Look at Laura Bennett, a Self-Publishing School student. She was working full-time, running a business, and working on her Master’s degree—busier than most people—yet she found the time to write her book Live Your Dream: How to Cut the Crap and Prioritize Your Purpose in two months! If Laura could make it happen, then writing your book is certainly an attainable dream.

2. Choose the time of day you plan to write.

You might decide to get up early and write before the obligations of your day crowd out your writing time. But if you’d win the gold medal in the Olympic Sport of snooze-button slapping, then choose a different time or make sure you get to bed earlier so you’re fresh in the morning.

If your evenings are free, but your brain is mush and you’re only good for sinking deep into the couch cushions, then choose a different time or rearrange your schedule so you aren’t so burned out in the evenings.

Alternatively, you can grab some time on your lunch break, or sneak small blocks of time into your workday, such as when you’re transitioning between activities, or waiting for a meeting to start.

Whatever time of day is convenient for you, stick with it so that it becomes a predictable part of your day. This will establish a writing habit.

3. Set a deadline for your book-writing project.

Setting an end date forces you to stay on schedule and keep the forward momentum going. How do you choose a deadline when you have no idea how long the book-writing process will take? Writing a book takes far less time than you might think!

Self-Publishing School recommends writing until you hit a daily word count of 500-1,000 words. As long as you commit to one hour (or less!) each day, you should be able to reach that goal. After 30 days of daily writing sessions, you will have completed a 30,000-word draft. Consistency is key. Small, consistent actions towards writing your book is how it comes to life.

If that schedule doesn’t work, then commit to a time period and a daily word count which does. It’s okay if that’s 15 minutes per day. The ultimate goal is your rear end in the writing seat for that allocated period of time each day.

Share the end date of your first completed draft with others so you have extrinsic motivation to keep moving toward that finish line. It’s a good idea to choose an editor for your book (before you finish your first draft) and schedule when you’ll have the completed first draft of the manuscript in that person’s hands. That way, if you’re tempted to flake out and put off a writing session, that looming deadline can help keep you going.

Create Your Writing Environment.

The “best” writing environment is going to be personal to you. We all work well in different settings, so with that in mind, consider these general guidelines to boost your productivity.

  1. Minimize distractions. Laundry, kids, the dog that wants to go for a walk, email—nope, not during your writing time. Focus on your writing, and the rest can wait. Some like to escape to a coffee shop because the buzz from the crowd and the caffeine keeps their fingers flying across the keyboard.
  2. Choose a comfortable work space. Once your tush is planted firmly in your seat, you don’t want your physical discomfort to detract from your creativity. Pick a spot that’s not so comfortable you’ll fall asleep, but comfy enough to keep you typing for the duration of your allotted writing time.
  3. Pick your favorite background noise. Find your happy ambient background. Whether that’s total silence or Pandora’s Party Music, we each know what background noise keeps us focused. Consider some meditation music with binaural beats to get you in the zone. Again, some people find heaven while writing at a coffee shop, while others find the chatter distracting.

You might need to experiment to find the writing environment that allows you to focus and write freely. Bottom line: Find the writing environment that makes you comfortable and go with it. Once you find the best creative process for you, you’ll even look forward to writing!

Strategic Writing Methods.

Now we’re on to the actual writing (finally!) Without further ado, let’s look at four detailed strategies to make writing your book as productive and painless as possible!

1. The Mind Map Method: From Brain Dump to Book.

First, create a mind map—basically, a brain dump—on your book’s topic. Start your mind map by writing your intended topic in the center of a blank sheet of paper. From there, use lines and words to draw as many connections from that one topic as you can. Your mind map gives you the benefits of writing in free-form and creating structure from all the connections you make.

Once you’ve exhausted the number of topics in your mind map, it’s time to outline. Use the ideas and connections generated in your mind map to create a clear outline for your writing, chapter by chapter.

And finally, start writing. It’s that simple!

This method works if you’re the sort that likes to plan ahead. It may also appeal if you’re not tech-savvy, as the “old-fashioned” free-hand mapping concept might allow more creative freedom than if you were behind a keyboard. The ultimate outcome of using this method is the generation of lots of topics and free-form thoughts.

2. The Sticky Note Method: Collect Your Thoughts.

Instead of using the mind mapping structure, this method uses sticky notes to form an outline. For about a week, carry around sticky notes and write down anything and everything that crosses your mind regarding possible book topics.

When the week is up, organize all of your sticky notes into sections and themes. Then, organize these themes into the patterns that would make sense in the context of chapters of your book. You can then elaborate in areas where you notice missing pieces to the puzzle, and use all of the material you’ve gathered and organized to create an outline.

This method may be helpful if you’re struggling with the notion of committing to writing a whole book, since it lets you break down the process into manageable pieces. The ultimate outcome of using this method is deeper thinking, clarity, and concise organization of thoughts and patterns.

3. The Speaker Method: Write a Book Without Actually Writing.

This method gives you two options to start your outline process: either mind map or use sticky notes. Once you’ve organized these thoughts into an outline, you’ll then use a transcription app or device to record your spoken words to create your book draft.

This method works if you’re a strong speaker, and you prefer speaking to writing. The ultimate outcome is that you can create your book draft as quickly as possible, with no actual writing on your part. Writing a book without writing—clever!

4. The Transcription Method: Record, Then Write.

The first step to this method is to organize your brainstorming and outline using, again, either mind mapping or sticky notes. Then you’ll speak your first draft aloud into a recording app or device, which you’ll then transcribe into writing. This differs from “The Speaker” method because, instead of using an app or service to transcribe your words, you’re the one transcribing and typing the written draft.

Why would you bother taking that extra step? For those of us who have tons of ideas but can’t winnow them down or organize them cohesively by speaking alone, this method can help us get the words out, and then decide what to toss once we hear it played back.

This is also a method to consider if you’re struggling with having stagnant writing and need a fresh way to spice things up.

Pick the strategic method that speaks to you and your process, and get started on that book!

Overcoming Writing Challenges: Solutions to Common Problems.

It’s not a matter of if, but when, you’ll face adversity during your book writing process. Most commonly, writers struggle with getting a manuscript finished in a reasonable length of time; or they’re making no progress whatsoever when faced with a dreadful case of writer’s block. Here are cures for both issues.

How to Write Faster.

Writing faster means getting to publication—and to profits—that much sooner. Try these pro tips to maximize your daily word count.

  • Flex your writing muscles each day. The more you work, the more efficient you’ll get. Create your writing routine and stick to it!
  • If you get stuck on a particular section and stop making progress, find a different part of the book that appeals to you today and write that section.
  • Planning and research can be necessary—or a method of procrastination. Limit your prep work to a reasonable timeframe so it won’t preclude you from writing. Use a timer if it helps you stay on track.
  • A partner to hold you accountable to the goals you’ve set for yourself can keep you on track. Set up weekly meetings to review work and cheer each other on.

How to Beat Writer’s Block.

Writer’s block can rear its ugly head in many ways. For some, being blocked means no words at all, while for others, it means trying to nail down a functional draft in the midst of a tornado of swirling ideas. Most of the time, writer’s block is a symptom of a paralyzing fear of others’ opinions.

The harsh reality is, if you write, at some point you’ll be on a first-name basis with a bout of the block. The only way to deal with it is to beat it. Here are eight methods I’ve found personally useful to defeat writer’s block.

  1. Circle back to your mind map or outline and see if there’s useful info that sparks fresh inspiration. Sometimes it just takes looking back at the bigger picture to remind you where you’re going with your draft.
  2. Change up the physical way you’re writing; sometimes a simple shift can boost creativity. If you use a laptop, put pen to pad. Try some new music, a new location, or new beverage to sip at your desk.
  3. If you find you start writing slowly and warm up as time goes on, allow adequate time during your writing sessions to get the creative juices flowing.
  4. Review what you wrote the day prior to refresh your memory.
  5. Talk it out. Sometimes a quick conversation with yourself is enough to work through writer’s block. Or call a friend and bounce some ideas off them if you’re truly stuck.
  6. Remember that what you’re writing doesn’t need to be perfect—you’re writing a first draft. If you have a case of perfectionist syndrome, tell yourself it’s okay to write something you’ll think is terrible. Making something good is what second drafts and the editing process is for. “Done is better than perfect.”
  7. Go for a walk. You might be surprised at how a walk outside, or a brief bit of exercise, helps refresh and recharge your creative juices.
  8. Read another author who has a style you like. Read their book for 10 minutes and then start typing, holding their voice in your head.

Now that you know ways to work around common writing challenges, there’s no excuse for throwing in the towel when the going gets tough. Keep pushing forward and you’ll be printing out the last page of your book before you know it.

Keep Going: You’re Almost There!

Now you know not only how to get started writing your book, but how to complete your book project in a mere 30 days! Remember to keep your WHY at the forefront of your mind, and you’ll be able to crush any and all obstacles that get in your way. If any of the common challenges or obstacles we’ve mentioned rear their ugly head, you’ll know how to deal with them. With just a little bit of time and a lot of determination, you are on your way to officially calling yourself an author.

How to Get an ISBN: Cracking the Code for Self-Publishers

How to Get an ISBN: Cracking the Code for Self-Publishers

In the early days of World War 2, the Japanese military sent messages back and forth. The Allies needed to crack their intricate numbering system to get an edge in the war and turn the tables. But how did they crack this complex system? MI6 recruited a young mathematician named Gordon Foster to work as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, where he scanned millions of numbers looking for patterns in the code.

Decades later, when the book industry needed a standardized tracking programme in order to coordinate the increasing number of titles being published each year, Gordon Foster was approached by WH Smith, a British retailer, to write a report on how to create such a system.

This report led to the 9-digit standard book number which went live in the UK in 1967, and eventually led to the ISBN system used worldwide. Several years later this turned into a 10-digit numbering system when a policy was needed for new editions and variations. Then, in 2007, the ISBN switched to a 13-digit format and is now the standard used everywhere.

ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number” and, before it was implemented in 1967, the method and system for cataloging, ordering, organizing, and locating a specific book was a chaotic mess.

Today, to get your book into a bookstore, a library, or almost any book distribution channel on the planet, you need an ISBN.

But how does this long string of numbers on the back of books work? How do you get it? If you’re a self-publisher, do you need an ISBN? Why would you need one?

These are all questions answered in this article. It’s a mammoth of a post and will get quite technical at certain points. If you just want to know if you should get an ISBN as a self-publisher, and where to get it, feel free to skip these sections.

With that disclaimer, let’s unweave the intricate web of ISBNs and how they work in the publishing industry.

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How To Read an ISBN: What do the Numbers Stand For?

As of 2007, the ISBN is a 13-digit number. This came about in part because of the large volume of eBooks now being published every year. Knowing how to break down and interpret these 13 digits aren’t of much use and interest to most book readers, but for publishers and distributors it’s a necessity. If you want to publish lots of books under your own publishing name then it’s something you may want to pay attention to. You can tell a lot about a book and its author by reading the ISBN number.

The 13 digit ISBN number helps:

  • Identify the specific title
  • Identify the author
  • Identify the type of book they are buying
  • Identify the physical properties of that particular book
  • Identify the geographical location of the publisher

Let’s break it down and look at what all these numbers mean.

ISBN Breakdown

Here is the ISBN for a particular book:

978-3-16-148410-0

You’ll notice this sequence is divided into 5 number combinations. But the first three digits “978” indicates that this string of numbers is for an ISBN. if we remove these digits we have:

3-16-148410-0

First is the initial digit, in this case: 3

The 3 is the language group identifier which here indicates German. For English speaking countries a 0 or 1 is used. Numbers for language identification generally range from 1-5.

Here is a list of the most common Group identifiers:

0 or 1 for English

2 for  French

3 for German

4 for Japan

5 for Russian

7 for People’s Republic of China

It’s worth mentioning that the rarer the language, the longer the number identifier will be. For example, Indonesia is 602 whereas Turkey is 9944. You can reference the complete list at the International ISBN Agency.

Next is “16”. This is the “publisher code,” and it identifies the publisher on any book that has this number. This number can be as long as 9 digits.

“148410” — This six digit series represents the title of the book. The publisher assigns this to a specific book or edition of the book, such as a hardcover version or paperback. This could be a single digit or stretch to multiple digits.

“0” is the last digit and is known as the “check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed digit. This is always a single digit. This number indicates that the rest of the ISBN numbers have been scanned and is calculated based on the other digits in the code.

The ISBN and Barcode

The ISBN is usually found above the barcode on the back of the book, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re the same thing, right?

Except, they’re not. The barcode isn’t the same as the ISBN.

This is an important distinction because:

  • When you purchase an ISBN you don’t automatically get a barcode
  • The barcode of your book can change, while your ISBN can remain the same.

We’ve already discussed what data the ISBN carries, however the barcode includes extra information such as the book’s fixed price and the currency it’s being sold in. Barcodes are a necessary element of your book as they allow for most retailers and distributors to scan your ISBN for retail and inventory reasons.

The standard barcode is known as the EAN (European Article Number) barcode, and your barcode must be in this format to sell your book in bookstores.

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(Breakdown of the typical EAN barcode on the back of a book by Publisher Services)

Reading a barcode: If you look at the picture of a standard barcode, you’ll notice two barcodes side by side. The barcode that appears on the left is the EAN generated from the ISBN number. The other number appearing on the right is a 5-digit add-on, called an EAN-5, that contains the price of the book. The first digit is a 5, and is a must for scanners to read. The 4-digits after the five indicates the price of the book.

For example, if the number reads 52995, this means the price of the book is set at $29.95. If the price of the book changes, a new barcode must be used, though the ISBN wouldn’t change. This would only be replaced by a new ISBN if the book is published as a new edition or as a new version.

To buy a barcode you must first purchase an ISBN. You can buy your barcodes at Bowker and they even offer a barcode-ISBN combo:

  • 1 barcode + 1 ISBN is $150.
  • 1 barcode + 10 ISBNs is $320.

The Difference between ASIN and ISBN

If you’ve used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program you’ve probably come across an ASIN. ASIN numbers are used by Amazon to manage and identify the products they are selling on their site. It’s a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier that’s assigned by Amazon.com and its partners. You can find this on your book page. In your browser, the Amazon ASIN will be after the product’s name and “dp”. The next place to find this is in your book or product details area of your book page.

However, an ASIN is not the same as an ISBN. You can only use it with Amazon. If you want to sell through other platforms or in brick and mortar stores, you’re going to need an ISBN.

Reasons Self-Publishers Need an ISBN

And now we come to the most pressing question on your mind: do you need an ISBN?

If you want to publish and sell your eBook on Amazon, then the quick answer is no, it isn’t necessary. Amazon will assign your eBook an ASIN number which will be used to identify and track your title.

However, that’s only with Amazon, and only with eBooks.

If you want your readers to get a hold of a print version of your book, then you’re going to need an ISBN. This might be important if you have a brick and mortar marketing strategy, or if you want your book to be accessible through libraries (more on this later), or if you’re looking to deal with wholesalers or other online retailers.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if you want to sell your book by means other than as an ebook on Amazon, then you’ll need an ISBN.

Should You Get a Free or a Paid ISBN?

You might have noticed that self-published authors can get assigned a free ISBN by Createspace, the On-Demand publishing company owned by Amazon. You can also get an ISBN when dealing with a whole host of On-Demand or self publishing companies, like Draft2Digital, Smashwords or IngramSpark. If you can get a free or cheap ISBN with them, then what’s the use in paying for your own one?

Here’s the problem: most of the time, you can only use those free ISBNs with the channels those companies distribute through.

Let’s say you get a free ISBN with Draft2Digital, but then you notice that there are some retail channels you can access through Smashwords that you can’t with Draft2Digital. You can’t use the Draft2Digital ISBN with Smashwords. Smashwords will only let you use your own ISBN or an ISBN they assign to you. So what do you do?

You get a free ISBN with Smashwords.

And now you have two ISBNs for the same book. Same book title, same book format, but two ISBNs.

You then hear of some exclusive channels you can get through eBookPartnership. The only wrinkle? You need an ISBN and they won’t take your Smashwords’ or Draft2Digital’s ISBN. So you sign up for their free ISBN instead.

Now you have three ISBNs for the same book. This problem can repeat itself again and again as you discover more ways to distribute your book. Sometimes you’ll have to pay for the ISBN, sometimes you won’t. But it leads to you having several ISBNs, all from different publishers, for the same book.

Can you picture how unprofessional that looks to a bookstore? Wouldn’t it have been easier to start off by buying your own ISBN? Wouldn’t that make you look more professional?

On top of this, each of those free ISBNs identify the self publishing company as a publisher. It’s the equivalent of using your business email address as businessname@aol.com or businessname@yahoo.com instead of Matt@businessname.com (assuming you’re named Matt). Not only does this make you look unprofessional, but there are some stores that will refuse to stock your book on this basis. If you have a CreateSpace ISBN, there are a number of bookstores that will refuse to carry your book.

All of these issues can be sidestepped by simply purchasing your own ISBN through Bowker.

If You’re Publishing An eBook, Don’t Ignore Libraries

We briefly mentioned that if you want to stock your book in libraries you’ll need an ISBN. However, that might be the furthest thing from your mind. You might have decided to focus purely on eBook publishing and what part do libraries play in eBooks?

A big one.

Libraries are becoming more important to the distribution of eBooks. Overdrive are the largest supplier to schools and libraries in the world (serving more than 30,000), and they circulated more than 105 million eBooks in 2014, a 33% increase from their previous year. They also supply to retail stores globally, making $100 million in sales in 2013.

And guess what you need to be able to partner with Overdrive? Yup. An ISBN.

How do I get an ISBN?

Hopefully you’re convinced that if you want to look professional in the industry and be able to access all distribution channels, you need your own ISBN.

But how do you get one?

ISBNs are free in many countries, provided either by the government or a publicly administered branch. However, in the US and the UK, ISBNs are administered by Bowker and Nielsen respectively, and require you to pay.

If you’re located outside the USA you can find out your local ISBN Agency here. While ISBNs are assigned locally, you can use them internationally.

If you live in the USA, you have to get an ISBN through myidentifiers.com, run by Bowker, the only company that is authorized to administer the ISBN program in the United States. You can purchase ISBNs as a single unit or in bulk of 10, 100 or 1000.

How to Register Your Book and ISBN

As soon as you purchase your ISBN through Bowker, or the International equivalent in your local area, and you publish your book, you should register here at Bowkerlink. This is an automated tool that will add your book to Bowker’s Books In Print and Global Books In Print. I recommend you download the free PDF “ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration” with step-by-step instructions on setting up your title.

How Many ISBNs To Get

So how many ISBNs should you get?

First off let’s clarify a few common mistakes:

  • You can only use an ISBN once. The ISBN is a unique number for that particular book, and can be assigned once, and only once, to that title. It can’t be used with any other book in the future, even second versions of the same book.
  • You don’t need an ISBN to sell in each individual country. ISBNs are international, they are just assigned locally. A US based publisher can purchase their ISBN through Bowker, but can stock their book worldwide using that ISBN.
  • You need an ISBN for every specific format of the book, and any new versions. Want to sell your book in print, as an eBook, and also as an audiobook? That’s great, however you need a different ISBN for each one. If you want to publish a revised and updated version you’ll also need a new ISBN. (This doesn’t cover fixing some typos and errors).
  • If you create a series of books you can’t use the same ISBN for them. You can use the same ISSN, however. Many fiction and nonfiction authors, have an ISSN number assigned to their book series. ISSN stands for International Standard Series Number, and can be purchased from the Library of Congress. However, each book in the series will need its own ISBN.

We mentioned that in the USA you can buy ISBNs as a single unit, a bulk of 10, 100 or 1000. Here are the prices:

Number of ISBNs You Get Price
1 $125
10 $295
100 $575
1000 $1500

Screen Shot 2017 08 02 at 11.29.32 AM

First off, it rarely makes sense to purchase a single ISBN. A single ISBN would cost you $125, but a bulk of 10 only costs $295. Meaning if you purchased 10, each ISBN would cost you $29.50, a 76% discount.

Buying a single ISBN might seem feasible if you only want to publish one title, but remember that you need an ISBN for each format. So if you want to publish your book as an audiobook, you’d need a brand new ISBN for that. As well as needing different ISBNs for your eBook and print versions.

Not to mention that you’ll need an ISBN for any future books you publish, perhaps as sequels to your book.

We recommend that if your serious in making book sales you purchase at least a bulk of 10 ISBNs. That gives you 3 ISBNs to use for publishing as an eBook, in print, and as an audiobook. You can keep the remainder for books you publish in the future.

Wrapping It Up

Now that you have a very good idea how to buy and use ISBNs for your own books, all the best on setting this up. If you want to be recognized as a publisher and have your books available to a larger global audience by registering through Bowker, consider investing in your own ISBNs. Think of it as buying a piece of property: You own it and it is registered in your name.

For more information, you can find out anything you want to know by visiting the official Bowker page or at myidentifiers.com

Here’s a simple actionable checklist for ISBNs.

To buy an ISBN for your next book, here is what you should do:

  1. Go to the website https://www.myidentifiers.com
  2. Under the ISBN drop down tab, click on ISBNs—Buy Here. You can select 1, 10 or 100. For a bulk purchase, go to “Buying ISBNs in Bulk” and you can contact Bowker directly to discuss your options.
  3. Once you have your ISBN assigned, you can then use it everywhere that requires your ISBN number.
  4. At Createspace, under the “Setup” channel, you can choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN. When you buy your own ISBN at Bowker, just put in the 13-digit number and Createspace will use this in your paperback.
  5. If you publish your paperback through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you can fill in your number in the “Paperback Content” section of your book when you log into your bookshelf. If you choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN, KDP will ask for your 13-digit number if you are transferring your physical version over to KDP.
  6. Register your ISBN here at Bowker as soon as your book is ready for sale. Download the free ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration step-by-step guide.

Helpful Links & Resources

These links appeared throughout the post but here they are for easy access.

International ISBN Agency

https://www.isbn-international.org

ISBN.org by Bowker

http://www.isbn.org/faqs_general_questions

Bowkerlink Publisher Access System

https://commerce.bowker.com/corrections/common/home.asp

Bowker Identifier Services

https://www.myidentifiers.com

U.S. Copyright Office

https://www.copyright.gov

ISBN Set Up Guide

ISBN Guides: Basic Information

How to Self Publish a Book in 2018

How to Self Publish a Book in 2018

Historically, if you wanted to publish a book, you needed an agent to get a traditional publisher to look at your manuscript. In fact, many publishing companies won’t even open a manuscript if it doesn’t come through an agent. What’s worse is that even if they do open it, it’s still unlikely that your book will be published and sold in bookstores!

Is there a better method?

Yes! In fact, there is another way for your book to not only be published, but to even become a bestseller! This method has led to the success of many authors, and is changing the book and traditional publishing industry.

It’s called, self-publishing.

Personally speaking, I’ve self-published 6 bestselling non-fiction books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks. The success of my books has been directly responsible for the strong performance of my business, which has grown to over 7 figures in less than 2 years.

Five years ago, in order to achieve this level of publishing success, you would have needed to be extremely lucky to even land an agent who would attempt to find you a deal at one of the “Big 5” publishing houses.

This is no longer the case. Not only do you no longer need one of the “Big 5” companies to publish your book, now self-published authors are actively turning down offers from publishing companies!

So If you are trying to publish your book and are having no luck landing a publisher, self-publishing could be the best option for you.

Because many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, I’ve created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide that will walk you through on the beginning steps on how to write your book all the way to self-publishing it on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.

This guide will cover:

  1. Deciding Why You Want to Write a Book
  2. Writing Your Book
  3. Getting Feedback on Your Book
  4. Choosing a Book Title
  5. Hiring a Great Book Editor
  6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts
  7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  8. Formatting and Uploading your Book
  9. Self-Publishing Your Book
  10. Pricing Your Book
  11. Forming a Launch Team
  12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure
  13. Celebrate!

Let’s begin.

1. Deciding Why You Want To Write A Book

What you need to decide first when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book. I encourage going through this brainstorming process as it’s the only way to ensure that you’re 100% committed to writing a book (and doing it for the right reasons).

Here are some questions for you to consider:

  • Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
  • Do you want to leverage your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker or coach?
  • Do you have a well established business and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
  • Or do you already have a successful story, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience?

Action Plan: Come up with at least 10 valid reasons why you want to write a book. Use the questions above as a starting guide to brainstorm.

2. Writing Your Book

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you might have had moments where you’ve stared at a blank page for hours with nothing to show for it Feeling frustrated, you resort to procrastinating and get nothing done! This is normal, writing a book is hard work.

In order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.

Here’s are some effective ways to develop the writing process:

  • Buy a calendar. The best way to have your book complete is to have a calendar that schedules your goals per day/week.
  • Create an outline. An outline is like a map of your book that provides direction to your story. It keeps you on track and ensures that your ideas are organized.
  • Develop a writing habit. Condition yourself to write at the same time every day. With this practice, it will soon become a habit that will make writing a book automatic.

To learn more tips on how to write, here’s a tutorial video of the simple process I use to write over 1500 words per hour:

Action Plan: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out negative noise to get you into the writing process.

3. Getting Feedback on Your Book

When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.

Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear. Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.

Action Plan: Reach out to a few friends who could provide good feedback, and ask them if they’ll be willing to read a chapter or two (or the whole book!) as you finish writing.

4. Choosing a Book Title

Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” because you’re trying so hard to align your story to the title of the book instead of writing what needs to be written.

Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.

The key to choosing a perfect title is: the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to keep it simple. Your title should also be clear on what your readers will receive by reading your book because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.

Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:

  • Is your title going to teach a high demand skill?
  • Can your title impact someone’s life?
  • Can your book solve a very difficult problem?

Action Plan: Once you’ve narrowed down your book titles, send out an email to your friends and family or put a poll up to your audience asking what title they’d prefer. You could also ask a community of other authors what they think. To learn more about book titles, check out our article on Book Title Ideas.

5. Hiring a Great Book Editor

Hiring a great editor can mean the difference between writing a bestseller, or a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary on this stage of the process.

To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any English teachers or others in the editorial field? Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor?

If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry! Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor, or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork. Self-Publishing School also has a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job.

No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you. If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then let that $25 go, and find an editor that’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake.

Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.

Action Plan: Find a friend or professional editor who can make sure your book is error-free, and start working with them sooner rather than later!

6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts

When it comes to self-publishing, a high quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your book to convert into sales! The reason is because your cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.

So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.

You can find amazing book cover designers on freelancing sites such as:

Prices will vary depending on what type of service you want, but the end result will be well worth the spend.

Action Plan: Find a book designer with any of these sites and your book will stand apart from the rest of its competition!

7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account

Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audio books. You can even link it with CreateSpace to offer print books to your audience. It’s the best way to start selling books quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books. I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers!

Setting up your KDP account is very simple! Start by following these steps:

  1. Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
  2. Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
  3. Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished” and your account is complete!

Action Plan: Follow these steps to create your KDP account! With this platform, you can publish your book within minutes and soon have it appear worldwide!

8. Formatting Your Self-Published Book

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting. You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you.

Here are 5 book formatting mistakes to avoid.

If you want to pay for formatting, Liber Writer is a low-cost, effective option for converting a Microsoft Word file to Amazon’s Kindle format. If $60 is too much, you can also find people on Fiverr to format your book for Kindle.

Action Plan: Make sure your book is formatted properly by using the free online resource above, or hiring someone who can handle the formatting process for you.

9. Self-Publishing Your Book

When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book.

  1. On the KDP mainpage, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”.
  2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
  3. Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
  4. Finally, click on “Upload eBook Manuscript”, and upload your manuscript file from your computer.

Amazon also allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience. To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.

Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors.

Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book. Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.

Afterwards, you should be ready to publish your book, at which you’ll click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!

Action Plan: Follow these steps to upload your book. You are allowed to upload your manuscript as many times as you want with each upload overriding the previous.

10. Pricing Your Book

One of the most important decisions when it comes to self-publishing a book is how to price it. The most common question I get from new writers is, “How much should my book cost?”

To answer this, my general rule of thumb is to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $5.99.

To be more specific, when beginning a launch, I would begin by pricing the book at $0.99 for the launch period. Then I would set the price to 2.99, and I would moderately increase the price by $1 every week and measure how well the new price performs. Once you see a sales dip, that will determine the exact price of your book that will guarantee book sales.

Action Plan: Find the perfect price by using this strategy that will attract your readers and best drive long term success.

11. Forming a Launch Team

Your launch team is the group of people who are dedicated to helping make your book successful. should be a passionate group of individuals who are eager to make your book launch successful. Remember, one highly skilled team member is better than a group of mediocre ones!

To find quality candidates, here’s an questionnaire you can use to assess applicants and see if they’re qualified to market your book:

  • Why do you want to support my book?
  • What goals are you trying to reach with this project?
  • How would you market this book?
  • Which influencers would you reach out to and why?

Action Plan: Create an application with questions that align to your thought process. Try to be open-minded with those who think outside the box – they maybe the perfect candidates that can get your book to become a bestseller. To learn more about book marketing, check out our article on How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book.

12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure

As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, be sure to leverage your launch team and your audience to help you market your book! It may be odd to ask your fans for help, but your fans are there to support your project and want to see you succeed. You might be surprised how willing they’ll be to help you if you just ask!

Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team and audience to do:

  • Share content from your book as blog posts across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Help build your book’s website
  • Reach out to influencers for a future guest post or podcast feature
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Buy extra copies to gift their friends

The additional exposure generated from your launch team and audience will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, which will drive more sales!

Action Step: Create your book marketing launch plan using these methods. Measure each of these methods to see which will best get your book in the hands of new readers and convert into sales.

13. Celebrate! (Now, decide what’s next)

Publishing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche. This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise. Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.

Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Getting clear on what you want will also help you to be more effective when expanding your network along on your journey.

So there you have it…that’s how to self publish a book. If self publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need to watch this free 4 part video training series, where I walk through the exact steps I’ve taken to write, publish, and market 6 of my own best-selling books (and how I’ve helped 1,000’s of students do the same).

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How to Sell More Books on Amazon

How to Sell More Books on Amazon

“To reach more readers and take your sales to the next level, you must proactively market your book”.

— Mark Coker

You have just written a book, spent thousands on getting it to market, and now…you’ve sold a few copies.

You heard about this passive income strategy but it’s now clear that selling more books isn’t as easy as it was made out to be.

Making money from your book isn’t as easy as they say, but it doesn’t have to be impossible either if you set your book up for success right from the start.

This post will show you how to sell more books.

There are no hidden gimmicks or a secret formula to making money from your writing. When I started out book publishing, I struggled for the first year to break the hundred dollars a month mark. Gradually, with troubleshooting, testing and learning from the people who were making five figures a month, the passive income model for making money on Amazon [and other platforms] makes more sense.

So if you’re an author wanting to make money from your book [and who doesn’t, right?] this post will take you into the trenches of bookselling.

Is it easy to make money from your writing? No, there is a lot of work involved. We have to do things right and set our work up for long term sales. As an author, you should know as much about marketing your book as you do about writing it. After all, the writing will get your book published, but promotion and marketing will get your book sold.

Selling lots of books begins with the basics of book production and leading up to the book launch, so we must create our book with the goal of getting it into the hands of our audience and bringing new readers into our brand.

When it comes to selling books and making money, this depends largely on your goals as an author. If you are doing this part time and you just want to recoup your expenses for the cost of publishing your book, your marketing strategy will be much different than author who has a goal of earning a full time income.

In this post I will run you through the essentials of marketing, packaging and promoting your book in order to maximize book sales and earn your money as an author. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid well for what they love to do?

Regardless of what your book selling goals are, there are seven elements, the criteria for any book, that must be met if your book is even going to stand a chance in the marketplace. Remember: you’re competing with millions of other books out there and that there are about 4500 books published everyday. That’s a lot of books.

But not to worry.

If you follow the criteria below, you will jump to the top of the heap where the top 5% of authors making money are hanging out.

Selling your book begins, not when your book is published, but from the very get-go, before you even put pen to paper.

It begins with…

The 7 Essential Elements for Selling More Books

“Thirty seconds. As an author (or publisher) that’s about all the time you have when talking to someone to generate interest in your book.”

— Sarah Bolme

You may be thinking right now: “Wait, where are the marketing strategies? How can I sell thousands of books a month?” We will get to that. But first, before you think about earning thousands of dollars and retiring early, the foundation for selling books begins here.

When it comes to selling a book, you have  short window to convince someone that your book is the best investment they are about to make. You can do this right away by sticking with the essentials that a good book must have.

1. An awesome book cover that gets a second glance.

Someone once said: “You can never tell a book by it’s cover.” That was true back in 1946 but in today’s publishing realm, readers DO judge by the cover and they will buy your book based on the front-end window dressing. The principle here is simple: If it looks good, it must be valuable. Most books get three seconds to sell a reader. If you want to sell more books, have a cover that grabs attention and gets your browser to take the next step.

For cover designers we can recommend a few sites here:

99 Designs

Happy Self Publishing/Covers

KillerBookCovers.com

Archangel Ink/Covers

mnsartstudionew/fiverr

2. An Intriguing Book Title and Subtitle.

If the cover is the gateway to drawing a browsers attention, the title of your book is what sells it. Your title will depend largely on the theme of your book but taking time to craft a title/subtitle will be a deciding factor for potential readers to buy…or not.

The title is the hook that draws readers in and the subtitle is your elevator pitch that tells them what they can expect to gain by reading this book. Will they lose weight? Become better at saving money? Run a full marathon in under six hours?

Brainstorm as many possible titles as you can for both the main title and subtitle. Although the title can make them guess what the book is about, the subtitle is what sells it. Good books that sell often have great subtitles that gives browsers a stronger idea of what is behind the cover.

Check out these great titles for inspiration:

Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness by S.J. Scott

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy

Relaunch Your Life: Break the Cycle of Self-Defeat, Destroy Negative Emotions and Reclaim Your Personal Power by Scott Allan

How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism by Stephen Guise

Break Through Your BS: Uncover Your Brain’s Blind Spots and Unleash Your Inner Greatness by Derek Doepker

Book Launch: How to Write, Market & Publish Your First Bestseller in Three Months or Less AND Use it to Start and Grow a Six Figure Business by Chandler Bolt

3. Book Reviews & Book Launch Sales Volume

If a browser is sold on your cover and the theme resonates with subject they want to know more about, a quick scan of the book reviews will be the final selling point for most.

A book with less than ten reviews, or no reviews at all, may get passed over in favor of other books with a strong review ranking. The bottom line is: Reviews sell more books. Getting reviews is an ongoing marketing strategy you should always be working on.

Amazon’s algorithm is strongly linked to the volume of book sales and reviews. A book that sells well within the first two weeks supported by a healthy volume of high ranking reviews will push your book higher into the popularity ranks of new releases during the launch phase.

The long term strategy for selling more books over an extended period of time is to focus everything you have on the first 2-3 weeks of your launch. Basically it comes down to selling loads of books and getting people to leave reviews.

Getting reviews is a lot of work but the effort is well worth it. Aside from the cover, the reviews will make or break your sales. You should focus your efforts on building a strong launch team of early reviewers who will receive a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review.

To stack up on reviews during your launch you can:

  • Provide a request to review page at the back of your ebook with a direct link to your book.
  • Invite people to join your launch team and provide early reviewers with a copy of your book to review 2 weeks before you publish.
  • Scroll through the list of Amazon’s Top Reviewers and request a review

4. A Killer Book Description

Amazon allows authors to include a lengthy book description on the author page. This is definitely an area that you want to spend time on. Your book cover, title, and reviews are generally enough to make the sale, but a solid looking book description adds weight to the overall quality of the product.

Your book description is a sales page that lists the benefits of the book. It should have a mixture of various font style and structure to create a clean, attractive description of your book. We recommend using the free Amazon Book Description Generator Tool at Kindlepreneur.com. This saves time in messing around with nasty HTML coding.

For some great examples for book descriptions check out these titles:

The Art of Everyday Assertiveness: Speak Up. Say No. Set Boundaries. Take Back Control by Patrick King

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone: How to Live Fearlessly, Seize Opportunity, and Make Each Day Memorable by Peter Hollins

The Critical Mind: Make Better Decisions, Improve Your Judgment, and Think a Step Ahead of Others by Zoe McKey

5. Keywords

If nobody can find your book, they can’t buy it either. This is where researching and implementing the right keywords plays a big part in driving traffic towards your platform. Regardless whether you blog, have a website or you sell products online, setting up your keywords is a prime strategy. But where do we find these keywords? How do we know what keywords are the right ones?

Finding the right keywords will get your book ranking in the top search results when customers plug in the relevant keywords to discover your kind of book. Why does this matter? Yes, a book that ranks well gets more visibility and this leads to…book sales!

There are two tools we recommend for researching relevant keywords for your book. They are:

Using the right software you can get results for the number of times your keyword is searched. Google also shows you related searches and the competition that particular word has. What you are looking for is a word that has good search volume but not high competition.

Another tactic is to search for your book’s title and keywords by using Amazon’s search bar. Check the suggestions that drop down. Imagine what your readers are searching for when they are looking for your book.

You are allowed to include seven keywords, or short-tail phrases, in your book. Most browsers, when they search in Amazon, are more likely to type in a short tail phrase instead of a single keyword. You want to be specific with your search. Specificity narrows down the choices and makes your book more searchable.

For example, if you are looking for a book on losing weight, and you are over 50, type in losing weight after 50 and you will target the books related to your short tail phrase. Readers search this way. Eventually, if you become a successful author, most people can just plug in your author name and go right to your Amazon author page after they have trust in your brand.

6. Professional Editing

A book that has been poorly edited is going to receive negative reviews. Period. While it is perfectly fine to have negative reviews on your book, you don’t want those reviews to be about the writing quality. It is an instant turn off for book buyers.

Of course we expect a book that is, not only well-written but, mostly error free meaning, the occasional error may be tolerated. But, a book riddled with bad grammar, misspelling, and a sloppy appearance is not going to sell.

You can hire a great editor through Upwork or Freelancer. Ask other authors if they can recommend someone. Your editing will be the biggest expense for the book and you don’t want to cut corners with this.

These are the core essentials of any book. Even if you are not a good marketer, you can sell more books if you get these steps right.

Now, let’s take a look at some more advanced marketing strategies that includes book promotions and building an author brand.

7. Pricing Your Book

One question that I often get from authors is: “How much should I price my book at?” I know, we want to maximize our profit but not scare away potential readers because of an overpriced book. First, remember that for any book priced $1.99 or 0.99 cents, the royalty is just 35%. Books priced between $2.99 – $9.99 net 70% royalty. The sweet spot for many books is $2.99 – $5.99.

Price your book accordingly and by that I mean, take into account the size and quality of your platform. If you are an established author with a strong following, you could potentially charge more. Books that are priced slightly higher than the norm may do better if they are packaged well [aka quality cover, large volume of reviews].

You could start pricing your book at $2.99 and move it up $1.00 a week, testing the boundaries until you notice a significant decrease in sales. You might sell less books at $4.99 but if your book has all the best elements mentioned in this section, and you market accordingly, the perceived value of your product will stand the test.

As for paperbacks, most INDIE authors are averaging a sales price from $9.99 – $12.99. Take into account there are printing costs, your royalties can do better per sale based on the higher price of the book at a 60% royalty rate.

The Permission Marketing Plan

“Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers. It’s not just about entertainment – it’s about education. Permission marketing is curriculum marketing.”

— Seth Godin

Now that we have looked at the basic elements you need to sell your book, it is time to get into the initial marketing. Generally speaking, most authors are not marketers. But you don’t have to be to sell.

If you follow the steps above, that would place your book in the top 10% at least. Then, take it a step further with a marketing plan and now you are making some real money.

Mind you, the strategies I am laying out for you here represent the infrastructure of a book business. These are not quick ways to make a buck but rather, you are laying the foundation for setting up passive income and drawing monthly income from your books.

I’ll be honest, if you want to create a long term, sustainable income from your books, you have to do a lot more than send out ‘tweets’ or weekly blog posts. Selling lots of books can be narrowed down to one word: traffic.

How do we get traffic? By invitation. How do we invite people to buy our books? We give stuff away and provide so much value that they can’t possible say no.

It begins with setting up an email list of raving fans.

With an email list, you can create a sustainable platform of fans that are waiting for your next book release. When you launch a book, can you imagine if you had 1000 eager readers waiting to grab your latest release on the first day when it launches? Not only would you have an instant bestseller but, you’ll end up in the top of your category and the Amazon top rankings and search engines. How great would that be?

Building an email list takes time, patience, and a lot of work. You need to be strategic with your list and deliver valuable material that they need. This could be free giveaways or a weekly blog post. Consistent engagement builds your list and becomes the foundation for your author infrastructure.

Without an active email list, we are relying heavily on luck and organic traffic. Although you can still do well without a list, you’ll work twice as hard to get your book into the top search engines.

If the money is in the list, you want to start building your list right now. You can do this by first offering an incentive inside your book. Do you have something of value to provide readers to entice them to sign up? If so, offer it now and begin list building.

But remember: People are giving you permission to email them. This is the beginning of a relationship with your readers. Value that relationship and you will have started the foundation for a business. Write for your readers and you will never have to worry about selling more books. Your readers will help you to market your book and they will always be your best customers.

You can start by signing up with an email subscriber service. There are several to choose from:

Mailchimp: This service is to free for up to 2000 subscribers. However, there is no support until you pay a monthly fee.

Mailerlite: a nice platform, very simple with easy-to-navigate features.

Getresponse

Convert Kit: Loads of features and everything you need. A cheaper alternative per subscriber compared to mailchimp and Aweber.

Once you have a comfortable list that you are engaging with regularly, it is time to focus your core efforts on providing value to that list. The subscriber gave you permission to email them, and now it is your responsibility to follow through by building that relationship.

Run Book Promos Every 3-6 months

You’ll find that, even the best of the books out there drop in rankings over an extended period of time. This is where we can keep things fresh by running  promotional campaign for the book every 3-6 months.

Here is how you can do this.

Drop the price of your book to 0.99 for 5-7 days. You can adjust the price by going into the KDP dashboard. It takes Amazon anywhere from 6-24 hours to set this up.

Stack multiple book promotional services for each day for the week your book is set at the promotional price. Setting up book promos does cost money but it gets your book rankings moving up again and gives the book a fresh kick. You can set up promos with the following sites:

BKnights [Fiverr] You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. You won’t get a ton of downloads but on average 12-25 depending on the book.

Robin Reads. [Requires 10 reviews and a 4.9 rating] Takes a couple days to get approved [$55].

BookSends. Requires average 5 reviews at $40.

Bargain Booksy. I love this one, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $25 for nonfiction.

Awesome Gang. This one is great for the price, $10.

Many Books. Great little gig, average returns, $29.

Book Runes. Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25.

eBooks Habit. Great little promo, I recommend the guaranteed placement for $10.

Booksbutterfly. Various promo packages with guaranteed paid and free downloads.

This is an opportunity to set up a small support group to read the book and leave a review during the promotion period. This boost in downloads and new reviews boosts the rankings of your book. If you have multiple books, it’s an opportunity for traffic coming into your platform to be introduced to your book library.

Create a Library of Books and Build Your Brand

It is really hard to make money from just one book. This is why I recommend writing and publishing a lineup of books that your fanbase can’t wait to read. Writing multiple books is a long term strategy that can build a profitable book business over the course of several years.

Can you imagine if you had ten books for sale and each one is set up for success to bring in an average of $1000 a month? You can do this with a strategic plan for your author business.

Publishing new content regularly builds your email list and pushes your Amazon Author Ranking up the charts. By putting out a new book every 3-4 months, you are creating new content that keeps your author platform sizzling with activity.

In addition, it is easier to promote several books at the same time. You can set up a book bundle and have your books available in multiple formats including audiobooks and paperback.

Action Task: Block out 30-minutes a day for the next 30 days. Come up with ideas for at least ten books you want to write. Do a mind map followed by an outline for each one. Then, set out to create a publishing schedule for each book.

Questions to ask yourself are:

  • How long is each book?
  • Am I targeting a general audience or a specific niche?
  • What is the estimated profit potential for this book?
  • How can I out out a new book every 3-4 months?

Here are a few authors creating a library of books and doing very well with their platform of consistent releases:

Patrick King, Social Interaction Specialist

S.J. Scott, Develop Better Habits

Martin Meadows, Self-Discipline and Grit

Peter Hollins, Human Psychology

Zoe McKey, Communication and Personal Development

Oh, and let’s not forget Stephen King, who has published over 65 books with 350 million copies sold since Carrie was published in 1974.

Wrapping It Up

If you want to sell more books and earn money as a paid author, write and publish books that sell. Target a specific audience and write your content for that fan base. Build a brand around your work and market your writing accordingly.

Stick to the essential elements of book publishing and be sure to write a book that engages your readers interest, provides them with entertainment [fiction] or life lessons [nonfiction], and invest your time into creating a series of books that have impact and branding appeal.

Selling books and making money is a long term strategy. There are hundreds of ways to promote your book and brand. But you don’t [and can’t] do everything. Focus on the strategies that will have the long term results you want.

Now, I’ll leave you with a list of additional marketing and promotional strategies you can consider to build your brand and promote your work.

20 Ways to Promote Your Work and Build an Author Brand

  1. Create a book trailer and post the video on YouTube or Vimeo.
  2. Set up an Author Page on Facebook and have readers sign up. You can take this a step further and create a private facebook group where you share some of your best content and insider information with your tribe.
  3. Create an author website. Use this to promote your books, blog about content in your books, and keep readers engaged through online discussions about your work and mission.
  4. Set up a professional author email. For example: john@johnauthor.com
  5. Get professional author pictures taken. Post these to your website, social media, and the paperback copy on the back.
  6. Approach foreign book publishers and try to get your book translated into other languages. Nowadays many authors are translating books into Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish.
  7. Get video testimonials for your book. Post to YouTube and your website.
  8. Send your paperback to fans and ask them to take a photo holding up the book. Use this as a promotional tool by creating a landing page for your book. Additionally you can create book pages for your books on your website [Note: We strongly recommend you have an author website].
  9. Run a book giveaway on Goodreads.
  10. Write a series of blog posts related to your books and overall branding theme.
  11. Guest post blog for well-known sites and drive backlinks to your website or Amazon author page.
  12. Get featured on as many podcasts as you can. This is a great way to drive traffic to your book pages and site.
  13. Set up a URL forward that sends people to your Amazon author page. When you promote your books, you can use this URL as your main website even if you don’t have an actual website yet.
  14. Continue to pile reviews onto your book. This should be an ongoing marketing strategy. Aim for a goal of adding two new reviews per week.
  15. Set up an AMS ad for your book. You can check out this free course right here: Book Advertising: Free AMS Advertisement Course for Authors
  16. Create free content [checklist, mini ebook, or audiobook] and give it away for free inside your book.
  17. Create a virtual bundle of your books when you get several titles published.
  18. Create a course based on your book. This has the potential to be a strong upsell. Take a look at udemi and teachable for launching your course to these platforms.
  19. Create an email autoresponder series for subscribers.
  20. Create a slideshare presentation using the best material from your book.
SPS 041: Using Books to Drive Product Launches with Danny Iny

SPS 041: Using Books to Drive Product Launches with Danny Iny

There needs to be a driving force behind product launches. Danny Iny has found that using books is the perfect driver. Danny is the founder of Mirasee, the host of the Business Reimagined Podcast, and bestselling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich. He is also the creator of the Audience Business Masterclass and Course Builder’s Laboratory which has graduated over 5000 value driven entrepreneurs.

Danny is on top of his game, and a great friend of mine. He doesn’t lose sight of the importance of impact and making a difference in people’s lives. Today, we talk about mistakes Danny made with his very first book. The tactics he used to write and market his official first book, and the importance of creating value for everyone you are involved with from readers to customers and collaborators.

You can find Danny here:
Mirasee
@DannyIny on Twitter
Books by Danny Iny
Danny Iny on LinkedIn
Engagement from Scratch!
The Audience Revolution
Teach and Grow Rich
Audience Business Masterclass
Course Builder’s Laboratory
Business Reimagined Podcast

Show Notes
[01:37] Danny’s actual first book was a book about writing published in 2006. It’ a self-published book and Danny knew nothing about marketing. The lesson learned from this book was that he needed to learn about marketing.
[03:13] In 2011, he published Engagement from Scratch! this was a compilation book about building engagement with your audience.
[04:00] This book was about building an audience when you don’t have one. This book put Danny on the map and grew his initial audience.
[05:36] His co-authors were people who had an audience and reach that he worked hard to build a relationship with. These people are rock stars now and it helped Danny build his reach.
[06:40] Danny was guest posting everywhere. His pitch invited people to contribute a chapter.
[10:32] When asking present what is in it for them and be honest about it.
[11:27] His strategy was to glean knowledge and get extra promotion from his guest authors for the book. He also sent each co-author two or three copies.
[13:03] Measuring up against expectations of people who help you out.
[14:40] The large amount of people who get a book deal and then don’t deliver.
[15:17] With self-published books, you can control everything.
[16:32] How giving away free books actually boosted sales and helped Danny’s career.
[18:13] Having a book support team of people with an audience.
[20:01] If people download a book from your website, you can reach out to them. Danny told his list he was available for podcast interviews.
[23:59] Using the book itself as part of the prelaunch process.
[25:04] People look at things differently when they are learning as opposed to being sold to.
[25:54] The importance of delivering real value and information in a way that people are receptive to it.
[26:41] How a real book can be powerful. Educate the market and help readers accomplish something meaningful.
[28:04] More people will optin in for a download rather than a video. The pages of your book determine how much people will read.
[31:49] Properly resourced projects tend to do well.
[32:52] The book should be great, but your offer is the core of what you are doing.
[34:43] Structure of a launch. First video helps people to see an opportunity that wasn’t there before. Second video helping them to see that it is possible for them. Overcome objections. Third video show what life can be like after the journey.
[36:52] 1 star reviews can be frustrating, just accept it and move on.
[38:35] Books as a long term play. It leads into a launch or an evergreen offer. A book is part of your body and work. The more you create the more visible it is. Create great stuff and write a great book.
[40:25] When cool things happen it is not a surprise. Writing something great will attract a higher caliber or better fit of students or customers.
[42:29] Think about why you want to write and publish a book. Don’t have things that are just steps in the ladder.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Mitch Joel
Guy Kawasaki
Seth Godin
Copyblogger
Self-Publishing Summit
Disrupted
Mirasee
@DannyIny on Twitter
Books by Danny Iny
Danny Iny on LinkedIn
Engagement from Scratch!
The Audience Revolution
Teach and Grow Rich
Audience Business Masterclass
Course Builder’s Laboratory
Business Reimagined Podcast

How To Get Approved for More Amazon Book Categories

How To Get Approved for More Amazon Book Categories

When it comes to self-publishing your upcoming book, do not make light of selecting your book categories! Although it may appear to be a small detail, you must realize that your readers often resort to categories when looking for books on a specific topic. Therefore, selecting the best book categories for your upcoming bestseller is a critical decision as it will impact your book sales.

Here are more notable reasons why your book should have best fitting categories:

  • It can help you become a bestseller. Like the New York Times bestseller, Amazon can also tag your book with an orange badge that says “#1 Bestseller”. And with thousands of Amazon categories to compete and rank for, this means that there’s plenty of opportunity for you to become an Amazon bestseller!
  • You can gain more exposure on Amazon. By appearing on different categories, your book can appeal to different audiences. And if your book ranks in the top ten of any category listings, Amazon will include your book to its “Recommendations Engine”  which will generate more publicity!

But with plenty of book categories on Kindle Direct Publishing as well as the plethora of books competing for attention, how do you choose the right categories to make your book stand out to your reader?

In this post, we will share our best strategies to help you pick the right categories for your book that will increase your sales rank and obtain maximum exposure through Amazon’s search engine.

Here are the three topics we will cover:

  1. How to Research Your Competition
  2. How to Strategically Select Your Category
  3. How to Acquire Additional Categories

Let’s get started!

1. How to Research Your Competition

If your goal is to appear on the first page of search results on Amazon, then you must take advantage of every window of opportunity to succeed. In order to do so, you first must research your competition.

When you begin researching for book categories, you should start by scanning the bestselling books on every first page results of your target category.

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The reason is simply due to the fact that the first page results are most likely what your readers are going to be looking for! Therefore, it’s important to identify the top selling books for each category you want to target.

Next, go through each of the books on the first page results and study its category string links. For example, here are the category links for Taylor Pearson’s book, The End of Jobs:

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Notice that for a book on Entrepreneurship, it’s ranked highest for “Labor & Workforce” and “Economics”. This goes to show that by placing their book into such unique categories, the author completely understood their target audience which is why The End of Jobs appears on several first page results.

So if you want to have a high ranking for your category, make it a priority to research your competitors’ categories and emulate their methods with your book.

Action Plan: Research the first page competitors in five categories of your choosing. Take note to any unique categories your competitors rank in, and apply them to your upcoming book.  

2. How to Strategically Select Your Category

Because the Amazon’s Kindle Store has thousands of categories to choose from as well as an overwhelming amount of books fighting for attention, the competition can be relentless and unfair to new writers. But there is one approach that will have you stand out: Select trending categories with little competition.

What is considered a competitive rank?

We find that any categories with books ranking higher than #2000 is considered very competitive and not a recommended category for new writers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t place your book in a competitive ranking, but if you do, be sure to have a well planned book launch with a sizable audience that can provide a lot of verified reviews. For new authors with a smaller following, we recommend aiming for certain categories with books that rank between #10,000-30,000.

Once you’ve completed this research, you should have a list of thriving categories to place your book in that will outrank your competitors.

Action Plan: With the five categories you’ve researched, take the time to review your competitors’ ranking that fall between #10,000-30,000. For even better results, we also recommend using the KDP Calculator to calculate how many books you would need to sell in order increase your ranking.

3. How to Acquire Additional Categories

When you upload your book for the first time, Amazon will offer you a select list of categories to choose from. At a first glance, you will notice that the selection seems rather limited and is missing plenty of categories that you’ve seen other books rank for. Unfortunately, Amazon has done this intentionally so that they can place new books into their own kindle categories.

Don’t let Amazon determine your categories! There’s thousands of sub-categories you can rank for, and you can even include an additional eight sub-categories not found in the usual channels.

Here how you can acquire these categories:

  1. Use Amazon Keyword Selection. Include the name of your category as one of your “Amazon Keywords”. In order to obtain a particular category, you must include specific keywords in the Kindle submission form. For more information on Keyword requirements, visit Amazon’s browse category page to learn more.
  2. Place your categories in strategic places. To convince Amazon that your book should be placed in specific category, strategically work the words of the category onto the title, subtitle or even the summary of your book page.
  3. Contact Amazon. You can contact Amazon and request your book to be placed in a particular category. Amazon will then assess your entire book and determine if it’s an appropriate fit for the specific browse category. If approved, These categories will appear in the “Look for similar items by category” at the bottom of the book page.

Action Plan: Experiment with these strategies to acquire additional sub-categories for your book. Remember you can include eight additional keywords that can convince Amazon to place your book in the categories of your choosing.

If you want a successful book launch, you must not overlook even the tiniest of details. By following these guidelines on how to select your book category, your first book will have maximum exposure and the best chance to appear in the Amazon bestseller list.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

SPS 040: What I’ve Learned from Writing 10+ Books with Joanna Penn

SPS 040: What I’ve Learned from Writing 10+ Books with Joanna Penn

Fiction writing is fun and creative, but it has it’s own unique set of challenges. Things like character, plot, dialogue and more can trip up new fiction writers. Today, we have NY Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author J.F. Penn here to explain the nuances between writing fiction and nonfiction.

Joanna Penn is a creative entrepreneur, podcaster, professional speaker, and travel junkie who has broken the code with writing fiction and nonfiction and is an expert in the publishing and self publishing industry. She shares the importance of choosing a genre, finding good editors, setting deadlines, research tips, her favorite tools, her favorite books and all kinds of knowledge that will help first time and more experienced authors.

You can find Joanna here:
The Creative Penn
J.F.Penn on Pinterest
J.F.Penn Books
Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn

Show Notes:
[01:56] Differences between writing fiction and nonfiction. There are skills that you need for fiction that you never needed before.
[02:19] Point of view. When writing fiction you can choose a first or third person point of view.
[02:50] Dialogue. This is a skill unto itself.
[03:05] Story structure. If you have read thousands of books it may be embedded, but this is where the craft comes in. There a quite a few things you need to learn to make a reader feel satisfied.
[03:31] You can get some of this through osmosis by reading the genre in which you are going to write, but these skills also need to be honed.
[03:47] Joanna’s first fiction book process. She also blogged about it. She discovered genre and that she loved super natural thrillers. You need an idea to sustain you through the tough times.
[05:05] Her first novel took 14 months. You need to be so excited about your idea. Joanna has been journaling since she was 15. The seed for her idea was from 10 years before. Put everything in your head, so that it can come out in a story.
[06:11] The first book was based on her travels and put into a framework of a story.
[06:47] Sustainable idea? Believing that you are creative enough There is a creativity muscle. Any skill that you use, you can learn more. Look into things you are curious about.
[08:12] Build an audience over time by writing a series.
[08:45] Research and get ideas. Joanna travels a lot. Read other books. Put it all in your head, so that it can come out again. Follow your curiosity.
[10:09] People who like similar things to you will be interested in your fiction.
[10:55] Use Scrivener for your first draft. Often in fiction you don’t write in order. You can write in scenes.
[11:54] Put everything into Scrivener and flush everything out or just start writing. Use timed writing.
[13:22] First drafts for fiction writers are really bad. When you discover you need to learn something learn it by taking a class on dialogue.
[13:51] Hire a ton of editors. Your first book will be the most expensive because you have the most to learn.
Structural edit – story structure etc. Line edits and proof readers. This teaches you how to write.
[15:23] Find an editor that likes your genre. It’s unlikely to find a perfect match on the first try. As you change, your editor will change.
[16:14] Your editor needs to understand your genre. You want one that will fix you and make you better without changing your voice. It takes about 5 books to find your voice.
[17:10] As we become better writers it is ok to rewrite. Your voice comes out when you write what you really think.
[18:00] Joanna uses beta readers for expert suggestions to critique and their expertise and make the book more accurate.
[19:17] Writers groups aren’t really the best place for a critique. Pay an editor.
[20:52] Network with groups of authors online that are in your genre.
[21:48] Joanna goes through every edit manually because she is always wanting to learn.
[22:37] How it feels to get the edits. It can be brutal. Don’t look at it immediately. Give yourself time to read it. Then wait before making changes. Then go back and try to see with different eyes.
[24:03] Series are easier because you already have the characters and a design. HEA happily ever after. Once you understand your genre think about what you need.
[25:21] Destroyer of Worlds based on a statue in India. Brainstorming and Hindu mythology and Oppenheimer then start researching and reading books. Create questions and notes. Maybe spend a month on this part. Create characters, setting, and then start putting scenes in Scrivener. Have a plot because something needs to happen.
[28:06] Joanna has a Pinterest board for each book. Learning and going down rabbit holes can help flush out the book.
[28:43] How much research is enough? Joanna keeps her research in Scrivener. Set a deadline to get it done.
[29:42] Look at your schedule and work out how much time a day that you can spend writing. You can research more as you write.
[31:10] How fiction uses a different part of your brain. Stuff can just come out. It’s stuff you put in your brain at some point. Filling the creative well.
[31:57] Joanna now dictates her books. She also listens to rain and thunderstorms when she writes.
[32:57] You need structure in order to let your creativity out.
[33:25] Joanna writes between 2000 and 4000 words a day. In the morning at her desk or outside as she dictates.
[33:59] Fiction writing is tiring. If you use your willpower early. Fiction writing requires making decisions for your characters which makes it tiring. Writing a novel is hard work.
[35:45] After the first five novels, you get more relaxed and trust yourself more. What comes into your head tends to be the right structure.
[39:03] Carrying over subplots keep notes or have a series.
[40:10] Use brevity to reintroduce characters.
[40:35] Write in areas that you are interested in. How AI will help with book discovery.
[42:14] Deconstructing a novel to learn how to write. Using this as an outline to model.
[43:37] Finding story and plot in the real world. 95% truth and 5% fiction.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Joanna’s Blog About Her First Novel
Scrivener
The Story Grid
Bird by Bird
First Blood
Save the Cat Moment
The Creative Penn
J.F.Penn on Pinterest
J.F.Penn Books
Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn
SPS 016: My Exact Process for Writing 16 Books with Joanna Penn

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

The biggest question new writers ask is “How long does it take to write a book?” And the common answer normally is: “It depends”.

According to this article that interviewed famous authors, when asked how long it took to produce their debut novels, the answers ranged from four years to a decade. In other words, a very long time.

While it’s nice to be able to take your time honing and polishing your new book, a rough draft sitting on your hard drive isn’t doing anything for you. It’s not building your author name, spreading your message, or growing your audience. Moreover, it’s not earning you a single cent.

But there is amazing news: Writing your book can take far less time than you think. You just need to have the right mindset and stay motivated.

Here at Self-Publishing School, our goal is to improve this arduous writing process. Right now, we coach our students to routinely complete a new book in just 90 days, finishing their first draft in as little as 30 days! They are able to accomplish this by following a simple step-by-step guideline that we’re going to share with you today.

This guideline covers:

  1. Establishing a Strategic Deadline
  2. Prioritizing Your Writing Into Tasks
  3. Creating Word Count Goals
  4. Finding Your Accountability Partner
  5. Setting Challenges for Yourself

Follow these guidelines to supercharge your own writing process, and you’ll become a published author faster before you know it.

1. Establishing a Strategic Deadline

Deadlines are designed to help you inch closer to completing your book. It also encourages you to work everyday hitting both short term and long term goals. However, you won’t find success by setting arbitrary due dates. They must be set up for your book’s success.

Here’s 3 ways to establish strategic deadlines:

  1. Define realistic deadlines. Set short term and long term deadlines for each portion of your draft that breaks down your entire book.
  2. Set honest expectations. If you’re only able to write 500 words a day, so be it. Don’t push yourself into thinking that you can complete an unrealistic task. Be honest with your abilities and align it with your deadline.
  3. Implement rewards. Don’t make writing a book feel like a tedious job. Reward yourself for achieving your goals! Attaching rewards to each accomplishment will make finishing your book much more aspiring to complete.

Action Plan: Before writing, set your first draft time frame between 30-90 days and set target dates that tackle both short term and long term goals for your first draft.

2. Prioritizing Your Writing Into Tasks

What separates those who can write multiple books to those who can barely write a page is the ability to prioritize. Because there are so many competing factors that pull away our time and energy, prioritizing is actually a very hard concept to implement.

But in order to write your book, you need to establish clear priorities to get anything done.

Here are some ways to prioritize your work:

  • List out every detail of your book and turn them into tasks
  • Assess each task to identify what carries the biggest value to completing your book
  • Order tasks by its immediate priority and length of time to complete
  • Anticipate unexpected changes to your schedule, and plan an alternative schedule to stay on track

Action Plan: Make the effort and spend a few hours prioritizing your writing process. You will be surprised with how much writing you can accomplish with a well thought out task plan.

3. Creating Word Count Goals

One of the best ways to accelerate the writing process is to set word count goals. Like training intervals, setting up word count goals will pace how many words to write a day. By establishing these parameters for your own success, not only will you be more likely to accomplish these goals, you will also notice improvements to your writing.

We recommend writing down your daily, weekly, and monthly word count goals to not only show your current progress, but to keep you motivated until you reach the end. It also helps to include rewards for every new milestone!

Action Plan: Start your daily word count goal to 500-1,000 words per day. By completing 1,000 words per day, you’ll be looking at your completed 30,000 word first draft in one month!

4. Finding Your Accountability Partner

A supportive partner can be a great sound board, a first pair of eyes, and a protector of your sanity. They can also be the extrinsic motivation you need to meet your own deadlines and word counts.

When you have an accountability partner backing you up, it makes it harder to procrastinate because they expect great results from you!

At Self-Publishing School, we believe in the accountability system and pair our students up with other like-minded students to encourage one another and hold each other accountable for reaching goals and deadlines. It’s a great motivating tactic and helps our students complete their books on time.

Action Plan: Find an accountability partner who is willing to encourage and hold you accountable to meet your deadlines!

5. Setting Challenges for Yourself

Following the same routine can get old quickly especially for something lengthy like writing the first draft of your book. To combat the fear of boredom and add more spark to your writing project, we encourage you to set challenges for yourself!

Here are some simple challenges to set:

  • Double the word count you’ve originally set daily, monthly, yearly
  • Purposely tighten deadlines to increase pressure
  • Ban the use of your phone or all forms of distractions until you’ve completed your task
  • Read your unfinished draft out loud to someone new for feedback

Action Plan: Include a few of these challenges every so often to increase the intensity of your writing. You may tack on even better rewards for each successful challenge you’ve completed.

If you ever dream of becoming a self publisher, now is the time to finally make it a reality. By following these guidelines on how to develop a robust writing process, you will have your first book ready to publish in no time.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How to Be an Author: 5 Personality Characteristics You Want to Nurture

How to Be an Author: 5 Personality Characteristics You Want to Nurture

Becoming a new author requires a unique fortitude and strength of character.

Writing a book forces you to plan, write, and edit between 50,000 to 100,000 words!

It also requires working with an editor, a publisher (or self-publishing), a design team, and developing a book launch strategy to get readers to see your upcoming bestseller on Amazon. This amount of work can feel overwhelming and can easily crush your confidence.

But what makes new authors become bestsellers like Stephen King comes down to one factor: hard work.

Writing takes tremendous effort, but more importantly requires a strong mindset. Having coached and taught so many successful writers ourselves, we’ve studied and compiled all of their strongest personal qualities that you can adopt and apply to your life to become an author.

This guide covers how to:

  1. Exercise Patience
  2. Apply Consistency
  3. Practice Optimism
  4. Value Criticism
  5. Be Empathetic

Let’s reveal how these qualities can shape you to become a published author.

1. Exercise Patience

Writing a book is not an overnight process. It takes a lot of time! Part of learning how to be a professional writer means that you have to cultivate not only discipline and focus, but patience.

The good news is that patience is something that can be developed with practice. Suzannah Windsor Freeman, author of The Busy Mom’s Guide to Writing, discovered that “infinite patience” was the key to her success.

Freeman also famously said, “If your dream were to be a concert pianist, you wouldn’t expect to sit down and just play. You’d take lessons for many years, practice every day, and sacrifice a great deal in order to achieve that dream. So, why do we expect ourselves to be able to write well without the same level of commitment and patience?” Her words advocate that the more time you spend practicing your craft with patience, the better writer you will become.

Action Plan: Cultivate patience by practicing your craft everyday. Whether it’s creative writing or creating short stories, experiment with any form of writing to improve your skills and develop great ideas.

2. Apply Consistency

To become a professional writer, you must treat writing like a serious job. This means that you must commit to a consistent schedule and adhere to a writing process in order to develop good habits and not waste time.

Consider the following strategies to make yourself more consistent as you start the writing process:

  • Emulate the “Calendar Strategy.” With a calendar, mark an X for each day you write and make it a goal to not break the chain.
  • Find your creative space. Find and create your own space where you’re most comfortable and creative. Whether it’s your office, a coffee shop, or even your kitchen, use it as your place to write everyday.
  • Create a writing schedule. Writing at the same time everyday will develop a consistent writing habit. Consistent writing actually creates a muscle memory, triggering your brain to turn on creativity when you sit down to write.

For more writing strategies, check out our guide on 7 Strategies to Start Writing Your Book Today.

Action Plan: Experiment with these methods to optimize your writing process. Following a consistent plan will easily double your output and complete your book in no time.

3. Practice Optimism

Psychologists say that practicing optimism can help you be more productive and live a happier life. It can also help you overcome inevitable pitfalls like writer’s block. The best part is, you can train yourself to think more positively and take on even the worst events that can negatively impact your life.

Here are a few ways to practice optimism:

  • Anticipate a positive outcome. Our realities reflect what we think, making our perception of reality the mirror of our thoughts. So having a positive attitude will always increase your optimism, even at your worst.
  • Share your optimism with others. Optimism is a contagious attitude powerful enough to shift the momentum of any negative situation to a positive one. So share your  positivity with others and build that unshakable force to complete your goal.
  • Remove all negativity. Negativity will bring you down, and surrounding yourself with it will encourage more pessimistic thoughts and self-doubt. Avoid it at all cost.

Action Plan: In your writing process, come up with both negative and positive outcomes for any given situation. For each negative situation, try to look for positive outcomes and work towards turning it into a favorable result.

4. Value Criticism

No matter how amazing your book is, there’s always someone who will harshly criticize your work. Instead of viewing it as a humiliating remark, learn to apply the feedback to your writing.

Developing a thick skin is one the hardest things to do, and like many of the other characteristics, takes time to build.

When writing your book, you can build resilience to criticism by practicing the following:

  • Anticipate harsh edits and rearrangements across your entire book.
  • Prepare to cut out your favorite paragraphs or sentences.
  • Count on reading plenty of negative reviews on Amazon, social media or by the press.

Action Plan: Try to find positive feedback from every negative criticism or review on your book. Make it a goal to develop enough flexibility so that one day it will no longer bother you.

5. Be Empathetic

Know that by sharing your story, you’re helping someone else. Your unique experience will empathize with readers and they will draw strength from the words you wrote in your book.

Here are two successful authors whose work has touched many readers:

  • Professor Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, was faced with a terminal illness at a young age. Rather than wallow and fade away, he used his last days to create his masterpiece. His book wasn’t about death, but rather short stories that advocated the importance of overcoming hurdles and capturing every moment you have to live for. His generosity to share his life resonated with readers as a tale of courage and inspiration to anyone facing similar adversities.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, wrote her memoir while going through a devastating divorce that left her full of anxiety and panic. She stressed the importance of discovering the best version of herself by leaving behind her previous life to set out to explore the different aspects of nature within food, travel, and love. Her painful story of loss and regrowth profoundly connected to readers so much that it eventually became a movie.

Action Plan: Make the effort to write down the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered and explain how you have dealt with them. You will be surprised to see how meaningful your story is to your readers.

Adopting these characteristics can mean the difference between seeing your name on the best-seller list and never publishing your first book. Applying these practices not only help you become a published author, but also a better person.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

SPS 039: 80/20 Book Sales & Marketing with Perry Marshall

SPS 039: 80/20 Book Sales & Marketing with Perry Marshall

Perry Marshall has turned 80/20 into a verb. It’s an action you take on your business. It’s the central lever to any great strategy. Perry’s book 80/20 Sales and Marketing is mandatory reading in many growth oriented companies. It’s also one of my favorite books of all time. After reading it, I started giving copies away like I was Oprah. The book is legendary.

He also is a pioneer in web advertising, as the author of the Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords, he laid the foundations for the $100 billion pay per click industry. He is one of the world’s most expensive and sought-after business consultants. He has consulted in over 300 industries and even was an expert witness for Google AdWords litigation. He is a man that actually doesn’t need an introduction. Today, we talk about his book, marketing, advertising, and more.

You can find Perry here:
Perry Marshall
80/20 Sales and Marketing
Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes
Books by Perry Marshall
@PerryMarshall on Twitter
Perry Marshall Facebook Page

Show Notes
[01:58] Perry’s first book evolved organically. In 2002, he went to a seminar and started using Google AdWords.
[02:48] Perry discovered Google AdWords should be the first marketing step for testing. He was invited to speak at a Ken McCarthy seminar So, he made an ebook to sell at the seminar and on his website in 2003.
[05:15] AdWords became so popular that Perry had to work to stay current with his knowledge and ahead of the competition.
[06:09] The snowball effect of his testimonials worked for him, and it became a self-publishing success story prior to the Kindle.
[06:56] He was selling half a million dollars a year of ebooks.
[09:04] Wikipedia flagged Perry as a non-notable person. To have real longevity Perry needed to engage with the rest of the world.
[11:01] He went to an agent speed dating seminar and found an agent and got a publisher.
[11:58] He makes less money with the published book, but he is established as an expert. It is a long-term play to be a number one author on Amazon.
[13:24] How there can be good reasons to go the traditional route, but there are trade-offs.
[14:11] His first book was about beginner to advanced intermediate PPC or Google AdWords.
[15:28] The seminar got him great customers and testimonials.
[18:19] If you can become the number one expert, you can make a good living.
[19:02] 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
[20:21] There is an 80/20 inside of every 80/20.
[21:03] 50% of customers comes from 1% of your business.
[21:50] In Google AdWords it’s closer to 90/10.  Perry cracked the code on AdWords using 80/20.
[23:14] 80/20 became a staple of what he taught.
[23:52] Perry decided to write an 80/20 book because this was the secret to everything. He wrote the book that he wished he had years ago.
[25:23] 80/20 applied to book marketing. Purchasing a book is like racking a shotgun.
[27:40] Playing poker with marks or guys who are going to lose.
[29:05] Everything in marketing is like racking a shotgun.
[30:33] 20% of people who buy your book will actually read it. 20% of them become your customers.
[32:53] The penny book offer is like the Columbia record and tape club. He makes money off of the backend. The penny won in Columbia’s marketing tests.
[35:03] The advantage of reading a book over looking at a computer screen.
[38:10] How buying Perry’s book is a lesson within a lesson.
[38:35] The average person who takes up his offer spends about $25. You can learn a lot about marketing technique from how they sell the book.
[39:54] Perry is a legendary copywriter.
[40:46] Copywriting is the art and science of saying things so that people want to take action.
[43:03] How to make your book twice as good for $500. Go on Fiver and find candidates for reading your book. Pay 5 gigs or $25 to get them to read the book and answer questions. This can make your book twice as good.
[46:41] Write for an hour everyday, first thing in the morning.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Ken McCarthy
Andrew Goodman
Perry Marshall Round Table
The Jeff Herman Agency
Entrepreneur Press
The 80/20 Principle
The Marketing DNA Test
Fiverr
Eat That Frog
Perry Marshall
80/20 Sales and Marketing
Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes
Books by Perry Marshall
@PerryMarshall on Twitter
Perry Marshall Facebook Page

The Definitive Guide For Self Publishing on Amazon

The Definitive Guide For Self Publishing on Amazon

Publishing a book today is easier than ever. You no longer need to go through painstaking efforts to land a book deal which locks you into unrealistic deadlines and cuts you out of most of the earnings. You can now have complete control of your book, and its revenues, by self-publishing.

But many writers get overwhelmed by the abundance of information about self-publishing. It can be intimidating for first-time publishers. So we created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide for you to follow in order to get your book published on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.

This guide will cover:

  1. Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Account
  2. Crafting Your Book Title/Subtitle
  3. Writing Your Book Description
  4. Choosing the Right Keywords
  5. Selecting the Right Categories
  6. Utilizing the Preorder Option
  7. Uploading Your Manuscript
  8. Creating a Book Cover
  9. Pricing Your Book

Let’s begin!

1. Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Account

Amazon has a platform called Kindle Direct Publishing that can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audio books. It’s widely used to build books from the ground up. Fortunately, setting up your KDP account is easy, and should be the first step you complete.

  1. Go to https://kdp.amazon.com and register with either your Amazon account or with your email address.
  2. Next, click “Update” in your account information and fill in your tax information. It’s important to note that you need to complete your tax information BEFORE you can publish your first book. So don’t skip this step!
  3. Once your tax information is complete, click “Finished” and return to the main page.
  4. Your profile is complete!

With your KDP account setup, proceed to setting up the details of your book.

2. Crafting a Book Title and Subtitle

In your KDP profile, you need to fill in the title and subtitle of your book. While a subtitle is optional, having a good subtitle is something you should definitely consider.

Here are a few tips to crafting a great book title:

  • Use a Book Hook: Your book hook should speak to the reader in a unique voice that grabs their attention and feeds into what they are looking for.
  • List the Benefits: Your potential readers want to know what they will get from reading your book. One technique is to deliver the benefits in the subtitle,providing enough tantalizing information to further attract readers.

For more book title strategies, check out our guide on How to Choose the Perfect Title for Your Book.

3. Writing Your Book Description

Here’s what people notice first when seeing a new book:

  1. Title
  2. Cover
  3. Book Description

A book description is essentially a short written narrative that illustrates what your book is about. It should be written like a sales page to capture the interest of your reader. This is crucial because the description, in many cases, is the final factor that determines whether the reader will read your book or not. Done correctly, a well-written book description can practically sell a book on its own.

Here are some strategies to help craft your perfect description:

  • Make your first sentence as enticing as possible  
  • Write your description like a sales page or advertisement, not a dry summary of your book
  • Have the description feel personal and empathetic
  • Detail the benefits your reader will gain by reading your book

Here are our favorite books with great descriptions:

Spend some time crafting your eye-catching book description. It will make your book stand out to your readers and motivate them to purchase your book. For the best results we recommend using the Free Amazon Book Description generator at kindlepreneur.com

4. Choosing the Right Keywords

If you want your book to show up in Amazon and Google search engines, you’ll need the right mix of keywords. Since Amazon allows only seven keywords per book, keyword selection requires strategy.

You can research the right keyword phrases by using search tools such as:

  • KDP Rocket: This is a great tool for comparing Google search results to Amazon. It gives you a competitive score from 1-99, keyword results from both Google and Amazon, and how much money other books are making.
  • KW Finder: This tool gives an analytical view of the keyword popularity using a competitive ranking. You can search five keywords for free per day.
  • Amazon’s Autofill Function: Take advantage of Amazon’s search box to find good keywords. Amazon’s suggestions are based on search history so you want to search for words that are high in demand with little competition.

Make a list of possible keywords for your book, then leverage the tools above to test your keywords. Putting in the time to get keywords right will have your book rank higher and appear more frequently to readers.

5. Selecting the Right Categories

Amazon provides a collection of categories and subcategories to choose from. Like keyword selecting, your goal is to look for trending areas that don’t have tons of competition. You can also check the rankings of the top three books on the first page of each category.

Amazon sales ranking measures how well a product is selling compared to its competitors. All books that are ranked 2,000 or less are considered to be highly purchased products in that particular category. Unless you have an established audience with significant downloads and reviews, try to aim for categories with books that rank between 10,000-30,000.

Do you want to know how to rank for ten categories? Check out our blog post that details How to Get Approved for More Categories on Amazon.

6. Uploading Your Manuscript

To upload your manuscript, it first must be saved in a supported kindle format. Once that’s complete, you can upload your book very quickly:

  1. In your KDP account, go to “Your Bookshelf”.
  2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions” next to the title of book.
  3. Locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
  4. Click on “Upload eBook manuscript”.
  5. Upload your manuscript file on your computer.
  6. Upload complete!

Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors. You can upload the manuscript as many times as you want and the new version will override the existing.

It’s important to check how your book looks using the “Look Inside” feature once the book is live on Amazon. This feature is often the first thing your prospective readers will click on when checking out your book. If the formatting is off here, it can deter readers from picking up your book. Take this extra step to make sure your formatting looks good here too.

7. Creating Your Book Cover

When it comes to publishing a successful book on Amazon, having a perfect book cover is one of the most important aspects to get right. Your cover is exactly how your book will be judged on first glance.

So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.

You can find cover creators on freelancing sites such as:

Prices will depend on the level service, but these sites will give you plenty of amazing graphic designers to choose from! It’s a great investment that will make your book stand out perfectly.

8. Pricing Your Book

A question often asked is: “How much should I be pricing my book at after the initial launch is over?”

This is up to the author, but generally the best range to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $9.99.

The royalty payments vary depending on the country, but you can learn more on KDP Select pricing page.

One popular strategy for beginners is to price your book at $2.99 and gradually increase it by $1 per week. At some point, your sales will begin to dip. And while that’s normally a negative statistic, for this case, it confidently tells you the perfect price of your book that guarantees profit.

Here are the 4 main pricing strategies to consider in order to be competitive and sell books:

  • Know the price of your competitors. Compare the list price of your book to the books around you and determine if you would be able to sell your book for a higher price.
  • Know the size of your followers. Famous authors can charge a lot for their books because they have a big following. If you’re not in this category, your book should be priced lower to encourage new readers to your work.
  • Determine price based on size of your book. Size makes a difference when it comes to books. Don’t charge $20 for a 75 page book. Customers will immediately be turned off with the lack of content at that price point.
  • Measure price based on reviews. Reviews carry a big weight on influence, and is social proof that your book has been read and well received. Therefore, a book with higher reviews (1000+ reviews) can be priced higher compared to a book with fewer reviews (30+ reviews).

You can get legitimate and honest reviews from:

  • Your personal launch team
  • Amazon’s top reviewers
  • Fans of your social media page
  • Personal email list

Experiment with these strategies to pinpoint the price for your book, it will drive long-term success.

If you want to become a self-publishing author, you must be fluent with platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Use these guidelines to self-publish your book, and it will appear on Amazon’s bestseller list in no time.

SPS 038: Using Books to Build Passive Income with David McKay

SPS 038: Using Books to Build Passive Income with David McKay

Writing a book can benefit your business as well as benefit you as a topic expert. Learn how my guest David McKay was able to do just that. He and his wife Ally have built a successful photography company called McKay Photography where they offer classes and travel photography tours around the world. His bestselling book and speaking engagements have helped propel their business to successful levels.

David is also the author of the  Photography Demystified book series. This is a great episode because we dive into how David used his books to build his company and business. We also learn about business, life, travel, and photography with this artistic photographer and successful businessman and author who has built his business on a local and international level.

You can find David here:
McKay Photography
Photography Classes
Photography Tours
Photography Demystified Books
McKay Photography Academy Facebook
McKay Photography Academy YouTube
McKayLive Instagram

Show Notes
[01:19] How everyone has a story within them. David’s just happens to be about photography. Much more has come out of his writing than he had anticipated.
[02:17] Once David makes a decision, he goes for it. The reason behind the first book was to help the business and residual income.
[03:24] Chandler’s step-by-step process was instrumental to David’s success.
[03:50] He went to a hotel room with a poster board and colored pencils and made a mind map and then started categorizing it.
[04:33] He locked himself in and just went for it. The first book took just over two weeks. It took a half week to get on the bestseller list.
[05:26] How setting the time aside was the big trick to David’s success to getting everything done so fast.
[06:12] After mind mapping and categorizing, he wrote down everything he could in each category and just started typing.
[06:54] He thinks on a linear level, so this helped him stay on track.
[09:34] David had developed an email list through his business, so he sent the list a notice asking if anyone would like to join the advance team and get a free copy of the book and leave a review. He ended up with 900 people.
[10:57] He used followed up emails to encourage people to leave the reviews. He figured if people unsubscribed they weren’t the target market.
[11:41] Inviting the group to stay for the next book worked really well. He also left a special surprise for the first 50 reviewers.
[12:47] He went to number one on free on Amazon. Then when he switched to paid, he also shot to number one.
[13:35] He also sent the $1.99 promo to his entire list to catch the people who didn’t take advantage of the free offer.
[14:17] It took David four years to build his list traveling around the country teaching photography.
[15:17] Then he started running contests giving a free trips on his tours. He also worked with a partner on YouTube. Partner with someone who is doing well.
[16:13] After the contests his email lists went to 21,000 subscribers.
[16:23] The cost isn’t all recouped through the book, but the book is an avenue to get people to take the travel tours.
[17:24] David evolves and changes with the market. Anyone can find a way to do it. He also reached out to manufacturers to sponsor contests.
[18:29] The strength is in numbers. Partnering with people is a great way to get those numbers.
[19:28] If the sponsor also emails the contest they too get to participate in the new email list.
[20:41] It only takes one person to buy into the tour to pay for the contest prize. They booked two tours through the contest.
[23:04] They are willing to work with anybody to get them on the tour. They also offer high and lower priced tours so anyone can do it.
[24:09] There is a link in the book to free content for email subscribers.
[25:36] They also participate in travel and adventure shows to advertise.
[27:19] Old-fashioned advertising is dead. Things need to be done in new creative ways.
[27:47] All of the different streams are leading back to the tours and classes.
[31:30] His first residual check was $856.00 and then $400.00, $400.00, then $500.00. This is still worth the investment especially with the valuable back-end of the book and the email list. He is working on his third book, which he plans to hit hard with the advertising.
[34:21] The power of leveraging local media and PR.
[37:02] Going to libraries and get them to purchase your books.
[37:47] For some people it is just a matter of taking a step.
[38:51] The toughest part of writing the book was overthinking and being a perfectionist. His first editor was not one. Get a good editor.
[41:51] Everyone has a story in them that will affect someone else.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
McKay Photography
Photography Classes
Photography Tours
Photography Demystified Books
McKay Photography Academy Facebook
McKay Photography Academy YouTube
McKayLive Instagram

Book Title Ideas: How to Choose the Perfect Title for Your Book

Book Title Ideas: How to Choose the Perfect Title for Your Book

When it comes to writing a book, creating a book title is surprisingly one of the hardest parts to complete. It’s difficult because titles are essentially short hooks that advertise your book using the fewest words possible. It’s also what readers look for first when they discover new books, and can take less than 5 seconds to make a decision. This is why it’s so crucial to craft a perfect name.

To help spur your creative process, we’ve created a few essential guidelines for you to follow as you craft your perfect title. Since there are different title considerations for fiction and non-fiction, we broke these two topics down separately into:

  • How to Choose a Book Title for Non-Fiction
  • How to Choose a Book Title for Fiction

Let’s create your selling title!

How to Choose a Book Title for Non-Fiction

As you begin crafting your title ideas for your non-fiction book, the key is knowing that non-fiction readers are looking for solutions. Whether it’s losing weight, becoming a master in sales, or better at fostering relationships, they’re simply looking for a book that will solve their problem.

To leverage this idea, here are a set of rules to consider:

Rule of Thumb #1: Your Title Must Include a Solution to a Problem

Your title should be crystal clear on what your readers will achieve by reading your book. Experts say that a title with a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.

Here are some questions to consider when creating your title:

  • Are you teaching a desirable skill?
  • Can your personal discoveries impact someone’s life?
  • Can your book solve a very difficult problem?

Here are our favorite book titles that offer a clear solution to a problem with promising results:

  • Asperger’s Rules! How to Make Sense of School and Friendship by Blythe Grossman
  • How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger
  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

Action Plan: Write down the best solutions or teachings your book offers and form these into potential book title ideas.

Rule of Thumb #2: Use a Subtitle for Clarity

A great non-fiction title employs a subtitle to clarify what the desired outcome will be from reading your book.

In this video clip, Chandler explains in 5 simple steps how to create a compelling subtitle:

Here are some questions to consider when creating your subtitle:

  • How can your subtitle further expand on achieving a desirable outcome?
  • What are the biggest pain points that your subtitle can provide a solution for?
  • How can you further address your innovative solution in the subtitle?

Here are our favorite book subtitles that spell out what their readers can expect from reading their books:

  • The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna
  • Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
  • Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

Action Plan: Make a list of 10 attention-grabbing subtitles that promise big outcomes and other positive benefits.

Rule of Thumb #3: Make Your Title Unforgettable

Catchy titles are memorable, boring titles are not. So make an effort to be more creative and fun with your book title! Use alliterations to make your title easier to read and remember. A memorable and light hearted title adds additional character to your book, and is also a great way to attract readers.

Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:

  • Will a fun title turn a normally boring subject into something more interesting?
  • Will adding humor to your title further entice readers?
  • Will a cleverly written title stand out from other books in this genre?

Here are our favorite books that engaged us with clever titles and subtitles:

  • Me Talk Pretty One Day and Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
  • Trust me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt

Action Plan: Experiment with different types of styles and poll your audience to determine whether a comedic, shocking, or even bizarre title will be the most appealing to your target audience.

No matter which method works best on creating a compelling title for nonfiction books, a good thing to remember is to always test multiple titles with different audiences to determine which title generates the biggest response. Feedback is the only way to know for certain which title is perfect for your book.

How to Choose a Book Title for Fiction

Generally, fiction titles are allowed more creative wiggle room than their non-fiction counterparts. That being said, an effective fiction title must still pique your readers’ attention.. And while it’s true that you can title your fictional book with random names, it still must pique the reader’s attention.

Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind:

Rule of Thumb #1: Your Title Should be Appropriate to Your Genre

Your novel title should use language that resonates with both your genre and target audience.. For example, a romantic book can call for dreamy language whereas an action book can warrant strong and powerful words. This means that you must know your book’s genre and words that best fit the style of title.

Here are some questions to consider for appropriate genre titles:

  • What genre best fits this story?
  • Which are the perfect choice words for your genre?

Here are our favorite fictional titles based on genre:

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Action Plan: Based on the genre of your book, pick out a few keywords that best suit its category and evoke strong emotions in your readers.

Rule of Thumb #2: Your Book Title Should Pique Your Reader’s Interest

A great fiction title teases and leaves your audience wanting more. You want your audience to read your title and think, “I must read what’s behind that cover!” Create fictional titles intriguing enough to capture the imaginations of your readers, and get to them to read your story.

Here are some questions to consider on how to pique interest with your title:

  • Which key component of your story best captivates your readers?
  • What emotions do you want your readers to have once they read your title?

Here are our favorite fictional titles that drew our attention:

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Action Plan: Choose a theme that will best draw your reader’s attention. Come up with 5 titles that will catch your reader’s attention and pique their curiosity..

Rule of Thumb #3: Look to Your Characters for Book Title Inspiration

A great book title captures the spirit of the protagonist. Some authors simply use the hero’s name for their title. Others have combined the names of their hero along with their special qualities to inform the audience about their protagonist’s accomplishments like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.

On the flip-side, a formidable antagonist can also be an amazing book title. A sinister name can convey a sense of dread and expectation for what’s to come like Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Both choices are great title ideas and should be seriously considered for your fictional book.

Here are some questions to consider when including a character as a title:

  • Between the hero and villain, who impacts the story more?
  • Are there any stunning qualities from your characters that will draw a reader’s emotion?
  • Can the plot of the story be summed up as a title?

Here are our favorite fictional books that uses characters for its title:

  • Harry Potter (Literary Series) by J. K. Rowling
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Action Plan: Determine which character best conveys what the story will tell in your title. You may also include creative words or themes to further showcase the character’s unique qualities or the journey itself.

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Ultimately, the title of your book depends on you, the author. By following these constructive guidelines, you will be able to create a marvelous title that will grasp the attentions of readers and soon become an Amazon bestseller in no time!

7 Strategies to Start Writing Your Book Today

7 Strategies to Start Writing Your Book Today

Beginning the process of writing your book and presenting it to a worldwide audience is very exciting. You have amazing ideas that you want to share with the world, and you’re more motivated than ever to educate your readers about them!

But once you begin, you may realize that writing a book is hard work. There are many obstacles that can prevent you from writing and can create stress leading to anxiety. For example, you may find yourself in front of a blank page unable to type and thinking of stressful questions like: “How do I write this entire book?”, “Do I need to blog first?”, or “Should I start without an outline”?

Writing a book shouldn’t be this hard! But many get overwhelmed because they lack a writing process.

If you’re feeling demotivated when it comes to starting your book, you’re not alone. Writing can still be one of the hardest parts for most authors even if they have been writing for a long time!

Fortunately, there are some extremely effective techniques for how to start writing a book and overcome these hurdles.

Here are seven effective strategies you can put into action to assure you show up with a game plan to get your thoughts out of your head, down on paper, and into the minds of your readers.

1. Set Up Your Creative Environment

Create an environment that is designed to help you stay focused. Whether you prefer noisy environments or absolute solitude, it’s up to you to determine which will get you into the writer’s flow.

Here are a few ideas to create your ideal space for writing:

  • Have collections of inspiration. Decorate your work area with inspiring quotes or pictures that house references to deep work.
  • Unclutter your space. Create an uncluttered open space to help organize not only what you need, but also your thoughts.
  • Be Flexible. Your creative space doesn’t need to be one spot, it can be anywhere. Even your favorite authors have discovered their best ideas in the most unexpected places.
  • Buy a calendar: Your book will get written faster if you have set goals for the week/day. The best way to manage this is by scheduling your time on a calendar. Schedule every hour that you commit to your author business. What gets scheduled, gets done.
  • Create a music playlist for inspiration: Many authors can write to the sound of their favorite tunes. Is there anything that gets you working faster? Do you write better with deeper focus when listening to rock music or classical? Set up several playlists that you can use to get into the flow of writing.
  • Try Multiple Locations. You won’t know how creative you can be if you don’t try different spots to write. Maybe writing from your bed is your ideal creative space. What about working in a noisy cafe? Change up your location frequently particularly if you feel creatively spent.

Action Step: Spend 30 minutes to create your ideal space for writing. You will feel more inspired to show up and write.

2. Develop a Writing Habit

The number one reason authors fail to publish a book is because they never finish the book they intend to write. Why? Because they didn’t form a good writing habit.

Feeling overwhelmed when writing is natural, but you must remember that the journey of writing a book always begins with the first page. And in order to write your first page, you must take action. This is why having a writing habit will develop your writer’s flow.

Your writing habit can start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking that you must write your every thought on the page. You can start with a few paragraphs, a sentence, or even just a word. The purpose of this exercise is to commit to your writing session everyday until it has become second nature.

Action Step: If you don’t have a writing routine already, get one started! Momentum begins by taking that first action.

3. Create an Outline

A clear outline provides clarity and direction to your story. It is also the road map for your book that keeps you on track and makes sure you have all your ideas organized in a natural flow. When you get stuck, you can always go back to your outline to find what comes next regardless of whether the book is 100 pages or 300 pages long. It will help you see the overall picture.

Before you write, spend some time creating your outline with these steps:

  1. Brainstorm: List every thought and story idea you want in your book.
  2. Organize: Combine all related ideas together.
  3. Order: Arrange ideas into subsections from general to specific.
  4. Label: Create main and sub headings that will eventually be your chapters.

Action Step: Spend a good portion of your time constructing an outline. If you want more on creating it, be sure to check out our guide.

4. Work Only on One Project

One challenge many authors experience is taking on multiple new projects when they should be focused on one. Although enticing, the division of attention can spread your energy thin producing bad writing or worse, failure to complete your book.

There’s only one clear solution to this problem: Cut the clutter and focus on one project until it’s finished.

Be fully committed to your project by doing the following:

  • Create an action plan that breaks down the entire project into realistic portions to complete.
  • Set hard deadlines for each and every phase of your book.
  • Learn to say “NO” to any additional projects no matter how intriguing they appear.

Action Step: Create an action plan and commit to it. Learn to be selfish and practice saying “NO” often. It’s better to complete one book and get it right than to write two books with poor results.

5. Maintain Your Focus

Once you get into the flow of writing, you want to remain focused through the duration of your writing session. Any break to your concentration can set you back 20-30 minutes and disrupt your flow. We become less efficient when we are distracted, and it can end up taking twice as long to complete our writing.

Thankfully, there are very effective techniques that can help you remain centered in the moment.

 Leave the distractions behind by doing the following:

  • Create a writing schedule.  Schedule your writing for the same time each day. This conditioning will develop your writing habit until it becomes as natural as knowing when to brush your teeth.
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique. This is a time management strategy that breaks down work into intervals separated by short breaks. With a clock ticking, you will less likely be distracted by email or social media.
  • Turn off your phone. Your phone is the most addicting device that steals your precious attention. Don’t let it take that from you, turn it off.
  • Have a Task Management app. Task Manager apps, like Todoist, helps you organize your tasks by their time and priority, so you know exactly what to do in what order the next day.
  • Disconnect from the Internet. Want to ensure you don’t get distracted by email notifications, Facebook notifications etc? Disconnect your computer from the Internet and enjoy distraction-free writing time.

Action Plan: Experiment with each of these productivity techniques and optimize your writer’s flow. By becoming a productivity expert, you will easily double your output and complete your book in no time.

6. Stay Accountable with the “Calendar” Strategy

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most popular comedians of all time, and he attributes his success to his unbelievably strong writing habits. In the early days of his career, Seinfeld was asked how he managed to have such great content. He said, “The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.”

Seinfeld used the “Calendar Method”, otherwise known as the “Don’t Break the Chain” method, and it worked like this:

  1. Get yourself a calendar, and hang it on the wall.
  2. For each day you write, draw an X on the calendar for that day. By the end of the week, you should have a row of Xs at the end.
  3. If you miss a day, start over and see how long you can go before breaking the chain.

If you can keep this chain going, you will have your book written faster than you can imagine.

Action Plan: Buy yourself a calendar and get started on the “Calendar Method”! Being held accountable will keep you motivated and not “Break the Chain”.

7. Deal With Resistance

Resistance is a common obstacle that holds us back from creating. It is a form of fear that intimidates you from writing and can throw you off your writer’s flow. Everyone has encountered this awful feeling, but it doesn’t have to defeat you.

Here are a few ways to deal with resistance:

  • Read morning affirmations. Affirmations are powerful snippets of positive words that set the tone and atmosphere for writing. An affirmation could be a quote from a writer, a motivational speech from a public figure, or an inspirational video.
  • Free Flow for 10 Minutes. Julia Cameron, the bestselling author of The Artist’s Way, called these morning pages, and its purpose is to clear your mind of all the anxiety and junk rolling around in your head onto a piece of paper. Write anything. You don’t have to edit, publish, or have a word count, it’s simply a 10 minute exercise to clear out heavy thoughts and prepare you for a more productive day. This is best done with pen and paper vs. typing into a document on your digital device.
  • Exercise. Exercising is not only good for your health, but will help keep you mentally sharp. Working out will increase the blood flow to the brain which will sharpen your awareness and give you the energy you need to tackle your book.

Action Plan: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out negative noise and get you to prepared to write.

If you want to become a published author, you must take ownership of your writing habits. By following these seven strategies, you can have a completed book within months and be on your way to becoming a successful writer.

Your next bestseller is closer than you think.

How to Promote Your Book: 5 Strategies You Need to Try

How to Promote Your Book: 5 Strategies You Need to Try

Do you have dreams of becoming a best-selling author, but feel like you know way too little about promoting a book? We get that it is not an easy task to form a promotion plan; in fact, it can be as much work as writing a book!

But as a writer, once you’ve finished writing your book, you must have a promotion plan. Without one, it will be hard to sell many copies because no one will know about your book!

Even if you have a publisher, you should still develop a promotion plan because you might find out that they barely help market your book until you’ve already sold a certain number of copies.

Today, we’re going to show you how to get your book into the hands of more people using these strategies.

This guide will cover:

  • TV interviews
  • Radio/podcasts
  • Local bookstores
  • Press interviews (digital and printed)
  • Social media

Let’s get started!

Promoting Your Book Through TV Interviews

Scoring a TV spot is an absolute dream come true, think of all the free promotion! But as you can imagine, it is not easy to land a TV interview because many others are competing for the same thing.

Here’s our strategy to help you land an interview on TV.

Pitch Thoughtfully

To truly stand out from the masses, start by building relationships with hosts and producers of the shows you’re interested in. Fostering relationships first is an essential part of the pitch because it will help them better understand you and develop chemistry between you. This is a crucial element for a TV interview.

Keep it Short

Everyone’s busy in the media world! Producers aren’t going to wade through pages of pitches so you must make your pitch short and sweet. Try to hook them in the first ten sentences.

Know Their Audience

Make your book relevant to their fans, —don’t force them to connect the dots.

If the TV program leans towards entertainment, share a funny story to show that you will be fun to interview. It’s okay to be silly and comedic – let your sense of humor shine through.

If it’s a serious program, show that you’re there to discuss an important issue and that the conversation will be held in high regard. Be serious with your tone of voice, and also cite quotations and statistics to further expand the depth of the topic.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you should have a very convincing pitch that will get producers to book you on their next available time slot.

How to Shine During Your TV Interview

Hooray! You’ve landed a TV interview! Now it’s time for the real prep to begin.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Write down and practice your talking points ahead of time so that you don’t freeze when the cameras are on. Remember, your goal is to have a natural dialogue with the host and not sound robotic. Rehearse your talking points to reflect a natural back-and-forth conversation.

Do Your Research

Your goal is to understand your audience so you can connect with them. The show will have detailed demographic information available so it’s up to you to tailor your content with this knowledge.

To get to know your audience, here are a few starting points to consider:

  • What’s their age range?
  • What are their interests?
  • What’s popular or trending with them right now?

With this information, you can forge a natural connection that’s most suitable for the viewers.

Be Present

During the interview, expect to be full of nerves, but don’t let it lose your focus! Stop thinking about the next line, and remain present in the moment. Be a good listener and remember  that you’re having a conversation. 

For example, if the host asks a question that’s unexpected, don’t panic! Instead, go with the flow and enjoy the conversation. Try to link the conversation back to your book with short anecdotes relating to the topic. This will keep audience members engaged and create more interest in your book.

If you take your time and pay attention to the host, the conversation will flow smoother and everyone will benefit. You’ll seem more confident and upbeat, rather than full of nerves.

2. Radio and Podcast Interviews

Radio shows and podcasts are a terrific way to share your voice to your potential readers. With over 90% of Americans listening to the radio as well as the exploding popularity of podcasts, it’s well worth the effort to appear on these platforms.

To get started, local radio and podcast shows are always looking for new content to share with their audience. They also love their community and will favor locals more so than anyone else. Mentioning that you’re a local will be an advantage to your pitch especially if you include the locations of your future book signings at local bookstores.

If you can’t find a local show, finding one with a very specific topic relevant to your books audience will be easier to get on initially then a huge, massively popular show. If you start small you’ll have an easier time getting booked, and then you can use that initial show to get booked on bigger shows in the future.

How to Shine on the Air

Here are some tips for giving a killer on-air performance once you’ve booked your first interviews.

Be Enthusiastic

Even though the audience can’t see you on the radio, they can hear and feel your energy.

Pique your listeners’ interest by doing the following:

  • Always smile so you speak in a happier tone
  • Sit up straight
  • Walk around when talking (if possible with your mic setup)
  • Aim to add 10% more energy to your conversation than normal

By acting energized and engaged, the listeners will feed off your vibrant energy and will further enjoy your guest appearance.

Make the Host’s Job Easy

Don’t be discouraged if your host hasn’t read your book. With busy schedules, it happens more often than you might think. 

Your job is to make your host look smart. Tell them about your book, don’t quiz them.

Make their jobs easy by educating them about your material. You’ll connect better with the audience by sharing your knowledge.

Prepare a List of Questions

It’s perfectly acceptable to provide your own list of questions for the host.

Here are some simple questions to offer:

  • What made you write this book?
  • How’d you come up with the book title?
  • What kind of person would love to get their hands on this book? (this is an EXCELLENT question, especially if you know their audience well)

Busy radio hosts and producers will appreciate the extra effort and may even work from your list of questions.

3. Local Bookstores

Avid book buyers love their local bookstores. And since they are your target audience, you should grow your fanbase by making an appearance!

Here’s how you can make an appearance at the local bookstore.

Schedule an Appearance

Book clubs love to meet new authors, and local bookstores are more than willing to feature guests that will get their readers to the store. It’s a win-win combination and all it takes is for you to book an appearance.

Here’s how you can pitch to local bookstores:

  • Google several bookstores around your area
  • Find their contact email
  • Craft your pitch by including what your book is and why it will benefit the local bookstore

Pitch to as many local bookstores as you can handle. Again, you can start as local as a library and work your way up. This will surely attract bigger bookstores to book you as soon as possible.

Cater to your Audience

You’ve booked an appearance! Now you must plan your act and deliver what your readers want.

Here’s what book clubs want in a live appearance :

  • An entertaining or thought provoking presentation of your book
  • Live reading or a few short stories
  • Live Q&As about you and your book
  • Book signings
  • Free books (or codes for free ebooks!)

Booking several live appearance will guarantee a boost to your fanbase, and will get fans to organically market your book by word of mouth! This is one of the most effective forms of book marketing (and it’s also free).

4. Print Interviews and Guest Posts

Publications are alive and well. Many also have huge digital presences, so don’t look over this form of media when creating your promotion strategy.

Instead, find publications and blogs that your target audience reads frequently and reach out to them.

Here are some tips to land a guest post or print interview:

  • Browse publication websites to see if they allow guest submissions or interview pitches.
  • Search for a contact page and find a way to send a cold pitch
  • Pitch to journalists through LinkedIn
  • Use HARO (Help A Reporter Out), where you can contribute to exclusive stories that reporters and journalists are in need of

Even if you’ve never had a print interview before, following these steps will get local publications and blogs excited to share your new book.

How to Shine in a Print Interview

You scored a press interview! Now practice how to sound like a pro author with these steps (even if your voice is cracking from nerves)

Sell Yourself

Print interviews are a little more relaxed than TV or radio spots, but you still have a finite amount of time to get your message across. In this platform, it’s okay to be more direct and sell yourself. Hit on the best selling points of your book to get readers interested. 

Plan Your Hooks

You need to have some print-friendly “sound bites” to intrigue your audience.

Here are some questions to think about when planning your hooks:

  • What makes your book special?
  • Who is this book perfect for?
  • Will be this be useful?

Get to the heart of why your audience needs your book before you do the interview. Then, make sure you talk about it.

Don’t Let Hard questions Throw You Off

Don’t let unanticipated or sticky questions throw you off. You can never be 100% prepared. All you can do is listen to the question and answer as positively as you can.

Remember, unlike an on-air or audio-recorded interview, you can take as much time as you need before you answer. Use it to your advantage.

Write a Great Guest Post

If they want you to write a blog post for their site instead of interviewing you, be sure that you make the post the best it can be. It might be tempting to skimp on the article since you’re giving it away, but the better you make your guest article, the more book sales it will drive for you.

5. Social Media

Social media needs no introduction, and you’re missing out on sales if it’s not included in your book promotion. Optimizing your social media platform can be challenging, but we’ve figured out the best methods to promoting your book using social media.

Here’s how you can incorporate it into your promotion strategy to maximize your book sales.

Create a Facebook Page

To get more recognition for your upcoming book, you must have a Facebook page. It’s a great way to show social proof, and it makes it easier for new potential fans to find your book.

Here’s what to include in your Facebook Page:

  • Include a great photo of yourself
  • Show a high quality image of your book cover
  • Add a short bio that describes you and your book
  • Show a book trailer that visually highlights the selling points of your book

We find Facebook to be one of the best platforms to reach your audience. But if you’re serious, we also recommend building a website with email capture for sending promotions and updates. That way fans from Facebook can be directed to your page, and see your latest updates.

Get Your Fans Involved

Social media is a great tool for featuring your book, but it’s also a great way to interact with your fans. Fans are more than willing to post about books that they love, so don’t be afraid to ask them for assistance!

Here’s how to get them involved:

  • Ask them to submit book reviews through Amazon.
  • Ask them to share your book across all social media platforms
  • Ask them to spread the book in their universities or organizations

Dedicated fans want to see more of you, and love it when you interact through social media. If you also include rewards to sweeten the deal, you may potentially have yourself a full operating social media team that may get you on the front pages of any social media platform!

If you ever want to become a bestselling author, you have to take ownership of your promotion efforts. Use this advice to get your book into your audience’s hands, sell more books, and becoming a bestselling author in no time.

SPS 036: How to Build an Author Platform with Steve Scott

SPS 036: How to Build an Author Platform with Steve Scott

Steve Scott is a well-known author, blogger, and podcaster who has published over 50 books in 3 niches. Steve has written books about habits, productivity, and entrepreneurship. Steve has a lot of experience and is really good at building a platform to market his books and products. Steve is the perfect guest for today’s topic because we are going to focus on the platform side and building a platform and leveraging it into a massive portfolio like steve has created.

Steve shares how he originally got into Kindle publishing to build a platform for his blog. He began in February of 2012, but it didn’t take long for Steve to realize that his books were taking off and making money. He then decided to pick what was at the time an untapped niche that he was interested in and put his head down and write. He also used his Internet marketing knowledge to give away free content and build an email list. This was invaluable for building the amazing platform that he now has and his amazing Kindle publishing success.

You can find Steve here:
Authority Pub
Books by Steve Scott
The ASP Show Podcast
Steve Scott facebook
Develop Good Habits

Show Notes
[01:55] Steve got into Kindle publishing in February 2012. His original intent was to drive traffic to his blog. By summer, he realized that these books could generate income.
[02:44] He was creating Internet business books and realized he needed free content to build an email list. He started his habits books in May of 2013.
[03:23] He shifted to the habits books to build a business model on the Amazon platform. He didn’t anticipate how successful his books would be.
[04:15] His success revolved around his habits, so the books were a natural progression.
[04:43] He was fortunate to find what at the time was an untapped market and drill down into the topic. He wrote everything he knew about these topics. In depth micro-topics.
[06:06] How in the beginning, the writing of the books was the first challenge. He knew the basics of email lists and writing on the Kindle platform.
[07:04] Steve had been doing affiliate marketing since 2006. He knew how valuable an email list would be.
[00:07:46] Blogging taught Steve to create micro topics.
[08:57] How giving away free content isn’t bad.
[09:19] Steve created Develop Good Habits to help build a platform for his books and list building. When people read content and then get into Steve’s email funnel and he will promote his book bundle through his list. He is using a content platform, an email list, and Amazon.
[11:42] Steve is testing content upgrades and checklists for his Mastering Evernote book. Create something special for your top selling books.
[13:06] Steve likes to have a blog because it is great for Facebook retargeting ads.
[14:28] Steve has a VA create slideshare presentations from his books.
[16:14] Steve feels that social media isn’t the best use of his time, but driving people back to content or email lists.
[16:46] Steve launches his books for .99 and he does a solid push for 5-7 days. Then he has a regular sales event every 2-3 months. Selling books for .99 hooks people into the idea of buying .99 books.
[18:24] Steady sales over days are better for the Amazon algorithm.
[18:52] Solid email sequence with a lead magnet have a four to five email sequence. Put an email subscriber call to action in the front and back of the book and have a free promotion. Write three to four books and continuously roll them out. Then find a content platform to promote your book.
[20:37] As books age and have .99 sales and price some as a massive event. Continuously improving on the assets you have.
[22:42] Steve also emails and establishing relationships with some people and gives them free books and tries to get them to leave a review. He uses surveys to see who is interested in free books and the promotion. He also uses other campaigns.
[23:48] He also sends a last chance offer scarcity play.
[24:55] He is literal with his subject lines, but he will copy past subject lines that were successful.
[25:57] Steve is looking to create a lead magnet which signs people up for the main list. Then he sends links and offers to other books. Then it is a mix of content and different promotions.
[29:01] At the back of his books he used to have an excerpt to another book. He just has an offer in the back now. He tries to give people as many opportunities as possible to find his books.
[30:45] What Steve did well last year was being very consistent with his writing and word count. Habit Stacking is also a unique concept when Steve created the book.
[32:47] Steve is planning on going back and doing what worked so well for him in the past, and he is testing headlines.
[34:15] Polling people is a great way to find compelling titles and the same for covers. He is trying to find the right hook and get the best feedback about what will work.
[35:29] Having an email list is really the thing that can make a difference in a business.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
AWeber
Leadpages
PickFu

SPS 035: Using a Book To Get Booked with Grant Baldwin

SPS 035: Using a Book To Get Booked with Grant Baldwin

Grant Baldwin is a nationally known keynote speaker, podcaster, author, entrepreneur, and the creator of the Booked and Paid to Speak training program. He hosts The Speaker Lab Podcast and training site which provides weekly training to speakers at all levels. As a speaker, Grant has given hundreds of presentations and has spoken to over 400,000 people in 45 different states. His book and curriculum for students Reality Check is taught in over 400 schools around the country.

Grant and I met in San Diego, and he is a good friend of mine. I think Grant is a genuinely good hearted guy and one of the good guys in this space. Today, we talk about how Grant discovered his career as a speaker, why he wrote his book, how he self-published it, and more. Grant has sold a lot of books and has given a lot of speeches, and he shares a lot of wisdom and tips with us.

You can find Grant here:
Grant Baldwin
The Speaker Lab Podcast
@GrantBaldwin on Twitter
Free Speaker Lab Workshop
Grant Baldwin facebook
Reality Check by Grant Baldwin
Booked and Paid to Speak

Show Notes
[01:17] Grant has enjoyed speaking since high school. He started learning about and marketing himself in the speaking business.
[02:45] High school students would ask a lot about how to prepare for life after high school. How does real life work.
[03:22] He created his book around these questions and it was also a great speaking tool and it has gotten Grant speaking gigs and it has been an additional revenue source.
[04:12] Grant self-published. It’s nice to combine a book with speaking because when you speak you have a built-in audience.
[04:43] Grant speaks and then people buy the book afterward.
[04:57] Grant wrote the book at his mom’s house and created a timeline. Having a deadline helped him finish the book. Set a deadline and reverse engineer from there.
[05:35] His sister and an old English teacher helped him edit it. Since this was 2008, he actually sent the book to a book printing company called Books Just Books.
[06:59] The biggest challenge is staying on task and getting the book done.
[09:14] Why do you want to speak? Who do you want to speak to? What do I want to talk to them about? Get clear on the answers to these three questions before you begin.
[11:07] Then decide where these people gather.
[11:52] Being a speaker first really helped Grant refine his message.
[12:32] Having a well done book is great. People judge books by its cover. Have a good website and demo video as a speaker. These are critically important because people want a sense of how you communicate and if you are a good speaker.
[15:11] Have a demo video that is like a movie trailer. The point is to make your audience want to see more.
[18:15] Use Google to find cold reach out opportunities. Find an event and try to find out information about when and where the conference is and who to contact. Send an email inquiring about when they are going to hire speakers. A simple email to get them to reply.
[22:32] If they answer the goal is to get them on the phone. The sale happens on the phone. Speaking is a relationship business.
[25:16] Ask what would I Google to find events. Build momentum and reach out to people.
[26:31] This is a numbers game. The more you reach out to the more likely you will be a good fit. You may hear from two or three people and book only one.
[27:40] Do the follow-up call especially if you say you will.
[28:20] Have a system for the follow-up either some type of calendar or CRM type software.
[29:38] Having a long-term perspective keeps you from being disappointed and time and effort builds momentum.
[30:42] Following up makes people’s lives easier. You aren’t annoying them. Stay top of mind.
[33:32] Deep psychological influence of getting a commitment of front.
[34:49] What you charge depends on the market and your marketing materials and your experience. Speakers get paid $1000 to $3000 on their first gig. It’s also good to build relationships with other speakers in their market.
[36:42] Paid versus free. Free can get you course sign-ups and other speaking clients. Speaking for lead generation for coaching businesses.
[38:01] Speaking can be leveraged in other ways.
[38:31] Get the book done and make sure it aligns with the intended audience.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Books Just Books
Highrise
Contactually
FollowUp.cc
Influence: The Psychology of Influence
Grant Baldwin
The Speaker Lab Podcast
@GrantBaldwin on Twitter
Free Speaker Lab Workshop
Grant Baldwin facebook
Reality Check by Grant Baldwin
Booked and Paid to Speak

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SPS 034: Clinton White House Speech Writer at Age 23 with John Corcoran

SPS 034: Clinton White House Speech Writer at Age 23 with John Corcoran

My guest today is John Corcoran. He is a fellow Californian and a good friend of mine. John is an attorney, writer, father, and former Clinton White House writer and former speechwriter for the Governor of California. Throughout his career, he has worked in Hollywood and the heart of Silicon Valley. He owns his own boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area where he works with small business owners and entrepreneurs.

John is a renaissance man who has been in a lot of different careers on a lot of different sides. Today, he shares how he ended up landing a writer job at The White House after college. Along with a smart tip for positioning oneself for success. John also shares stories about working in the white house and the importance of having normal conversations with people to connect and build relationships. He shares all kinds of fun stories and great life and business advice from embracing whatever you are doing to the importance of surrounding yourself with people who energize you.

You can find John here:
Smart Business Revolution
The Smart Business Revolution Podcast
John Corcoran LinkedIn
@JohnCorcoran on Twitter

Show Notes
[01:50] John interned at The White House after college. Then he went back to school, but he kept in touch with people there and the other speechwriters. The day he was asked for a writing sample he happened to have a letter to the editor published in the New York Times.
[03:05] A great example of things we can do to position ourselves for success.
[04:56] Working at The White House was a great experience for a guy who was 23 years-old. He would run into Bill Clinton and other dignitaries in the hallway.
[06:07] He also saw the Easter Egg Toss, and met The President and introduced him to his family in the oval office.
[07:02] Be multifaceted and embrace whatever you do that is unique about you.
[07:34] A story about having a conversation with The President about old movies, and how it is important to have normal human conversations with people. That way you are more likely to have a connection and build a relationship.
[09:51] A couple chance meetings ended up landing John the speechwriter job for The Governor. Every topic would come across his desk and he would have to learn about it and then distill it down to something quotable.
[11:29] Writing has its own unique requirements. John studies and reads other writers, and for speech writing he listens to how they speak.
[13:15] Thinking about what is in the audience’s head and how you can move them to take an action or sell them an idea. You can do this by addressing all of the objections.  
[14:18] How the language you use frames a topic. The importance of practicing over and over. Understanding the other side when making a persuasive argument.
[15:55] Understanding from a place of compassion to understand other people’s objections.
[16:22] John writes for Forbes, Psychology Today, Art of Manliness and many other major publications.
[16:57] How John reads about a topic and writes ideas then eventually creates a structure.
[18:39] Ironically, John is more structured now for his blog posts. He grabs attention with the headline and the first line that speaks to the pain. Then he works into why it matters or is relevant. Then maybe a story then 5 or 7 ways to solve the problem. Then wrap it up with a callback.
[21:55] Guest posting really helped John get his name out there. Now he is getting more results from webinars and other different forms.
[22:43] Entrepreneurs love to ask other entrepreneurs what’s new. Entrepreneurial ADD. Sometimes an idea in a conversation is inspiration for John’s writing.
[24:37] The importance of honing in on your area of focus and the core thing you want to write about. Define and master your niche.
[26:05] Ideas can come from other books or their table of contents. Having conversations is a great place to get ideas. By doing more research the topic will flesh itself out more.
[27:31] How first person pontificating is the least interesting type of writing. Weave in other’s perspectives. Interviewing people will give you ideas.
[28:54] John uses free planners and The Five Minute Journal to plan his day. He also goes to coffee shops to write, but after doing the research and having all of the content.
[31:01] Triage your emails and find the greatest impact you can have. You can’t answer all of the one-on-one emails.
[32:52] You have to be willing to give things up to write. You also have to accept you can’t do everything. Getting things done boils down to day-to-day habits.
[35:11] Constantly battling the decision of how you spend your time. Do whatever it takes to get things done.
[37:00] The importance of spending your time getting what is inside of you out and not wasting time. The benefits of creating content snowballs for life.
[39:57] The satisfaction of being a creator is so much more than the short term satisfaction of being a consumer.
[40:41] John used guest posting to increase his subscribers from 1000 to 6000.
[44:51] How a guest post creates email subscribers. If starting today, John would just use Leadpages and guest post before building a blog. Giveaway a resource with something relevant. Topic of guest post, topic of site, and topic of free resource.
[48:23] How John is one of the most well-connected people Chandler knows.
[48:57] Writing is a great tool for building relationships. Interviewing people will give them exposure and create a connection for you.
[50:05] How relationships create all kinds of opportunities.
[50:26] Mindset do the opposite of ask and help. Don’t let fear of rejection to stop you.
[51:34] Take the time to write down 50 people you would like to meet or interview in the next six months. It gets easier as you work your way up the ladder.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Jim Kwik
Art of Manliness
The Five Minute Journal
Lise Cartwright
Productive Flourishing
Enounce
John Morrow
Leadpages
Andrew Warner

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

Book Marketing: How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book

Book Marketing: How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book

Just because you wrote a new book doesn’t mean that your book is guaranteed to sell. Even if it’s the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective conscious of the public. This is why your book needs good marketing tactics to back it up.

Marketing takes planning, organization, and consistent action; it’s hard work. But the good news is that marketing is also about fostering connections and relationships, which can be rewarding to you and your fan base. And since you’re the one who knows your book from cover to cover, your backstory, your reasons for writing it, and who your ideal reader is, it’s your duty to put a plan in place to best connect with your intended audience and share your story.

We know, we know…you’ve put a ton of effort into writing, editing, and getting your book ready for publication that the thought of adding another layer of “work” is not the most appealing idea.

But realize that if you launch your book without a marketing plan, FAR fewer people will read it. It will hamper the success of the book you’re working on now, as well as others you plan on publishing in the future. So if you dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author, or if you want your book to help you reach other lifestyle goals, a book marketing strategy is your essential key to success.

Having seen and been involved in so many book launches ourselves, we know what works and what doesn’t for marketing your book. We’ll walk you through a play-by-play of exactly what you need to do so that your readers can find your book and buy it.

We’ve broken this guide down into three main sections:

  1. Pre-Launch: Building Your Book Marketing Launch Team
  2. Pricing Your Book for Maximum Sales
  3. Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

Let’s get started!

Pre-Launch: Build Your Book Marketing Launch Team

The first step of preparing for your book launch, and the marketing behind it, is to build your launch team. The ideal launch team is a dedicated, hand-selected group eager to make your launch successful. If you use your team’s talent and communicate well, there’s nothing your launch team can’t accomplish! Here are the 7 steps to get started:

Step 1: Size

The first step is to determine the projected size of your book marketing launch team based on the size of your audience.

Your audience is anyone interested in you, your book, and your product. They could be five of your lifelong friends, members of your community, big organizations you’re connected to, social media followers, email subscribers, anyone who might be interested in what you’re sharing.

If you have a smaller following, we suggest you aim for a launch team of 10-50. Those with hundreds in their network can aim for 100-250 team members.

How to Find Followers

If you don’t have much of a following right now, start by looking at your personal inner circle— your family, your close friends—then branch out to their connections, families, and colleagues.

You can reach out to peers from college, your volunteer work, or even your first job. You may even consider parents at your child’s school, fellow dog owners, or members in your yoga class.

Even though you may not know these people well, they are a part of your network, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re inspired by your book and would be eager to share it.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should have an initial list of potential launch team members!

Step 2: Recruit

Now that you’ve determined your potential recruitment pool, the second step is to initiate contact and gauge their interest level. The most important lesson to consider about your book marketing launch team is that QUALITY trumps QUANTITY. One top-quality, dedicated team member trumps a handful of mediocre ones.

To begin recruitment, create a simple questionnaire process that describes your book, your expectations of the team, and questions asking:

  • Why are you interested in supporting my book?
  • What part of my book speaks to you?
  • What specialized skills can you contribute?
  • What’s your available time commitment?
  • Who are influential people you can reach out to?
  • Why would these influential people be interested?

To sweeten the recruitment deal, feel free to offer a free signed copy of your book or an inclusion in the “acknowledgments” section.

You can easily do this through email, or through online forms like Typeform.

Step 3: Record a Welcome Video

Take the time to record a warm welcome video for your new supporters! In your video, first, congratulate your team for being selected and express gratitude for their help. Then, detail your expectations, your unique mission for writing your book, and why you want to share it with as many people as you can!

This welcome video will help you create a more personal connection with your book launch team, and show them a bit more about why you’re creating it and what message you’re trying to convey. Be sure to send it to everyone who completes your questionnaire

Step 4: Establish a Communication Style

Here’s the secret to a successful book marketing launch team: Effective communication.

Communicate with your team regularly to keep them focused on weekly tasks, progress, and innovative ideas by doing the following:

  • Strive to send one email per week preceding launch then increase it to three or more during launch week.
  • Use a Facebook group to engage, share ideas, and post feedback. Set the tone by posting “Dos and Don’ts” to keep conversations focused and positive.
  • Boost morale and build rapport by sharing inspiring quotes, gifts, and goofy photos to keep energy high and build vital connections.

No matter which mode of communication you’re using, remember people like to be treated well. Always make sure your team knows how grateful you are to them and their dedication!

Step 5: Book Marketing Launch Team Assignments

You can’t just build up a catalog of supporters and not use them, though. You have to give them small assignments to help you with launching your book.

It might feel weird telling people to help you, but don’t worry about it! They’re here because they want to support your project, and as long as you’re gracious and ask nicely, they’ll be happy to support your work.

Facebook Groups will be the most effective way to dole out weekly team assignments. Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team to do:

  • Share snippets of content from your book across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Add their reviews to Goodreads
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Record a testimonial for your book
  • Buy extra copies to give to their friends
  • Give you more marketing ideas!

Step 6: Utilize Talents

Your team members will have a different variety of skills and talents, and it’s your job to effectively manage your team by assigning work based on their strengths.

To identify your team’s talents, write a post during the introductory week and say the following:

“If you have any special talents or connections you’d like to lend towards my book launch, please comment on this post and let me know. I’m looking for ways to help spread my book’s message to a wider audience.”

Step 7: Have Fun and Say “Thank You!”

Your launch team will commit weeks of their time, energy, and talent, so make sure you thank each and every person for their contribution! Ensure that each person on your team feels valued and appreciated for their efforts.

And most importantly, let them know how to get your book for free (or at least at a deep discount)! Which brings us to…

Pricing Your Book

One of the most important factors in how successful your book launch is will be how you price it.

To find out how to price your book for success, we recommend reading Book Launch. But for the sake of this article, here are some of Self-Publishing School’s biggest secrets that will get your book to soar up the Amazon’s charts:

  • If you have a sizable audience, we recommend launching your book for $0.99, and then increasing the price to $2.99 or higher after about a week.
  • For first-time authors, we recommend Amazon’s Free Book Promotions for your book launch.

Although you won’t get paid by putting your book out for free, realize that it will be featured on another author’s page which instantaneously increases your exposure and recognition.

Once the free promotion has ended, switch your book’s price to $0.99 for the following week, then slowly increase the price up $1 per week until sales stagnate.

Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

All marketing—no matter which market or industry—is fundamentally about people and making connections. Part of pitching your book will be figuring out how your book relates to your readers and how they will benefit from it.

Now that your book is out in the wild, you want to get as many people to it as possible. Here are the eight best strategies for doing just that.

Build Your Book Website

Can you imagine if you came home one day and your house was…missing? Well, that is what an author’s life can be like without a website to post fresh content. You’ll always be missing a home where you can park your books. Many authors think they don’t need a website because they can promote their books through social media or the author platform on Amazon.

Sorry, not exactly.

There is a huge difference. Having an author website is the difference between renting or buying a piece of property. When you rent, you are living in someone else’s space. It doesn’t belong to you and they can cancel your lease at any time.

Maintaining your own website on a hosted server with your domain name is the same as having that piece of real estate. You can customize your site your way, publish your own content, and you are always in complete control of how it looks and what gets published. When it comes to marketing your book, the sky’s the limit. You can:

  • Publish your book’s landing page on your site.
  • Post blogs about your upcoming book
  • Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.
  • Set up an affiliate link to your Amazon page so you get commissions on book sales
  • Include sample chapters from your book
  • Link to video clips about the book on your website
  • Communicate directly with your email subscribers about new releases or your current blog post

And you can also set up a Google Alert so you can be notified about where your name and your book show up online. If someone gives you good feedback or a stellar review, reach out and thank them and ask them to link back to your book’s website.

Action Step: If your book doesn’t already have a website, get one started! To setup your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy and use WordPress for building your site.

Build Your Email List

There is a saying going around that says: “the money is in the list.” Why? It’s simple. A list of followers who are in love with your writing will be the first to line up when you have a new product to sell. These people are essentially your customers.

Your email list is yours. It doesn’t belong to Amazon or social media. You control what you want to say, how you say it, and when. Imagine if every time you had a new book ready to launch, hundreds or thousands of people were waiting for it so they could get it first.

If you are serious about promoting and marketing your current and all future books, building your list should be top priority. Nothing else comes close. Although building a list takes time, in the long run it is the easiest way to market. These are the true fans that will get the word out and be the first to leave verified reviews after buying your new release at the special price of 0.99. But that is just the beginning.

You can continue to build your list by including a reader magnet at the front and back of your book. Get people hooked on your brand and then keep them there by writing your next book, and then, including them in your next launch. As your book reaches more people, and you get more signups, your marketing capacity grows…exponentially.

Action Step: If you haven’t started on your list building, go to an email management system such as Mailchimp or AWeber and sign up for an account. Then get building and start to funnel your fans into your books today.

Reach Out to Influencers

When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers. What is an influencer? Influencers can be podcasters, bloggers, or authors with strong email lists. It’s someone with an established platform that can get you noticed if they notice you.

An influencer is someone who has a lot of promotional weight and can spread the word about your book to thousands of people with just a brief mention to their email list, on their blog, or by sharing on social media, for example. Influencers have a long reach. What you can do is identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Tell them who you are and ask if they can help to promote your latest book.

Influencers can have a major impact on your exposure as an author, so try to set up interviews in your hometown or reach out to someone online and offer to do an interview so you can deliver value to their target audience.

Guest post blogging on an influencer’s is another way to market your book. For example, if you wrote a book on recipes for Italian food, you could try connecting with people in the Italian cooking niche. They may have a blog, podcast, or a webinar on which you want to appear.

Action Step: Identify at least one influencer in your market and reach out to that person. Tell them who you are and what you do. Get on their podcast or get interviewed. Exposure to fans in your niche will have a big influence on book sales.

Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

Social media is a powerful way to promote your book to potential readers. We can engage with thousands of people just by hitting a few buttons. But with social media sites, the big scare is the amount of time we can get sucked into trying to do everything. If you try to connect with everyone, you’ll match up with nobody.

When promoting and marketing your book, you can’t be everywhere doing all things at once. That is why we recommend you choose two social media sites to work with, and post your content regularly to these two sites.

For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos. After a few months you could build up a library of content, engage with new subscribers and even create a course out of your videos.

With Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads that drive new readers to your Facebook page or your book’s website. You could also post popular quotes or snippets of material from your upcoming book.

With Twitter you can post multiple times a day with brief quotes or messages under 280 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

And if your book is more business-focused, you may find that LinkedIn works best for you, since it allows you to connect with new readers on a more professional platform.

We recommend choosing two social media platforms and focusing on consistent engagement. This will keep your book’s appearance fresh and invite new people in to check out your work.

Action Step: Choose two social media platforms and commit to publishing content regularly. If you only want to focus on one, master it, and then move to another that is perfectly fine! It is better to do one thing and get it right then do two things poorly.

Get on Bookbub

Bookbub is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. In fact, you should submit your book for promotion as either free or for 99 cents right after your book launch.

Bookbub has a massive following and can get your book delivered to thousands of readers. It really is the “Big One” when it comes to book promotion. The cost isn’t cheap and can run you anywhere from $200 to $2,000 for a promo, depending on the genre, category, and the price of your book.

But is it worth it?

Yes. Definitely.

For example, if you are running a promo for 99 cents in general nonfiction, you could potentially sell, on average, 2,000 copies of your book. Not only will you make a profit, but this could bring in hundreds of subscribers and leads to your email list. From there you can upsell readers on your other books or even a course if you have one.

Action Step: Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

Interviews and Podcasts

A local radio or podcast interview can introduce you to new readers. While this may sound intimidating, you can pull this off like a pro with a little preparation.

Look to local colleges, podcast hosts, or local radio stations for interview opportunities (Pro Tip: Hosts love to interview up-and-coming authors, so you may be surprised at the many offers that come your way when you reach out).

Reach out, let them know a little bit about your book and why it might be interesting to their audience, and include a free sample of it so they can see if you’d be a good fit. If you have a press release describing what your book is about, feel free to include that as well to give them more context.

Then be sure that when you go on, you present a great story about your book and get their listeners excited to read it!

Action Step: What are three podcasts or radio shows you could go on to talk about your book? Find their contact info and reach out with a pitch about having you on.

Book Clubs

Local book clubs are another goldmine of new readers; you already know they like books! Find and connect with these groups. You can offer to attend a meet-and-greet and hand out copies of your free signed book.

You can also get your book listed in Facebook Groups and other groups dedicated to readers. There are also paid lists, such as Buck Books, that can reach tens to hundreds of thousands of readers. Book Launch also teach what lists are out there, and which ones are the best to use.

Action Step: Are there any book clubs you could join? Look on Facebook for groups that would be a good fit for your book.

Write Another Book

Publishing another book is great for brand building. In fact, it’s much harder to market just one book unless it is a ground-breaking phenomenal masterpiece. Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.

With every new book you put out there you increase the chances of your work getting recognized by influencers and people online who are hanging out in all the places you can target for promotion and sharing.

Launching your book is only the beginning. The real work begins after the initial “bang” is over and you have to dig in deep to promote, engage, and provide solutions to readers’ problems. Remember: Marketing is about delivering a product [your book] to the right people [your audience] who need desperately what you have to offer [your solution].

Create this product for your readers, ship it to them and communicate in a way they understand—and you’ll become a great marketing guru as well as an amazing author.

No matter which marketing tactics sound best for you, remember that choosing a few key strategies and executing on them regularly is crucial to increasing book sales.

Let these strategies be your secret weapon to a successful book launch, and you’ll be on your way to being a bestseller in no time!

How To Build and Manage Your Book Launch Team

How To Build and Manage Your Book Launch Team

When it comes to launching a bestselling book on Amazon, the biggest leverage an author can invest in is building a stellar book launch team. Your team will receive an early bird copy of the book, read through it, and write an honest review to be posted when the book is live. But a launch team can be much more effective in other ways too that we will look at in this post.

In this post I will walk you through the steps for building, guiding and managing your book street team. If you follow this system, you will be investing in the most critical part of your book launch, setting your book up for the long term success it deserves.

What is a Book Launch Team?

Your launch team is a group of people who are going to set you up for success when your book launches. They could be fans of your previous work, readers of your blog, friends who want to support you, or the members in your mastermind group. And, ideally, a combination of all of the above.

The launch team has a massive impact on, not only the success of your launch but, the long term success of the book. They are a group of people who are passionate about your book, your brand, and they want you to succeed as much as you do.

Your job, as the author of the book, is to guide your team to take action both before the book is launched and then during the launch window.

Why do you need a book launch team?

Launch team members will help you to get reviews during the launch and, help you to share the book launch as well as get downloads for your book. If you have a weak launch, you have weak book sales and you’ll be forever struggling to drive traffic towards your book.

Your launch team will read the book before anyone else and prepare an honest review of the work to be posted during launch week. Amazon favors books with review activity. The more reviews you can get posted, your book moves up the rankings faster and gets promoted by Amazon under the “books you also might like” section.

Reviews also sell books. If you manage to get 20-30 reviews in the first week, this would create serious momentum for your book rankings. It is the best social proof that your book is getting read and people are taking an interest in the content. The bottom line: Reviews convince browsers to buy. Amazon will rank your book higher as well if there is activity taking place.

Building Your Team: Where do I recruit?

The question that I often get is, “Where do I find people to join my team?” This is a challenge if you don’t have much of a  following and have never launched a book before. Let’s assume that this is your first book launch and you are looking for people to join your launch team. Where do we begin to build? Who can we ask?

Here are a few suggestions:

Make a list of 20-30 people you can contact directly.

These can be business contacts, online relationships, or subscribers to your email list. This list functions as your core team, what I call your level 1 launch team. They are the most committed to your launch. Perhaps they joined a previous launch you had and now they want to sign up for this one as well.

Post to your Facebook/Social Media Platforms/Mastermind Groups

This is where you can gather a lot of your level 2 launch team members. If you are going for a large launch team, this would be the next phase. If you want to keep it more personal and limit the number of people, just follow through with the first step and leave it at that.

Keep in mind, with your level 2 launch team, you could get anywhere from 20-200 people sign up. The reason we call it a level 2 group is, many of the people joining may not know you personally, but they have an interest in your book. But the question is, how committed are they to following through? It is just a fact that not everyone on your team is going to follow through. Maybe they didn’t like the book, they had no time to read it, or, they were uncertain what to do during the launch. There is the possibility that they won’t leave a review for whatever reasons.

This is why we have to be clear with our team as to:

  • What actions to take
  • When to take it, and;
  • How to implement the action plan

The best you can do is encourage people throughout the launch and keep the pressure momentum turned on. This is where team incentives and providing value will deliver in the end. When people feel as if they are a part of something important, they are more likely to follow through.

Team Incentives: What to offer?

This is the part of the process in launch building that you can really make a difference to the strength of your team. By adding incentives to what you can give your team, you will increase the commitment of your team.

Decide what you will give to your team to offer quality incentives that makes them feel a part of the team.

What can we offer?

Check out Kevin Kruse’s post “Sample invitation to build a launch team.” In this invitation to join his street team, Kevin offered up a bundle of incentives to the launch team when he published 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. Some of these perks included membership into a Mastermind Group on Facebook and an exclusive “ask me anything” webinar before the launch.

Likewise Michael Hyatt, when he launched Living Forward, offered launch members an exclusive look into how the book launch was structured as well as access to a special 30-minute group phone session with him prior to launching the book.

So, what you can offer your team is:

  1. The digital version of the book way before anyone else sees it. This can be in PDF or Mobi file. For creating a PDF or mobi file of the book, check out the free calibre software.
  2. A free hardcopy of the book delivered right to your door.
  3. A free webinar or a facebook Live Q&A session: you can get close and personal with your team by hosting a live webinar where you talk about the book, get into behind-the-scenes strategies of the launch, and share inside tactics that nobody else can get.
  4. Exclusive access to a private Facebook group. Here you can post videos, share posts, and converse with your team in real time as they get excited about the launch
  5. Free training videos based on the content of your book
  6. Additional freebies that you want to share with your team.
  7. An advance copy of a workbook that you will be offering to subscribers
  8. Early access to course material that won’t be available until the book is launched.

The goal is to provide your team with a lot of value so that they know they are part of something important. This will increase the level of commitment you will get from members reading and promoting the book during launch week.

Building a Quality Team

When it comes to launch team members joining your team, it isn’t about the numbers. It is the quality of the team. It is much better to have 40 people who are committed than 200 that just sign up and don’t do anything. You want your team to be involved and take action. So, how do you build  a quality street team fully committed to launching your book to bestseller status?

Here are four strategies:

  1. Reach out to people personally. By contacting people you know on a personal basis you can get a solid commitment from that person with a personal email.
  2. Create an application form process. This creates a barrier to entry. The people who are serious players will fill out and commit. You can check out an application form template right here. In the application process you let the potential member know what is expected and what they will be responsible for. The application process creates accountability and exclusive access to the launch team material.
  3. Invite people  who you have worked with and trust, such as podcasters, bloggers and influencers, to help you with the launch.
  4. Create a team of committed reviewers and promoters to set the launch on fire when it takes off.

Setting Expectations for Your Team: Your Big Ask

This is when you are up front with the launch team about what is to be expected during the launch. What actions are you asking them to do? On what days will they take these actions? What is at stake as far as the success of the book is concerned.

Remember: The success of your launch plan is critical, and the launch team is the all-important component to making it happen.

Expectations should be made clear from the beginning. When you put up a post for early bird readers, let them know that taking action is a must. This is the big ask and what you will expect from the team if they are selected to join your launch.

Here is what you could ask of your launch team:

The ‘Call to Action’ Plan

  1. Read the book before the launch day. Provide feedback if they pick up on such as formatting problems, misspellings, etc…
  2. Write up an honest review of the book and post it during launch week.
  3. Share word of the launch through your social platforms, mentioning the book in a weekly blog post, and starting a discussion about the book in chat forums. This could also include tweets, Facebook posts, or post the cover to Pinterest and Instagram.
  4. Share promotional ideas within the launch group. This is where a Facebook Group would come in. Members can easily post ideas and swap strategies for promoting the book.
  5. Take a photo of you holding up a copy of the paperback. This would require that the paperback be ready in advance to send to select team members so they have time to take the photo before launch.

Provide your team with a list of action strategies they can take during launch week. Let them choose what strategies they like and fits into their schedule. You can encourage the team by adding a points system.

The members who take action and complete each promotional strategy earn a number of points. This could lead to receiving even more freebies.

Organizing Your Team Communication Portal

Now that you have your team together with emails, you have set the expectations, and outlined the launch plan, you have to decide how you will communicate with your team. People need to feel connected to you during the launch or else they lose interest and you lose the trust of your team. Set up your method of communication and invite everyone into the launch.

Email Campaign

Set up at least 6-10 emails to be delivered throughout the launch. You can add your team emails to a campaign in your email service provider such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Convert Kit. You can set up email autoresponders to go out on certain dates, or customize your emails as you go.

Launch Team Emails: How often and how many?

One question that comes up often is, “how many emails do I send out, how often and what should the content look like? Once again, if you are running a Facebook Group and using that as your main source of communication, I still recommend you have a set of emails set up to be delivered throughout the launch.

I send out an email every second day. Here is a breakdown of what these emails would look like:

Email #1: Welcome Email: Includes Intro to the team and the PDF of the book.

Email #2: How is the book reading? General overview of the launch plan.

Email #3: 5 Days Before Launch. Include a video of how to leave a review on Amazon

Email #4: The day before launch—Are you ready?

Email #5: LAUNCH DAY! It is time to take action.

Email #6: Review reminder, update on book status and current ranking.

Email #7: Final reminder. Leave a review and FREE paperback giveaway reminder.

Email #8: Final email. Thank you for joining the launch team.

What you want to do is take time to customize your own emails. You can space the emails out accordingly. I like to keep them balanced so that the team is getting the support they need without feeling too overwhelmed.

Facebook Group

A group you can add your members to for easy access and communication. You can post regularly and easily add video and communicate with regular updates. Members can, as we mentioned, share ideas for promoting the book during the launch day.

Even if you do a Facebook Group, I recommend sending out regular emails regardless. Not everyone is going to be into joining a Facebook Group, so communicating with regular emails set up to be delivered on select dates will cover all the bases.

Sending Out Your Book

There are three ways you can get the advance copy to your team.

PDF Form. Attach the PDF to the welcome email if you are delivering it this way. For larger files, you can drop the book in Dropbox and share the link with your team. Dropbox allows people to download the book without having to sign up for an account.

Bookfunnel.com This is a great way to deliver your book. BookFunnel has a yearly subscription fee but it’s worth it if you launch regularly. The basic price is $20 a month for 1 pen name and 500 downloads per month. You can check out the features of bookfunnel right here.

the pigeonhole. I’ve used the pigeonhole before and I really liked it. How it works is like this. You upload your book in PDF form to the team at Pigeonhole. You provide them with your launch team emails and then, Pigeonhole posts a chapter a day of your book on their site. Members read right on line and can comment on the book as they work through it.

This is a great platform for improving the quality of the book as well. Early readers catch the small mistakes that were missed and you can fix everything up before launching.

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Team

Sending out email with long gaps in between.

You want to be consistent in communicating with your launch team. Long gaps in between emails will result in people losing interest and not following through when they should. I average an email every 2-3 days. For a Facebook group, you could post something everyday, even if it is just a short blurb.

Failing to set expectations.

Remember the list of expectations we looked at in the beginning? By not setting your expectations you are leaving the launch wide open to chaos. Be sure people know what they need to do and when they need to do it. Don’t just assume people will take action. They need you, the author, to lead them. Be upfront and let them know they are with you until the end to take action.

Setting your initial price point too high.

Okay, you might think this is common sense but, you want to launch your book right away at the lowest price point possible. That would be 0.99, and then possibly free after you’ve set set your promo up in the KDP dashboard.

If your price is upwards of $5-10, people may not download it. You want your price to be low so the launch team especially can download it to leave a verified purchase.

When it comes to Amazon rankings, a book that has the verified purchase tag weighs more than a non verified review. Make it easy for people to download. Set your price low and get the rankings moving. You can increase your price point after the launch.

Directions that are unclear.

You want everything to be so easy for your team that it can literally run itself. What this means is, setting up all the steps so that people know exactly what to so. Some of the questions I have had from team members were:

Where do I leave  review?

How do I leave a review?

Where is the link for the book?

What is this Goodreads website?

You can eliminate confusion and wasting time answering basic questions by setting up the steps so it is like paint-by-numbers. For example, shoot a short video of how to set up a review. Walk people through the process. Video is a fantastic way to visually teach the steps and can be done easily. You can then post it in the Facebook feed or embed the link in an email to be downloaded from Dropbox or Vimeo.

It all comes down to planning ahead. By foreseeing possible problems that can slow down your launch, prepare ahead of time and set your team up for success.

The Power of Sharing

Swipe Copy for Your Team is a set of pre-formatted/written emails and/or posts that the launch team can use to share either via email or online. You want this to be as simple as possible so people can just copy and paste to their social media platforms or deliver by email without it taking too much of their time. The easier it is for your team to deliver, the better.

Create swipe copy for your book launch and make this available to your team via dropbox or upload to your Facebook Group. The swipe copy should be easy to use and provide material for sharing online or via email.

You should include specific instructions as to how to use the swipe copy. Not everyone has used this before and you will get questions from people if they have difficulty. I would recommend shooting a short video explaining how to set this up on launch day. Show people how easy it is. Encourage them to share where they can and as often as possible.

If each of the people on you team threw up a post on their Facebook page, and they had an average of 500 friends each, that would exponentially share your book with a large community that you otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

Street Team Team: Setting up a permanent funnel for future books

Once the launch is over, your facebook group will most likely be disbanded. You could try to keep it going but after the launch is over, but without a specific purpose for the group that extends beyond the launch, it is a lot of work to keep the interest going. This is where a long term strategy for your books could be put into play.

Are you planning to launch another book? Do you want to use some of your core launch members for another book launch? In that case, you could set up a street team of reviewers that are ready to support you on, not only this launch, but all future launches.

Remember: a launch team is more than just getting someone to review your book. You could take the relationship to the next level. Consider setting up a private facebook group for people who want to stay in touch and support your work in future launches. And, if they agree to this, it will be far easier to tap into a group that is already in place then recruiting new members.

Build Your Launch Team [Master Checklist]

Here is a review of the steps to build your launch team.

  1. Reach out to at least 20-30 people directly to begin the recruitment process. Ask for permission to put them on your launch team.
  2. Expand to social media circles like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
  3. Put together an incentive package: free digital copy, paperback, question and answer group call, or a sneak peak at the launch behind-the-scenes.
  4. Choose your method of communication: email, a Facebook group, or both. [Both methods are recommended together]
  5. Be clear about your expectations for the launch [launch goals for reviews, ranking, and book sales]
  6. Create a series of emails to send to your group. You can set these up beforehand or create as you go for a more ‘on-the-spot customized feel.
  7. Decide the method to deliver emails: gmail template or email server campaign template [recommended]. You can use Mailchimp, free up to 2000 subscribers.
  8. Prepare a “Welcome to my launch teamVideo or Post.
  9. Send out your Welcome Email. This includes the digital copy of the book. In your email outline the expectations for being on the launch team.
  10. Create a “Swipe File” for the team to share. Deliver this to your team the day before launch.
  11. Keep track of your team emails using an excel sheet.
  12. Send out a “review reminder” a week after the launch.
  13. Final email/posting: Thank your team for their support during the launch. Follow up on any final incentives promised.
  14. Stay in touch with members of your team. Continue to build relationships with people so that your book launch can get bigger with every new book release.

Conclusion

Now that you have a roadmap for setting up your launch team, it is time to get to work. Remember that the best time to start building your team is right now. Work on you relationships with people interested in your material. Connect with other authors and begin to get the word out about your upcoming book launch. It is never too early to start.

SPS 033: How I Used My Book “Podcast Launch” to Help Create Podcasters’ Paradise with John Lee Dumas

SPS 033: How I Used My Book “Podcast Launch” to Help Create Podcasters’ Paradise with John Lee Dumas

I am joined by the one and only John Lee Dumas. John is the man behind the Entrepreneurs on Fire website and the super popular EOFire podcast. This podcast is an award winning podcast that reveals the journey of inspiring entrepreneurs seven days a week. John has interviewed a list of who’s who in the business and entrepreneurship world including Barbara Corcoran, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and even me.

John is also an amazing example of a successful entrepreneur in the podcast industry. I don’t have to tell you this because his numbers and income reports speak for themselves. Today, we are going to talk about his first book Podcast Launch and why and how he wrote it. We also talk about how the book was the inspiration for JLDs successful podcasting course and community called Podcaster’s Paradise.

We also talk about how John built a list and used his book and podcast as a lead generation tool. He created a free podcast course and didn’t hold anything back. Some people said he was crazy for doing this, but the lead generation results of the course also speak for themselves. This is fun episode where my friend John shares how his book, course, and funnel led to his biggest earner at the time which was Podcaster’s Paradise.  

You can find JLD here:
Entrepreneurs on Fire
Entrepreneurs on Fire Podcast
Books and Course by JLD including Podcast Launch and Free Podcast Course
Podcaster’s Paradise
Podcast Launch
@JohnLeeDumas Twitter
John Lee Dumas facebook

Show Notes
[01:41] In hindsight, writing a book seemed liked the most obvious step. Entrepreneur on Fire was meant to be about entrepreneurship, but listeners wanted to know John’s method for podcasting, so he decided it was time to tell his story.
[03:34] John and Kate wrote the book from start to finish, and he has rewritten and revised it several times. The day it launched it was the number one ranked book in Amazon for podcast and podcasting. He wrote the book in a weekend.
[04:29] The book launched in February of 2013 and Podcaster’s Paradise launched in October of 2013. Writing the book helped John realize that he did have a process.
[05:14]  How starting is hard, but once things are started they flow. It took about 70 hours for John to write the book.
[06:29] The book helped John realize that there was an audience for people wanting to podcast. This sparked the idea for Podcaster’s Paradise.
[08:51] Podcast Launch was the MVP for Podcaster’s Paradise. John also had more to share and knew that people wanted a community.
[09:54] How John created a wire frame of what his course would look like, then he told his book readers that he was creating a live podcasting workshop. He also gave his early readers early access at a discounted price. He also said it would open in 45 days at a higher price.
[11:25] The webinar proved that it was a viable product and he created everything and opened the doors at $397 and he still has his lifetime founding members that got in at $197 early adopter discount price. Now the product costs much more.
[13:09] John was able to bounce ideas off of his 35 founding members as he built out the course. The feedback helped in the creation process.
[14:18] John put an offer for the free audio version of the book on the second page of the book. This was a great optin for his webinar. Even people browsing the book would find the optin link. This method combined with others helped build a nice targeted email list.
[17:39] Podcast Launch has been a great lead generation tool for Podcaster’s Paradise and the book continues to make sales.

[18:26] All of the funnels lead to Podcaster’s Paradise because at the time this was his biggest source of revenue.
[19:33] The best thing he did was create the FreePodcastCourse.com It teaches everything without being a cliffhanger. This allowed him to build a 12,000+ person email list that he can use to market.
[22:01] There is an image leading to the free course right at the beginning of the book, and it drives leads every single day. He also uses the Entrepreneur on Fire intros and Leaddigits.
[24:44] John has several intros that he uses to present his calls-to-action in his podcast.
[25:14]  John shares how Chandler helped him increase his lead generation sign ups into the free podcast course.
[31:54] How John has found some great podcast mentors who he can recommend to his readers and listeners. The referral system generated revenue for John.
[33:07] How we have to pay our dues and have our seasons of work before we can learn and scale in a massive way.
[33:54] John also has people he recommends for intro, outros, and logos. He is also one of nine affiliates for LibSyn. Use promo code FIRE for two free months.
[35:18] When he has a guest recommend a book he mentions his Audible.com affiliate link.
[37:47] John recommends coming from a place from within to provide genuine value when writing a book. Then take a step back and add on marketing tactics and tools. Focus on email capture and bonus content that will grow your list.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Ernest Hemingway
Leaddigits
1755: Growing your business past 7 figures using a book (how I did it) with Chandler Bolt
Entrepreneurs on Fire
Entrepreneurs on Fire Podcast
Books and Course by JLD including Podcast Launch and Free Podcast Course
Podcaster’s Paradise
Podcast Launch
@JohnLeeDumas Twitter
John Lee Dumas facebook

You might also enjoy:

 

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

How to Make an Audiobook: What Every Author Should Know

How to Make an Audiobook: What Every Author Should Know

We’re in the age of podcasts, radio apps, and audiobooks, and now couldn’t be a better time to convert your eBook into an audiobook.

But many writers get scared off by the thought of creating an audiobook. “Isn’t it expensive?” “Won’t it take a ton of time?” “How do I even do it?!?”

Thankfully, self-publishing an audiobook now is as easy as self-publishing your book. It has become cost effective and approachable for self-published authors, and there are a range of options depending on the budget you want to spend on it.

Here are the exact steps you need to follow, and our suggestions for turning your book into the next big audiobook.

1. Prep Your eBook Content for Audiobook Recording

If you’re starting from the beginning, you may have no idea how to convert your manuscript from writing to audio. Your first step will be to prep your eBook content for audiobook recording.

This creates a script you can read as you record the audio version of your book. You don’t want to get tripped up while you (or someone else) is reading through the manuscript, so you need to remove everything that won’t make sense in the audio version.

These are the pieces you should go through and look for to cut out:

  • Delete hyperlinks
  • Delete captions
  • Delete visuals
  • Remove any calls to actions or click here prompts

Once you’ve created your new script, read through it one last time to make sure it all makes sense in audio form.

2. Record Your Audiobook

The next step in the creation of your audiobook is actually recording the book. You have a few choices for this step:

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

Option 1: Hire a Freelancer to Narrate Your Audiobook

Most authors find that hiring a professional to record their audiobook is the most expeditious and least painful route.

You may be concerned about the cost of hiring a pro for voice work, but you may be surprised to learn that the cost for this service can be quite reasonable. In fact, converting your self-published book into an audiobook using a pro can cost less than half the price of doing the work yourself. Many freelancers will quote a price of under $500 for a full eBook to audio conversion; so don’t let the perceived high cost deter you.

If you’ve never worked with a freelancer before, you might not be familiar with the steps necessary to find the right talent.

First, you’ll need a proposal. The purpose of your proposal is to help delineate the work that’s needed. You’ll want to make sure to include the scope of the work and terms of your offer in your proposal.

Your second step is to create sample audio content to share with potential freelance narrators.

This is your “retail audio sample.” The purpose of your retail audio sample is two-fold:

  1. It can be shared with potential narrators during the freelance-hiring phase, and
  2. It can later be shared with your future audience on Amazon to peak their interest in your book.

Have some fun creating your retail audio clip—it can be anything you want it to be! You may opt to read a full chapter, or simply condense a summary of plot highlights. The ultimate goal of your retail audio sample is to intrigue both potential narrators and your potential audience. If you can capture their collective attention and peak their interest about your book, they’ll want to hear more.

If you’ve never worked with a freelancer, check out Voices or Upwork for a list of narrator pros.

Option 2: Self-Recording in a Studio

Your second option for creating an audiobook is self-recording in a studio. Realize that self-recording may be more costly in terms of effort, time, and money, especially from the paid time to use a pro recording studio.

We recommend that you block out a significant amount of time to complete your self-recorded audiobook. Here’s a good timeline for self-recorded audiobook production:

  • Book your recording studio three weeks ahead of time.
  • Record your book in-studio. Plan for up to sixteen hours of recording studio time.
  • Plan for at least two weeks of post-recording editing.

Of course, these times are just guides; the time-frame may change once you start your project. Obviously, a longer book will take longer to record and edit. Plan accordingly, and give yourself plenty of time to polish, edit, and finalize a professional product.

Option 3: Work with a Producer

The third path to creating an audiobook is to hire a professional producer. If you have never recorded an audiobook before, working with a producer would help you through the technical difficulties.

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

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

Option 4: Do it at Home

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

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

Equipment

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

  1. A good USB mic. The Blue Snowball condenser mic or the Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone are recommended.
  2. A pop filter. The Earamble Studio Microphone Pop Filter is recommended.
  3. Audacity. Audacity is a free, open source cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. You can download Audacity here.

You could go fancier and get higher-end equipment, but these tools should be more than enough to get the job done.

Location and Space

You want to find an isolated, padded room or recording box. “Room Tone, or “Noise Floor” can bring in all sorts of sounds from around the environment. Recording in your room is an option but make sure your space is set up for recording and that it is “silent.” If this is difficult, hiring a producer in this case would be a recommended option.

Recording Tips

Next you need to make sure you avoid any random noises that might pop up, and any variances in the recording quality. Here are some tips to help make sure you do that:

  1. Turn off all fans and machines.
  2. Read in a small, carpeted area
  3. Stay a consistent distance away from the microphone.
  4. Be prepared to make mistakes and record sentences over when necessary.
  5. Read the chapter through from start to end.
  6. Keep your voice at a similar level and tone across recording sessions.
  7. Modulate your breathing and don’t hold your breath.
  8. Read from a Kindle or device. No page turning sounds.
  9. Schedule sessions several days apart. Avoid sounding exhausted.

With the Audacity software and your mic, you should be able to get a decent quality recording of your book.

But keep in mind that, recording you own audiobook is an exhausting process and it isn’t for everyone. You have to set yourself up with the proper environment, and set aside the time for recording. If you have never used Audacity or any type of recording equipment before, there is a learning curve that add weeks to the audiobook production.

For these reasons you may decide to hire someone for the first audiobook, learn what you can, and then try it for your next book.

Option 5: Hire an ACX Narrator

The final option that may be the simplest is to hire a narrator and producer directly from ACX.

They have that option built into their service for writers, where producers submit auditions for reading your audiobook and then you can choose who you want to work with. Then once the book is published, you share some of the royalties with them, depending on the agreement you come to.

If you don’t want to do the recording yourself or pay for everything up front, this could be your best option. You can learn more about it directly on the ACX help for authors page.

3. Upload Your Audiobook to Audiobook Creation Exchange

Now that you’ve recorded your book, either by yourself or with the help of a freelancer, you’ll need to upload your book to Audiobook Creation Exchange (“ACX”).

When you publish on the ACX, your audiobook will be made available on Amazon, Audible, and the Apple audiobook store. It’s the only place you need to go to make sure your audiobook gets heard by as many people as possible. You retain all of the audio rights, while ACX handles all of the distribution for you, similar to how the Kindle Direct Publishing platform works.

While there are a lot of steps, uploading is a user-friendly and self-explanatory process.

Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to upload your audiobook:

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

Make sure all info from your printed book matches that of your audiobook. Your author name should be the same and the book cover should be the same as appears on your eBook. ACX will not allow you to continue if there are discrepancies in identifying information.

What royalty is paid on ACX?

When you publish your audiobook on the ACX, you’ll earn between 20%-40% of their title royalties. If you work with a producer, then you’ll have a royalty share with them, and the rate that you receive is dependent on how your producer is compensated. If you work by yourself you keep the whole 40%, if you split it with a producer, you could each earn 20%. It all depends on how you decide to share it, and you can read more details on the ACX site.

Also, a quick heads up: Your audiobook will not post immediately. ACX will hold your submission to confirm that all is in order before it posts you audiobook. Don’t be alarmed if you see an ACX note telling you “This title is: Pending audio review.” That’s a normal part of the process and not something wrong on your end. When ACX approves your book, you’ll then have the green light to sell the audio copies online.

For a detailed, step-by-step explanation of the entire process—from production to distribution—check out ACX Author’s page.

Even if you’ve never done it before, technology makes the process of creating your audiobook easier than you can imagine. A well-produced audiobook can help you expand your fan base and earn you new readers.

Don’t be deterred by the idea that creating an audiobook is outside of your wheelhouse—we promise it’s not! With pro help (or even a little elbow grease on your part), you can have a completed audiobook within weeks, and be on your way to boosting those book sale numbers!

Recommended Resources

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

Then check out these other helpful resources:

How To Record Your Own Audiobooks For ACX by Joanna Penn

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

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

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

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

SPS 032: Growing My 8-Figure Business With a Book with Ryan Deiss

SPS 032: Growing My 8-Figure Business With a Book with Ryan Deiss

Ryan Deiss has taken email marketing, sales funnels, and creating and selling products to another level. He is the founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer which is a premier online community for anyone marketing online. Ryan and his team have invested over $15,000,000 on marketing tests, have generated tens of millions of unique visitors, sent over a billion emails, and have run over 3000 split tests.

Today, Ryan shares his marketing expertise as we talk about his book the Invisible Selling Machine which is all about email marketing and is also based on a product that supplies marketing email templates. Ryan shares how a book is a great tool to jumpstart a business and the importance of having a back end in place. He also used a unique webinar concept to test the title and write the book fast. Ryan shares how he and his editor collaborated and then how he edited everything to make sure it was in his voice. He also shares insights into marketing, writing, and being an effective entrepreneur.  

You can find Ryan here:
DigitalMarketer
Ryan Deiss LinkedIn
@RyanDeiss Twitter
Ryan Deiss facebook
Invisible Selling Machine
Books by Ryan Deiss

Show Notes
[01:49] Ryan feels that books are timeless because people get it. Ryan wrote The Invisible Selling Machine because he had something to say and there weren’t a lot of books about this topic.
[03:27] The book is great as media and a lead generation tool. A book isn’t a business, a book jump starts a business.
[04:15] After the book Ryan had the next step which was The Invisible Selling Machine template product. The concept stands alone and that information is the foundation of the book.
[04:59] Even though he had a course on the topic, writing the book took a lot of effort. Ryan had to think through how to teach the concepts.
[06:21] Ryan created a webinar and split tested titles to get the title for the book. The webinar bullet points were on the back of the book.
[07:16] He wanted the story in the webinar to create a foundation and then share the result. Then he wrote a step by step and addressed objections and it turned out to be a good format for a book. Ryan had an editor that helped turn the webinar into the book, then Ryan rewrote a lot of it.
[10:49] How it’s important for a book to stand on its own and not just be a disguised sales letter.
[15:15] The importance of turning a glance into a stare with a title and subtitle.
[15:45] How Ryan accidently sent the wrong cover to the editors and how the printer messed up on the first print. He was so disappointed to see his first copies looking so bad. He had 10,000 copies and was able to use them for a free promotion with paid shipping only.
[24:13] Ryan has total control over his book and he uses it for marketing purposes that he controls.
[24:56] His book has produced millions of dollars of revenue for him and he owns all of it. He doesn’t want to have to buy from a publisher to use his book as a tripwire. Although, someday he may go the traditional route.
[26:14] One of the biggest issues with using a publisher is the timeline. If you take your advance and put it back into the campaign it would be effective, but 12 to 18 months is a deal killer.
[29:03] The importance of having a funnel in place before you public the book. There needs to be steps in between like additional training or mini-classes.
[30:39] He also made a quick optional upsell video. It was passive, but it performed well.
[32:24] Having a permission based micro commitment upsell.
[33:54] The thank-you page had another video which also gave away free videos. Which are used as a perpetual launch. He is also driving facebook ads to the book which will always sell because of the backend.
[37:02] For immediate revenue it came from the Secret Selling upsell. The 30 and 60 day revenue was trumped by The Machine.
[38:43] Ryan uses that money to put back into the campaign to get subscribers for Digital Marketer Labs. You have to reinvest money if you want to grow.
[40:11] People want new products. With a membership, you can deliver the new without selling the new.
[43:00] People join membership groups to have a community.
[44:57] How Ryan hired key people who are responsible for his membership even a dedicated community manager for the facebook group.
[48:23] How the team tracks campaigns to make sure they are effective. How a $500 buy on facebook ads is a good risk. It’s hard for Ryan’s team to justify a funnel that goes past 90 days.  
[50:47] The importance of the cost of customer acquisition and customer lifetime value. Looking for ways to maximize the value of the customer.
[52:39] The dangers of big companies getting too comfortable and dying a slow death.
[53:13] How Ryan’s business isn’t a launch centric business.
[54:24] How having subscription revenue and ongoing sales and products is so much safer than the launch model as the sole method of selling.  

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Tim Ferriss
DigitalMarketer
Ryan Deiss LinkedIn
@RyanDeiss Twitter
Ryan Deiss facebook
Invisible Selling Machine
Books by Ryan Deiss

You might also enjoy:

SPS 031: Building my Business & Group Coaching Program with Jaime Tardy

SPS 031: Building my Business & Group Coaching Program with Jaime Tardy

Jaime Masters (Tardy) is a 7-figure business coach, keynote speaker, bestselling author, mother, entrepreneur, and someone who I am excited about having on the show today. She is the woman behind the Eventual Millionaire website and podcast. She is also the bestselling author of The Eventual Millionaire book which we are going to talk about today.

She has interviewed over 200 millionaire entrepreneurs and has been featured on major news outlets like CNN, MSN, Success Magazine, and Yahoo. Today we are going to talk about her book “The Eventual Millionaire” and what it has meant for Jaime’s business and coaching along with the marketing side of the book. Jaime is a good friend of mine, and we have talked about the book often, and I am really excited to have her on the show.

You can find Jaime here:
Eventual Millionaire
Eventual Millionaire Podcast
Jaime on Twitter @eventualmillion
The Eventual Millionaire by Jaime Tardy
Jaime Masters on LinkedIn

Show Notes
[01:32] Jaime thought she wasn’t a good writer, but her website was taking off and she made writing a book a goal. She also had agents interested because she had an audience from her website.
[03:35] The agent contacting Jaime was timely because earlier she had made writing a book one of her goals but had put it on the backburner.
[04:46] She had to decide whether to self-publish or publish traditionally. She had a story because she quit a high paying job and got out of $70,000 in debt.
[07:24] Writing with a traditional publisher and meeting the deadlines can be difficult.
[08:15] The purpose of the book was to condense all of her interview information for her readers. The book also helped her coaching career because people will get behind a book and promote you. The book helped with leads for her products and speaking engagements.
[10:05] Also the bloggers that rose to the top had books, she wanted to also have that credibility. Her kids also thought it was pretty neat.  
[12:10] She found her book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble on 5th Ave. in New York.
[13:06] Writing the book proposal took about three months. Just getting the book to the publisher took about a year.
[18:36] How the editors and marketing from the traditional publisher weren’t done very well, so Jaime still had to do additional editing and marketing. She would self-publish in the future.
[21:55] Having a list is great for marketing. Always build an audience. She also added her friend’s list and it equaled a million and a half people. She also did guests posts, giveaways, videos, and a landing page. She also followed a lot of Jay Baer’s marketing advice.
[27:26] They were sending free books to people for marketing when they did a guest post they would send a book for the host and one for them to giveaway.
[29:03] She also had a press page for the book with images and tweets and everything someone would need to promote the book. The audience that moved the most books were audiences that knew her from well-trafficked blogs. She thinks anyway.
[32:22] The credibility of the book for press and clients were great. Books also force you to systemize your knowledge.
[36:17] She had links in the book to get leads. People who have read your book are well-qualified leads. She also had a funnel set up for the backend. The book was the first part of the funnel. The money comes from the backend.
[44:00] Her parting tip for new authors is to find someone who has done it before, so you know what works or hire someone who does. Learning the process on your own is a lot. Know what you need to know.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Pat Flynn
Jay Baer
Leadpages
Daily Worth
Business Insider
The Eventual Millionaire Book Page
Eventual Millionaire
Eventual Millionaire Podcast
Jaime on Twitter @eventualmillion
The Eventual Millionaire by Jaime Tardy
Jaime Masters on LinkedIn

SPS 030: 6 MONTHS TO 6 FIGURES with Peter Voogd

SPS 030: 6 MONTHS TO 6 FIGURES with Peter Voogd

Joining me today is the man, the myth, the legend. Peter Voogd is the leading authority for young entrepreneurs. He built an 8 million dollar empire by the age 27 and has trained close to 5000 entrepreneurs. He is the founder of Game Changers Academy, and the author of the International bestseller 6 Months to 6 Figures. He also runs the top rated podcast Young Entrepreneur Lifestyle 2.0.

We are going to talk about Peter’s book, and how he used it to grow his business. Peter started with a unique story and then made sure that the angle he was using to approach his book and marketing was unique. Then he used a great launch team and used every platform that he had access too. He shares all of this with us, plus how he leveraged relationships with influencers including Donald Trump to really get the word out about his book.  

You can find Peter here:
Peter J. Voogd
Young Entrepreneur Lifestyle 2.0 Podcast
Peter on Twitter @PeterVoogd23
Game Changers Academy
Peter Voogd on LinkedIn
Peter Voogd on Facebook
Peter Voogd on Instagram
6 Months to 6 Figures
Books by Peter Voogd
6 Figures Book

Show Notes
[01:49] Peter’s book was years in the making. It was based on his last 6 or 7 years of experience. He went from dead broke to making a 6 figure income. The book took Peter’s influence to a whole new level.
[03:11] The main purpose was to shift our culture with a tactical hands-on book for entrepreneurs. He also wanted to impact people while building his brand.
[04:26] It took Peter about 6 months for the actual book writing.
[04:53] Peter needed a unique angle and he found 10 differentiators for his book. He developed partnerships and reached out to a top-notch team. He used all of his platforms at once.
[06:48] He also wrote in publications, used his podcast, spoke to groups, and reached out to team leaders and influencers.
[09:25] Leveraging other people’s proven platform is the key and reaching out is a numbers game. Peter even got an endorsement from Donald Trump.
[11:15] How Peter came up with his book title. It took him awhile to come up with that great title, but he was surrounded by a great team and they did a lot of brainstorming. Then he surveyed people in his circle of influence.
[14:08] The importance of writing your way to the title after the book is finished.
[14:56] Peter attributes his books selling power with writing a book that creates a movement and shifts something people do daily. It has to be different and inspire people.
[14:56] Peter attributes his books selling power with writing a book that creates a movement and shifts something people do daily. It has to be different and inspire people.
[18:11] He also asked people in the academy to review the book. He did the audio book himself and it is selling well.
[20:28] Peter only focuses on his circle of genius. He had a great team to work on the launch and he focused on creating content.
[21:31] Make a target list of people who have a bigger audience than you and leverage that audience.
[26:44] He also contacted group leaders and offered them discounts to buy in bulk to give away.
[27:52] Self-publishing with the right team is a great way to make more money.
[32:23] How Peter masterminds with Hal Elrod and loves to implement his ideas.
[34:08] Peter has a plan to continue his sales and keep the sales steady. He is also coming out with his second book, and the second book is so much easier than the first book.
[35:18] Peter’s biggest backend income stream has been the academy and speaking.
[36:05] Affiliate partnerships have been an unexpected income stream.
[37:56] He is now working on the entrepreneur’s blueprint to mastering success. Most of the information is taken from his top 30 podcasts with practical action steps. It is in a teachable framework that is very tactical.
[41:18] His long-term strategy is being more strategic with the backend and he plans to promote at a higher level.
[42:38] Having an unshakable confidence in what you are doing and not being afraid to ask for help. Everything with the second book will be scaled.
[47:29] He is also doing a lot more video.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
How Peter Voogd Went From Zero To A Six-Figure Income In 6 Months
How To Find Your Way As An Entrepreneur – 4 Simple Tips
Hal Elrod
Gary Vaynerchuk
Traction
Dan Kennedy Books
John Maxwell
Brian Tracy
Peter J. Voogd
Young Entrepreneur Lifestyle 2.0 Podcast
Peter on Twitter @PeterVoogd23
Game Changers Academy
Peter Voogd on LinkedIn
Peter Voogd on Facebook
Peter Voogd on Instagram
6 Months to 6 Figures
Books by Peter Voogd
6 Figures Book

SPS 029: How I Used A Book Trailer, Facebook Ads & a Launch Team to Launch My First Book with Andrew Ferebee

SPS 029: How I Used A Book Trailer, Facebook Ads & a Launch Team to Launch My First Book with Andrew Ferebee

Andrew Ferebee. Andrew hails from San Diego and is a good friend of mine. Andrew is an entrepreneur, author, podcaster, and a lifelong student of life. He is the man behind the popular Knowledge For Men website and the author of The Dating Playbook For Men which we will be talking about today. He also has been hosting the Knowledge For Men Podcast since 2013 and has interviewed many of today’s successful leaders.

Today, we are going to talk about The Dating Playbook For Men and Andrew’s launch strategy. Andrew wasn’t planning on writing a dating book, but he saw a need with all of the misinformation about men and dating that was floating around. Andrew shares how he wrote the book in 30 days while still creating great content, along with a lot of fun and interesting stuff about writing, dating, and lessons that Andrew has learned. This show was taped while Andrew was crushing his first launch, so it is also a perfect book launch case study show.  

You can find Andrew here:
Knowledge For Men
The Dating Playbook For Men
Books by Andrew Ferebee
Andrew Ferebee on LinkedIn
Andrew on Twitter @AndrewFerebee
Andrew on Instagram
Knowledge For Men Podcast

Show Notes
[01:30] This show was recorded when Andrew was in the middle of a launch.
[02:02] Andrew never wanted to write a dating book, but he felt The Dating Playbook needed to come out because there was so much damaging information out there.
[02:45] It took Andrew about 30 days to write this 200-page book because it came from an audio program that he had. It was an awesome product, but it wasn’t selling because of lack of marketing. He transcribed the audio program and then added and removed content and then got it edited.
[04:14] Andrew thought revisiting all of the old content was a lot of fun and having someone to work with made it really easy.
[05:40] Andrew found a really great letter through Elance which is now Upwork.
[07:15] Andrew went with The Dating Playbook because the answer to dating is to become a stronger, more powerful, grounded man. Having guys become a powerful version of themselves is the answer, not pick up lines.
[11:31] Andrews book was also great for lead generation for his higher ticket events and to build his brand.
[12:52] Andrew’s marketing strategy included creating a VIP club from his list. He then sent bonus content, a private Facebook group, and asked for a review and a link. Some of the email content would include book snippets asking for feedback and cover options. This created a mini army of people wanting to help and support the launch.
[17:56] It’s important to build out an audience. Andrew already had the podcast and the website, but if he didn’t have an audience, his strategy would be to leverage his friends.
[19:44] Andrew got people involved and engaged by giving them massive free content. He would answer questions and create videos with the answers. People were engaged because he added value. He also created a raffle and filmed the random name draw to send a person an Amazon gift card or a free coaching session. He created fun ways to get his audience engaged.
[21:42] Andrew created a book trailer because he loves movie trailers. Ask what you a passionate about to make things fun and exciting for yourself.
[25:31] He also used Facebook ads with a video and a custom audience.
[31:28] Andrew also created a dating toolkit for a bonus that people would opt in to get to help create a list and get people in the funnel. He also used his marketing launch content as bonus videos.
[33:37] It’s important to dedicate the right amount of time to this. It takes a lot of time and energy to plan and execute a book launch.
[33:37] It’s important to dedicate the right amount of time to this. It takes a lot of time and energy to plan and execute a book launch.
[44:01] Andrew learned a lot of marketing and launch lessons from Chandler which allowed him to publish on time and have a great launch. Everyone should write a book.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Upwork (formerly elance)
Random Name Picker
Dating Playbook For Men Trailer
How to Create an Amazon Super URL
Knowledge For Men
The Dating Playbook For Men
Books by Andrew Ferebee
Andrew Ferebee on LinkedIn
Andrew on Twitter @AndrewFerebee
Andrew on Instagram
Knowledge For Men Podcast

How to Boost Your Writing Productivity and Write Your Book

How to Boost Your Writing Productivity and Write Your Book

When it comes to writing a book, we need three things; time, imagination, and a system to be productive during our peak moments of the day. But to get more done in less time, you have to know what is getting in the way of your most productive blocks of time. Are you trying to work in an environment that is cluttered, noisy, and constantly screaming for your attention? Do you set daily word goals and fail to meet them? Is writing an activity you do when everything else is finished?

If yes, then you need to read the rest of this post. I’ll show you how to get your book written without giving up large amounts of time and leaving you stressed with nothing to show for it.

If you are one of those writers that wants more time to be creative, get more written, and create a productivity funnel that gets the work done on time, you are in the right place.

Identify Your Best Hours of Writing Productivity

Your productive hours should be protected. You MUST know when you are operating at your best and then, schedule your writing into this time. You have to schedule it in every day, just like you would an important meeting that you can’t miss.

This comes down to your personal schedule, and for many, a preference. Many people wake up early and are most productive in the day. This won’t work if you have odd working hours [meaning anything out of the 9-5], so determine the time of day that you are most alert, energetic and creative. This is the time you will block off for writing. This is your peak moment of writing productivity.

Remember: “What gets scheduled gets done.”

In other words, if you schedule your writing time for one hour a day targeting 1000 words each session, you get your book finished in 30 days or less.

Writing productivity isn’t difficult. The problem isn’t that we don’t have the time to write; the issue lies in our inability to make writing a priority. To do this, we have to schedule it in like anything else. Being a productive writer is about protecting your time. That can be hard to do when you have so many time villains knocking on your door wanting to come in and play.

Now, here is a question for you: “How committed are you to writing a book?” on a scale of one to ten, ask yourself if you are all in for getting this done. If the answer is yes, then read on and you will have the strategies needed to be a productive writer that gets those words written.

In this post, I’ll share with you the strategies you can implement to get your book written without forcing yourself to give up the things you love. Yes, you can still enjoy Netflix and surf on Facebook, but before that, we have to set ourselves up for success.

The Struggle With Distractions

You can probably relate to this scenario.

You have scheduled the ideal writing time to start on your book. It could be early in the morning or late at night when everyone in your home has gone to bed. You show up at your keyboard, outline in hand, ready to get those words out of your head and down on paper.

But then something happens. Bing. Notification. You just got an email.

You decide to take a moment to check it out. What could that hurt? Seeing that it is an urgent message, you decide to reply. That takes ten minutes. Back to your writing. You are ready to get started again.

Ping.

Again.

Facebook notification. Quick check. No harm done. Someone liked your recent post. Comments were made. You feel your heart quickening. Someone likes what you wrote. Now twenty minutes is gone.

You now have less then 30 minutes for getting your writing done.

Ping. Again. Check. 30 Minutes gone.

Game over. Your one hour writing window just closed.

If this drama sounds like you, your case is not unusual. In the age of social media, email, notifications, and every other form of digital media that is wrapped up in shiny armor to attract users, we all fall into the trap of instant urgency. When it comes to time management, that is right out the window when it comes to our need to feed the instant gratification addiction.

But dealing with the online digital warfare is not the only obstacle. Many writers, either just starting out or who write for a living, have to navigate around family obligations, work schedules, and the multiple barrage of ‘life events’ that hold us back from working on our writing.

I know what it is like to waste time drifting down the river of endless distractions, feeling as if your limited time to write is being stolen from you every time you sit down to get to work. If you follow the strategies and key suggestion in this post, not only will you get your book written in 30 days but, you will create the productive habit of daily writing. But this isn’t just about being a productive typist. We will look at the tools to simplify and organize your work. You will be able to cancel out the time thieves coming for your valuable time over and over again.

Distractions are everywhere. We can’t avoid them, but we can limit the amount of influence they have in our lives. The good news is, you can control most of the devices and systems set up to pull you into a time-suck oblivion.

Let’s start with one of my favorite [and simple] strategies for getting writing done…

The ‘Block Your Time’ Strategy for Writing Productivity

“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time.”

— Stephen King

You can only be productive if you are committed to a course of action for finishing your project. When asked, “How do you write so many books?” Stephen King replied: “One word at a time.” Sounds too simple but, when we narrow it down, there is no other way.

Here is what you do: Block in your time.

Set up a 30-minute block of time to write. I would recommend not using your phone for this. I used to do that and what happened is, I continuously checked it for messages. If I had one, I got sucked into responding. So the first thing is, phone off. Non-negotiable. You might think you need it for using some fancy app but actually, people have been writing and publishing books for thousands of years. They had nothing but basic tools. We can do the same.

Buy an alarm clock. Use your watch. Whatever it takes, but use something not connected to the Net. isolate your writing time at all costs. Now, you might not be using the Wordstar 4.0 like George R.R. Martin, and that is okay, you don’t have to.

So the next step is to disengage from the internet. Turn off the wifi. Pull out the hardline. Disconnect from that monster. You can still write your book offline. Later I’ll introduce you to my favorite distraction free apps.

You might be asking, “But what if I need to research or check something while I am writing?”

There will be no research while writing. You are writing one word at a time until you hit 1000 words. Research comes later. Make a notation in your book that you have to check something. Then, when you have several items that need to be researched, block in a time for that.

I know what you are thinking. This system is too easy, it can’t work. There must be a trick. The only trick is to isolate yourself for a very limited time from the world that is robbing you of your one precious resource: Time. Yes, it is being taken from you, and now, you are claiming it back. That’s it.

Don’t allow anything to dictate your schedule during this valuable block of time. Treat it like real estate. Mark it into your calendar. Be diligent with this habit and you will stop the excuses for why you didn’t get your work done today.

The Best Strategies of 2 Influential Writers: Wordstar 4.0 vs. Don’t Break the Chain

in the mega-popular fantasy series Game of Thrones, bestselling author George R.R. Martin has sold over 60 million books published in 47 languages. His latest book A Dance With Dragons averages around 1040 pages. In fact, all of his books combined are nearly two million words in length. How does he write so much material?

George R.R. Martin and Wordstar 4.0

First of all, George doesn’t use the same computer for writing that he does for checking email or web surfing. He isn’t using Scrivener or Google Docs, either. How did one of the best selling authors of the past two decades manage to write 5 mega-bestselling books with a word count close to two million words?

For writing, George R.R. Martin is using an ancient system known as Wordstar 4.0, an old DOS machine that, for all intensive purposes is good for just one thing: writing. George isn’t connected to social media, he doesn’t use distraction free apps, and he works on a machine that doesn’t send email.

George R.R. Martin has created an environment that, instead of trying to manage his writing productivity and work around the various distractions that are pulling many off course, simply set himself up with a system that eliminates the need to worry about pings and notifications. He writes in isolation an he gets the work done.

So, this brings us to the question: How much technology do I need to write? How many apps must I download? What is the best environment I need to create to stay focused and get the work done?

But first of all, let’s be honest with ourselves. Most people will not be buying a Wordstar 4.0 even if it is the ultimate solution to writing massive amount of material. So, how do we manage our day to day productivity without isolating ourselves totally from the internet?

The Best Apps for Distraction Free Writing

We know that George R.R. Martin uses an old system for isolating his writing time, and while that works for him, it isn’t something most people can do. So, we need to work from a platform that can help us to isolate from the distractions that threaten to steal our time and focus.

Here are 7 of the best productivity tools you can use to boost your word count and stay focused on the work. These apps, by stripping down the word processor to its bare essentials, puts your eyes on the screen and focus on the words, instead of chasing ‘digital rabbits’ leading nowhere.

3 Distraction-Free Writing Apps

The Hemingway Editor is a simple word processor that is ideal with a distraction-free place to compose. Conveniently placed at the top of the screen are the formatting tools for HTML. The real advantage to this app is the editor function displayed on the right side of the program. It provides you with a readability score and a breakdown of the grammar structures in the composition.

Byword for Mac is a markdown app for writing in plain text. It works best for writing blog posts, writing a short story or daily journaling. The easy-to-use format menu has options for lists, quote level, and paragraph indents. Another solid feature is you can preview your documents in app, export to HTML, PDF, rich text, or publish directly to Medium, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Evernote.

Trello is a cork-board like structure that is excellent at organizing ideas and outlining your book. Its main function isn’t for writing a book but rather, plan out the chapters or scenes of your novel.

Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break the Chain” Strategy

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most successful comedians of all time. The Seinfeld show that ran from 1989 to 1998 has earned a whopping 3.1 billion dollars to date. There is no arguing that the show was one of the most watched shows on television. In fact, it was so popular in its final season that Seinfeld was offered $110 million for a tenth season. Seinfeld turned it down.

One of the key strategies to Jerry Seinfeld’s success can be niched down to a simple productivity habit. By repeating this habit consistently he was able to come up with the material that made him one of the top comedians in the industry. Seinfeld called it the “Don’t Break the Chain” strategy.

Jerry used a calendar system to write his jokes everyday. He said that the best way to be a better comic was to write every day. Well, the best way for you to become a better writer [and publish books] is to write every day.

This is how it works. Buy a big wall calendar with the whole year on it. If you can’t find one, buy a large monthly calendar. Anything is better than nothing. Get a big red marker. Hang the calendar up in a place where you will see it.

Schedule your writing blocks and, for every day that you meet your daily word count, with your marker put an X on the calendar for that day. The idea is to not break the chain. This builds the daily writing habit and, if you continue this for thirty days without breaking the chain, you have just completed your book.

If you skip a day, be sure to take action the next day. Too many misses feeds into procrastination. By building this habit consistently over the long-term, how many words could you write in a week? A month? How about the year?

Creating a Clutter Free Writing Environment

How about the environment you are working in? If you are surrounded by clutter — loose papers, stationery supplies scattered about, or clothes laying around — you are working in an environment that is begging for your attention. Your writing environment has a big impact on how your emotional state. If you are living in a clutter free zone, you have less to focus on. Surround yourself with stuff and every time you look at it, you feel stressed.

Part of being a productive writer is identifying the areas in our mental and physical spaces that is pulling our attention away from the habit of writing. How do we take care of the clutter that has piled its way into our lives? Here are 4 simple strategies to get working on right away.

Within a week you’ll have a clutter free space, or, at the very least, you won’t be fighting for space with the things that belong filed away, either in a box or a closet.

Decide what to keep. When it comes to decluttering, the difficulty lies in what to keep and what to throw away. For this you will need two boxes. Then, go through the room and, when you come to an object, make a decision: keep it or toss it. Mark one box “Keepers” and the other “Toss it.” You either need it or you don’t.

Then, with the box of keepers, go through your stuff again and decide if you need it now or later? If the answer is later, it gets boxed up and put away. Don’t leave it hanging around where it becomes a distraction.

This could be for notebooks you aren’t using now, DVDs that you don’t plan to watch anytime soon, or things that you consider valuable but can be stored away safely for when you need it.

For items that are old, broken, or simply are no longer being used, you can consider the best way to remove them from your space.

Living clutter free will not only make you feel better mentally but, you’ll have a stronger sense of focus and be less anxious surrounded by non-essentials.

5 Daily Practical Productivity Tips

It is the little habits that steal away our time. These are so natural to our routine that most of them go unnoticed. By working to eliminate these mini habits from our system, we can give back the time that is taken from else.

It is time to stop giving up your time to lesser habits.

  1. Check email after writing. One of the worst habits that I struggled to break was checking email first thing in the morning, just before I was committed to start writing. This trapped me into spending the morning responding right away to people who could have waited a couple hours for a response. Action: schedule your email time, like you do your writing time. Responding to mail is a massive time waster in many cases. Keep your responses short and to the point when you can.
  2. Internet Off. This is simple. You either turn off your Wifi, or you unplug from the hard line. There is nothing to negotiate here.
  3. Set your word count and schedule accordingly. If you are targeting 1000 words a day, set up your time block to cover the amount of time needed to hit your target. If you can write 500 words in 30 minutes, do two time blocks of 30 minutes each with a short 5 minute break in between if needed.
  4. Boost your energy. There is more to writing than just showing up and sitting down at a computer. If you are tired, fatigued, or lacking mental stimulus, you’ll struggle to start the words flowing. Before you write, spend ten minutes: 1. Reading a passage from a good book. Reading stimulates your mind and gets you thinking about your topic. 2. Brief exercise session. This can be 5 minutes stretching, push ups, or jump rope. There are a lot of at-home exercises you can do without a gym. Boost your energy by stimulating your mind and body before writing.
  5. Visualize the completed draft of your book. Visual imagery is a powerful tool that you can implement to achieve any goal and turn a dream into reality. When it comes to book writing, you can put yourself into a positive, productive state by visualizing yourself actually sitting down and writing. Take it a step further and imagine what it would be like showing up at a book fair or a signing of your latest book. Then, start to work backwards and create all of the steps needed to take you there.

Wrapping It Up

Let’s quickly recap the action plan for becoming a productive writer.

  1. Declutter your working environment. This reduces stress and increases focus. You will get more writing done and increase your creative energy.
  2. Schedule in your writing time with time blocking. Set a timer for 30 minutes and for this time, focus only on your writing.
  3. Turn off the internet and all digital distractions during this time. Protect your time block.
  4. Challenge the Don’t Break the Chain strategy. Buy a wall calendar and for every day you hit your word count, mark it down.
  5. Write with a distraction free app. These apps are designed to get you focused on one thing: Writing. Try out one of the apps and increase your writing output right away.
  6. Follow the daily productivity habits and visualize the action steps for getting your book done.
SPS 028: Getting Your First 10,000 Readers with Nick Stephenson

SPS 028: Getting Your First 10,000 Readers with Nick Stephenson

Today, I am talking with Nick Stephenson. Nick is a bestselling author of fiction and nonfiction. Plus, he teaches new authors how to find their first 10,000 readers. Nick is a good friend of mine, and when we talk we geek out on things like marketing and audience building. We are always on Skype sharing our best stuff with each other. So I thought I should have him on the show to share these things that he does so well.

Nick tells the story of how he never intended to be writer, but he knew he wanted to do something creative on his own terms. When Kindle books and self-publishing came along he thought it was a great opportunity to write a book. Even though his first book didn’t start out selling a lot, he was so encouraged that he wrote more books and even started teaching others to do the same. Nick says that if he can do it anyone can, and he shares a lot of amazing information today.

You can find Nick here:
Your First 10,000 Readers
Nick Stephenson’s Books
Nick Stephenson on Facebook
Nick Stephenson on Twitter @Nick_Stephenson

Show Notes
[01:42] Nick shares how he got started. Nick always wanted to do something creative on his own. Self-publishing on Amazon came along at the perfect time for Nick. The thought of writing for a living sounded really interesting to Nick.
[03:48] How Kindle books allow people to control their own output and the amount of work they do.
[04:22] The first month Nicks first book sold $200.00 then $500.00 the second month and then it trailed off. He was still so excited that strangers were buying his book. That he was inspired to write 5 more and then he started teaching authors how to write and market their books.
[05:47] How Nick built everything up from nothing. Working hard and working smart and knowing what to do next is the key.
[06:16] It took two years after publishing his first book until Nick was able to make a full-time limit on things.
[07:16] How important it is to have a marketing plan to actually get eyes on your books.
[08:01] Nick wanted to learn marketing and started following other successful publishers and adapted their approach. There really are no new ideas. Marketing has been around for a hundred years.
[10:37] It took Nick a year to figure out how to get traffic and readers. There is no shortage of readers in the world, you either have to pay for it or find it.
[11:42] Being smart and working for traffic. Nick tried Twitter and Facebook and then decided to go direct to readers. The huge database strategy worked for Bookbub, so Nick decided to do the same thing and build a list.
[12:56] When Nick’s focus was building an email list he realized he could send out an email and sell books.
[14:29] He started putting an email signup in his books. You have to give something to people in return for an email. His reader magnet was a free novella and it wasn’t called a newsletter it was called a reader’s group.
[18:15] He also used permafree books and giveaways to grow his list and promote his books. With the direct contact, you can run a promotion anytime you want.
[22:18] There were ups and downs, but the overall trend was upward.
[23:22] He uses a permafree book and cycles through free book promotions with his other books.
[24:05] He also did free promotions on Kobo and Smashwords and other booksellers.
[25:18] Free books are his top method. Amazon is still the biggest platform. Giveaways are another method he used. The last thing he has been doing is Facebook ads.
[28:34] There is a much larger audience with fiction. Make sure you use custom audiences and tracking pixels for Facebook ads.
[30:01] Nick has been having good success combining Facebook ads and book bundles.
[31:16] Build up your Facebook ads slowly over time, but keep an eye on your stats. Nick uses an eye-catching image and some text.
[33:21] With Facebook you can drill down the level of targeting.
[34:07] People on Nick’s list have read his books, so they must like thrillers which is what Nick sales. His first emails are friendly warm-up emails. Then he sends links to his books.
[37:20] Nick makes a small amount with his Amazon affiliate links which also helps with tracking.
[38:39] Nick learned all of the technical stuff from scratch. You can learn it on your own or find someone to do it for you or take a course.
[40:26] Don’t use technology as an excuse for not doing something that you want to do.
[42:13] Nick and Chandler both believe in paying people to help shorten your learning curve.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Bookbub
Your First 10,000 Readers
Nick Stephenson’s Books
Nick Stephenson on Facebook
Nick Stephenson on Twitter @Nick_Stephenson

SPS 027: How to Write a Timeless Book that Sells 500,000 Copies with Josh Shipp

SPS 027: How to Write a Timeless Book that Sells 500,000 Copies with Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp is an author, global youth empowerment expert, and an acclaimed speaker. He is a former at risk foster kid turned youth advocate. He is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his groundbreaking work with teens. He is also the author of the national bestseller “The Teens Guide to World Domination”, and was listed on Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list.

Today, Josh shares a little about his background and how he started speaking. Along with why he decided to write a book. He shares the mistakes that he made during his first attempt at writing, and how his writing process is now more like an assembly line that incorporates a writing partner and insight from a focus group. He shares inspiration for life, writing, and more.  Josh is a good friend of mine and a great guy. My mom is even a fan of his.

You can find Josh here:
Josh Shipp Website
Josh on Facebook
Josh on Twitter @JoshShipp
Josh on YouTube
Books by Josh Shipp
The Teens Guide to World Domination

Show Notes
[01:51] Josh was giving speeches when he was a teen. He had been kicked out of several foster homes and experienced abuse and neglect, but he also had a chip on his shoulder. With counseling, things started slowly turning around for him, and he started speaking about it.
[02:35] He became an unintentional success story and started speaking at high schools.
[03:18] The only product Josh had to sell was himself and his speeches. He needed a book to establish himself. Plus, it would help him leave his message behind for people to use.
[04:39] Josh tried going into isolation to write his book. He tried it, but it wasn’t for him.
[05:48] Having personal guilt over a preconceived idea of how he should write. Now, he thinks of his books as an assembly line. Every writer needs to find what works for them.
[06:36] Josh has a writing buddy that he partners with. They get together and decide what the chapters will be about. Josh decides the three things that need to be said. Josh’s partner takes the big picture and starts writing about the idea and concept. Josh is a better visionary and editor. He edits and gives notes. Then after a back and forth, they give the book to a focus group.
[09:07] They share small parts of the book with the focus group and ask how it can be 10% better. This process has been a game changer.
[11:29] How only about a 5th of the people in the focus group would reply, so he made sure he had about 75 people in the group.
[12:55] This writing process plays to Josh’s strengths which makes writing something that he can do repeatedly.
[14:41] Josh doesn’t recruit people who do what he does in his focus group. He wants to focus on the actual readers.
[16:02] Beginning with the reader in mind.
[18:43] A trick Josh would use was reading Amazon 3 star reviews in his category to find a gap in his space.
[20:29] Josh’s platform can move a good number of books, but the best way to sell a book is to create an outstanding book.
[22:28] How the content of the book needs to be evergreen and timeless.
[24:21] Creating a book that is helpful and prescriptive.
[26:00] Committing long term to building a platform for an outstanding prescriptive book.
[27:30] Have your Amazon page read as a persuasive sales page. Have a headline about the reader and testimonials and social proof in a scannable format that uses bullet points. Reviews are also important.
[31:26] How the book has helped Josh on the backend. He emphasizes the importance of the book having lasting substance. He then puts URLs in the book, so he can continue the conversation with readers. He can capture their information and sell to them in the future.
[34:05] Capture information and survey those readers to get ideas about creating further courses and information for backend creation. You can also segment personas.
[37:19] Don’t think that there is something broken in you, and things are only difficult for you. It’s easy to question yourself in difficult moments. Keep going and write that book.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Stephen Covey
Josh Shipp Website
Josh on Facebook
Josh on Twitter @JoshShipp
Josh on YouTube
Books by Josh Shipp
The Teens Guide to World Domination

SPS 026: How I Built the Largest Success Training Company in the World Using My Book with T. Harv Eker

SPS 026: How I Built the Largest Success Training Company in the World Using My Book with T. Harv Eker

Joining me today is T. Harv Eker. After 14 years of struggle, T. Harv has cracked the code and went from zero to millionaire in only 2 ½ years and has gone on to become a multimillionaire. During his years of hardship, Eker vowed that should he ever get rich he would help others do the same. He kept his promise and went on to build one of the largest success training companies in the world. He also shocked the publishing world with his book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. He hit number one on the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today bestseller list the first week of release. The book has now been translated into 42 different languages. T. Harv is considered one of the most exciting teachers on the planet and is known for his tough love style. We talk about why T. Harv decided to write his book and how it has been a driver for his business and his life.  

You can find T. Harv here:
Harv Eker
Harv Eker on Facebook
Harv Eker on Twitter @T_Harv_Eker
Books by T. Harv Eker
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Speedwealth

Show Notes
[01:49] T. Harv decided to write the book for credibility and marketing. Once you have written a book, you become a teacher and an expert.
[02:45] The number one reason people will buy anything is trust. Publishing a book shows that you are an expert.
[03:46] T. Harv was able to use his Millionaire Mind Intensive training as the basis for his book.
[04:59] How Jack Canfield suggested T. Harv get in touch with his book agent.
[06:05] T. Harv got a million dollar advance up front.
[06:38] Will this book sell is a key factor in getting a publisher.
[07:27] How T. Harv crossed off the editor’s edits because he wanted his message to sound how he speaks.
[07:59] The reason his book went number one was preselling.
[08:55] To get on the bestseller lists your books need to be sold in a big clump in advance.
[10:05] He used his live training and a launch to his own database and joint venture partners. And brick and mortar bookstore channels. Spreading the sales out through promoting the book through different bookstores.
[13:28] The key to T. Harv’s success was preselling his book with a large list.
[13:59] Seminars was the biggest driver for his large database.
[16:20] How T. Harv tested his material out on a group of people. This research was the best move of his life. He learned so much about how not to explain things. Test your material first and express it in a way where it really resonates with people.
[18:29] How hardcopy books are permanent, and you want to express things in the best way possible. Test it out.
[20:52] T. Harv learned what to do by experimenting with several businesses that didn’t work. Then he learned how wealthy people think.
[22:11] He put principles that already work out there. The first thing you need to do is build a platform.
[24:18] The importance of building a list and having joint venture partners. Building your list with a blog or however you communicate with people.
[25:00] Using a book to get an introduction. If the book isn’t great, people won’t want to go to the next step.
[29:01] The importance of putting a part of your best stuff in your book and then using it as an intro to an offer to learn more of your best stuff.
[30:30] Have your backend in place before you launch your book. The headaches are in the front end, but the money is in the backend.
[33:35] The book enabled T. Harv to reach businesses that he never thought would come to him including PBS and he made an infomercial.
[35:35] How passion is critical and using your own voice. Marketing and writing with conviction.
[37:41] If you want to make a lot of money don’t focus on money. Focus on solving a problem for a lot of people.
[38:50] How fear is what holds people back. Fear is the anticipation of pain. Worry about the future.
[40:49] Being afraid and still acting. Thank you for sharing when you have an unsupportive thought.
[42:47] Make sure you have a platform, backend, and some valuable bonuses to give away.
[44:19] Before you write talk, teach and blog to know if your topic is good. Write the way you speak. Your book has got to be different. Don’t be like everyone else. What is unique about your book?
[46:51] Be timely to be featured in media.
[47:36] Credibility comes with your book being at the top of the list, but don’t sign your life away with a publisher.

Links and Resources:
Harv Eker
Harv Eker on Facebook
Harv Eker on Twitter @T_Harv_Eker
Books by T. Harv Eker
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Speedwealth
Spsfreetraining.com
SPSFreeBook.com
Millionaire Mind Intensive
Jack Canfield
Wealth Without Risk
Rich Dad Poor Dad

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

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
Wrecked
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
Wrecked
The Art of Work
Spsfreetraining.com
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

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:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
The Power of Habit
Eileen Wilder Website
The Brave Body Method
Eileen on YouTube
Eileen on Twitter @eileenwild
Eileen’s Facebook Page

How to Get Amazon Reviews For Your Book: Top Strategies for Targeting Quality Reviewers

How to Get Amazon Reviews For Your Book: Top Strategies for Targeting Quality Reviewers

As a self-published author, getting Amazon reviews for your book is the hardest part of any book launch. After writing, publishing, and launching your book, all of it can be for nothing if you fail to get a healthy volume of Amazon reviews to drive traffic and sales towards your book.

But where do we start to get Amazon reviews? Who do we ask? How many people should we have on our launch team to guarantee a certain number of reviews for setting up promotional sites? How many reviews is enough?

In this post, I am going to take you through the step-by-step process for getting loads of Amazon reviews on your next book launch and, to continue to get reviews from readers and organic traffic. We will look at the ways to get legitimate Amazon reviews for your book so that you can reap the benefits of turning your book into a thriving business.

Amazon Reviews and the Review Process

When you publish a book, there are essentially 6 things that score at making your book a bestseller.

They are:

  1. A killer book cover
  2. An irresistible book title
  3. An amazing book description
  4. Stealthy keywords
  5. Targeted book categories

And…

  1. Book Reviews

When Amazon ranks your book, the ranking is based on the volume of downloads your book gets and, the amount of reviews stacked on the book’s review page . Amazon’s system is designed to take notice of books that are getting steady traction when reviews get posted.

This is why it is critical that, when you launch your book you set everything up to get as many reviews as possible to get momentum going, increase organic traffic, and drive your rankings in the search engines. This means a higher percentage of people writing reviews for your book, not just at launch but for months [and years] down the road.

The bottom line is, reviews carry big weight in the form of social proof that can drive your book to a bestseller and continue to bring in healthy passive income every month.

Why do reviews matter?

  1. The more reviews you get, the more visibility your book gets. This means more sales and potential organic reviews.
  2. You create a stronger relationship with your readers.
  3. A boatload of reviews adds credibility to your book and brand.

Book reviews for your book on Amazon are one of the defining factors that determine if a potential reader will click the BUY NOW button…or not. In fact, if your book has less than 10 reviews, there is a strong chance that your book will get passed over. People want validation before purchasing, and the best way to make that decision is on the front of the product page…reviews.

Amazon Reviewer Guidelines

You can find everything you need to know about posting reviews on Amazon right here under the Community Guidelines. Amazon has tightened the ropes on reviews and as an author, you have to be aware of the tactics that are prohibited.

Here is what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Pay someone to leave a review. This not only goes against Amazon policy but, it could get your book removed from the shelf and your account banned.
  2.  Offer a free ‘gift’ in exchange for a review. No gifts allowed. This is still considered payment for a review.
  3. Join Facebook communities offering book review swaps. These sites are bad news. Amazon prohibits review swapping and is considered gaming the system. The Amazon algorithm can easily trace reviews back to these sources.
  4. Offer an Amazon gift card after a review has been published. It works like this: “You download the book and leave a review, and I will send you a gift card.” Again, this is against policy and is considered paying for a review.
  5. Leave a review for another author, and then contact that person requesting they leave a review in return. This would be a form blackmail or trapping the other author into guilt. But this doesn’t work and if you receive any such email, inform the other author that you don’t work that way. I did this once and they just removed the review.

Verified or Unverified Book Reviews

There are two kinds of Amazon reviews: verified and unverified. What is the difference?

According to Amazon:

An “Amazon Verified Purchase” review means we’ve verified that the person writing the review purchased the product at Amazon and didn’t receive the product at a deep discount.

Amazon reviews that are not marked “Amazon Verified Purchase” are valuable as well, but we either can’t confirm that the product was purchased at Amazon or the customer did not pay a price available to most Amazon shoppers.

Verified reviews are favorable and It is social proof that the reader did in fact buy the book and has potentially read through it before posting a review. A verified review shows up as a yellow banner that says “Verified Purchase.”

For unverified reviews, in most cases the reviewer received an advance copy of the book, and was possibly on a launch team to support the book’s release. While this is still a legit practice for garnering reviews for your book, if the majority of reviews are non-verified this could affect your potential customer’s decision to buy or not.

Strategies for Scoring a Boatload of Reviews

There are many ways to get reviews and, hunting for reviewers to review your book is a time consuming process. You could waste precious time chasing bad leads and end up with nothing for your effort. So where do you get reviews without spending hordes of time?

No matter how you do it, remember that it isn’t just about quantity you want but quality as well. While we can’t control what reviewers will say about our work, we can stay focused on writing great content that adds value in order to increase our chances of getting positive reviews.

To get Amazon reviews for your next book launch, or to add reviews to an existing book, consider taking action on these following strategies:

1. The Launch Team [Advance Review team]

There are many ways to hunt down reviewers for your book. As we have seen you can contact the top reviewers, target free book review sites, or reach out to book bloggers. These methods, while they may get you a handful of reviews, is time intensive and a lot of work.

I have found, after running over two dozen book launches, that the most effective way to get reviews fast on launch is through setting up a launch team. These are the people who have agreed to read your book in advance, and follow up with a review immediately after the book is live.

When it comes to building a launch team, it is about building relationships. This is why, in order to run an effective launch team, you should focus on the relationship with your early-bird reviewers.

Here is a step-by-step process for organizing your team:

Step-by-Step Process for Setting Up a Launch Team

  1. Start building your relationships early. Launch teams don’t just happen. They take work, months of outreaching, and asking the right people if they want to help launch your book when the time is right. You can generate interest by posting snippets of the book on Social media, sharing chapters of your work with your list, and promoting your cover to people.

Share your content and advertise your brand. Communicate with people in person and through online channels about your writing. Keep in mind the purpose for this is to make genuine relationships with people and not to just add them to your launch.

  1. Create your list of potential reviewers. As you build these relationships with your fanbase, start making a list of people who express interest in joining your launch. If you have multiple books and have been through the publishing process already, take note of the readers who have left reviews already.

Contact them closer towards launch of your next book to get them on board. Set up an excel spreadsheet and keep track of the names of people who sign up.

Action Step: Contact people directly and invite them to the launch team. Keep track of early-bird reviewers in excel.

  1. Set up an email template through your email server. Add everyone to the list. If you aren’t using an email server yet you can check out Mailchimp, Convert Kit or Mailerlite. Make it as easy as possible so you aren’t wasting time searching for contact information.

Send out a welcome email with a link to your book in PDF or/and Mobi form. You can create a folder in Dropbox and just include the link to a shared folder. Make it easy for them to access the material.

Action Step: Import your list of emails onto an email server list.

  1. Send out the Welcome email. Ideally you want to send out your book at least two weeks before launch. This gives people enough time to read it through. In the welcome email I include details for the launch date and any other expectations. At this stage the book isn’t live yet so you will send another email on that day with the link.

For the book delivery, you can upload a PDF version as well as a Mobi version of the book. To create a MOBI, PDF or EPUB file you can check out the Calibre ebook management software. After you have all the files ready, you can create a shared folder in Dropbox and share the link with your team.

If any top reviewers agreed to leave a review, you absolutely want to message them to follow up.

Action Step: Create a welcome email template. Send out your welcome message to the team. Include a link to your book content.

  1. Send out your ‘Take Action’ email on launch day. Your book is live and it is time for people to step up. Contact the team on launch day as soon as the book is live. After hitting publish it should take 12-24 hours for Amazon to get it posted. In the email, include a link to your book. More specifically, a link to the review page so that team members can go straight to the page with one click.
  2. Day 3: Reminder email. I wait 3 days and send out a reminder email. In this email I thank everyone who has left a review, and thank people in advance who are still working on the book and haven’t posted yet.
  3. Final Call: This is the last email I will send out. Similar to the previous email, reminding people the book is live and is ready for a review whenever you are. You can remind your team that book is at a special discounted price if you are launching it at 0.99 or it’s free.
  4. Contact Your List: If you have a list, this is gold for getting paid downloads and possible reviews. You should contact your list on the first day the book is live and let people know that the book has just launched. Then, several days later, email them again asking if they had a chance to get into the material. You could add something of value here just to show subscribers how much you value their support. This is the email where I include a ‘leave a review’ invite.

It reads like this:

Hi there…

I have a quick favor to ask you…  

Amazon uses reviews to rank books AND many readers evaluate the quality of a title based solely on this feedback from others.

To put it simply:

Reviews are very important to an author like me!

So, if you’ve enjoyed [Book title here] ,or even if you’re still working through it, could you take a minute or two to leave a review? Even a sentence or two about what you like really helps! 🙂

Here’s a link of where you can leave a review:

[My Book Title] Book Review

I really appreciate you taking the time to check out the book and I look forward to seeing any feedback you may have in the review section.

That is it!

These are the steps I use to communicate with my launch team. Generally speaking, if you want 100 reviews for your book, you should aim for at least 200 people. That is a lot of emails but, what I have experienced is that, on average, you are batting a 50% success rate. What happens to those other 50% who don’t review?

They…

  1. Didn’t like the book.
  2. Forgot to review altogether.
  3. Didn’t read the book.
  4. Couldn’t be bothered to review.

If you can get 30+ reviews on launch after one week you are looking very good. This is enough to get momentum moving and the Amazon algorithm will see that your book is doing well.

2. Contact Amazon Top Reviewers

There is a list of top 1000 reviewers on Amazon. These people review everything, although certain reviewers target books specifically. If you can get an Amazon Top Reviewer to look at your book, this is well worth it. Check out the Amazon Top Customer Reviewers list. This is  time consuming process but, if you can get 2-3 reviewers to agree to a book review, you’re all set.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Go into the reviewers profile and check the books they have reviewed. To be specific, you want to check for books in your genre. If you wrote a book on weight loss and the reviewer has written most of their reviews for romance novels, it’s a good indication what they favor. Target the reviewers interested in your topic.
  2. Check for contact information. Due to the large volume of spam and requests for reviews, most top reviewers have removed their personal email. If they have a website set up, you can send a direct email to request a review.
  3. Wait for a reply. Most reviewers, from my own experience, did not reply. I would recommend targeting 20 reviewers and wait one week. You can then resend the request again.

This is a time consuming process but, if you get a top reviewer to agree to a review, keep that person’s contact information in an excel file. Then, when you launch your next book, you can reach out to them again and again.

3. Book Review Sites

There are a number of sites out there that will find reviewers for your book. This is not the same as buying reviews for your book which, I’ll restate again, goes against Amazon’s review policy and should be avoided. In fact, Amazon has taken action against over 1000 sites on Fiverr that were selling fake review services. Yes, avoid.

Review services however can speed up the process and find reviewers for your book. One of my favorites is BookRazor. It is a paid site but they promote a system of honest reviewers for your book by providing a contact list of potential readers.

There are many other sites you can check out as well, and many of them are free while some are paid:

Kindle Book Review

Rainbow Book Reviews

KO’s Stuffed Shelf

The Kindle Book Review

4. Include a Kindle Book Review Request Page

Here is a tactic that works well. Did you know that you can include insert a request in your book for readers to leave a review? It’s a great way to invite people to review your book. I have a page at the back of my books that looks like this:

What Did You Think of [Your Book Title Here]?

First of all, thank you for purchasing this book [Your Book Title Here]. I know you could have picked any number of books to read, but you picked this book and for that I am extremely grateful.

I hope that it added at value and quality to your everyday life. If so, it would be really nice if you could share this book with your friends and family by posting to Facebook and Twitter.

If you enjoyed this book and found some benefit in reading this, I’d like to hear from you and hope that you could take some time to post a review on Amazon. Your feedback and support will help this author to greatly improve his writing craft for future projects and make this book even better.

You can follow this link to [Book link here] now.

I want you, the reader, to know that your review is very important and so, if you’d like to leave a review, all you have to do is click here and away you go. I wish you all the best in your future success!

When you do this, you want to have a link directing customers right back to the review page on Amazon. Make it so easy for them that it requires as little effort as possible. Many authors will include a cute ‘cat photo’ or even pictures of their kids begging asking for a review. This strategy can work well if you sell a large volume of books during the initial launch phase. But remember it takes readers time to go through your book and so, if you don’t see the reviews appear in the first week, you might get them trickling in weeks or even months later.

4. Relaunch Your Book

You can relaunch your book if book sales drop and the reviews stop coming in. When you relaunch your book, you can put together a new launch team, and even add a new chapter to the book to generate a renewed interest in your book.

I have tried this strategy several times in the past year and, by relaunching the book, adding new value to the content, I put together another small launch team of 30-40 people. This brought in another 20+ reviews for a book that was suffering from lack of sales and poor rankings. It happens, so we have to stay on top of keeping the book active.

Dealing With Negative Reviews

Getting positive reviews on your book is a great feeling. In a perfect world, we all want to have just the good stuff when it comes to our review platform. But alas, there will always be that dissatisfied reader that was expecting something much different than what your book was offering. Readers will leave a negative review for various reasons, and in most cases, there is nothing we can do.

But first of all, receiving a negative review isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can lend to a book’s credibility. Look at it from a reader’s perspective. If a book has 100 positive 5-star reviews, although the reviews may be legitimate, we know that not every book is perfect. Having a load of positive reviews and nothing that is under three stars could create doubt for the browser, just as having a book with only a handful of reviews turns browsers the other way.

While negative reviews aren’t all bad, there are steps we can take to reduce the amount.

So how can we prevent our book from getting a lot of negative reviews and turning away potential book sales?

Here are four areas to pay attention to:

  1. Book quality: the single biggest reason a book will get panned by negative reviews is poor quality. This is credited to sloppy editing. A book that is not up to the quality expected by readers will get hit with a high amount of bad reviews. Then, it could get pulled off the shelf by Amazon until the author upgrades to better quality. Make sure your book is up the high standards people expect. Always respect your readers.
  2. Inaccurate description of the book: make sure that your book description, title and cover all point towards the theme of the book. If your book is titles “How to become rich in 21 days” and, after reading through the book the reader isn’t rich, well, they bought the book because of the promise you made. So, if reading a book delivers a negative outcome for your audience, someone is going to shout about it in a review.
  3. Your book is a sales pitch for your other products. If there is one thing readers don’t like, it is being hit up with offers and the push to check out other services or products in the book. This could come across as spammy and devalues the content that the readers paid for. While your goal may be to use the book to attract customers for your online business, you want to avoid any sales pitches in the book.

Writing and Submitting a Review

Writing a review for a book you like is a great way to drive potential readers to the title. If you read a great book recently and you want to tell people about it, you can take a few minutes to write up a positive review.

Writing a review is easy. Just go to the book’s front page and, under the heading Customer Reviews, you will see a button for write a customer review. Click on that and you will be taken to a page set up for ‘Your Reviews’ where you can write reviews for your purchases. What you do is:

  1. Select the rating of the book from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the best score.
  2. Write your book description in the box provided. Keep in mind that if you leave this page before submitting your review, you’ll have to start over again. I would recommend writing the review first in Word or Evernote and then copy and paste.
  3. Create a headline for the review.
  4. Hit submit. Your review will go live within a couple of hours, although it could take up to 24 hours.

One point to note here is that, with Amazon’s policy for posting reviews, you have to have an account that has made a purchase of at least $50 using a valid credit or debit card.

Your Checklist for Getting Reviews

  1. Set up a launch team for your book. Send your team a PDF/MOBI file and follow up with email right up until launch. Follow up with several reminders after the launch.
  2. Include a ‘Review Request’ page at the back of your book. Insert the link taking customers directly to the review page. Make it so easy they don’t have to search around for the book on Amazon.
  3. Contact Amazon Top Reviewers. Send a personalized email to each, targeting the people who review books similar to your genre. Wait at least two weeks before following up.
  4. Contact people in your business. This doesn’t include friends and family. Contact professionals in your field who would be willing to read the book with the possibility of leaving an honest review.
  5. Hire a site that specializes in finding honest reviewers for your book. I recommend BookRazor.
  6. Relaunch your book. Add more content, a new book cover, or make it appealing for people to join your relaunch of an existing book. You can relaunch a book as many times as you want.

There are a lot of strategies out there to get reviews for your books, most are legit, and some are not. As an author, make sure you are aware of what Amazon considers to be authentic reviews when it comes to gathering reviews for your next book. Keep review hunting and adding more to your book. This increases value and credibility for your work, boosting sales and making your book stick as a bestseller.

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

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 and 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:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
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
Copyblogger
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

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:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Energy Addict by Jon Gordon
Dr. Weil
Michael Hyatt
AWeber
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
BookScan
Daniel Decker
Higher Level Group
Daniel on Twitter @DanielDecker
Daniel on LinkedIn
Daniel on Instagram

How to 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.

SPS 021: Using Books to Grow My Blog, Following & Online Business with Crystal Paine

SPS 021: Using Books to Grow My Blog, Following & Online Business with Crystal Paine

Today, I am speaking with Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom. Crystal is a wife, mother, speaker, and author of several books. Money Saving Mom is a coupon and blogging website about intentional living, finance, family, and business. Crystal began couponing while living on a strict budget while her husband was in law school. Her couponing and blogging eventually turned into her Money Saving Mom blog which exceeded her expectations and helped allow her and her husband to purchase their home outright.

Being around Crystal is contagious. She is just one of those people who you would trust to let your kids go to her house. I’m excited about this episode as we discuss how Crystal used her books to help promote and grow Money Saving Mom to phenomenal levels. Crystal wrote her first book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget when she was contacted by a publisher. She had a following, but she didn’t really know how to write a book and really didn’t understand the contract.

Her first book deal was a bit rocky because she did everything wrong, but it was a great learning experience. She shares her lessons and inspiration for writing a book the right way. Some of these include having a thorough plan, outline, and proposal. As well as having a ghost editor to help with cohesiveness, accountability, and input. With these experiences learned Crystal is now a book writing machine, and she shares all of this and more in today’s episode.

You can find Crystal here:

Money Saving Mom
Books by Crystal Paine
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
Money Making Mom Book
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode
Show Notes

[01:34] Why Crystal decided to write her first book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.
[04:43] Lessons learned included needing to have a plan before writing a book.
[05:31] On her second book she spent time finding the idea and then focusing on that topic and writing a proposal that outlines every single step.
[07:20] Using ghost editors made the full-length book process much easier.
[08:21] The editing process helped with accountability and organizing and strengthening the text.
[09:54] Having published books gives a form of legitimacy and credibility that opens up opportunities.
[11:18] Going through a publisher is not as strong an income stream as self-publishing.
[11:56] Crystal had to make the time to work on her books because she is extremely busy and it becomes a family endeavor.
[13:01] Getting up early helped with her first books. She wrote her third book from midnight to 4:00 am to find time to focus.
[14:49] Her husband also helped with the homeschooling and allowed Crystal to sleep in.
[16:51] She put together a marketing plan for her first book. Publishers expect you to do the work of marketing.
[18:27] She planned 7-9 months in advance and found hot topics to write on and promote on social media. She thought about the marketing while writing the book.
[19:33] On her third book she was honed in on marketing from the beginning including finding her target audience of overwhelmed moms.
[21:35] She focused on sharing the value the book would give people in the form of articles and creating awareness.
[24:00] Using a launch team also helps get the word out.
[27:58] The book has opened doors and helped Crystal’s confidence grow.
[31:05] Being a real person has been key to Crystal’s success.
[32:18] Crystal used Periscope to promote her 5-day Money Making Mom course.
[37:27] Crystal offered a free 1st-day offer on her courses. This was a great teaser that led to a lot of sales.
[38:13] Her biggest revenue is from email sign ups and blog readers which lead to affiliate sales.  
[38:56] Her books are also in the library which has led to readers.
[39:45] Giving away coupons and freebies from companies fell flat on its face until she gave away a chore planner. Focus on the freebie that will be the biggest incentive for people.
[44:02] Share your own unique gifts and your own unique story.

Links and Resources:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Sell Your Book Like Wildfire
Periscope
Motivated Mom’s Chore Planner
Money Saving Mom
Books by Crystal Paine
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
Money Making Mom Book
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

SPS 020: How to Punch Worry in the Face with Mitch Matthews

SPS 020: How to Punch Worry in the Face with Mitch Matthews

I am really excited about today’s guest. It’s the man, the myth, the legend Mitch Matthews. Mitch is a speaker and entrepreneur and the host of the DREAM. THINK. DO. podcast. Mitch is an inspirational guy. He is a success coach and the author of Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works. He is also the founder of the BIG Dream Gathering where people can get clarity on their dreams and goals and then build a plan that enables them to take massive action towards those goals.

Today, we talk about the worry, fear, and doubt side of writing a book. We talk about how there is a huge disparity of people who want to write a book compared to people  who have written a book. Circumstances sometime have something to do with it, but the main problem is usually mindset. Mitch shares his ideas about how to think better and to create the right mindset to crush our goals and dispel worry, fear and doubt. Mitch also touches on his 3 ways to punch worry in the face, tips for productivity, and hacks for getting that writing done.  

You can find Mitch here:

DREAM. THINK. DO. Podcast
Mitch Mathews Website
Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works
Mitch Mathews LinkedIn
BIG Dream Gathering
Show Notes

[02:06] Things that get in the way of thinking better. Worry.
[03:59] How we get nervous right before publishing a book. Worry is why so many people never take the final step and publish.
[05:33] First step is to acknowledge worry. Sometimes we don’t even realize it has overtaken us.
[07:11] How fight or flight can be good when it comes to safety, but chronic worry has negative effects.
[08:19] How worry narrows our ocular nerve and makes us see less, great for escaping predators but not so much for creativity.
[10:45] Acknowledging the worry is there and then replacing it.
[11:14] Taking an inventory of what you are actually concerned about.
[14:06] How many of the things that people worry about can be overcome with training.
[14:22] Getting so caught up in the fear that you don’t take that first step.
[14:40] Distinguishing between good and bad worry.
[15:31] How journaling can help get a handle on the worry so that you can acknowledge it and make adjustments. A worry journal.
[16:44] Replacing the worry. If you are told to not think about purple cows, replace it with pink elephants.
[20:31] How worry is unproductive imagination.
[22:53] To replace worry ask yourself better questions.
[23:30] Asking what success looks like.
[25:51] Asking what I can control and what I need to let go.
[26:28] Step 3 is doing something intentionally. Worry may make us react in a way we don’t want to. After acknowledging worry and replacing worry, take intentional action.
[28:43] Having an action that you can take immediately even if it is only for 15 minutes.
[29:13] Giving yourself permission to skim a book in 15-minute chunks. Give yourself permission to listen to the book’s author on podcasts while working out or when you can fit it in.
[33:35] The difference between worrying and being tempted to worry.
[38:37] Giving yourself grace if something goes wrong instead of just going off track permanently.
[44:39] The importance of surrounding yourself with supportive people.
[46:21] Having other people’s back, so they will have yours and not defining your circle of influence to your zip code.
[49:04] Punching worry in the face. Acknowledge or write it down.  Replace it by asking a better question. Getting it out of your head and then doing something intentional or taking action to shift that state of mind.
[50:33] Acknowledging your worry may be the genesis of what you need to teach about. Teach the lessons you break through.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Brendon Burchard | Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power
DREAM. THINK. DO. Podcast
Mitch Mathews Website
Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works
Mitch Mathews LinkedIn
BIG Dream Gathering

SPS 019: How I Self-published My Way onto the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List with Pat Flynn

SPS 019: How I Self-published My Way onto the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List with Pat Flynn

Today, I am talking with Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income Blog and the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Pat is an entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, speaker, author, and an all around great guy. He one of the OGs of the Internet. It doesn’t matter how many people you talk to, some of them will say they got started after listening to his podcast or reading his blog.

Pat is the author of two books. Let Go and his newest book Will It Fly. I’ve talked to him in the past before he launched his books, now it is time to take a peak on the other side  after launching his books. When Pat wrote Let It Fly he wanted to create a book about a topic that people wanted to learn about. Instead of writing what he wanted to write about. He asked questions, used surveys and polled his audience to find that correct topic. Then he went beyond this and used several methods to validate the process. Including a bold and unique process that he writes about in Will It Fly.

You can find Pat here:
Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income Podcast
Pat Flynn on Twitter @PatFlynn
Pat on Facebook @smartpassiveincome
Let Go by Pat Flynn
Will It Fly? Book

Show Notes
[01:49] Why Pat wrote Will It Fly. He always knew he wanted to write another book and a business book at that.
[02:29] He tried to discover what would help the most people to find a topic to write about. With surveys and conversations, he discovered that people struggled with finding a business idea.
[03:29] He also used his Ask Pat Podcast to find out what people really wanted to know.
[04:00] He also asked random people on his email list to pay him $10 to show that they would actually buy the information.
[04:53] Fears and unknowns are what scare people when starting a business.
[05:32] Validation experiments buying AdSense ads by Tim Ferris.
[06:59] Why Pat chose to self-publish.
[08:55] The book also became a Wall Street Journal Bestseller.
[11:19] Pros and cons of self-publishing and timelines. Pat hired an accountability coach.
[12:21] He had notes all over his office and then he used rev to record each chapter and have them transcribed. This was a giant messy first draft.
[13:32] This method saved a lot of time, but the challenge was editing the draft. He only kept about 10%.
[16:09] How authors make the mistake of not sharing with their audience before the launch date.
[17:14] He also used two editors to catch everything that needed to be edited.
[17:47] Pat was open to iterations and changes because the book was getting better and better.
[18:54] When just starting out plant a seed and tell people the book is coming.
[19:56] Forming a launch team and getting people involved in early access and leaving reviews and sharing on launch day.
[22:21] He had a great designer that made everything look great. Kindle books need to be designed and formatted too.
[23:29] Write before the launch he shared a lot more detail on his blog and podcast.
[23:53] He didn’t sleep the night before launch day. He had a launch party and sent an email to his list of 150,000 people.
[24:52] Quick tip – give yourself enough time for the Kindle version to get published. Give yourself time to get everything done. Make sure the Kindle and hardcopy book get listed on the same page.
[26:55] He also went to a studio and made an audio version. He got it all recorded in 2.5 days.
[27:32] The importance of collecting email address. He used a free course that is a walk along course with the book. The book and course reference each other.
[30:06] He got the course idea from his favorite show Walking Dead and their story sync website.
[32:31] He sold 12,000 paperbacks and 5,000 ebooks and he got on the Wall Street Journal ebook list.
[35:23] Top movers of books were Pat’s list, and podcast guest appearances, he did about 60 interviews that were posted in a two-week time span.
[36:33] He had relationships with many of the people who helped out. He also tried reaching out with a personalized video.
[38:14] He also used his normal platforms like a blog and his podcast and he wasn’t shy about asking people to buy.
[43:00] Pat’s parting advice is to get validation for your idea or maybe even try a guest post and see if it is engaging or use it as a lead magnet. Validate on a small scale first.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
Rev
Daniel Decker
teachable
Will It Fly? Companion Course
WalkingDeadStorySync.com
Azul Terronez
Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income Podcast
Pat Flynn on Twitter @PatFlynn
Pat on Facebook @smartpassiveincome
Let Go by Pat Flynn
Will It Fly? Book

SPS 018: Scaling Up Your Business Using Books with Verne Harnish

SPS 018: Scaling Up Your Business Using Books with Verne Harnish

Today, I am speaking with Verne Harnish the Founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Founder and CEO of Gazelle’s. He has written three books including Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and The Greatest BUSINESS DECISIONS of All Time and Scaling Up. He also has to be one of the best presenters that I have ever heard. He is a great guy, and I’m excited to have him on the show today. Verne lives in Barcelona, Spain with his wife and four children, and besides being a businessman and private investor, he also makes time for hobbies like piano, tennis, and even magic.

We dive into why Verne based his book on the habits of Rockefeller, and how Verne went from a traditional book style to more of a textbook on steroids style in Scaling Up. He also shares a trick to finding a good ghost writer and his interaction with the Rockefeller family. Verne writes on Thursdays for thoughts and research. Then when it is time to write the book he sits down and writes for 6 to 8 hours a day for 2 to 3 months. We even talk about his morning routine and the time advantages of being in Barcelona to how he scales from books to major business investing.

You can find Verne here:
Scaling Up Website
Gazelles
Verne Harnish on LinkedIn
Verne Harnish on Twitter @agilescaleup
Scaling Up
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
The Greatest BUSINESS DECISIONS of All Time
 

Show Notes
[02:27] Verne wished he had written his first book earlier.
[02:49] He launched an executive program for EO and he featured the Rockefeller habits which started out as a series of articles
[03:59] If you need a writer find someone who has written about you.
[04:31] All of the articles about the Rockefeller habits became his first book.
[04:56] How Verne decided on the Rockefeller habits.
[05:08] How Rockefeller had put in place habits critical to scaling a business.
[05:56] How the Rockefellers didn’t seem to have a problem with the book. Although, he changed his name to Scaling Up.
[07:34] How the book made sense for everyone in the company to read not just the CEO.
[08:49] The importance of having a great title and a great cover and a book can make a great business card.
[11:53] How Scaling Up is like a textbook on steroids.
[12:12] The process of going from the first book which was a traditional style book to the Scaling Up textbook format.
[13:32] Scaling Up references 40 books because nobody has all of the answers.
[14:01] Verne writes every Thursday and he also has writing partners.
[16:16] It takes 10,000 hours to find your voice and become an expert at something.
[19:39] Verne’s morning routine includes a breathing meditation and exercises then he works on his biggest thing.
[22:06] Educating and not selling is how we market now. A book is a great way to do this.
[24:17] How having the books have helped impact Verne’s business. He gives books away with his speeches which leads to more book sales and coaching clients.
[29:28] Harne also invests in the companies that he helps to scale up. This is a big way to monetize.
[32:57] The sales of Scaling Up have been very consistent since the beginning.
[34:40] How a lot of the information is open source and having a mentality to give information away.
[35:39] Being able to update your book is another advantage of self-publishing.
[36:10] If you don’t have time to write your own book, have it written for you.
[38:11] The multiplier effect of having books published.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
The Art of Living
Entrepreneurs’ Organization
Build Direct
Barcelona Housing Systems
Rackspace
Great by Choice by Jim Collins
Adam Witty Advantage Media
Direct from Dell by Michael Dell
Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime by Bill Gates
Scaling Up Website
Gazelles
Verne Harnish on LinkedIn
Verne Harnish on Twitter @agilescaleup
Scaling Up
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
The Greatest BUSINESS DECISIONS of All Time

5 Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

5 Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

There are many benefits to self-publishing your book versus a traditional publishing deal. One aspect in favor of self-publishing is the control you have over all aspects of your finished manuscript—including book formatting.

However, one downfall of the self-published author is a messy manuscript. The book formatting process is a crucial part of your readers’ experience. An unprofessional looking book layout will both distract readers—and make you look like an amateur. You want your completed self-published book to convey professionalism in all aspects.

The 5 Most Common Book Formatting Errors

In this article, you’re going to learn what the most common book formatting errors are and how to avoid them. If you have a completed manuscript with botched formatting on your hands, this article will teach you how to fix it using Microsoft Word.

1. Just Say “No!” to Hard Indents

A hard indent is when paragraph indentations are created by manual use of the keyboard’s Tab key. Many of us learned how to type using the Tab key to create an indent at the start of each paragraph, so this can be a tough habit to break. When it comes to book formatting, use of the Tab key is a no-no, because it results in an indent that’s far larger than you need.

When it comes to writing fiction, you want to have just a small indent at the start of each paragraph. If your book is non-fiction, generally speaking, you want to use block paragraphs rather than indents, unless your book is a memoir or historical fiction. (More on that in tip #2.)

If your book is fiction, you may be wondering how to create paragraphs without the Tab key. The fix is simple: In Microsoft Word, set the Paragraph settings to automatically create indentations for the first line in each paragraph. This simple auto fix will make your book formatting process way easier.

If you’re wondering how big to make your indents, my advice is pull your favorite book off the shelf, open it up, and take a peek. How big are the paragraph indents? Experiment with making yours larger or smaller, printing out the page, and comparing them to the book in your hand.

But what if your 535-page tome has already been drafted, using the dreaded Tab key for each and every paragraph? No need to set fire to your laptop! Here’s what to do to clean it up:

  • Use the Find and Replace
  • Enter ^t in the Find (This will help you find every “Tab” in the document.)
  • Leave the Replace field blank.
  • Hit Replace All.

 

Going forward, set your Paragraph settings so that you don’t have to remove hard indents again. Presto! You now have a much prettier, easier-to-convert document through the magic of technology.

2. Choose Carefully: Indentation vs. Block Paragraphs

Works of non-fiction today typically don’t use indentation, except for some notable exceptions we will discuss momentarily. Rather, a popular format for modern non-fiction books is the block paragraph.

What’s a block paragraph? A block paragraph doesn’t have indentation on the opening line, but instead uses a horizontal line of white space beneath each paragraph. This helps to delineate separation between paragraphs.

For instance, I used block paragraphs in my latest book Published., which looks like this:

book formatting

The reasoning behind whether you should use indentation vs. block paragraphs is this: in works where one thought should flow smoothly into the next, such as in a novel, paragraph indentations are used with no line spacing between paragraphs. In books where complicated information is being consumed, having a single line space between paragraphs aids the brain in processing one piece of information before moving on to the next.

Here is an example from a fiction novel of what it looks like to use indents instead of block paragraphs:

book formatting

An exception to the block paragraph for non-fiction / indents for fiction guideline: non-fiction narrative, such as a memoir or historical fiction, should use the same indent style described above in tip #1.

In non-fiction works where some information should flow, and other sections require more brain power to comprehend, some authors decide to mix formatting types and use indentation where appropriate and block paragraphs where useful. But in general, to avoid confusing the reader and to make your book look uniform, clean, and as if you didn’t make a book formatting error, it’s best to choose one style or the other and stick with it throughout your book.

However, if you insist on getting crazy and mixing it up, knowing how and when to use block paragraphs versus when to indent results in a more professional manuscript.

3. Avoid Double Spaces After Periods

Here’s the truth: Two spaces after a period is wrong. Period. (Ha!)

Just as with the good old-fashioned Tab key indent, two spaces after a period may have been the norm back when you were learning to type. This is because with typewriters, characters were all the same width, so the two-space rule allowed for greater readability. With modern computer fonts, the characters all fit closer together in proportional fashion, thereby eradicating the need for that one additional space.

Most major style guides—including the Chicago Manual of Style, which is used by traditional publishers—now formally recognize the more modern single-space rule. From an aesthetics angle, one space looks neater, which your readers’ eyes will appreciate.

Before you convert your manuscript, change all double spaces to single spaces. The result will be a better formatted, stylistically correct book. You’re going to use that super handy “Find and Replace” function again:

  • Enter two spaces in the Find (This will help you find every double space in the document.)
  • Enter a single space into the Replace field.
  • Hit Replace All.

Voila! Like magic.

4. Be Cautious With Hyphens

Improper hyphenation is a common error that may be harder to stay on top of because the rules of hyphenation differ depending on the grammatical situation. Generally, keep these three rules in mind while you write to stay on top of your hyphens:

  • Two or more words that, together, function as an adjective are joined with a hyphen. For example, dark-pink skirt or two-way street.
  • Two words or more that form a number are joined with a hyphen. For example, twenty-one.
  • Compound words, which are two words that are joined together to make a single word, do not require a hyphen. For example, toothbrush or starfish.

When in doubt, look it up! For a more detailed treatment of the hyphen, here is an important source to consider: Elements of Style.

5. Know When to Use Quotes vs. an Apostrophe

Few things scream “new writer” like punctuation errors. You want to make sure you’re using quotes and apostrophes correctly so you don’t lose credibility with your readers. Here are a few quick rules of thumb:

Use of Quotes

  • When you’re quoting someone, use quotes! This means either a person is speaking—like in fiction—or you are borrowing material verbatim from another source, like in non-fiction.
  • Use of quotes is rarely needed for common expressions.
  • Ironic terms can be set off in quotes.
  • Overuse of quotes can get annoying, so be judicious in their application.

Use of Apostrophes

  • Use an apostrophe for possessive form (except the word its). For example: The cat’s toys are blue.
  • Use an apostrophe for contractions, such as it is. For example: The cat’s playing with its toys. It’s a happy cat.
  • Avoid using an apostrophe for plural forms. For example: Five cats ran past her.

Again, the rules can be complicated such as when to use an apostrophe when dealing with an acronym, so when in doubt, look it up.

Conclusion

Of course you want your book to stand out because of its invaluable content and amazing writing. Don’t let book formatting or grammar errors hamper your book’s success. You have all the tools you need to produce a flawless manuscript, so take the time to review your book—and hire an editor—to make sure your book formatting is perfectly professional.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

How 8-Year-Old Emma Sumner Used Chandler Bolt’s System to Publish Her First Book

How 8-Year-Old Emma Sumner Used Chandler Bolt’s System to Publish Her First Book

Chandler Bolt, six-time self-published bestselling author and creator of Self-Publishing School has hit new milestones with his business… including teaching 8-year-old Emma Sumner how to write and publish her first book.

Self publishing at any age is a major accomplishment. Especially when you have to balance your responsibilities as an author with homework from your 3rd grade teacher. This is why Emma Sumner is gaining media attention for The Fairies of Waterfall Island, a 10,000-word, 120-page book that is available on Amazon.

Emma has been booked for on-air interviews with local media on major networks like NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, and PBS to talk about her book and her experience with Self-Publishing School.

Check out this interview from when Emma joined Chandler Bolt on Good Day Sacramento.

So how did this young girl go from no book idea to published without an agent or publishing company? She followed Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School course and took action on these steps to ensure her book would be successful. 

Here are the nine steps an 8-year-old took to go from blank page to self-published book:

#1 Start with a Challenge

When Emma first came to me and said she wanted to write and publish a book, I wasn’t sure if this was just a passing idea in the mind of a bored grade-schooler, or if it was really going to be something she would be passionate. So I started by giving her a challenge. 

Emma’s challenge:

  • Complete 1 chapter to her story
  • Write at least 150 words
  • Create 3 different characters with backgrounds
  • Have a plan ready for the rest of the book

She came back with:

  • A handwritten story in her spiral bound notebook that had 172 words (she made sure I counted),
  • Four distinct characters
  • A plan for a total of 10 chapters and four other characters that she would introduce later in the book.

It was clear from her effort that she was serious — so I was, too!

At that time, the 170-word story was the longest thing she had ever written. It gave her a taste of what was possible if she put forth the effort.

YOUR TURN: How can you challenge yourself? Be creative and find ways to create achievable goals and then turn them into a challenge. You can write them down as a contract with yourself, or even bring on a friend as an accountability partner to encourage and motivate you.

#2 Build a Rewards System

Emma’s first reward was a simple one. We decided that the next morning after she finished her first 150 words I would wake up early and before I went to work I would sit down and give her story my full attention as I read it from start to finish.

The next morning I read her story and instead of giving constructive criticism, I just gave encouragement. I told her how much I loved it and left a small sticky note for her to read when she woke up.

It is vitally important in the beginning to forget about the little things like grammar or spelling and just be proud of the fact they (or you!) completed the challenge. Most children (and adults for that matter) are most vulnerable in the writing process the first time someone reads their words.

Whether you’re reading your child’s, friend’s, or your own work, focus on the good. There will be plenty of time for the rest later when it comes time to edit.

Challenge: Complete detailed descriptions of your top 4 characters.

Reward: We will go onto Fiverr.com and get someone to do a pencil drawing of the character based off your description.

Challenge: Finish Chapter 2

Reward: I will copy your handwritten notes to the computer and teach you how to use Microsoft Word.

Challenge: Finish Chapter 10

Reward: We will sit down and write an email to a cover designer.

YOUR TURN: What is your reward? Find something that you can get excited about that will also lead to more progress with the book.

#3 Make a Plan

After Emma completed her first challenge of 150 words, we decided that we needed to have a plan for moving forward. Instead of just writing everything out and hoping it would all make sense, we sat down to plan out what we wanted to do.

Each week, we met on Saturday morning, waking up before the rest of the family. During our “strategy sessions,” we would have breakfast together and plan out the week. These planning sessions would often happen at a local coffeeshop. After the first couple weeks, we started to bring my laptop along with us so she could sit down and write for 20-30 minutes.

Here are some of the things that we would do each week:

  • Decide on goals
  • Pick out rewards
  • Talk about the story line
  • Talk about any struggles

In order to allow Emma to refer back to what we talked about each week, we would record the session with the audio recording feature of Evernote on my phone. With the recordings available to her on our iPad at home, she could just tap on the button for this week’s strategy session and review it whenever she wanted.

To hear a small clip of one of the first “Strategy Session” recordings, click here Audio for Strategy Session.

YOUR TURN: Do you have a plan? If not, it is time to start getting back to basics like mind mapping or outlining.

#4 Create Accountability [Or as Chandler Bolt calls it: Find an “Accountabilibuddy”]

For Emma, we found a great way to keep her accountable while also promoting her book and making it fun for her. Inspired by Pat Flynn and the group he created to help launch his first eBook, we created a private Facebook group filled with friends and family called “Emma’s First Book.” Each week she would record a short video to the group and report back on her progress.

The group quickly grew from 20 people to over 200 people within a week as friends and family started to message me asking to add one of their friends or coworkers who was interested in watching Emma’s progress.

As people began to comment on her videos and post encouragement for her, we began to incorporate this as one of her rewards. If she finished the weeks goals she could spend 20 min. commenting back to the people in her group.

YOUR TURN: Who is going to keep you accountable? Find someone in your life, in person or online, that you can meet with for 10 minutes each week and check in on your goals. They may not be writers, but maybe they have another goal in mind for weight loss or exercise, and you can work together to keep each other on track.

#5 Celebrate Big Wins

As I mentioned earlier, Emma and I would create weekly challenges and rewards to make the week-to-week process more fun and exciting, but beyond that we also celebrated each time she achieved a big milestone.

More important that just the celebration was the fact that we were doing it together. She was able to share her victories and be proud of her accomplishments, and I was there to cheer her on. During these celebrations we did not talk about strategy and details but we just reflected on how far she had come and what more she could still do.

YOUR TURN: Who can you celebrate with? Find a friend, family member, pet, stuffed animal… anyone who can help you enjoy the wins.

#6 Hire Professional Outsourcers

Based on my experiences with publishing my own books, I knew there were four things we needed to hire professional help to accomplish: illustration, editing, cover design, and formatting.

There’s a wide range of costs for each of these items, so as a family we worked out a budget and made a decision on what we could afford. Then we contacted outsourcers that fit our needs, based on a list of preferred contractors from Self-Publishing School.

This was a time-saver since we didn’t have to waste time or money dealing with an untested resource. Before starting with each we discussed our project, described the book and Emma’s personality, and asked some questions about their style via email to make sure they were a good fit.

We worked with people from Boston, Michigan, Mexico and even Sweden. Emma was involved in communicating with each of them by both email and video chat.

What did it all cost?

Total Invested in the book: $790*

Depending on your budget you can choose to go much lower or even much higher. The range is huge for each category. 

To get access to the Preferred Outsourcers that we used along with many others check out Self-Publishing School.

#7 Try New Things

While working on this project, Emma learned much more than just how to write a book. At each stage we took any opportunity we could to introduce a skill or technology that would expand her knowledge and comfort level.

Here are just some of the programs or skills Emma has learned during the last year:

  • Typing with Microsoft Word
  • Using a thesaurus
  • Typing and sharing documents with Google Docs
  • Using Skype to do video chats
  • Posting, commenting and doing live videos in Facebook

YOUR TURN: What new skills are you looking forward to learning? Make a list of things that you want to try and incorporate them as you go.

#8 Remove Barriers

Small points of resistance can keep you from moving the entire book forward. These little things can cause you to stop your progress, lose your inspiration, or even cast doubt that you should be writing at all. If you can identify those small roadblocks and find a way to remove them early on, then you will be more successful.

For Emma, one of her points of resistance was that she often worried so much about her spelling and grammar that she would not make any progress. She would see the red line under the word show up in Microsoft Word and get completely distracted, and then end up feeling discouraged. Then her progress or creative momentum would be ruined.

Our solution was simple: If spell check was the issue, let’s get rid of it! We disabled spell check completely and chose to forget about spelling until the entire first draft was done. Instead of having her worry about it, we let the editor handle it.

YOUR TURN: If you find something that is blocking you from moving forward, take the time to identify it and find a solution. When you think about writing (or completing) your book now, what barriers do you predict? Make a plan to get rid of it!

#9 Build a Launch Team

A launch team is a group of people chosen to help you market the book and spread the word about your book. By the time Emma was done with her book, she had a large group of people who had been following her progress and were ready to help her by being part of her launch team.

To make it easier to get information out to the group, we created a small landing page and invited her Facebook group. We also posted to other groups including the Self-Publishing School Mastermind Community.

Starting about 2 weeks prior to launch, we began sending emails to everyone who had signed up, letting them know what to expect. One week before our official launch, we put the book up on Amazon and only notified those on the launch team. Many people on the team had never purchased a book on Amazon before, much less read a book on Kindle or left a review, so we had to be very detailed on our instructions.

She had a total of 95 people sign up to be on her launch team, and in just one day after we hit the publish button on Amazon she had 87 books purchased and 16 reviews up.

YOUR TURN: Start thinking about who will be on your launch team and how you will manage it. I strongly suggest signing up for an email service like ClickFunnels, Aweber, or MailChimp so you can collect email addresses and contact your launch team directly.

#10 Give Back

We wanted to make sure that Emma learned more than just how to write a book, and one of the biggest lessons we were able to incorporate was the idea of giving back to charity.

Here are just some of the benefits of giving back with your book:

  • Inspiration: Inspire others around you to be a part of your journey.
  • Motivation: When the book will help others either directly or indirectly, then you will have even more motivation to continue.
  • Satisfaction: Giving back to a charity to which we feel personally connected has given both Emma and me a great feeling of pride and satisfaction that would not have been possible without that participation.

In order to maximize what you can do for a cause, pick a charity that can work with you to help get the word out about the book.

Here are some things to look for:

Where is the donated or pledged money spent?

You can use websites like Charitynavigator.org or Charitywatch.org to find out more about any charity.

Does the money stay locally or go to a national or international fund?

You may want to find a charity where the money stays to help the local community.

Do they have a local chapter or contact?

It helps to have one person that knows the local area to help you set up speaking engagements

What kind of social media presence or email list do they have?

Part of raising money to donate means getting the book in front of those who will be willing to buy it. If the charity has a large contact list, they can help send that information out to more people — which will help them AND help you!

Does the charity have a marketing team?

Many large charities already have a marketing and PR team in place that can help create engaging posts or advertisements, as well as using their already established network to get your book into the media.

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions when you get in contact with the charity. After all, you want to make sure you are donating your time to the right cause.

Emma and I talked with several charities before finally deciding on Autism Speaks, a wonderful group with both national and local ties.

You can find out more about this great charity at AutismSpeaks.org

YOUR TURN: What charities or causes do you feel passionate about or connected to? Start now by using the resources above to evaluate your options.

A Dream Come True

“The Fairies of Waterfall Island” has already exceeded our wildest dreams. Every time we talk about it Emma says “I am just so excited, I never thought it would actually get this far.”

Each new step from writing to editing and now to publishing has been challenging, but the rewards have been incredible — in our relationship, in the growth I’ve seen in Emma, and in the inspiration she’s been to other children and adults.

Chandler Bolt and Emma Sumner

To support Emma and her book go EmmaLovesBooks.com where you can find a link to purchase the book and more information on Emma and her journey. Remember that all proceeds for the first 3 months go to Autism Speaks.

By following Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School and taking action on the challenges I gave her each week, Emma was able to successful write and publish her first book with flying colors. If an 8-year-old can do it, you can too.

SPS 013: Beyond the Bestseller with Hal Elrod

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

SPS 012: How I Built an E-Book Business of $3,000-$4,000/Month with Lise Cartwright

SPS 012: How I Built an E-Book Business of $3,000-$4,000/Month with Lise Cartwright

Welcome to episode 12 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Lise Cartwright who is a Self-Publishing School graduate. She has been one of the most successful students in the program. She is a bestselling author and coach based in Auckland, New Zealand. She blogs and writes books with actionable information for new freelancers and time-poor entrepreneurs.

It is her goal to help these entrepreneurs move forward in their business whether they are just starting out or just need to gain forward momentum. She has an amazing story, and she has been a writing machine and has published 14 books over the last 10 months. Her community is really engaged and can’t wait for each new book to come out. Her writing, community, and income are only building. She has managed to achieve an income of a few grand a month, and it is growing.

Her recipe for success for building an author platform is to write and let the marketing come later. I know her books are going to continue to grow and create an even bigger income. I am really excited to talk with Lise today as we dive into her story and how she has been able to accomplish so much.

You can find Lise here:

Lise Cartwright’s Books on Amazon
Lise Cartwright
Hustle & Groove
Lise on Twitter @LiseCnz

Show Notes
 
[02:28] Her first book was a guide written in 2012 on how to be a freelance writer on oDesk.
[04:28] Marketing the book about freelance writing was an issue, but her second book “No Gym Needed” is what she considers her first book.
[05:34] To find her topic, she wrote down topics that she already knew and discovered her topic for her second book which she considers her first book.
[07:08] She used mind-mapping as a visual process to organize and create the content for her books. She mind-maps all of her books. She used the old pen and paper mind-map method.
[08:15] She puts her idea in the middle of the page and then puts down everything about that idea that comes to mind. In the mind-map, she uses colors, arrows, bubbles and whatever it takes to get the information down and organized.
[10:05] She mind-maps entire series when she gets an idea.
[11:56] To write consistently Lise set a schedule or the writing wouldn’t get done. She wrote for an hour a day during the week. The more she wrote the faster her writing became.
[14:54] She would outline and find information for her book as well as mind-mapping.
[16:15] She went from finished book to published on Amazon in 7-9 days. She just went for it and hit the publish button.
[18:18] Some of the fears she had were that nobody was going to read her book, but she went ahead with it anyway.
[22:15] How she went from fitness books back to freelancing and “Side Hustle Blueprint” because it is scary for people to start the freelancing process. This also led to questions on her blog which led to more book topics. She ended up writing a book a week. She mapped out a series and wrote 7 books in 7 weeks.
[26:24] She cleared every Monday for book writing and planned out her weeks.
[28:23] She had a process for each book and wrote for 8 or 9 hours and 20 hours total.
[29:02] Having a decent outline and a checklist it could be done. Write, publishing, and launching all in one week is too much.
[30:24] The surprising thing was that book launches are hard and have a lot of moving parts, so she had to outsource.
[33:18] After all of this, she took two months off. Then she co-authored some books to ease herself back in.
[35:04] She now writes faster and finds the process easier.
[38:25] Hearing from fans she doesn’t know has been surprising. She also wants to think about the impact of the books on people as opposed to just the writing of the books.
[39:47] Networking and guesting on podcasts like Self-Publishing School and the Side Hustle have been great opportunities.
[44:12] Don’t overthink it, just go ahead and write your first book. Take action!

Links and Resources:

Lise Cartwright’s Books on Amazon
Lise Cartwright
Hustle & Groove
Lise on Twitter @LiseCnz
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
The Book Ninja

SPS 011: How To Start Blogging For High Profile Sites with Dorie Clark

SPS 011: How To Start Blogging For High Profile Sites with Dorie Clark

Welcome to episode 11 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Dorie Clark a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and contributor to the Harvard Business Review. She is the author of Stand Out Networking, Stand Out, Reinventing You, and Entrepreneurial You. Dorie is a former presidential campaign spokeswoman, and an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University. In this episode, we talk about writing books and writing for high profile sites.

Since her childhood, Dorie always wanted to write a book. In 2009, she decided to pursue her dream and make that happen. She came up with three great ideas and presented those to publishers, but soon discovered without having an established platform she wasn’t going to get a deal. That is when she decided to build a platform through blogging. She began by trying to get into some well-known publications like Forbes, Inc, and Huffington Post.

Dorie used warm leads to and referrals from friends to get an introduction with an editor and the fire publication she began blogging in was the Huffington Post. This led to other opportunities, and we learn how Dorie built a platform and her career to become the author, writer, and contributor that she is today.

You can find Dorie here:
Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark on Twitter @DorieClark
Dorie Clark on Facebook
Reinventing You
Stand Out
Stand Out Networking
Entrepreneurial You

Show Notes

[01:23] It was Dorie’s childhood goal to write a book. In 2009, she wrote three different book proposals.
[02:07] Everything ended up getting turned down because she didn’t have a strong enough platform.
[02:32] She needed a platform so she blogged for the Huffington Post, Harvard Review, Forbes and other publications.
[03:05] Following warm leads for getting started blogging.
[03:58] Michael Silver introduced her to an editor at the Huffington Post. A shortcut to being a contributor through warm leads and introductions from people you know.
[04:38] Have a short paragraph bio and links to three or four clips and prepare info about what you want to write and how frequent you would like to write. Put all of this in a packet.
[05:35] She was trying to break in and Huffington Post is the first one she got.
[07:10] After writing for Huffington Post, she began writing for the Harvard Business Review. This lead was a fluke when she met an editor while selling a bike on Craigslist.
[08:45] Have pitches and draft posts ready to go in case an opportunity arises.
[09:19] A Harvard Business Review blog post, turned into a magazine post that turned into three offers for book deals.
[11:54] How following up can help with actually getting an introduction.
[14:10] The book deal came pretty easy, after two years of writing and starting the process. The wind was at her back.
[15:04] Dorie always thought writing a book would be impressive and meaningful.
[16:01] At first, getting the publishing deal felt stressful. She listened to her publicist and ended up with a better offer.
[19:18] How we always want more. The book deal was great, but being a bestseller could be the next quest. It is a good idea to savor the moment.
[20:16] Her writing process is doing all the interviews up front, then shaping the story, then once she has the backbone she weaves it together. She wrote the first draft over a summer.
[23:12] Early purchases and preorders are important. Offer speaking deals to get people to buy book preorders. Dorie used this for her second book.
[25:03] Reach out in advance to people you know. 100 a day with a link to preorder the book.
[26:06] Killer Secret. Create a spreadsheet with a standard message and add a personal part to the message. She had a personal column in her spreadsheet. Use a mail merge function with Google sheets and Gmail.
[27:54] She ended up with about 7000 people in her personal database. Where she has some kind of personal connection.
[33:18] Dorie became a podcast guest to promote her second book. She also used warm introductions and cold calls to get the spot.
[34:58] Email signups are a great marketing tool that you can control. The best way to build a list was to have a big giveaway. Dorie created a 42-page workbook and mentioned it when she was a podcast guest.
[37:52] A physical book tour can be a driving factor in a town where you have an audience base.
[40:20] Remembering not to overstretch yourself.
[41:02] Being too slack about emails on her first book was her biggest mistake.
[42:22] Building an email list goes hand in hand with marketing.
[44:27] Have a free giveaway link in your tagline and bio when guest posting. Also, link to your books.
[45:40] Using sections from her book as blog post topics and content.
[49:49] Use the ladder strategy to ladder up to blogs with higher and higher profiles.

Links and Resources:
Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark on Twitter @DorieClark
Dorie Clark on Facebook
Reinventing You
Stand Out
Stand Out Networking
Entrepreneurial You
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com

SPS 010: Sell Or Be Sold with Grant Cardone

SPS 010: Sell Or Be Sold with Grant Cardone

Welcome to episode 10 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Grant Cardone, a New York Times bestselling author of five business books. Grant is among the top 10 social media influencers. He owns and operates four companies, and is the creator of a top sales training program with the world’s most visited online sales training university. He has worked with the U.S. Pentagon and high profile companies like Salesforce, LinkedIn, and Google.
We have an exciting conversation about how to use books to grow a business. Grant was inspired by his father’s love for calligraphy and writing and wanted to write a book since he was eight years old. He didn’t actually write one until he was 51 years old. Prior to that, he did write a bunch of training programs and workbooks on changes in the sales process. Then he wrote Sell or Be Sold which took him three hours to write. He pitched this book to a couple of publishers with no luck. He ended up self-publishing, and it is now in the top 1% of self-published books. Grant shares his experience with writing, selling, and promoting multiple products.

You can find Grant here:
Sell or Be Sold
Cardone University
Books by Grant Cardone
Grant on Facebook
@GrantCardone on Twitter
GrantCardone.com

Show Notes
 
[02:49] Grant had a lifetime of information just waiting to come out, and he used it to write his first book in 3 hours.
[04:01] He wrote the book and wrote the chapters out. At the time, you want to be a seller, not a buyer to get money. He just shared what he knew and didn’t overthink it.
[06:03] When you finish your book, you are never done with producing great information. That’s where the subsequent books came from.
[07:40] The challenge with books is getting someone to read it.
[09:03] There are many people who aren’t readers, so create a quick read, a video, and audio version. Do what it takes to make the information consumable.
[09:57] The trick in writing is to stop worrying about the writing and focus on the selling.
[12:25] Grant does a video show every day to put on social media. He doesn’t care whether you like him or not. He wants you to know who he is and benefit from one of his products.
[14:00] The thinker loses to the doer. Be willing to sell to get your products noticed.
[19:30] Grant’s readers now go back and want to listen to his other books.
[20:37] When Grant was young, he had issues with substance abuse, but he cleaned up his act when he was 25 years old.
[22:07] In 2009, Grants real estate business was almost wiped out. The bank he owed money to went under and the new bank wanted the money. Grant was 51, and that is when he decided to become disciplined.
[24:23] You need to have other products besides your books. Think about how to get an idea to people.
[26:53] He creates ebooks about his books and webinars and other products to get the information out there.
[27:53] A book is a calling card the legitimacy is in the range of products. Market, sell, and promote multiple products.
[31:34] Reaching out to a specific product with an item that appeals to them. Be confident and sell.
[32:25] You can also build a product to appeal to a market or show you would like to be on.
[36:22] Grant is a master at setting hooks and getting people to pay attention. Regardless of whether they like him or not.
[38:53] A surprise speaking gig that made 100k was a result of one of Grant’s books.
[40:57] Writing to market and to sell, not to write.
Links and Resources:
Sell or Be Sold
Cardone University
Books by Grant Cardone
Grant on Facebook
@GrantCardone on Twitter
GrantCardone.com
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com

SPS 009: Eliminating Distractions & Practicing Deep Work to Finish Your Book with Cal Newport

SPS 009: Eliminating Distractions & Practicing Deep Work to Finish Your Book with Cal Newport

Welcome to episode 9 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Cal Newport an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, he also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world at work. His most recent work Deep Work argues that focus is the new IQ in the modern workplace, and that the ability to concentrate without distraction is becoming increasingly valuable.

Previous work by Cal includes three popular books with unconventional advice for students, and So Good They Can’t Ignore You a book that debunks the long held belief that following your passion is good advice. Today, we are going to dive into the deep work methodology. If you have ever tried to write a book, then you know that the hardest thing in the process is the actual focus and getting to the finish line. On this episode, Cal shares his principles behind having the focus to accomplish deep work and his writing process with us.

You can find Cal here:
Cal Newport
Deep Work
So Good They Can’t Ignore
How to Win at College

Show Notes

[01:47] Cal’s first book was How to Win at College and he wrote it when he was a senior in college.
[02:29] Stop talking about writing a book and do it or move on.
[02:58] Cal tried to make writing his first book easier by choosing a format that was short rules with counterintuitive titles.
[03:41] How Cal would wake up early and write 1 chapter every morning.
[04:13] Importance of chunking and creating an early morning routine.
[04:37] Lessons learned, books need social proof included in the book.
[05:43] Being on a tight deadline helped with the writing process.
[06:46] Cal learned early on that writing a book is like a job and the work just needs to be done.
[07:51] Find time for writing and write all the time. Build up your writing muscles.
[08:29] Don’t mix planning and writing.
[09:12] Productive meditation. Walking and thinking about what you are working on or each chapter.
[11:45] Cal spends about a year to get his book ideas. It takes a lot of mental work to come up with a great idea.
[15:05] The hardest book that Cal wrote was probably his first book.
[16:54] Principle of deep work is that the ability to focus is like a super power. Long focus sessions produce massive results.
[18:18] The ability to concentrate intensely is becoming more and more valuable.
[19:00] Cultivating the ability to work deeply will have massive value.
[20:20]Pomodoros and practice can be active training for concentration.
[21:11] Building up an addiction to novel stimuli will inhibit your concentration. Learn to embrace boredom.
[22:58] Writing is an intense cognitive activity. Treat your brain with respect.
[24:08] Cal has never had a social media account. He wants to trust himself to get a lot of value out of his brain.
[25:05] If you want to be serious about writing. You have to be serious about your brain.
[25:17] Work deeply and put routines and rituals into your day.
[25:45] Embrace boredom and free your mind from the need for novel stimuli.
[25:51] Quit social media if you are going to be a craftsman, you have to be selective about the tools in your life.
[26:25] Drain the shallows minimize non-deep work so that it doesn’t take over all of your time.
[26:57] People think quit social media is the toughest, but it’s not hard at all. Embrace boredom is actually the most difficult.
[29:12] Take the next two weeks and block out 4 hours each week. Treat this time like an appointment. Use this time for focusing intensely on one thing. This what deep work feels like.
[30:54] Find an activity to train your brain.
[31:14] Take one step that proves you take focusing seriously.
[32:22] The marketplace values things that are rare and valuable.
[34:23] Producing value produces autonomy busyness does not.
[35:03] Minimize non-deep work and deep work is where the value is at.
[36:28] The goal is to find satisfaction doing deep work. The right mindset is the foundation and the work will follow.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Cal Newport
Deep Work
So Good They Can’t Ignore
How to Win at College

SPS 008: Creating a Thriving Business, Blog, and Raving Fans with Ruth Soukup

SPS 008: Creating a Thriving Business, Blog, and Raving Fans with Ruth Soukup

Welcome to episode 8 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Ruth Soukup, a blogger at Living Well Spending Less, the founder of the Living Well Planner, and the author of Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. Ruth encourages more than a million monthly readers of her blog to follow their dreams and reach their goals through easy to implement tips and strategies for saving time and money while focusing on the things that matter the most.

She lives in Florida with her husband Chuck and their two daughters Maggie and Annie. Ruth began thinking about writing a book when she was blogging full-time at Living Well Spending Less and her husband was staying at home with the kids. She wanted to encapsulate the knowledge from her blog into a book and she came out with her first book which was How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul. She had no expectations when she put this out there as a Kindle book. The first version did better than she had anticipated, so she put out a second version that was longer and included a paperback version.

The success of her first self-published book gave her the confidence to create her first traditionally published book. Although, the creation process for Living Well Spending Less was much more personal and difficult. We talk about the book creation process. The importance of having an accountability partner. How books can lead to other opportunities like products, courses, consulting and more. Enjoy the interview as we deep dive into Ruth’s writing and business success.

You can find Ruth here:

Living Well Spending Less
Living Well Planner
Living Well Spending Less on Facebook
@RuthSoukup on Twitter
Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life
How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul
Unstuffed
31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero: Freeze Your Spending. Change Your Life
31 Days To A Clutter Free Life: One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind & Schedule
Elite Blog Academy

Show Notes

[01:39] Ruth’s first idea for writing a book and was based on her blog and was called How to Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul.
[04:00] This book taking off allowed Ruth to launch a whole new side to her business as she developed an online blogging course.
[06:10] How Ruth went from publishing a book to launching a course and consulting.
[07:04] The creation process of writing Ruth’s first book just kind of flowed for her.
[07:55] Living Well Spending Less her first traditionally published book was much more difficult because it was so personal for her.
[08:42] Writing her second traditionally published book was much easier.
[09:03] When Ruth’s focuses on how she can serve it makes the writing much easier.
[09:46] How Ruth got through the low points of writing Living Well Spending Less.
[10:56] Ruth’s accountability partner and the structure of their calls and their agreement, to be honest, and open.
[12:52] Ruth sets aside a couple hours each morning for content creation. During book writing time, she gets up at 4:00 am and goes to her downtown office to get stuff done.
[15:53] How Ruth realized that having products was more profitable than ad revenue.
[17:01] How the books lead into other money makers, although they make money and build credibility.
[20:23] Once someone reads your book, you are way more connected to that person, and it is a great way to grow an audience.
[20:54] How Living Well Spending Less had perfect timing with publishing because that was a busy time for her blog which really led to promotion opportunities.
[23:12] Downside of Amazon cross promotion is that the wider audience may not be as targeted, such as people not appreciating bible verses in the book.
[24:20] They promoted the book with a 12 Secrets email challenge. They filmed the challenge with two versions one for Christmas and one that was evergreen.
[25:58] They also emailed their list when there were book coupons available on Amazon.
[27:32] A digital bonus of a home planning workbook was also a great idea. They also offered website access for a different book called Unstuffed.
[29:22] Using Facebook Ads to market their books.
[30:57] Promoting books using 31-day challenges.
[31:57] Benefits of repurposing content.
[33:51] Using the back end of the book to get email subscribers and then subsequently promoting other products or courses.
[37:40] Different phases of working online. Finding your voice, throwing spaghetti against the wall, and refining phase where we know what works.
[40:02] Working online actually requires putting in the time and work.
[41:15] When someone asks you the same question 3 times create a product for it.
[42:22] Focus on what you have to offer and answer your reader’s questions and you can write a book.

Links and Resources:

Living Well Spending Less
Living Well Planner
Living Well Spending Less on Facebook
@RuthSoukup on Twitter
Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life
How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul
Unstuffed
31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero: Freeze Your Spending. Change Your Life
31 Days To A Clutter Free Life: One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind & Schedule
Elite Blog Academy
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

SPS 007: How to Turn Pro as a Writer with Jeff Goins

SPS 007: How to Turn Pro as a Writer with Jeff Goins

Today, I am joined by Jeff Goins. He is an author, speaker, and blogger. After working for seven years in the nonprofit world as a marketing and communications director, he now writes and speaks full time. He challenges people to make their messages matter through his blog, courses, and online events.

Jeff is the author of five books including The Art of Work, Real Artists Don’t Starve, You Are a Writer, The In-Between, and Wrecked. Today, we are going to focus on the writing side of things, and how Jeff’s success has really exploded with his writing and with building his tribe. Jeff started writing when he realized that being a marketing director wasn’t for him. Prompting from a friend made Jeff realize that he was a writer, and he just needed to write.

He wrote on his blog everyday, and the opportunities came. His success was a result of doing the daily practice of writing and realizing that he was a writer. Once Jeff began thinking of himself as a writer, writing is what he started doing. Thinking like a pro prompted Jeff to act like a pro. Listen in to hear more about Jeff’s story and his writing process.

You can find Jeff here:
Goins, Writer

Show Notes

[05:11] How activity follows identity. We have to change our mindset about who we are before we can do that thing. Turning pro in your head.
[06:57] How Jeff went from writing blog posts to writing his first book.
[09:20] Jeff’s first ebook for side income turned into a surprise big earner.
[10:47] The writing process for Jeff’s first traditionally published book.
[12:12] When writing a book, ask who am I at the beginning and at the end. It’s a slower more gradual process than writing a blog post.
[13:06] Nonfiction books solve problems. Every chapter answers another question.
[15:00] Submitting a proposal and book outline. You want a book with other books like it, but with a unique message.
[16:42] Writing what most excites you. It’s OK to start in the middle.
[17:06] Jeff’s first book deal was a result of his ebook “The Writer’s Manifesto”, which he shared as a lead generation tool to build a list. He also reached out to influencers like Michael Hyatt. His list grew from 70 to 1000 in a week and kept growing. Then agent’s began reaching out to him. He ended up with a book deal in 8 months.
[21:20] Jeff’s ebook process was about his audience. With short practical steps.
[24:09] When writing books, you relearn writing with each new book.
[25:33] With The Art of Work, Jeff was able to weave in all of his previous book writing lessons.
[27:01] Creating something you would actually want to read.
[27:54] How writing a book forces us to grow as a writer.
[29:54] Having deadlines to create accountability.
[30:59] Carve out time every day for writing. Intentionally block out writing time.
[35:14] Writing blog posts while working on a book. The happy medium is to write on the blog, but most writing goes on the book. The more work you do, the more work you can do. Write in batches.
[37:27] 3 bucket system. Ideas, drafts, and edits. An idea in Evernote, then 500-word draft, then polish and edit.
[39:33] How the writing process is 3 different pieces.
[40:08] Distractions and clutter restrict creativity.
[40:59] The process of pulling order out of chaos.
[41:32] Start writing every day. That is the mindset difference between amateurs and pros. Write 500 words a day to work those writing muscles.

Links and Resources:

self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
The Art of Work
Real Artists Don’t Starve
You Are a Writer
The In-Between
Wrecked
Goins, Writer

SPS 006: Hustling My Way to 4 NYT Bestselling Books with Gary Vaynerchuk

SPS 006: Hustling My Way to 4 NYT Bestselling Books with Gary Vaynerchuk

Welcome to episode 6 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Gary Vaynerchuk, the CEO of VaynerMedia which is one of the world’s hottest digital companies, and the host of the #AskGaryVee Show. He is also the author of four New York Time’s bestselling books including Crush It!, The Thank You Economy, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, and #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneurs Take on Leadership Social Media, and Self-Awareness.

When Gary was fresh out of college he took his family’s wine business and grew it from a 3 million dollar a year business to a 60 million dollar a year business. He did this in just five years. He is also a prolific angel investor and a venture capitalist investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, and BirchBox before eventually co-founding Vayner/RSE, a 25 million dollar investment fund.

In today’s show, we talk about how Gary was approached by a publisher and got his first book deal. We also discuss Gary’s feelings on self-publishing, and what it means to Gary to build a brand. We also touch on business and book promoting tactics that Gary used to become as successful as he is today. Gary also talks about the importance of finding what you are good at and the important concept of “hustle” and just putting in the work.

You can find Gary here:

Gary Vaynerchuk Website

@garyvee on Twitter

Gary’s YouTube Channel

Gary Vaynerchuk on Facebook

Gary Vaynerchuk on LinkedIn

VaynerMedia

#AskGaryVee Show

Show Notes

[01:42] How Gary reacts to technology and the things going on around him. After finishing a speech at Web 2.0 about living your dreams in a practical way, Gary was approached by several publishers. He signed a book deal and Crush It! was born.

[04:11] Why Gary uses a publisher to get that big cash advance, but he is open to self-publishing in the future.

[05:24] The launch of Crush It! and how Gary promoted it in advance by building an audience, using social media, PR, and influencers.

[07:16] How you really have to put in the work of promotion a half a year before the book comes out.

[07:50] Investing in brand building was very helpful in promoting #AskGaryVee and building an audience.

[10:30] How Gary’s message of work is not all that sexy, but his charisma makes up for that.

[13:19] How people need to find the medium that works for them. We don’t have to communicate to the world the same way everyone tells us to. Try what works for you.

[15:01] How talking is a skill for Gary, so he takes advantage of that skill.

[16:08] The number one question people really ask about Gary?

[16:26] The top 3 drivers for sales of #AskGaryVee.

[17:19] How Gary did an 8-hour telethon where if people bought 8 books they were put in a big drawing. It was a big success. Even if people didn’t buy the books, Gary built and increased his audience.

[18:52] The jab, jab, jab philosophy is to give away content three times and then the right hook is the ask to buy. Give, give, give, sell!

[20:12] Mistakes authors make of not promoting early enough and being too sales oriented on social media.

[21:26] Hustle mode really works. Hustle to sell and write your books. Do the work.

[22:25] Mistakes made and lessons learned over the course of Gary’s book career.

[24:17] How Gary’s books fit into his business model.

[25:23] Triple down on your strengths and don’t worry about your weaknesses.

[27:31] Being fully yourself and finding your own system.

[29:12] How changing people’s lives is worth more to Gary than money.

[30:51] Having balance between the steak and the sizzle. You need to have both.

[32:37] Writing a book works, if you write a good book. Just write your book.

Links and Resources:

Gary Vaynerchuk Website

@garyvee on Twitter

Gary’s YouTube Channel

Gary Vaynerchuk on Facebook

Gary Vaynerchuk on LinkedIn

VaynerMedia

#AskGaryVee Show

Crush It!

The Thank You Economy

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneurs Take on Leadership Social Media, and Self-Awareness

Vayner/RSE

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Kindle Advertising 101: Get Your Book in Front of Amazon Shoppers at Will!

Kindle Advertising 101: Get Your Book in Front of Amazon Shoppers at Will!

Publishing your book on Amazon is only the first step.

The next part, and usually the hardest, is getting that book in front of the right book shoppers at the right time.

There are many ways to market your book, but there’s none easier and better than advertising your book on Amazon – where the shoppers already are.

Thanks to Amazon’s own advertising platform, authors can now create ads that show their book to the right people either in search results, or on the sales page of another book. 

It might sound difficult, but once you’ve read this article, you’ll be able to setup your very own Kindle advertisements in less than 10 minutes.

And the best part is that this book-marketing tactic can not only help you with your initial book launch, but can also help to revive book sales of previously published books as well. 

What are AMS Book Advertisements?

Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS, is a platform where you can tell Amazon you want your book to show up in certain search results, or on the sales page of another book, and that you’re willing to pay them some money for every person who clicks on your ad.

Yup, that’s right.  You only pay Amazon if someone clicks on your ad.  The best part is that you can set your own price which is usually somewhere between .02 cents to .35 cents per click.

And that’s it.  After setting it up with Amazon, AMS will start showing your book to their shoppers on your terms.

What Type Of AMS Ads Can I Create?

AMS offers two types of ad. This allows you to choose where exactly your ad will be displayed to Amazon customers.

Sponsored Product Ads

If you want to show up in the Amazon search results for a particular keyword, you should choose a sponsored product ad. If, for example, you choose the keyword ‘gardening book’, and someone searches for this phrase, they will see your ad alongside the other search results.

This type of ad is a great way of attracting the attention of people who your book would be suitable for, but who wouldn’t otherwise come across it.

Product Display Ads

If you’d rather your ad shows up for a particular product, rather than in the search results for a keyword, you should choose a product display ad.

Amazon allows you to specify particular products, or particular types of products, that your ad will show up alongside. If you know you offer a superior version of a competing book, you can advertise in this way to persuade buyers to choose your title instead of, or along with, their original search.

Now that you know the way that AMS operates, and the basic types of ads you can choose, let’s take a look at how to get started by creating your first campaign.

Let’s Create an Kindle Advertisement

The only basic requirement for advertising with AMS is to have a book published through KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. The book doesn’t need to be a part of the KDP Select program.

To get going, log into your KDP dashboard. Choose the book that you wish to create an ad for, and click ‘advertise’.

The exact steps you need to follow differ depending on whether you choose a sponsored product ad, or a product display ad, as you will now see.

How To Set Up A Sponsored Product Ad

kindle advertising

  1. Choose a name for your ad campaign. It can help with tracking and monitoring, particularly if you have multiple campaigns, to choose a unique and specific campaign title.kindle advertising
  2. Select your daily budget. This is the maximum amount are willing to pay on any given day. Generally, it’s better to start small and scale up based on results.
  3. Choose whether you want your campaign to run for a fixed time, or to carry on indefinitely.
  4. Select between ‘manual’ and ‘automatic’ targeting. It’s better to pick the manual option, as you can choose the exact way to advertise on your work, rather than relying on Amazon’s automated choices.kindle advertising
  5. Choose the keywords you wish your ad to show up for. A lot of authors make the mistake of choosing a low number of keywords. To have the most success possible, the higher the number of relevant keywords, the better. You can pick from Amazon’s suggestions of keywords to target, or enter your own.kindle advertising
  6. Select the default amount someone will pay when they click on your ad, known as ‘cost per click’, or CPC. This amount will apply to all keywords initially, but you can make adjustments later on.
  7. Pick an effective 150 character elevator pitch for your ad. You need to write something that is attractive and engaging in order to have the best possible chance of someone clicking on your ad.kindle advertising
  8. Select an existing credit card linked to your account. If you haven’t already done this, you need to add one at this stage.kindle advertising
  9. The final step is to click on ‘Launch Campaign’. Amazon will review your ad to ensure it complies with their requirements, and get back to you in 1-3 days. As soon as Amazon approves, your campaign goes live!

How To Set Up A Product Display Ad

  1. After clicking the ‘advertise’ option on the book you wish to create a campaign for, select the ‘Product Display Ad’ option.kindle advertising
  2. Amazon offers two choices for Product Display Ads – ‘by product’ or ‘by interest’. ‘By product’ allows you to choose the exact products you want your ad to show up for, whereas choosing ‘by interest’ allows Amazon to select products for you on the basis of a theme or topic.kindle advertising
  3. Decide whether to allow Amazon to associate your ad with similar products to the ones you have specifically selected. This is a good way of associating your ad with products you haven’t specifically heard of, but that have been bought by customers of those you have.kindle advertising
  4. Title your campaign
  5. Select an overall budget as well as a CPC (cost per click) amount.kindle advertising
  6. Produce the copy for your ad. The 50 character limit for the headline and 150 character limit for the body necessitates succinct, impactful copy. 
  7. Select ‘Submit Your Campaign For Review’. Amazon will get back to you within 1-3 days depending upon whether your campaign meets their guidelines. 

If you want to watch me carry out the above processes, check out my free Kindle advertising course. You will see a screen capture video of the exact steps you need to follow as well as my advice.

How To Get The Most From AMS

You can skillfully use AMS to reap benefits beyond increased book sales alone (although they are, of course, awesome). There are three advanced approaches to AMS that allow you to get a lot more bang for your buck.

Promote Other Versions Of Your Work

Offering multiple formats of your book effectively allows you to get several adverts for the price of one. When someone clicks on your ad, they are taken to your book’s Amazon sales page. If you offer various formats, such as a paperback from CreateSpace or an audiobook for Audible, browsers will be exposed to those options and this leads to more sales.

Introduce Readers To A Series

If you’ve ever become hooked on a book series, such as Harry Potter, you know that reading the first book alone is never enough. Readers who love the story and characters in the initial installment can’t wait to get their hands on the next editions.

If you use AMS ads to draw a browser’s attention to the first book in a series, you stand a great chance of creating a fan who will willingly buy the other books in your series without further prompting.

Nathan Van Coops even goes as far to use AMS to promote the first book of his series In Times Like These, which is permafree.  The amount of money he ends up making from the subsequent book sales, and other forms of book, outweighs the ad cost for the free book. 

Get More Email Subscriptions

If your book offers a content upgrade like a free book, or checklist, then AMS can help to increase your email optins by increasing the number of people who get your book.

Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income, used his book ‘Will It Fly?’ to generate email optins.  By offering a free course to go along with his book, Pat saw 33% optin rate.  Although Pat has a large following, AMS has allowed him to increase his reach, create continuous sales, and grow his email list daily. 

Market Other Products & Build Blog Traffic

You can use AMS to create funnels towards other products and services you offer apart from your books alone.

Some books encourage readers to visit the website or blog of their author. If you advertise a book which has this purpose, you can drive relevant customers to your external work that may never have otherwise found it.

Ryan Cleckner’s  Long Range Shooting Handbook’ is a perfect example of this concept in action. By advertising it through AMS, he drives more people to his book, which inturn drives traffic to his post on how to get an FFL. This results in increased sales for his courses – all for the price of an AMS click.

How to Improve Your AMS Ad Skills

AMS book advertising can be a wonderful skill for authors to use in order to sell their previous, current and even future books.

And while I strongly believe that AMS is a great opportunity, the more you know, the better your ads can be.  The better the ads, the more profit you’ll gain. 

So, to help you improve your AMS book ad skills, here’s a completely free course on AMS that will not only show you what we discussed above, but will also go deeper into creating profitable long term ads, that will continuously bring you book sales.

Kindle Advertising Summary

Hopefully by now you understand the immense potential of AMS and why I love it so much. After all –

  • Only AMS lets you advertise to the most relevant and profitable people possible – interested Amazon customers
  • Setting up a campaign is quick, easy and affordable
  • You can show your ad in Amazon search results through Sponsored Product Ads
  • Product Display Ads allow you to reach people interested in particular products
  • AMS can generate income through more than just book sales. You can increase traffic to your external offerings and generate additional revenue as a result

As with all advertising platforms, earlier adopters often have better results. If you delay getting started, you will have increased competition and a tougher time when you finally do.

If you want to delve deeper into the best strategies and tactics for Amazon advertising, check out my free Kindle advertising course. It contains hours of high-quality video, as well as notes and quizzes, to help you understand the full potential of AMS and put the best ideas and strategies to work for your books.

I’d love to hear your experience with Amazon Marketing Services in the comments!

SPS 005: Lessons Learned from The Secret, Chicken Soup, Abundance Now, and a Guinness World Record Setting Book with Lisa Nichols

SPS 005: Lessons Learned from The Secret, Chicken Soup, Abundance Now, and a Guinness World Record Setting Book with Lisa Nichols

Welcome to episode 5 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Lisa Nichols, one of the world’s most requested motivational speakers. She is a media personality and corporate CEO whose global platform has reached and served nearly 30 million people. She has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, and on The Secret.

Lisa has six bestselling books including the New York Times Bestseller No Matter What and her seventh book Abundance Now was just released this January. I am so excited about this interview. Lisa is just hilarious. She is a bundle of energy and a whole lot of fun, and I know we are going to have an amazing interview.

Listen in to find out about guerilla marketing, creating hooks, overcoming fear, and so much more!

You can find Lisa here:

AbundanceNowOnline.com

@2motivate on Twitter

Lisa on Facebook

Show Notes:

[01:27] Lisa wanted to write a book as a way to inspire people while she was also doing other things like speaking.

[02:46] If you want your message to have the greatest impact a book should be in your path.

[03:44] How it took Lisa three and a half years to complete Chicken Soup for The African American Soul.

[06:26] How a book is about the message, not the writing and punctuation.

[07:43] No Matter What was Lisa’s first solo book.

[09:30] How Lisa’s English teacher told her she was the weakest writer she has ever met.

[10:38] Lisa’s grammar wasn’t strong, but her message was powerful.

[12:19] Pushing through the fear of writing a book after being in the Chicken Soup Series and the Secret.

[15:16] How Abundance Now is Lisa’s biggest book ever and her life’s work.

[16:24] How fear is present when you do big things, but we have to minimize the fear story.

[18:18] Lisa tries to get as creative and radical as possible with marketing. Guerilla marketing works.

[19:51] Study your market. Who will read the book and where do they gather?

[21:37] How Lisa sent a mass mailer out asking to speak at Churches and then organizations where her audience was.

[23:28] Making Abundance Now a movement and a moment. The new definition of abundance.

[26:40] Tempting readers to read your book by telling them what personal information is on certain highlighted pages.

[29:26] Books are about people and the message on the page.

[30:47] How to use current events in a book to open up a television opportunity.

[33:34] Always be creating a hook and speaking in a way to create your next opportunity when you do a television appearance.

[37:27] Getting that first opportunity to open the door for television shows. Start regional and work your way up. Put together a press release and media packet with video and give them a call.

[42:38] Lisa’s parting words about getting up every day and sharing our message.

Links and Resources:

AbundanceNowOnline.com

@2motivate on Twitter

Lisa on Facebook

self-publishingschool.com

Spsfreetraining.com

Chicken Soup for the African American Soul

No Matter What

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SPS 004: How to Self-Publish Your Way to #1 on the Amazon & USA Today National Bestseller Lists with Ryan Levesque

SPS 004: How to Self-Publish Your Way to #1 on the Amazon & USA Today National Bestseller Lists with Ryan Levesque

Today, I am joined by Ryan Levesque the #1 National Best-Selling Author of the book ASK. In 2008, armed with a $450 laptop, an Ivy League background, and neuroscience he was able to launch a multi-million dollar online publishing business. He sold information and software products using what is now known as the ASK Formula.

Ryan has used the ASK Formula to help build several multi-million dollar businesses spread across 23 different industries. He has generated over 100 million dollars in sales. This breaks down to generating over 3 million leads with 170 thousand customers across 19 different markets. Ryan has been a busy guy because these numbers are just from the last 23 months.

I met Ryan last September at The Titans of Direct Response Event. Ryan has a background in copy and direct response which is a skill in and of itself. In this episode, we are going to focus on his book ASK. We are going to talk about a case study and how he launched the book. Then we are really diving into the monetizing portion and the survey funnel and different back-end products.

For all this and much more, listen in to this episode of the Self-Publishing School podcast!

You can find Ryan here:
Ask Method
Ryan Levesque
Ryan Levesque on LinkedIn
Ryan on Facebook

Show Notes

[02:25] How a book fits into Ryan’s big picture strategy. Being in the information industry Ryan wanted to expand what he was doing to mainstream products like books on Amazon.
[03:37] How the process of writing a book took longer than Ryan had expected.
[04:22] The way Ryan shared his story in the book and the ASK formula. He laid it on the line and held nothing back.
[05:41] By telling everyone everything you know for free people will pay you to tell them everything again.
[07:31] How an illness inspired Ryan to really look at his life and decide how he wanted to make an impact in the world.
[07:55] ASK was called the single greatest marketing book since Breakthrough Advertising.
[08:35] Don’t be tempted to hold information back in your book and create a tease for your product. Instead, put it all in the book.
[12:25] How ASK came very close to being a New York Times Bestseller. Being in the How To category as opposed to the Business category had an effect.
[14:36] Promotion and launch methods for ASK included creating an amazing product to enlist partners to help promote the book.
[15:05] Cold traffic methods used included Facebook advertising, LinkedIn advertising, and they tested a few other things.
[16:20] Be prepared for customer inquiries if you sell books on a prelaunch basis.
[17:28] Getting great testimonials and telling a great story makes a huge difference in the success of the launch.
[19:05] How Ryan and his wife took their business from nothing to $25,000 a month in 18 months.
[19:43] Talking with people can help you decide if you really do have a great story.
[20:45] Podcast interviews were another awesome tool for the launch and pre launch of ASK.
[22:04] Ryan has someone who pitches his story to podcasters to get on their shows. Laddering up is a low-cost method to get guest spots.
[25:39] Hitting the top of the list on launch week because of pre-launch sales.
[30:14] How book buyers are more critical than information product buyers.
[30:41] Fake reviews and planting reviews are the wrong paths to go down.
[33:01] Trying to anticipate people’s objections to the book. By doing so, you will get counter one aspect of negative reviews.
[39:44] Things that Ryan wishes he would have done differently around the monetization of the book such as more clarity about readers options.
[43:10] Getting readers into your world without directly selling to them.
[47:45] The biggest product that the book helped to sell was the software or the mastermind program, which were also the same offer because they came free with each other.
[53:19] Trust created by being a #1 bestselling author is invaluable.
[54:57] How running out of inventory can create a hit on your rankings. Out of stock protection can prevent this problem from having.
[57:26] An unexpected result of the book is getting people to sign up for Ryan’s highest level mastermind group without Ryan even speaking to them.

Links and Resources:

Ask Method
Ryan Levesque
Ryan Levesque on LinkedIn
Ryan on Facebook
Breakthrough Advertising
ASK on Amazon

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How to Write an Introduction That Sells Your Book

How to Write an Introduction That Sells Your Book

To learn more about how to craft the perfect book introduction, join Chandler on this FREE webinar where he explains how to write a winning intro for your book.

 

“There’s no second chance to make a first impression.” This applies to meeting your future in-laws, and it applies to your readers’ first impression of your book. Okay—to be honest—while a reader’s first impression will be of your book cover, their second-first impression is going to come while they read your book’s introduction. It’s easy to think an introduction isn’t important because so many people skip reading them, but did you know your book’s introduction is actually a vital sales tool if you’re a non-fiction author? In this article, we’re going to tell you how to write an introduction that will actually boost book sales.

But first, let’s talk about…

Why Your Book Introduction is Crucial

Amazon offers customers a chance to give your book a sneak peek before purchase. It’s called the Look Inside feature, and when shoppers click on it, they’re treated to a free preview of the beginning of your book. This means you’ve been given the opportunity to grab their attention and make them reach for their wallets.

This is why your book’s introduction is crucial to your book’s ultimate success. Readers will pick up your book and make a decision about you as an author and your book based on those first few paragraphs.

How Your Book Introduction Will Help You Sell Books

Your introduction serves two goals. Think of your first 1,000 words as the foundation for the rest of your book’s chapters. Writing your introduction is going to be a useful exercise to help you distill down your ideas and to succinctly encapsulate the messaging of your whole book into just a few, short paragraphs.

And of course, the second goal of your introduction is to act as a sales pitch to intrigue readers so they’ll buy your book.

It’s intimidating, yes, and a lot of pressure is riding on just a few paragraphs. This is why writing your introduction can be one of your first major stumbling blocks as an author. This article is going to help you overcome this significant hurdle so you can continue merrily on the path toward your finished manuscript, and ultimately higher sales of your book once it is published.

How to Write a Book Introduction: 8 Steps

Self-Publishing School created a roadmap, much like we did for mindmapping and outlining, to nail down that book introduction—and also to jumpstart your writing process for the rest of your chapters.

As we go through these 8 steps to writing your introduction, we’re going to use the example of a book called How to Get College Scholarships. As you read, take notes, and insert your own book’s topic into your thinking and note-taking process.

Step 1: Identify the Problem

Don’t dance around the problem. What’s the problem your book promises to solve? State the problem clearly for your readers from the outset. Be straight-forward, unambiguous and concise when you identify the issue that readers hope you can solve for them.

Don’t try to be all things to all people—you want readers to know the specific problem your book will solve for them.

Using our example of How to Get College Scholarships, the problem is simple: college is expensive, and scholarships seem out of reach to most high school students.

FREE WEBINAR!

Go from blank page to published author in 90 days… and use your book to grow a six-figure income. 

Click here to register now!

Step 2: Present the Solution

Now that you’ve identified the problem that readers are struggling with, you’re going to make their day by telling them you’re going to share the solution in your book. You’ve helped them with a problem AND you’ve revealed that your book holds the solution on the first page. Your book’s going to be a winner!

Directional phrases such as, “In this book, I am going to show you …” or “This book is going to solve your problem by …”

Thinking back to our example, some solutions we’d present in our book would be teaching readers how to write a good essay so you can stand out from the competition, and how to find and apply for the top scholarships.

Step 3: Assert Your Credibility

Now that you’ve presented a problem and posted a solution, your next step is to convince your readers that you, the author, is qualified to help solve their problem. You need to build your credibility and provide readers with a reason to trust you and follow your advice.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Why should people trust you?
  • How do you know about this topic?
  • Why are you passionate about writing this book?

Sharing your own struggles and how you overcame them is the first step to building rapport with your readers.

 

Step 4: Show Them the Benefits

How will your book improve your readers’ current circumstances? Now’s the time to really sell them on how reading your book is going to change their life for the better.

Sold! Who doesn’t want a better life? (It’s rhetorical: We all do!)

You’ve briefly touched on the solution—in our case, how to write a great essay and how to apply for scholarships. In this part of your introduction, you’re going to go a little deeper and explain what good things will happen if your readers take advantage of the information you present in your book.

In short, tell your readers what they’ll get—what knowledge or skill they will gain from reading your book and how that’s going to impact their future for the better.

In our example, the benefit of our book is that readers will go to school for free and live a life without the financial burden of student loans. Readers can achieve their dream of getting an education, without breaking the bank.

Step 5: Give Them Proof

Show your readers the proof of why your book is the answer to their prayers. Give the most tangible and relatable proof you can provide.

In our example, we might share how we put ourselves or our children through school on scholarship. We might also include testimonials from other people we know who followed our advice and got a free education.

Step 6: Make a Promise (The Bigger the Better)

Don’t make a promise you can’t keep, but make the biggest promise that you CAN keep. Aim high.

To come up with your promise, circle back to your books’ purpose—what is the problem your book is solving? Now promise that this book with solve their problem! It’s that easy. You need to be able to deliver on your promises, but don’t be shy in stating what they will get in return for reading your book.

While we can’t promise someone they will be awarded a scholarship (after all, their grades will have a big impact there), but we can promise that we will increase their chances of getting a scholarship by showing them where to find them and the steps to take to apply.

Step 7: Warn Them Against Waiting

You need to create a sense of urgency so your readers know that if they pass on your book, they will regret it because readers will miss out on something really good.

A sense of urgency is created by two magic words, “RIGHT NOW!”

In our example, we would urge people to start well ahead of the scholarship application deadlines so they can submit the best applications they can. Don’t delay, or others who are in the know will snatch up those scholarships! So let’s get started on getting you a free education RIGHT NOW!

Step 8: Prompt Them to Read (Call to Action)

You want readers to continue reading your book the second they finish the introduction. To do that, you have to hint at the juicy secrets your book will reveal to them that will change their lives. You want to intrigue them, and hint at the exciting revelations you’re going to make inside the book. They will have to buy it in order to find out.

Here’s how to craft a compelling Call to Action to prompt them to read your book right away:

The scholarship tips and tricks you’re about to read have proven results. Each chapter provides new secrets that will help you stay in control of your financial future, AND get a leg up on the competition for scholarships. If you follow the formula we reveal in this book, it’s highly possible you can enjoy the rest of your life unburdened by debt.

There you go—it’s that easy! By simply applying a few principles of psychology as you draft your book’s introduction, you can demonstrate to your readers how and why they need to read your book right now. Take advantage of this chance to explain in a few short paragraphs how readers will benefit by reading your book. They will thank you later, after they buy your book and they’re reaping the benefits of taking your advice.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 4/11/16 and has been updated for accuracy.

 

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

 

SPS 003: Using a Book to Sell More Software & Information Products with Russell Brunson

SPS 003: Using a Book to Sell More Software & Information Products with Russell Brunson

Today, I am joined by Russell Brunson. While wrestling at Boise State University, Russell started his first online company. Within a year of graduating, he had sold over a million dollars worth of products and services all from his basement.

For over 12 years now, Russell has been starting and scaling companies online. He owns a software company called ClickFunnels, a supplement company, and a coaching company. He is also one of the top super affiliates in the world. He created his company DotCom Secrets which is also the title of his book to help entrepreneurs around the world to start, promote, and grow their companies online.

Russell lives in Boise, ID with his wife Collette and their five children. In this interview, we are going to talk about why someone who owns a company and sold a million dollars worth of products chose to write a book. We are also going to talk about the launch of Russell’s book and the funnel process.

For all this and much more, listen in to this episode of the Self-Publishing School podcast!

You can find Russell here:

RussellBrunson.com

@RussellBrunsonHQ on Facebook

@RussellBrunson on Twitter

Russell Brunson on LinkedIn

Show Notes

[01:42]How Russell tried to write a book in the past and had false starts. In retrospect, he is glad he waited because he had so much more knowledge when he did start.

[04:30] What gave Russell the motivation to finally go all in and complete his book. A conversation with a friend finally prompted him to do the work.

[05:39]About the writing process and how it took about a year and how an event forced Russell to record everything chronologically.

[06:49] How one of the best things about writing a book is cutting things out that aren’t really needed.

[07:56]The business purpose of the book was to establish authority and lead generation, plus motivation and education for using ClickFunnels.

[10:20] About the marketing presales push and how the goal was to presale as many as possible. Russell gave away a Ferrari to whoever would sell the most books.

[12:14] Using the free book where the buyer only pays for shipping leads to sales.

[13:44] Other ways that Russell compensated his affiliates, and how he created a funnel that would sustain all of the cash and incentives to give away the books.

[15:41] How about a fifth of the books were sold by Russell and the rest were by affiliates and some of the different affiliate strategies.

[16:57] About doing radio and podcast interviews to promote the sale of the book along with direct mail and as many angles as possible.

[18:42] How Russell got started on the Internet. Including influences by Bill Glazer and Dan Kennedy.

[20:21] The way that Russell got Dan Kennedy to write the foreword of his book.

[21:06]How Russell was able to get Tony Robbins to create a blurb for the book.

[22:36] The most effective method for promoting his books was probably his own internal list and his affiliate strategy. He would ship gifts to his dream 100 affiliates.

[24:59] It’s possible to get addresses by contacting people on Facebook and sending them gifts in the mail.

[27:56] To get people to promote stuff you need to do cool things.

[28:14] Russell’s initial goal was 15,000 copies and he did better than he had hoped for.

[29:41] What the backend of the book giveaway looks like. 3 core funnels. Book launch funnel. On the order form there was an audiobook offer, an upsell for traffic course, and a webinar sales course.

[30:38] Funnel number 2 is an invite to a webinar, which sells one year access to ClickFunnels.

[31:53] 2 weeks later, there is an invite to a coaching program. Group, mastermind, or high-end coaching. The funnels lead to the large backend funnel.

[34:29] How Russell was able to sell the audio version of his book for $37.00 and trials of getting it recorded.

[37:49] He read the audiobook himself, mostly because he was short on time and he wanted it done right. It also helped with the editing.

[42:24] Russell has a script that teaches the perfect webinar. Figure out the 3 core things that your prospects think are right that are actually wrong.

[46:37] Find out a surprising way that Russell made money on the backend of his book, like a $100,000 coaching gig and t-shirts.

[48:56] How Russell’s business has improved and benefited from books and readers as customers.

[50:43] Don’t wait 10 years to write your first book and fill your book with value.

Links and Resources:

RussellBrunson.com

@RussellBrunsonHQ on Facebook

@RussellBrunson on Twitter

Russell Brunson on LinkedIn

self-publishingschool.com

Spsfreetraining.com

DotComSecrets.com

ClickFunnels.com

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SPS 002: Using the One Thing & Time Blocking to Finally Write Your First Book with Jay Papasan

SPS 002: Using the One Thing & Time Blocking to Finally Write Your First Book with Jay Papasan

Today, I am joined by Jay Papasan, Vice President of Publishing at Keller Williams Realty, Inc. in Austin, Texas. This is a real estate franchise company with over 74,000 real estate agents operating across the US and Canada.

Jay has co-authored multiple bestsellers including The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, and The ONE Thing. Before co-authoring the bestselling real estate series with Gary Keller, Jay was an editor at HarperCollins where he worked on bestselling books such as Body For Life by Bill Phillips and Go For the Goal by Mia Hamm.

The ONE Thing is one of my top 5 books of all time. I have a lot of favorite books, but this one I constantly go back to and highly recommend. In fact, our entire company will be reading this book next month as required reading. Today, we will be talking about a lot of the principles from the book and how they apply to writing.

For all this and much more, listen in to this episode of the Self-Publishing School podcast!

You can find Jay here:

JayPapasan.com

Jay Papasan on LinkedIn

Jay Papasan on Facebook

@jaypapasan on Twitter

Show Notes

[01:53] How The ONE Thing has had the most impact on Jay’s life and how it is impactful for others.

[03:45] How Jay ended up working on his first book at Keller Williams by running into Gary Keller in the bathroom.

[05:04] Jay had actually worked on two of the books that Gary wanted to model for the real estate series.

[06:46] The process for outlining the first book and how Jay wrote the chapters.

[08:20] The toughest parts of writing the first book was keeping disciplined, because the novelty of writing wore off fast. Jay wrote discipline is freedom on the wall to help stay focused.

[10:11] How to feel confident and overcome imposter syndrome by powering through until things shifted.

[11:07] The biggest mistake made with the first book was self-publishing with an awful cover. They went cheap instead of taking the time to perfect the cover.

[13:44] The writing process of creating an outline and then handing it off to researchers for additional quotes, stories etc. so they wouldn’t have to go down the research rabbit hole before writing.

[16:26] Coming up with visuals before writing the chapter. Having a visual ready to go will help drive and organize the writing. Lists, graphics, underlines, etc.

[18:10] Time blocking every day to make sure they are writing every day. The most productive people make appointments with themselves.

[19:29] Creating habits by writing an intention statement that states, when and where you will do something, makes it three times more likely to get done.

[22:02] How to strengthen the discipline muscle to make time blocking a priority to get things done. Write first thing in the morning.

[29:08] Setting a time limit so that non-writing activities don’t bleed into early day writing time. Use a timer to put an artificial limit on these activities.

[31:21] Batching email and checking it only 3 times a day using a time limit and blocking off 18 to 20 days a month for writing. If a writing day is canceled, be sure to replace it.

[35:56] Building a bunker. Finding a place to be productive and away from distractions. Store provisions, meaning have what you need on hand and sweep for mines or turn your phone and distractions off. Enlist support by explaining why you shouldn’t be disturbed.

[41:52] Multitasking and switching have costs. The interruptions prevent us from going deep and staying on task. 28% of work time can be lost to reorientation time.

[46:23] How being distracted from a primary task can even prevent us from going back to the primary task.

[47:29] What the 4 thieves of productivity are. Inability to say no. Fear of chaos. Poor health habits. The environment does not support your goals.

[56:28] Advice for writing the first book. Do it for yourself and commit a certain amount of time to writing. Make it a ritual and form the writing habit.

Links and Resources:

JayPapasan.com

Jay Papasan on LinkedIn

Jay Papasan on Facebook

@jaypapasan on Twitter

self-publishingschool.com

Spsfreetraining.com

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent

The ONE Thing

Time Blocking Mastery

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SPS 001: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World with Your First Book, with Michael Hyatt

SPS 001: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World with Your First Book, with Michael Hyatt


My guest today is Michael Hyatt, who is one of my favorite people in our space. He does things absolutely the right way and always works from a place of integrity and quality. You may recognize Michael as the author of the New York Times bestseller Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and the coauthor of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.

In addition to being a highly successful author, Michael has worked in nearly every facet of book publishing in the 30 years since he began his career at Word Publishing (which was a part of Thomas Nelson) while a senior at Baylor University. Perhaps most notably, he played a large role at Thomas Nelson Publishers, which is the largest faith-based publisher in the world and is now part of HarperCollins. Michael was the company’s CEO from 2005 through 2011, and remained there as chairman until the company was sold in 2012.

Our conversation today includes Michael talking in detail about his experiences with the writing, publishing, and publicity processes. As you’ll learn here, his first book came very close to never being published, and only his own tenacity and persuasiveness saved it.

In addition, he’ll offer incredible value in the form of advice for anyone interested in writing or publishing a book. He explains, for example, why having your own platform is more important now than ever before. He also offers recommendations on topics such as starting with a blog (using social media instead is “like building a house on a rented lot”) and why you might want to rethink those gorgeous, image-filled emails to your mailing list.

For all this and much more, listen in to this episode of the Self-Publishing School podcast!

You can find Michael here:

michaelhyatt.com
Michael Hyatt on LinkedIn
@michaelhyatt on Facebook
@MichaelHyatt on Twitter
michaelhyatt on Instagram

Show Notes

[01:30] – Did Michael know that his book Platform would launch a whole arm of his business?[02:07] – Michael takes us back to the very first book he wrote, in 1997. He explains all the difficulties and struggles involved in both writing and publishing the book, and reveals that it came very close to not being published at all.[06:09] – How long a span of time did Michael’s 1,200 interviews on the book take place during? As he answers, he reveals the intensity of the publicity process.[08:22] – Michael explains what he means by going into “sales mode,” and shares some of what he did to publicize it and build his audience.[09:33]- We hear why Michael thinks his book went from something relatively few people were interested in to something that went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies.[10:43] – Chandler zooms in on two things Michael has said: speaking in sound bites, and making the host sound good.[12:20] – We zoom back out to learn about Michael’s time at Thomas Nelson. He explains his experience in working in just about every facet of publishing. He then explains the dramatic change in publishing between 2006 and 2009.[15:18] – What are some of the biggest takeaways from that period that Michael now uses? He reveals that publishers now count on their authors’ platforms.[17:02] – Michael clarifies what he means by a “platform.”[18:40]- We learn more about platforms and how someone who’s just starting out can begin building their own platform. He recommends starting with a blog, and explains why.[21:44] – Michael talks about his audience-building methods he uses or recommends. He emphasizes the importance of having an email list, and creating an opt-in magnet.[25:50] – Does Michael think that the power of email is fading, or is it here to stay? In his answer, he discusses why he has recently switched from beautiful, HTML-based newsletters to text-based email without images.[27:30] – We hear what triggered all of the changes that Michael made a month ago.[28:35] – Michael takes a deeper dive into content and its creation. His blog is his workbench, he explains, and the ideas that work there make their way into other content such as his podcasts and books.[32:08] – What is Michael’s rhythm or process for creating content?[34:17] – Previously, Michael was more of a rhythmic writer; now it’s more system-based. He explains how his system functions.[37:01] – Michael’s content team has three people in addition to him. Here he explains his process for finding good people who stay for a long time.[40:23] – Because Michael came out of the world of book publishing (where every piece of content is assembled by a team), having a team help create his content feels natural to him.[43:11] – We learn what Michael recommends for someone who is just starting out and wants to get noticed by a publisher.[44:42] – In answer to the final question, Michael offers his parting tip for someone looking to publish their first book: write a book proposal for yourself. Not doing this is “like trying to build an addition onto your house without a blueprint,” he explains.[46:45] – Chandler has a free gift for listeners: a copy of Book Launch (FIND AND LINK THIS). To claim your copy, go to spsfreebook.com! (FIND AND LINK THIS)

Links and Resources:

michaelhyatt.com
Michael Hyatt on LinkedIn
@michaelhyatt on Facebook
@MichaelHyatt on Twitter
michaelhyatt on Instagram
self-publishingschool.com
spsfreetraining.com
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want
The Millennium bug
Platform University
Evernote
Workflowy
John Maxwell
Charlie Wetzel

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SPS 000: Introduction to Self-Publishing School Podcast

SPS 000: Introduction to Self-Publishing School Podcast

In the Self-Publishing School podcast, you’ll learn to write and publish your first book, and how to use that book to grow your business, brand, or following. We also offer video training at spsfreetraining.com!

In this introductory episode, I want to give you a quick overview of Self-Publishing School’s mission. Basically, this mission is to put the power back in the hands of the authors.

Future podcasts will address three distinct topics related to self-publishing: writing, marketing, and monetizing. I’ll be bringing in top experts who will talk from personal experience about things they’ve actually done. In other words, this will be real, valuable, actionable information — not untested theoretical advice from a textbook.

So listen in, subscribe, and learn all about the exciting world of self-publishing. Glad to have you here, and I look forward to offering you many value-packed episodes!

You can find Chandler and Self-Publishing School here:

Chandler Bolt on LinkedIn

Chandler Bolt on Facebook

Chandler Bolt on Amazon

self-publishingschool.com

spsfreetraining.com

Show Notes

[00:22] – Chandler Bolt introduces himself and explains what he’ll share in this episode.

[00:46] – We learn more about Chandler Bolt, such as where he’s from, where he lives now, how many bestselling books he’s written, and how hard it was for him to write his first book.

[01:24] – Chandler explains more about Self-Publishing School, and what its mission is. He also touches on why self-publishing is the best option for many authors.

[02:50] – If you want some free training, you can go to self-publishingschool.com/free.

[03:05] – Chandler talks about the podcast, explaining what you can expect from it and how it will work.

[04:12] – We hear about how valuable and high-quality the guests on future episodes will be.

[04:47] – Chandler describes the frequency of the podcast. A few episodes will be available at launch, and after that there will be a new episode every week.

[05:32] – Chandler invites listeners to subscribe. This will keep you in the loop for future episodes, and help ensure you don’t miss a single valuable episode!

[06:14] – Listeners are invited to claim a free gift: a copy of Book Launch. To get yours, go to spsfreebook.com!

Links and Resources:

Chandler Bolt on LinkedIn

Chandler Bolt on Facebook

Chandler Bolt on Amazon

self-publishingschool.com

spsfreetraining.com

self-publishingschool.com/free

You might also enjoy:

How to Copyright a Book

How to Copyright a Book

Let’s take a look at a topic that scares the jeepers out of most authors: how to copyright a book. A lot of us get caught up in a confusing haze of copyright laws, infringement, and wondering how to stay out of hot water with the law and angry lawyers [okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic]. But it is best to know what you can and cannot do regarding copyrighting when self-publishing your own book.

It’s Not Only About How to Copyright a Book…

With the explosion of self-publishing, indie authors must be aware of what they can and can’t do when it comes to quoting, borrowing, and publishing works from other authors. This post isn’t to “scare” you but give some insight into how you can protect yourself and your own work from being misused or stolen.

In this post we will also look at the 9 most common questions authors ask when it comes to copyright concerns, for both their own works and when borrowing from other sources.

But first, it all begins with creating the copyright page in your book.

Your Copyright Page

Open any old book that may be sitting by your desk right now. What do you notice within the first few pages? Whether the book is self-published or through a traditional publisher, there’s a copyright page inside and within the first few pages of every book. Typically, the copyright page will appear in your book right after the title page and just before the table of contents.

The copyright page should include some essential information in order to copyright your book. The main components to include in your book’s copyright page are:

  • The copyright notice. This has the little © symbol or you can use the word “copyright.” So it would look like this: ©2017 Jane Doe
  • The year of publication of the book
  • The name of the owner of the works, which is usually the author or publishing house name.
  • Ordering information
  • Reservation of rights
  • Copyright notice
  • Book editions
  • ISBN Number
  • Your website [you want them to find you, right?]
  • Credits to the book [cover designer, editor]
  • Disclaimer

Take a look at this example from Chandler Bolt’s book Published. The Proven Path From Blank Page to Published Author.

how to copyright a book

A Note on Disclaimers

If you are writing a book on health and fitness, success as an entrepreneur, providing financial advice—anything that readers could fail at—an extended disclaimer is something you should consider.

If you give advice on earning a million dollars this year, and the reader ends up losing money, you could be blamed for their misfortune because of a promise you made. Consider putting an extended disclaimer in your book that comes after the copyright jargon to protect your opinions, advice and information. In other words, tell readers that they are reading your book and applying your advice at their own risk.

Here are some examples of disclaimers.

Fiction Disclaimer:

The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Nonfiction Disclaimer:

The advice and strategies found within may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher are held responsible for the results accrued from the advice in this book.

For further examples of a book copyright page and disclaimers you can check out Kindlepreneur.

The 9 Most Common Questions

Nowadays, with the massive expansion of self-publishing, it is more important than ever for authors, artists and creatives putting their work out there to ensure that it is fully protected.

When we borrow work from other authors, living or dead, we have to consider: 1. What can I actually use; and 2. When is permission needed? Here is the golden rule when it comes to copyright laws: Never assume that anything is free! Everything out there, including on the internet, has been created by someone.

Here are common questions authors have about protecting themselves, their works, and others they may have quoted in their books:

1. Do I have to register my book before it is copyrighted?

Your book is legally copyrighted as soon as it is written. But, to scale up your legal rights and protect your material to the fullest extent, register your book with the Federal Copyright Office. On the chance someone does attempt to pirate your book or portions of it, registering with the US Copyright Office will give you greater leverage if it comes to action being taken.

2. How many words can I quote from another book or source?

Generally speaking there are no set rules on how much you can actually “borrow” from existing works. But, it’s best to exercise common sense here and keep it short, as a general rule under 300 words.

Paul Rapp, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, says that “if the quote drives your narrative, if you are using an author’s quote in your argument, or if you are giving an opinion on an author’s quote, then it is considered fair use.”

What is fair use?

A legal concept that allows the reproduction of copyrighted material for certain purposes without obtaining permission and without paying a fee or royalty. Purposes permitting the application of fair use generally include review, news reporting, teaching, or scholarly research.

If you use something published by someone else with the sole purpose of monetary gain, this doesn’t constitute fair use.

3. Can I write about real people?

Especially in works of nonfiction, real people are often mentioned to express an opinion or as an example to clarify the writer’s fact or opinion. Generally you can use the names of real people as long as the material isn’t damaging to their reputation or libelous. Stick to the facts and write about what is true based on your research.

4. Can I borrow lyrics from songs?

Stephen King often used song lyrics for his books including Christine and The Stand. He obtained permission for these works. King says, “Lyrics quotes in this book [Christine] are assigned to the singer most commonly associated with them. This may offend the purist who feels that a song lyric belongs more to the writer than the singer.”

Basically, song lyrics fall under strict copyright even if it is just a single line used. Try to get permission if you use a song. You can contact the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Once you find the rights owner, you have to ask for permission through writing.

5. Do I need permission to borrow material from a book that is over 100 years old?

Once the copyright on a book or material has expired, or the author has been dead for seventy years, the work enters into the public domain and you can use it without permission or licensing. BUT this does vary country to country. You can check the copyright office in the US here.

6. Are authors liable for content used in a book?

Yup. Even with traditional publishing houses, the author is still responsible for the content written and used in the book. In fact, traditionally published authors usually have to sign a waiver that removes the publisher from any liability pertaining to the material the author used if the writer included that material without proper permission. And you already know, as a self-published author, you’re on your own.

7. If I use an inspirational quote from another writer or famous person, do I need permission?

You don’t need permission to use quotes in a book provided that you credit the person who created it and/or spoke the quote.

For example:

“Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream”Edgar Allan Poe

8. What is the best way to protect my work from being stolen?

Your work is copyrighted as soon as it is written. But you can register your work with the US copyright office. If you have a blog where you also post content, you need to have a Terms & Privacy disclaimer on your page. This would preferably be at the top where it is easy to see, although many writers and bloggers include this at the bottom of every page. You should also include your Copyright on your blog that protects your content from being “copied and pasted” into another site without permission or recognition.

9. A royalty free stock photo means that I can use it for free and don’t have to get permission, right?

Wrong. Most stock photos are copyrighted, even if they appear in search engines and we can easily download or copy them. If you grab a photo off the net and think you can slap it on a book cover or use it for free in your book, think again. It’s recommended you purchase photos through sites such as Shutterstock or Depositphotos.

Boring, Yet Cool Legal Terms You Should Know

I know, I know…we would rather write books, rake in the cash, and sign autographs than worry about technical legal jargon. But the more you know, the more time you can spend writing without wondering, “Is this legal?” Here are some legal terms to keep you informed on your rights as a self-publisher and protect your works:

Before you publish your next book, take a few minutes to read over this “brief” report from the United States Copyright Office. You can also check out this handy guideline for authors on what needs permission vs. what you can use without asking.

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

To learn more about the cost of publishing a book and how to get connected with some of the best (and most affordable) designers, editors, and formatters, join Chandler on this FREE webinar!

“Remember to think of the cost of self-publishing as an investment, not a cost. [A book is] an asset that earns you money long-term.” – Joanna Penn

If you’re thinking of publishing your first book, you might have some concerns about how much it really costs to get it published. So…how much does it cost to publish a book?

Since the explosion of digital books on Amazon and various other platforms like kobo, ibooks, and smashwords, wanna-be authors and pro authors alike can write, publish and promote their books for less than $1000. On the other hand, you can spend as much as $20,000 on self-publishing and book marketing costs if you have that kind of budget.

Let’s breakdown the costs of the self-publishing process, and we’ll share some secrets to bring those costs down if you’re budget-conscious.

The Rise of Self Publishing

If you’re an author dreaming of making your books available to millions of readers, you can make it happen. You only have to invest your time, some money, and a little bit of sanity.

The sky’s really the limit. Self-publishing on Amazon has made it possible so that we can all fly with our books.

There are many factors that can affect the cost of publishing your book. What it really boils down to is this: How much are you willing to spend, and how well do you want your book to sell?

The reason I ask these questions is—if you go cheap on everything—you could end up putting out a low quality book that gets panned by bad reviews, and then it won’t sell.

On Amazon, quality sells. And yes, quality costs money. But there are ways you can creatively cut costs and still put out a quality book. Let’s take a look.

Crunching the Numbers: How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

To start, let’s look at a sample budget. Now, these aren’t the high-end numbers for self-publishing. You can spend as much money as you want—this is a list of budget-conscious pricing for getting your book done within a reasonable budget:

how much does it cost to publish a book

 

I’ll go into each of these in more detail, with links you can check out for yourself and find what works within your budget. Take some time to shop around see where to get the best value for the best price.


To learn more about the cost of publishing a book and how to get connected with some of the best (and most affordable) designers, editors, and formatters, join Chandler on this FREE webinar!

How Much Does a Book Cover Design Cost?

The famous saying is “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but we do it anyway. The design of your book can often determine whether or not people will actually pay for it and read it. Your cover will make or break your book right off the bat. If there’s any one cost you don’t want to go cheap on, this would be it. While it’s true you can outsource to someone on Fiverr and get a decent cover for less than $20, it pays to do your research and find a good designer that’s going to deliver a cover that sells your book.

Check out this video Chandler Bolt recorded on how to use Fiverr.com to outsource your book cover design.

I would recommend setting aside a budget of at least $100. This isn’t to say that spending tons of money will get you an awesome cover, but going cheap on it may hurt your sales in the long run.

How Much Does a Book Editor Cost?

A book should always be edited…by a real editor. Don’t try to cut corners here, this is a very important step in your book writing journey.  Even if you’re a professional writer or editor yourself with thirty years of experience under your belt, you need to outsource it to someone else, and that means another professional editor.

Trust me: a book that contains typos will get bad reviews and sales will drop flat. Love your book. Spend the cash on editing. You can find quality editors at Upwork. (Or you can find the editors we recommend in our Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex if you’re a member of the Self-Publishing School community.)

You can get a very short book (15,000 words) edited for about $150-$250. This is for line editing. Ghost writing, developmental, or structural editing will run you much more than that, upwards of $2,000 or more depending on the length of your book (up to 100,000+ words) and the depth of edits you require.

When it comes to your book production costs, there can be no end to the costs you can rack up if you have the cash to invest.

How Much Does Book Formatting Cost?

When it’s time to format your book, if you’re publishing on Amazon, you might want to get it formatted both for print and for Kindle. You can outsource the formatting of both your ebook and print book for around $60-$200. Fiverr has some great formatters at reasonable prices.

I’d also recommend asking fellow authors if they have any great recommendations for book formatters. Once you find a book formatter you really like, add them to your own rolodex for future reference.

How Much Does it Cost to Promote Your Book?

When it comes to spending cash on promo sites, you could empty your bank easily. It doesn’t have to come to this. Set a budget for yourself and go with the best of the best. I have recommendations below you can check out.

Budgets vary but I’ll spend $32 on the low end for Buckbooks and go as high as $1,000 if you add on a bundle of promo sites to launch your book.

Again, this is a major money suck if you’re not careful; you can throw thousands into it and get mediocre results. Choose your promo sites with caution and do your research.

For the best results on several paid launches I have used:

Bookzio [$19-29]

Robin Reads [$35]

Buckbooks [$32]

BKnights [$5-40]

ereader girl [$20]

Awesome Gang [$10]

Booksbutterfly [varied prices]

When it comes to paid promotions, you can spend as much as you want, but to get the best value for your dollar, do your research on the top sites that can generate a good return. Check out this detailed list of paid [and free] promo sites.

How Much Does it Cost to Record an Audio Book?

Creating an audio book can run you anywhere from $300 to $6,000 additional cost depending on the length of your book and who you hire to do it. Again, you’ll need to create a budget for this one to keep costs under control.

If you have a novel with multiple characters and want different people to read different roles, it can cost towards the high end of the budget (especially if you’re using high-end talent.)

If you have a good voice or acting experience and you want to give it a shot, you can purchase the basic equipment and record the audio book version yourself. Check out this blog post for setting up your recording studio and doing it yourself.

Additional Author Tools and Expenses

Author tools are a necessary part of your portfolio, and there are tools for every part of the publishing process. How many of these you decide to invest in is up to you.

Here are some of the basic tools of professional authors. This will add a price tag to your book, but many of these are just a one-time payment and then that’s it. Other tools will bill you monthly.

Book Publishing Courses

If you’re new to the game of self-publishing, take a course like Self-Publishing School or join our Mastermind community for everything you need to get started.

You could also look into taking multiple courses on Udemy. But again, you can spend a fortune on various courses. I would recommend sticking with one course until you complete it and then, after getting your first big win, look at branching out to learn other skills.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?

Building an author platform is a serious consideration if you’re looking to expand your business, write blogs, and promote your work. Whether you’re looking to build your entire website as an author, or a landing page with a call-to-action to get users to opt-in, it’s a very important step for building your business. It’s also important to capture leads to build your mailing list. A lead capture form on your website serves the purpose of finding quality leads as well as help you determine your primary audience.

Here are some things you’ll need to look into in order to get started with building a website:

Hosting

You can sign up for hosting with servers such as bluehost or hostgator. The cost would be around $150 per year; very reasonable for website hosting. You will get a discount when you sign up for the first year, but pay full price when you renew.

Domain Name

You can purchase a domain name to secure your brand and start driving traffic to your site. Check out Name.com. The cost will run you around $10-$15 a year.

Email Subscription Services

If you want to collect email addresses, you’ll need to sign up with an email subscription service to manage your emails. There are several choices:

Mailchimp: this is free up to the first 2000 subscribers. If you opt in to use their autoresponder service or other upgrades, you’ll have to pay around $10 a month depending on the number of subscribers.

AWeber: regarded by most as the premium site for email subscriptions. Cost per month: $19 up to 500 subscribers.

Convertkit.com: a new kid on the block, Convertkit has tons of value. Price is based on subscribers, but starts at $29 a month for your first 1,000 subscribers.

How to Increase Book Sales

We all want to make CASH with our writing. It may not be the only reason we write, but self-publishing your own book is still an investment. And like any investment, it’s nice to get a return rather than taking a loss.

Here is a list of strategies you can implement to increase your book sales and get more eyeballs on your work.

  1. Run a contest through Goodreads.
  2. Reach out to podcasters and influencers in your niche and set up an interview. This has proven to be a big game changer for authors like Hal Elrod and Tim Ferriss.
  3. After your book has been at regular price for a while, wait three months and then drop it to .99 again. Set up some paid ads every other day for one week. Try using the KDP countdown strategy.
  4. Blog about the topics in your book. Set up a blog and get more traffic and interest in your work by writing about what you love. Traffic that lands on your page can be directed to your Amazon Author Page and that means…more book sales!
  5. Write another book. Building a catalogue of books is a great formula for generating higher monthly income.
  6. Apply for a spot on Bookbub. Bookbub is the big gorilla when it comes to book promoting. It’s expensive ($300 and up), but it’s a solid investment and you will make your money back on the promo costs. You can check out Bookbub here and sign up for an author account to get started.

3 Ways to Save Money on Your Book Costs

Self-publishing can be expensive if you let it. There is always something else to spend more money on and the more you spend, the less chance you have of making your money back. Here are a few hot tips to help you save on your book costs, both now and in the future.

Hot Tip #1: Save Money on Book Formatting [if you dare!]

Write your eBook with Scrivener. Not only is Scrivener the #1 author tool for writing and organizing your manuscript but, if used effectively, it can save you money in formatting costs. If you’d like to learn more about how it works, check out this Scrivener webinar hosted by Joseph Michael with Chandler Bolt.

Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer.com also offers a bundle of Book Design Templates for both fiction and nonfiction. These templates are at a cost but will save you money in the long run from outsourcing. I have personally been using these to do the formatting for my books. It can be time consuming at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll save money on formatting costs.

Hot Tip #2: Build a List of Email Subscribers

Although this topic deserves its own blog or (book), I’ll mention it here because if you build up an email list now, it can save you thousands of dollars in promotional costs down the road.

When you launch your next book, you’ll have hundreds or thousands of fans waiting for your next release. Not only that, but these are the fans who will leave reviews if they join your launch team and purchase your book the first week it comes out.

This shoots your rankings up, and this drives sales even further. Sound good?

You can start to build your email list by including a link to a lead magnet in your eBook. A lead magnet is an offer of a free, valuable piece of content that readers will get if they go to your website and subscribe to your email list.

Hot Tip #3: Write a Great Book!

This might seem like an obvious tip, but paying attention to the quality of your book throughout the writing process is going to save you money. The better your book, the less you’ll have to spend on editing.

You will also gain a solid reputation for someone who writes really well. This means loyal fans will spread the word about your book and your blog, your email list grows, and any future books you release will practically promote themselves. Well, almost.

We are in a great era of self-publishing. Anyone can turn their dream into a reality within just a few months, a bit of cash, and a great idea!

Are you ready to make a difference?

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

 

Book Outline: 11 Ways to Outline Your Book

Book Outline: 11 Ways to Outline Your Book

Outlining. That word may conjure images of 7th Grade English, scribbling at your desk in frustration while a stern teacher looks over your shoulder. Many of us learned how to outline in middle school, and it’s a skill we haven’t revisited since our braces came off and the acne faded away. Have no fear! You’re a grown-up now, and this project isn’t being graded. You have free reign to structure your book outline to benefit your writing process—whether that’s a spaghetti-on-the-wall approach or a color-coded Excel spreadsheet.

If you’d like to learn more about the Mindmap to Outline procedure we like to use at Self-Publishing School, check out this Action Plan.

Outline Your Book

Why Should I Create a Book Outline?

No matter which type of book outline you choose, planning before you write has many benefits. Outlining can help you define your goals, stay focused, and finish your manuscript quicker. You don’t need to spend huge amounts of time outlining, but some (mostly painless!) prep before writing will be time well-spent since you won’t be spinning your wheels by staring at the blank screen of death.

When you start with a plan, you’ll unconsciously make connections and think about your draft, even when you’re not actively writing. Mentally writing in the shower is one of the perks of outlining, because it will get your thoughts percolating. Be sure to keep paper and pens scattered about so you can capture your brilliance the minute it bubbles up, rather than letting all those ideas fade away.

Once you have a plan to write your book in outline form, you’ll be better able to put these thoughts to paper and compose your chapters when you do sit down to write. This means a finished book in less time!

So, I have some good news: there’s no “right” way to outline. Each writer will have their own process that’s personal to them. Keep reading for tips on how to outline different ways. If one of these exact methods doesn’t strike a chord with you, you can combine methods to create your own way that works best for your unique book.

mindmap and outline your book

Mindmap by Sonia Weyers

We’re going to start with ways to outline a non-fiction book. If you’re writing a novel, there are plenty of relevant tips you can apply in the section about outlining a non-fiction book. Likewise, even if you’re writing non-fiction, the section on how to write a fiction outline can help spark some ideas for your process, so we recommend authors of all types of book read the full list:

5 Ways to Write a Non-Fiction Book Outline

Most non-fiction authors find outlines useful due to the nature of their books. Generally, works of non-fiction require research and citation of sources (although many novels require their own research!)

An outline can help organize your research so it doesn’t overwhelm you, plus your outline will help you create the best structure for your finished book.

1. Mindmap + Book Outline

This is the main method of outlining that we teach in Self-Publishing School. The mindmap method requires you to create a brain dump based on your book’s topic. Write your topic in the center of a piece of paper, then use lines and words to draw as many connections as you can. It doesn’t need to make perfect sense from the get go—the goal is free-form thinking to get all of your ideas out of your head and onto the page.

You’ll start to notice connections between different categories of information. This makes it easier to spot the relevant “book-worthy” ideas. Then you can pluck those ideas out of your mindmap and put them into a cohesive book outline. We also recommend doing a mindmap for each chapter you select from you original mindmap. It will help you structure your entire book chapter by chapter. Fun, and so easy—we told you this would be (mostly) painless!

mindmap and outline your book

Mindmap by Camille Nelson

At Self-Publishing School, we encourage students to make a mess with their mindmap. Regardless of what your mind map looks like in the end, it is an essential element to your book writing process. This mind map will be the jumping off point for you to begin your outline. In this brief video, Chandler explains how to turn your mindmap into an outline:

2. Simple Book Outline

A simple book outline is just as it sounds; keep it basic and brief. Start with the title. Don’t get too hung up on the perfect title at this stage of the process; you just want to come up with a good-for-now placeholder. You can always change the title later—in fact, you probably will—but starting with some kind of title gives you a better idea of where you want your book to go. Plus, it jump starts the creative process.

Next, you’ll list all of the key points that cover your book’s overall theme and message. You’ll use these key points to generate your notes. Later, you’ll flesh out these notes to draft your book chapters.

3. Chapter-by-Chapter Book Outline

Your chapter-by-chapter book outline is a pumped-up version of the simple book outline. To get started, first create a complete chapter list. With each chapter listed as a heading, you’ll later add material or shift chapters around as the draft evolves.

Create a working title for each chapter, and list them in a logical order. After that, you’ll fill in the key points of each chapter. Finally, you’ll link your resources as they would appear in each chapter, including books, interviews, and Web links.

4. Sketch Your Book Outline

Perhaps you find the idea of a written outline confining. That’s OK — there’s another option which might appeal to your artistic side. Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, wrote about how sketching your ideas can simply complex thoughts.

To create this type of book outline, hand-draw your book concept in sequential order. This may be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Feel free to use a Bic pen and a spiral notebook, or take it to the next level with color medium on canvas-sized paper. Others find satisfaction in sketching ideas with dry erase markers on a white board, or the old-fashioned feel of chalk on blackboard.

5. Book Outline With Scrivener

If you like being uber-organized, then the writing software Scrivener might appeal to you. Their book outline program allows you to upload your research, organize it by moving it around, and filing it into folders.

The program does have a fairly extensive learning curve, which can be a major downside—especially if you tend to procrastinate and really want to get your book published quickly. However, some writers say it revolutionized their organizational process for longer works. You can learn more about the program and its uses here.

6 Ways to Outline Your Novel

While you can incorporate the book outlining tips we shared in the non-fiction section above, creating an outline for your novel will be inherently different from creating a non-fiction outline. Your novel outline will require character development, evolution of plot points, and resolution of conflict. While the methods may be different, the goal is the same—organization and pre-planning so that you can write a great, cohesive book much faster.

1. Basic Document

Your goal with the Basic Document format is to use a Word or Excel table to give structure to your theme. Create a table and organize and summarize your key points and plot. You’ll then create a separate section for characters and themes, and an additional section with relevant research. 

2. Post-It Wall

This is for the creative mind, and another method we teach in Self-Publishing School. All you need is a blank wall and a box of Post-It notes. Carry a pad of Post-Its with you wherever you go, and noodle your book on the fly. Write your ideas and inspiration on your Post-Its when the mood strikes you.

Next, affix the Post-Its containing words, snippets, doodles, and phrases to the wall. After a week of this exercise, organize these words into novel outline form. Voila—simple, effective, creative!

book outline: how to outline your book

Post-It wall by Wendy Van de Poll

3. The Snowflake Method

The Snowflake Method was created by fiction writing coach Randy Ingermanson based on the notion, “Good fiction doesn’t just happen. It’s designed.”

The process of the snowflake method focuses on starting small, then expanding. For example, you’d start with one line from your book, then add a paragraph, then add a chapter. Since the snowflake method is fairly detailed and based on scientific theory, Randy’s article is worth a read so you can review the detailed steps involved in this outlining method.

4. The Skeletal Outline

If you’ve ever written a term paper or thesis, then you’re probably familiar with the skeletal outline. You’ll lay out your narrative points in the order they’ll appear in your story, which involves a broad 7-step story arch. This gives you a big picture idea of the flow of your story, so you can adjust your story and add subplots for maximum impact.

5. Novel Outline Template

Why reinvent the wheel? If you’re impatient to jump right into the fun part—writing!—or you aren’t sure exactly how to format your novel outline, then a pre-formatted template outline might be your saving grace. A fill-in-the-blank novel outline can help you develop your plot, characters, and ideas without getting bogged down with the notion of striving for “proper” outline form.

6. The Reverse Outline

Sometimes looking at the problem from a different angle can give you the answer to the question. The same applies to outlining. Reverse outlining is exactly what it sounds like: Write down how your novel ends. Then once you know the ending, outline backwards to get to that happy (Or sad? You’re the author!) ending.

For more ideas and creatives ways to jump-start your novel outline, check out How to Write a Novel Outline.

Here’s the take-away: No matter which option you choose, ultimately, you’ll write faster and better with a book outline. If one way doesn’t work well for you, then experiment and try another. Remember, your goal is a finished manuscript, not the gold medal for “Most Perfect Book Outline.” Discover what works best for you and you’ll be one step closer to a finished book.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

Book Writing Software: Which Is Best?

Book Writing Software: Which Is Best?

book writing software

Click the image above to watch the training video on Scrivener.

When it comes to choosing the best book writing software, authors have several choices. You may be asking yourself: Do I stick with Microsoft Word? Is Scrivener the best investment with its robust features and user-friendly tools? How about Google Docs for so I can easily share and co-edit my book with an editor?

We could try and tell you which one to pick, but everyone has different tastes and needs. Let’s take a look and compare the three writing “giants” to make the choice of book writing software clearer.

Which is the Best Book Writing Software for YOU?

The purpose of this post isn’t to sell you on any particular book writing software. We’ll share with you the Good, the Bad and the Average so you can weigh the options for yourself. Who knows—you may even want to switch to a different writing software that works better than anything you’ve tried before.

There are nine things to consider when deciding which program to use to write your book (some of these might be more or less important to you):

  1. Ease and style preference of formatting
  2. Template choices
  3. Pricing
  4. Simplicity (if that’s important to you)
  5. Bells & whistles and tons of features (if that’s important to you)
  6. A distraction-free feature for writing [we are writers, after all]
  7. A user friendly Platform with the right powerful tools for you
  8. Easy access to the files no matter where you are
  9. Collaboration with team members

book writing software

Why Microsoft Word Works

Before Scrivener came along, and other various platforms, we had Microsoft Word—and today it’s still the most widely used software enjoyed by millions of users in homes and offices worldwide. Personally, I started out writing with Word years ago as did many people, so it has been my personal choice when there were not that many choices available.

If you have a Mac computer, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting. However, PC users tend to enjoy Word a lot more.

If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further. Word is trusty and reliable. You’re relatively distraction-free while you’re working in it. (Compare that to working on Google Docs in your browser, where you only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet!)

You can create your own free book writing template using Word. And if you start writing your book in Word and don’t begin with the correct formatting, it’s pretty easy to clean up your formatting to make it “book ready” with a few simple steps.

Word is great for waking up in the morning and meeting your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page. No fuss, no muss. It’s as simple as it gets.

But for many authors, those times have changed with the emergence of programs such as Scrivener and Google Docs that have shaped the way we create online and offline content and how we organize our ideas.

There are many types of authors out there and each of them has a preference as to what software works best for them. If you have been using Word for years, you’re probably attached to it. Transitioning from MS Word to Scrivener has proven challenging for some writers, in part because of the learning curve to master a new program. The Scrivener Manual itself is around 550 pages. There are also plenty of Scrivener YouTube tutorials you can learn from as well.

When’s the last time you had to call Microsoft for technical help with Word? (I never have.) If you need to know how to do something in Word, you can Google it. Scrivener, on the other hand, actually has support emails and bug reporting and a customer forum…because it’s really that complicated!

book writing software

Why Some Authors Love Scrivener

That said…Scrivener was created with writers as the primary customer. And a lot of writers swear by it (once they get over that very steep learning curve.)

For those authors who have put in the work to understand how the program works, it’s the favored choice for ease of writing, formatting, and organizing your content for publishing. If you invest the time up front to learn Scrivener, then you will get that time back—and then some—once you see what the program can do.

Blogger and author Jeff Goins swears by Scrivener after giving up Word. He says: “I wasted years of my life doing all my writing on Microsoft Word. But that’s all over now. I have finally seen the light.”

Entrepreneur Michael Hyatt says about Scrivener: “I now begin every piece of content—no matter what it is—with this tool. It has simplified my life and enabled me to focus on the most important aspect of my job—creating new content. I am more productive than ever.”

Scrivener has a ton of benefits for authors that we could fill up dozens of pages discussing. I’ll keep it simple and give you the top benefits here:

  • For fiction authors, Scrivener helps with plotting
  • Easily export your data to other digital platforms such as Kobo, ibooks, etc… [this is one of the best features]
  • Provides outlining functionality that keeps your content organized
  • Powerful composition mode with distraction free writing environment
  • Easily move sections around with drag and drop
  • A collection of robust templates
  • Supports MultiMarkdown for bullets and numbers

Scrivener was designed for writers because you can lay out scenes, move content around and outline stories or manuscripts. In Scrivener, you don’t have to become distracted by formatting; you can stay focused on the writing as it separates the content from the presentation.

Scrivener works best as a tool for plotting out storylines. It’s also a handy book formatter. Scrivener has hundreds of features beneficial for writers and enables them to focus on the writing process without getting sidetracked.

The one huge downside is that the steep learning curve in getting to know this program isn’t going to happen overnight. But the investment in learning this tool could save you time in the long run if you plan on putting out lots of books.

Click the video below to check out this book writing software tutorial for Scrivener:

If you like what you see from Scrivener, you can buy it here:

Buy Scrivener 3 for macOS (Regular Licence)
Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

book writing software

Google Docs for Writing Books

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the power of Scrivener, but another writing software loved by many is Google Docs. These are all great writing tools; what it comes down to in most cases is the process you use for writing.

Google Docs and Google Drive are best used for team-sharing your content, files, and docs. It doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser (or an app on your phone). One of the best features is: everything is saved on the server frequently, so you never have to fret about losing a version or draft of your work. (Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)

Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor, they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.

Remember to backup your work when using a server-based platform, though. A simple click of a button could delete your work if you aren’t careful and when things are hosted online, they aren’t automatically saved to your hard drive.

Alternative Writing Software + Pricing

If you are not sold on Word, Scrivener or Google Docs, there are other software programs and apps that authors and bloggers are using to get their work done.
book writing software

One of these is Evernote, which functions much better as a productivity tool than a word processor, with only limited functionality when it comes to writing a book. Some of its functions are: uploading pics, docs and voice recorder. I have written many blogs and sections of books using the Evernote platform.

Pages is a great alternative to Word if you use a Mac computer. It has a variety of beautiful templates to choose from, has a simple design and syncs with all devices from within iCloud. I personally love the ease of Pages and it works great for creating ebooks or manuscripts with a variety of tools you can get creative with.

FastPencil is a nice little platform with lots of tools. You can also use it for distributing your ebook. It is free to start writing with, but they offer paid services.

FocusWriter is another software for writers that is intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It is a lightweight basic text writer that was designed to to be completely free of the distractions. In its fullscreen mode, there are no toolbars or additional windows, just a background and your text so that you can concentrate solely on writing your draft.

Pricing: How Much Does Book Writing Software Cost?

Self Publishing School Podcast

Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stay focused on crafting your next book and stick with the book writing software that gives you the best results in terms of saving you money, time and frustration.

Keep writing. Keep it simple. Best of all, enjoy the creative process!

Now that you have these awesome tools at your disposal, what is your favorite writing tool? What best suits your needs as an author? Can you speed up the writing process with any particular tool?

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

 

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

How to Use Interview Content as the Backbone of Your Entire Online Publishing Business

How to Use Interview Content as the Backbone of Your Entire Online Publishing Business

A little more than three years ago I was listening to Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast with John Lee Dumas a lot. Not only did I love the different interviews he was publishing on a daily basis with successful entrepreneurs, but I was fascinated with his process for creating podcasts and blog posts from interview content.

Dumas’s process seemed so simple. Each day Dumas would bring on a different entrepreneur as a guest and ask them the same series of 8 – 10 questions about how they started their business and along with their keys to success. Dumas would then publish these interviews daily through iTunes and write summaries of the interviews on his blog. Dumas’s success story has been well documented at his website EOFire.com and hundreds of other blogs if you’re not familiar with his journey and want to learn more. Fast forward to 2017 and Dumas consistently brings in over $200,000 in revenue monthly from his business through advertising revenue and product sales that are a direct result of these 1,500+ interviews.

Although Dumas’s business is a bit more complex today than it was a few years ago, the foundation of his business remains simple. Dumas finds experts, interviews them, and hits publish.

[This is also what Self-Publishing School does with the Self-Publishing Success Summit]

Interested in learning how to use interview content as the backbone of your online business? No sweat.

You Can Do This Too!

Inspired by the simple process that Entrepreneur on Fire used, I started my own iTunes podcast and blog called FoodTruckEmpire.com about three years ago. Since I knew literally nothing about the food truck industry at the time, I started to email different food truck owners and ask them if they could jump on a Skype call that would be recorded for a podcast. From there I asked a lot of basic questions about starting a food truck, like how to get vendors were able to raise the funds needed to start a mobile food business and the challenges faced operating this type of business.

Just like Dumas executed in the early days, I kept my content creation as simple as possible. I reached out to people I viewed as experts online in the food truck industry to request an interview. Then I published those interviews on iTunes and my blog.

After just over 3 years of publishing, FoodTruckEmpire.com is now one of the most authoritative and popular websites online on the topic of starting a food truck business. I’ve even been featured in popular magazines like Entrepreneur about the topic and sold thousands of digital products including e-books, live courses, and consulting services.

Although I’ve created a much smaller than the digital publishing business than Dumas has created with Entrepreneur on Fire, the foundation of my business was created in the same way using interviews to become an authority in my particular market.

In the rest of this post, I will share three specific ways I have leveraged interview content to not just build my brand, but also generate products and revenue for my own business. I hope you can find some ways you can use interviews (both audio and written) as the backbone of your own digital publishing business!

Start New Relationships

One of the benefits of publishing interview content is that you have an excuse to talk to anyone in your niche. If you have a blog about how to improve your writing, you can request to interview authors that you respect and ask them any question you want. I urge you… do not take this powerful tool for granted!

As you begin to interview more people in your industry over the coming months and years, you’ll be surprised at how many movers-and-shakers you become acquainted with. In my case I’ve had the opportunity to speak with not only food truck vendors, but founders of popular food franchises and other business owners that serve this industry as well. Although many of these relationships have started out as a simple interview, many have progressed and become business relationships overtime.

A couple real life examples of guests on my show that have eventually become clients or customers:  

  • One business that I started by interviewing has now become a consulting client that I provide online marketing services for.
  • Numerous interview guests I’ve have gone on to pay for monthly banner advertising on my website as a way to reach their target audience.

The first point of contact or the “ice breaker” to each of the above scenarios has been to schedule an interview.

Now one thing that I feel obligated to point out is that the vast majority of your interviews will not lead to any type of business relationship or direct revenue. Also, some of the folks I interviewed did not become customers until literally years after interviewing them for the first time. This is not a short-term strategy! You will need to take the longview on this strategy if you want it to work for you.

Building Evergreen Blog Content

Building evergreen blog content is the most common way that I’ve seen other bloggers and website owners leverage interviews. After all one of the fastest ways to get unique and valuable information for your website is to simply go out there and ask an expert how something works. (Note: By evergreen blog content, I simply mean content that will remain valuable and relevant for a long period of time.)

I won’t harp on the benefits of this bullet section too long since this is one of the most commonly used ways that publishers leverage interviews. Whether you’re doing an interview in an audio format though a podcast or a written Q/A style piece make sure to cover topics and questions that will be relevant to your audience for years to come.

Overtime, as you publish more information about a topic your audience and traffic will grow slowly assuming you publish consistently and high-quality interviews. If I had to put a number on it, I would estimate that around 75% of the content on my own website FoodTruckEmpire.com is made up of this evergreen interview content.

Incentivize Email Signups

This is an important one for me. I see a lot of new bloggers that worry spend a ton of time creating an incentive or bribe for people to sign up to an email list. Frequently used bribes that I’m sure you’ve seen before include Free Whitepapers or potentially an e-book on a certain topic. These type of bribes work well to collect email addresses, but here are a few other angles that you can use based on existing interview content that work great for me.

1.) Instead of just publishing a podcast interview on iTunes and summarizing in on your blog. Take the same audio and call it an Audio Lesson instead that people can signup for. If the interview content teaches your audience something this can really work well as a way to encourage email subscribers. I’ve found that if you list something as an “audio lesson” there’s a higher level of perceived value.

2.) Another way I incentivize email subscribers to join my list is to organize past interviews. One specific call to action is “Learn How 6-Figure Food Truck Owners Earn a Living–Register Here.” After a visitor opts-in they receive an email with links to five different past interviews from different food truck owners that generate over $100,000 in annual revenue. Best of all, this method of encourage people to subscribe does not take a lot of time on your end after the interviews have been produced, but they also provide a lot of value to readers.

I hope this post has helped get your creative juices flowing for how you could leverage the power of interviews on your own website. As super successful entrepreneurs like John Lee Dumas have already proved, you can build a profitable online publishing empire by mastering this single type of content.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How to Run a Book Launch Like a Pro

How to Run a Book Launch Like a Pro

“Build it and they will come” is advice that rarely works when trying to sell books. Amazon is full of self-published books that have barely made any sales, leaving many writers dejected. If you want your books to succeed, to get into the hands of your readers, to potentially achieve bestseller status…. you need a book launch plan.

After all, you’ve already spent months (or even years) crafting your manuscript. You’ve also spent a small fortune on a book cover, hiring an editor, proofreading, formatting, and other related expenses. The last thing you need after all you’ve invested is for your book to fail, to make exactly zero sales.

(Okay you might make a few, to friends and family. But that’s not why you wrote your book, right?)

If you have a book, or are looking to write a book, and are already thinking about promotion, then this article is for you. Contrary to what you might expect, launching a book isn’t hard, and it doesn’t need to break the bank (although you do need to invest some money). By focusing on the minimal book launch strategy I’ll outline here, you’ll avoid being overwhelmed and launch your book on Amazon like a pro.

In this post you’ll learn how to:

  • Price your book during launch
  • Set up your complete launch strategy during soft launch
  • Collect reviews from your launch team
  • Set your book up with the best promo sites for both paid and free
  • Stick to a minimalist launch plan

Before You Go Any Further

Before you go any further, there are a few things you need to do in between finishing your manuscript and launching your book. I put together a 13-point checklist of these action items. You don’t need to carry them out with perfection since they can be tweaked later. But don’t launch your book without doing them.

Pre Book-Launch Checklist

  • Book Description — Create your book description using the Book Description Generator at Kindlepreneur.com.
  • Keywords — Select 7 keywords for your book. I use KDP Rocket and Kindlespy. There is also Merchant Words and Google AdWords.
  • Categories — Choose 2 main categories for your book in the KDP dashboard. Once your book is live you can email Amazon and request to have your book put into eight additional categories.
  • Landing Page — Create a landing page for your book. This can be used to collect email addresses and give away a chapter of your book before its release (optional).
  • Upload Manuscript — Upload your manuscript to KDP. Proofread your book using the KDP online previewer.
  • Upload Cover — Upload your Kindle cover to KDP.
  • Launch Price — Set your launch price at 0.99.
  • Lead Magnet — Insert a lead magnet into your book, both at the front and back. Connect this to your email list provider such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
  • Audiobook (Optional) — Get your audiobook created. Plan to release your book through Audible or ACX.
  • Paperback — Get your paperback version created. You can set up your paperback at CreateSpace. Optional: Your paperback can be launched after the Kindle release.
  • Emails — Pre-write emails that you’ll send to your launch team.
  • Goodreads — Goodreads account created and author profile setup. Your book will end up there either way, so it’s worth setting up an account to associate the book with.
  • Launch Plan Model — Map out the specific action steps you are taking for each day of your launch. I have provided a model for this further down the post.

Just like there are a variety of business models to choose from when planning your venture, there are a variety of book launch strategies to choose from.

For example, you could follow Steve Scott’s 5-Day Launch Plan That Works which he used to effectively launch the bestselling book 10-Minute Digital Declutter that he co-authored with Barrie Davenport. Or you could emulate Nick Loper, of Side Hustle Nation fame, and his successful launch strategy which sold 2600+ copies of his book Buy Buttons. There’s even the detailed launch plan of Rob Cubbon, the author of The New Freedom.

These are all plans that work because of one thing: they are strategic in their planning and strategic in their execution. However, while there seems to be a lot of steps, an effective book launch plan isn’t complicated.

Your launch plan will depend largely on:

  1. Your objectives and purpose.
  2. Your platform. The bigger your platform and access to influencers, the bigger (and more diverse) your launch.

In the strategy I’ll show you, I keep things simple. It’s a 12-day launch, including a 3-day free promo through Amazon. Below you’ll find the step-by-step process for setting up your book launch, including your free promo, and the corresponding promo sites you can use to increase your category rankings and generate thousands of downloads.

If you’ve ticked everything on that checklist, then it’s time to hit publish on your book and to start your launch strategy.

But, before we dive into that, there are a few things you need to know about Amazon’s algorithm as it informs your book launch strategy.

The Amazon Algorithm: A Few Basics

Amazon uses an algorithm to measure and track book sales, and everything else on their platform. It’s worth remembering that Amazon wants you to succeed: if you make money, Amazon makes money. Knowing a few basics of it can help you to have a greater launch and to sustain the life of your book for months (and years) after the launch buzz wears off.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell: your book starts ranking as soon as someone buys a copy. Every purchase of your book pushes the ranking up the ladder. As a book moves up, it jumps ahead of the other books in your selected category. The rankings are based on recent sales and Amazon favors a book that is getting consistent, ongoing sales.

A book that runs a promo and gets 200 sales in one day, but then nothing else for the week, will not perform as well as a book that gets the same number of downloads over the course of a ten-day period.

Slow, steady traffic and a long-term plan is the way to succeed with your book. Steady, organic growth will always outperform a sudden burst of downloads.

It’s worth noting also that while reviews and the price of your book do not affect your sales rank, they’re still worth having. the more quality reviews you have, the more credible your book will be to shoppers. This affects their decision-making power to buy, which translates into more downloads and an increase in sales rank. Focus on getting as many quality reviews as you can during this launch phase. Then, continue to work on getting reviews from organic traffic.

With that out of the way, let’s look at two necessary steps you need to do before you promote your book.

Setting Up Your Amazon Bestseller

The 0.99 Launch Strategy

I know what you’re thinking, “$0.99? Why would I essentially give my book away for free? I didn’t get into this business to fulfill the starving artist stereotype.”

I know how you feel, but trust me, there’s a good reason for launching it at this price. You may be selling it at a super-low point now, but the rewards are coming later. Remember: think long term. It’s better to have a book that has steady sales in the long term than to just have a burst of downloads now, then zero in the future.

Action Item: Go to the KDP dashboard and set your book at $0.99. With the exception of the free promo period (which we’ll get to shortly), your book will be at $0.99 for the duration of the launch.

The Free Book Launch Strategy

I mentioned that our strategy will have a 3-day free launch. Setting this up is easy. If you plan to run a free promo for your book, you can set this up as soon as your book is live on Amazon. To run a free promotion, your book has to be enrolled in the KDP Select program for 90 days. A book that is listed for free will be ranked in the free store and books set at a price are ranked in the paid store.

If you don’t have a following (email list) or you are just getting started, I suggest you do the free promo. The free promo gets your book into more hands (that will hopefully read it) and increases its visibility across more platforms.

Action Item: Go to the KDP dashboard, and under “Kindle eBook Actions,” enroll into the KDP Select program. While enrolled in the KDP select program your book has to be exclusive to the Kindle Store.

Book Promotion Sites: Free and Paid

When launching your book, especially during your free promo, you want to put it into the hands of as many readers as possible. Amazon ranks your book in the free store based on how many downloads it gets. The higher you rank, the more downloads you’ll get from Amazon browsers. Which means to maximize your launch, you need an initial surge of readers that don’t come from Amazon.

This is where book promotion sites come in. You can use them for both your paid and free launch. In the launch scenario later on in the post, I’ll show you how to batch these sites together to give your book the boost it needs.

An aside if you have a healthy email list: you won’t need to rely on these sites as much. This is especially beneficial for authors that are just starting out and don’t yet have a strong platform.

Keep in mind that results vary for each site and your performance will largely depend on your book’s quality. You still need the essentials: a great cover, a compelling book description, and an eye-catching book title.

Below is a list of my favorites that I have personally used, in combination with an email list to launch multiple bestsellers. You can also check out Dave Chesson’s blog on this as he covers the best sites to use for both free and paid.

The price for each promo site varies depending on the niche and category.

Top Recommended Promo Sites

  1. Buckbooks. If you can get onto any of these promo sites, Buckbooks is the one you want to try to get into. You need 10 reviews before they’ll schedule you. Note: You can promote the 2nd book on the same day for only 25% of the price. Great deal. But you can only promote once every 6 months for each book. If you use their Archangel Ink book production services you’ll get a guaranteed placement.
  2. Robin Reads — (need 10 reviews and a 4.9 rating) Takes a couple days to get approved ($55). Great results. I usually get anywhere from 60-100 downloads with this one. https://robinreads.com/author-signup/ Note: They have a calendar that is usually booked out weeks in advance. In this case, consider using Robin Reads for future promos of existing books already launched.
  3. BookSends — $40. If you can match this up with Robin Reads or Bucks on the same day it’s a great little boost. http://booksends.com/
  4. BKnights (Fiverr) You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. Downloads average 12-30 depending on the book.
  5. eReader News — Great gig but hard to get approved at times. takes several days for a response. Various prices. http://ereadernewstoday.com/
  6. Booksbutterfly. You are basically paying for downloads, one of the few (if only) sites that do that. They have various packages for everything. I recommend the Silver Eagle ($90) that gets you 50+ downloads + KU borrows. (https://www.booksbutterfly.com/bookpromo…/paidbookpromotion/)
  7. The Fussy Librarian (http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/). Great promo but very hard to book in advance. They are usually booked out 2-3 weeks ahead. Need 10 reviews to get accepted. Various price ranges. Strong results.
  8. Bargain Booksy. I love this one, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $25 for nonfiction. Lots of categories and good results. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/
  9. eBooks Habit. Great little promo, I recommend the guaranteed placement for $10. http://ebookshabit.com/for-authors/
  10. Awesome Gang. This one is great for the price, $10. They have a free option but go with the paid. http://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
  11. Many Books. Great little gig, average returns, $29. You can also sign up to become a featured author. http://manybooks.net/promote
  12. Digital Book Today ($40). Good gig, average returns and works better with fiction than non-fiction. http://digitalbooktoday.com/
  13. eBook Stage. Another great little promo site, reasonably priced. $10. https://ebookstage.com/
  14. Book Runes (http://bookrunes.com/). Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25. Average to very good results.
  15. BookBub. This is by far the biggest and the best promo site. Very tough to get accepted and it is expensive, but worth every dime. At the very least you should set up an Author profile on BookBub and start to get people to follow you. They have a great blog too that gives powerful tips on how to get a BookBub feature. https://insights.bookbub.com
  16. Email your list (if you have one). if you don’t, BUILD one. This is by far better than all of the promo sites combined. If you don’t have a list yet, start building one with Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Convertkit.

The Book Launch Sequence and Set-Up

To keep things simple, I’m giving you an example of a book launch that covers 12 days. This is similar to the launch that I did for my book Relaunch Your Life, except that I didn’t run a free promo. However, for this post, I will look at how to include a free promo as well. Your launch will look and perform differently than this, but you can use this as a model and tweak as required. This launch assumes you are launching your book at $0.99 with a free promo set up through KDP for 2-3 days.

What is the difference between a soft launch and the actual launch?

I use the term soft launch below, which is different from your actual book launch. Your soft launch begins from the moment you hit publish.

As Amazon takes about 24 hours to set up your book, I recommend hitting the publish button at least 24 hours before you begin your actual launch. For example, if your launch plan beings on a Sunday, then publish your book on a Saturday.

In this launch model we use 3 days for our soft launch window, and then begin the actual launch on day 4.

The 12-Day Book Launch Model

Day 1: First Day of Soft Launch

The first day of your soft launch is critical. This is the day when you are going to set up your book to successfully launch over the next 11 days. The price point is set at $0.99.

Here is a brief checklist of what to do on day 1 of the soft launch:

  1. Create your Amazon Author Page. Set up your bio and upload an author pic.
  2. Claim your book by hitting the ‘add more books’ tab. This will appear on your author page within 24 hours.
  3. Email your launch team. Let them know the book is ready for verified reviews.
  4. Email Amazon customer support. Request that your book is placed in additional categories.
  5. Set up a few promo sites for days 2 or 3 while your book is at 0.99. This starts to build momentum. Recommended Awesome Gang, Bknights, and Booksbutterfly.
  6. As soon as you have ten reviews, set up the rest of your promo sites for the week. Not all of these promo sites require a set number of reviews. Check the list for links to the sites and submission requirements.
  7. Set up your Free promo in the KDP dashboard. Your free promo will be 2-3 days. This will start on day 4 (or however long you decide to run your soft launch). If you do a 5-day soft launch your free promo will start on day 6. Set up several paid promo sites to advertise your book for free. Although your book is free, the promos will cost you.

For your free promo on days 4-5 contact:

If you combine these promo sites with the organic traffic you’ll get from Amazon, you should do very well for free downloads.

Day 2-3: Soft Launch (Optional: You can extend this up to 5 days)

Social media burst to your FB page, mastermind groups, and other sources to spread the word.

Day 4-6: FREE Promo

The promotional sites you got in touch with on day 1 will be advertising your book. Send an email to your team to notify them that your book is now free. Promote to social media.

Day 7-10: Paid Promo Sites

Run paid promo sites recommended from the list above. You can cluster these a day apart or combine 2-3 promos a day.

Day 11-12: Winding Down the Launch

If you followed the plan you should have had a considerable number of downloads for both your free promo and your $0.99 promo. Remember that your numbers will vary depending on your platform, book quality, niche, and sometimes, luck.

Email your list and remind them the book will be 0.99 for only one more day. Contact your launch team and thank them for reviews and their support. This is the last call for reviews and downloads.

Day 13: Increase the Price to $2.99

Leave it there for one week and raise it to $3.99. You can test the pricing by going up to $4.99 and watching what happens. Monitor the sales and adjust accordingly.

I usually spend around $300-$400 per launch minimum on promo sites but how much you spend is up to you. Stagger them out over the course of 10-12 days.

Beyond the Book Launch

One of the biggest challenges authors have is where to go with the book after the initial launch is over.

How do you promote, market and keep bringing in traffic so that your book doesn’t drop off into oblivion? Here are two things you can focus on:

  1. Write another book. Multiple books create momentum. Look at the army of fans that Game of Thrones had before the TV Show launched. How did George R.R Martin build that? By setting up and writing the books as a series. Do you have a series of books you could write? A series is a great way to build your brand, a list, and to keep traffic growing with increased interest in your books.
  2. Build your business on the back end. Create a business around your book with coaching, a course, or an automated email course that gets readers engaged after they are finished your book. They want to know more about you and so, if you have a business set up to kick in for subscribers, this is the start of what could be a great author business.

Wrap Up

Launching a book is a combination of strategy, imagination, and hard work. If you have a great book to promote and a team of people (a small team will do) backing you up, you can have a great launch that gets your book into the hands of your market.

With every book launch, there is more to learn. If you keep launching, you’ll get better. And as you get better, you’ll get more fans. Eventually, you can turn your launch into a massive movement with thousands of fans standing behind you pushing your book towards New York Times Bestseller status or get featured in The Wall Street Journal.

Imagine that.

Find a Book Idea That Sells: 3 Things You Must Check Before You Write Your Book

Find a Book Idea That Sells: 3 Things You Must Check Before You Write Your Book

If you’re about to write a book, and you want a book idea that sells, there are three things you absolutely must check before you spend a minute writing your book.

Researching these three things will help you write your book more confidently because you’ll have firm reason to believe readers will love and buy your book.

Once you have your book idea, and before you begin writing, you need to check that there’s:

  1. People looking for your book idea
  2. People willing to pay for your book idea
  3. Competition you can beat

There are two ways to complete each of the following steps: an easy, low-cost way and a time-consuming, free way. I’ll explain both. No matter which method you choose, just choose one of them so you can embark on your book writing journey with confidence.

1. Are there people looking for your book idea?

Before you spend weeks, months, or years laboring to create your book, smart authors validate that there are people searching for your book idea on the internet first.

The free method is to type in www.KWFinder.com and use their free tool that currently allows you 3 searches per day, and type in your book idea. One piece of information this site gives you is the average times per month people type and search for your term. The higher the number, the more people actively are looking for the information you’re thinking of writing about.

This tool does not tell you how many people are searching for your idea on Amazon, however, which can make your results a little dicey. Sometimes people are just looking to learn free or quick information, and not actually looking to read an entire book.

When people search for a topic on Amazon, however, they are there to buy something. That’s why doing this research using a software that specifically gives you Amazon data is the best option.

Enter KDP Rocket. When you search for a book idea using KDP Rocket, it gives you the estimated number of times people search for your idea on Google and on Amazon each month. And there’s no limit to how many ideas you can search per day.

Here’s the results for my fictitious book idea about ‘habits’:

Once you’ve verified people are searching for your book idea, the next step is to make sure they’re willing to pay for the information.

2. Are there people willing to pay for your book idea?

Unless you’re planning to give your book away for free, this step is crucial.

If you don’t have KDP Rocket, you’ll want to head over to Amazon.com and search in the Kindle Store for your writing idea. Look at the search results that appear on the first page. For each book, scroll down to find the Amazon Best Seller Rank. You’ll probably want to create a spreadsheet now if you haven’t already to keep track of the numbers.

Once you have the Best Seller Rank for each, you should put each number into the Amazon Best Seller Rank Calculator. The calculator will tell you how many books are selling each day. If you multiply this number by 30, you’ll get the estimated money per month that book makes.

Kindle Best Seller Calculator

If you do this for all 14 of the books that show up on the first page of your search, you can find the average your book idea makes per month. This will give you an idea if it’s profitable enough for you to pursue.  

If you’re looking for the fast and easy way, you’d already have this information right at your fingertips from doing step 1 (verifying people are looking for your book). By clicking ‘Analyze’ on KDP Rocket, you can immediately learn the average earnings per month.

Book Idea Rank

Wow, ‘habits’ is a money-maker! Look at that second column!

So people are looking for your idea and they are willing to pay for your idea, but can you compete with the big dogs?

3. Can you beat the competition for your book idea?

Terms like ‘habits’ are popular and profitable, but the competition is intense. You may have noticed the column called “Competitive Score.” This gives you a score between 1-100 on how hard it would be to get your book to appear when people search for your term. A 1 is easy-peasy and 100 is near-impossible.

I’m guessing like me, you’re not a famous author, so you’ll want to find book ideas that have lower competition. Scores in the 20s or below are my usual target.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write a book about habits. This just means you might have to keep searching to refine your idea to be more specific so you can better compete.

When you search in the Kindle Store for your idea, you’ll want to take note of the number of results that appear.

KDP3

This tells us there are 8,055 other books that rank for the term “habits” on Amazon.

Next, click on the top 3 results and write down their Amazon Best Seller Rank. Find the average of these 3 numbers to find the average Best Seller Rank of the top 3 books. You should aim to get your book to rank #1 since it gets the most clicks, and definitely be able to compete with the top 3.

Then, look at the book covers, book descriptions, and reviews. Give each book a score 1-100 based on your opinion of its professionalism, design, clarity, and happiness of reviewers. If it looks like a book you could easily beat, it’s a 1. If it’s perfect and virtually unbeatable, give it 100.

Having all these numbers in an excel spreadsheet will help you analyze the competition of your book idea.

If that seems like a lot of work, or you don’t know how to score the competition, you’ll love what KDP Rocket can do for you.

When you click on the ‘Analyze’ button to discover how much money the book idea makes, a Competitive Score was also automatically generated.

Book Idea Research

For ‘habits,’ the competition is 73…pretty tough.

Rocket will also give you a bunch of other recommended terms to consider, so by simply scrolling down, I found ‘healthy eating habits.’

KDP Rocket Results

Lower competition…but people aren’t paying for that idea.

How about ‘how to break bad habits’:

KDP6

See how you can still write about what you’re interested in, but simply checking the popularity, profitability, and competition can help you refine your idea from an “I hope this works idea” to “Let’s write this book already idea!”

Book Idea Validated

Once your book idea passes these three checkpoints, then you’re on your way to confidently writing your book. Now you have reason to believe it won’t be a waste of your time and you can proceed with more assurance that you’re writing a book that will sell.

To learn more about how this product can help you profitably launch your book to success, check out KDP Rocket here!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

SPS 037: How to Land Big Name Endorsements with Kelsey Humphreys

SPS 037: How to Land Big Name Endorsements with Kelsey Humphreys

Media entrepreneur and motivational journalist Kelsey Humphreys is on a mission to break down success for the rest of us. She is the host and producer of The Pursuit a talk show and podcast where she interviews influencers like Tony Robbins, Barbara Corcoran, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brandon Bouchard, and others. She offers simple success tips and written articles for Success Magazine, Entrepreneur, LifeHack, and the Huffington Post. She is also the author of the book “Go Solo”.

Kelsey is a past student of SPS.  I just love her book, and we have had a lot of fun. I’ve really enjoyed seeing her soar with all of the awesome stuff that has happened since the book was published. It’s not just because of the book. It’s because she is a hustler, but the book definitely helped. Today, we are going to discuss her book, her success, and a lot of great motivational ideas.

You can find Kelsey here:
Kelsey Humphreys
The Pursuit
Kelsey Humphreys facebook
@KelseyHumphreys Twitter
Go Solo
Kelsey Humphreys LinkedIn

Show Notes
[03:06] Kelsey wrote her book to teach her knowledge and she knew a book was a legitimate way to meet her end goals and to help launch her speaking and expert marketing career.
[04:15] Over time her career morphed into interviewing since her goals have changed since she first began.
[04:41] Kelsey had a newborn when she was writing her book. She typed during nap time for 6 months leading up to finishing up with Chandler and SPS. Most of us are already writing in our heads. All of the stuff we write can be compiled into a book.
[05:35] What people want is our perspectives. For me, writing was a lot of compiling and structuring and editing.
[06:16] She hired an editor for copy editing.
[06:28] Writing is like so many things in life. We can make them worse than they are before we start. Action is the key. The action to writing a book is to sit down and write.
[08:04] When Kelsey would get stuck she would go back and read what she had written and that would get the juices flowing again.
[08:32] We can spend tons of time reading about how to write a book, but sitting down and writing is the key to getting it done.
[09:20] The actual writing of the book took about six months after years of learning and compiling information.
[10:26] Kelsey hired Chandler because she needed help getting over the hump and with marketing.
[11:12] Test to see what works for you when writing a book. Whether it is an hour a day or all Saturday.
[12:43] How writing needs to be focused time, but it doesn’t have to be everyday.
[13:06] How Kelsey positioned the book for solopreneurs she started broad, but then narrowed in.
[15:17] How a specific book for a specific person is more sell-able and will help more people.
[16:27] Kelsey offered the first chapter of her book for free with an email list. She also made a video series posted on facebook. The family and friend buy in on facebook was helpful. Looking back they were too long and too detailed, but facebook helped get the word out there.
[18:17] People knew Kelsey’s story and signed up on her email list to check out her upcoming book.
[20:39] If you have a message worth spreading it is your job to get it out.
[21:22] Kelsey started with accessible guest posts. Which led her to Dan Miller. Don’t underestimate the importance of your inner circle and snowballing your guest endorsements.
[24:13] A lot of people said no to Kelsey when she asked for endorsements, but Barbara Corcoran replied and gave her an endorsement.
[26:06] Kelsey will spend hours trying to find the correct contact info of a person.
[27:16] Keep it short when reaching out. The less you write about yourself the better you do. Make it about the goals of the person who you are reaching out to.
[28:59] Kelsey emailed the Entrepreneur editor and pitched guest articles. Once accepted you can pitch to your editor. You have to have writing experience or a really great article. Article writing is also a snow ball pitching technique.
[32:39] The importance of thinking about the goal of the person or publication that you are pitching too.
[33:18] Being a podcast guest and speaking engagements happened after writing the book.
[36:03] Kelsey used video strategically for a marketing tool including her doing book signings Back of room sales at speaking engagements are also great.
[37:23] The importance of promoting everything you do, not just sending out a tweet and moving on. Leverage one marketing method into the next things. Put what you do on your website.
[38:34] Kelsey decided to do a video show where she met the guests wherever they are instead of just an audio podcast. She made it the best video ever and sent it to her next potential guest. Then it snowballed from big name guest to bigger name guest.
[40:39] The key to getting these interviews was in the distribution.
[41:59] How Kelsey is in a journalist position and not someone just selling a product. When she gives pitches she tells them what is in it for them. She also creates articles about the interviews.
[43:25] How it was incredible interviewing Tony Robbins. Sitting down with Barbara Corcoran was also an incredible full circle experience.
[45:04] Successful individual focus on marketing and very strategic with their time.
[45:31] If an idea has stuck with you, it is worth pursuing It is your responsibility and job to see it through. Focus on one thing and commit to see the project through.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
48 Days to the Work You Love
The 90 Day Year
Kelsey Humphreys
The Pursuit
Kelsey Humphreys facebook
@KelseyHumphreys Twitter
Go Solo
Kelsey Humphreys LinkedIn

List Building Tricks to Get 10,000 Subscribers Fast (Bryan Harris Interview)

List Building Tricks to Get 10,000 Subscribers Fast (Bryan Harris Interview)

We’ve all been there. One minute we’re sitting at our desk (or shower or in our car) when we’re struck by a genius idea that HAS to get out. We start to write and create without any thought to things like marketing or list building.

Bryan Harris, serial entrepreneur and founder of Videofruit.com, calls this “writing in a cave.” He says writers/entrepreneurs need to avoid the “cycle of guaranteed failure” by really thinking about what needs to be done leading up to your book. If your book is something that only your mom and grandma know about, then your book launch is in trouble.

Bryan stumbled upon his professional passion when he discovered the world of video editing and fell in love with the industry. Since then, he says that he’s been going crazy growing his new business.

Through his business trials and tribulations, Bryan has gained valuable insight on how to grow an audience and launch your first book. Bryan learned that a lot of strategies don’t work, but he’s developed some time-tested list building tricks that do work.

Bryan says you should “Think of your list as a group of people eagerly waiting to buy from you. If you build it and nurture it right, you will have lifelong fans.”

 


Debunking 3 Popular Myths

Bryan debunks three popular myths about growing your list and number of subscribers.

Myth 1:You have to have the perfect idea.

There’s the myth of waiting until everything is perfect to take action. The problem with this is that perfection is unattainable. If you wait for everything to be perfect to start a project, you’ll never start anything.

You don’t find customers for your product, instead find products for your customers. Get people and an audience first, then the rest will follow.

Myth 2: You have to be an expert in something before you can build your list and launch your book.

A second common myth is that you need to establish yourself as an expert before you launch your book. Don’t fall prey to this myth. We caution you about attempting to play the part of guru.

It’s far more effective to take a learn out loud approach. Take a topic and ask, “Are you curious about the topic? Can you share what you learn? Are you able to be humble, kind, and giving?” You can then share this information by phrasing it as, “Here are lessons you learned …” and your audience will respond.

Myth 3: You don’t have to have a lot of extra time.

Extra time is an imaginary construct. There will never be enough of it. Don’t lose the chance to achieve your dreams by waiting for the elusive moment when you have plenty of time.

Rather than waiting for an excess of time (which will never happen!), make an effort to do what you can, when you can. Commit to doing the right things in the right order, and little by little, you’ll make headway.

4 Tricks to Grow Your List (Plus a Bonus!)

Trick 1: Upside Down Homepage

An upside down homepage is the first step to getting your first 100 subscribers. Allocate at least five hours for this update.

What is the single obvious thing you want people to do when they come to your page? It’s not what you may think. It’s not the sidebar, not the social media buttons, not the menu — it’s the above-the-fold call to action!

Use this space to encourage people to subscribe, not to go to other pages. With this tactic, you can boost your subscriber rate from 1% (with a traditional homepage) to 13-15% (with an upside down homepage).

Trick 2: Pick Your List Goal

The single most important strategy to boost your list is to select your list goal. This will take you just two minutes to do, but it’s crucial. You have to focus on this to be successful!

Here’s what you do: Pick your number goal, then write this goal down on paper. Next, tape this on your wall to keep you accountable. Visual reminders help keep you on track.

Even if you’re a writer, ultimately you’re still an entrepreneur. Don’t forget what you are working toward! Don’t get distracted and you’ll later reap the rewards of your efforts.

Trick 3: Launch Team Strategy

Another key component to your success is your launch team strategy. You have 24 hours to implement this strategy.

Here’s how you tackle building a launch team. First, start with a group of people. You should make a list of five people you know. Then, personally invite these five people to join your list.

Next, you’ll then reach out to everyone you know. You want to make this process personal, so people will feel as though they are invited to something special. Personally invite each and every person who’s on your list.

Continue to write names and email addresses down on paper. Start simple and repeat until you run out of people to ask. Your goal is to get to 100 invitees.

Trick 4: Poster Boy Formula

The Poster Boy Formula should take just 30 minutes per week, but can yield huge results toward boosting your list.

Step one is to make a list of five products you purchase, blogs you read, or podcasts you follow. Write down one big win you’ve experienced from using their product. Let them know about your results and thank them. Also, share testimonials and link back to your shares.

The Poster Boy Formula can get you shout outs, inclusion on emails, social media sites, and guest posts. Ultimately, all of this goodwill can earn you subscribers.

Bonus Trick: Create a Smartbribe

A final trick to consider is to offer a “Smartbribe.” This tactic is simple to implement. Just install smartbribe.com as an enhancement to your current opt-in service. This easy to use feature asks people to share on social media in exchange for a bonus offer you create and “bribe” them with. This simple step can help grow your list even faster.

Bryan Harris offers his best list building tips and tactics to help you grow your list and earn subscribers. Before you know it, you’ll on your way to earning 10,000 subscribers FAST!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

3 Steps to Create an Online Course From Your Book

3 Steps to Create an Online Course From Your Book

Authors don’t just make money from books. Often, the majority of their income comes from what is behind the books. Recently my friend Gregory was four weeks out from publishing his first book. He had spent the better part of a year writing and preparing to launch his book. Just a few weeks out from the launch he realized he had neglected to think about something important: how was he going to monetize the back end?

The journey of self-publishing hits a major milestone with the launch of a first book, but it does not end there. While a well-launched book can certainly earn a good income, if you do not monetize the back-end of the book by consulting, speaking, or creating online courses then you are not realizing the full potential of self-publishing.

As they say, a book is the new business card. But, you can’t just have a business card – you need the business behind the business card as well.

There are several ways to monetize the back end of a book:

  • Services
  • Software
  • Consulting / Coaching
  • Speaking / Workshops
  • Create Online Course (fastest and most scalable)

While I am biased, my absolute favorite method is to create an online course. It doesn’t take 6-12 months to develop like a software product would, and it doesn’t rely on your personal time like offering services, consulting, and speaking.

Knowing that I specialize in online courses, Gregory reached out to me for help with producing a course for the new book he was about to publish. I’ll be sharing 3 steps to create online courses from your books. With these tips you too can maximize the results of your next (or a previous) book. Imagine if you take every book you have published, which people are buying for $5-$10, and quickly transform the same content into a parallel product for which you can charge 10 to 100 times that amount.

3 Steps to Create an Online Course From Your Book

As the owner of a course production company, people often have the same question when it comes to turning a book into an online course:

What’s the difference? Why would people pay more for the same material?

Great question. There are a couple key differences between a course and a book (aside from the obvious differences in format).

Step 1 – Understand the differences between a book and a course

  1. Tone – If you were to read your book out loud, verbatim, that would be an audiobook which has a very different feeling to an online course.
  2. Focus – Again, using the audiobook example, your audiobook might be 15 hours long, while you course is 5 hours long. A large part of the value of a book is exploring the “why” of a topic or possibly the history, while a course is designed to be extremely actionable. That means the content requires great focus.
  3. Specificity – Books are filled with great stories and great ideas. They plant important seeds in your mind, and might even have some simple exercises at the end of the chapters. That being said, it takes a lot of effort to apply what you learn from a book. A significant part of the value of an online course is how easy it is to take action. If it’s a course about networking, you can provide email templates, step-by-step guides to follow, software tools you can use. It’s designed to be immediately actionable, while a book on networking might discuss more general concepts on networking such as why it’s a good idea to go to a conference, to make good eye contact, to introduce people to each other, etc.

If you want to see some real life examples of the differences, check out the audiobook and the online course version of Gregory’s book to compare (you can do a free preview of each to see what I mean). Both are based on the same content, but the tone, structure, focus, and specificity is quite different.

Step 2 – Build an online course from a book or a manuscript

Here is the exact process we used to build courses in dozens of different industries, following our Course In A Box Method:

1.) Decide the Format – There are many ways to build a course. You can build a text-based course, a video-based course that focused on live filming, or on recording your screen while you teach someone to program, or by recording slides as you teach. Usually it’s a mix. You can also have courses two hours long, or 20 hours long. With or without PDF handouts. With or without bonus content (such as expert interviews).

Here is what we decided on for Gregory’s course:

  • Ultimately 3 modules, with 3-5 lessons each
  • The lesson length would average about 10 minutes (although it ranges from 5-15)
  • The content style would primarily be a mix of recording well-designed slides, mixed with bonus content like expert interviews, follow-along PDF guides, etc.

Pro tip: How do you decide the course length/structure? One module should bring people through a major milestone. For example, setting up a website before beginning to write content and market the site in later modules. One video should have one clear, stand-alone step in the process. For example, video 3 of module 1 for Building Your New Website might entail setting up the site hosting, video 4 might be configuring wordpress, etc.

2.)Turn the manuscript into a course script – This means cutting the fat and changing the tone as discussed above. Your course should clearly get people from point A (where they are now) to point B (where they want to go) and this should be clearly reflected by the course script. Even if your book is quite long, you can do this in about a week if you maintain focus

3.) Turn the script into a slide plan – This is a document which matches up the main ideas in the script with slides that you will be recording. Most people jump straight from script to slide design, but this (quick) intermediary step ensures that your course has a good flow to it and stays organized

4.) Turn the slide plan into slides – Create a slide template that you like, then customize slides to match your slide plan. Or better yet, outsource this process to a professional.

5.) Record the scripts as an audio file – Sit down and read your script as enthusiastically as possible.

Pro tips:

  • Don’t try to record your screen with the slides at the same time, the quality will be lower. Record the audio separately then match the slides in post production.
  • Leave a pause and say “SLIDE X” between slides. This will help with the next step, editing.

6.) Combine the slides and audio file into a video file – Self-explanatory. It is not recommended that you do this yourself, as a professional likely would do it better/faster. Invest a few hundred bucks to get it done right the first time.

7.) Find useful places to add extra materials PDFs, expert interviews, new examples, templates, etc. Just ask yourself every time you say do this, “how can I help them do that?”

8.) Clean up, edit and structure everything into a finalized course – Did everything stay organized? We recommend using a google drive folder structure that we link to below to keep things organized.

9.) Upload the course to your website – If you want the simplest option possible, go with Teachable. This is what we used for Gregory’s course as well. If you want something more sophisticated, go with MemberMouse (another popular option we use with clients).

Step 3 – Connect the book and the course

Now that you’ve completed the course, how do you get people from your book to find your course, and vice versa? The simplest way is to directly link from your book to your course website. However, sometimes people will complain about that approach “they are just trying to sell their other products!!!”

Another way is to direct people to a companion website which offers additional resources and downloads for free — in exchange for their email address. Then you will want to set-up an email autoresponder which offers additional value and guides them through the process from having read the book to wanting to delve deeper and buy the course.

Pro tip: Add this download link to the beginning AND the end of the book, and preferably a few times in the middle. Not everyone finishes every book they buy, so you want to make sure they see the link even if they stop after the first chapter. In fact, you can even include the page with the link in the “free preview” of the book on the kindle store to get even more people to see it.

What kind of results would this really get?

  1. Let’s say you get 5,000 downloads as part of your book launch, then 1,000 purchases per month after that
  2. 20% of those people who grab the book also check out the link
  3. Then 50% of the people who visit the page submit their email address
  4. Finally, 10% of those people who join your list also purchase your course

Results:

  • You now instantly have 500 more people on your email list, and 100 more people per month ad infinitum
  • 50 people buy your course during your book launch, and 10 more people buy every month
  • If your course is priced at $500, then that is $25,000 in additional revenue during your book launch, and $5,000 every month after that

…and that, my friends, is the power of combining a book with an online course.

I know writing a book is hard (I’ve written several myself) and by the time it’s done and published you may feel done yourself. But, don’t forget that offering a course is your chance to either kick start or rapidly grow your business. The best way to maximize the value of your book is to lead people from your book to discover other parts of your brand.

Give the people who love your book the opportunity to work with you further, either through an online course or through one of the other methods discussed above.

Leave a comment with questions about this process, or share your results creating an online course from your book. I look forward to hearing about your success.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

Writing Memoirs—What You Need to Know to Avoid Being Sued

Writing Memoirs—What You Need to Know to Avoid Being Sued

Everyone wants to avoid being sued. Litigation is expensive, time-consuming, and incredibly stressful. Most writers don’t have much to worry about. The odds that they’ll end up in a courtroom for something they wrote are fairly low. Our First Amendment right to free speech offers significant protection to write freely. One exception to this rule is the world of memoir.

The reason the memoir genre is compelling is because it’s fascinating to read the dirty details of others’ lives. Memoir authors usually don’t write about rainbows and sunshine, they write about the salacious. Abuse, sex, addiction, and family drama—it’s the Sturm und Drang that people want to read about. This is the primary reason why memoirs open the door for lawsuits.

There’s a fine balance when you’re writing your memoir. Of course, it’s your story, and as such, you want it to be told without barriers. Yet, you need to consider those you’re writing about. They may not want to be part of your story. And, in some cases, if you violate the law, they may have the right to retaliate with a lawsuit.

We can all agree that there are better things to spend your book royalties on than exorbitant legal fees. Read on for tips to avoid going from published author to professional despondent. (Note: Our first disclaimer—this article does not constitute professional legal advice. For real legal advice, consult your real live counsel, rather than looking things up on the Internet.)

1. Case Study: Running with Scissors

Since we’re discussing legal issues, it seems fitting to start with a case study on the issues of memoir, defamation, and invasion of privacy.

Critically acclaimed author Augusten Burroughs published the best-selling memoir, Running with Scissors in 2003. In his book, he recalled his time living with the fictional “Finches.” His book recounted abuse, drug use, dysfunctional family behavior, living in squalor, and other unsavory details any family wouldn’t want blasted all over printed pages.

Burroughs claimed that while he did change the name of the family (in real life, the Turcottes), the harrowing details of his time spent in their care were true. The Turcottes filed a defamation and invasion of privacy torts suit against Burroughs and his publisher. The family asserted that Burroughs fabricated facts and violated their privacy.

Burroughs’ defense hinged on his assertion that the facts, as he wrote them, were true; therefore he had not broken any laws. The parties settled out of court. As part of the settlement, Burroughs changed his acknowledgments to say the Turcottes had “conflicting memories” of the described events. Burroughs was legally obligated to amend his book acknowledgments to read as follows:

I would like to thank the real-life members of the family portrayed in this book for taking me into their home and accepting me as one of their own. I recognize that their memories of the events described in this book are different than my own. They are each fine, decent and hard-working people. The book was not intended to hurt the family. Both my publisher and I regret any unintentional harm resulting from the publishing and marketing of Running With Scissors.

2. Understand the Concepts

The best defense is a good offense. In litigation that means don’t do anything that will get you sued. Before you publish your memoir, it’s important that you understand your rights to free speech, as well as defamation and invasion of privacy issues.

First Amendment Protection

The First Amendment protects your right to free speech. This protection applies to both the spoken and written word.

Defamation

In short, defamation is when you ruin a person’s reputation. Black’s Law Dictionary defines defamation as, “The taking from one’s reputation. The offense of injuring a person’s character, fame, or reputation by false and malicious statements.” The term covers both libel (written) and slander (spoken).

Only living people can sue for defamation, so someone can’t file a lawsuit against you for defamation through an estate or relatives.

Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy lawsuits hinge on public disclosure of private facts. Private facts are sensitive information that the average person would not want to share with the general public; for example, medical records, adoption records, abuse, alcoholism, etc. Just as with defamation, an invasion of privacy suit can’t be brought by an estate or relatives. Even if what you write is 100% true, someone can still bring an invasion of privacy suit based on public disclosure of private facts.

3. Preventing a Defamation Cause of Action

The best defense against defamation is the truth. Suppose you write that your neighbor was convicted of axe murder. He can’t bring a defamation suit against you if he was, in fact, convicted of axe murder. But if you write, “my neighbor could be capable of axe murder because he’s crazy,” then you’ve got some defamation issues.

Practical Tips to Stay Out of Courtroom:

If your facts will not hold up as 100% true in a court of law, you can open yourself up to defamation. Before you write, make sure to check your facts. You want to know that if you’re writing about something controversial, that you’re not fabricating the truth.

The second tip to avoid defaming your memoir characters is to frame controversial statements as your opinion. Opinions are (*usually) legally considered “protected expression.” That said, there are parameters. You can’t simply state that blatantly false statements are opinions and get away it. Writing, “In my opinion, Sara Smith is a prostitute”—when Sara Smith is an upstanding mom and doctor—will get you in trouble. Your opinion needs to be balanced by evidence and supported by actual fact.

The third tip to avoid defamation issues is to change any identifying information about your book characters. In order to prevail in a defamation case, the defamed must prove others are able to identify him from your writing. A caveat: This doesn’t mean by name alone! People can claim defamation if one could reasonably identify them through their actions, clothing, quotes, physical appearance, address, or any number of identifying points.

The fourth tip is that defamation rests upon subjective principles. When in doubt, err on the side of caution about disclosing details that may or may not be true. If you can’t defend the truth in a court of law, don’t publish it.

The final tip is to print a disclaimer in your preface, intro, or acknowledgements. Simply by stating your memories are imperfect but you’re sharing to the best of knowledge and that you’ve changed identifies can stave off legal woes.

4. Avoiding an Invasion of Privacy Cause of Action

Just as with a defamation lawsuit, an invasion of privacy lawsuit turns on subjective opinions to be decided on a case-by-case basis. This means that the individual facts of each case will decide the outcome.

Common sense dictates that there are certain private facts, which a person would not want shared with the public. If a good friend had given up a child for adoption, and you were the only person she told, then disclosing that in your memoir would open the doors to an invasion of privacy lawsuit. The same would apply to sensitive information such as private health matters, abuse, addiction, or any information would not be readily accessible to the public.

Certain public or high profile individuals may have less protection against invasion of privacy. The legal theory is that because they have opened their lives to public scrutiny, then the bar is lower for privacy protection. If unsavory facts can be classified as public interest, then you may be able to disclose certain things about public individuals. The crux of this issue would turn on whether your facts are related to a matter of “public concern.”

Practical Tips to Stay Out of the Courtroom:

There are several ways to avoid invasion of privacy lawsuits. Our first tip is to get written permission from your characters. If you obtain written consent, they can’t later file a suit stating you’ve breached their privacy.

Our second tip is the same as with defamation: Change all identifying characteristics. Give your characters a different name, different job, different wardrobes—anything you can change to prevent them from being recognized by your words affords you a degree of protection. Some writers like to create an amalgam of characters to mix up identifying facts.

Our third tip is tell the truth. Don’t lie (or even embellish). It’s unethical at best; at worst, it can get you in legal hot water.

Our fourth tip is carefully weigh the impact of disclosing inflammatory, sensitive, or embarrassing information. Are such disclosures essential to your story? If so, tread carefully and use our rules for how to proceed with caution. If you’re on the fence, it’s always wise to run your concerns by a lawyer to head off any issues before you publish. Paying for an hour or two of legal time is far better than being a defendant in a court case.

The best memoirs are brazen, open, and honest about life, even when the facts are tough to write about. Your obligation as a memoirist is to tell your story and honor the truth. By considering the impact of those in your real life and making efforts to protect them, you’ll avoid legal troubles down the line.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

12 Reasons to Write a Book This Year

12 Reasons to Write a Book This Year

Deciding to write a book is analogous to the decision to become a parent. You can weigh the pros and cons and read all the expert books on parenting. You’ll try to decide whether you’re emotionally, financially, and physically ready to take the plunge. But until you become a parent, you’ll never know how amazing, enriching, and challenging your life could be. Once you become a parent, you know that your life will never be the same.

These same concepts apply to becoming an author. Until you’ve ushered new creative life into the world you have no idea the incredible, myriad of ways writing a book can better your life. You’ll ask yourself why you waited so long to make it happen.

We’re here to tell you that you should write a book, and you should do it this year. If not now, then when?

Here are 12 reasons why this is the year you’ll write your book.

1. You are a writer (you just need to write).

Listen, everyone can be a writer. Each one of us has a story to share. In fact, most of us have more than one story to share.

The simple truth is that in order to be a writer, you just need to write. And to become an author, you just need to publish. At Self-Publishing School, we’re here to tell you that both of these worthy goals are within your reach. You just need to start—today.

2. You’ll discover who you are.

By it’s very nature, writing is an introspective, thoughtful activity. The process of writing a book will force you to turn your thoughts inward. Through writing, you’ll gain perspective about what really matters to you.

Writing a book will also teach you about the unique value of your own willpower. The simple act of committing to a writing project, and seeing it through, will measure the depths of your discipline.

Writing a book can be a powerful way to get in touch with your thoughts, values, and motivations. Plus, writing is cheaper than therapy!

3. You’ll have created a professional-quality, ready-to-sell book.

It used to be that only writers with a publishing deal or those who paid for vanity publication ever got to see their books in print. Those days have changed. Thanks to the rise of self-publishing, any person with a story to tell can become a published author and sell their book.

Self-publishing is now affordable, easy to implement, and requires only basic computer skills. If you can type your book on your keyboard, you can figure out how to self-publish. As your own publisher, you call the shots. You’re the CEO of your own destiny. Even better, you get to retain more of the royalties if you self-publish. What’s not to like?

4. You’ll pocket a healthy chunk of change.

The brilliant ideas you have kicking around in your head aren’t earning you any money. Only once you commit those ideas to paper and hit publish will you earn income from your thoughts.

Your book can earn you a stream of passive income simply by existing. And then there’s the future—audiobooks, courses based on your book, and speaking gigs! And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can make money off your self-published book—but you need to write it first.

5. You’ll let Amazon do the heavy lifting.

Amazon is the King of the self-publication market. Amazon makes it intuitive and straightforward for authors to upload and sell their books. They’ve also made it easy for readers to find and buy your book. It’s a win-win.

That’s not to say that you can set up an Amazon page and let it flap in the breeze untended. In order to sell your book, you’ll need to do some marketing and PR. The good news is that Amazon gives you the tools and resources you need to succeed.

6. You’ll embrace the mantra, “nobody lives forever.”

Nobody’s getting out of this life alive. Our time here is finite. It’s our choice how we want to spend our time.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, don’t wait for a life crisis to force your hand. The time is now. You have a chance to share your words, thoughts, and passions with the world. Don’t let that chance slip through your fingers.

7. You’ll reignite a passion.

Each one of us has a passion for something—whether that’s rock-climbing, organic cooking, or comedic storytelling. What’s your passion? You already know the answer to that question.

Here’s our next question: When’s the last time you stoked that passion? If that answer is, “you can’t remember” or, “it’s been years,” then you’ve got some work to do. You owe it to yourself to explore your passion and write a book. We promise that when you’re writing about something you love, it won’t feel like work.

8. You’ll be a pro author.

Only 1% of the world’s population ever publishes a book. That’s a heady statistic. By writing a book, you set yourself apart from the masses.

Even if your book is fiction or a memoir, the fact that you’re now an author lends an air of authority to your professional endeavors. You can now add “author” to your CV, LinkedIn, and professional website.

In short: No matter what you write a book about, becoming a published author boosts your professional authority. You’ll have accomplished something few other people have. Our preemptive greeting: Welcome to the Author Club! We guarantee you’ll like the rarified air up here.

9. You’ll tackle a new challenge.

Life has so many obligations—taxes, school pick-up, miles on the treadmill—it can be easy to fall into a daily rut.

Writing a book is leaving your comfort zone. Trying something unfamiliar can be scary—we get it. But, that’s precisely why it’s exciting. The only way you grow as a person is by forcing yourself to leave your comfort zone.

Time to jump off the cliff—write a book and become an author this year. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll gain by pushing the limits of your own self-imposed boundaries.

10. You’ll become smarter.

Writing a book requires research. No matter what topic you’re writing about, you’re going to have to research new concepts and topics. By opening the door to new ideas, you’ll educate yourself on a broad array of ideas. You’ll be invigorated by how much you learn while you’re writing, and emerge much brighter for having done so. And when you’re done, you can assert yourself as an expert in your field.

Your book can then open the door for speaking engagements, conference presentations, and other professional networking opportunities.

11. You’ll stop making excuses and just do it.

We know, we know, you’ve been mulling over the idea of writing a book for months (years?) now. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article. How long are you going to give yourself permission to keep quashing your dreams? It’s time to commit and just do it.

12. Because you can!

And you will! No more excuses. You can’t afford to put off writing a book any longer. All that counts is that you get your first word on paper, and then a word after that. Before you know it, you’ll have a completed first draft. Think about how amazing you’ll feel?

Don’t put it off another day. Write your book today. This is the year for you to finally become an author.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How to Write a Book Faster

How to Write a Book Faster

“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler

I’ll share a secret with you. I’m not a natural typist. In fact, I can’t type very well at all. I use two fingers to pound out my stories and create content in the form of blogs and books. My writing speed is slow, about 30 wpm. But writing is important to me, as I’m sure it is for you—so, there are a few things I do to boost my writing speed so I can get more done in the same amount of time. Here are five tips on how to write a book faster:

Write Every Day

I know, I know, this is the obvious choice. But seriously, not only will you become a master writer if you pound out words every day, your writing speed will also naturally improve. The more you practice now, the less you have to practice later. And as you get better at your craft, you’ll be creating better quality content in less time. You could blog every day or work on a chapter for your next novel.

Action Plan:

  1. Make writing a daily habit.
  2. Set your word count goal for each day.
  3. Track how many words you are writing per hour/day.

Schedule Brief Typing Practice Sessions

For ten minutes a day I practice typing. This is a separate activity from actually writing content. I’ll use a free typing software program that tests writing speed and provides feedback on how efficient I am as a typist. This is a great way to master the skill of getting your word count up. Check out FASTFINGERS or Keyhero.com.

Use Proper Sitting Posture

The position of your body has a lot to do with typing speed and efficiency. If you slouch in your chair you’ll cramp up and find it hard to concentrate. Here is how you should position yourself:

  • Make sure that you are sitting up straight—don’t lean or hunch over towards the desk.
  • Position your elbows at right angles to the keyboard—avoid bending your arms upwards or downwards.
  • Properly position your fingers on the keyboard.

Buy a Standing Desk

It’s scientifically proven that the standing desk has major benefits for our health. But that’s not all! It also boosts productivity and, you guessed it, makes us more efficient at typing. Primarily, we feel great if we are standing—higher energy levels and better blood flow.

Create a Book Outline

The secret is out: outlines really do work! Being able to crank out three thousand words an hour won’t matter much if your content lacks direction. And a solid outline gives you that direction.

We all know that writing a book is a lot of work. But we can cut out a ton of obstacles with a well-written outline that builds passion and purpose into your writing routine. Here’s how an outline can double or even triple your writing speed:

1. Outlines Eliminate Writer’s Block

Writers experience writer’s block for several reasons—one of which is either not having an outline or having a poorly written outline. If your outline is well-organized and fleshed out with all the ideas, chapters and sections flowing in logical sequence, chances are writer’s block won’t be an issue.

When you have to stop to think about what comes next, you’re no longer in writing mode. Instead we fall into confusion, frustration and then default to research mode. “I know I can get through this if I just look up…” You start doing everything else but writing. The next time you hit a wall, check the flow of your outline. Revise what you need to and keep moving forward. Be sure to do as much research as you can before the initial writing begins.

2. Outlines Provide an Organized Framework for Your Book’s Structure

Your outline is the roadmap for your book. Without it, your writing time is slow and grueling, like running up a mountain with a ball and chain. Sounds tough, right? A well-organized outline boosts productivity throughout the writing phase. You’ll write much faster when the chapters flow from one to the next and ideas are combined and clustered. When your outline flows with a well-organized structure you don’t have to stop to think about what to write next. Your fingers can keep moving in flow with the plan you created.

3. Outlines Give You A Bird’s Eye View

When you can see your book in its entirety on the page, you feel compelled to write as much as possible. Think of it as a race. You’ll perform much better knowing the exact distance you have to run—especially as you near the finish line and you have the end in sight. Your outline needs to not only flow but, similar to a race, you should know where you’re starting and where you’ll end up.

Now that you know how important it is to have an awesome outline, spend some time today to go back and revise yours. Look at the areas that could be better researched. Review the chapters with ideas that require deeper development. Make your outline the best it can be and revise it as you go, ensuring those words keep hitting the paper.

Challenge yourself

We encourage you to challenge your writing speed and try to get a little faster each time. Follow the five tips above and see how many words/pages you can crank out in an hour. Time yourself using the Pomodoro Technique. You’ll be amazed at the difference. You never know, you might start pounding out full-length novels on just the weekends!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

Social Media for Authors

Social Media for Authors

Social media is the perfect way for authors to promote their books. It’s free, easy to use, and a dynamic way to grow your audience. In fact, with the right posts, if you go viral, you can explode your audience overnight.

Before your book is even finished, you can start a social media campaign to promote your book. That’s a mouthful, and if you’re new to social media or to book promotions, you may find that phrase alarming. “CAMPAIGN” implies a lot of work.

Don’t be mentally derailed by the notion of a “social media campaign.” Using social media is not rocket science nor brain surgery (in fact, if you need a quick and dirty course on Instagram, just shoulder tap the nearest 12-year-old). In basic terms, it means interacting with people who like you, like your work, and want to read your book.

There are thousands of articles on the dos and dont’s of social media, but here’s what we’re here to tell you: You’re going to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t and go from there. Social media is a fluid, evolving forum, so don’t feel like you’re locking yourself into a strategy or road map.

In fact the more flexible you are to changes along the way, the better social media may work for your promotions, since you’ll be keeping pace with what’s trending and your finger on the pulse of your audience’s needs and wants.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to do to get social media working for you and your book sales:

1. Start Last Week

Or right now. Building a strong social media presence can take months, so don’t wait until you’re done with your book to move the marketing along. Ideally, you want to start developing a social media following before you even start drafting.

One of the mistakes rookie authors make is to wait to finish their piece de literary resistance before trying to build a social media following. No matter what phase of life your book draft currently is in—even if it’s just a wicked gleam in your author eye—NOW is the right time to build your social media presence.

Think about it: when you’re building anticipation as you work, it serves multiple purposes.

1) You can share with your audience how your book is moving along, and build steam so you have a bigger fan base when it launches.

2) You can interact with your audience and ask for ideas…for your book cover, your title, and even your character development. Who better to inform your book choices than your chosen audience?

3) You can keep motivation high to finish your book during the drafting and editing process. If you have a team cheering you on, you’ll be more likely to finish that project you’ve been talking about for weeks (or months, but hopefully not years).

If you’ve already started drafting, or even if you’ve finished your book, all is not lost. It’s not too late, but don’t waste another minute putting off delving into the world of social media. You don’t want to lose another day of free promos and audience excitement!

2. Pull Out the Big Guns

Social media is saturated with many different platforms. If you’ve never embarked on a focused social media campaign, then your head may be spinning trying to winnow down the choices and determine the right ones for you.

Here’s the good news: There’s no right way to do social media, and it’s a constantly evolving thing—so if it’s not working for you, then there’s no risk in mixing it up. If you are looking for a short list on what to focus on right out of the gate, you can’t go wrong with the duo of Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter and Facebook boast the most users and highest engagement numbers, so they’re a no-brainer to interact with readers, share your progress, and spread the news about any book events, signing, or the big launch.

According to Susan Orlean, New Yorker journalist and author of The Orchid Thief, “Twitter is a noisy cocktail party, with lots of chatting and quick interactions, a kind of casual free-for-all…while Facebook is a combination high school and college reunion and therapy group.”

Join those two parties and then branch out to the other social media platforms which support your book’s unique goals and purpose.

Do you have beautiful elements in your book, or along your book writing journey? Travel photos beg for the sun-dappled touch only an Instagram account can provide. Pinterest is the mecca for recipes and photos of food. (Do you hear us cookbook authors?) Are you a business type writing a how-to? Then hello, LinkedIn!

Explore what’s out there to add depth to your words.

3. Stay Positive

We all have that one person on our personal social media accounts who is an Eeyore. The sun is shining for the first time in three weeks and she’ll be the one to post a PSA about skin cancer, complete with close-up mole photos. Don’t be that person (unless you’re a dermatologist writing a book about skin care, then moles are fair game. Everyone else, steer clear).

Today’s world is heavy enough, so think twice before you contribute to the doom-and-gloom online. One of the toughest things about social media is the urge to purge. It’s tantalizingly easy to formulate a fist-shaking rant or negative thought and then disseminate it into the web without much thought for the fallout. That’s fine when your only followers are Aunt Sally and your dog-sitter, but when your goal is building your brand and your author name, then it’s best to tread lightly.

That’s not to say you need to shy away entirely from controversial topics, especially if your book focuses on the non-fiction genre (e.g. mole doctors). You may have valuable input to add on any number of non-light and fluffy topics.

We’re not telling you that there’s no place for serious information on social media, if that’s what your book is about. Just keep in mind that there’s a way to spin things online that leaves followers wanting more, and a way to spin things that leaves followers leaving your page in tears.

No matter the topic, try to post with positivity. You don’t have to be Ms. (or Mr.) Mary Sunshine 24/7, but your followers will notice and appreciate when you try to keep your posts away from the shady side of the street.

4. Don’t Feed the Trolls

The beauty of the Internet is that you can spread your word to thousands at the touch of a button. The dark side of the Internet is that strangers have cultivated a sense of anonymity and can consider any posts fair game for engaging in a war of words. It’s easy to feel baited by trolls online; some people enjoy pushing others’ buttons and they are darn good at it. It can be hard to turn the other cheek, but you need to consciously stay above the fray.

What happens if someone bashes you on your page? Nothing. That’s right, nothing! You’re better than this; ignore them. If that troll continues to flood your accounts with aggressive or angry comments, there’s always the block function. Use it. Don’t worry about alienating the “good” followers; by deleting the trouble-makers, you’ll create a more cohesive sense of community for those who add value to the party.

Remember: You’re in control. These are your business (or personal) accounts. There’s no reason to get weighed down by those eager to jeer and jab. Life is short and ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense. And if someone gets upset that you’re “censoring” (what amounts to abuse) and starts giving you a hard time for deleting negativity, well then…Delete, block, done!

5. Share Something Real

While you certainly want to share the news about your book, any upcoming promotions, and speaking events, you don’t need to make your social media ALL writing, ALL the time. Followers who like your work and your writing want to know about you…the real you. It will help you grow your audience if you show sides of yourself, other than the one