Articles for Aspiring Authors

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 In the City and Law and Order. He especially shines as a keynote speaker and has even been know to offer live coaching sessions while on stage. Michael is a successful guy, and I’m really excited to learn about how he used his books to promote his speaking career and establish himself as an expert.

You can find Michael here:

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

Show Notes

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

Links and Resources:

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

8 Steps to Start Writing a Book

8 Steps to Start Writing a Book

One of the biggest challenges to writing a book is starting. Putting actual words to “digital” paper can create stress, anxiety, and instill that fear of failure.

Writing in and of itself isn’t that hard but the trap that many people fall into is, where do I begin? Do I write chapter 1 first? Should I start without an outline? Do I need to finish that course on book writing before doing anything?

Resistance to the craft just seems to show up at the beginning of each writing session as we become flooded with feelings of overwhelm, perfection, and the fear of failure. We want to do everything right, to navigate around potential mistakes when writing your book. But this could be the very thing holding you back from starting your book.

So how do you start writing? How do you keep the momentum going each day until finished? How do you deal with the most common sticking points for writers and creatives that show up disguised as procrastination, self-doubt, and uncertainty?

Why do we stop ourselves from starting the things that would bring us the most joy?

If we procrastinate and put off the writing by telling ourselves “I’ll do it later” or “I I’m just not in the mood today”, you’ll walk away from your writing project full of frustration.

Writing a book is like any other project: You have to stick with a schedule, be resilient, and push through the resistance when you get stuck. Small details and not sure what to do next can keep you from making progress.

If you are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to starting your book, you are not alone. This is a common obstacle for most authors, even after they have been doing for years. But there are a few effective strategies we can use to get over this hurdle and become book finishers instead of book dreamers.

In this blog post, I’ll give you some simple strategies for:

  • Getting started on your book
  • Building momentum
  • staying focused on your writing project.

We will look at 8 strategies you can put into action to assure you show up again and again with a game plan to get your thoughts out of your head, down on paper, and into the minds of your readers.

Develop the Writing Habit

To get started on your book, it requires the mindset of “just do it”. Remember the Nike commercial? Doing it means you are moving beyond just thinking about your book. By taking action, you can immersing yourself deep into the process of putting words to digital paper. But to get there, you have to show up and do it. Write that first word, first sentence, and first page.

This can be accomplished with building the writing habit. The #1 reason authors fail to publish a book is because they never finish the book they intend to write. Why? They didn’t do any writing. Or they tried for a few days but realized that, unlike the myths of a writer creating the great American novel and earning millions of dollars from a book deal, writing is hard work.

But you can do this. The resistance you have towards starting your project is just fear. Do you know what the cure is for removing fear? Yes, taking action and just doing it.

Every book I wrote has been published. Why? I finished it. How does a book get finished and ready for publishing? One word at a time. Where would you be if you could write a thousand words a day? One thousand words a day is about an hours work. We spend longer than that a day watching TV or surfing the Net looking for mindless distractions.

Your writing habit can start small. You can commit to five-hundred words a day first thing in the morning. Build up to a bigger word count over the days and weeks to come. If writing is difficult for you, write a page of three hundred words. If that is difficult, write a paragraph of one hundred words. If it still persists, make it a sentence.

Keep breaking it down until you can show up everyday to work on your book. The writing habit isn’t about writing quantity, it is building the behaviour at first. You can scale up as you go.

What most people get stuck on isn’t writing once or twice but to keep it going, to start writing every morning. It is breaking past the first ten minutes of bad writing when the ideas are not flowing and you have to keep pushing forward to get into the flow.

8 Strategies for Starting Your Book and Building Momentum

1. Write in Bite-Sized Chunk Method

Feeling overwhelmed about writing your book is a natural feeling. If you pull a book of your shelf and hold it in your hands, you can feel the weight of it, the amount of words it contains. You know a lot of work went into this book you are holding.

You might think about the author and how much time they spent writing, researching, planning, editing, and all of the other steps that went into getting the book to market. As you think about this, it isn’t any wonder overwhelm creeps in and steals our creative moment.

But remember, every book successfully finished had a beginning. The author started somewhere, even if he or she wrote the ending first. If you are having trouble starting, you can write just a paragraph. Or a sentence. Or the first word. Start with something.

Momentum begins with taking that first action.

Remember what Lao Tzu said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Well, the journey of writing a book begins with that first page.

The bite-sized chunk method works because it breaks your project down into a manageable state. It is the act of staying present in the moment and focusing on the Deep Work we can do in the now.

2. Stay Focused on One Project

One of the challenges many authors face is dealing with the horde of ideas that continue to pop up as they are fixated on the one project. I hear it all the time:

I often hear people say: “I have so many ideas for other books I don’t know where to start.”

So most don’t.

Or, “I’m going to write three books at the same time and then publish all three within weeks of each other.”

But they never finish any of them.

My favorite: “I don’t know where to start because I’m so overwhelmed. I’ll just research some more before writing.”

Then the research takes months and nothing gets written.

Staying fixed on one project is challenging but, if you spread your energy thin, you’ll get weak results. When you start something, start it with the decision that you will finish it within a set time period. Have a plan for everyday, even if it is just “write for thirty minutes on my book.”

Writing two or three books at the same time requires high-end organizational skills and experience. Stick with your one project until finished. Having ten books in first draft mode will not do much for your self confidence if you don’t finish any of them.

Remember: only published books can earn you money and get you interviewed by podcasters who want you to tell your story.

Focus on your One Thing until finished.

3. Know Where to Start

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You decided to wake up early to start writing your book. You sit down. Time  passes by. After twenty minutes you still have a Blank page.

You realize you need coffee first to get things moving so you get up to make some.

Come back. Sit down.

Blank page.

Before writing that first sentence, you decide to check your email. Might as well do something while waiting for inspiration. Several emails marked urgent require an immediate response. You take care of that first, still thinking you are in warmup mode.

Then you get several FB notifications on your desktop. You jump over to FB to check it out because that will just take a few minutes anyway while you’re here, and then you’ll start.

Thirty minutes has passed and you are still reading up on today’s current posts that run in an endless loop. Now one hour has passed, you’re tired, and you need a break to stretch.

But, you never make it back to your book for that day.

This is a familiar story with writer’s. We have the best intentions to start writing and then, when we show up to get it done, we make ourselves feel so busy by buying into cheap distractions that nothing gets written.

Once again, we fail to start. This is why you need a plan before you show up to write. Without a game plan, you are inviting distractions in to take over your schedule for the day.

Starting a book the first time isn’t difficult. But starting your writing session everyday can be. Depending on the time of day you write, it is important to be clear about two things:

1. What are you writing about right now? Is it your introduction? The first 1000 words of chapter 7? If you don’t know what you are writing, you’ll lose momentum from the start. Be clear about the material you are working on. Of course you can start cold just to warm up if you aren’t sure, but when you are short on time, every minute counts.

2. How much are you writing? Set a target goal for your session. You can approach this in two ways. Write for a set amount of time [30 minute session]. Or, set a word target goal [1000 words].

Now that we have a plan for what to write, we can…

4. Write With Focus

Once you get into the flow of writing, you want to stay there for the duration of your writing session. Suddenly stopping to check that email notification can break your concentration and set you back 20-30 minutes.

By the time you are done chasing digital data down the rabbit hole, you might not get back to your writing. You started something but you couldn’t finish it.

By jumping around we become less efficient and it takes twice as long to complete our writing. Stay centered in the moment and leave the distractions on the outside.

We can do this by following a few simple strategies.

  1. Use focus enhancer apps such as pomodoro, coffitivity.com or StayFocused to build more focus into your writing time.
  2. Turn off your phone during your writing time.
  3. Inform friends and family you will be unavailable during this time.

Get yourself into the writer’s flow and you’ll become unstoppable while working in this mode. I work with a 25 Minute Timer that tracks the time spent on a project. Take a break and then get back into it.

5. Set Your Creative Mood

The environment you write in plays an important role in writing. Some writers can get focused in a noisy cafe; other people need solitude and the background of quiet music.

Create the environment that is relaxing and settles you into the mood for writing. If you are constantly feeling distracted, you’ll struggle to get into the writer’s flow.

Set your writing session up for success: favorite music, inspirational quotes, or reading a section of your favorite book to get you “feeling” it.

You can even decorate your work area with the pictures of your favorite authors or best writing quotes. Spend 30 minutes to create your ideal space for writing. You will feel more inspired to show up and write even on those days when you are not feeling like it.

Inspiration will not always be there, so you have to create your inspiration for those days when dealing with writer’s fatigue.

6. Use the Seinfeld Method to Stay Accountable

In the early days of his career, Jerry Seinfeld was asked how he managed to create such great content. He said: “The way to be a better comic was to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.”

Well, as authors, this definitely applies to the craft. The way to be a good writer is to write everyday, and to write everyday you have to set yourself up for success even before the pen hits the paper [or the fingers tap the keyboard]. Jerry Seinfeld used what is now the ‘calendar method’. He called it the “Don’t break the chain” method. It works like this.

Get yourself a calendar and hang it on your wall. Then, for every day that you write, cross an X on the day. You should have a calendar week with a row of Xs at the end. If you keep the chain going, you will have your book written in less than 30 days. But you have to start somewhere.

So start right now and work on your book for 30 minutes today. When you are finished, mark that X on your calendar. If you miss a day, start again and see how many days you can get in a row before you break the chain.

7. Review Your Mindmap and Outline

If you don’t have a well constructed outline, you run the risk of getting lost in your book. This could waste time as you write just for the same of writing without purpose. Your outline provides clarity and direction to your story. Before you write, spend five minutes reviewing your outline.

Create a checklist of chapters and another checklist for the subtitle themes in each chapter. When we can check things off, it gives us a boost in confidence and we know that we are getting closer to our goal: finishing the book.

8. Free Flow for 10 Minutes

You can start with a strategy known as free flowing. This is a random series of thoughts about anything written in word or notepad. Julia Cameron, the bestselling author of The Artist’s Way, called these morning pages.

You don’t have to publish or edit these words. They are for your eyes only. But the key is to start writing something. It’s like working out at the gym. You can’t just walk in and start lifting the heavy weights before you warm-up. It is best to do some stretching with “words” and ease your way into it. You’ll find this will loosen your thoughts and get things moving. I have rarely had a day I couldn’t write if I did this first.

Once you are ready and the ideas are clicking, pull out your mind map or outline and get to work. You can sprint for thirty minute increments or less. I usually go for sixty minutes and then take a five minute break. In two sessions of this I can get on average two thousand words written.

Don’t worry about the word count. We are going for habit building here. Writing is hard if you are not used to it. You need to break yourself into the habit at first; after a couple of weeks you’ll be flying straight ahead.

Dealing With Resistance

It is a common obstacle that resistance to the writing is going to show up and hold us back from creating. Resistance is a form of fear that latches onto the mind and pulls us off course. If you let it, resistance will turn into a heavy form of procrastination. For years I resisted my natural urge to write. I would give into the resistance and take the easy path: watching TV, playing games or the like.

Resistance doesn’t have to defeat you. As long as you follow the first two steps you’ll be fine. But getting started, even if it is one word on paper, can turn the momentum into a powerful snowball. There are several levels to this obstacle and each one can be stronger than the last depending where you are in the process of writing.

Start-It-Up Checklist

So to revamp, here is your checklist for getting started on your book. If any of the components are missing you can go back and complete them. When you have a checklist it sets the pace for your writing schedule. I use this still even though I’ve been wiring for years because the urge to procrastinate and get stuck still shows up.

Know when to write. Set your writing session for the same time each morning. I set mine at 5:30. In order to start I have to show up at least by 5:25. This gives a few minutes to get relaxed and comfortable. I’ll spend a few minutes thinking about what I’ll be writing about. Then, using the Pomodoro technique you can set your writing session for twenty-five minutes. Take a five minute break. Go for another session.

Be ready with your outline. Have your outline ready to go. This keeps you on track and makes sure you have all your ideas organized in a natural flow. When you get stuck you can go back to your outline and find what comes next. Your outline is the roadmap for your book. Make it as detailed as you can and you’ll get finished faster with a solid outline ready to send to the editor after a quick self-edit.

Read morning affirmations. Affirmations are powerful snippets of positive “juice” that set the tone and atmosphere for writing. An affirmation for a writer could be a quote from a writer, motivational or inspiring words from someone who has been there and done that. I keep a collection of affirmations in a journal and, when I am struggling with a writing session, I’ll warm up by flipping through these affirmations for inspiration.

Here are some inspiring quotes to start with:

“It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.”

— Confucius

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

— E.B. White

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

— Steve Jobs

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”

— J.K . Rowling

Ready…Set…

You can do this. You now have ten mini-strategies for starting your book. The fears of writers rejection are being stamped out as you set out on an incredible journey to becoming a published author. I know there is a long road ahead, but you plug at this everyday and you’ll get your book done.

Just do it.

Start with that first word.

Build with small steps.

Your next bestseller is closer than you think.

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

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

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

Did you ever wonder what that string of numbers is all about on the back of books carried in bookstores, libraries, or online stores such as Amazon? Have you also wondered how to get an ISBN? That 13-digit number is used to identify a book title, in a specific format, from a certain publisher, for the purpose of identification and inventory control.

The acronym 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.

In the early days of World War 2, when the Japanese military were sending messages back and forth, the allies needed to crack the numbering system to get an edge in the war and turn the tables. How did they crack the complex system? MI6 recruited young mathematician Gordon Foster to work as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, where he would go through millions of numbers to look for patterns in the code.

Decades later, when the book industry needed a standardized system to track 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 up a report on how a standard numbering system would look for books.

This report led to the 9-digit standard book number which went live in the UK in 1967. Several years later this turned into a 10-digit numbering system when it was decided a system was needed for new editions and variations. Then, in 2007, the ISBN switched to a 13-digit format, and is now the standard for all ISBNs. Later we will look at what these numbers mean.

how to get an isbn

Reasons Self-Publishers Need an ISBN

The ISBN is a unique numeric identifier that is used globally to identify a specific version of a book title. Without an ISBN it will be almost impossible for your book to be found at the bookstore, local library, or online retailers. Although it is possible for self-publishers to get a free ISBN through Createspace, there are definite benefits to buying your own.

What Is an ISBN Used For?

The ISBN is a critical part of any book because it:

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

Do I need an ISBN for my book?

This is a common question writers ask before they publish their book. You need an ISBN for your book if you are planning to have your title available in bookstores, available with online retailers such as Amazon or Lightning Source, and in libraries. Note that an ISBN is, as of now, not necessary for publishing an eBook.

But if you plan to publish multiple books and you want your publishing business to gain greater access to the global community, buying a block of ISBNs through Bowker is definitely the way to go.

How do I get an ISBN?

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.

If you are planning to publish more books, it would make sense to buy the bulk of 10 or 100 ISBNs. A single number will cost you $125.00 but in bulk of 10, only $295.00. For larger publishers, the 100 pack is purchased at $595.00. You can purchase 1000 ISBNs for $1500.

Authors and Publishers Living Outside the USA:

You can check out the ISBN Agency in your local area. ISBNs are assigned locally but are used internationally. Once you buy your ISBN and your book is published, be sure to register your title with Bowkerlink.

The bottom line is, having your own ISBN gives you greater control over your book as well as maximizing your global reach.

Free ISBNs vs. paid: Createspace or Bowker?

Self-published authors have the option of being assigned a free ISBN through Createspace, the On-Demand Publishing company that is part of the Amazon group of companies. While this is totally fine to do, in large part because ISBNs will add an extra expense to your book publishing costs, if publishing is a long term plan for you, consider buying your own ISBNs.

The main difference between an ISBN that is assigned for free and one you pay for is, in the case when a self publishing house issues the ISBN it is identified as the publisher. When you buy your own, the author [for self publishers] or the publisher is listed as the publisher. This publisher is always identified within the 13-digit ISBN.

If you print a paperback or hardcover book through Lightning Source [Ingramspark] you will have to purchase ISBNs to publish because they are not provided.

10 Common Questions About ISBNs: How Much Do You Know?

  1. How many ISBNs do I need? What if I intend to publish multiple books and multiple editions?

In this case, you would want to buy a block of ISBNs in bulk. With every format of the book and all future new versions, an ISBN needs to be assigned. If your book is just getting a few typos fixed up, it isn’t necessary to assign a new ISBN but only if the product changes format. If you plan to write and publish a series of books, each book in the series will need its own individual ISBN.

  1. Do I need an ISBN to sell in each individual country?

No, ISBNs are international. They are just assigned locally. If you live in the US, you can purchase your ISBN through Bowker. If you live in Australia, you would go to the Australian ISBN Agency to get your ISBN. In Japan, you would go here. For a list of the international agencies, you can visit the International ISBN Agency.

  1. If I create a series of books, can I use the same ISBN for all the books?

Many authors, both in fiction and nonfiction, have an ISSN number assigned to their book series. ISSN stands for International Standard Series Number. But, each book in the series will also be assigned its own ISBN. The ISSN can be purchased from the Library of Congress. The ISBN can be bought through Bowker, or your local ISBN agency.

  1. When do you need an ISBN?

If you are selling your book in bookstores, online distributors, wholesalers, or carrying in libraries you will need an ISBN. Self-published authors have the option of being assigned a free ISBN through Createspace, the On-Demand Publishing company that is part of the Amazon group of companies.

  1. When you copyright your book, isn’t the ISBN included automatically?

Buying an ISBN is not the same as copyrighting your book. ISBNs are sold through Bowker, but the copyright is filed through the Library of Congress.

  1. Is a barcode the same as an ISBN?

The ISBN and barcode are different, and they are sold as different products but both can be purchased through Bowker. The barcode is used to scan the book and includes information about that book such as the price [fixed] or the currency that it is being sold in. You need a barcode to sell your book online or in bookstores. You also need an ISBN number first in order to buy a barcode.

  1. Can your eBook be published without an ISBN?

Yes, it can be. However, you can assign an ISBN to your eBook, but as of now, it is not necessary to publish on Amazon. Your book will be assigned an ASIN number that identifies your book as a product being sold through Amazon.

  1. What is the difference between ASIN and ISBN?

ASIN numbers are used by Amazon to manage and identify the products they are selling on their site. An ASIN, Amazon Standard Identification Number] is the  number that identifies the exact product that you are selling. 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 details [or product details] area of your book page.

  1. How many times can I use the same ISBN?

The ISBN number is a unique number for that particular book that can only be assigned once and, once it is assigned, will never be used again with any other book in the future, including second versions of the same book.

  1. Do I need an ISBN if I am not selling in bookstores, say, selling on my own at speaking events? NO. An ISBN is not needed.

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

As of 2007, the ISBN number is made up of a 13-digit number. This came about in large part because of the large volume of eBooks now being published every year. Have you ever wondered what all those digits mean? If you are like most people, probably not. But to a book publisher, knowing how to break down these digits is definitely something you want to pay attention to. You can tell a lot about a book [and its author] by reading the ISBN number.

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

Here is the ISBN for a particular book:

978-1-545070-17-8

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:

1-545070-17-8

First is the initial digit, in this case: 1

The 1 is the language group identifier which here indicates English. Either 0 or 1 is used for English speaking countries. These 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 Peoples 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 the six digit series: “545070” — This is the “publisher code,” and it identifies the publisher on any book that has this number series. This number can be as long as 9 digits.

“17” — This number 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.

8” is the last digit and is known as the #check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed digit. This is always 1-digit only. This number indicates that the rest of the ISBN numbers have been scanned and, is calculated based on the other digits in the code.

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 to get an isbn

The ISBN and Barcode

You’ll notice on the back of the book that the ISBN and the barcode appear together.The barcode is a graphic made up of vertical lines that encodes numerical information about the book. The barcode is not an ISBN. To buy a barcode, you have to purchase the ISBN first. The barcode is a necessary element for most retailers and distributors as it provides a scannable version of the ISBN. The standard barcode is known as the EAN [European Article Number] barcode. If you sell your book in bookstores, you must have the standard EAN barcode.

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 51495, this means the price of the book is set at $14.95. If the price of the book changes, a new barcode must be used, but the ISBN doesn’t change. This would only be replaced by a new ISBN if the book is published as a new edition or new version.

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.

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

I will leave you with a simple actionable checklist for ISBNs.

If you want to buy an ISBN for your next book, here is what you can 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

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 right 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

How to Run a Book Launch Like a Pro

How to Run a Book Launch Like a Pro

Every self-publishing author needs a solid book launch plan. Writing a book takes planning, time, diligence and then, some tech know-how. You spend months [or years] crafting your novel, you’ve spent a small fortune on a cover, editing, proofreading, formatting, and various other expenses on your writing journey. The worst of the storm is behind you.

You’ve made it.

You’re now ready to hit publish.

Almost…

Do you have a book launch plan for your book? Is your launch team standing by ready to review the book when it hits the digital waves? Will you be using paid promo sites to boost your sales and garner potentially thousands of downloads during your launch window? Are you set up to promote your book in various channels and using the top social media sites available?

I know, launching a book is a big deal. All the work that you’ve put in up to now will fall short of nothing if you launch badly. So, in this post, we will show you how to launch your book on Amazon like a pro.

In this post you’ll figure out 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 we even get into launching your book, we need to take a look at the pre-launch checklist and make sure everything is ready to go. There is nothing worse than a few days into launch and you realize you’ve missed an important piece of the puzzle.

The Pre- Book Launch Final Checklist

Here is a short checklist to make sure that you have taken care of these things before launch. These steps don’t have to be perfect and can be changed or tweaked later as needed.

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 your manuscript to KDP. Proofread your book using the KDP online previewer.
  • Upload your Kindle cover to KDP.
  • Set your launch price at 0.99.
  • Insert a lead magnet into your book, both at the front and back. Connect this with your email server such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
  • Get your audiobook created. Set up to release with your book through Audible or ACX. [Optional]
  • Paperback version created. You can set up your paperback here at Createspace. Optional: Your paperback can be launched after the Kindle release.
  • Emails written for pre-release during launch week to send to launch team.
  • Goodreads account created and author profile setup.
  • 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.

First of all, there are many different launch strategies and actions to take leading up to a book launch. For this launch strategy I am teaching you here, we are keeping things simple. This will be for a twelve day launch including 3 days free promo through Amazon where readers can download your book for free.

You can also check out Steve Scott’s 5-Day Launch Plan That Works post here to see how he effectively launched his [and co-author Barrie Davenport’s] bestselling book 10-Minute Digital Declutter. Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation had a successful launch when he published his bestselling book Buy Buttons with 2600+ copies sold. Another great launch was for Rob Cubbon’s latest book The New Freedom and his detailed launch plan is right here.

Looking at the different strategies that are out there, it is easy to see that launching a book requires a strategic plan. But it doesn’t have to be overly 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 complicated] your launch is.

In this post I’ll provide you with a simple, step-by-step process for setting up your book launch, including your free promo, and the corresponding promo sites to use that can increase your category rankings and generate potentially thousands of downloads.

If everything is ready, it’s time to hit publish on your book. But first, a few things you need to know about Amazon’s algorithm and overall product launch strategy. Remember, Amazon wants you to succeed. If you make money, Amazon makes money: it’s a win-win!

The Amazon Algorithm: A Few Basics

Amazon uses an algorithm to measure and track book sales [and everything else]. Knowing a few basics of how this works to your advantage can better 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. Basically, your book starts ranking as soon as browsers make a purchase.

Every purchase of your book pushes the ranking of your book 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 amount 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 author business. Steady, organic growth will always outperform a sudden burst of downloads.

It’s also worth noting that reviews and the price of your book do not affect the sales rank, but, the more quality reviews you have, the stronger your book’s credibility will be viewed by readers. This does affect the decision-making power of browsers, which funnels into more downloads. Focus on getting as many reviews as you can during this launch phase.

Setting Up Your Amazon Bestseller

The 0.99 Launch Strategy:

What? Launch my book at just 0.99? But that’s like giving it away for free, and it’s worth more than that? Yes, I know how you feel, but trust me, there is a reason for launching it at this price that we will get into shortly. Remember: think long-term. You are selling it at a super-low point now, but the rewards are coming later. So, if you haven’t already, go into the KDP dashboard and under the section on pricing, set your book at 0.99. With the exception of the free promo period, your book will be at 0.99 for the duration of the launch.

The Free book launch Strategy:

Setting up your free launch 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 are debating on doing a free promo, I would suggest you do if you don’t have a following [email list] or you are just getting started. The free promo will get your book into more hands [that will hopefully read it] and increase the visibility across more platforms.

Book Promotion Sites: Free and Paid

Book promotion sites can be very powerful when launching your book. You can take full advantage of these sites for both your paid and free launch. I’ll show you a generic scenario for batching these sites together to give your book that boost it may need. If you have a healthy email list, then you won’t have to rely on these sites as much as authors that are just starting out and don’t have a strong platform yet.

Keep in mind that results vary for and that your performance for each site will depend largely on the quality of your book. You still need the essentials: a great cover, compelling book description, and a title that catches the browser’s attention.

Below is a list of my personal favorites that I have used, in combination with an email list,  to launch multiple bestsellers. Also, you can 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 a 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] site that does 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 make this simple, I’m giving you a sample 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 this time around. Here we will look at the plan to include the free promo as well. Your launch will look and perform differently than this. You can use this as a model and tweak if needed. This launch is if 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?

Your soft launch begins the moment you hit publish. If you plan on launching your book on a Sunday, I would recommend hitting the publish button at least 24 hours early. It takes Amazon about 24 hours to set up your book. It could take less or more time. In this launch model we will 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 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 have a successful launch for the next 10 or 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 would start on day 4 [or however long you decide to run your soft launch]. If you do a 5-day soft launch your free would 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:

James H Mayfield [Note: his calendar is very busy. You might not get on for the days you want with short notice. Consider using your remaining free days at a later date and arrange to have James promo your book.]

Bknights [free promo]

Awesome Gang

Freebooksy

Booksbutterfly

Combine these promo sites with the organic traffic from Amazon and you should do very well for free downloads.

  1. Email your list [if you have one].

Day 2-3 Soft launch [Note: You can extend this to 5 days, it’s up to you]

  1. Social media burst to your FB page, mastermind groups, and other sources to spread the word.

Day 4-6: FREE Promo. Scheduled promo sites on day 1 to advertise your book. Send an email to your team to notify your book is now free. Promote to social media.

Day 7-10: 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: Launch is winding down. If you followed the plan you should have had a considerable number of downloads for both free and paid. Remember: numbers 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. 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 the action. Monitor the sales and adjust to however you feel comfortable.

I 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 you have worked hard for doesn’t just drop off into oblivion. There are three things you can focus on.

  1. Write another book. Multiple books create momentum. Do you have a series of books you could write? Writing a series is a great way to build your brand, a list, and 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  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. With every book launch there is more to learn. If you keep launching, you’ll get better at it. Eventually you’ll turn your launch into a massive movement with thousands of fans standing behind you pushing your book towards New York Times Bestseller status. Imagine that. 

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 Sale 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:
Sale 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:
Sale 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!

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

Any new writer wonders the same question: How long does it take to write a book? The definitive answer is: It depends. Let me explain…

According to a panelist survey of famous authors, when asked how long it took for them to produce their novels, the answers ranged from between four years to a decade. In other words, “Writing a novel takes as long as you want or need it to take.”

Here at Self-Publishing School, we beg to differ. Our students routinely crank out bestsellers in just 90 days, with the first-draft writing process taking as little as 30 days. (No, we’re not making that up!) The grind begins with the mindmapping and outlining process, which sets authors up for a successful writing phase before building launch teams and hitting publish on their masterpieces.

While the temptation can be to spend years, even decades, honing and polishing your book, a rough draft sitting on your hard drive isn’t working for you. It’s not building your author name, furthering your cause, or growing your audience. Moreover, it’s not earning you a single cent. Remember this when it comes to writing your first book: done is better than perfect.

How long does it take to write a book?

We have amazing news: Writing YOUR book can take far less time than you think. You just need to know the tricks to get moving and stay moving.

The faster you get your book finished, the sooner you can realize your goals. And once the publication ball starts rolling, the positive energy will continue.

Your readership will grow with each book, so that with each new publication, you’re building your fan base. If a fan finds and loves your fourth book, they’ll go back and read books one through three, earning you even more accolades and more financial gain.

The bottom line is this: You need to prioritize getting your first draft finished as quickly as your life, time, and circumstances allow. It may not be easy, but it’s not impossible.

Read on for tips to supercharge your own writing process so you’ll hit “publish” before you know it.

1. Choose a Deadline

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” – Philip Roth

It’s no secret that knowing when to stop writing can be the hardest part of actually writing. You can write forever, and never have a clear end in sight. Part of becoming a published author is knowing when to wrap it up.

Setting a final deadline means that you’ll have a finish line in mind, and that can put the pressure on to keep the forward momentum going and finish what you started.

Here’s what to do: Set a deadline, right now, for your book-writing project. Set it somewhere between 30 and 90 days…that’s right, before you get started, you want to have a clear deadline set out for the completion of your draft.

Mark it somewhere you can see it every day. Your end date will help you stay on track.

Another recommendation is to hire your editor and schedule them for your deadline. That way, you have one more motivating factor to keep the writing ball rolling.

2. Set Concrete Goals

One of the best ways to keep your writing moving is to set word count goals for yourself. The idea behind word count goals is that if you set up parameters for your own success, you’ll be more likely to achieve those goals.

If you don’t have concrete, defined goals, then it’s that much easier to procrastinate, and then your pages might get done…someday. Or not.

Word count goals also serve the purpose of setting up a visual aid and reward system. It feels amazing to cross things off your list. So, document your achievements. Write down your daily, weekly, and monthly word count goals, then take a red marker and draw a big red line through each accomplishment when you’re finished.

What should your daily word count be? We suggest aiming for 500-1,000 words per day; that’s about one hour per day. If you stick with a word count goal of 1,000 words per day, at the end of 30 days, you’ll be looking at your completed 30,000 word first draft!

3. Find Your People

A supportive community can be a sounding 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 know you have a team backing you up, it’s that much harder to drag your feet. They expect great things from you—don’t disappoint them!

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

4. Work at Warp Speed

Here’s the idea: Drafting at lightning speed will prevent you from taking decades to finish your book. As we already talked about, you CAN write a book in 30 to 90 days!

The faster you write, the easier it will be meet your goals. Here are some simple tricks to boost your writing speed:

  • Write every day.
  • Adhere to your set writing routine.
  • Don’t get stuck, move on to another section if you’re floundering.
  • Limit research so you move forward with your pages.
  • Plan weekly meetings with a partner to cheer you on.

5. Prioritize Yourself

One of the hardest things to do is to put ourselves first. There are so many competing thing pulling at our time and energy. It can seem as though once we’ve met work, family, life, volunteer, and friend obligations, there’s little left over for ourselves.

We’re here to tell you that in order to write your book, you need to make the effort to be selfish, at least for a short block of time every day. Put yourself first. Make you your first priority. Get your book done—it will pay off. Not just monetarily, but in terms of life satisfaction and intrinsic rewards.

You can wake up half an hour earlier each morning, you can skip the social lunch at work and spend twenty minutes at your desk writing, you can use your subway ride to scribble pages—you get the idea. There’s time to be found, just make an effort to put yourself first and find it. You’ll be happy you did.

Don’t lose out on your dream of becoming a published author because you short-changed yourself. If you can carve out just a short window of time each day, you can make it happen. And it will feel fabulous when it does.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 5/16/2016 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 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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The Definitive Guide For Self Publishing on Amazon

The Definitive Guide For Self Publishing on Amazon

You’ve just finished writing a book and now you want to self publish your soon-to-be-bestseller on Amazon. But wait…after doing some research into self publishing, you have come up against a wall. It seems there are a lot of steps involved before you can publish your book. Maybe you’ve just come across a checklist titled “99 Steps for publishing your book” and you don’t know where to begin. You thought writing your book was the hard part, but now?

We know how you feel. Publishing your own book the INDIE way is a lot of work. There are many steps to the process that stretch beyond just the writing phase that you hadn’t considered. That’s okay. We have your back here.

In this post you are going to learn the definitive method for self publishing your book on Amazon. Let’s assume that you have successfully written your book, it has been professionally edited and formatted, you have a professional cover, and now, you are ready to follow through with hitting that orange publish button on Amazon.

Here are the definitive steps you should take for self publishing on Amazon.

It begins with…

Setting Up Your KDP Dashboard

Amazon has a platform for creating and managing your Kindle eBook, paperback and audio books. In the KDP Dashboard you are going to build your book from the ground up. The first step to publishing on Amazon is to set up your dashboard. Setting up your KDP account is easy.

Simple Steps to Setting Up Your KDP Account

1. Go to the Take Control With Self Publishing page and sign in with your Amazon password.
2. In the Publish To Kindle box click get started.
3. Sign in with your Amazon account
4. This directs you to the KDP main page. Under Create a New Title click Kindle eBook
5. You’re in! This is the first of three pages for setting up your book on Amazon.

Under the heading Kindle eBook Details, set up your book by providing the following information.

Book Title/Subtitle

In your KDP, you will fill in the title and subtitle of your book. The subtitle is listed as optional but, if you are writing nonfiction, having a good subtitle is something you should definitely consider.

You need a great title and subtitle to grab the reader’s attention. A book title should be:

  • Attention-grabbing
  • Persuasive
  • Results Driven: What will it do for the reader?

Some examples of great titles are:

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
Think and Grow Rich
The Productive Person: A how-to guide book filled with productivity hacks & daily schedules for entrepreneurs, students or anyone struggling with work-life balance

Here are a few tips to crafting a great book title:
Use a book hook: This is what gets book browsers to stop and think twice about picking up a book. Your book hook should speak to the reader in a unique voice that grabs their attention. If not, they’ll browse on to the next book, looking for that special title that feeds into what they are looking for.

Include keywords: You want your book to show up in the search engines, right? For that, you’ll need the right mix of keywords that target your book. You can check the SEO ranking and popularity of your keywords with the KDP Rocket.

Give the Benefits: Your potential readers want to know what they are getting out of the book that has just grabbed their attention. So tell them. Don’t hold back. The trick is to deliver the benefits in a subtitle that is not overly long [under 15 words] but provides enough tantalizing information that it gets browsers to “flip” to the description. In an eBook this is the book description found on the book sales page. For a paperback, browsers turn the book over to read the back cover copy.

Book Description

Your book description is posted in the KDP dashboard and not your Amazon author page. But when you do this, you want your book description to sell your book. There should be no doubt that your book is the one they need to read.

Creating your description

When creating a book description, you want it to appear as a professional sales page. To do this, it’s recommended you use some basic HTML coding to give your text an appealing look. For example, bold the words you want to pop out, use italics, or create larger text for the call to action blurbs such as “Scroll up now and hit the buy button.”

You can check out the HTML tags here Allowed HTML Tags and CSS Attributes.

But I’ll give you a shortcut for putting together a book description that eliminates the need for learning the HTML lingo. Check out the Book Description Generator on Kindlepreneur.com. You just type in the text, format as you like with the tools, and it will generate the HTML coding for you. Done.

Check out the book descriptions on these books to see how it’s done:
Champion Mindset: Tactics to Maximize Potential, Execute Effectively, & Perform at Your Peak – Knockout Mediocrity!
Novice to Expert: 6 Steps to Learn Anything, Increase Your Knowledge, and Master New Skills

Your book description needs to target the benefits and end with a call to action. You want your browsers to do something, such as clicking on that buy button and reading your book.

Choosing Keywords

Amazon allows only seven keywords to be used per book. Selecting the best keywords for your book is critical to being discovered both on Amazon and Google.

You can research the right keyword phrases by using keyword 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, gives you a number of how many people type the keyword into both Google and Amazon, and how much money other books are making.

KW Finder: Gives an analytical view of the keyword popularity using a competitive ranking. This is free for only five keyword searches a day.

Amazon’s Autofill Function: Take advantage of Amazon’s search box to find good keywords. First, log out of Amazon and plug in your keywords using incognito mode [thanks to Dave Chesson for this suggestion]. Amazon’s suggestions are based on search history so you want to search for words that are high in demand but have little competition. This is the fine balance that can narrow in on the keywords specific to your book that positions your title in the view of book browsers.

With the right keywords you can also open up specific secret categories. By adding keywords to your title and subtitle will also increase search results for your book.

Make a list of possible keywords for your book and then, begin the strategies process of testing your keywords with the keyword search and test tools mentioned. This requires an investment in time but it is definitely worth it.

Choose Two Browsing Categories

As we see by checking the category selections in the dashboard, Amazon provides a branch of categories and subcategories to choose from. You can select two categories from within the dashboard, but actually, it is possible to have up to ten categories in total.

In selecting categories, you want to look for those areas that are popular but, without tons of competition making it impossible to rank. You can browse the genres of books like yours and check the rankings of the top three books on the first page of each category.

Book Rankings: What Do I Need to Know?
Generally speaking, any category where the best selling book is ranked at 2000 or less is going to be competitive. You can still beat that if you have a strong launch with significant downloads and reviews. Try to aim for the sweet spot between 3000-7000. You can always switch categories at anytime and Amazon will update your request within 24 hours.

Do you want to know how to rank for ten categories? Check out this blog post that covers how to get approved for more categories on Amazon.

The Preorder Option: Yes or No?

Amazon offers a pre-order option on kindle books. If you have a book coming out, you might be considering setting your book up for a pre-order release.

How It Works:

  • Under the Pre-order option, select the “Make my Kindle eBook available for Pre-order” option.
  • Set the release date for your book. Note that your pre-order can only be scheduled four days or more in advance of the actual release date. Once your book is set up in pre-order mode, you can use the Amazon page and book URL to drive traffic through a sales page.

Pre-order Points to Remember:

  • You can promote your book up to 90 days before it is released.
  • Your book will start ranking early weeks or months before it is released [depending on launch date]. However, your book will only rank for sales on the day it is actually purchased in pre-order. It will not help your rankings on the day it is published.
  • You cannot upload any revisions to your book 72 hours prior to launch. Amazon blocks you out during for this duration.
  • If you cancel your pre-order once it is set up, you’ll lose pre-order privileges for one year

The pre-order option works well with some benefits if you want to start promoting your book early, getting advance purchases, and gathering emails for list building.

DRM [Digital Rights Management]

This option is unclear for many authors. The default choice is set to NO and so, many authors select NO as the default. The purpose behind DRM is to protect the author’s work, giving them complete control over how it is distributed.

But the choice to go DRM or not is debatable. You can check the discussion here on Goodreads and then decide if selecting Digital Rights Management is for you

Here is what Amazon says regarding the DRM selection:
DRM (Digital Rights Management) is intended to inhibit unauthorized distribution of the Kindle file of your book. Some authors want to encourage readers to share their work, and choose not to have DRM applied to their book.

If you choose DRM, customers will still be able to lend the book to another user for a short period, and can also purchase the book as a gift for another user from the Kindle store. Important: Once you publish your book, you cannot change its DRM setting.

Upload Your Manuscript

Finally, the moment you have been waiting for…uploading your book to KDP using one of their recommended formats. After formatting is complete, you can upload your book very quickly.

Hit the orange button that says Upload eBook Manuscript, select your formatted file, and it takes Amazon a few minutes to run through the files. If there are any formatting or grammatical issues, you’ll be asked to fix these before finalizing everything.

Another great feature is the online previewer. You can actually see how your book will appear on a device from a reader’s perspective.

You can upload the manuscript as many times as you have to. The new version will override the existing. When you’re done, hit Save as Draft on the bottom right.

Upload the Cover

Your book cover is uploaded as a separate file from the manuscript, and needs to be a JPG or TIFF [Tag Image File Format]. You can also change your cover at any time if you decide to replace it down the road.

When it comes to publishing a successful book on Amazon [or anywhere for that matter] the cover is definitely the one thing you want to pay attention to. Make sure it is created by a professional designer and that it’s going to stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category. The metaphorical phrase ‘you can’t judge a book by it’s cover’ may have been true back in 1860, but in today’s market, your cover is exactly what your book will be judged on from first glance.

Unless you’re a designer and you know what you’re doing, I’d suggest using a professional service or well-known cover designer.

Some recommendations are:

99 Designs / Price Range: varies depending on the level of service
Happy Self Publishing / Price Range: $149 [Kindle Design] — $199 [Complete Design Pack]
100 Covers / Price Range: $100 [eBook cover] — $300 [Print Pack]

On the cheaper end, Fiverr is another route you can take. Our suggestion is, choose a designer who has solid reviews and is a Top Rated Seller. If they have a premium cover design option, take it. Be clear in your instructions about what you want by providing definitive guidelines for the cover you are visualizing for your soon-to-be bestselling book.

Fiverr Recommendations:
Pro_eBook Covers
mnsartstudionew

Kindle and ISBN

Many authors ask the question: “Do I need an ISBN for my Kindle book?” The answer is no. You can purchase ISBN numbers through Bowker.com if you are located in the US. For overseas authors you will need to contact your local ISBN agency.

Amazon issues eBooks an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) unique to your book and is the identification number for your book on Amazon.com.

For paperbacks, if you go through Createspace, they give you a choice to use your own ISBN number or, if you’d rather, CS provides authors with a 13-digit createspace-assigned ISBN. You still have complete control over your content with the ISBN being used as an identifier only. If you plan to sell your book retail, it’s recommended you purchase your own ISBNs.

KDP Select Enrollment

It is recommended that you enroll your book in the KDP select program for at least the first 90 days from the date of publication.

The benefits to joining KDP Select are:

1. Access to promotional tools such as the Kindle Countdown Deal or the Free Book Promotion. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of either of those promotional tools just click on the links and check out the requirements for both.
2. Included in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library [KOLL] and Kindle Unlimited [KU]. This means you get a share of the KDP Select Global Fund depending on the amount of pages read by customers. This can add a nice bump to your monthly royalty payments.

self publishing on amazon

The main drawback is that your digital book titles can only be available exclusively through KDP. You can’t have it for sale on Kobo, NOOK, Smashwords or iBooks. This includes your own personal website.

The KDP Select gives your book a great advantage, especially for beginning authors, in order to promote your material to a larger audience. Once your platform grows bigger, you can choose to opt out and sell on multiple book platforms.

Book Pricing and Matchbook

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

This is entirely up to the author but, I’ll add some clarity. Any digital book priced under $2.99 recieves 35% royalty. Between $2.99 and 9.99 it is 70%. Over that and you get 35%. So the best place to have your book prioced at is between the 2.99 to 9.99 range.

The royalty payments vary depending on the country but you can check right under the pricing page.

Generally, the majority of eBooks are priced under 9.99, and the majority of those are priced between 2.99 to 4.99, with the greater percentage closer to 2.99.

When it comes to pricing your book, several factors to take into consideration:
The size of your platform: let’s face it. Famous and well-known authors and speakers can charge a lot for their eBooks and paperback/hardcover books. But charging more doesn’t necessarily mean more sales or money. We only get 35% royalty after 9.99.

The Price of Books In Your Genre: Compare the price of your book to the books around you. Would you be able to sell yours for a higher price point?

The Size of your book: Size makes a difference when it comes to books. if you are selling a 75 page book and charging 8.99, customers will be less likely to buy unless there is something groundbreaking on the inside they must have.

Reviews: Yes, reviews have big weight. A book with 1200 reviews can definitely get away with going high on price, compared to a book with less than thirty reviews. You should always be trying to increase the reviews on your books. You can get legitimate and honest reviews from:

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

This proves to the Amazon algorithm that the book is still relevant and of interest to readers. But, to launch your book effectively, you really only need around ten reviews. This is enough to get you onto any book promotion site that will promote your book during its free or discounted period.

You can price your book at 2.99, and test the pricing from there. Increase to 3.99 for a week, and monitor how it does. You can expect a dip in sales the higher you increase but that isn’t a bad thing. Find that comfortable place for your book to sit and then leave it.

Finally, the Matchbook feature allows you to offer your eBook at a discounted rate when they purchase the paperback edition. This is a great way to cross promote and gain more sales. The print version of the book can be created through Createspace. Having a paperback version of your book increases the marketing capability of your work and makes it more effective when running AMS ads. If possible, have your paperback launch together with the Kindle eBook and you’ll have a significant increase in royalties during launch week.

Wrapping It Up:

Are you ready to publish your book on Amazon? If you need some extra help here are a few books I would definitely recommend to help you on your publishing journey:

Published.: The Proven Path From Blank Page to Published Author
Crush It with Kindle: Self-Publish Your Books on Kindle and Promote them to Bestseller Status
The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Your Income (Before 8AM)

Now, I’ll leave you with a brief checklist for publishing your bestseller. Good luck!

The Publishing Checklist:
Now that we’ve run through setting up and publishing your book on Amazon, here is a brief checklist for your definitive publishing guide.

  • Write your book
  • Send your draft to an editor.
  • Send the edited draft to a formatter
  • Create a title/subtitle
  • Hire a professional cover designer to create a cover
  • Sign up for your KDP account
  • Choose two main categories
  • Write a book [sales] description
  • Use keyword tools to research your seven Amazon keywords
  • Select pre-order or publish right now
  • Upload formatted and professionally edited manuscript
  • Check the quality using online previewer
  • Upload professional looking cover in JPG format
  • Enroll in KDP select [or not]
  • Price your Kindle book [0.99 for your launch and set the price 2.99 — 9.99 after launch]
  • Enroll in Matchbook [for print books]
  • Schedule your launch date, and then…
  • Hit ‘Publish Your Kindle eBook’
  • Set up your FREE campaign
  • Set up book promo sites
  • Start writing another book

Interested in learning more about Amazon Kindle SEO? Check out The A to Z of Amazon Kindle SEO for Self-Publishers.

About Scott Allan

Scott Allan is the bestselling author of several books that includes Rejection Free and Do It Scared. His passion is creating content that helps people change old behaviors, develop positive habits, and implement disciplined strategies for taking immediate action towards their dreams. You can check out his books on Amazon, or follow him at scottallansite.com

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

To learn more about copyrighting your book, join Chandler on this FREE webinar

 

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.

Free Webinar: Go from Blank Page to Published Author in 90 Days… and use your book to grow a SIX figure income.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • The 3-Step System I use to write, publish, and launch a bestselling book in as little as 90 days (and how to use your book to leave a legacy).
  • An approach to find your book idea in under an hour – and turn your idea into a finished book in just 3 steps and a few hours.
  • How I wrote my first book – 200+ pages – in just 1 week (and how you can too)
  • How to leverage your book to grow your authority, income, and business

…and more!

Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now

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.

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

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

Coming up with book title ideas can be a tough exercise. Your book’s title is, after all, the first thing your readers will see when they discover you on Amazon. If all goes well, the name of your book is going to follow you around your whole life (and even after you’re gone!) So we totally get why you might agonize over it. In your heart, you want your book’s title to be poetic, informative, memorable, and pleasing to the eye and ear. Plus, you have to be able to tell your grandma about it without blushing. That’s a tall order. After all, writing a book is no joke. You deserve to have a solid title for your masterpiece. To spur the creative process, we’ve got some rules of thumb to consider. Since there are different title considerations for fiction versus non-fiction, we break these two topics down separately. Let’s get started with how to create a book title.

How to Choose a Book Title for Non-Fiction

When choosing a title for your non-fiction book, it helps to keep in mind that non-fictions readers frequently need help with something—whether that’s help losing weight, becoming more effective in the business world, or connecting with someone else going through the same health crisis. They want an answer to their question or a solution to their problem. A well-crafted non-fiction title shows that they’ve come to the right place.

Rule of Thumb #1: Tell non-fiction readers what the book can do for them in the title.

Make it clear what your reader will get out of reading your book. Some pros recommend making a clear promise directly in the title to lure readers in. Ask Yourself: Am I teaching a skill (how to)? Am I sharing an experience (memoir)? What will my readers get out of this book? Real World Concrete Example: The following titles clearly explain what help, skill, or knowledge readers will get from each book: 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 and Gene Stone Super Shred: The Big Results Diet: 4 Weeks, 20 Pounds, Lose It Faster! by Ian K. Smith

Rule of Thumb #2: Use a subtitle for clarity.

A great non-fiction title often employs a subtitle to clarify what readers are going to get out of the book. A clear subtitle is like a directional sign pointing the reader to the desired outcome of reading their book. Check out our 5 simple steps to follow to take your subtitle from bland to bold. In this video clip, Chandler explains how to make your subtitle the best it can be for your readers. Ask Yourself: What’s my goal in writing this book for my readers? What am I helping them with? What am I educating them about? Why am I publishing this book? Real World Concrete Example: Each of these authors spell out what their readers can expect from reading their books right in the subtitle: 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

Rule of Thumb #3: Describe what’s going to happen in your book title.

If your book is more about a story, a transformational journey, a narrative, or a memoir, then your book title can reflect what happens in your book. Ask Yourself: What’s going to happen? What journey do I hope to take the reader on while they read? Real World Concrete Example: Consider Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love. You know from the title that you’re going to go on a culinary, spiritual, and romantic journey along with the author.

Rule of Thumb #4: Non-fiction book titles shouldn’t be dry.

It’s okay to have some fun with your book titles. This is especially true in the non-fiction category of personal essay or memoir. Ask Yourself: How can I have some fun with my material? Real World Concrete Example: Essayist and memoir humor writer David Sedaris is the master of the entertaining non-fiction title. Consider both Me Talk Pretty One Day and Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. Both titles cause you to stop in your tracks, scratch your head, and pick up the books to satisfy your curiosity about the odd titles.

How to Choose a Book Title for Fiction

Rule of Thumb #1: You have more creative latitude when creating a book title for fiction.

The general school of thought with fiction titles is that you have more creative wiggle room than your non-fiction counterparts. While it’s true that you can title your fiction book literally anything, there are a few key guidelines to keep in mind. A great fiction title evokes your story and genre. You hint at what’s in store for the reader in just a few choice words. Think along the lines of what your book is about when crafting the title to stay true to the content. Ask Yourself: What’s your genre—romance, thriller, legal drama? What’s your story about—young love or solving a murder? Real World Concrete Example: A romantic novel may warrant a lyrical title. Look at the modern hit The Fault in our Stars by John Greene. Even if you don’t know that the central plot of this tear-jerker revolves around young lovers stricken with cancer, the well-crafted title evokes longing and romance. While a romantic book calls for dreamy language, an action book’s title warrants strong and powerful words. The Hunger Games is a prime example of this. In only three words, author Suzanne Collins conveys “BIG ACTION INSIDE!” to prospective readers.

Rule of Thumb #2: Pique your readers’ interest with your book title.

A great fiction title teases and leaves your audience wanting more. Novel titles should intrigue the audience about what’s beyond the cover and capture their imagination so they must read your story. You want your audience to read your title and think, “I must read what’s behind that cover!” Ask Yourself: What are the key components of your story? What do you want your audience to take away after reading your book? What’s the central theme? Real World Concrete Example: A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball explores grief and trauma. You know what’s coming by the title, but at the same time, you don’t.

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 the title. Others have combined the name of their hero with other special qualities to inform their audience about their protagonist’s accomplishments. On the flip-side, a formidable antagonist is prime fodder for a choice book title. A sinister name can convey a sense of dread and expectation for what’s to come. Ask Yourself: Who are your book’s heroes? Who are the villains? What traits define these characters? What journey do they embark on in your story? Real World Concrete Example: Master of horror Stephen King uses his favorite villains in titles. Look at a few of his classic hits, all with scary C names: Carrie (scary child), Cujo (scary dog), or Christine (scary car). Helen Fielding named her wildly popular chick-lit series Bridget Jones’ Diary after the title character, the lovably-bumbling Bridget Jones.

Rule of Thumb #4: Look to pop culture for inspiration.

Many writers have based parts of their books on the culture of the times. If this proves true for you, you may use this influence to help create a book title. Great book titles have been inspired by modern culture, including songs, movies, and other literature. Ask Yourself: Were any parts of your book inspired by song or other modern influences? Real World Concrete Example: Mystery author Mary Higgins Clark commonly titles her books using inspiration from popular singers, as in I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Frank Sinatra).

Free Webinar: Go from Blank Page to Published Author in 90 Days… and use your book to grow a SIX figure income.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • The 3-Step System I use to write, publish, and launch a bestselling book in as little as 90 days (and how to use your book to leave a legacy).
  • An approach to find your book idea in under an hour – and turn your idea into a finished book in just 3 steps and a few hours.
  • How I wrote my first book – 200+ pages – in just 1 week (and how you can too)
  • How to leverage your book to grow your authority, income, and business
  • …and more!

Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now

We hope our rules of thumb have sparked loads of book title ideas for you. Now you can stop agonizing about the title for your book, and start brainstorming! Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May of 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.

How To Get Approved for More Amazon Categories

How To Get Approved for More Amazon Categories

To learn more about how to get your book into more categories on Amazon, join Chandler on this FREE webinar!

When you browse through a bookstore, chances are you have an idea the genre of book you are searching for. If you are searching in the science fiction fantasy section, you might be checking out the latest Game of Thrones novel by George R. R. Martin. Looking to invest your money and learn about personal finance? You might want to check out David Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover in the Business — Personal Finance & Investing Section of the Barnes & Noble book store.

But how about kindle books? Well, similar to the browsing experience you’ll have at a Barnes & Noble bookstore, Amazon’s Kindle Store has thousands of categories in books to choose from, spanning across every variation of genre and subgenre.

For book browsers, a category is a place where they can go to to find the specific book they are searching for. For authors, we need to think strategically so that we can get our books in front of readers searching for the specific book to match their needs.

But, with dozens of categories and thousands of sub-categories to choose from, and so many books competing for attention on the Amazon platform, how can you choose the right category to make your book “pop” out when the reader is browsing through book titles? How do we know if our books are on the right ‘digital shelves’ on Amazon?

In this post, we will look at the strategies authors use to place their books in the best categories and, how to get your book into ten categories on the Amazon platform.

Amazon eBook Categories: How to Choose?

The categories you place your book in makes all the difference between a successful book launch and….well, a complete flop. So, selecting the best categories for your next bestseller is a critical decision that you arrive at through selective research and, crunching the numbers on the category page. To get your book in front of thousands of readers hungry for your next literary masterpiece, you should invest the time to research the best categories for your book.

We can think of our categories as the big, broad term that describes your book, and should say something unique about the type of book you are offering. For example, if you had written a book on Habit Stacking, I would expect to find it in the Amazon categories as follows:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Self-Help > Motivational, or;

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Business Life > Time Management

But the category for self-help is broken down further into hundreds of other sub-categories, and they trickle down even further into niche-specific categories that are not available in the KDP dashboard. More on this in a bit.

So, where do we begin? Your journey into discovering the best categories for your book begins with the category paths, or, the Amazon browse categories.

BISAC Subject Codes

It’s good to know that when KDP is figuring out which category would best fit your type of book, they use a cataloging system called BISAC Subject Codes. When selecting the best browse categories in your KDP, Amazon translates your category choices into the best possible browse categories to help readers find the books most relevant to their search.

When setting up your Amazon categories, it’s important to remember to cross-categorize your book into two separate category paths for broader exposure. This provides more avenues for browsers to find your book. This means a better ranking when more readers download your book, and adds to your monthly royalties. We’ll expand on this more soon.

But first…

Category Considerations: What You Need to Know

When working out the best categories to target, there are four specific areas we need to consider.

  • Competition: How competitive is your category? Is Anthony Robbins or Stephen King ranking #1? If you put your book in this category, can you beat them?
  • Traffic: is this category very active? Do the books in this category have a decent sales volume?
  • Earning Potential: Are the top ranking books making any money?
  • Niche Placement: Is this category the best one for your book’s genre and content?

We can research this information in a matter of minutes with some basic strategies and advanced tools. I’ll get into such valuable tools as KDP Rocket and Kindlespy in a moment. But first, let’s get our hands dirty and start doing some digging to discover the best categories for our book.

Let’s take a closer look…

Category Competition

You can check out the competition by scanning the bestselling books on the first page. A category may have thousands of books with hundreds of pages stacked with titles, such as the self help section or business and Investing.

how to get approved for more categories on amazon

But we aren’t concerned with looking at thousands of books. We are only interested in the first page of any category, and more specifically, the #1 book on that category page. Why?

That is what our readers are going to be looking for. If you are looking for a book on how to become a minimalist, you can go to the Amazon bar and type in minimalism. You’ll land on the first page that features the top ranking books such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

When we look into any category, we want to know the top ranking books. Our goal is to be able to compete on the first page and, where possible, rank in at least the top 5 in that category.

Category Traffic

It may be possible to rank in the number one spot in a certain category, but what is the point if that category has low sales volume and weak traffic? We want at least two categories that are low-average in competition and are popular with browsers.

Category Earning Potential

Would you like to bring in several hundred dollars a month from your book? How about several thousand? The earning potential of your selective categories is something to consider carefully. For example, according to the ABSR [Amazon Best Seller Rank], the #1 best selling book in the category path nonfiction > Business and Investing is The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

And, according to KDP Rocket, the book is currently earning $12,496 a day at this ranking and price. This is good to know. Even if you could rank at #19 in the same category, such as Turn Your Computer Into a Money Machine in 2017 by Avery Breyer, you’d still be earning $5000 a month. There is nothing wrong with that.

Now that we know what to look for when choosing categories, let’s do a step-by-step on setting this up. Then, I’ll show you how to easily get your book into ten categories.

Amazon Category Rankings: A Brief Note

As we will see, placing your book in a category with low competition but has potential is key. But what would be considered a competitive rank? Well, I’ll make it simple. In any category, if the book is ranking under #1000, chances are it is a highly competitive category. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t place your book here, but just know that, if you do, be sure to have a strong launch pushing your book and a lot of verified, positive reviews. I would aim for the sweet spot with the highest ranking book around 3-7,000. You can also calculate how many books you would need to sell in order to outrank the highest ranking book in that category. Just use the Amazon Sales Rank Calculator to determine the amount of books needed to sell to compete.

Setting Up Your Categories in the KDP Bookshelf

It’s relatively easy to setup your categories in your bookshelf. Remember: Amazon allows you to choose from just two browse categories in the KDP Bookshelf.

Let’s walk through the steps.

  1. Sign into your KDP Bookshelf.
  2. Click on your Book Title.
  3. Scrolling over the Promote and Advertise button, and click on Edit eBook details
  4. Scroll down until you find the Categories section. Click Set Categories. These are the main browser categories. Choose two accurate, specific categories.

For example:

“Nonfiction > Self-help > Emotions”

“Nonfiction > Business & Economics > Business Communication > Business Writing”

  1. Cross-promote your book. You want your book to show up in as many relevant, popular categories as possible. How do we know if a category is popular?

As I mentioned already, you can use a great piece of software such as Kindlespy. Wesley Atkins’ tool will walk you through the process for finding the best eBook categories, as well as how each category performs when it comes to profitability, popularity and competition.

The other tool that really gets down to the nitty-gritty in terms of stats and numbers, and provides you with not only the Amazon search rankings but Google as well, is KDP Rocket by Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.

But wait a minute. Not all of the category paths are listed in the KDP Bookshelf. As a matter of fact, Amazon has thousands of sub-categories that you can break into and have your book rank in special categories not found in the usual channels.

So, that brings us to…

Opening Up the Secret Batch of Amazon Categories

To discover these hidden categories, you simply add in specific keywords to your keyword list. You can also add the name of the category itself and this tells Amazon that book belongs in that specific category.

How do we do that? There are several ways you can find these categories.

  1. Search for the titles that are similar to yours. You can find the browse categories assigned to those books by scrolling down to the book detail pages to the section “Look for Similar Items by Category.”
  2. You can also search for relevant browse categories on the left of the category paths page under the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks header. When you find the categories that are most relevant to your title, as we discussed earlier, check out the top three books and take note of the rankings. If it is a category you can compete in, contact Amazon to have your book placed in that sub-category. If you have already selected your two main browser paths in the dashboard, we can add up to eight more categories, so keep a list of the category paths specific to your book.
  3. Breaking into the sub-categories. You want your book to rank in a more specific category? You can add Search Keywords relevant only to that category. For example, go into the Business & Money subcategory, locate the specific category you want on the left, and the targeted keywords are featured on the right. Plug the keywords [or the category path] into your keyword selection box in your KDP Dashboard, and it should tell Amazon to place your book there. If it doesn’t show up after a few days, contact customer support and they should get back to you within 24 hours.

Gaining Approval for Additional Categories

What if I told you that you could have up to 10 categories in your category selection?

Yes, that’s right, ten! Instead of being limited to the two browser categories that we’ve already discussed, you can have your book show up in eight additional categories of your choosing. But where do we find these categories?

It’s simple. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Using the same steps above for category placement, start with checking your competitor’s books and the category paths that books similar to yours are placed in. Again, you want to aim for low-average competition so, check the rankings of the first couple of books. Once you have found a category path that looks good, just copy and paste your category strings into an email.

Step 2: Then, directly contact Amazon’s super-awesome support team with your category choices. With 24-72 hours, your book will appear, not only in the initial browser categories you selected in your KDP Bookshelf but, across eight more categories. These categories will appear in the “Look for similar items by category” at the bottom of the book page.

Step 3: To make any changes to any of the categories after Amazon sets them up for you, you will have to contact support directly to have any categories removed or switched up with another.

Yes, it really is that easy.

Amazon Magic Working For You

Your book starts ranking as soon as a browser becomes a buyer and downloads your book. When your book starts ranking, guess what happens? Amazon takes notice. Somebody says, “whoa!” this book is on fire. That is when they step in to help you out by promoting the book for you.

If you check out the Amazon page for Tim Ferris’s Tools of Titans, scroll down and you’ll see a section titled “Customers who bought this item also bought”. It is here that your book might appear depending on category ranking, browser traffic, and history of paid sales. If you’re running Amazon KDP Select Ads Campaign, you’re book could also be displayed in the “Sponsored products related to this item” section.

Getting Your Orange Banner

If your book is ranking #1 in one or several categories, it is a high probability you’ll get the #1 orange banner indicating you’re now a #1 bestseller. This also depends on whether your book meets a threshold of a minimum number of paid sales historically and recently.

Although the Amazon Bestsellers Rank shows how items are selling in relation to one another in each Amazon marketplace, the ranking is further divided into Free and Paid lists within each Kindle Store.

If you can place your book in the top ten on the first page of the category listings, you gain more visibility by browsers who generally won’t click beyond that first page. Most book browsers will check out the top ranking books [1-20] and then move on

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it. A set of strategies to help you set up your book in the right categories that get you ranked faster with maximum exposure in the search engines in Amazon.

Be strategic in your book launch and dedicate at least a few hours to researching the best kindle categories for your next bestseller. And remember, as soon as your book is live, contact Amazon with your list of eight additional categories for reaching your readers on a broader scale. 

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 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 Will it Cost to Self-Publish My 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:

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!

Self Publishing at Any Age: 9 Steps That Took an 8 year old From Idea to Published Author

Self Publishing at Any Age: 9 Steps That Took an 8 year old From Idea to Published Author

Self publishing at any age is a major accomplishment, but when you have to balance your responsibilities as an author with homework from your 3rd grade teacher, you deserve special recognition. Which is why Emma Sumner is gaining tons of media attention for “The Fairies of Waterfall Island,” a 10,000-word, 120-page book now available on Amazon.
Self Publishing at Any AgeBecause of her young age and big dreams, Emma has been booked for on-air interviews with local media including NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, and PBS to talk about her book, and more offers for interviews are coming in daily.

How did this young girl go from idea to published, without an agent or publishing company? As her father, I was right there with her throughout the process and in this post I am going to show you how she did it, including pictures, links to recordings, and the precise breakdown of costs.

The nine steps an 8-year-old took to go from blank page to self published book:

The tips and tricks that I share below come straight from Self-Publishing School, where Emma and I learned from the best in the business. Click here to find out more about Self-Publishing School.

#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 something she would be passionate about and continue with. I was happy to help her if it was a real goal and not just a whim, so I gave her a challenge.

Emma’s challenge was:

  • 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

What did Emma do? She came back that same night 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!

Here’s a look at the first draft of what she wrote:

Self Publishing at Any Age

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.

Here are some examples of the rewards we used to motivate and encourage Emma during the writing process:
img_7532Challenge: 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 you 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. Oftentimes these planning sessions would happen at a local Panera Bread or Starbucks.

Self Publish at Any AgeThese sessions became about much more than just the book, as we enjoyed the father-daughter bonding time without distractions. To this day, these Saturday morning meetings have been my favorite part of the entire process.

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 after we finished our “business,” before we went home.

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 on 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, even if I was still at work.

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

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.

Here is a picture of Emma’s group taken the first week she started it.
Self Publish at Any Age

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.

For example when the book was half way done we celebrated with dinner out on the town.

img_7099

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 The Pros

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?
Illustrations: $75
Editing: $115
Cover Design: $450
Formatting: $150

Total Invested in the book: $790*

*Unless you want to count all the hot chocolates and breakfast sandwiches during our Saturday meetings, in that case I should probably add another $150 🙂

Depending on your budget you can choose to go much lower or even much higher. The range is huge for each category. You can pay well into four thousands for each category, depending on what you decide to outsource and who you use. Don’t let that scare you, though, as you can even choose to do it on your own for little to no money at all.

That being said, we are extremely happy with the choice that we made. Check out the cover below:
publishing at any age

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.
img_7166For example, when she was ready to transition away from writing in her spiral-bound book to computer, she learned how to use a laptop, start Microsoft Word and type her story.

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

Often, 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. Then 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 launch to the rest of the world.

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, and other other groups including the Self-Publishing School Mastermind Program, to sign up.

self publishing at any age

Starting about 2 weeks prior to launch, we began sending emails to everyone who had signed up, letting them know what to expect. Then a 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

As part of this journey 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.

home___autism_speaksEmma 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.

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.

I hope that with this post you can see that anyone can turn their dream into a published book. You just need to follow the steps, and you will be there with Emma before you know it.

_1__christina_gunn_-_it_s_t-minus_seven_days__we_will_be_gearing_up___-1

Sean Sumner
(Proud Father)

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 2 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!

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!

How to Self Publish a Book in 2017

How to Self Publish a Book in 2017

Last updated January 2017: At the time of writing this post, I’ve self published 6 bestselling 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 success of my business, which I’ve grown to over 7 figures in revenue in less than 2 years. 

Less than five years ago, this level of authorship success would have been reserved only for those select few authors who were lucky enough to catch the eye of an editor at one of the “Big 5” publishing companies (a process that relied just as much on luck and “who you knew,” as it did on the quality of your book).

Today, however, all that is changed. Not only do you no longer need one of the “Big 5” companies to publish your book to have a successful book launch, but many successful authors are turning publishing companies down.

Why are more and more authors turning to self-publishing (and forgetting about “traditional” publishing)? Simple:

  1. You have complete control over your book
  2. It is significantly more profitable (unless you are a household name like James Patterson or Nora Roberts, most authors earn mere pennies for each book sold)
  3. Traditional publishers won’t market your book for you at all (but they’ll still take a cut from each purchase)
  4. “Vanity” publishers are expensive, and no longer necessary.

Frankly, unless your name is Stephen King or J.K. Rowling…there are very few reasons why anyone would want to be traditionally published in 2017.

Which is why, whether you are trying to grow your authority and your business by writing a book, or are trying to leave your mark on the world, self publishing is the best option for you. Read on for “How To Self Publish A Book in 2017”: the exact steps you need to take to write, publish, and launch your first best-selling book.

Here’s How To Self Publish A Book In 2017:

1. Decide WHY You Want To Write A Book

The very first thing you need to decide when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book in the first place.

What’s your why? What’s the book going to do for you?

Are you trying to build an asset that’s going to earn you passive income month over month?

Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business, trying to accelerate your growth and authority in your market by publishing a book?

Do you have an existing, well-established business, and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?

Or have you already had a successful career, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience with those who come after you?

All of these are perfectly valid reasons to write a book, and we’ve had students at Self-Publishing School publish books that went on to be best sellers for each of those reasons.

2. Choose Your Book Topic

Once you’ve decided on your why, it’s time for you to decide on the topic of your book, not your title (that comes last). When choosing your book topic, there is only 1 rule to follow:

Use the rifle approach, not the shotgun approach.

When deciding what you want your book to cover, it’s tempting to try and make your book about anything and everything you know. This is a mistake I see many first time authors make, and it negatively impacts their book sales as a result. If you can’t summarize what your entire book is about in a few words, then it’s probably too broad of a topic (and sales will suffer as a result).

Free Course: Discover my blueprint to go
from blank page to bestseller in 90 days

If you want to finish your book, you need a roadmap. That’s why I’m sharing some of the best strategies and tricks other bestselling authors paid thousands of dollars to get — yours FREE.

Here’s what you’ll get:
The EXACT blueprint to FINALLY cross “write a book” off your bucket list — in just 90 days
The Bestselling Book Launch Blueprint behind dozens of bestsellers
Case studies of bestselling authors who made $1,287, $5,500, even $12,424.03 from their first book

Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now

3. Write Your Book

You’ve decided what you’re going to write your book about, now it’s time to write it. Writing a book is a process that deserves its own blog post, so check out this post on how to write your book in 30 days.

After you read that, watch this video where I discuss the simple process I use to write over 1500 words per hour!

 

Not sure where to start? Check out this post for 11 ways to outline your book.

This is getting down into the weeds a bit, but people always ask which book writing software to use. Here is the best book writing software you can use to write your book.

4. Market Your Book & Form a Launch Team

It might seem backwards, but you should start your book marketing process before your book is even edited (it’s that important).

The most effective way to market your book is to create a launch page where you can collect email addresses for those who might be interested in reading your book, and build your launch team.

Then, send people over to that page using social media (we have an action plan in our Mastermind Community that provides a step-by-step template for this). Post about your upcoming book, post about the process you’re going through to write your book. Ask friends and family if they’d be interested in helping you promote. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help make your book a success!

Tell people to visit your page and enter their email address to learn how to get your book for free or at a steep discount. Try ConvertKit for collecting email addresses.

Then, a few weeks before your launch, start reaching out to influential bloggers and podcasters in your market (there’s an Action Plan for this, as well!). If you think their audience would be interested in the topic, offer a free copy of your book, and ask them if they’d like to review your book or interview you.

For a more in-depth look at all the steps that go into successfully marketing your book, check out our post on the step by step guide to marketing your book

5. Get 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.

6. Choose a 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” into the title of the book, rather than writing the book that needs to be written.

Therefore, it’s not until after your first draft is written that you need to worry about a title for your book. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.

It’s incredibly easy to get caught in “Book Title Land” when trying to come up with a title. Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t try to be too clever, or try to be “punny.” The truth is…the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to Keep It Stupidly Simple. As catchy or clever as you might think your title idea is…it will probably go straight over your audience’s head (and they won’t buy it as a result).

For example – if you’re writing a book about Home Renovation, the title “7 Steps to Flipping Profitable Homes” is much better than “Zen and the Art of Restorative Architectonics.” The former is simple and to the point (and most importantly, people will know exactly what the book is about). The latter is fancier, but most people have no idea what that means.

Once you’ve narrowed down your book title to a few possible options, send out an email to your friends, family, and audience (if you have one), or put a poll up on Facebook and ask for an opinion. You might be surprised what your audience’s favorite is.

Tim Ferriss took polling his audience to another level when writing his first book which went on to become a bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim set up a split test in Google Adwords and spent $200 testing 3 titles for his book:

  • The 4-Hour Work Week
  • Broadband and White Sand
  • Millionaire Chameleon

Companies like Pickfu.com also offer very simple and affordable polling services…you can even define your audience demographics and have your poll answered by people who match those demographics!

Follow these steps if you need more help creating the perfect book title.

7. Hire a Great 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.

8. Design a Book Cover that Converts

 

Self Published Book Covers (How To Self Publish A Book In 2017)

 

Despite the saying (and contrary to many writers’ beliefs) people absolutely do judge books by their covers…especially books on Amazon. Your book cover design is very important and needs to look professional. 

You don’t have to like it, but the truth is if your book doesn’t have a cover that looks 100% professional, people are simply going to skip it and look for something else. Which is why taking the time to purchase a professionally designed cover that converts is so important.

Unless you’re a graphic designer, you need to hire a professional to put the cover design together. However, before you approach a cover designer, you should have at least a rough idea of what you want your book cover to look like so you can give your designer a brief. This helps prevent wasted time and money on covers that don’t fit your vision.

One easy method to spark some ideas when creating your design brief is to take a look at other books in your market (especially other bestselling books). You’ll notice that in most genres, book covers tend to follow a design theme, and these themes are what your audience expects. While you certainly don’t want your cover to be an exact clone of another design, you also don’t want it to look completely out of place. A good designer will help you to find this balance.

To find a designer, check out Fiverr.com or Upwork.com. Make sure your designer has experience meeting the specs for an Amazon book cover and plenty of positive reviews. You may wish to pay more than one designer, and choose the best design from all of them. The choice is up to you, just make sure the end result is something you’re proud of. It will be your reader’s first impression of you!

9. Format 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. No matter what option you choose, preview your book using the Kindle previewer to make sure there are no formatting errors.

10. Self Publish Your Book

When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book. You should be just about ready to transform into a published author, but you aren’t quite ready to publish yet, so hit “save as draft.”

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.

Amazon 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.

11. Decide on a Price

You’re almost ready to hit publish, but there’s just one more step before you can do that: price your book. This is not a “set it and forget it” process. You’re going to select a list price, but then you’re going to choose a discounted launch price by clicking “Promote and advertise” within your KDP dashboard.

Amazon crosses out that higher list price and shows how many dollars buyers will save. This lets users know they are getting more bang for their buck during your discounted launch, which will tempt more readers to buy. Now you can hit publish! (Doesn’t that feel good?!)

12. Reach out to readers and influencers

Now it’s time to really leverage the launch team you created in step 4. As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, the time is right to reach out and let your email subscribers know that your book is available.

Sending as sales email can be scary, but you’ve got to do it for two reasons: first, these people signed up to your list because they want to know about your book! And if you’re launching it for free or a discount, then they’re going to be very happy to hear about your deal. Furthermore, these people have been with you and have been following your success since early on in your book launch process. They want to help you!

The initial sales generated from your launch team will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, and will increase the chances of Amazon’s algorithm recommending it to shoppers, which will drive even more sales.

During this time, it’s also a great idea to follow up with any influencers you’ve made contact with and firm up plans to promote your book. You might offer to give away a free copy of your book to a winning audience member, or make some other offer to sweeten the deal.

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, 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).

Interested in more tips? Check out this article on the 10 steps to publish a book.

Additional Resources:

Check out Chandler’s interview on how to self-publish a book in this Pencil Kings podcast episode.

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!

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!

PR for Authors—How to Promote Yourself & Your Books

PR for Authors—How to Promote Yourself & Your Books

Writing your book is just the beginning of your journey as an author. The next step you need to take is learning how to promote yourself and your book. We’re talking about Public Relations (PR) for authors. From TV to radio to print interviews, PR can help you build exposure and increase book sales. You may not see overnight results, but if you keep at it—getting as many people to hear about your book as possible—book sales will rise!

Here are our actionable tips on how to promote yourself, earn publicity, and drive books sales through TV, radio, and press interviews.

1. TV Interviews

Scoring a TV spot can boost your reputation, enhance your credibility, and increase your book sales. The best part is that the PR machine can stay moving even after your interview. Post a link to the interview and add the TV station logo on your website to pump up your credibility and continue the exposure.

Tips for How to Get a TV Interview

As you can imagine, it’s not easy to score a TV spot. TV stations are often overwhelmed with PR and interview requests. Here are some tips on how to stand out from the masses.

Pitch away

A successful pitch shows your hosts that you’ll add value to their show. Everyone has something to sell. So stand out by connecting with the host(s) and producer(s) by showing them why your book will add value to their show.

Know your facts

Draft your pitch to acknowledge their audience. If your book is about elder care and their demographics are retirees, then pitch that connection. If the topic of your book is of relevance to their fans, then make that point for them—don’t force them to connect the dots.

Keep it short

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

 

Tips for How to Shine During Your TV Interview

Congrats, you got a TV spot! Now the prep begins. Here are some tips for giving a stellar on-air performance.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Write down and practice your talking points ahead of time, so that you don’t freeze when the cameras are on. Don’t worry about answering verbatim; your goal is a natural dialogue with the host. Rehearsing talking points gives you a jumping off spot for a give-and-take conversation.

Do your research

Your goal is to understand your audience. Your show will have detailed demographic information available. Ask the producers to provide you a summary of that information. Also, ask the producers ahead of time if there’s anything you need to know about their particular audience. By understanding who’s watching, you’ll be able to forge a natural connection with viewers.

Respond to the questions

Sometimes when we’re nervous, our natural inclination is to interrupt. Avoid hijacking the conservation. Wait your turn, and then respond to what the host is asking you. Taking your time will make you seem confident and put together, rather than full of nerves (even if you are!).

2. Radio Interviews

Radio interviews, much like TV spots, can be challenging to get, especially if you’re promoting your first book. However, radio is a rich PR resource, so you should make the effort to lock down interviews. Don’t get discouraged if you have to make several pitches before you’re offered a spot. The effort will pay off.

How to Get a Radio Interview

Radio is a terrific way to share your voice (literally) with your potential readers. And with over 90% of Americans regularly listening to radio, it’s well worth the effort you’re going to invest in pitching. Here are some tips on how to pitch radio stations.

Start Local

Radio shows are always looking for new content to share with their audience. Start out with your local radio stations, letting them know not only about your book, but also that you live in the community. If you can tie your book to the community, even better!

Tailor Your Pitch

When you’re pitching your book, don’t use a blanket pitch for each TV or radio station you go after. Customize each pitch to reflect why your book and your personal story will be of interest to their fans. Showing how your interview can add value to their program will result in more replies and a better chance of scoring an interview.

Tips for How to Shine on the Radio

Congrats, you got a radio spot! Here are some tips on how to give a killer on-air performance.

Be authentic and enthusiastic

Even though you’re on the radio and obviously listeners can’t see you, they’ll hear your energy. Smile, sit up straight, and walk around if you need to. By acting energized and engaged, you’ll peak listeners’ interest.

Help the host

Don’t get discouraged if your host hasn’t read your book. With busy PR schedules, it happens more than you might assume. Your job is to make your host look smart. Tell them about your book and don’t quiz them. If you make their job easy for them, the odds are good they’ll ask you back again.

Prepare a list of questions

It’s perfectly acceptable to provide your own list of questions for the host. Some busy radio hosts and producers will appreciate your extra effort and may even work from that list of questions.

3. Print Interviews or Guest Posts

Print interviews and guest blog posts are terrific for search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. Improving your SEO means you’ll rank higher in search, so more people are likely to find your website and read about you and your book. Print is a great SEO strategy for any new author; so cast your net far and wide to score an interview or a guest post.

How to Get a Print Interview

Publications are still alive and well, and many of them have super successful digital platforms; so make sure you don’t skip over this form of media when creating your PR strategy.

Find publications and blogs that are frequent reads for your target audience and reach out (for example, if women are your primary target audience, you’re not going to want to pitch GQ). Even if you’ve never had a print interview before, local publications and blogs will often be happy to share the great news of your new book.

Tips for How to Shine in Your Print Interview

Congrats on scoring a press interview. Here are tips to make you sound like a pro author (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. You’re your own PR machine, so get ready to sing your own praises.

Plan your hooks

You need to have some print-friendly “sound bites” to intrigue your audience. What makes your book special? Important? Entertaining? Useful? Get to the heart of why your audience needs your book, and talk about it.

Don’t get thrown

Don’t let unanticipated or sticky questions throw you. The nature of interviews is that there’s always going be something which you’re not 100% prepped for. Roll with the question, answer as positively as you can, then get back to your talking points. Remember, unlike an on-air or audio-recorded interview, you can take as much time as you need to think before you answer. Don’t be afraid to do so.

Now that you know some PR tricks and tips, it’s time to tackle the job of becoming your own PR machine. Driving publicity through TV, radio, and print media means increased exposure for both you and your book, which will eventually translate into greater sales. Remember, PR is a slow burn—you may get a lot of no’s and no responses before you get a yes, but patience and perseverance in this game pays off! Stay confident and don’t give up!

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!

Creating an Audiobook—What Every Author Should Know

Creating 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. You don’t need to feel intimidated by the process or cost, creating an audiobook today is just as accessible to the self-publishing community as anyone else. Here are the steps and our suggestions to creating an 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. Here are a few tips to move the process along:

  • Delete hyperlinks
  • Delete captions
  • Delete visuals
  • Remove any calls to actions or click here prompts
  • Add opening and closing credits
  • Create a table of contents
  • List chapter numbers and chapter titles
  • Read through and make sure it all makes sense in audio form

2. Recording Your Audiobook

The next step in the creation of your audiobook is actually recording the book. You have two choices for this step: You can hire someone to record it for you or you can record the book yourself in a studio.

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 a sample audio clip to share with potential freelance narrators. This clip is called 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

The second path to creating an audiobook is self-recording. Realize that self-recording may be more costly in terms of effort, time, and financial output. The largest cost for self-recording will be 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 our general production timeframe for a self-recorded audiobook:

  • 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.

3. Upload Your Audiobook to Amazon Creative 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 Amazon Creative Exchange (“ACX”). 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 Amazon account.
  3. Click “Add Your Title.”
  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.
    (Note: We recommend the “World” rights options with 40% royalties for the best results.)
  7. Choose the language(s) you’d like to sell the book in.
  8. Agree to the “Audiobook License and Distribution Agreement” terms
  9. Complete the “About My Book” section.
    (Note: You can duplicate the content from your Amazon page or create original content.)
  10. Complete the proper copyright information.
  11. Complete the info about the narrator, audiobook publisher, and any reviews.
  12. Click the “add audio file” prompt.
  13. Go to browse for the first section of your audiobook to ensure it was added.
  14. Continue this process until your entire book is uploaded.
  15. Don’t forget to change the chapters and section titles as you go.
  16. 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 the same as appears on your eBook. ACX will not allow you to continue if there are discrepancies in identifying information.

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!

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: 8 Personality Characteristics You Want to Nurture

How to Be an Author: 8 Personality Characteristics You Want to Nurture

No matter what topic you’re writing about, creating a book from scratch requires a unique fortitude and strength of character. In the words of Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing, I love having written.”

The harsh truth is that writing can be hard, lonely, and can quash your confidence. The good news is that if you try to develop certain personality characteristics, then writing can be joyful, productive, and fulfilling. It’s all a matter of attitude and perspective. Here are 8 personality characteristics that we recommend for all aspiring authors.

1. Patience

“Patience is bitter, but its fruits are sweet.” —Jean Jacques Rousseau.

Writing a book is not an overnight process. It takes time!

When you decided to become a pro author, you decided that you wanted to write forever. Part of learning how to be an author means you have to cultivate discipline and focus, and display patience. Without those characteristics, you’ll certainly throw in the towel before any of your books see a publication date.

The good news is that patience, like any skill worth having, is something that can be learned with practice. Suzannah Windsor Freeman, author of The Busy Mom’s Guide to Writing found that infinite patience was the key to her eventual success. Freeman says, “When I talk about writers and impatience, I’m talking from a long history of personal experience. 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?”

The basic takeaway for authors is that the best way to cultivate patience is to work every day, practice your craft, and learn over time. With those strategies, you’ll get your book written and published before you know it.

2. Consistency

Becoming an author means that you need to be consistent with your schedule and honor the writing process. Writing is now your job, and you’ll need to treat it as such. This can be a hard thing, especially if you’re not yet earning a paycheck for your work.

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

Channel Seinfeld

When up-and-coming comic Brad Isaac met superstar Jerry Seinfeld, he asked if Seinfeld had “any tips for a young comic.” Isaac recalls, “He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

Set Rewards

If you have a dog, you know they’ll do anything for a savory treat. Guess what? Us humans like our treats, too. Scheduling rewards for each milestone in your writing process is an amazing way to motivate yourself. You’ll look forward to celebrating your small steps, and you’ll look forward to your next well-deserved treat.

Have a Place of Your Own

Having your own place to write puts you in the right frame of mind for creativity. Find and create your own space where you’re most comfortable and happy—an office, a coffee shop, even a nook in your kitchen. Then use that space as your writing space. Your brain will start to make the creative connection for you.

Whatever flavor your current work takes, you need to show up, stick to a plan, and stay consistent. Treating authorship like your job means that you’re making the commitment and doing the work.

3. Outgoing Nature

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but becoming an author is a team effort. You’ll need to network, market, and make speeches and appearances. You’ll need a village behind you to cheer you on.

Your village will take many forms. You’ll need friends and family supporting you. You’ll need pros to help you make your books the best they can be. And you’ll need social media promoters and influencers to help spread the word about your work. Your village will ultimately be the key to your success.

Make an effort to expand your social circle. Force yourself outside your comfort zone—attend a party or event you would not typically go to. Try something new—eat at a restaurant alone and make conversation with those around you. Over time, as you practice, the more comfortable it’ll feel.

4. Optimistic Outlook

To be an author you’ll need to believe in yourself. A sunny, positive attitude will help you move past the roadblocks and keep you focused on your next goal. Optimism can also help you finish your book and weather any inevitable bumps—such as writer’s blockalong the way.

How do you keep looking for the silver lining when it’s raining? Psychologists say that optimism can be learned. By developing “explanatory flexibility,” you can become more optimistic. What does this mean? It means that you should avoid the pessimistic, self-explanatory style, “This is all my fault” or “This isn’t fixable.” Instead, adopt a realistic optimistic self-explanatory style. This forces one to “evaluate the causes of negative life events without surrendering our sense of power and control over them.”

Which is to say, the stories we concoct about our own failures and deficits can impact how we think of them. So, learn to train your brain to reframe the way you think about bad things. You may be surprised at the outcome.

5. Thick Skin

Developing a thick skin is an important personality characteristic if you want to become an author. Knowing how to use criticism to better yourself is key. You’ll want to develop a way to view constructive criticism as feedback that will make you a better author.

Feedback from editors—or even readers—can elevate your book, as well as your writing style. At the same time, you’ll want to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff and let the flippant, unkind remarks roll off your back. There’s a fine balance between allowing criticism to fuel better work and letting it torpedo your effort, tanking your self-confidence.

Building a thick skin is no easy task and, like many of the other personality characteristics, takes time to build. Experience Life has a list of 5 great strategies to build resiliency. Make your best effort to integrate them in everyday life and you’ll find yourself better able to roll with the punches.

6. Strong-Willed

No matter what you write about and how amazing it is, there’s going to be somebody who objects or takes offense. Whether that’s family, friends, critics, or the general public—you can’t please everybody all of the time. Don’t waste time trying to make everyone happy. Focus on what you want your message to be for your unique audience.

All writers worry about what will happen if they expose shameful secrets. Guess what—many famous authors have launched successful careers by exposing their own vulnerabilities! Readers respond to real, human voices, so don’t be afraid to share yours.

Brace yourself for the inevitable—some people might hate your book. So-called “experts” might disagree with you and make you question your writing and your professional knowledge. But if you want to be an author, you must be impervious to haters and objectors and publish your book anyway.

Janette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, worried about exposing her raw childhood memories. But Walls found it was one of the best things she’d ever done. “One of the lessons I’ve learned from writing this memoir is how much we all have in common,” says Walls. “So many of us think that certain things only happened to us and somehow they make us less of a person. I’m constantly urging people, especially older folks, to write about their lives. It gives you new perspective. It was hugely eye-opening for me and very cathartic. Even if the book hadn’t sold a single copy, it would still have been worth it.”

7. Generosity

Writing a book is an innately generous task. Those who share their words and their experiences with the world tend to possess a certain generosity of spirit.

Know that by sharing your words and your story, you’re helping someone else. Your unique experiences will connect with readers. People draw strength from those who’ve walked in their shoes, and lived to tell about it.

Professor and father Randy Pausch was faced with a terminal illness at a young age. Rather than wallow and fade away, he used his last days to create a legacy. His book, The Last Lecture, resonated with readers as a tale of courage and inspiration. His generosity to share his life with his readers was a gift to anyone facing a similar diagnosis.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love while going through a devastating divorce. Her memoir about food, travel, and love made her a household name. She connected with readers by sharing her painful story of loss and regrowth. Her amazing story was even made into a movie!

8. Determination

Writing can be akin to running a marathon. The first few miles are fun. Then your legs cramp up, there’s a gross port-a-potty to use, and you still have 13 miles to go. But, at the end you get a shiny medal and applause, and it all seems worth it! Just as you need to stay determined to make it past mile 26 in a race, you’ll need to stay determined to finish your book and promote it.

There are a couple of strategies you can leverage to build determination. First, consider beginning with an outline. Outlining before writing gives your story structure and helps keep you stay on target. And second, build your mental strength. Just as one would strengthen their muscles in the gym, one can also strengthen their willpower.

Find ways to intensify your determination and become your own warrior of your message. You will hit roadblocks. But you need to keep going and learn your way around them.

Nurturing certain personality characteristics can mean the difference between seeing your name on the best-seller list and giving up completely. Actively striving to build these characteristics will help you not only become a better 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 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 serious side of Author-in-Training, LLC.

Social media was designed to build connections. Share what’s going on in your life, your likes, dislikes, personal insights. Have dinner at a fab new bistro and love the scallops? Post it! Traveling to Bali to surf? Post it!

Fans want to know the person behind the words, and allowing them tiny glimpses into what makes you tick as a person naturally builds a sense of rapport and connection.

Obviously, this is your business, so do try and walk a fine line. You don’t have to get overly personal on your author page and reveal so much that you’re uncomfortable. But a little insightful sharing about the man or woman behind the genius can go a long way. So much of the creative process is ultimately about connecting with others, so use social media to create and cultivate those connections.

6. Interact

Your audience has come to your social media accounts because they want to know more about you, your work, and your upcoming projects. Make them know that you appreciate their interest and attention by interacting with them.

It’s simple — like their posts, respond to questions, and let your audience know that their opinions and support matter to you. When you show them attention online, they’ll do the same for you, by sharing your posts and your work with their friends and followers. This will help grow your audience exponentially.

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!

Voice in Writing: 77 Questions to Find Yours

Voice in Writing: 77 Questions to Find Yours

Finding your unique voice in writing can be so tricky. Have you ever thought, “Why do I seem to become more boring the longer I write?” Or, maybe you’re thinking, “Why do I struggle to write when I can talk to people so easily about the same subject?”

Sometimes, there’s a disconnect between how we want to say something and how it actually sounds. Our voice as a writer can get lost, tainted, or may just be inconsistent. The way to combat this is found in a two-part solution:

  1. Create an avatar.
  2. Write to that avatar.

What Is An Avatar?

To a writer, an avatar is a composite of characteristics of people that you want as your ideal readers. This person should have a name, a picture, a specific demographic, and other detailed qualities. Once you can easily hold a picture of who this person is in your mind’s eye, you can develop your writer’s voice by writing to your avatar.

When you hold your avatar in mind, you’re able to write as if you’re having a conversation. This allows you to be more authentic, more helpful, and it enables you to connect with your reader – which will in turn help you to sell more books.

If your readers are the right readers (the people that your avatar represented), they will think as they read your book, “Oh my goodness, this book was written exactly for me!”

How Do I Create An Avatar?

A good first step is to think, “Who is one person in my life that this book would help the most?”

If there is someone that you think fits the bill exactly, then voila! Write the book for that person.

Chandler Bolt, founder of Self-Publishing School, even suggests starting each chapter off by addressing your avatar.

For example, if your avatar’s name is Sharon, you could start each chapter by saying, “Dear Sharon.” Later, in your editing process, you can delete that initial greeting.

Chandler says, “What you’ll find is that when you’re struggling with your voice and you’re not sure what to say, you’ll just come back to, ‘What would [name of avatar] want to hear right now? What story would most resonate with them? How could I write the next portion of my book in a language that would resonate the most to [name of avatar]?'”

You will write faster, you will write easier, and you will write books that your readers crave.

Is an Avatar Necessary?

Some people may opt for a slew of statistics that represent the general demographic of their reader instead of an avatar. But basing your writing voice off of a generic understanding of your ideal reader will result in a generic portrayal of your message.

And, with a generic message, your audience will be too broad. As it’s been said, “When your audience is ‘everyone,’ your audience is no one.”

“But I Don’t Have An Avatar!”

If you don’t know someone that perfectly embodies your avatar, don’t stress!

Here are 77 questions that you can answer to flesh out your avatar, and in turn, solidify your voice as a writer.

Determine Your Avatar’s Demographics

  1. What is your avatar’s name?
  1. What is your avatar’s age?
  1. What is your avatar’s gender?
  1. What is the marital status of your avatar?
  1. How many children does your avatar have?
  1. What are the ages of your avatar’s children?
  1. What is your avatar’s occupation?
  1. What is their job title?
  1. How many years have they been in their current position?
  1. What is your avatar’s annual income?
  1. How many jobs have they held throughout their career?
  1. What is your avatar’s level of education?
  1. Where did they attend school?
  1. What type of experience did they have at school?
  1. Who were their friends at school?
  1. What are your avatar’s political views?
  1. What are your avatar’s religious views?

It is even important that you define your avatar’s physical characteristics. This means that you should even have a picture of your avatar!

You can easily find a picture on the internet to find an image that captures the look of your created avatar.

  1. What is your avatar’s hair color?
  1. What is your avatar’s eye color?
  1. What is your avatar’s weight?
  1. What is your avatar’s height?
  1. What does their facial expressions look like when they’re frustrated? Tired? Confused? Happy? Surprised? Taken off-guard?

Determine Your Avatar’s Personality

  1. Describe your avatar’s personality at home, at work, and in other social situations. (If you’re stuck, consider the questions, “What makes your avatar anxious?” “Does your avatar feel secure in social situations?” “Does your avatar crave attention or try to avoid it?” “Does your avatar feel accepted in their relationships?”)
  1. If you could tell your avatar anything, and you knew that they would not only hear you, but apply what you’ve said, how would you instruct them?
  1. What are exact quotes that your avatar would say? (If you are unsure of this, simply watch people—whether personal friends or other online presences—and observe how they speak. What do their Facebook comments look like, their Amazon book reviews, etc.?)
  1. What thoughts keep your avatar awake at night?
  1. What does your avatar’s typical social environment look like?
  1. How does their culture influence their personality and decisions?
  1. What things does your avatar feel like they have control over?
  1. What things does your avatar feel like are out of their reach?
  1. What does your avatar worry about?
  1. Who does your avatar celebrate?
  1. Has your avatar’s life lived up to their expectations?

Determine Your Avatar’s Hobbies and Interests

  1. What type of music does your avatar listen to?
  1. How often does your avatar listen to music?
  1. Does he or she like sports? Do they enjoy watching? Playing?
  1. Is your avatar interested in art?
  1. Where does your avatar want to travel?
  1. Where has your avatar already traveled?
  1. What does your avatar stay up-to-date on?
  1. What are your avatar’s favorite clothing brands?

Determine Your Avatar’s Goals and Values

  1. What does your avatar want to accomplish this week? This year? Before they die?
  1. What is your avatar’s process for working towards those goals?
  1. What is your avatar committed to (values)?
  1. In what ways does your avatar wish to improve their family situation?
  1. What would your avatar pay almost anything for?

Determine Your Avatar’s Challenges and Pain Points

  1. What challenges is your avatar currently facing?
  1. What causes your avatar pain?
  1. What is the worst thing that could happen to your avatar if their problem (that you are solving in your book) wasn’t solved?
  1. How would this make them feel?
  1. What is your avatar afraid of?
  1. What does your avatar dislike about their current situation?

Determine Where Your Avatar Spends Time

  1. Where does your avatar hang out (physical locations)?
  1. Where does your avatar spend time on the internet?
  1. What books does your avatar read? Digital Marketer, an online business that specializes in internet marketing, suggests that you answer the question, “My ideal [reader] would read [book name], but no one else would.” By determining a book that your avatar would read, but no one else would, you are able to understand the personality and buying traits of your avatar even more.
  1. What magazines does your avatar read?
  1. What blogs and websites does your avatar read and spend time on?
  1. Does your avatar use Twitter? Why?
  1. Does your avatar use Facebook? Why?
  1. Does your avatar use LinkedIn? Why?
  1. What other social media platforms does your avatar use? Why?
  1. How much time does your avatar spend online?
  1. What conferences does your avatar attend?
  1. Who does your avatar consider gurus or experts?
  1. What types of technology does your avatar use (what type of phone, computer, television, etc.)?
  1. What does your avatar think of themselves?
  1. What does your avatar’s friends think about them?
  1. What does your avatar’s family think about them?

Determine Objections Your Avatar Might Have To Your Book/Message

  1. What possible objections might your avatar have to your book/message?
  1. Why would your avatar choose not to buy your book?
  1. What is your avatar’s ability to purchase products from you?
  1. How does your avatar perceive products similar to yours?

Determine What Your Avatar’s Experience With Your Book Should Be

  1. What did your avatar do before reading your book?
  1. What will your avatar think while reading your book?
  1. What is your avatar trying to accomplish by reading your book?
  1. What will your avatar do after reading your book?
  1. What will make your avatar come back to your book?

Steps to Find Your Voice in Writing

To create your avatar, something that will greatly enhance your voice as a writer and your all-around ability to sell to and connect with your readers, do the following:

  1. Answer the questions above.
  1. Based on the information you gather, write a story about your avatar. Transform the facts into a short narrative about this person’s life.
  1. Write your book to this person and watch your writing voice become more consistent and powerful.

Knowing who you are writing for not only influences future blog posts, sales copy, email marketing, and paid traffic advertising, it also helps you write your 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!

How to Market a Book Step by Step

How to Market a Book Step by Step

The big day has finally come. You’ve worked hard on your book for months, and maybe even years. Now it’s finally ready for the world to see. You hit publish and follow through with everything you know about how to market a book step by step. With any luck, hard work and a lot of support gets your book to bestseller status.

Then a few weeks goes by. Rankings drop considerably. Despite your best efforts, your book plummets down the lists like a stone.

How to Market a Book to Sell Copies

We’ve all been there—that point as a writer when we realize we have to do the other stuff—stuff that keeps us away from writing and creating. In fact, writing and crafting a book is only about half of the process. If you don’t spend 40-50% of your ongoing efforts on marketing, you reach a limited number of people. Your message will get lost in the massive swirl of information available out there.

You want to sell more books right? Marketing a book isn’t always a “natural” step for most authors. We are writers and creatives, not marketers and salespeople. But if you can combine writing and marketing, you’ll not only be able to write, but also to sell books. And marketing yourself is where it’s at.

8 Ways to Market Your Book Like a Pro

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a marketing guru or have a degree in digital marketing and social media mastery to get the word out about your brand. By following some basic steps, you’ll be marketing your books in no time.

1. Identify Your Audience

This is critical when it comes to marketing your book. If you don’t know who your audience is, you’ll end up marketing to anyone. In other words, you’ll be shouting out about your book in a noisy room and nobody will hear you. Write for a specific audience. To market your book effectively you have to know:

Who they are: Who is your ideal customer? What kind of information are they looking for? How do these people spend their time? Create a basic profile of what your reader looks like.

Where they are: Your audience is hanging out somewhere. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, they are communicating about the topic and niche your book is about. Find those people and you will be able to market your book.

What problems are they facing: It is really important to nail this one. Come up with 20-30 problems your target market is trying to solve. By providing a solution to these problems, you’ll zero in on the readers who are waiting for your bestseller to change their lives. Remember: somebody out there wants what you are offering; they just don’t know it yet!

Action Step: Create a reader’s avatar. This is a profile of what your average reader is like. Include things like gender, occupation, and problems and they are facing. Figure out what solutions you could deliver to help them. Then market specifically to those people.

2. Build Your Author 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

To set up your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy. For a domain name, check out name.com

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

Social media is a powerful way to promote your book. 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. 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 140 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

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.

6. Plan Your Marketing Ahead

The best time to start marketing your book was six months ago. If you haven’t done that, the next best time for marketing your book is right now.

Many authors make the mistake of getting their book out there, doing a promo with their launch team and then start to work on a plan for marketing. The best thing you can do is have your marketing tools defined and ready to roll into action when they are needed.

Your marketing plan can include such things as:

  • Having a series of blog posts scheduled to publish at regular intervals
  • Interviews set up with influencers to talk about your book, either on the day of launch or just after
  • A course based on the book set to launch at the same time as the book or soon after
  • Giveaways through Goodreads that attract buyers to download your book by the thousands
  • Daily blurbs posted on Facebook or Twitter. Remember: Engage where your fans are hanging out.
  • Schedule a Bookbub promo (see next step)

Marketing takes planning, and you have to be strategic about it. This means building buzz early and keeping that buzz going for months up to and even after the launch. Continued marketing requires deeper tactics such as course building and consistently promoting through social media or Facebook ads, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

7. 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.

But on a side note, most authors get rejected the first time from Bookbub. If you do, just keep trying. Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

8. 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.

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!

We’re Starting! Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016

We’re Starting! Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016

Mark your calendar: our Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016 begins streaming live at 4PM EST Sunday June 12 and runs through Wednesday, June 22.

If you haven’t already reserved your free ticket, don’t wait another minute.

Click here to get your FREE PASS to this amazing event.

Have you ever thought of writing a book or becoming an author? If so, then you do not want to miss the biggest online publishing event of the year. You’ll learn the ins-and-outs of writing, marketing, monetization, and building your business.

All lectures are given by our exclusive roster of bestselling authors and entrepreneurs.

We’re talking…

Gretchen Rubin, author of New York Times bestsellers Better Than Before, Happier at Home, and The Happiness Project. Rubin’s books have sold over a million copies.

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion.

David Allen, author of The Getting Things Done Approach To Writing Your First Book.

Plus, many more stars. Click here to see the full roster, plus more info on each session.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s not much time left to get in on this event. Read on for more details on how to sign up and why you need to be a part of it!

Why Attend The Self-Publishing Success Summit?

Famous writers are lending their time, experience, and professional tips to help you.

Why?

Because all of these now-famous authors were once in your place. They want to help you transform from pie-in-the-sky aspirational dreamer to renowned successful author.

Self-publishing is an open-access opportunity. Anyone with a dream and an idea can become an author. The downside is that the field of self-publishing takes some specific know-how and business acumen to become a successful author.

With the Summit, you can get there. It’s a FREE one stop shop to realize your dreams and achieve your goals!

Our 2016 agenda showcases 40+ bestselling, ultra-successful entrepreneurs who are now enjoying the status, wealth, and industry recognition that comes with success as an established author.

Our celebrated line-up of pros will teach you what they had to do as rookies to get noticed. There’s no reason that you don’t have the same potential for recognition, wealth, and accolades. You just need some pro tips on how to play the game. By this time next year, your life may have changed completely!

What Your Free Pass Gets You

Simply sign up for FREE with your email address, and you’ll get instant access to our LIVE event. Here’s how you’ll use your free ticket (press the ‘play’ button located in the lower left):

Take action now and claim your free ticket for access to our experts’ success principles and strategies. These experts have charged thousands of dollars in speaking fees to share the advice they’re offering you for FREE…so we don’t want you to miss out on the chance to pick their collective brains.

Can’t Make all the LIVE Sessions? Save Big on an All-Access Pass

When you buy an All Access Pass to our Summit, you gain access to these videos right away—AND you have them for life. All of this world-class info is yours to reference over and over, whenever you want to access it.

To learn how to best use your all-access pass, watch this video (press the ‘play’ button located in the lower left):

The All Access Pass entitles you to the full library of resources and content, always. After the Summit starts, watch each video at your leisure, and in the order you see fit. They’re yours to enjoy and peruse forever. No time constraints or pressure!

Avoid regrets, and get your free ticket now. JOIN THE SUMMIT

8 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed

8 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed

When you’re an author, it can be hard enough to carve out time for writing books—but blogging, too?

With our tips, you’ll learn how to get your blog noticed. Add in some sweat equity, and you can create a standout blog that your readers will love to share.

1. Speak to One Person

It may seem as though it would make sense to try and attract as many readers as possible, but there’s a reason that focused, niche blogs tend to do so well.

To connect to your audience, it helps to think of one person you’re writing to who would love to read your blog. This person might be a good friend of yours, a favorite aunt—or better yet, a mishmash of people that represents the brand you speak to—otherwise known as a customer avatar.

Choosing this imaginary person you’re blogging for will help you keep your posts personal and conversational, and it will also aid in refining your niche. If your ideal blog reader avatar loves walking in fields and picking wildflowers, but you suddenly start writing about tailgating in parking lots before sports games, you might think twice.

If you can create a niche blog which appeals to a very specific audience, then the readers that find you will be passionate about the topic and your posts. A niche can forge a real connection with a specific audience.

2. Refine Your Blog’s Voice

Now that you know who you’re talking to (step 1) you need to think about who is doing the talking. I know it’s you—but which you? The one who shows up at church on Sunday with your hair combed and wearing a nice suit? The one who chats confessionally with her girlfriends over glasses of wine? Or are you a trusted advisor, doling out advice?

To find your voice, it helps to determine what exactly you want your blog to accomplish. As with all your other writing endeavors, you want your blog posts to have a purpose and a vision. Figure out the tone, flavor, and purpose for your blog, and the voice will become clearer.

3. Be Consistent

Any professional who uses blogging as a key revenue driver for their business understands that consistency is THE key to audience building.

Figure out your schedule for blogging, whether it’s twice a week or once a month, and STICK TO IT. When you blog consistently, your audience knows they can come to you for timely, relevant content on their favorite topics.

And new visitors to your site will tend to stick around—they’ll see that you update regularly and they’ll know your site isn’t a graveyard.

The most important decision you can make is choosing a doable schedule. Twice a week might sound easy, but you risk falling behind if you go on vacation. Make sure that no matter what, you can fulfill this obligation to yourself and your audience. This might mean posting less often than you think is “ideal.”

Blogging superstar Marie Forleo only posts once per week. Why? Because she says that promoting your posts and your blog is the most important thing you can do.

If you’re bogged down by blogging, it’s too hard to get the word out about your writing. And now let’s talk about getting the word out…

4. Guest Blog for Other Sites

Guest blogging is a win for all involved. When you write a blog post for another web site, not only are you helping them fill up their editorial calendar, you’ll gain new exposure from the web site’s audience.

How do you find web sites to write guest posts for? Check out this fantastic list of web sites you could guest post for, conveniently arranged by topic. Be sure to take note of any specific contributor’s guidelines. Not following the submission guidelines will probably result in not being chosen.

When you get chosen to write a guest post, be sure to include a short bio with a link to your blog, if allowed. Ideally, that link will be to a page on your blog that offers up a free, valuable piece of content in exchange for the reader’s email address. That way you can send your growing email list updates when you post on your blog.

5. Inform Facebook Friends and Followers

One of the best, easiest ways to get your blog noticed is through savvy use of social media. If you don’t want to use your personal profile to promote your blog posts, then set up a page on Facebook. This should include a title and description of your blog.

Use your Facebook blog page to share new posts and relevant news with your community. When the time gets closer to write and promote your book, use Facebook posts to countdown your writing timeline, celebrate the completion of your draft, and later, to share dates regarding book release parties and signing events.

Remember that when promoting your blog on Facebook, interaction is key to building a following and a community. Ask and answer questions, respond to comments, and invest in your followers’ interests. That way you’ll create a loyal audience who will look forward to sharing your posts.

6. Consider Instagram

Instagram is a visual paradise for those who love the creative aesthetic. If your blog’s focus can be boosted with images or videos, then consider posting on Instagram, just as you would on Facebook.

Promoting some types of blog content are a no-brainer on Instagram. For example, if you’re blogging about (and later authoring a book on) interior design or personal style, then Instagram is a social media platform match made in heaven.

7. Create YouTube Videos

For the brave among us, a great way to draw visitors to your blog is by posting a video about each post on YouTube. Not only will you get on-camera practice, which can help draw speaking gigs and media, you’ll also tap into a completely different audience than you’d be able to reach just by writing.

If this sounds “not you” or too scary, then spend some time making practice videos before pushing them live. Ask a trusted friend to give you constructive criticism.

Practice makes perfect! Just don’t expect to be perfect on your first try. It’s okay to stink up the place while you’re learning.

8. Share the Wealth with Buttons

Configure your blog’s settings to display “Share” buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media platforms which appeal to you and your audience. If your blog content is shareable with just the click of a virtual button, then your audience will be more likely to share with their own friends.

When you’re creating your blog set-up and drafting posts, do everything you can to make ease of shareability a priority. It may take more legwork up front, but it will be worth it in the end. Add a call-to-action at the end of each post, whether that’s to sign up for your email newsletter, or to share a post you’re particularly proud of on social media.

Knowing how to get your blog noticed is a matter of confidence—you have to put yourself out there to build an audience. With our easy steps, you’re on your way to making sure your blog becomes a must-share.

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!

Amazon Book Description HTML: Making Words Look Better

Amazon Book Description HTML: Making Words Look Better

Have you ever seen an Amazon Book description that looked absolutely stellar? Nice big words, perfect layout, well structured?

Well, there’s a secret to how self-publishers are making it look that way. They’re using Amazon’s approved HTML. That’s right…they’re coding it to look that way, and you could too.

By adding a little code to your book description, your sentences can now be bold, underlined, or even bigger in size.

As you can see, there is a clear difference between a well-structured book description using Amazon’s HTML and a book description that doesn’t use HTML.

Amazon HTML

And it isn’t as simple as writing it in Word Document and copying and pasting…nope. That well-formatted beauty requires a little HTML love.

So, in this article, I’m going to show you exactly how you can tap into this even if you know nothing about HTML or CSS—and I’ll also introduce you to a free book description tool that will help you build beautiful, eye-catching descriptions so that your book will stand out and get even more customers.

Amazon Book Description Tips

Lucky for us, Amazon allows us to use special snippets of code to access their font styles…all you need to do is type the right things around your book description sentences to make your book description words stand out and look great.

To do this, let’s first look at what you’re allowed to do:

Amazon HTML Tags

Don’t worry if you don’t know what all that means because I’ll show you.

To get your words to do the above, all you need to do is sandwich your sentence or words with the <fill in the code> above and end your sentence or word with <fill in the code/>. (Don’t write “fill in the code”—instead, use the cheat sheet above to see what letters will make the change you’re seeking.)

HTML Examples for Each Tag

Now that you know how to wrap each tag around a sentence and which HTML tag you can use, let’s go through each, how it’s applied, and how it will look on the US Amazon Market.

Header Font Size:

To get the words to be larger, you’ll need to use the Header Tags which are <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6>. The H1 tag is the largest with H6 the smallest.

Let’s see what they look like when wrapped around a word:

Amazon Header Tags

Bold

To make a sentence or word bold, all you need to do is wrap that word or sentence with <b></b>

Like this: Self-Publishing School is <b>amazing</b>.

Amazon Bold Tag

Italics

To make a word in italics, you can use either <i> or <em>

Like this: Self-Publishing School is <i>amazing</i>.

italics Amazon description

Underline

Underline uses <u></u>

Like this: Self-Publishing School is <u>amazing</u>.

Amazon description underline

Horizontal Lines

If you want to separate some text with a horizontal line, all you have to do is add <hr> and it will look like this:

Amazon description line

Lists

There are two types of lists: Ordered lists and Unordered lists. Ordered lists are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. Unordered lists are bullet point lists.

Unordered are denoted at the beginning using <ul> and their structure looks like this:

<ul>
<li>Unordered Item One</li>

<li>Unordered Item Two</li>

<li>Unordered Item Three</li>

</ul>

Unordered List Amazon description

Ordered Lists are denoted by the <ol> and their structure looks like this:

<ol>

<li>Ordered Item One</li>

<li>Ordered Item Two</li>

<li>Ordered Item Three</li>

</ol>

ordered list amazon description

Free Amazon Description Generator Tool

Hand coding your own book description can be tedious. That’s why I designed a special free software that lets you see real time what your description will look like. It’s called the Amazon Book Description Generator.

Amazon Description Generator

Just type in or copy and paste your book description, highlight a section, and click the button to make it look the way you want it.

Once you’ve gotten it the way you like, then just click the button “Get My Code” and it will automatically create the HTML code you need to make your description look like you designed it.

Then take that code, go to the KDP bookshelf and update your book’s description.

Examples of Well Formatted Book Descriptions

So as to help you get your creative juices flowing, here are some examples of other books who have used book description formatting and taken it to the next level:

Chandler Bolt’s Book Launch: Clean, and effectively uses the bold feature to highlight the most important words. That way, those that skim the description will immediately see the parts that Chandler wants you to see.

Patrick King’s Conversion Tactics: One of the most effectively uses of underline as well as neatly organized information with bullet points. One thing I really think that Patrick has rocked with this is his final sentence, the Call to Action (CTA). It leaves a strong lasting impression and how can you NOT see it?

Steve Scott’s Learn Email Marketing Blueprint: Again, a well laid out description that highlights the right spots and makes it easy on the eyes. But my favorite part about his book description is the first paragraph. That paragraph shows up even before the person clicks “read more.” Basically, Steve has made it so that his most catching hook is highlighted, and featured right smack dab at the top of his sales page. Nice move.

Conclusion

So, now that you know what is allowed by Amazon, how to code HTML for book descriptions and a cool tool that is completely free that will do it for you, it’s time you get started in creating your book descriptions.

Once you’ve created a savvy looking book description, comment below with your book’s link, and I’ll check it out and respond.

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!

Publishing a Book: Traditional vs. Self-Publishing

Publishing a Book: Traditional vs. Self-Publishing

So you’re thinking about writing and publishing a book, but approaching a traditional publisher can be daunting. In fact, you’ve probably thought, “Why would a traditional publisher ever look at me—a first-time author?”

Before the age of the internet, the only way to get your book in front of millions was to send off a book proposal to a traditional publisher and hope that whoever the gatekeeper was that day

  • Had drank their morning coffee,
  • Had woken up on the right side of the bed,
  • And, had actually given your book proposal more than a 10-second glance.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening was fairly low.

This resulted in brilliant people—like yourself—being denied the opportunity to share their experiences, their stories, and their knowledge.

The publishing industry is shifting.

Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

With the development of online marketplaces, like Amazon, you can distribute your book to everyone, regardless of what some traditional publishing house may think about your idea.

You have a book inside of you, and the world needs to read it!

Why self-publish?

Here are 7 reasons why self-publishing is the best route to take—and why you’ll never bother with traditional publishing again.

1. You don’t have to wait for permission.

When you self-publish, you do not have to wait for anyone to give you the green light.

  • You decide when and how to publish a book.
  • You decide whose hands your book gets into.
  • You decide how successful you are.

You don’t have to convince any gatekeepers to allow your book to reach the world.

“But, don’t traditional publishers have a good idea for what will sell or not? I mean, if they reject my book, they’re probably right that no one would want to buy it.”

WRONG.

Have you ever heard of Tim Ferriss’s book, The Four-Hour Workweek? It has been a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller for over four years! It sold nearly 1.5 million copies and has been translated into 35 different languages.

Oh, and get this: it was rejected by the first twenty-six publishers that it was presented to.

Now, just imagine all the other authors out there that stopped after the first ten or twenty doors slammed in their faces, believing the lie that they didn’t have a profitable idea.

You cannot allow other people to determine your success. And self-publishing gives you the avenue to do that! You and your readers decide the worth of your words, rather than a single person at a traditional publishing firm.

2. You can publish your work quickly.

If you were to take your book to a traditional publisher, it would take years to publish your book.

For example, it may take up to six months for you to even hear back about the book proposal. And assuming they accepted your proposal, it would take at least another year before the book was actually published.

With self-publishing, you can produce your content as quickly as you want. And in the Amazon Kindle Store, you can publish a new book whenever you want. That way, you can share your work as quickly as you create it!

3. Bring home the bacon.

With a traditional publishing deal, an author will typically be paid an amount of money upfront. But once the sales come rolling in, you only get a small cut of the earnings.

Why? Because you have to pay the publishing house, the editor, the marketers, the designers, etc.

When you self-publish, you take in most of the earnings (save for the money you actually choose to spend on marketing and book production and publishing.)

4. You form invaluable connections.

Self-publishers around the world have gathered online and in-person to provide a community that supports one another in publishing their work.

These connections become priceless as you meet other up-and-coming influencers like yourself.

“Wait—so where would I meet these people?”

Because self-publishing requires that you find your own editor, cover designer, formatter, and launch team members, you connect with people throughout your whole writing experience.

Self-published authors also gather on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc.

The camaraderie allows people to expand far beyond what they could have done on their own, or what they would have been limited to with a traditional publisher.

Want my best Done-For-You Plans to finish your book faster?

I’m opening up my vault of step-by-step Action Plans and private community of authors to help you get unstuck, stay on track, and finish your book faster.
Click here to learn more now!

5. You control your objective.

So much of a book is influenced by the motive that fuels it.

  • Is your motive to make money?
  • It is to launch a new career?
  • Is it to share your story?
  • Or, is it simply something to cross off your bucket list?

When you self-publish, you are able to preserve the dignity and genius of your objective. No one is pressuring you to sell more books, or to taint your message so that it will reach wider audiences.

You are not pigeonholed, or made to do or become someone that you’re not comfortable with.

You write as you, and for you. And that is invaluably liberating.

6. You control your creative concept.

There are horror stories about authors whose ideas and voice became unrecognizable after their manuscript was finished with a traditional publisher.

When you work with a traditional publisher, you don’t just sell them your manuscript, you sell them your idea.

So, your book may become something you are not comfortable with. Or, your dreams for a sequel or a revision may be completely squandered if it does not comply with the motives of the traditional publisher.

But, when you self-publish, you can create what you want to create!

You are free to be expressive with your work! You are free to be vulnerable and controversial. You are free to be you.

When you self-publish, you also control who you write for. Because you determine your marketing efforts, you—if selling via the Amazon Kindle store—can choose (and then tweak) your categories and keywords.

And, with 45% of eBook sales going to Indie (or self-published) authors, audiences are showing that they respect and want to purchase the ideas of everyone—not just those endorsed by traditional publishers.

(Credit: AuthorEarnings.com)

7. You control your future.

Most people looking to write a book want to earn more money, gain more freedom, or have a platform to share their ideas.

When you self-publish and have complete ownership over your ideas, you also have complete ownership over your future.

There is no traditional publishing firm to stop you from selling a supplementary online course that includes material from your book, starting a speaking career, re-releasing your book with a hardcover or audiobook, or even releasing an updated version of your book.

You determine the trajectory of your book, ideas, and career when you self-publish.

Even “Big Names” Self-Publish

Though there are some benefits to traditional publishing, even some well-established authors admit that the joys of self-publishing outweigh a traditional publishing deal.

So much, in fact, that big name entrepreneurs who have large followings and could easily get a traditional publishing deal, are opting to go the self-publishing route.

These people include Pat Flynn, Jeff Goins, Joshua Miburn & Ryan Nicodemus, Johnny B Truant, and James Altucher.

Self-publishing will change your life.

Self-publishing allows you the freedom, money, community, and control to shape your life to become one you adore.

So, start writing your own bestseller today.

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 a Writer: 10 Traits of Professional Authors

How to Be a Writer: 10 Traits of Professional Authors

If you’re here, you might be wondering how to be a writer for a living. When I see bestselling authors who have turned writing books into a full-time career, I have to stop and ask myself: “How did they do it?”

Stephen King has written over seventy bestsellers since the publication of Carrie in 1974. To this day he continues to write consistently.

James Patterson has sold more than 300 million books worldwide. He has been quoted as saying: “It’s pretty much seven days a week for me. You’re lucky if you find something you like to do and then it’s a miracle somebody will pay you to do it. That’s my situation. It’s not work for me. These are all stories that I’m really dying to tell.”

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, once jobless and with a dependent child, has sold over 430 million copies of her books.

What magic formula do these authors have? What super-talent have they been blessed with? What am I NOT doing now that I could be doing to turn my passion for writing into a real career?

How to Be a Writer

Now you might be thinking, “Well, good for them. But I just want to make enough money on my writing to earn a living, not 100 million bucks!”

But it’s not about how much money you can make at your writing. That might come later, but what really matters is this: practicing the habits and actions professional authors implement as part of their work life that leads to this kind of success. You don’t have to earn a fortune to be a professional writer; you just need to model what the pros do and the outcome will take care of itself.

There are a set of definitive traits pro authors have that make them masters of the trade. Good writing that sells is the result of these essential traits. For both indie and traditionally published authors, these 10 traits of professional authors are universal and a must-have for launching your author career.

Here are the top 10 traits of pro authors, and how you can adopt these traits to become a professional writer that gets books published, earns you an income, and creates a sustainable business you can grow and love.

Pro Author Trait #1: Develop a Daily Writing Habit

Pro writers have developed the writing habit. They write almost every day and have a word count goal for the day. Pro writers stick to a consistent writing schedule and put in the time to put pen to paper [or words into a Word doc]. This is one of the most critical traits. Without putting in your writing time, your book becomes a “someday” thing instead of an “it’s-happening-right-now” thing.

By nurturing the writing habit, you are creating content people will love to read and pay money for. You will exercise that writing muscle and churn out a great story, a memoir, or a book that offers solutions.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my daily word count goal?
  • How many words would I have to write every day to finish my next book by a chosen deadline?
  • How many books could I finish in a year if I stick to a writing habit of 1500 words per day? [You might be surprised!]

Pro Author Trait #2: Approach Writing as a Business

A hobby is something you do when you have time; the business of writing and becoming a pro author is what you make time for every work day. Authors who approach writing as a business are far more likely to succeed than hobby authors who show up occasionally with little direction and lofty ideas. A professional author is, essentially, a creative business person.

As with any business, your author business needs a schedule, deadlines, goals, and a plan. Authors spend time planning the material they are creating, how they will deliver it and, most important, they deliver when that deadline approaches.

As with any job, you have to show up every day at the time designated or else you don’t get paid. Writers who make a living at their craft go to work every day with the mindset that this IS their business and not just a dreamy project that they are going to pick away at. One of the fatal flaws many “hobby authors” make is in thinking that the writing success will just happen if they keep plugging away haphazardly. Maybe it will, but most likely, it’s your approach to the writing craft as a business that will determine your level of success.

Of course there is nothing wrong with writing as a hobby! However, if you want to turn this into a real thing, start to think and plan as a business leader. Pro authors make a living at writing because they are intentional with their business goals.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I a writing hobbyist or is this my future business?
  • Do I have a business plan for my author business?

Pro Author Trait #3: Write Valuable Content People Want to Read

A pro author does one of two things: either tells a good story [fiction] or provides solutions to a problem [nonfiction]. A great author can even combine both for a more compelling read!

It isn’t enough just to be a good writer, but you have to write with intentional purpose and provide valuable content people want to read. If you write fiction, you craft page-turners with crisp plots leading to a compelling climax.

For nonfiction authors, your readers have a problem and they need you to solve it. Knowing your audience and writing for them is the best way to make your content valuable and in demand. You can master your craft by giving people what they desire most: entertainment, information, inspiration, or a book that promises to change their lives forever.

Ask Yourself:

  • Who am I writing for?
  • Does my content provide a specific solution?
  • Am I engaging my readers?

Pro Author Trait #4: Delegate Business Work to Other Professionals

There are so many tasks that a writer can do that have nothing to do with writing: editing, cover design, formatting, book promotions, and social media engagement. The list is endless. For pro authors, the crux of your daily activities should focused around product creation. This could be writing a book, blogging, or creating a course.

But the fact is, time is limited. If you try to do it all, you’ll get burned out and start watching television to escape.

As with any business, you need a tribe of people assigned to different parts of the business so that you have more time to do the work that only you can do: writing books. This means creating content readers love should be at the forefront of your business. Delegating everything else to freelancers will save you precious time and eliminate the stress of feeling like “I have to do it all.”

Ask yourself:

  • Is there anything I’m doing that falls outside of content creation?
  • If so, could the extra work be done by someone else?
  • Could I find someone on Upwork or Fiverr to take care of it, or do I need to look elsewhere?

Identify where you can save yourself both time and stress by delegating the little stuff so you can spend more time doing what pro authors do best…write books!

Pro Author Trait #5: Become a Habitual Note Taker

Both fiction and nonfiction writers craft their books around the ideas they have day and night. And we never know when or where these ideas are going to strike.

Ideas are like rainbows; one minute they’re here and the next minute…poof, they’re gone! You need to be ready at all times to catch ideas as they come. If not, you’ll struggle to remember hours later what that “golden idea” was that passed through your mind.

Get into the habit of carrying a small notebook with you. When you go to sleep, keep your notebook within reach for ideas that come in the night, or as you doze in the morning. You can install idea-capturing apps on your devices such as Evernote, Simplenote, and Apple Notes. Make your idea capturing system easily accessible at all times.

Ask yourself:

    • Am I prepared at all times for capturing ideas?
    • How can I set up my system for note taking when I’m on the run? When I’m sleeping? When I’m at a party conversing with important people and suddenly get that idea I’ve been waiting for all year?

Free Course: Discover my blueprint to go
from blank page to bestseller in 90 days

If you want to finish your book, you need a roadmap. That’s why I’m sharing some of the best strategies and tricks other bestselling authors paid thousands of dollars to get — yours FREE.

Here’s what you’ll get:
The EXACT blueprint to FINALLY cross “write a book” off your bucket list — in just 90 days
The Bestselling Book Launch Blueprint behind dozens of bestsellers
Case studies of bestselling authors who made $1,287, $5,500, even $12,424.03 from their first book

Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now

Pro Author Trait #6: Read with Purposeful Intent

Writers read! Yes, we love reading. It stimulates your imagination and paves the way for more ideas. You can read books in your genre or read something totally unrelated. When you’re not writing, set aside time to read your favorite book. If you are writing a series of books on sales, you could read books on that topic. It could give you more insight into your area of expertise.

Reading just fifteen minutes before bed enhances sleep patterns, reduces cortisol levels, and improves cognitive functions. So don’t find the time to read; make a conscious choice to create that reading habit, even if it is only for a few minutes.

Ask Yourself:

  • How much time can I read a day?
  • What book can I start reading now that would improve my business or contribute to personal development?

Pro Author Trait #7: Retain Readers and Build a Loyal Fan Base

If you notice, almost all professional authors got that way because they focused on a particular brand or niche. Then they built a strong following of raving fans in that niche. Readers become fans and fans become regular customers who buy your other books.

The best way to create a loyal following is to write for your fans. Keep giving them more of what they crave by constantly creating content that offers value. When you write, know who you are writing for and create content they need.

By using an email marketing service such as MailChimp or AWeber, you can gather email addresses of your loyal fans and communicate with them regularly. Pro authors understand the absolute must of having an email list, and they build their author business entirely around it.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I writing for a specific niche, or do I change topics often?
  • What do my readers like about my work? If you aren’t sure yet, find out why people are reading your stuff.
  • What email marketing service am I using to collect email addresses?

Pro Author Trait #8: Recognize the Importance of Rewriting

Every great author knows that the real writing isn’t in the first draft—the real work towards greatness begins during the self-editing phase. The first draft offers a framework for the book and the rewrite is the guts of the machine; it’s here that all the sweating and crying pays off.

Writing is 10% talent and 90% hard work. The pros spend about 20% of their efforts on the first draft and the rest goes towards rewriting, revising, pulling their hair out, and refining the manuscript until they get it to the point that it’s good enough to ship to the editor.

Many authors, even the pros, can get bogged down in editing. This is especially true when the perfectionist monster is on your back. But real pros know that an unfinished book is an unpublished book, and nobody reads a book that isn’t published.

In a very tiny nutshell, here’s how to be a writer:

Be a pro.

Revise your work.

Let a professional editor polish it.

Ship your product.

Ask Yourself:

  • Do I spend enough time on rewriting?
  • Do I get bogged down in the editing phase and need to ship it to the editor?

Pro Author Trait #9: Ship Product Consistently Despite Their Fears

As Seth Godin says:

“Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly. Skip meetings. Often. Skip them with impunity. Ship…The paradox of our time is that the instincts that kept us safe in the day of the saber tooth tiger and General Motors are precisely the instincts that will turn us into road kill in a faster than fast internet-fueled era. The resistance is waiting. Fight it. Ship.”

James Patterson published 15 titles last year. Indie author Patrick King publishes a book every 4-5 weeks.

Pro authors are always putting out content and creating. But shipping raises fear in many people. Let’s face it, it’s scary to put stuff out there for everyone to judge and criticize. But if you want to become the professional you know you can be, you have to ship your product as often as you can.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I stuck because I’m afraid of shipping my book?
  • How can I get over the fear of putting my content out there?

Pro Author Trait #10: Become a Master of Rejection

If there is any one trait that a professional writer has it is this: the ability to keep pushing forward despite the critics, naysayers, and abundant forms of rejection. You’ve no doubt heard the stories of power authors like Rowling and Grisham, King and Margaret Mitchell. Getting rejected or having your draft torn apart by critics and reviewers can crush your confidence, but only if you let it.

The one trait that turns an average person into extraordinary is the ability of taking rejection and crushing through the barrier of being told “No.” The authors who make it develop grit. In psychology, grit is based on your passion for a particular long-term goal, alongside motivation to achieve your objective. In other words, you get what you want when you want it badly enough.

Ask Yourself:

  • How badly do I want to write this book?
  • Am I passionate about the story or content I am crafting?

How Bad Do You Want It?

Success as an author rarely happens by accident. It’s a combination of strategic planning, your mental attitude, and perseverance. Whether you are struggling to write your first book, or you already have a thriving business based on writing, by sticking to the 10 traits of successful authors, you can take your writing career to an all new level.

Now you know how to be a writer. But are you going to do it? Imagine where you could be in six months from now once you implement these traits and make it happen.

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!

Time for Writing: 8 Steps to Become a Weekend Writing Warrior

Time for Writing: 8 Steps to Become a Weekend Writing Warrior

Carving out the time to write a book requires planning, persistence, and at times, a lot of caffeine. Even with all the right elements in place, making time for writing is a major undertaking, especially when your days are filled with commitments to work, family, and social activities.

So, you have a dream to write that book, but you’re locked into a schedule that’s keeping you from pursuing your dream. I know the routine: Get up, work all day, come home and make dinner, and look after the kids (or unwind in front of the TV) and then you fall into bed, exhausted, before you have to do it all again the next day. When the weekend comes, you just want to kick back, take it easy, and put the week behind you. Then Monday comes around and the rat race starts all over again. Soon you can hear yourself making excuses for all the reasons why you didn’t write:

“I was so busy this week I just didn’t have time…”

“I’ll do it next week when I’m more organized…”

“I’ll start writing when I’m feeling more motivated…”

“I’ll get to it once I quit my day job and have more time…”

But as you know by now, there’s never a perfect time. We’re always busy with something. And if we don’t take action when we can, the excuses will keep coming until we run out of time forever. Don’t let your dream die. I’m going to help you get your book done.

Time for Writing: 8 Steps to Becoming a Weekend Writing Warrior

By becoming a weekend writing warrior, you can get it done. I know because I’ve done it. In this post I’ll share with you my 8 step strategy for writing a book on the weekends even if your week is crazy busy.

1. Start With Intentional Planning

When it comes to getting your writing done, strategy is everything. Without a plan, you drift; and when you drift, you end up back where you started, wasting more time while procrastinating. The key to writing a book on your weekends is to get plan out how you will use your writing time. If you know ahead of time what you’ll be focusing on, where you’ll be writing and for how long, when it comes time to start writing, you’ll show up ready for keyboard action.

Our intentional planning model should consist of:

  • Researching topics, articles, and interviews
  • Chapter mind mapping
  • Crafting an outline

A good craftsman always shows up to create with his best tools. As writers, we need to spend time preparing to write before showing up at the keyboard. You want to do any necessary research outside of your writing time, not during it. Stopping just to check that “one thing” breaks your writing flow (and often sends you off into the wilds of the internet, never to return).

During my writing sessions, if I get stuck and need to check on something, I’ll make a note in the paragraph like CBL [Come Back Later].

You can set up your chapters as well by doing brief mind maps for each. If you have crafted your book’s outline already, this should be easy. Take a few minutes each day during the week to do a quick outline for each chapter. You don’t have to write anything until the weekend, but at the very least, make some notes about what you’re going to write when the weekend comes so you’re prepared.

2. Setting Up Your Writing Space

Your writing environment has a huge influence on how your writing sessions flow. Will you write in a coffee shop? A quiet room? Under the stairs? Locked in a closet with just your laptop and a light bulb? Wherever you choose to write, it should be at least comfortable and a place you can stay focused for long periods of time.

My environment consists of my computer, motivational quotes, and mind maps for my books. Decorating your writing space adds to inspiration, but also serves as a reminder: This is where you write. Make it a place that you can enjoy creating in. But does it have to be just the one place? Of course not.

You can change writing locations and have two or three designated spots. I would recommend having a primary spot you write in consistently, but have another place set up that you can get to just in case you need to change locations. Try out several places and see what works best. Take note of how you feel working in your creative element.

Is it comfortable? Are you comfortable? Is it an energetic spot or, do you feel irritated and restless? Do you work better in a place that’s quiet [private room] or super noisy [Starbucks]?

On days when I spend all day writing, I’ll break it up into two different locales: one is my writing room, and the other is a coffee shop. If the noise is a problem, I’ll wear headphones and tune out everything with some mellow writing music.

3. Show Up With Your Mind Map and Book Outline

I have shown up many times to write only to realize I had no plan for what I was writing. This leads to procrastination and then I look for something else to occupy my time. Know what you are going to write by planning beforehand. Developing your mind map or a book outline is the surest way to start cutting into the pages.

Before you become a weekend writer, you’ll need your mind map and outline. If you start writing without having done these important steps first, you’ll eventually end up stuck. Make sure you have your book fully mind mapped and a general working book outline.

Use your outline as a checklist to get your words down on paper with purpose. Each of your writing block sessions should have a clear purpose as to what you are going to write.

4. Eliminate Internet Distractions

One of the biggest obstacles writers face is being pulled out of their “writing zone” by message indicators, vibrations, and pop-ups. This includes notifications that “you’ve got email” or, better yet, someone that you don’t even know has just liked one of your comments on Facebook and you feel that need to check it out right away. My advice: unplug yourself from all things connected to the Internet.

Here is what you do:

Option 1: Unplug yourself completely from the internet. Turn off Wi-Fi or physically unplug your network cable. This is the best option to separate yourself from the internet during your writing time. This is the “zero tolerance” method that I use as my number one choice for getting things done.

Option 2: Use productivity apps to eliminate or cut down on time spent checking certain sites. Use an app such as RescueTime to block the sites that distract you by choosing the amount of time you need to focus.

RescueTime send you updates via email to let you know how much time was spent on certain websites. This is good to know, because the next time you catch yourself saying “I didn’t have time to write” but you spent three unproductive hours on a certain site, you can channel this time into your weekend writing schedule.

Two more apps I recommend are: Cold Turkey and SelfControl [for Mac]. Both apps are designed to reduce or eliminate wasted time, and this means higher focus and more time targeted for writing words fast.

In a nutshell: Sit Down. Unplug. Focus. Write.

5. Establishing a Writing Schedule & Time Slots

When time is limited, it’s important to be strategic in how you use it. In the previous step, we took action by cutting off our interaction with the Internet during our writing time. The next thing we want to do is decide:

  • How long are your writing sessions going to be? 25 minutes? 40 minutes? One hour?
  • How many writing sessions are you doing today?

For example, I’ll do three one-hour sessions in a day. I’ll write for one hour, take a ten minute break, repeat. During the break, get up and move around, stretch or grab some coffee.

How to Set Up Your Writing Session

One option is to use the Pomodoro Technique. Self-published author Steve Scott, who has written close to 70 books, utilized the Pomodoro Technique to structure his writing time. Set your timer for 25 minutes and write. Take a five minute break, and repeat. This system works really well and is great for getting focused and writing in short bursts.

If you want to go longer, set your timer for sixty minutes. I use the timer on my iPhone. Set it for the time you are committed to writing and GO. You should focus only on your writing during this period. No research, editing, or breaking the writing flow, unless there’s a house fire. Just write.

Set a goal for yourself to crank out one thousand words in an hour. These are longer stretches and can be tough for some people so if you are struggling, start with the Pomodoro System and ease your way into doing longer sessions.

Free Course: Discover my blueprint to go
from blank page to bestseller in 90 days

If you want to finish your book, you need a roadmap. That’s why I’m sharing some of the best strategies and tricks other bestselling authors paid thousands of dollars to get — yours FREE.

Here’s what you’ll get:
The EXACT blueprint to FINALLY cross “write a book” off your bucket list — in just 90 days
The Bestselling Book Launch Blueprint behind dozens of bestsellers
Case studies of bestselling authors who made $1,287, $5,500, even $12,424.03 from their first book

Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now

6. Set Your Word Count Target

Many people get overwhelmed when they think about writing a book. But if you write 3000 words a day on the weekends, you can be done with the first draft of your book in a month. If you plan ahead and set your writing goal at a pace of 800-1200 words per hour, you’ll be done in thirty hours of writing time. This might seem like a lot but think about it:

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week? How much time do you spend at the office? How much time do you spend checking email or on social media?

It can be done, and you can do this!

Set a daily word count target for yourself. Be strategic about this and take a rough guess how long your book is going to be. If I know I’m planning to write a 25,000-word novella, if I crank out 6000 words per weekend, I can complete a draft in a month. If your book is shorter or longer, you can adjust to fit your target deadline.

You can easily track your word count in Scrivener. You can also use a Google spreadsheet or a simple Excel spreadsheet. By tracking your progress, you have a clear indication of how close you’re getting to your goal. It’s also highly motivating to know you’re making progress.

7. Reward Yourself

There’s a famous proverb that says: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I have no idea who Jack was, but I do know that if you spend your entire weekend writing, you’re going to need some R&R at the end of it.

This is a critical stage. If you spend week after week putting in time at work and then working more on the weekend, even if it is a passion project like writing your novel, you’ll get burned out and feel less inspired when the next weekend comes around.

You deserve a break. Do something for yourself. Go to a movie. Take your friends out to dinner. Get away from the manuscript. I usually end the weekend by engaging in some fun activities such as:

  • Watching a movie
  • Spending time with the kids
  • Taking a long walk or running
  • Taking a long drive and thinking about future goals and what I accomplished this weekend
  • Meditating or working out

8. Plan Your Next Writing Weekend

There’s one more stage after you have wrapped things up at the end of your writing weekend. This is an important step. Before you pack it up, take ten minutes to draft a quick action plan for the week. This consists of the book research, chapter outlining, and anything else you need to do outside of the writing process.

I do this step Sunday night before bed. Then, when the week starts I know exactly what work on to set myself up for success the following weekend.

The alternative to this is to spend five minutes each night writing down what you’ll do the next day. Do you need to outline your next chapter? Tighten up your overall book outline? Reach out to any online influencers about your next book release?

This step is part of the intentional planning phase that will keep you focused. So even while you are busy in the week with your other commitments, having a short list to refer to makes your mission clear.

The weekend is nearly here again. Are you ready? Don’t make excuses—get your book written. You can do this. If you follow the 8-step plan, three months from now you can be celebrating the publication of your next book.

The next time someone asks you the question: “How do you find the time to write?” You can now tell them: “Oh, it’s easy. I write books on 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!

Writing a Book? 9 Killer Research Tips

Writing a Book? 9 Killer Research Tips

“Pencils down.” It’s a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of students. What if we didn’t write enough? What if all the answers are wrong? Too bad, you’re stuck with your final essay. It’s done and you can’t go back. There’s something about the finality of closing the door on any cerebral project that’s tough. We don’t want to miss anything—whether that’s a key piece of information or a witty quote. When it comes to writing books, we get it—ending your research and starting your draft is daunting.

It’s possible to go on researching forever, really. But then you’ll never publish your book! Virtually all non-fiction work and most fiction works will require at least some research to complete a final draft.

Writing a Book: How to Research

How do you research quickly and efficiently, yet thoroughly—so you have that sense of completeness so you can start writing your book? We’re going to give you nine killer research tips so you can publish your book and share your message with your readers.

1. When in Doubt, Stop! 

Listen to your inner voice. If you think you might be done researching, you probably are.

Research is innately time-consuming. You waste precious time clicking away, looking for that one “perfect” piece of research. You have finite time, energy, and motivation. If you find yourself drained (rather than inspired) by the amount of research you’ve done, you’re probably done.

Done is better than perfect. Time to write.

If that sounds blasé, then please keep reading. We don’t want you to do a bad job—but we do want you to finish writing your book. Here’s how to research effectively—and fast:

2. “Backload” Research

This a concept which may strike you as controversial: Write first, research second. “That’s odd,” you may be thinking.

Hear us out. Consider this scenario: You’re working on your draft, and you hit a spot where you feel stuck. You don’t know the answer to a question that arises in your manuscript, so you switch over to Google and start poking around for the answer. Soon you find yourself wandering around the internet as if you came into a room to find something, but you can’t for the life of you remember what it was.

And here is where you find yourself at the end of your writing time…watching cat videos, and you don’t even like cats.

The problem with researching while you’re writing is that you squash your momentum. Your draft will take longer to finish and it will be harder to write if you need to jump out of your writing mindset to switch over to research.

The solution: Don’t research at all until after your rough draft is finished.

Free Course: Discover my blueprint to go
from blank page to bestseller in 90 days

If you want to finish your book, you need a roadmap. That’s why I’m sharing some of the best strategies and tricks other bestselling authors paid thousands of dollars to get — yours FREE.

Here’s what you’ll get:
The EXACT blueprint to FINALLY cross “write a book” off your bucket list — in just 90 days
The Bestselling Book Launch Blueprint behind dozens of bestsellers
Case studies of bestselling authors who made $1,287, $5,500, even $12,424.03 from their first book

Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now

3. “TK” is Your Friend 

Here’s an editorial trick: When you hit an impasse in your draft and you’re tempted to look something up, whether that’s a quote, a proper name, or details about a location, mark that TBD spot with the letters “TK.” TK annotates a spot in your draft to return to when it’s time to research. Then keep writing!

By setting aside your research for later, you can keep moving on your draft and fill in the small details later. This prevents you from taking up all your time with research and avoiding writing. 

4. Turn off the Internet 

Turn off the Internet while you’re writing. Madness, you say? Well, why do you need the Internet? You’re going to do your research when you’re done writing, so the Internet is just distracting you. Write now. Google later.

Some pro writers say they like to take their laptop to a locale with no Wi-Fi so there’s zero temptation. Try an Internet desert for a day or two and see if it improves your writing pace. 

5. Keep it Organized 

When you find a key piece of research, file it so you can track it down later. Whether you do this with a virtual folder on your laptop, an actual folder in your desk, or with a tool like Evernote or Scrivener, the idea is the same. You need to compile all your resources together in one place so you can find it later.

Organization now will make adding research to your manuscript later easier and quicker. When your draft is done, you can put your hands on your resources right away.

6. Red Text Marks the Spot 

If you’re humming along in your draft and hit the crossroads of a quote or stat, switch your text color to red to highlight that you need to come back. Red text marks the spot that needs later attention and you can keep drafting.

Of course if you used the “TK” tip above you don’t need this step, because then you can just use ‘Control F’ to find where you placed TK in your draft. However, the red text will give you a visual STOP so you know this is an area that needs more research just by looking at it. Call it extra insurance so you don’t miss anything.

7. Hired Guns

There’s no shame in outsourcing your research needs. For the most cost-effective resource, consider an intern. Or, if you need to hire a pro, look to Upwork to find a good researcher—be sure to check ratings and consider giving applicants a short test to make sure they’re up for the task.

8. Add it All In 

Batching your work is a trick of the productive. By segmenting what you need to get done, you maintain focus without the need to switch from unrelated task to unrelated task. When your first draft is finished, return to the designated areas that required research, which you marked with “TK” or red text. Fill in these gaps and add in all your research at once.

9. Finish Your Draft 

Remind yourself that your goal right now is not the most perfectly researched book, it’s a finished one. You’re not going to be selling your research on Amazon, you’re going to be selling your story.

Writing a book is a mind game. Don’t let the lure of research (or cat videos!) distract you from finishing your draft. With our tips, you now know how to manage your research and get to work on writing.

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 Editor: 7 Tips for Working With a Pro

Book Editor: 7 Tips for Working With a Pro

If this is your first time writing and self-publishing a book, then working with a book editor may be novel ground. (Pun intended. Hardy-har-har.) Let’s get one thing out of the way: we encourage all self-published authors to hire a book editor. Nothing will tank a book faster than a whole bunch of reviews complaining about typos.

A good book editor can help turn your book from a ‘ho-hum’ draft into a polished manuscript. So give your book the best chance of success that you can, and get a pro to get your manuscript into tiptop shape before publication.

A lot of first-time authors make the mistake of editing their book to death, never progressing far enough to finish their book and getting to the publishing phase. Others think they can toss a messy draft at an editor and expect them to fix everything. There’s a happy medium between making your draft good enough for an editor—and trusting when it’s time for your editor to step in and take over.

With that in mind, in this article, we help you navigate the process of getting your book edited—both by you and your editor—so you can get published faster. Here are seven tips for getting your book through the editing phase:

1. Edit Quickly

If you make the mistake of editing extensively, especially while you’re still actively writing, you potentially set yourself up for a major headache, which can delay publishing your book.

Look at the example of Scott Allan. Before he joined Self-Publishing School, he spent two years working on a voluminous self-help tome. His first draft clocked in at an impressive 90,000 words. He spent months perfecting each word. In the blink of an eye, six more months had elapsed, and he had not only sucked himself into the drain of editing, he hadn’t written anything new since he became stuck in self-edit mode.

For one year, he wrote (and rewrote!) the book three times. Why, you might wonder? In his words, “I suppose I didn’t know any better, first of all. That was before I learned the expression ‘Done is better than perfect.’ I was under the impression that it wasn’t done until it was perfect.” 

Months later, he found an expensive editor to take on his book, but the author couldn’t stop tweaking the material. Tweaking lead to rewriting…and the book which had been so carefully drafted, then rewritten, then tweaked, never saw the light of day. The book was never actually published.

Allan says, “Painful lesson learned: Unpublished books don’t make money!”

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Eventually, the author went on to write Pathways to Mastery and publish it on Amazon. Using the lessons learned during his first failed self-publishing attempt, the author spent just eight months writing and only two months editing this time.

Since writing Pathways to Mastery, Allan has gone on to write and publish three more books, with a significant reduction in writing and editing time for each successive book. His latest book was in the editing phase for only three weeks.

Key Takeaway: An unpublished draft won’t earn any money or build your author name. Keep it simple: Draft first, then edit quickly.

2. Accept Imperfections

Letting go of perfectionism is one of the hardest things to do. It sounds doable in theory, but in practice? It’s a challenge.

Many writers strive for perfection—the perfect grammar, spelling, and choice of words. Especially when the story we’re putting out there is our first book, or about an intensely personal topic, it ups the ante significantly. We’ve been there, and we get it.

Here’s what you need to remember: Nothing in life is perfect. No person, book, nor writer. You can spend forever and your book still won’t be 100% “perfect.” The editing phase can be rough because of the personal investment and attachment we have to our books.

Key Takeaway: Instead of striving for the mythical unicorn of book perfection, strive for a reality-based “as good as this book can be.”

3. Do a Quick First Revision

Before you give your book to your editor, you want to do a read-through to catch any glaring errors. Say this with me: rip off the Band-Aid. Make your first revision fast.

Here’s the best way to make that change of phase from writing to editing: when you’re done with your first draft, circle back and do a quick-and-dirty first revision. This involves a rapid read of the book, just to get a feel of what you’ve written.

Brace yourself. This phase might just be the most painful part of the editorial process. This is because it’s the first time you’re looking at your book with a critical eye and reviewing the results of your first draft.

You need to make sure your book makes sense and that it doesn’t miss any words that would confuse a reader to the point that they don’t understand what you’re trying to say. This will reduce the back-and-forth hand-offs between you and your editor and will shorten to overall editing phase.

If you notice any major problems, like plot holes or missing information, make a note of them but save these bigger edits for the next round of revisions.

Your mental game needs to be strong here. You’re going to think, “I really suck. I hate writing, I hate my book, and I’d rather watch Netflix than ever look at this crap again.” The Buddha once said: “All things must pass.” Namaste, my friend. You’ll get through this phase and eventually love yourself (and your writing!) again.

Key Takeaway: Give your book the chance it deserves. Right now, it’s just you alone with your book. Make this first revision quick.

4. Read Your First Pass Out Loud

During your first pass, it’s necessary to read your book out loud to yourself. Your ear processes words in a way that your eyes may not so this gives you sense of pacing, chapter structure, and tone.

While you’re reading out loud, try to read through the eyes of a reader. Imagine what your ideal reader looks like and how they’d feel reading this. Visualize their experience with your book.

During this read-through, don’t stop to make large corrections. Just use a red pen or highlighter to take notes of the obvious mistakes. Simply mark or circle these errors to come back to later.

Put yourself on the clock when you do this. Time yourself for ten-twenty minutes per chapter and keep reading the whole draft through to completion.

Key Takeaway: Reading out loud during your first pass can help with tone and pacing. Do this quickly, with a timer. 

5. Delve Deeper With a Second Pass 

Your next step is to go back to the beginning of the book and do a second pass. Your second revision should delve deeper.

As you read, stay alert to passages that have “holes” or sections of the book which need to be filled out more. Think of the analogy of building a home: First the frame goes up, then you build the walls. Keep adding to your book until your story and message is clear.

Some of us have a tendency to change our voice from one paragraph to the next. Tone shift is something that a strong editor will pick up on, but to the extent you can make things consistent, you should.

As this point, your book should be more polished. Your book still isn’t perfect (remember we cautioned against perfect!) but at this stage, you should have a working manuscript which should be close to publishable.

Key Takeaway: Your second pass should fill in the gaps in your story or chapters, and keep tone consistent.

6. Hand Over the Reins to an Editor

One of the hardest parts of the editorial relationship is handing over your passion project to a complete stranger.

You may be thinking, “What? I’m giving it to a complete stranger who doesn’t know me—and doesn’t understand the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this—just so they can mark it up and tell me about all the things I did wrong?!” There’s a reason the editor-writer relationship can feel fraught. It’s because while your book is deeply personal to you, whereas for the editor, it’s just another day at the office.

Your editor’s job is to care about the flow of the book, the grammar, spelling, and in some cases, content. They will take your draft and elevate it to a readable manuscript. Try not to take it personally or push back at their criticism.

Your editor will shape your draft into a “good” book to publish. Notice the deliberate choice of words—we didn’t say perfect! A “good” book is enjoyable, useful, readable and publishable.

Key Takeaway: Don’t take your editor’s constructive criticism personally. You have the same end goal: a good book!

7. Impersonate a Certain Disney Princess 

Time to just Let it Go.

Send your draft off to your editor and celebrate. Put up your feet and queue up your Netflix binge. You’ve certainly earned it!

By the time you’re done with your own revisions and have added and subtracted material, your editorial return time shouldn’t take more than a week—or two, max. 

Key Takeaway: Just get your draft into the hands of your editor! Let them worry now. You’ve done the heavy lifting.

It’s easy to get bogged down in perfection, and it’s tempting to hold on tightly to your work. It can be a natural reaction to pouring your heart and soul into your dreams. But the quicker you can move your first draft through to the editing phase, the sooner you’ll achieve your dream of a published 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!

Become a Motivational Speaker (Why All Authors Should)

Become a Motivational Speaker (Why All Authors Should)

There’s a common misconception about professional authors that prevents many people from realizing their dream of going pro. If you think an author’s only job is writing, you’re mistaken. If you want to become a professional author, there’s so much more to the job than jamming away on your computer all day. When you learn how to become a motivational speaker, you’re much better able to build a strong brand as an author.

8 Reasons Why You Should Become a Motivational Speaker

Once your book is published, your next move can help pave the way for your book’s success. When you branch out into speaking engagements, you may discover for yourself these eight surprising ways becoming a motivational speaker helps you as an author.

1. Becoming a Speaker Sets You Apart

The truth is, the world of self-published books is quickly becoming a saturated field. That means you need to do whatever it takes to bring attention to your book, including being assertive about marketing. We author and writer types are often reserved and introverted, and may not seek out public speaking opportunities. If you’re a speaker AND an author, you stand out from those one-trick ponies!

While some authors prefer to stay out of the spotlight, that’s not a wise marketing move. To find readers and make a name for yourself, you need to put yourself out there. Speaking engagements garner attention for your book, and set you apart from the (shy!) pack who aren’t as comfortable in the limelight.

The good news is that even if you aren’t a born speaker, you can learn the skills you need to become comfortable on the stage.

2. Speaking Engagements Make You a Better Writer

Learning the art of both forms of communication—writing and speaking—will bode well for your career. Reading passages from your book is commonplace at book launches, author events, and speaking engagements. The beauty of this exercise is that you get to see your words through a different lens—that of your readers. You can see the real-world, real-time impact your words have on others. Not only is this a cool feeling, it can help you tailor your next book to whatever your audience responds best to.

3. Speaking Establishes You as an Expert

People make value judgments, and if you’re speaking in front of a specific group about your passions, then you MUST be an expert, right? While writing a book can also establish you as an expert, there’s something about standing up in front of a crowd that solidifies you in that “expert” light.

Speaking engagements in your professional area or your book’s niche will earn you professional credibility within that community. Your perceived authority and prestige will be boosted by your association with the event you choose to speak at. 

4. Speaking Fees Generate Income

Speaking fees can add up when you consistently book speaking engagements. If you do it enough, speaking can become a significant income stream for you as an author. In fact, speaking fees can even surpass the money you make from book sales.

The more speaking engagements you book, the higher the rate you can demand for your services. The more you speak, the better you’ll be at it, thereby opening the door to lucrative engagements, like keynote speaking at large events.

5. Speaking Gigs Sell More Books

If you knock-it-out-the-park with your speech, you’ll have attendees clamoring to buy your book. “Back of the room” sales can boost your book’s success! Take your books to your events, and press-the-flesh in the back of the room. Sign, smile, and meet your fans, and you’ll make money while feeling like a rock star in the process.

Want my best Done-For-You Plans to finish your book faster?

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Click here to learn more now!

6. Becoming a Speaker Broadens Your Network

Public speaking enables you to connect with your fans and create new fans. If you make a connection with your speech, and you take the time to develop a relationship by answering questions and signing books, you’re marketing yourself, your brand, and your books.

By extension, this type of marketing will result in your fans talking about you to other potential fans. The word will spread that you’re a speaker who must be heard, and an author who must be read. Leverage these connections by collecting emails at your speaking engagements, so you can follow up on future speaking dates and book releases.

7. Speech Writing Lets You Test New Ideas

Perhaps you have a cool new idea for a blog post or a book topic. Write up a speech and try it out during a small speaking engagement, before committing it to print. This is how big-time comedians test their material: a surprise appearance at a tiny venue. They get to see up close the audience’s reaction to what they’re saying so they can refine their messaging.

You can join Toastmasters International if you’d rather not test material on a “real” audience.  Interacting with your audience and getting their read on your material can help you decide whether your ideas are publication-worthy.

8. Speaking Generates New Income Sources

CDs, DVDs, courses, workshops: all of these options are secondary sources of income from your book and your role as a speaker. The more prolific you become as a speaker, the more marketable your additional revenue streams will become.

Even if you start off speaking for free to ten students at the local community college, your speaking career can evolve to higher levels. If you’ve recently been published in a well-known publication, had a media appearance, or hit a best-seller list, you can up your speaking engagement fee and product prices accordingly.

Being a writer is great, but if you want to become a professional author,  then speaking is a great next step in making sure your book makes into the hands of your intended audience. When you share your message, you’re opening the door of possibility for new, exciting opportunities for you as 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!

Speaking Engagements: Your First Gig as an Author

Speaking Engagements: Your First Gig as an Author

Once you’ve done the hard work of writing and publishing your book, it’s time to consider getting some speaking engagements so you can spread the word about your book’s message. As an author, it’s highly possible you’ve convinced yourself that speaking in front of an audience simply isn’t for you—after all, you’re a writer, not a speaker…right? That’s not exactly true.

While the walls of publishing are coming down, and there’s never been a better time to become a published author, this means there’s an awful lot of competition. The authors who are willing to put themselves out there—whether in the form of speaking gigs, media, or other in-person appearances—have the best chance of standing out from the crowd and grabbing the attention of book buyers.

Speaking Engagements: How to Land Your First Gig as an Author

We’re not saying it can’t be nerve-wracking to stand up in front of a crowd. That’s why we recommend starting small, saying “yes” to multiple opportunities, and getting lots of practice. This isn’t a one-and-done proposition if you truly want speaking to become an effective piece of your “professional author” repertoire.

So, how exactly should you land that first speaking engagement? Read on for our ten tips, and you’ll soon be writing your notecards for your debut talk.

1. Start Local

Conferences are a natural place for speakers of all levels to take the stage. However, don’t feel as though you have to limit yourself to formal settings to find speaking engagements. Any group where your desired audience gathers can provide a chance for you to speak.

You could speak to students, to religious organizations, women’s groups, at your library, local business associations…the list is endless! Look around your own community and make a mental list of all the places where you might ask to speak. 

2. Speak to Your Niche

If your book is geared toward a specific nich