We can’t deny that lead generation is only getting more difficult.
With so much exposure online, people are used to seeing these techniques to generate leads.
Which means we have to be more creative with the ways we generate leads moving in 2020 and beyond.
But what if I told you there were a few key methods that almost no one is using that have personally worked for me to grow from 0 to over $6 million over the past 4 years?
Interested? It’s a personal method I use daily to bring in only the most qualified leads and I’m finally sharing the details with you.
Lead Generation in a Nutshell
For those of you new to lead generation, it’s just a more complex way of saying “collecting potential customers.”
A “lead” is defined as, “someone or something that may be useful, especially a potential customer or business opportunity.”
These are people who usually choose to opt-in to something on your site, via social, or even Youtube. They’ve raised their hand to say, “I want more content from you!”
And that’s great, because you’ll eventually hope to close them on your product or service. But first, you have to acquire them, which is what this post is all about.
What makes a great lead magnet?
If you want to generate a lot of leads, you’ll need a couple high-quality lead magnets.
A lead magnet is just that: a way to attract new leads.
Usually, you’ll find these lead magnets as downloads, sign-ups, discount offers—anything where they must trade their name and email (and sometimes phone number) in exchange for something you’re providing.
Here at SPS, we’ve got several of these, all tailored for a specific avatar and located in areas that make sense for them.
And that’s one of the most important pieces of a great lead magnet: it’s placed strategically.
Here are a few more criteria for a great lead magnet:
Easily accessible, the fewer steps people have to go through, the more likely they’ll fully opt-in
It has to be something they need (and is relevant to their pains)
It has to solve a problem or make a huge promise
It has to add value
It should be as unique as it can be
How to Generate High Quality Leads in 2020
As I mentioned above, finding ways to get people to opt-in is getting harder the more technology advances. You’d think it’d be easier because of that, but people are getting smarter—they know what you’re doing.
That means we have to start pushing the envelope when it comes to lead generation.
Here are a few of my favorite methods of generating leads for Self-Publishing School.
#1 – Free + Shipping Funnel
This is by far the best lead gen tool we have here at SPS, and we’ve coined it as the “Book Leverage Loop”, as you can see below.
If you’ve visited this site before, you may have seen a slider to buy a free copy of my bestselling book Published.
Yes, I give these books away, and only ask that they pay for shipping at a $7.99 price point. The value prop here is the book itself, and the fact that it’s completely free.
Better yet, people who buy this book end up being some of our most qualified leads that come in, closing at a much higher rate, which brings down cost to acquire a customer significantly.
How to do it yourself:
Obviously, the first step is to write and publish a book—successfully, that is, which requires a proven system for a lucrative launch and a method for obtaining great book reviews.
#2 – Publish a book
Different than the method above because in this case, the people finding your book on Amazon are now a new lead gen channel for you to optimize.
We here at Self-Publishing School teach our students how to optimize their books effectively for lead generation, and this method has even brought in several thousand dollars of business work for our students.
There’s a reason I’m so passionate about this method of lead gen.
Firstly, not many people are doing it. They think it takes too long to write and publish a book, so they don’t even bother. When in reality, it can take less than 90 days to publish a quality book.
Secondly, it establishes your credibility and trust almost immediately. And we all know how hard this portion of converting leads really is. Usually this takes an entire follow-up sequences, texts, and value-adds just to get to this place. But a book does this almost instantly.
The fact that you’re a published author is enough for most people to trust you as an authority in your field.
And lastly, it’s the best damn business card you could ever have.
#3 – Optimize your content
Don’t make the same mistakes I did in Self-Publishing School’s website’s early days.
We got very good at ranking our content organically but our organic revenue numbers weren’t really budging.
The issue there? We didn’t optimize the blog posts themselves for conversion.
The content also has to be written in a way that’s informative, optimized for search engines, but also copywritten so new viewers opt-in.
This might seem like a no-brainer but I’ve seen it all too often: people want to bring in that traffic and so it’s their sole focus, forgetting that when the traffic does come (which it will if you’re at this game long enough), they have to be able to capitalize on it by bringing them further down your funnel.
#4 – Extremely time-sensitive offers
Currently, most people are over-exposed to “get this deal while it lasts” tactics because we see it too much and most of us know it’s not actually real in the sense that you can usually head back to that deal the next day and see the same “One Day Only!” offer.
But if you take it a step further and make it a genuine, time-sensitive offer (meaning you actually shut off the deal when you say you will), it can bring in leads rapidly.
Trying something like an hourly time-stamp can push people to make a choice to opt-in faster because FOMO (fear of missing out) is real.
#5 – Quizzes and Assessments
If there’s one thing that’s universally true, it’s that people want to learn more about themselves—specific to something that’s causing them a good deal of hardship.
Quizzes and assessments are fantastic tools to pull in leads you can further qualify at the backend.
People like Michael Hyatt and Jenna Kutcher use these methods to grow their email list and scale their businesses. Jenna Kutcher is even featured on Interact’s Homepage with the quiz she created through them.
The key with these times of lead generation techniques is to be intentional about making them valuable. So don’t just create a quiz with random questions and answers—they should actually work and do what you advertise.
Here at Self-Publishing School, our Author DNA Assessment brings in about 3,000 leads per month from this website.
You can check that assessment out here:
#6 – Find manual leads on social
Most people will ignore this one because it’s “too time consuming.” Which I get. Personally, it’s not too realistic for me to hop on Instagram or Twitter and manually message people.
But if you can get someone on your team responsible for this, you can find really hot leads lurking on your pages.
The best people to message are those who have interacted (comments, liked, etc.) on your content repeatedly and continuously. Even people who have already messaged you.
These people are even desperate for contact with you. Not only that, but they’re showing up and adding to your online presence, which only bodes well for your company when they do convert.
#7 – Chatbots
There are so many things you can do with chatbots nowadays.
It really adds a personal touch and those who end up “chatting” with you are typically a warmer sale than those who opted in for a gated piece of content because of that personal touch.
And the best part? You can automate it so it does the work for you.
Michael Hyatt over at BusinessAccelerator.com even uses one as a sort of assessment (for segmenting) and as a lead capture.
They use this in a few, really smart steps.
Step 1: Collapsed chatbot – Here all they do to get you to open the bot is have a “…” present, but the fact that it’s a chatbot will make those interested open it in the first place.
Step 2: Ask a segmenting question – This is a really great opportunity for his team to collect leads in a distributed method, segmenting people based on what their interest is, which allows them to better craft follow-ups and email sequences that convert at a higher rate.
Step 3: Collect contact information – Before giving anyone further help, they collect the contact information in order to convert down the line, making this a solid lead capture.
Most chatbot software is super easy to use and integrates with your email marketing software—and your email software might actually already have a chatbot in its features (like Hubspot does).
#8 – Spinning wheel
If you sell or offer low-ticket products, a spinning wheel with different “prizes” can be a fun way to pull viewers into the products you offers.
It’s kind of a 3-for-1 in the sense that the wheel is animated and colorful (usually), which catches their eye. Secondly, it displays several offers so prospects can see just what you give in value. And lastly, they get something of value from it!
Here’s an example of what a spinning wheel to generate leads looks like:
#9 – Giveaways
I think we can all agree that people love free stuff.
Giveaways are an amazing way to bring in new contacts while segmenting as well. If they sign up, they’re clearly interested in receiving whatever it is you’re giving away.
We’ve done a couple Kindle giveaways for people who opt-in (as well as subscribe to our Youtube channel and comment), but you can make the giveaway criteria whatever you want, really.
We not only used it as a means of generating leads, but also to grow our Youtube account.
#10 – Ebook downloads
When blogs were just coming up and the kindle (and publishing ebooks) were all the rage, you’d be surprised not to see an ebook giveaway on a website as a gated offer.
You still see this today!
People love free content, especially something described as a “book” because it means there’s a good deal of content and therefore, value.
#11 – Cheatsheets
We all want shortcuts. We’re busy and we want to save time, so positioning something as a “cheatsheet” to cut down on the time it takes to do or complete something is a hot lead gen offer.
Here’s an example of what that could look like:
Something to note: sometimes these can just be a sheet with information. When it comes to this lead magnet, a lengthy download isn’t expected.
#12 – Checklists
We use this lead magnet in order to capture leads coming in when they’re ready to launch. It’s our “Book Launch Checklist” and it’s literally just that: a checklist of what should be done before hitting “publish.”
These are really quick and easy to make, since people aren’t expecting much more than a simple sheet with boxes they can check off.
You can get creative with this
#13 – Templates / Blueprints
The word “blueprint” is actually really popular right now. Everyone wants the exact “blueprint” for doing something correctly.
A great way to make this offer irresistible is to tie money to it. Something that says, “How a Busy Mom Made $43,000 in One Month” is far more alluring than “How a Busy Mom Published Her Book”.
And, as always, make sure these are quality. Provide screenshots, hard numbers, and a real testimonial (videos are even better).
#16 – Toolkits
Here’s another example of a lead generation method that solves two major pains: the time and the know-how.
Most people can probably end up searching for a bunch of tools they need for whatever they’re doing, but if you have an easy download with all the tools they could need, it’s a no-brainer to opt-in.
Bonus points if you’re a powerhouse around what the toolkit offers.
An example of this is Jenna Kutcher. One of her best performing lead magnet is a list of resources she uses on Instagram. Since she grew her business from nothing to over a million by securing her platform on Instagram, it’s really illogical for those looking to do the same to not opt-in.
While it’s not positioned as a “toolkit”, it’s essentially the same thing.
#17 – Resources lists
Google is really convenient. But one thing that it lacks is a time-saving feature. They try to do this with ranking certain posts at the top, but it’s not always that simple.
Which means if someone is looking for a bunch of information, like a list of where to find writing jobs, spending hours scouring Google is a waste.
Those people would probably opt-in to a list of resources to find writing jobs instead of trying to find them themselves, giving you their contact information with ease.
Creating a resources list is also a great brainstorming tool by itself. You’ll get to better understand the needs of your target audience by finding and building a list of resources they would need.
For us, this list might look like something that includes editors, cover designers, where to find beta readers, and all of those other book production resources (which we actually include in our Rolodex for our students).
#18 – Workbooks
We use this method here at SPS too. It’s by far our biggest lead gen tool aside from our webinar, but they’re actually supposed to be used together. We offer the webinar workbook as an opt-in after people have registered for our webinar.
Our workbook brings in about 400+ leads every week.
If you don’t have a workbook available on your website (especially if you use webinars as a lead generation tool), you’re missing out!
#19 – Printables
Anything someone can print ends up becoming valuable.
People can opt-in and receive a download, which they can then print out and use for themselves.
The bonus here is that they’ll have a physical copy of something with your company’s information on it right in front of them. Keeping you and your business top of mind for them is super important for conversion down the line.
Plus, then they’ll associate your company with their success or wins in the area they’re working on.
#20 – Email courses
Email marketing is still super important, no matter what anyone else says. It’s not a dead conversion channel and in fact, it’s the best one.
And that’s probably why you see so many people offering “5-Day Courses” that take place in daily emails. It’s perfect to get people on your list, create a habit for them of opening your emails, and gauge their interest in a course-type setup to begin with.
Reedsy does a great job of this, offering their courses like they’d be hosted on their website.
But if you click to take the course, you’re prompted to fill in a form, which triggers the course via daily emails.
#21 – Prompts
Sometimes people really need help developing ideas, and that’s where prompts come into play.
We have both fiction and nonfiction writing prompts to help some people get started. Most of these are super easy to make and provide a ton of value, particularly if someone uses one of your prompts.
#22 – Tools or Calculators
Just like we’ve got our Book Profit Calculator, you should have some sort of measuring tool like this too, especially if you’re in the business of making people more money.
Being able to showcase comparisons is super important for people to see the value you can provide.
And the lead gen factor? Just ask for their email in exchange for the results.
We have several tools we’ve created (with more on the way), that work to bring in a combined 450+ leads per week.
#23 – Pre-made spreadsheets
People hate making their own highly functional spreadsheet. If it’s just numbers in a column, no biggie, but most people want something more advanced and lack the skills (or time) to make it.
So doing it for them is a surefire way to get an opt-in.
Remember, you can even use all of these methods within your book when you write and publish it, but using these on your website and in your other marketing efforts can increase your lead generation significantly.
Take it from someone who figured out how to make a living writing after only a few months…you can do it the same way I did (which I’ll explain in this post).
Do you want to work from home?
Do you want to work for yourself?
Do you want to make a living doing something meaningful and fulfilling?
The answer is obvious and the only question is…
Whether you want to be your own boss, spend your day doing something you love and are good at, or even if you’re just looking for a new career opportunity, learning how to make money writing and which writing jobs are even available to you is worth it.
How to Make Money Writing
So you’ve already determined you want to write. You love it, it’s fulfilling, and you don’t despise it nearly as much as you do that 9-5 you’ve got now (or are still avoiding like the plague).
Firstly, that’s fantastic (we love writing here at Self-Publishing School, if you haven’t noticed)!
Secondly, now the work begins because writing jobs won’t just start falling from the sky and landing in your lap.
And that’s why you’ll have to learn how to make money writing, since there are far more opportunities than you think exist out there…
The more you work and market and push for more book sales, the better you’ll do. And therefore, this has the highest earning potential.
#2 – Screenwriter $$$$$
If you’re someone who would rather write movies or TV shows than books or novels, this could be the path for you.
Screenwriters—especially if you work hard and make it to the “big leagues”—have extremely high earning potential.
A screenwriter writes TV shows and movies. Contrary to what many believe, there are typically several writers who work on one show and movie, but it’s not necessarily easy to become a Hollywood screenwriter.
That means if you work hard, play your cards right, and focus on committing to this path, you can potentially make a lot of money writing.
If you’ve decided what you want to write about, it’s your job to do research so you can find the best job that fits what you’re looking to do.
There are two methods for finding writing jobs online:
Outreach – you personally find websites and platforms you want to work for and reach out via email cold pitching your writing services.
Respond to job postings – this is the more traditional method in which you visit job boards (like the ones listed above) and respond to job postings with your resume.
Outreach for Writing Jobs:
This method often takes the most finesse in order to get right. After my stint with Upwork and Fiverr ended, personally used outreach to land some of my most consistent and highest paying clients.
Here’s how you can do outreach to land writing jobs:
Determine your niche and the type of content you want to write. This can be beauty, fashion, education, parenting, movies, television, fitness, lifestyle, and any category you’re interested in. We recommend choosing one you both enjoy and know a lot about (less research means you can do more and therefore get paid more).
Visit websites you know have content in this niche. For example: if you want to write about food and travel, Thrillist.com might be your best bet. Choosing a niche like wellness might land you on sites like TheGreatist.com. If you’re not sure which sites cover your niche, just do a quick google search for, “[your niche] websites”.
Scroll down to the very bottom of the site’s homepage and look for “write for us” link. Not all websites will have this but many that are primarily content usually have a means for you to write for them, as seen in the example below from IntrovertDear.com.
Click on the “write for us” or equivalent page. Read over their guidelines to see if this is a good fit for you. If you want to know about compensation and they don’t list any, simply location a contact email or fill out a contact form and ask!
Cold pitch your idea. Technically, since they are accepting writers, it’s not considered a “cold” pitch, but you do still have to sell them on your ideas. Focus on what they can gain from working with you and less on you. This becomes easier with experience and proven results.
Responding to Job Postings for Writing Jobs:
This one is just like any other job you apply for online.
After searching for writing jobs via the job boards listed above, simply send in your resume and CV if applicable.
If you are an author and you want to sell lots of books on Amazon (I know, who doesn’t right), you need to get a few things right with your book: Keywords, categories, the competition, and what about that book data everyone keeps talking about? How do I figure that out?
Well fortunately, Dave Chesson and his team have developed a state-of-the-art software Publisher Rocket that is doing the work for you.
But, as far as measuring analytics or drilling down into the hard nitty-gritty of what passed as a “good keyword”, unless you could afford the time to do the research, and you were comfortable with the tech involved, grabbing those 7 master keywords for your book was like shooting in the dark and hoping to hit the target.
In most cases, unless you really know what you are doing, authors were missing the mark altogether.
I remember spending up to 2-3 hours trolling through Amazon, comparing book rankings, searching for those magic eBook categories that held the low hanging fruit we strive to snatch so our books can survive in the big ocean of countless books.
I won’t lie to you…it was exhausting. And if Amazon changed something [and they often do] they wouldn’t announce it until much later. Authors would then find out ambiguously, when sales dropped suddenly, and have to go through the whole process again of checking keywords, switching out categories…and on it went.
But back in July of 2016, that all changed.
Dave Chesson—founder of Kindlepreneur.com—launched a software called KDP Rocket that would change the way authors search for keywords. With the introduction of this software, authors could use analytics in a way that was presented so that they didn’t have to have a degree in digital engineering just to understand what data they were looking at. With easy to follow tutorials and a system that worked, KDP Rocket was an “island in the middle of a big ocean.”
And this, as many now know, was just the beginning…
Later, Dave and his team added more features to the program that included category research and setting up AMS ads. Authors were no longer “guessing” on the best keywords and just shooting dice to the wind hoping to land a good play for their books.
The game had changed, and Publisher Rocket is setting the stage for the future of the self-publishing arena.
The publishing field is not the same as it was three years ago, or even last year. This is where the Rocket comes in. Imagine a system that gives you the hard data Amazon won’t share with you. You can go there right now and find the best categories for your book within a matter of minutes without even having to troll through endless pages of books.
Publisher Rocket has now given authors a massive advantage when it comes to:
In other words, we now have a fighting chance to navigate through all the data, analytics, and helps authors thrive and not just survive in the self-publishing arena.
Now, let’s dive Into the core features of Publisher Rocket. Then, I’m going to give you a brief glimpse into what new features Rocket has planned for future upgrades. And believe me, if you think it’s good now…just wait.
Publisher Rocket and Amazon Terminology
Before we dive into this post, let’s go over the common terminology used with both Publisher Rocket and Amazon. This will help you to better understand the features of the software.
KDP: KIndle Direct Publishing. This refers to Amazon’s online publishing tool. KDP allows authors to publish their books for free in both eBook and book format.
ABSR: Amazon Bestseller Ranking. This is the ranking of the books as they are ranked according to Amazon. So for example, ABSR #1 is the top selling book in that category.
Age: in the competition analyzer refers to the age of the book, or how long it has been in publication.
ASIN Number: This stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number
KWT: Targeted Keyword in the book’s title. This tells you if the keyword being searched is in the title.
KWST: Targeted keyword in the book’s subtitle. This tells you if the keyword appears in the subtitle.
DY Sales: estimated daily sales for the book based on the ABSR.
MO Sales: Monthly estimated sales for the book based on projection of sales based on ABSR
AMS Ads: Amazon Marketing Services. This is Amazon’s paid marketing ads platform. Setting up ads for your book has big potential for bringing in organic traffic.
KDP Rocket 1.0 to Publisher Rocket 2.0
A few words on the progression of KDP Rocket to Publisher. When you buy Publisher Rocket, there is a guarantee that you won’t have to pay for upgrades every time Rocket makes an improvement.
And, over the past three years, a lot of progress has been made. According to Dave Chesson, from his very own Publisher Rocket Review, here is a timeline that shows all the upgrades made to date.
August 2019: Search bar is added to the main category page so users just type in the keyword and it pulls up the categories to best fit your search.
Very slick. Now users can just type in a keyword and this eliminates clicking into the categories first and then doing a search within that category.
At the end of this post, I will cover the new features and updates coming soon with with Amazon and Publisher Rocket.
So, let’s continue…
5 Ways Publisher Rocket Excels Above the Rest
#1. All Future Upgrades…Free?
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I just bought this new software 2 weeks ago and they already want more money for the new version!”
Yes, it sucks when you have to keep forking over cash for something you already paid for. But Publisher Rocket is where users pay once. Only once.
That’s right. So if you bought KDP Rocket 3 years ago when it launched at $69, you haven’t paid anything extra for the number of upgrades made since then. It’s a one time fee.
And how often does Publisher Rocket upgrade? There is a new version at least every two months, if not sooner.
Dave Chesson and his team are in the publishing field everyday, monitoring current changes in the marketplace, and integrating these changes into the Publisher Rocket software for an overall amazing user experience.
#2. Up-To-Date Current Statistics While You Write
As a writer, it is important you stay fixed on what you do best…writing a book. Let someone else do the market research and keep you updated on shifts in market data, analytics and updates as they happen in real time.
Publisher Rocket is constantly monitoring the market and providing updates on current statistics. PR keeps you informed so you don’t have to be out there testing unknown waters. I feel like someone has got my back and they are 100% reliable, and this protects my author business.
#3. Reliable and Fast Tech Support
Running into some tech issues with Rocket, or you have a question about something? Send the team at publisher Rocket a message at Publisher Rocket Support.
The response time is generally super-quick. In a few instances they responded back within 3 hours. This is crucial if you are in the middle of a book launch, or preparing for one, and you need help right away.
Nothing worse than sending in a ticket you have to wait days for a reply. Not the case here. As a matter of fact, you can check out the Publisher Rocket user testimonials that were not requested but discovered organically by Dave and his team.
#4. The Price is…$97.00?
How much does Publisher Rocket cost? Yes, it is $97.00. This is a one-time only fee and never pay again. Gotta love it.
#5. User Friendly Software that Anyone Can Use
I work with hundreds of authors a week. One of the biggest hurdles is dealing with tech issues around keywords, categories, or the basics of understanding algorithm data. But to use the Publisher Rocket, the software is laid out so that, even if tech is not your thing, it doesn’t need to be.
With easy-to-follow tutorials and everything explained on the page, the tech side of marketing is made so much easier. You don’t have to know everything about keyword research to find the best keywords for your book.
The Rocket does the work for you based on what you ask it to look for. It spits out the data, and you decide to use that in your book.
Publisher Rocket 2.0 Features: What Does the Publishing Software Do?
If you have been using KDP Rocket for some time, you have a good idea what the software can do. If this is your first introduction to what is available, let’s break it down so we know exactly what we have.
Publisher Rocket can be broken down into 4 features that focus on:
Let’s take a look at each of these:
As an author that has been using the Rocket from its early release back in July 2016, I can honestly say that it is the best software out there for several reasons.
First of all, Amazon doesn’t share the data that the Rocket does. Have you ever tried searching for categories for your book using just Amazon? If so, you better block off a holiday to get it done. The categories that are listed in the KDP Bookshelf provide no direction as to book rankings or competition. In fact, most of the actual categories are not even there.
When it comes to breaking down all the metadata and figuring out the best keywords, best categories, and how the competition is comparing, this is where Publisher Rocket steps in to provide authors with an experience that nothing else compares to.
Publisher Rocket can do for you what Amazon, and most other software, won’t [or can’t].
So, what are the current features of Publisher Rocket 2.0 that makes it stand tall above anything else?
Over 16,000 Book and eBook Categories Listed
Imagine if all you had to do was type in a keyword in the search bar and Publisher Rocket throws out your results for your potential categories in just seconds. That is exactly what it does as you can see here:
To make it even better, you can select Book, eBook or both and Publisher Rocket will put up the categories from both book platforms.
Includes Book Data, Not Just Kindle
When KDP came out it was focused on Kindle data only. But hard copies (aka paperbacks) still sell and are just as relevant. So now Rockets’ search includes data for books and is presented to Rocket users in an easy-to-interpret layout.
Competition Analyzer: How is the competition performing?
This is one of our favorite features of the Rocket software. You can check out the daily and monthly sales of books in the market in relation to your own books.
Check out who your competition is and based on data, look for the areas you could improve your own books’ performance.
The competition analyzer provides users with all relevant data that gives an inside look at who your competition is, how well they are doing, and how your book compares to their performance.
The competition analyzer provides up-to-date information for each book based on:
Age of the book
ABSR of each book
If the keyword appears in the book title and/or subtitle.
Daily and monthly sales of the book based on data from the current ABSR.
Sales page link. You can click on ‘check it out’ and be taken to the book’s sales page.
Having this information is critical because, if your book is underperforming in sales or rankings, you can compare to the competition and make changes to your book that influences metadata. Now you are armed with the statistics to beat the competition.
Can Publisher Rocket help you to become a bestseller?
Keyword Search Feature
Publisher Rocket helps authors identify the most profitable keywords for your book. How does it do this? First, you type in a keyword into the keyword search bar, and then hit ‘Go Get Em Rocket.’
Rocket analyzes the top 5 books that use that keyword based on the following criteria:
Fame and strength of the authors
Age of the books
# of reviews and review grades
Whether or not the keyword is in the title/subtitle
Enrolled in Kindle Unlimited or not
This is a key feature of the Rocket software.
It tells authors:
how many people are typing in that keyword/phrase
Competition score of that keyword from 1-100.
How much money the top 5 books are earning on average
# of competitors using that keyword
Without this data, you wouldn’t be able to figure out how many people are using this keyword, or if it is being searched for at all. The keyword feature eliminates the guesswork are provides accurate data.
Several years ago, when AMS ads were introduced to authors, I can remember spending hours upon hours just doing keyword research, copying and pasting. But now…
Publisher Rocket has the most amazing feature available that eliminates all of that. If you are familiar with Amazon Ads, then you know your book needs hundreds of keywords to be effective.
In addition, the authors have to stay on top of their ads and monitor them carefully. Setting up a successful ad campaign takes work, time and yes, money. The ads can get expensive if you just set it up and let it go.
This feature is by far my favorites and, to add, even without all of the other features talked about here, if this was the only one available it would be worth the price of Rocket alone. Yes, it is very cool.
The feature comes with a filter as well. You can eliminate any keywords that are not relevant to your book simply by filtering these out. Before this, authors had to manually take out keywords.
But if you are interested in setting up AMS ads, I would highly recommend learning as much about ads as you can. Fortunately Dave Chesson has a free course on AMS ads right here. Check it out so you have the overview of what it takes to set these up.
Can Publisher Rocket help me with Amazon book ads?
Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?
You’ll have to decide. Let’s break it down this way. You already know everything Publisher Rocket can help you with, so we will just assume you decided to already use it if you aren’t already.
Publisher Rocket pays for itself: There are three ways that you users will earn back the initial investment spent on PR.
The cost of Rocket is $97.00. If the Rocket saves you 5 hours of your time, you just earned back your money. How much is your time worth per hour?
When you sell about 47 books priced at $2.99 (at 70% royalty) because you could find profitable keywords and better categories, the software just paid for itself.
If Rocket helps you to filter out a bad book idea because nobody is searching for it, and gets you to change your marketing efforts based on proven data, it definitely just paid for itself. This will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of working hours you would have spent on a book that won’t sell.
Sneak Peek: New Upgrades Coming Soon for Publisher Rocket
As this post is being written , there are several amazing new features coming soon, according to Dave Chesson. These upgrades will, of course be free and, if you think the software is good now, wait till you see what is coming next.
Audible Information Analyzed.
Yes, we know Publisher Rocket can pull data for eBooks and books now. But how about a feature that includes audiobooks? This is coming soon.
Just Launched: New “Search-All” Feature for categories. Added to the Publisher Rocket search categories is a search bar on the main category page. Now you type in the keyword and Rocket pulls up relevant categories.
Opening up categories to international markets.
Yes, you heard it right. Amazon will be opening up AMS to the UK. And what this means is, Publisher Rocket will be there to provide category data to give authors in the US (and everywhere else where applicable) to join the UK market. This is huge in terms of growing your author business and expanding into global markets.
New Amazon Category System launching. Soon, Rocket will launch a new feature that updates with the latest in ABSR (Amazon Best Seller Rankings) three times a day. But that’s not all. Publisher Rocket has plans to bring in a bunch of new data for categories that will help authors to really find the best categories to rank in. This will include volatility, average ABSRs for the month, and the sales popularity of these categories. Why hang around a category that isn’t bringing in traffic?
Remember, all upgrades are free and installed automatically on your Publisher Rocket software.
Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?
You be the judge. We’ve shown you what the Rocket software can do. Here is a breakdown of the best advantages to using Rocket, and why it matters to the success of your books as an author.
Sell More Books: We know that Publisher Rocket will help you to sell more books. Actually, you can sell a lot more books and start earning more than your day job once you use the tool. Countless authors claim they started earning 3x more with Rocket.
Keep Your Sanity: If Rocket prevents you from losing your mind, because you just spent ten hours on Amazon trying to figure out categories and relevant keywords, you made your money back and get to keep your sanity. So yeah, it’s worth it. Win-win.
Free upgrades for a lifetime: Don’t you just hate it when you buy software and then 6 months later you have to pay more money for their upgrade. And then again six months after that. Over a lifetime, you could end up spending thousands of bucks on a piece of software you initially paid $150 for.
Of course, they don’t tell you this when you sign up. But Publisher Rocket, while it upgrades frequently, doesn’t ask you for additional funds…ever. You pay once, you keep upgrading, and there is nothing more to do. Gotta love it.
Continuous Market Research. That’s right, as we mentioned, while you are sleeping and dreaming of writing that next novel, somebody else is out there on the cutting edge gathering data and figuring out better systems to help you scale up your author business. The Rocket software will soon update three times a day, staying current with complex data shifts and doing the work for you while you focus on your book business.
Gives authors a competitive edge. You can access the most up-to-date data on categories, keywords and AMS ads. You can also figure out the best kind of books to write before you write them so you don’t publish something nobody wants to buy. This is a big win for an author who has the goal to write for a living and wants to make real money in self-publishing. And, you can analyze the competition as we have seen, to stay ahead of the game and get your books out in front of readers first.
The Ongoing Changes in Self-Publishing
The self publishing industry is in a state of constant change, growth and expansion. Nothing stays the same from one month to the next, or for that matter, day to day the data is in constant flux.
Amazon algorithms change, metadata for books shift, and how readers search for and discover their favorite books has become very streamlined.
For these reasons, as authors, we need to be on the cutting edge of this growth or else…we start losing books sales, customers, and get lost in the bloody waters.
Publisher Rocket provides a huge advantage to authors because Dave Chesson and his team are on top of this 24/7. In fact, PR is now working to update data three times a day. This data is relevant to book categories, as well as expanding international markets
While we are busy writing and creating content to publish to market, someone else is doing the heavy lifting in terms of ongoing market research and providing you as an author with the most current, up-to-date data so you can stay on top of your game.
Sell more books, build greater authority, and keep on living the dream as an author.
If you have an experience or any strategies that worked best for you using Publisher Rocket, drop your story in the comments section below.
Many people believe they can simply start writing and will eventually have a completed book, ready to publish, but Brianna knew that just wasn’t the case.
After all, this was something she’d never done before. And without even having an idea, she sought out someone more experienced in the field for answers.
This was the catalyst that allowed her to pursue her dreams, and earn $4,000 per month in client work from her book.
A Coach’s Guidance Helped Her Uncover The Big Idea
There are some people who have the ability to push you, forcing out what’s necessary in order for you to succeed in what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s no surprise professional athletes have several coaches at their fingertips, instructing them on how to best work out, what diet will help them succeed, and how best to approach their position to win on the field.
So why shouldn’t people looking to become professional writers (AKA: authors), not have the same support?
“I had no idea what my book was gonna be about, I just knew that I was supposed to write one.”
Brianna only knew she wanted to write a book. She felt called to publish, to share her experience, but wasn’t quite sure how to approach this arduous task.
“I was writing the wrong book—a different book for 10 days before my writing coach kind of called me out and said, ‘Well wait, you should be writing this book’, and he was right.”
What we find often with our students is that they come in with this amazing idea, sometimes even part of their book already written, only to realize that it’s not the book they should be writing.
It’s not the book they can sell or it’s not a book their target audience wants or needs.
With a coach, who has published many books before, you get the direction you need to avoid wasting months (and sometimes even years!) writing a book that won’t sell and therefore, won’t share your story or message.
Writing a book gives you credibility, yes, and it also gives you impact.
Being able to have a professional piece of work that you spent hours crafting to support your passions and values can do wonders in launching or growing a business that you love.
“I really was connected to the fact that if I were to write a book, it would be a launching pad for a business—a creative business for myself.”
Brianna used her book to launch her own consulting business. Talk about an effective business card!
From her book (aside from royalties!), Brianna is able to bring home an extra $4,000 per month from consulting clients she wouldn’t have if it weren’t for her taking action to write and publish her book.
Not only did she go from leaving her 9-5 to stay with her kids to publishing a book, she’s now her own boss, making her own rules, her own hours, and contributing to her family financially and emotionally by showing her children what it looks like to go after your dreams.
And she didn’t do all of that alone, either…
Being an Author Isn’t Always Isolating, Not With the Self-Publishing School Community
When you take on a journey like writing and publishing a book, it can seem isolating, like you’re the only person who can make this thing happen. After all, you spend a lot of time inside our own head when writing…
But you’re not alone with Self-Publishing School.
“My favorite part about going through the Self-Publishing School program was the accountability, the structure, the Mastermind Community, and the wonderful comradery between the authors.”
We don’t think the process of writing a book even should be isolating. If so many people are out there writing and publishing books, why not give them a space to collaborate, get feedback on titles and covers, as well as share knowledge to help each other succeed?
That’s what the Self-Publishing School Mastermind community is all about.
Over 2,500 uthors from around the world congregate in an exclusive Facebook group to support each other, hold one another accountable, and even join each other’s launch teams to boost the success of their books.
“People were very kind and available to answer questions, and I’ve been in the Mastermind Community for two years now and I still feel connected, although I published my book two years ago.”
It was this support that led Brianna Ruelas to her next big accomplishment.
Using Her Book as a Springboard
Authors no longer have to be “just” authors. In fact, Brianna Ruelas can now add “professional speaker” to her resume with the tools her book has given her and the doors it has opened.
Because she’s placed herself as an authority from being a published author, she’s able to more easily book speaking gigs.
This only furthers her credibility, establishes herself as an authority, and ultimately can help her bring in even more clients. All of this built on the back of her book.
If she hadn’t taken action and joined Self-Publishing School, the past two years could have looked very different. It could have look much like yours may have:
Spending days wishing her book was published. Jotting down a few sentences here and there, never quite being able to finish the book.
Heck, she may not have even started the book, and it would have remained this distant idea that pops up to nag on the edges of her mind each time she went on a road trip.
And she would have the clients she’s had.
She wouldn’t have the experience of launching and growing a business.
She would have “speaker” listed on her resume.
Because Brianna Ruelas allowed Self-Publishing School to support her, she was able to use this high-quality book that was published effectively to bring in new prospects, new clients, and a new life.
And It’s Not Over…
Brianna published her book two years ago, is still bringing in royalties, and that’s not to mention her consulting business income from her book or the speaking gigs she’s acquired because of it.
And she’s not even done…
Next on Brianna’s list is launching her very own course to coincide with her book in order to scale her business further and continue to build a career she’s passionate about.
All because she wrote and published a book with Self-Publishing School.
Let’s face it, different people define an author platform in many different ways but according to Jane Friedman, an author platform can be defined as the ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.
An author platform can be described as everything you’re doing online and offline, to create awareness about who you are and what you do, so you can boost your brand visibility and make it easier and faster for your target audience and even the general public, to discover and connect with your brand and books.
At the end of the day, your author platform makes it possible for you to build relationships with a diverse group of people online and offline so you and your books can get noticed quickly.
How to Build An Author Platform With 8 Steps
Now that you know what an author platform is and why you need one, let’s look at the steps you can take to build your own:
#1 – Know your target readers
To build an author platform that will help you succeed, it’s important for you to know everything about your target audience and be able to answer the following questions:
Who are they?
What do they do for a living?
What’s their age, sex, marital status, and location?
What are their hobbies, interests, and motivation?
What challenges and problems do they struggle with?
What makes them happy and unhappy?
Where do they spend their time online and offline?
When you know who your target audience is, it helps you learn where to focus your time and energy and on who.
And here are some tips to help you identify your target readers:
Use Google to search for blogs, forums, and communities where your audience may be active e.g. blogs within your niche, websites of authors with similar books, etc.
Look for books similar to yours and take note of the kind of people reading them because they might be your target readers also
Use key details about your book to identify the specific type of people that usually buy such books, e.g. book format, book genre, price, number of pages, etc.
Do research on social media for groups interested in books similar to yours
When you know your target readers, you can apply that knowledge to everything you’re doing and build an author platform that draws and engages the right audience successfully.
#2 – Identify and define your brand
Your brand helps people to recognize you and form an opinion about you and your books, through your personality, your values, your voice, your promise to your readers and even the feelings you stir up in them, every time they read your books or come across your website and social media profiles.
Your brand is what makes you unique so you can stand out among others.
One of the best tools you need to build your author platform is a website.
And it should be a website with a modern and attractive look plus a functional design so that everyone that visits the website can have a great user experience at all times.
Here are a few ways your website can help build your author platform:
Your website is one place where you can showcase your brand as much as you want, using your brand colors, tagline, headshot and so on
A website makes you appear more professional and credible and boosts your chances of gaining the trust of your target audience
Because your website is your business headquarters, you can remain open for business 24 hours a day seven days a week
With a website, you and your books can be found easily by your target audience and the general public
On your website, your target readers can learn about your books at their convenience, irrespective of their time zone or location, all over the world
You have 100% control over your website so it cannot be taken away from you without notice, unlike your social media accounts
You can use your author website to sell your books directly to anyone who is ready to buy
To be able to enjoy all these benefits from your website, it’s important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, contains content that’s easy to read and scan, loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and is also accessible from any browser.
Bottomline, avoid website mistakes that can drive people away from your website.
#4 – Start blogging consistently
Blogging is a way for you to share pieces of your writing with the public, in the form of blog posts and articles published on your blog.
Even though it’s not compulsory to have a blog on your website, it can help build your author platform in the following ways:
Blogging consistently compels you to write on a regular basis which helps to improve your writing
When you publish content regularly on your blog, you’ll attract more people to your site
As long as you produce quality and valuable content, blogging can position you as an authority and expert on your subject, which increases your credibility
Blogging makes it possible for you to have a two-way conversation with your readers because they can respond by commenting. This can help you build a community or a tribe of loyal fans (that can leave you those 5-star reviews!)
Blogging can help you connect and build strong relationships with other bloggers, influencers, authors, the media and so on
To build your platform through blogging, it’s important to write for your audience and always provide value.
Also, don’t forget to observe blogging best practices like adding images and graphics, optimizing your posts, writing magnetic headlines, and publishing consistently, maybe once or twice a week or every two weeks or monthly and so on.
#5 – Build an email list
Your email list is a list of people who gave you permission to send emails to them regularly when they signed up on your website and gave you their email address.
One key advantage of having an email list is that no one can take it away from you.
Here’s how to build your email list:
Choose an email service provider like Convertkit, Aweber, Mailchimp, etc.
Create a sign-up form on your website
Make available a thank you gift, also known as a lead magnet or reader magnet, for people that sign up
Decide how often you’re going to send emails to your list and be consistent about it. This could be weekly, biweekly, monthly and so on
Ensure you always send personalized emails that provide value
Avoid buying a list or putting people on your list manually
Remember to provide a way for people to unsubscribe easily from your emails
With an email list, you now have people that are interested in your brand and can be reached directly through emails, one on one.
You can use this unique opportunity to share relevant information about you or your new releases, when you’re ready for a launch team, to sell your books or provide information about your book launch or events, or to even sell directly to them, from time to time.
Check out this interview video with Chandler Bolt and Nick Stephenson that goes over how to build your audience as an author:
Remember, it’s okay to start with nobody on your list because that’s where most people start from but with time, persistence and best practices, you can grow your email list which helps to build your writer platform
#6 – Write guest posts
A guest post is a blog post or an article that you write and publish on another person’s site.
Research and confirm that the blog you’re interested in accept guest posts, allows an author bio with links back to your site and have an audience that matches the type of audience you want to attract
Read their guidelines and follow them
Pitch an original post title that has not been written before on their site or anywhere else
Respond to comments once your post is published
#7 – Connect offline
While it’s true that a lot of your author platform building activities will be done online, there are some steps you can also take offline, to connect with your target audience and build your author platform.
Here are some ways to connect offline:
Inform family, friends, neighbors, and other groups in your community about what you do
Create business cards that has your website information, using your brand color, font, logo, etc and share them everywhere you go
Join author groups and associations in your local community and beyond
Attend writers conferences and events
Accept speaking engagements
Support your local libraries and bookstores and participate in some of their activities
Become a guest on a podcast or on radio or television
Having a presence and being active on social media can put your brand in front of a large number of people that you may not have the opportunity to connect with anywhere else, which goes a long way to increase your brand visibility and build your author platform.
Examples of such social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and many others.
Here are some simple tips for using social media as an author:
Identify all the social media platforms where your target readers can be found
Choose one or two that you like and are comfortable with and learn everything about them
Come up with a strategy on how you will use each social media platform to achieve your goal
Decide in advance how much time you can afford to spend on social media daily and keep to it
Create a profile and start posting, using the strategy you came up with
Even though social media can be used effectively to build your author platform, almost everyone agrees that it can take up a lot of your time if you’re not careful, so remember to take preventive steps to avoid that.
Now that you know all the steps you can take to build your author platform, come up with your own plan of action by identifying the step you want to start with and those you can even do at the same time.
Remember, building an author platform takes time and cannot be done overnight so the earlier you start, the better.
Full Disclaimer: We are affiliates of the Pete Vargas course. That does not affect any of the breakdowns below.
What that does mean, however, that if you buy through our link, we’ll earn a commission on your purchase. It also means that you will earn access to over $7,000 of exclusive bonuses.
What is the Stage to Scale?
Stage to scale is a proven method developed by Pete Vargas for both entrepreneurs and business owners to learn how to scale their businesses through speaking and attending stages—developed for both experienced speakers and newbies.
Often referred to as “The Stage Whisperer,” Vargas has booked over 25,000 stages in the past 15 years, helping businesses of all kinds flourish in this more-competitive-than-ever environment.
There are obvious pros to the Stage to Scale method. Self-Publishing School alone was able to generate $1,000,000 in sales using this very method.
Here’s a breakdown of the best parts.
#1 – Relevant for both the beginner and advanced speakers
From the start, Pete does an awesome job of letting you know that this course if for both the beginner speaker that has never stepped on a stage, to the most advanced speaker looking to increase their results.
The way that Pete ensures this is through teaching based on principles and frameworks such as the heart, head, hand, and heart speaking framework, that you can use to create a powerful signature talk.
This is so powerful that here at Self Publishing School, we’ve had both our Founder Chandler Bolt as well as our speaking team design their own signature talks based on this framework.
#2 – Pat Quinn is phenomenal
Although Pete Vargas does an amazing job throughout the majority of the course, I’d have to say that he is no match for the unbelievable teacher that is Pat Quinn.
Pat brings to the table the background of a cognitive scientist expert, as well as a professional magician. And what that means for you is a combination of both entertaining and scientifically proven way to learn, retain and apply the information that you learn throughout this course.
Ever have a hard time retaining what you’ve learned in a course? I guarantee that will not be an issue with Pat Quinn’s teaching.
#3 – This is not a speaking course
This is a grow your business through speaking course.
Although the speaking content in the course is great, this course was not meant to help you become a better speaker.
The Stage to Scale course was designed to help you use stages and speaking as a key channel to find qualified leads, spread your message and attain clients.
Pete goes into extreme detail about to structure your talk so that it actually converts. He also goes deep into how to create a backend offer that will allow you to drive huge revenue numbers for just one-hour on the right stage.
If you are looking for just a way to sound better during your presentations, this course is not for you.
But if you are really looking to use stages and speaking as a true driver of growth in your business, then you should definitely consider the Stage to Scale method.
#4 – The Unstoppable Stage Campaign
Most people don’t know how to book stages in the first place. They think they need to hire an agent, create a speaking reel, join national speaking organizations, and hope that one day an email with a request to speak will come into their inbox.
The reality is that none of that is necessary. If you were to ask our team why were we able to get on 24 stages and generate over $1,000,000 from those stages in 2018, the main reason would be the Unstoppable Stage Campaign.
In this training, Pete breaks down everything from Gold-Mining, Finding Your Dream Stage, Cold-Outreach Approaches, and Closing the Deal.
This alone is worth the price of the course.
#5 – The templates and scripts are unreal
I’ve found that in courses that teach through principles and frameworks, a lot of times you can still feel stuck once it’s time to execute.
One of the best practices that Pete Vargas uses in his Stage to Scale course is he actually gives you word-for-word templates and scripts that you can use to:
Reach out to meeting planners
Execute a win-win call where you position yourself as the solution to the meeting planners problem (hint: that’s how you actually win stages)
Get referrals from your ‘champions’ to win stages within your network (this is the easiest way to get booked)
Create a ‘Why Me Video” to showcase how you are the right person to solve a specific problem to any event planner’s audience
We’ve personally used these scripts to book over 40 stages over the last 18 months for our founder Chandler Bolt and our team, so I know they work like magic.
Stage to Scale Method Cons & Areas of Improvement
Alright, so I’ve shared a lot of the awesome resources and learning you’ll be getting once you go through the Stage to Scale course.
What about the not-so-good stuff?
Well, as much as this course over-delivers in multiple areas, there may be things that are you may not like.
#1 – Lack of Mindset Training
Now, if you are looking to learn the exact how-to’s on booking stages, executing amazing talks, and growing your business, there is very little missing in this course.
However, the reality is that you will need to have a great mindset to deal with the out-of-comfort-zone moments that you will face while implementing this course.
This isn’t a course that you can get results from by just sitting back and letting a program do all the work. You’ll have to send cold emails, negotiate with meeting planners, and speak in front of large audiences.
All of this is taught in the course, but you’ll still have to overcome your limiting beliefs in order to actually do it and get a return on your investment.
A small section on how to get over those limiting beliefs could have been a good addition to the already amazing content in the course.
#2 – No examples of High Converting Talks
Although there is more than enough content in the Signature Talk section for you craft your own talk, some people might prefer to actually see what a high-converting talk following Pete’s methodology actually looks like!
What are the nuances that the great speakers have, how do they carry themselves on stage, etc?
We all know that body language makes up 80% or more of all communication. The great news is, however, that we’ve recorded multiple of Chandler Bolt’s talks that generated as much as $110,000 from one event.
In fact, you get you to watch that talk here as a part of one of our bonuses when you enroll in Stage to Scale with us!
And if you have ever wanted to land a TEDx talk, check how Chandler used Pete’s Story Braid Framework to deliver an incredible message about how book creates leveraged impact.
What You’ll Learn With Pete Vargas’ Stage to Scale Method
The course is broken into 7 modules and additional bonus content such as how to land a TEDx Talk.
Module 1: The Foundation
Using stages to grow your business is not an easy task.
That’s why before you start crafting your talk, booking your dream stage, and impacting millions, you need to have the right foundations set.
The foundations you will learn include:
Why Stages Matter
How to find your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)
The Stage to Scale Success Method
This is a powerful module. Make sure to go deep on your BHAG exercises, and listen closely as Pete takes you through the Stage to Scale Success Method, and your chance of success will sky-rocket.
Module 2: Crafting Your Signature Talk
Have you ever wondered about the formula that the best speakers in the world use to craft their talks?
Not only that but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to start from scratch every time you gave a new presentation (no matter if the talk time was 60 minutes or 5 minutes)?
In this module, Pete and Pat will walk you through how to:
Use the Story Braid Framework to create a high-converting talk
When to share your call to action with an audience (so that you don’t sound salesy)
How to expand and contract your content to fit any talk time
How to open and close your talk so that your audience feels connected to you
Module 3: Deliver and Maximize Your Talk
What separates the good from the best?
This one is good.
A lot of courses talk about the intricacies of a subject, but only a few actually deliver. In this section, Pete and Pat hold nothing back. Everything from pacing to ‘embedding’, to reducing risk and increasing urgency is covered so that you can quickly go from average to world-class (seriously).
I do warn you that implementing all of this at once, maybe a bit overwhelming.
So take your take and try to add one piece of advice at a time to your signature talk.
Module 4: Create Your Scaling Offer
Zig Ziglar once said, “I’ve never changed anyone’s life from the stage, but if they buy my cassettes, I then have a chance at changing their life.“
Zig was right.
The stage is the key that opens the door to being able to go deeper with someone and truly creating transformation in their lives with your products or services.
This module is all about understanding the different ways that you can scale past the stage with your audience, and how to turn those ideas into reality.
Pete breaks down in amazing depth the pros and cons of those methods which include courses, coaching programs, in-person intensives, and others.
This is a very powerful exercise for you as a business owner whether or not you choose to use stages as a way to find your dream clients.
Module 5: Collect and Convert
There is a delicate art to converting from the stage. What most people don’t know, however, is how to convert after the stage and maximize your revenue long after your 60 minutes are up.
You’ll want to dive into this training to learn:
3 types of opt-ins and the exact format of what converts the highest from stage
The Art of collecting leads – maximize your opt-in rate (this will even help you off stage)
The Step-by-step playbook of what to do pre-game, game time, and post-game to maximize sales (our complete checklist)
Full disclaimer – this is where your most or your money will be made (so pay close attention).
Module 6: The Business Model of Speaking
When most people think ‘stages’ they think of you speaking in front of a full room of spectators, giving a well-prepared talk for either 45 or 60 minutes at a time.
Also, when they hear that our founder Chandler Bolt spoke 24 times in 2018 alone, they usually are worried that they will also have to spend time on the road and away from their family…
The reason why Stage to Scale is so powerful is because Pete Vargas completely re-writes what most people believe of stages to be.
In this module, he will help you discover the 5 types of revenue-generating stages that you can take advantage of.
He will also breakdown the 8 online and 8 off-line stages and will help you identify which ones are ideal for you (hint: if you don’t want to travel, take advantage of the online stages, they work just as well, and sometimes even better than off-line stages).
Module 7: Winning Stages
Pete Vargas says that he wants to impact 100,000,000 people through 1,000,000 stages. That mission is what drives him and his team, and he wants you to help him reach that number.
In this section, Pete finally reveals why they call him the Stage Whisperer.
He walks you through his Unstoppable Stage campaign, responsible for helping him personally book over 25,000 stages out of his offices.
Pete also helps you understand the decision-makers who hold the key to your dream stages so that you can solve their needs and close the deal every single time.
This is my personal favorite and I have probably watched this training at least 15 times. It is that powerful and you will want to reference it often.
Bonus #2: The Stage Whisperer Blueprint – $999 Value for FREE
Has the thought of doing your own research, reaching out to event planners, and negotiating deals sound like the last thing that you want to do? You know that your value is truly in being the one on stage, and not the one setting up the stages?
Chandler Bolt thought the same thing.
That’s why we created an exclusive training called The Stage Whisperer Blueprint, designed to help you find, hire, train and manage a rockstar stages manager, who will book on only the best stages so that you can focus on doing what you do best. Sharing your message.
Bonus #3 – How Self Publishing School Went from 0 – $1 Million in Revenue from Stages (Live with Chandler Bolt) – $5,000 Value for FREE
Honestly didn’t think Chandler would agree to this.
He’ll be peeling back that curtains and going deep on a live training around exactly how Self Publishing School booked 24 stages which led to $1,000,000 in revenue (while booking 0 stages and generating $0 in revenue in 2017).
This is absolutely can’t miss stuff.
Bonus #4 – Free General Admission ticket to Author Advantage Life – $697 Value for FREE
Author Advantage Live is the #1 conference for authors who want to learn how to sell 10,000 copies of more of their book and make a true impact.
Have a book? Amazing. AAL will blow you away. Don’t have a book yet (but know you will write one some day)? Perfect.
We’ll cover that too. See you in Orlando?
Bonus #5 – Full Access to a $110,000 Generating (in one weekend!) Presentation – $297 Value for FREE
I don’t know about you… but I personally love to see the best in action (as opposed to just learning the techniques).
We mentioned that Stage to Scale didn’t have a full example of someone using the Story Braid Framework to convert a large percentage of the room.
Well, we decided to give that to you as a part of the bonuses.
What if you knew you could share the story inside you with an audience excited to hear your every word?
There’s a way to up your levels of success before ever writing the first word or your book. Actually, for some people, it’s even easier to up their chances of success than it is to write the book.
Let me explain…
When people hear I’ve written a book they often respond with, “I’ve always wanted to write a book!”
The next phrase is usually something along the lines of, “I’m terrible at writing.”
And in the back of their minds, the other hesitancy might be, “Who would even read it?”
It’s a scary thing to sit down and stare at a blank screen.
It’s intimidating to write that first sentence.
“What if I never make it to the last sentence?”
“What if nobody cares if I do end up finishing?”
Perhaps the biggest question of all: “What if no one reads it?”
These are real questions. Questions I’m here to answer.
It all comes down to branding.
A few decades ago books sold based on the quality of the writing. While that’s still true today, often books are sold based on the platform of the person writing the book. That’s where branding comes in.
If you’re in college maybe your brand is sweatpants and too much coffee, late-night Instagram stories, and weekend adventures.
If you’re in the world of business, maybe your brand is pristine suits, important meetings, and networking with the right people.
Either way, this is your passive brand. It’s the self you portray to the world without really thinking about it.
Of course, you considered what to wear this morning. You saw the still kinda clean shirt on your dorm room floor and decided to wear that to the exam.
Or you chose the darker suit to wear to your business meeting because you didn’t want to stand out too much. You probably made sure it matched your pants (always a good thing!).
But you probably didn’t think about it much more than that. And that’s ok!
Regardless of what you put on this morning, let’s talk about how personal branding can be the difference between writing a book and writing a book people read.
#2 – Active Author Branding
Active brand is the part of you that you intentionally choose to let the world see.
There are ways to do portray yourself that will greatly impact the influence you have. Influence brings followers.
Followers turn into fans.
Fans turn into avid readers…who leave you 5-star reviews that allow more readers to find you.
The following tips will help you develop intentional author branding.
#3 – Developing Your Author Voice
Your author voice is important. After all, it’s what the world hears from you. Yes,
you can alter this if you want to, but we recommend leaning into your natural voice so the you you’re showing the world is authentic and real.
Countless factors determine your voice:
Stage of life
Who you hang out with
Your past experiences
All of these and more play into your personal voice.
It’s how you talk, in person and online. It’s how you communicate to the people around you. The type of punctuation you choose. Even the emojis that consistently stay in the time box in your messages.
All of this factors into your voice.
But using voice to intentionally create your active brand goes a long way in establishing yourself.
If you don’t know what your specific voice is, go through some of the recent texts you sent your friends. Next time you grab coffee with someone, take note of how you naturally communicate with them. That’s your voice.
The next step is to implement that voice across all platforms. The social media outlets you use. The blog you run. The conversations you have.
People want to hear what you have to say, but more importantly, how you say it. They want to know you, not just the knowledge you bring.
#4 – Discovering Themes in Branding
Next up are themes.
These themes seem to run through your life and your writing.
When identifying the themes of your life here are some questions to ask:
What opportunities do you jump at the chance to volunteer for?
What type of movies do you regularly choose to see?
What books do you read?
What type of people do you choose to hang out with?
What stories do you love re-telling from your past?
These are the themes you’re passionate about. These are the themes that should dominate and infiltrate your writing.
Because readers can tell when you’re passionate about what you’re writing and when you’re not. Passionate writing engages readers.
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.
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?
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 self-publishing is easier than ever. 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 – Our time here is finite.
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.
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 gain more knowledge.
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.
Are you FINALLY ready to take action?
The only difference between an author and anyone else is the fact that they wrote the book. They started.
Here are our top tips for using Instagram the right way.
#1 – Create relevant content
Don’t panic already, ok? This doesn’t mean you’ll have to take photos of yourself or strip down for a good number of likes.
What I mean with creating relevant content is make your Instagram account about something you truly love.
Yes, you’re an author, but what kind of author? Will you share with your followers about your struggles of being an author?
Will you share your process your writing? Will you snap pretty pics of other books you’re reading and loving? Of your pet? Maybe your garden?
The point is, you’ll love it and your following will feel it and love you more for it.
#2 – Post regularly
Many often forget about this one, but you betta believe it when I tell you, this is probably the most important one!
By posting regularly, you’re showing up more often in other feeds and that will increase your chances of getting likes and comments on your photos, and even visits to your profile.
There are many arguments about when you should post and how many times per day, but there are also some great apps that evaluate what works best for your audience.
I always advice posting a photo once a day and not more because you don’t want to overdo it.
In general, the best times for posting are between 4pm and 7pm, which is when people are going back home from work.
However, you should also do what you feel is natural for you and your account.
Less is more but once a day is a must!
#3 – Post consistent content types
Now, when posting, you’ll have to think about what you want to post. This is your part of your job after all, so you should plan it just as you plan your writing.
The best rule to follow is post the same content. This might sound boring to you, but the most successful accounts started this way.
The same type of content, over and over again, and then they opened up to other things. But, in the beginning, it’s important that people will recognize your account as a whole and will want to follow you because you’re consistent and have a structure.
For visual ideas on how to do this, I recommend checking out this Instagrammer, who I love! Marlene uses the same type of content, similar backgrounds, several nuances of the same color, but every picture is unique and makes me wanna go back to her profile!
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency.” – Dwayne Johnson
#4 – Create strong aesthetics
If you’ve noticed from the above screenshot of Thanks a Latte Blog’s account, you’ll find it extremely soothing and inviting. The reason why is her aesthetics.
When creating content and posting it, she’s clearly thinking it through.
In the first phase, you’ll have to do the same!
This might bother some of you, but no one can deny how beautiful an account like this looks. It appeals to the eye as a whole, but each photo is also carefully laid out.
For similar outcomes, look for a color palette and stick to it.
Using one main color and different nuances works out great and it won’t be a lot of work for you to figure out what goes well with what.
Another thing you can try to use is repetitive miscellaneous: either décor pieces you have around the house or flowers in the background, what’s important is that there is a nice wave between all your photos.
If you feel inspired looking at your feed, your followers will too!
#5 – Use high quality photos
You don’t need a professional camera for this! Don’t start making excuses.
Nowadays, our smartphones have good cameras that will just do if used in the best way possible. You’re starting out, you don’t need to spend all that money on something you probably won’t even know how to use!
The best advice for high-quality photos is natural lighting.
Honestly, it’s that simple. Natural light helps your photos look more alive and colorful and it’ll take you a whole less time to edit them—if you edit them at all!
If you’re on the lookout for a good photo editor (that is free!), I recommend using Lightroom or Snapseed.
They’re both really simple to use and many creators on the internet have developed presets that you can buy and use on your photos. If you really don’t know what to do with a photo editor, just buy a preset or two and you’ll be fine!
Just remember! Natural lighting!
#6 – Engage frequently on Instagram
Imagine this: you’re scrolling down on your feed, see a photo you love, you like it and decide to comment.
A simple comment but it’s there. You see another photo, like it, comment and so on. The first Instagrammer actually answers your comment on their photo.
Who do you think you’ll be more inclined to interact again with?
This is a no-brainer and it’s true for every and anyone out there. You’ll feel like you have a connection with this person, even if you’ve never met them in real life.
Answering every single comment, you get might be a difficult task to accomplish, especially if you have a larger following, but it’s Instagram 101.
Not to mention, all your lovely readers will feel SO special because their favorite author answered them!
One of the authors I’ve noticed does this extremely well is Ella Maise. She just knows how to connect with her followers in what feels a very natural way.
Make someone’s day: reply to them!
#7 – Share about your life
Now that we’ve discussed replying to your followers’ comments, I would like to tell you how important it is to use Insta Stories.
Again, you might be an introvert or a very private person, and that’s ok! But you can always share a few snaps that didn’t make it into your profile or a few short videos of your daily life.
You don’t even have to share your face, just record them when you’re taking a nice walk or doing something out and about.
I do recommend speaking though, because I feel that there is a special relationship that is developed when followers hear your voice and what you sound like. (It’ll be weird at the beginning, but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly, I promise!)
“Happiness is only real when shared”
#8 – Host giveaways on Instagram
Not to quote Oprah or anything, but she was onto something! Hosting giveaways is one of the best ways to get out there and get some free promotion.
You’re an author with your author Instagram now, so it makes sense that your prizes are books.
I’d recommend starting with other author’s books because you can include them in the giveaway. For example, to win, one has to follow you, the author and comment on both profiles something related to you or the book. It doesn’t get much better than this!
To host something like this, it might take you a little longer to plan than just posting a photo, but the rewards might also be much higher.
Giving will translate into receiving…
#9 – Repost relevant content
Definitely repost photos and stories on your Insta Stories! I LOVE it whenever I get a notification that someone has re-posted a photo of mine and added a little thank you note or just simply tagged me over on their stories. It makes it personal and I always feel more likely to interact with that person again.
When reposting, I suggest going for anyone and everyone.
However, remember that popular Bookstagrams might help you get to larger audiences, so their support might be very well needed.
I’m not saying you should butter them up, but it is in your interest to interact with them. They also might be reviewing your books and publicity is always great!
As with everything, just don’t overdo it and your readers are your main base so don’t forget to share their stories too!
You’ll make their day!
#10 – Use the right #Hashtags
You want to connect with a specific audience.
What kind of audience do you have in mind?
Are they a niche audience?
Do you want to promote to everyone from the Bookstagram community?
What is your main target?
It’s important to know this beforehand because the use of hashtags is incredibly necessary to start things off on Instagram.
You’ll reach more people by using them and by choosing the right ones, you’ll reach to the audience you want/need for your account.
These are some of my favorites to use when targeting the Bookstagram community:
These guidelines won’t work if you don’t feel like this is something natural in your life. Yes, it’ll take some time to get used to it, but in the end, if it makes you feel stressed or you start overthinking it, just ditch these!
Your Instagram account needs to be a reflection of your life as an author, of the things you love to do and everything you’re willing to share with the people who love and support you the most: your readers!
Whatever, however, and whenever you want to give them something, share with them, give them sneak peeks of future books or just talk about your day, they’ll be there for you!
Instagram is supposed to be fun, a lot of fun! If you spend too much time tying to snap the perfect photo, you won’t have any time left for your book! Just jump on the rollercoaster (hopefully now, after having read these tips, with a better security belt) and see where it takes you.
When you think of the phrase “imposter syndrome,” what comes to mind?
A shadowy figure dressed in mustache and sunglasses? A copy cat watching your every move?
Though imposter syndrome isn’t that insidious, it can still wreak havoc on your work.
Fortunately, by following the tips outlined in this post, you’ll be able to identify your imposter syndrome and kick it to the curb!
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome for writers is when you compare yourself to other writers to the extent that you question your own ability in writing. Imposter syndrome can apply to any creative field, but is prevalent for writers.
On the most basic level, imposter syndrome results in doubting your work. At a severe level, it results in a refusal to engage creatively.
What do I mean by “a refusal to engage creatively”?
Fearful of being inadequate, you don’t reach for your pen to jot down that amazing story idea. Distracted by other writers, you leave your page blank. Though you have great concepts, you don’t show them to anyone because you’re afraid you’re not good enough.
But you can overcome this self-doubt. Why? Because you are good enough.
Do I Have Imposter Syndrome?
Bookstores are usually a writer’s paradise. Home to a wonderful collection of different authors and book genres, it’s usually any writer’s dream to display their own work on the shelves.
But to someone with imposter syndrome, this place is a hotbed for competition. If you have imposter syndrome, you might feel the urge to instantly compare yourself to every book you come across. You might start thinking thoughts like: Their idea is so cool! Why can’t I come up with that? There are already so many successful authors…I can’t hope to be one.
Imposter syndrome might affect your writing itself.
Writing workshops are great opportunities to gather feedback and make your work stronger. But someone with imposter syndrome might freeze up when it comes time to share their work.
If you have imposter syndrome, you might start picking your piece apart, embarrassed to utter a single sentence.
Good news! With our writing tips, you’ll gain confidence in your writing ability.
How Can Imposter Syndrome Impact My Work?
When someone has imposter syndrome, it’s not just the author who suffers…it’s their work. Imposter syndrome can snuff out someone’s will to write, that key energy that pushes anyone to even start typing in the first place.
Imposter syndrome is a state of mind.
You’ll start questioning everything you put to paper; you’ll question the good reviews you get on your work and instead focus on the bad.
That sort of mindset tramples the creative process.
But you can quiet self-doubt and endless comparisons today.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
If you have imposter syndrome, you’re not without luck.
Here are just a few of many tips and strategies you can employ to hop back on that writing saddle.
#1 – Force yourself to write
This might be the greatest hurdle to overcome. But the first step in overcoming any writing issue is by taking to the page.
Start simple—you don’t have to write a memoir of 200 pages just yet. If you can’t think of any imaginative ideas or writing prompts, write about something that relates to you, like your morning commute.
If pressure forces you to write, add a timer. Hop onto Google and search for a stopwatch, or go the old-fashioned route and grab your own. Scribble down a few basic themes or ideas, set that timer for five minutes, and start writing!
This tip is professor-proofed.
I was first exposed to this tip in one of my college classes last semester. Engaging in it truly helped me shed my imposter syndrome.
Taking to the whiteboard, the teacher wrote a handful of basic words. Robot. July. Clouds. Balloon. It seemed silly, but this exercise helped the entire class.
Instead of being scared to read their work aloud, everyone was eager to share what they wrote. To my shock, I was too!
The goal isn’t to use every single theme you wrote down. If you do, that’s terrific! The main goal of this challenge is putting yourself back into a writing mindset.
Challenging yourself through creative writing is just one of many ways to diminish your imposter syndrome.
Up for taking this challenge with others? Make it a party and grab some friends. Instead of focusing on who wrote the “best” story, though, try celebrating the simple fact that you’re all making something creative.
The more you spend thinking of ideas and diving back into your writing, the less you’ll think of other people’s opinions.
#2 – Create balance in your life
A stressed mind creates stressful scenarios. Look for what is lacking in your schedule—or what’s eating it up. Are you getting an adequate amount of sleep each night? Is your work environment clashing with your mental health? If you’re tense, try deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
Here’s a great table on creating your writing environment:
How to Start Writing Tip
- isolate yourself from family/friends/even the family dog - remind everyone it's YOUR time - Turn your phone off - Close ALL web browsers - Close your email
- invest in a GOOD chair - or resort to using a stand-up desk for more energy - fill the area with motivational quotes - make sure you're physically comfortable for the next 30 minutes or an hour
Choose Beneficial Background Noise
- turn off all sounds if it distracts you - turn on lyric-less music to help you concentrate - choose energizing music to help you focus
If schedules rule your day, pencil in some time to write. Follow rule #1 and take advantage of gaps in your day. Scribble some sentences while you’re munching during your lunch break, or make a habit of journaling before bed.
Not only will this help you make long-term progress, but it’ll also help you fall into a writing routine.
Visit this post on how you can create your perfect writing space.
However, you normally gather your ideas, make sure you’re actually jotting them down. Nothing hurts more than thinking of your next great story idea and forgetting it because you didn’t have it on paper.
The easier you make it for you to find your character bios or world maps, the less stress you’ll be putting on yourself when it comes time to write.
The more you declutter your mind, the more room you’ll have to start focusing on your work.
#3 – Create balance in your feedback
It’s no secret that if you want to grow as a writer, you have to accept feedback. For someone with imposter syndrome, though, accepting negative feedback is especially difficult. The solution?
Realize that feedback is supposed to enhance your work. Instead of attaching yourself to the feedback, remain subjective.
The joy of being an author and sharing our work with the world is that we come across various viewpoints. Some might agree with us, and others might not. And that’s okay! You can decide when and how you want to respond to reviews.
For starters, this type of feedback is rude. More importantly, feedback like this doesn’t offer any suggestions or justifications. You can toss “feedback” of this sort out the window. Instead, look for feedback partners who will lift you up.
An example of proper feedback:
“I really liked the tone of this piece. It was consistent and locked me in. Yet, I’m not sure if your main character’s actions are justifiable. I didn’t see any character development in this chapter and I think adding that would help.”
Positive, constructive feedback creates balance.
As an author, positive feedback lets you know what you did well and what you need to improve on. Creating this balanced feedback opens up an honest and respectful dialogue between writing partners.
Cultivating these conversations helps eliminate imposter syndrome.
#4 – Interview other writers
No one is immune to self-doubt. But one way to start squashing that feeling is by interviewing authors.
Here are a few sample questions you might ask:
Have you ever faced imposter syndrome?
Are you still battling imposter syndrome?
What tips have you used to overcome your imposter syndrome?
What are your favorite writing exercises?
What are your favorite inspirational quotes?
What book serves as your inspiration?
What is the best feedback you have ever received?
What is the worst feedback you have ever received?
How do you overcome negative feedback?
What might you say to your younger writing self?
What is your biggest writing achievement?
What are your writing goals?
If they are not finished with the journey of overcoming imposter syndrome, you can help each other. Try tip number one and get lost in the sample writing activity together—or create your own!
By engaging with other writers, you’ll start realizing that most of them have the same concerns you do. You’ll realize that writing is a personal—and community-filled—journey. While we might feel excluded in our writing dens, bent over the keys, nothing is more welcoming than knowing we’re not alone.
#5 – Realize every story and writer is different
Your western murder mystery is probably very different than someone else’s comedy road trip novella.
It makes sense that comparing those two ideas is rather difficult. Even at the surface, it’s rather hard to come up with like-minded ideas. Gunslingers and modern-day travel sagas don’t exactly share too many similarities.
But, what if you did? Finding common ground in another work shouldn’t spell the end to your writing career.
Let Stanley Kubrick’s words be of inspiration to you:
“Everything has already been done. Every story has been told…it’s our job to do it one better.”
Take it upon yourself to add your creative twist to your work.
When those comparison-laden thoughts surface, realize that every writer brings something different to the keyboard.
#6 – Everyone starts somewhere
If you’re anything like me, you didn’t pick up writing skillsets overnight. Instead, it’s been a long journey from the day you first started scribbling on paper to where you are at now.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to…yourself. Think about how long you’ve been writing. If you’ve been writing since elementary school, it’s likely your younger self would be in awe about what you’ve written throughout the years.
Picturing that little kid smiling over your skills might be enough motivation to keep going.
Even if you just picked up the creative pen last week, every day is a new experience. Every sentence written is a new notch of knowledge added to your belt. Root for yourself.
Final Tips for Getting Over Imposter Syndrome for Writers
If following numerous tasks stresses you out, nothing says you have to follow all of these pointers at once. Try them out of order, mix them around. If you would rather find a writing community first, then start working on how to balance your feedback, that’s perfectly fine.
Conversely, if you like following guides step-by-step, give it a shot!
Is goal-setting your calling? Try marking on your calendar when you would like to erase your imposter syndrome. Sometimes, having a feasible end date serves as great motivation.
Regardless, by following these steps, you’ll start living the inverse of imposter-ridden scenarios.
Stepping into a bookstore, you’ll feel energized looking at the latest best-sellers and fresh faces on the shelves. You might even picture your work standing proudly amongst them.
Heading to your next writer’s conference, you come prepared. You’re happy to gather feedback on your work and even happier to share your piece aloud.
You don’t compare yourself to the big leagues or your writing partner. You see other writers as writing allies, no matter if they’re writing about a space opera and you’re writing about an romance saga in Venice.
Most importantly…You realize how imperative it is to foster a healthy community of writers—and you’re ecstatic being a part of one.
Writing the book might seem like the most difficult part…and then you have to actually title the darn thing!
When it comes to writing a book, coming up with reasonable book title ideas is surprisingly one of the hardest parts to complete. It’s difficult because titles are essentially short hooks that advertise your book using the fewest words possible.
It’s also what readers look for first when they discover new books, and can take less than 5 seconds to make a decision.
This is why it’s so crucial tocrafta perfect name.
Give these a try, and comment down below your favorite! Also, let us know if you want any book title generators we should add to this list.
#2 – Your Title Must Include a Solution to a Problem
Your title should be crystal clear on what your readers will achieve by reading your book. Experts say that a title with a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.
Here are some questions to consider when creating your title:
Are you teaching a desirable skill?
Can your personal discoveries impact someone’s life?
Can your book solve a very difficult problem?
Here are our favorite book titles that offer a clear solution to a problem with promising results:
Asperger’s Rules! How to Make Sense of School and Friendship by Blythe Grossman
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
Book Title Ideas Action Plan:
Write down the best solutions or teachings your book offers and form these into potential book title ideas.
#3 – Use a Subtitle for Clarity
A great non-fiction title employs a subtitle to clarify what the desired outcome will be from reading your book.
In this video clip, Chandler explains in 5 simple steps how to create a compelling subtitle:
Here are some questions to consider when creating your subtitle:
How can your subtitle further expand on achieving a desirable outcome?
What are the biggest pain points that your subtitle can provide a solution for?
How can you further address your innovative solution in the subtitle?
Here are our favorite book subtitles that spell out what their readers can expect from reading their books:
The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock
Book Title Ideas Action Plan:
Make a list of 10 attention-grabbing subtitles that promise big outcomes and other positive benefits.
#4 – Make Your Title Unforgettable
Catchy titles are memorable, boring titles are not. So make an effort to be more creative and fun with your book title! Use alliterations to make your title easier to read and remember. A memorable and light-hearted title adds additional character to your book and is also a great way to attract readers.
Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:
Will a fun title turn a normally boring subject into something more interesting?
Will adding humor to your title further entice readers?
Will a cleverly written title stand out from other books in this genre?
Here are our favorite books that engaged us with clever titles and subtitles:
Me Talk Pretty One Day and Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
Trust me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt
Book Title Ideas Action Plan:
Experiment with different types of styles and poll your audience to determine whether a comedic, shocking, or even bizarre title will be the most appealing to your target audience.
No matter which method works best on creating a compelling title for nonfiction books, a good thing to remember is to always test multiple titles with different audiences to determine which book title generates the biggest response.
Getting good feedback is the only way to know for certain which title is perfect for your book.
How to Generate Book Title Ideas for Fiction
Generally, fiction titles are allowed more creative wiggle room than their non-fiction counterparts. That being said, an effective fiction title must still pique your readers’ attention.
And while it’s true that you can title your fictional book with random names, it still must catch the reader’s attention.
Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind:
#1 – Your Title Should be Appropriate to Your Genre
Your novel title should use language that resonates with both your book genre and target audience. For example, a romantic book can call for dreamy language whereas an action book can warrant strong and powerful words.
This means that you must know your book’s genre and words that best fit the style of title.
Here are some questions to consider for appropriate genre titles:
What genre best fits this story?
Which are the perfect choice words for your genre?
Here are our favorite fictional titles based on genre:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Book Title Ideas Action Plan:
Based on the genre of your book, pick out a few keywords that best suit its category and evoke strong emotions in your readers.
#2 – Your Book Title Should Pique Your Reader’s Interest
A great fiction title teases and leaves your audience wanting more. You want your audience to read your title and think, “I must read what’s behind that great book cover!”
Here are some questions to consider on how to pique interest with your title:
Which key components of your story best captivates your readers?
What emotions do you want your readers to have once they read your title?
Here are our favorite fictional titles that drew our attention:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Book Title Ideas Action Plan:
Choose a theme that will best draw your reader’s attention. Come up with 5 titles that will catch your reader’s attention and pique their curiosity.
#3 – Look to Your Characters for Book Title Inspiration
A great book title captures the spirit of the protagonist. Some authors simply use the hero’s name for their title.
Others have combined the names of their hero along with their special qualities to inform the audience about their protagonist’s accomplishments like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
On the flip-side, a formidable antagonist can also be an amazing book title.
A sinister name can convey a sense of dread and expectation for what’s to come like Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Both choices are great title ideas and should be seriously considered for your fictional book.
Here are some questions to consider when including a character as a title:
Between the hero and villain, who impacts the story more?
Are there any stunning qualities from your characters that will draw a reader’s emotion?
Can the plot of the story be summed up as a title?
Here are our favorite fictional books thatuse characters for its title:
Harry Potter (Literary Series) by J. K. Rowling
Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Book Title Ideas Action Plan:
Determine which character best conveys what the story will tell in your title. You may also include creative words or themes to further showcase the character’s unique qualities or the journey itself.
#3 – Get Feedback From Your Target Audience
The people who will know if your title is a good fit best, are the people who would pick your book out of a lineup.
This can be difficult if you’re not a part of a writing group or aren’t active on social media.
However, here are some tips for getting book title feedback:
Create a poll in a Facebook writing group
Reach out to some friends or family you know read in your genre and ask for their feedback
Post a poll on Twitter with your various options
Do all of these in order to get a wide variety of input
Your Next Steps
Ultimately, the title of your book depends on you, the author. By following these constructive guidelines, you will be able to generate a number of book title ideas you can use to find the perfect one that grasps the attention of readers and soon become an Amazon bestseller in no time!
#1 – Join your FREE training!
This training was created just for you. Make sure to save your spot and sign up right now so you can learn exactly what it takes to write and publish your book within 90 days…or even less!
You won’t find this guide anywhere else. Take advantage of this offer so you can spark multiple book title ideas in as little as an hour!
#2 – Create a list of book title ideas
Now is the time to fire up that imagination and start brainstorming! We gave you a number of different actionable steps to help you generate book title ideas that work well.
Now is the time to make a list of every potential book title you can think of! The more, the merrier.
When this is done, you’ll want to go through and jot down any that really make you feel something in a separate list. These are the ones you’ll use for the next step.
#3 – Get feedback about the top title
It’s hard to pick a title by yourself because you’re too close to the book. What will help you find the best title is putting the options out there for your target audience to choose.
A fantastic way to do this is to join writing and publishing groups online where you can post polls.
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.
How to Make Time for Writing in Your Busy Life
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 – Build a Writing Habit to Make Time for Writing
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 and develop a writing habit. 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 – Set 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 writing space consists of my computer, motivational quotes, and mind maps for my books.
Here’s a table detailing what a good writing space looks like.
How to Start Writing Tip
- isolate yourself from family/friends/even the family dog - remind everyone it's YOUR time - Turn your phone off - Close ALL web browsers - Close your email
- invest in a GOOD chair - or resort to using a stand-up desk for more energy - fill the area with motivational quotes - make sure you're physically comfortable for the next 30 minutes or an hour
Choose Beneficial Background Noise
- turn off all sounds if it distracts you - turn on lyric-less music to help you concentrate - choose energizing music to help you focus
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 at 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.
Here are some questions to help you decide if it’s right:
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 – Keep Your Mindmap and Book Outline Handy
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 can find time for writing regularly, 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 Distractions
One of the biggest obstacles writers face is being pulled out of their “writing zone” by message indicators, vibrations, pop-ups, and a whole list of writing excuses.
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 can do to eliminate distractions:
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: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 – Overcome Those Writing Excuses
Writing excuses are present in literally everyone.
We all have those things we tell ourselves to stop us from sitting down and making time for writing.
Do any of these writing excuses ring a bell?:
“I just need a few minutes of rest and then I’ll write…”
“I need to watch that new episode everyone’s been talking about…”
“I just don’t feel like writing today…”
We all have these lies we tell ourselves. Because they are, in fact, lies. Once you notice this, it will be much easier to take ownership of these excuses and overcome them.
#6 – Establish 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 realizing and overcoming our writing excuses.
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.
#7 – 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.
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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.
#8 – 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
Find what activities allow you to refresh as well as relax and you’ll find much more joy in the process of writing a book, and you’ll make more time for writing because of this.
#9 – 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 book 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 shortlist 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.”
So you’ve finished your draft and are ready to tackle the next steps of putting it out there in the world. (Promise me that you’re not procrastinating by reading this blog! If you are, get back to writing right now!)
The first step is to figure how who you want to be perceived, how you want to brand yourself, is in your author bio.
This is the blurb that will go on your Amazon author page, your Book Bub author profile, your Goodreads page, your author web page, on the back of your book and so forth. It’s a really important little piece of work that you want to get right!
While your book cover design is the most important tool when marketing a book, your author bio is easily number two. This is where you convince your audience why you are the best person to tell them about the matter at hand.
It’s a place to connect with your readers and build your legitimacy.
You’ll want to stay factual while interesting. You want to make yourself approachable and toot your own horn, just a little bit.
Here are some tips to master these.
#1 – Author Bio Formatting
Although you are writing the bio, it still needs to be written in the third person no matter how quirky it is. In other words, avoid using “I” as your sentence subject but utilize your name or last name instead.
Additionally, you’ll have many drafts and varieties of this author bio. You’ll want to change it up depending on the application.
You may have a punchier version on your website while your bio for that speaking engagement session at a writing conference that you’re leading (and we’re confident that will happen for you!) will be more serious.
Today, we’re working on the basic draft that you can tweak as needed.
Remember to keep the bio short, less than 300 words. It seems that three sentences is a well-tested length (more on this later). Your author bio is not an entire list of every single award you’ve won or your life story.
Even if you did win the “Young Writer’s” award in middle school, unless you’re still in middle school, this little known fact probably doesn’t deserve to be on the back of your book.
Feel free to have a “full accolades” section on your author website where you can list every single thing you’ve ever done, won or written.
Your mom will be super proud of this list but readers browsing Amazon don’t need to get into the major details.
Here’s how to format an author bio wrapped up:
Use third-person POV when writing it
Keep it under 300 words
Add relevant/recent achievements
Minimize the number of sentences within those 300 words.
And remember: an author bio longer than 300 words or so will take up too much space and become an oversell.
#2 – Know Your Readers
Your bio is an extension of your book.
Write it for your audience. Keep the same writing style and connect this text to your subject matter.
If you wrote a book on productivity, a lengthy sentence about your lazy vacations doing nothing is not relevant and in fact, can persuade readers to avoid your books because they’ll think you to be uncredible.
Here are a few tips for getting to know your audience:
Interact with your readers on social platforms
Listen intently to the feedback during the beta reading process
Run your author bio by a group for feedback and adjustments
Ask people close to you if the bio embodies your personality and is accurate
#3 – Include Your Background
In order to sell yourself to new readers, you will want to include your pertinent background. If you happen to have other books, do include their titles and how many languages they have have been translated into or how many countries they’ve been sold in.
List your related education and memberships. Any higher education beyond college is usually noteworthy too.
Keep your lists short though. Only list three books, for instance, and a couple of memberships. A list of ten books, three degrees, and five memberships will only be skimmed by potential book buyers at the very best.
A huge list like this will become white noise so only include the most important and interesting stuff.
Your fanboys and girls (and your mom’s friends) will look to your aforementioned author website for more info and you can keep the tidy, complete list there.
#4 – Stay Factual
Statements like, “has always dreamed of writing a book,” while certainly may be true, are hard to back up and aren’t going to help sell your book.
Stick to the facts and to what you can prove.
Another reason for this is if you claim achievements that aren’t true or invalid, there will always be someone there to point it out in an attempt to cut you down.
This can reduce your credibility, and therefore, readers’ trust in you.
#5 – Use your personality
One of the best things about being an author is that you get to put your personality, views of the world, values, and more into your writing.
What some don’t understand about authors is: if a reader likes you, they’re very likely to enjoy what you write, because your essence bleeds into the pages.
Being able to showcase this with your personality can do worlds for your readers connecting with you and wanting to read your book out of curiosity if nothing else.
Here are a few tips to add personality to your author bio:
Exaggerate your tone just a little in order for it to be more evident
Be goofy and creative with how you describe yourself (See Jenna Moreci’s example in #11)
Have fun with it!
Throw a joke in your bio
#6 – Jot down an achievement or award
In addition to your backlist of books, your awards, and education, you’ll want your readers to know any higher-profile stuff you have going on.
Be sure to cover your awards, your following, and any big deal author interviews or features.
Again, if any of these this happened decades ago, it may not be relevant. But if you have a quarter-million followers on Twitter or on your blog, this will sell your authority (and yeah, a quarter-million sounds better than 250,000 but are the same number!).
If your writing has been nominated for awards but didn’t make the cut, that is often fitting for an author bio too. “Award-nominated” anything is pretty cool!
#7 – Get Personal
Provide a bit of personal information to connect with your audience. The reason for this is if a reader sees something they have in common with you, it’s an automatic bond and gives them more of a reason to buy.
It’s standard for authors to share where they live and what their family make-up is.
A few non-divisive hobbies and interests are also often included. If you have experiences that are related, such as extensive travel or extreme situations, they may relevant to share as well.
Again, know your audience and choose wisely. Maybe (terribly) you were part of a cult as a child?
That’s really interesting but unless you’re sharing this story in the book or proves your authority on the subject at hand, skip including it in your author bio!
Bonus Author Bio Tip: Keep these bits broad enough to include a larger number of people. For example, if you play the flute, simply mention that you’ve been playing an instrument for however many years as this is more inclusive, and there’s a higher chance of others connecting with you.
#8 – Chandler Bolt’s Author Bio Example
We all known and love Chandler Bolt, Self Publishing School Founder. We wouldn’t be here learning about writing without his hard work and book writing methods. Chandler’s author bio on the back of his book Published is only three sentences long but packs in a lot of authority building, states facts plus toots his horn a bit.
These three sentences along with the killer book cover art work well to sell Chandler’s mastery of book publishing.
Chandler’s Amazon Author Page is another version of his author bio. Here, Chandler gets really personal stating that his birth was almost miscarried!
He also gives some background about his entrepreneurial experience and awards.
#9 – Joanna Penn’s Author Bio Example
Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller and nonfiction author who also writes under the pen names of JF Penn and Penny Appleton.
She’s written and self-published nearly 30 books so she really knows what she’s doing. On her Book Bub author page, Joanna’s short bio is only (surprise!) three sentences.
It concisely tells potential readers a short version of her accolades and narrows down her writing style quickly. Then it tells us where she lives and one of her favorite drinks.
On her own website, The Creative Penn, Joanna provides a different three-sentence version of her short bio and then gets into the details about all her books, the many awards and best-selling experience she’s had plus where she lives and her favorite wine (a different drink mentioned here!)! Joanna’s short bio on her page is three sentences and shoves in a ton of accolades into a small space.
Here she tells about her family, her gymnastic prowess as well as her authority and love of athletic mental training. T
his all builds strong authority for her book and brand.
On her Goodreads page about the same book, she sells the book by telling prospective readers that she’s been where they are and know “what it feels like to try your best and to fail.
I also know how it feels to work hard to achieve your goals.” She sells her wisdom and experience. Note that it is the norm to write in the first person on Goodreads but this is a big rule breaker everywhere else.
All of these examples have variations of author bios written in just a slightly different way for different applications. They all say very similar things about the same person.
Not only does Moreci have ample experience when it comes to self-publishing, but she’s also among one of the best examples of how to market your book effectively, including how she’s written her author bio.
Here’s an example of her Amazon author page with her bio:
Notice how Moreci keeps it short, brief, but very clear with who she is, what she writes, and even has enough personal information to let readers into her life at an appropriate level.
If we take a look at her personal author website’s “about” page, we’ll see she has something similar, but with a few more additions, including her books and more.
In this example, Jenna has also doused us with her personality, giving us insight into how she operates and therefore, the tone of some of her books.
Some Additional Author Bio Ideas
Know the very essence of your book and find keywords that your readers may search for to find your book. When crafting your author bio, use these keywords that search engines can catch.
Although it may be irrelative in some bio spaces, add links to any free giveaways (we’ve got some ideas on that here..) on your website, your newsletter, social media or whatever web presence you have.
Also, feel free to add a call to action where applicable.
Final Author Bio Thoughts
Remember that there is no perfect bio, and there are no two alike. Although these are all good ideas, it’s not an exact formula. Your author bio will be unique and will change as you write more books and gain more accolades (because we know you will!).
Now tell me the truth. Is your book really done? We can help you finish your manuscript and really make use of this carefully crafted author bio! Schedule a webinar with Chandler today to get started!
Do you have more author bio tips to share with our writing community? Do you think bios should be longer than three sentences or do you like this standard size?
ISBN stands for International Standard Book number and is a 13-digit code used to uniquely identify your book amongst the millions out there.
What is an ISBN number used for?
Essentially, an ISBN number, or International Standard Book Number, is a regulated 10- or 13-digit identification number which allows libraries, publishers, and book dealers to locate and identify specific books.
But where did these ISBN numbers even start and why do we have them?
In the early days of World War 2, the Japanese military sent messages back and forth and the Allies needed to crack their intricate numbering system to get an edge in the war and turn the tables.
But how did they crack this complex system?
MI6 recruited a young mathematician named Gordon Foster to work as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, where he scanned millions of numbers looking for patterns in the code.
Decades later, when the book industry needed a standardized tracking program in order to coordinate the increasing number of titles being published each year, Gordon Foster was approached by WH Smith, a British retailer, to write a report on how to create such a system.
This report led to the 9-digit standard book number which went live in the UK in 1967 and eventually led to the ISBN system used worldwide.
Several years later, this turned into a 10-digit numbering system when a policy was needed for new editions and variations. Then, in 2007, the ISBN switched to a 13-digit format and is now the standard used everywhere.
How much does an ISBN cost?
ISBNs cost about $125 for one number in the US. However, if you purchase more than one at a time, this cost could be lowered.
Here are a few tips for buying an ISBN:
If you publish physical copies through IngramSpark, you get your ISBN for only $85
Buying your ISBNs in bulk can save you money if you intend to publish more than one book
Let’s unweave the intricate web of how to get an ISBN and how they work in the publishing industry.
How To Read an ISBN number with an ISBN Example
As of 2007, the ISBN is a 13-digit number. This came about in part because of the large volume of eBooks now being published every year.
Knowing how to break down and interpret these 13 digits aren’t of much use and interest to most book readers, but for publishers and distributors, it’s a necessity.
If you want to publish lots of books under your own publishing name then it’s something you may want to pay attention to. You can tell a lot about a book and its author by reading the ISBN number.
The 13 digit ISBN number helps:
Identify the specific title
Identify the author
Identify the type of book they are buying
Identify the physical properties of that particular book
Identify the geographical location of the publisher
Let’s break it down and look at what all these numbers mean.
Here is the ISBN for a particular book:
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:
First is the initial digit, in this case: 3
The 3 is the language group identifier which here indicates German. For English speaking countries a 0 or 1 is used. Numbers for language identification generally range from 1-5.
Here is a list of the most common Group identifiers:
0 or 1 for English
2 for French
3 for German
4 for Japan
5 for Russian
7 for People’s Republic of China
It’s worth mentioning that the rarer the language, the longer the number identifier will be. For example, Indonesia is 602 whereas Turkey is 9944. You can reference the complete list at the International ISBN Agency.
Next is “16”. This is the “publisher code,” and it identifies the publisher on any book that has this number. This number can be as long as 9 digits.
“148410” — This six-digit series represents the title of the book. The publisher assigns this to a specific book or edition of the book, such as a hardcover version or paperback. This could be a single digit or stretch to multiple digits.
“0” is the last digit and is known as the “check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed digit. This is always a single digit.
This number indicates that the rest of the ISBN numbers have been scanned and is calculated based on the other digits in the code.
Where is the ISBN number on books?
The ISBN is usually found above the barcode on the back of the book. However, they’re not the same.
The barcode is much different than the ISBN number.
This is an important distinction because:
When you purchase an ISBN you don’t automatically get a barcode
The barcode of your book can change, while your ISBN can remain the same.
We’ve already discussed what data the ISBN carries, however, the barcode includes extra information such as the book’s fixed price and the currency it’s being sold in.
Barcodes are a necessary element of your book as they allow for most retailers and distributors to scan your ISBN for retail and inventory reasons.
The Book Designer also has a great resource for learning how to reconstruct an ISBN if you finally decided to write and self-publish the book you’ve been thinking about since you bought the ISBN.
ISBN Search: How to Find Your Book’s ISBN
If you want to look up the ISBN of any book out there, you can do so easily by visiting the website ISBNSearch.org.
You’ll be greeted with a screen like the one above where you will be prompted to type in the ISBN, author name, or book title.
After hitting “search,” you will have a list of books matching your searched items with the both the 13-digit ISBN and the 10-digit, like in the example below.
How to Read a Barcode
If you look at the picture of a standard barcode, you’ll notice two barcodes side by side. The barcode that appears on the left is the EAN generated from the ISBN number.
The other number appearing on the right is a 5-digit add-on, called an EAN-5, that contains the price of the book. The first digit is a 5 and is a must for scanners to read. The 4-digits after the five indicates the price of the book.
For example, if the number reads 52995, this means the price of the book is set at $29.95. If the price of the book changes, a new barcode must be used, though the ISBN wouldn’t change.
This would only be replaced by a new ISBN number if the book is published as a new edition or as a new version.
To buy a barcode you must first purchase an ISBN. You can buy your barcodes at Bowker and they even offer a barcode-ISBN combo:
1 barcode + 1 ISBN is $150.
1 barcode + 10 ISBNs is $320.
The Difference Between ASIN and ISBN
If you’ve used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program you’ve probably come across an ASIN. ASIN numbers are used by Amazon to manage and identify the products they are selling on their site. It’s a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier that’s assigned by Amazon.com and its partners.
You can find this on your book page. In your browser, the Amazon ASIN will be after the product’s name and “dp”. The next place to find this is in your book or product details area of your book page.
However, an ASIN is not the same as an ISBN. You can only use it with Amazon. If you want to sell through other platforms or in brick and mortar stores, you’re going to need an ISBN.
Reasons Self-Published Authors Need an ISBN
If you want to publish and sell your eBook on Amazon, then the quick answer is no, it isn’t necessary. Amazon will assign your eBook an ASIN number which will be used to identify and track your title.
However, that’s only with Amazon, and only with eBooks.
This might be important if you have a brick and mortar marketing strategy, or if you want your book to be accessible through libraries (more on this later), or if you’re looking to deal with wholesalers or other online retailers.
Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if you want to sell your book by means other than as an ebook on Amazon, then you’ll need an ISBN.
How do I buy an ISBN Number?
You might not even have to buy your ISBN number because of services offered to self-published authors. You can get assigned a free ISBN by Createspace, the On-Demand publishing company that has now merged with Amazon.
If you can get a free or cheap ISBN with them, then what’s the use in paying for your own one?
Here’s the problem: most of the time, you can only use those free ISBNs with the channels those companies distribute through.
Let’s say you get a free ISBN with Draft2Digital, but then you notice that there are some retail channels you can access through Smashwords that you can’t with Draft2Digital.
You can’t use the Draft2Digital ISBN with Smashwords.
Smashwords will only let you use your own ISBN or an ISBN they assign to you. So what do you do?
You get a free ISBN with Smashwords.
And now you have two ISBNs for the same book. Same book title, same book format, but two ISBNs.
You then hear of some exclusive channels you can get through eBookPartnership. The only wrinkle? You need an ISBN and they won’t take your Smashwords’ or Draft2Digital’s ISBN. So you sign up for their free ISBN instead.
Now you have three ISBNs for the same book.
The Problem with Multiple ISBNs
This problem can repeat itself again and again as you discover more ways to distribute your book. Sometimes you’ll have to pay for the ISBN, sometimes you won’t. But it leads to you having several ISBNs, all from different publishers, for the same book.
Can you picture how unprofessional that looks to a bookstore?
Wouldn’t it have been easier to start off by buying your own ISBN? Wouldn’t that make you look more professional?
All of these issues can be sidestepped by simply purchasing your own ISBN through Bowker.
Libraries and ISBN Numbers
We briefly mentioned that if you want to stock your book in libraries, you’ll need an ISBN. However, that might be the furthest thing from your mind. You might have decided to focus purely on eBook publishing and what part do libraries play in eBooks?
A big one.
Libraries are becoming more important to the distribution of eBooks. Overdrive is the largest supplier to schools and libraries in the world (serving more than 30,000), and they circulated more than 105 million eBooks in 2014, a 33% increase from their previous year. They also supply to retail stores globally, making $100 million in sales in 2013.
And guess what you need to be able to partner with Overdrive? Yup. An ISBN.
How to get an ISBN
ISBNs are free in many countries, provided either by the government or a publicly administered branch. However, in the US and the UK, ISBN numbers are administered by Bowker and Nielsen respectively and require you to pay.
If you’re located outside the USA you can find out your local ISBN Agency here. While ISBNs are assigned locally, you can use them internationally.
If you live in the USA, you have to get an ISBN through myidentifiers.com, run by Bowker, the only company that is authorized to administer the ISBN program in the United States. You can purchase ISBNs as a single unit or in bulk of 10, 100 or 1000.
How to Register Your Book and ISBN Number
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.
You can only use an ISBN once. The ISBN is a unique number for that particular book, and can be assigned once, and only once, to that title. It can’t be used with any other book in the future, even second versions of the same book.
You don’t need an ISBN to sell in each individual country. ISBNs are international, they are just assigned locally. A US-based publisher can purchase their ISBN through Bowker, but can stock their book worldwide using that ISBN.
You need an ISBN for every specific format of the book and any new versions. Want to sell your book in print, as an eBook, and also as an audiobook? That’s great, however, you need a different ISBN for each one. If you want to publish a revised and updated version you’ll also need a new ISBN. (This doesn’t cover fixing some typos and errors).
If you create a series of books you can’t use the same ISBN for them. You can use the same ISSN, however. Many fiction and nonfiction authors have an ISSN number assigned to their book series. ISSN stands for International Standard Series Number and can be purchased from the Library of Congress. However, each book in the series will need its own ISBN.
We mentioned that in the USA you can buy ISBNs as a single unit, a bulk of 10, 100 or 1000. Here are the prices:
Number of ISBNs
First off, it rarely makes sense to purchase a single ISBN. A single ISBN would cost you $125, but a bulk of 10 only costs $295. Meaning if you purchased 10, each ISBN would cost you $29.50, a 76% discount.
Buying a single ISBN might seem feasible if you only want to publish one title, but remember that you need an ISBN for each format. So if you want to publish your book as an audiobook, you’d need a brand new ISBN for that. As well as needing different ISBN numbers for your eBook and print versions.
Not to mention that you’ll need an ISBN number for any future books you publish, perhaps as sequels to your book.
We recommend that if you’re serious about making book sales, you should purchase at least a bulk of 10 ISBNs. That gives you 3 ISBN numbers to use for publishing as an eBook, in print, and as an audiobook. You can keep the remainder for any future books you might publish.
How to Get an ISBN final steps
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 ISBN numbers.
Think of it as buying a piece of property: You own it and it is registered in your name.
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.
I’m going to start with showing you an image of my nine-year-old’s perseverance that can be applied to anyone.
Every week she climbs a 16 ft rope at her gymnastics class. She decided that she was going to make it to the bell about 2 months ago and she has steadily climbed further up the rope each week.
Her hands slide up the rope with precision, her knees are out like a butterfly and she uses her whole body to climb up the rope. Every week I shoot a Facebook live video of her.
And every week the time it takes her to climb the rope decreases.
Preserving in writing is a lot like my 9-year-old’s determination to squirm her way up the rope.
It is climbing, hand over hand, using all the resources you have to keep your eye on the finished target. In my daughter’s case, it is the bell at the top of the gymnastics rope. In my case, it is finishing my second book this year.
When my family and friends ask me about my first book, how much time it took, and what keeps me going, I shrug and say, “I started working on it consistently in November.” I went from idea to self-published in 6 months. Of course, that was with intentional, uninterrupted writing times and the determination to keep going – even when it was hard.
You can write a book too. You just have to make the most of every second and continue on your journey, even when it is hard.
How to Form a Writing Habit to Maintain Writing Motivation
It is not always easy to consistently write. In fact, there are days when it is downright HARD, but we all have the same 86,400 seconds in every single day.
How we choose to use our time is one of the things that sets apart those who persevere in writing against those that don’t.
And forming a writing routine and habit is the best way to make that happen.
I don’t have a lot of time for writing during the day—so I have to create time. The absolute best time for me is to wake before the sun and spend the first two hours of my day writing and creating.
I do find small chunks of time during a break at school to pull up the google doc app on my phone and write a few words. However, as you can see by Chandler’s video about burnout, it is super important to create hard and fast boundaries about your life and your writing routine, so that you don’t burnout and you’re able to continue writing.
Gather the Writing Tools to Help Writing Motivation
Sometimes those boundaries include using the right tools for writing, which will also help you persevere and keep you motivated to keep going. The right tool or writing software is generally not your phone.
That’s not to say that you can’t have your phone as an occasional tool; however, it is equally as important to understand that if you pull your computer out and go to your dedicated writing space, you will likely accomplish a lot more.
There are different people and people who do things in different ways. In the writing community, we call them plotters and pansters, or discovery writers.
The plotters plan every single detail out and they are then able to compile their narratives. The pansters go with the flow and get things moving by simply putting one word in front of the other.
Here are some of the best tools for writing:
A word processing program (like Microsoft Word or Google Docs)
A blank piece of paper
Keep in mind that the word processor you use can make a huge difference in writing motivation.
For example, using something like Scrivener to track your word count and goal line can keep you pushing to reach the end.
Check out our Scrivener Tutorial below if you’re curious to learn more.
Keep Writing Motivation Through Determination
When I am most likely to want to throw in the towel, I usually get some inspiration from someone that I’ve allowed to read my work to help me keep going. If that’s not possible, I reach out to the #writingcommunity on Twitter and someone there will give me some sage advice—like go for a walk.
So many writers dream of having the ability to work from home, never get dressed if they don’t have to, and being an authorpreneur. However, it takes a lot of perseverance to get there.
It takes the dedication of finding the one time in your day to keep an appointment with the most important VIP in your life: yourself.
How to Maintain Writing Motivation Even When it Gets Tough
My writing coach, R.E. Vance, told me that the worst thing I can do is not to look at my writing for a few days. He said that when you aren’t engaged with it, it takes longer to move to the creation part because you have to re-read, figure out where you are, and you lose momentum.
So follow these steps for persevering in your writing journey every day.
#1 – Keep a Writing Date With Yourself
You are a very important person in this blank page to published process. So, find a time that works for you, whether that is early in the morning or after your family is in bed for the night, and dedicate five, ten, twenty-five minutes, or an hour to working on your book.
“But I am tired.”
Guess what? You’re making the most of those 86,400 seconds in a day by finding a few minutes to commit to writing. Personally, I am a morning writer. I know that I am a lot less likely to be interrupted in the morning than at any other time.
#2 – Keep the Document Open and Visible
When you open your work in progress document, you’re setting yourself up for success.
You know that you want to add more words to the page and you can do this by simply putting one word down and following it with the next.
You can edit bad writing, but you can’t edit a blank page.
That’s why keeping the doc open, no matter what writing software you use, can help keep it top of mind. Think of it like keeping a sticky note out reminding you.
Whenever you log on to your computer, you’ll have a reminder to write right in front of you.
#3 – Do Writing Sprints
For those of you who don’t know, writing sprints are when you set a timer and simply write as much as you can during that time. You don’t go back and read, you don’t edit, you just write and keep writing until the time is up.
Set a timer for a few minutes. It can be one minute, it can be two minutes, or it can twenty minutes.
You get to decide how many minutes you want for a sprint and then during that time period, you simply write.
You write as many words as you can in that sprint and perhaps it will inspire you to do another sprint.
If you want to have more accountability do this, hop on Twitter and search the hashtag #writingsprints to find people who are currently looking for sprinting buddies.
This can help you stick with it and then be accountable for it at the same time, since many post their word counts after (usually followed by more sprints).
#4 – Connect With Other Authors
Sometimes we need a little motivation to keep us going. Most other authors are more than willing to help you when you’re feeling down.
Reach out to the author communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
They often have advice for you, whether it is on their blogs or through direct messages.
If you’re not sure where to go to find other writers, here are some hashtags you can use to search and find people writing in your genre!
The awful news for authors out there today is that there are plenty vanity press scams and self-publishing companies to avoid…unless you want your money stolen, that is…
If you are a self-published author, publishing your book today has never been easier. With a quick Google search, you’ll come across dozens of self-publishing companies offering publishing services for authors.
Before making any decisions, you want to check out all your options carefully. If not, you could find yourself the victim of a self-publishing scam, forking thousands of bucks over to a shady publishing company with nothing to show for it.
In this post, you’ll learn how to recognize the self-publishing scams when they cold call you…and the companies you can really trust to get your book published!
Here’s what we’ll cover in this post on self-publishing scams:
As with any lucrative industry, there are a wide range of self-publishing scams in business for one reason: To take your money.
A Vanity press publisher charges sky-high prices for author services that includes editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing.
But, all of this is outsourced to the lowest bidder and in the end, the author is left with a poor quality book and no way to market it.
“You get what you pay for” doesn’t equate when it comes to vanity press and the publishing scams they represent. You do pay top dollar, often tens of thousands, and what you get back for your investment lacks anything of value.
So, how can you avoid these self-publishing scams?
Let’s take a look.
Why Authors Fall for Vanity Press Scams
There could be many reasons why someone would sign up with a scammy publishing company that wants you to pay big money up front.
There is no shortage of scams out there when it comes to self-publishing. The biggest reason authors fall into these scams is because…well, they don’t know what they should know to avoid being scammed in the first place.
The fact that you have to pay a publisher to get your book published is warning sign enough: The lies are on the wall. Most authors who fall into this trap are not published authors yet.
You are either thinking of writing a book, you’ve started writing it, or you’re done and can’t wait to get it out there.
So, when a publisher comes along offering to get their “just finished” manuscript into the hands of thousands of readers and sell millions of books worldwide, I would grab at it, too. Who wouldn’t want that?
As a first time author, you are most likely not going to write a book that sells thousands of copies. And if you do, it will not be through a company that you just paid $5,000-$10 to for this to happen.
Most soon-to-be-published self-publishers fall into the lap of predatory publishers because they need help.
For someone who wants to become a successful author, your passion to publish is so strong that it overrides the sudden impulse to take the first offer on the table.
Here are several reasons why you might fall for the vanity press trap:
You are desperate for the know-how of book publishing.
The publishing process is too complex.
You are scared of “not publishing” and want it done right now.
You are not tech-savvy and would rather pay someone to overcome the hurdles.
Your friends keep asking you “When is your book coming out?”
You know nothing about book marketing and need to hire the experts. Guess what: Vanity publishers don’t know much about it either and you’ll have to market no matter the avenue of publishing you choose.
You watched a video of a self-published author who just signed a 6-figure deal with a large publisher…and you think that is what usually happens.
Before you make any hasty decisions, stop and breathe. If you need help with publishing your book [and everyone does] there is a right way and…
The other way that steals all your hard-earned dollars.
My hope is that you read this post before signing anything. If you can know the danger signs to watch for, you’ll pull yourself back from making a decision that costs you thousands of dollars, not to mention the heavy burden of regret later.
Early Warning Signs: The Lies of Vanity Press
Vanity presses are generally a bad idea all around, but we’ll cover some specific ways they can scam you and why they’re often on the list of self-publishing companies to avoid.
How Vanity Press Publishers Scam You
It is actually easy to spot a predatory publisher. I only hope you get to this post before they get to you. Here are the 5 big signs you are at risk of being scammed.
#1 — The company asks for publishing fees. This should be enough right here. Although Hybrid Publishers require authors to pay for all the publishing services upfront, they usually split the fees later.
A vanity press publisher will charge thousands for a publishing package. You are told that the book sales will be recouped later through book sales…which almost never happen. Don’t listen to the so-called “reviews and testimonials” on the websites. These are rigged, of course.
#2 — “We will publish your book for you on Amazon.” Let me be clear about this: Publishing on Amazon is super easy, even if you have limited tech skills. Not to mention Amazon has an excellent support system in place. The response time to inquiries is less than 24 hours and they are very detailed when it comes to responses.
A vanity publisher will make this sound more complicated than it really is. They will “take care of everything” and upload the book for you. What this also means is you lose control over making any future changes to the book. The only person that should be uploading the book to Amazon is YOU under your own account.
#3 — Charges for A Reading Fee. Never. This just isn’t done. A traditional publishing house never asks for this. If you are told by the sales rep they will read your book for a certain fee, red flag this. The “reading fee” scam is less common today, but just in case you do run up against a company that tries this old scam.
With a real publisher, nobody makes money until the book is selling. Actually, this practice has fallen the wayside these days and it would be rare to come across. But there is always someone willing to try…
#4 — The publisher will buy you an ISBN [because they are so hard to get]. You can buy an ISBN through Bowker.com if you reside within the USA. The cost is $125.00. In the U.K. you go through Nielson. In Canada ISBNs are free through ISBN Canada. If you buy this through IngramSpark they offer a slight discount. Again, this is just another ploy to make you think it is a difficult process that is better off left to the “professionals.”
#5 — “We will take care of all the marketing, because we know how difficult it is.” Yes, marketing is difficult, especially for authors. But a vanity press company won’t market the book to sell, they will do the bare minimum required so it appears as if the book is being placed in the proper channels.
My advice: Grab a book on marketing for authors or enroll in a course. Learn it. You can even outsource it out so that you doSell More Books. But in the end nobody is better at marketing their own book than the author.
#6 — Excessive use of flattery. The first time I spoke to a vanity press sales rep I remember the praise she gave me for my book. I felt as if I had written a book that was going to sell thousands of copies in the first week.
The rep was quoting passages from the book and referencing everything from the first page. Mind you, I later realized, everything she was quoting was from the first few pages. So did she read it? Of course not.
#7— A sales rep calls you several hours after you sign up to their newsletter with a sales pitch. I tested one of these sites by enquiring about their services, and I downloaded a freebie. The next day I received a call from my “Publishing consultant” ready to help me fulfill my dreams as an author. Wow. The sales pitch was impressive, but if you already knew the situation, it was a total scam. You can smell it.
But, for a new author excited to be part of the publishing journey, listening to someone else tell you how excited they are to publish your boom is a very tempting catch. In the end, they don’t care about your book or you. Whether it is Author Solutions or another of the dozens of publishing scammers out there, they get your money and keep milking it with constant upsells.
#8 — Make “over the mountain promises” to get you endorsed by Hollywood. It is not unusual for these companies to tell you that your book has a shot of being featured in Oprah’s book club, or that they will send your manuscript to one of their agents in Hollywood for review.
I can promise you one thing—Your book will never see the inside of a movie studio. Not unless you are a well-established author who has already proven themselves, and even then, it will not be through a vanity press company that you get there.
#9 — Promises to get your book into barnes and noble and other bookstores. In this case what happens is, they put your book into a large catalogue where bookstores and libraries can order it. But realistically, you’ll be hard pressed to sell a single book in any bookstore if you publish through a vanity press company. Libraries and bookstores won’t even consider it in most cases.
#10 — Insists you sign a contract handing over exclusivity. If this final dose doesn’t make you run the other way, I don’t know what will. By any and all means, as a self-published author, you do not sign over your material rights to anyone. This gives the vanity publisher the right to further exploit your work and profit from all sales. The author, in this case, gets a lower end percentage.
Now that you’ve seen the red flags, you are well-informed to make a decision if you come across what appears to be a shady publisher. You don’t need to sign anything or pay huge amounts of money for the publisher to “publish you to Amazon” or set you up with a movie deal.
Now, let’s take a look at…
Your Self-Publishing Options
We are not living in the 1990s anymore. Back then, choices to self-publish were limited. You either paid a company—like a vanity press—a lot of money. Or, you went on your own and hired a printing company to run off tons of copies that were not cheap.
Today, you will see that you have many good choices these days that make it easier for you to get your book published.
#1 — Self-Publishing Courses
There are quite a few reputable self-publishing courses out there. You buy the course, and work through the modules to write and ultimately publish your own book.
There are costs to publish your book, including creating it, cover design, editing, and launching your book.You still have to pay for these services, but at least you get to choose who is working on your book.
It is up to each individual author to outsource his or her own book. Publishing courses provide the content you need to get it all done, but you do all the work and take on additional costs outside the cost of the course.
You have to pay for the basics that any author pays for: A good cover design, hiring an editor and formatting, and maybe a budget for marketing services such as book promo sites or a media package.
But many new authors are weary about self-publishing and think uploading to Amazon— or other publishing companies—is a complex ordeal. It isn’t. I have been coaching authors for years and, nowadays, the system is built in that all you have to do is plug your book info into the Kindle Direct Publishing Bookshelf and away you go. The cost for actually self-publishing your book is O.
The production cost for the average book is about $1500. If you pay $1000-3000 for a course + $1500 for the book production, you are still under $5,000. If you continue to write more books, you’ve already paid for the course that usually gives you access for a lifetime.
Taking a self-publishing course is the best option we think. You learn how to do so much of the process yourself, and can rinse and repeat for future books. You still pay for everything but, who you decide to hire is up to you and the creative decisions are all yours.
#2 — KDP [Kindle Direct Publishing]
The KDP platform is Amazons book publishing platform. Publishing a book is so much easier now than it ever used to be, especially with Amazon self-publishing.
You no longer need to go through painstaking efforts to land a book deal which locks you into unrealistic deadlines and cuts you out of most of the earnings. You don’T have to sign up and fork over thousands to a vanity press company.
You can now have complete control of your book – and its revenues – by publishing directly through Amazon self-publishing.
Setting up your KDP account is easy, and should be the first step you complete.
Here’s how to set up your Kindle Direct Publishing account:
Next, click “Update” in your account information and fill in your tax information. It’s important to note that you need to complete your tax information BEFORE you can publish your first book. So don’t skip this step!
Once your tax information is complete, click “Finished” and return to the main page.
To start printing your own books with IngramSpark, visit their website and set up an account. Do the same with Amazons’ Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Do it yourself. It’s not the difficult process many would have you believe, and there is lots of support on these sites ready to help you right away.
How much is the cost to print a book?
It depends on the book size but, for a book that is 30k in length with little to no photos or graphs and text only, expect to pay less than $4 per copy. The average scammy publisher will charge new authors $15-20 dollars per copy.
But for them, they print the books at the same cost as an author who sets this up through KDP or IngramSpark.
In fact, many vanity press publishers use IngramSpark for the print-on-demand service only just to sell the books back to the author at 5x the print cost.
#4 — Vanity Press Publisher
Vanity press publishing, also called subsidy publishing, differs from self–publishing in that the author assumes all the risk and pays the publisher for everything.
The editing, formatting, cover design, and even marketing the book are paid for by the author through the various packages offered when an author signs up.
But, there is a trap here: The costs are more than you initially pay for, and they don’t tell you this until later when you’re mired deeper into the project. Once invested, most authors are compelled to publish the book no matter the costs.
The emotional investment is what these companies prey on. Knowing how you feel about your book, they are ready to help you do anything to get it to market…and that means offering more expensive services.
By the time you are done and the book is published, potentially you have just spent $10k. With close to 0 book sales.
Vanity publishers make money, not from selling books for you, but from the author buying their own books back from the publisher. It is a scam where the author always loses.
#5 — Traditional Publishers
This is not a self-publishing route but, if you want to take the traditional path, you can begin by querying your manuscript with agents. Keep in mind, you may not see your book in print for a couple of year due to the lengthy process of first finding an agent, and then having them submit it to publishers to buy.
What is a traditional publisher?
“A traditional book publishing company buys the rights to an author’s manuscript. Buying rights from the author is how book publishers have traditionally acquired books. …The advance is deducted by the book publisher from any royalties the author receives from the sale of the book.”
That’s right, they pay you an advance for the book. You don’t pay them anything. It depends on the publisher’s contract but they will pay for [some] marketing.
The editing, cover design and formatting is taken care of by the publisher [in most cases].
There are a lot of nightmare stories of authors signing on with traditional publishers, but that usually equates to the publisher not trying hard enough to sell any books. In this case the author may end the contract and, after that, many authors take up with self-publishing and find better success. After all, why not be in charge of building your own book business?
#6 — Hybrid Publishers
A hybrid publisher is what you will find between a traditional publisher [pay nothing upfront but get paid an advance] or a vanity press publisher [pay for everything upfront and keep all royalties.
The hybrid publishers model is simple: An author pays for everything upfront but gets a bigger cut of the royalties after book sales, upwards of 50%. The initial cost means that the author assumes all the financial risk in order to get the book to market.
One other difference between traditional and hybrid publishing is, the hybrid has to pay the author a higher percentage of royalties than a traditional publishing house.
In order for a company to be called a hybrid publisher, there are 9 criteria set out by the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) that must be adhered to:
In order to not be classified as a vanity press, ALL book submissions must be reviewed. This means if your book does not meet the criteria, it should be rejected. A vanity press doesn’t care. Anything and anybody will do.
Hybrid publishers must clearly define a vision to follow for their company.
Must report reputable sales on all titles they publish.
Authors who sign with hybrid publishers must be paid a higher royalty than that of standard traditional publisher rates.
The quality of the production—cover design, editing and formatting—must meet industry standards.
The publisher must publish as its own defined imprint and request its own ISBNs.
Manage all distribution services for the works.
Hybrid publisher must manage the rights of the works they publish as well as any subsequent rights acquired.
Hybrid publishers must meet the standards and best practices set out by the publishing industry.
But…the vanity press publishers are bad seeds. Lately they are disguising their services as “hybrid publishers” but still operate with the same scammy tactics.
Take caution here that, while a hybrid publisher might look legit on the surface, there is a possibility you could get ripped off if you are not 100% sure.
Taking Down the Scammers
As a coach and self-publishing authority, I have worked with at least a dozen authors who’ve come away from a vanity press publisher broke, not just financially, but emotionally as well.
Like most authors, they just wanted to fulfill a dream and publish a book. But as soon as you sign up with a self-publishing scam company, your dreams are ripped apart and so is your bank account. By the time the not-yet-published author realizes it, they are invested by thousands of dollars and bound by a contract.
Over the years several class-action suits have been launched against scammy publishers for bad business practice. The worst of these publishers is Author Solutions, a company with a bad rap and a long history of complaints targeted against it by authors who have been exploited.
This company boasts on its website “300,000 authors published.” I would be hard-pressed to believe this and to go a step further, the percentage of those authors who would use Author Solution service again?
Chances are if you have been down this road, you realized before you were half way there that you’d taken a bad path.
Author Solutions is at the top of the chain of seedy publishing houses promising to get your book to market because the world needs to hear your story. And for a publishing package upwards of $5999 it could all be done for you. Well, initially you are led to believe.
Author Solutions is the parent company of several subsidiaries that operate, not only in the US but now have an International reach as they have set up in countries worldwide.
How do they make their money?
It isn’t from helping authors to sell books.
The authors usually end up selling nothing. Instead, they are made to buy the books they want from the publishers at a high cost just so they can have their own copies to sell or giveaway.
Fortunately, authors are better educated these days on the publishing options available. Vanity publishers are disappearing. But do return “wearing different clothing”, disguised as the next best company to get you that bestselling book.
Red Flag List: Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid
I have compiled a list of publishing companies you should avoid at all costs. This is not a complete list but includes names of the major companies flagged by Writer Beware and Alliance of Independent Authors.
For a very thorough listing, I would recommend you check with the Alliance of Independent Authors. ALLi stays up-to-date on the scammy reports, warnings and lawsuits taken against bad publishers.
Here are some self-publishing companies that have made the list of those to watch out for:
Archway Publishing [Simon and Schuster]
LifeRich Publishing [Reader’s Digest]
Palibrio [for the Spanish-speaking community]
Christian faith publishing
Balboa press [a Division of Hay House]
Newman Springs Publishing
Xlibris [UK, AU, and NZ]
Dog ear publishing
Writers Beware and Watchdog Groups
Remember: Always do your homework. To make sure if you are buying into a legit business you should check in with these sites listed below.
“Shining a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. Also providing advice for writers, industry news, and commentary. Writer Beware is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.”
A detailed breakdown of self-publishing companies and their ranking based on service and reliability.
Educate Yourself in Self-Publishing
Publishing scams will always be around as long as authors are paying for their services.
How do you, as an author, avoid falling into this trap?
The self-publishing arena is like a vast oasis of information and a never-ending learning process. Vanity press publishers are banking on you having no idea what to do, which is why you might consider turning to a publishing company in the first place.
You will learn how to write and market your book your way and all of it within your control. You won’t have to give up anything or sign your book rights over to a publisher that will exploit your creativity.
If you are uncertain as to whether you should spend money on a course or not, but you want to know the ins and outs of self-publishing, grab a $5 book and start here.
Meanwhile, the scammy publishers are on the phone right now with a future author that isn’t doing these things.
Read Books on “How to Write” and Self-Publishing
Reading is a cheap way to educate yourself on writing. Make it a habit to read for 30 minutes a day. Educate yourself on the publishing industry.
Top 10 Book Recommendations on Writing and Self-Publishing:
Amazon self-publishing is on the rise. With it being the #1 retailer for books worldwide, that makes sense.
But if you wind up making some errors in publishing on Amazon…let’s just say your results as an author will be less than satisfactory.
After all, the self-publishing industry is pretty sensitive to those making mistakes.
But Amazon self-publishing is the best option to self-publish and we’ve made it even easier for you with this guide for doing it with Kindle Direct Publishing.
You no longer need to go through painstaking efforts to land a book deal which locks you into unrealistic deadlines and cuts you out of most of the earnings.
You can now have complete control of your book – and its revenues – by Amazon self-publishing.
But many writers get overwhelmed by the abundance of information about self-publishing. It can be intimidating for first-time publishers. We get it – we were just like you!
So to ease some anxiety and uncertainty, we created this step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide for you to follow in order to get your book published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Network.
Here is your full guide for Amazon Self-Publishing:
Traditional publishing is on the way out. This has been the reality for some time now and for good reason.
While traditional publishing had its time and was once the only option for publishing a book, the system in place right now is one made for the next Stephen Kings – not for those who have value to share with the world.
Why Amazon Self-Publishing is the Best Option
Though traditional publishing is still a viable option for some, Amazon self-publishing is the best option and here’s why:
Over 70% of books are sold on Amazon
310 million book buyers through Amazon last year
Those buyers accounted for over $178 billion in sales
It’s easier and faster with Amazon self-publishing
There are major differences between traditional vs self-publishing with the majority of authors opting to take their talents to Amazon instead of through one of the Big 5 publishing houses.
Throughout this guide, you’ll read the term Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. It might sound self-explanatory but we’ll cover some basics.
This is an Amazon self-publishing platform that allows you to create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and even audiobooks in a single place. It’s widely used to build books from the ground up.
And fortunately, setting up your KDP account is easy, and should be the first step you complete.
Your Guide for Amazon Self-Publishing
Sure, anyone can technically self-publish on Amazon, but that doesn’t mean it will do well and actually sell. You have to know the specifics, from setting up your KDP account to the pricing of your book.
If done correctly, you can expect a successful launch and a substantial amount of passive income. Here are our steps for Amazon self-publishing.
#1 – Create a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Account
Before you can start with Amazon publishing, you first have to have an account set up with them.
Here’s how to set up your Kindle Direct Publishing account:
Next, click “Update” in your account information and fill in your tax information. It’s important to note that you need to complete your tax information BEFORE you can publish your first book. So don’t skip this step!
Once your tax information is complete, click “Finished” and return to the main page.
Your profile is complete!
With your KDP account setup, proceed to setting up the details of your book, as seen in the areas below.
#2 – Choose a Book Title and Subtitle
In your Kindle Direct Publishing profile, you need to fill in the title and subtitle of your book. While a subtitle is optional, having a good subtitle is something you should definitely consider to bring in more views and create stronger intrigue and help people find your book when searching.
Use a Book Hook: Your book hook should speak to the reader in a unique voice that grabs their attention and feeds into what they are looking for.
List the Benefits: Your potential readers want to know what they will get from reading your book. One technique is to deliver the benefits in the subtitle, providing enough tantalizing information to further attract readers.
Think about what you would be attracted to in a book title. Keep it simple, clear, and unique. Research the title you want to use and make sure it hasn’t been scooped up by a high-performing book already.
You don’t want to make competition for yourself.
#3 – Write Your Book Description for Amazon
You need a powerful book description in order for potential buyers to read what it’s about. Even though the cover and subtitle should do a great job of this, we all want more information when it comes to putting money toward something.
Here’s what people notice first when seeing a new book:
A book description is essentially a short written narrative that illustrates what your book is about. It should be written like a sales page to capture the interest of your reader.
This is crucial because the description, in many cases, is the final factor that determines whether the reader will read your book or not. That, and great Amazon reviews.
When done correctly, a well-written book description can practically sell a book on its own.
Here are some strategies to help craft your perfect description:
Make your first sentence as enticing as possible
Write your description like a sales page or advertisement, not a dry summary of your book
Have the description feel personal and empathetic
Detail the benefits your reader will gain by reading your book
Here’s a great example of a full book description on Amazon:
You can find more amazing description examples with these books:
If you want your book to show up in Amazon and Google search engines, you’ll need the right mix of keywords. Since Amazon allows only seven keywordsper book, keyword selection requires strategy.
But what are keywords exactly?
Keywords are specific words or phrases used to describe your book. If someone was looking for a book on your topic, they might type one of those keywords into Amazon or Google in order to find it.
For example, if your book is about perseverance, you might find keywords like this useful:
how to have perseverance
what is perseverance
persevering when it’s hard
These are all phrases or words people looking to better themselves with perseverance would type into search engines in order to find what they’re looking for, like in the image below.
You can research the right keyword phrases by using search tools such as:
KDP Rocket: This is a great tool for comparing Google search results to Amazon. It gives you a competitive score from 1-99, keyword results from both Google and Amazon, and how much money other books are making. You can check out this KDP Rocket Review.
KW Finder: This tool gives an analytical view of the keyword popularity using a competitive ranking. You can search for five keywords for free per day.
Amazon’s Autofill Function: Take advantage of Amazon’s search box to find good keywords. Amazon’s suggestions are based on search history so you want to search for words that are high in demand with little competition.
Make a list of possible keywords for your book, then leverage the tools above to test your keywords. Putting in the time to get keywords right will have your book rank higher and appear more frequently to readers.
#5 – Select Your Amazon Categories
Amazon provides a collection of categories and subcategories to choose from. Like keyword selecting, your goal is to look for trending areas that don’t have tons of competition.
If you visit your book page, these categories will appear partway down the page, displaying the rank like in the image example below.
These categories are what you will rank as a bestseller in, which is why you want to make sure you pick fitting categories that are specific, but also not super competitive. You want to stand out.
You can also check the rankings of the top three books on the first page of each category.
Amazon sales ranking measures how well a product is selling compared to its competitors. All books that are ranked 2,000 or less are considered to be highly purchased products in that particular category.
Here are a few tips when publishing on Amazon in order to rank in more categories:
Research your competitors keywords
Choose trending categories with lower competition
Acquire additional categories by contacting Amazon and asking for keyword placement
Unless you have an established audience with significant downloads and reviews, try to aim for categories with books that rank between 10,000-30,000.
In your Kindle Direct Publishing account, go to “Your Bookshelf”.
Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions” next to the title of your book.
Locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
Click on “Upload eBook manuscript”.
Upload your manuscript file on your computer.
Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors.
You can upload the manuscript as many times as you want and the new version will override the existing.
It’s important to check how your book looks using the “Look Inside” feature once the book is live on Amazon. This feature is often the first thing your prospective readers will click on when checking out your book.
When it comes to publishing a successful book on Amazon, having a perfect book cover design is one of the most important aspects to get right. Contrary to what we were told growing up, people do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. It’s actually one of the biggest deterrents.
Your cover is exactly how your book will be judged at first glance.
So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.
You can find cover creators on freelancing sites such as:
One popular strategy for beginners is to price your book at $2.99 and gradually increase it by $1 per week. At some point, your sales will begin to dip. And while that’s normally a negative statistic, for this case, it confidently tells you the perfect price of your book that guarantees a profit.
Here are the 4 main pricing strategies to consider in order to be competitive and sell books:
Know the price of your competitors. Compare the list price of your book to the books around you and determine if you would be able to sell your book for a higher price.
Know the size of your followers. Famous authors can charge a lot for their books because they have a big following. If you’re not in this category, your book should be priced lower to encourage new readers to buy your work.
Determine price based on the size of your book. Size does matter when it comes to books. Don’t charge $20 for a 75-page book. Customers will immediately be turned off with the lack of content at that price point.
Measure price based on reviews. Reviews carry a big weight on influence, and is social proof that your book has been read and well received. Therefore, a book with higher reviews (1000+ reviews) can be priced higher compared to a book with fewer reviews (30+ reviews).
You saw the book on the shelf at the bookstore, or maybe you bought it online late one night, and couldn’t wait for it to arrive.
It finally gets to your house and you read the first and second page. Maybe you even get through the first chapter.
But then you get busy with work. The book becomes a coaster for your third coffee.
The topic you’d been so excited about is soon forgotten as the book collects coffee stains and becomes more clutter on your desk.
What if we told you there was a way to grow your work culture and read a book at the same time?
Sound crazy? Actually, it’s very doable.
Books create history, and history creates culture. When it comes to work culture, it’s easy to bypass the importance of books. However, here at Self-Publishing School, we believe in the power of writing books and reading books.
Sitting down to read a book can seem a little intimidating to some people. But with a little guidance, purposeful reading can bring you and your company great results.
Starting a book club is the first step in this process.
There are four core steps to creating a successful book club:
Not only will reading a book help you learn about new topics, but it will also widen your interaction with coworkers and deepen your relationships.
That’s why we want to share not only why every company should have a book club, but the practicalities that will make a book club possible for you.
#1 – What are the benefits of a book club?
Not only are book clubs a key part of building culture, but depending on the book list you choose from, conversations will result around topics that are meaningful to you and those you work with.
At Self-Publishing School, we usually host a book club once a month or every other month. This results in roughly 6-12 clubs throughout the year and has greatly impacted our company culture.
The purpose of a company book club is to develop and train employees to be better employees, leaders, and people. Let’s break that down.
When employees are spread out over different tasks and each person has a different job scorecard, it’s easy for a team to feel disjointed.
But the definition of a team is one of unity and collaboration.
When a team comes together to read a book, the result is a central focus on the same topic. No matter what part of the company individual team members work in, their mindset shifts to the same general theme. This ups team morale and ultimately, team productivity.
The benefits of having every member of a team focused on the same topic is transformational, and something we’ve seen at Self-Publishing School.
It’s said that influential people read quite a bit, and this statement has been proven true through the success stories of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and thought leaders.
The same can be true for your company.
The more widely read your team, the more likely they are to step up in leadership. Regardless of whether you choose a book on leadership, personalities, or another topic timely to your team’s needs, the result will be the same: the more educated your team is, the more they will step up in different situations of leadership.
Every business desires leaders, and the secret is, every business can grow leaders. Maybe your business is a startup or a younger company. That’s ok. It doesn’t always take leadership seminars to grow leaders.
Simply gathering your team around a book with a needed theme can grow your employees from followers to leaders.
When leaders are in the details of a company, the company flourishes.
In today’s world of social media, self-care, and me-time culture, it’s easy to become self-obsessed without trying.
Reading about other people and other topics, universal themes, and the thoughts of leaders around the globe greatly impacts the actions of individuals.
The world is so much bigger than the company you or I work at, or even the company we may run. There are people outside the walls of our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces that can bring meaning into our lives.
You don’t need to fly your team overseas to learn from world-renowned leaders.
Simply purchase several copies of a book they’ve written. Some white pages with black ink can go a long way in influencing company culture.
When we read we open our minds. When our mind is open we become more aware of others. And when we are aware of those around us we become better people.
We’ve talked about three results of a book club, but how do you actually choose a book? If you’re going to devote company time and the time of your team into the reading and discussion of a book, it’s important to choose the right one.
#2 – How To Choose The Right Book
Here at Self-Publishing School, we usually spend about an hour a week on our book clubs (not counting reading time). At the end of the year, combining reading, meeting time, and time spent scheduling it all out, that’s a good chunk of time.
Some might say, “That time could be spent investing in the company.”
True. But from experience we would argue investing time in a book club is investing time in your company.
Good companies are run by good employees, good leaders, and good people. All these factors result from well-run book clubs.
So back to our original question – how do you pick a book?
Not every team will benefit the same from every book. Choosing a book to fit your company’s current needs is key to making the most out of your book club training time.
Here are a few important questions to ask yourself when choosing a book for book club:
What’s the key message I want my team to understand?
What area do we most need help with as an organization?
What’s a must-read for your team and team goals?
What’s an area your team has been struggling in?
What particular interests does your team have?
How can you encourage your team/how might you be encouraged through a particular book?
Do you know of any authors who can do a Q&A at the end of book club like we do for
Once you pinpoint an area of improvement/focus for the team, search for some book club picks or reading lists online.
A simple way to do this to pick the top three most relevant books from a book club recommendation list or reading list. Determine the most relevant book for your team, then use it as the material for your current book club.
We’ve read topics from leadership books to sales and marketing books.
Currently, we’re working through The Five Love Languages. This has not only helped our company grow in teaching us how we can best work together, but also brought the focus back to the spouses of our team members.
This has grown team relationships as well as their relationships with their spouses, which all contributes to a better team member.
As a company, we love growing our team, but when we can also help our teammates’ personal lives, it’s a win-win.
You know why to have a book club and how to choose a book…
#3 – How To Run The Company Book Club Itself
While we may not read as much as previous generations, reading is still very important, not to mention it comes with the benefits mentioned earlier.
When running a book club, using shorter books help.
What you don’t want are stressed out team members trying to complete a marathon read before the deadline.
What you do want it as low pressure a schedule as possible.
When it comes to the meeting itself, it’s helpful to lay ground rules and then break the meeting down into three parts.
#4 – Book Club Ground Rules
Be sure to create a reading schedule and meeting dates. You can do this in batches where you create all the due dates at one time. You can schedule book club meetings over the course of a calendar month, and meet weekly for 45-60 minutes.
Here at Self-Publishing School, we use Asana to structure not only our company book club meetings, but all our meetings.
You’ll see tips for the following book club meeting structure:
Ask team members to prepare ahead of time by thoroughly reading the chapters and taking notes for reference during the meeting.
To cut down on spoilers, ask book club members not to read ahead of the assigned readings.
As far as running the meetings smoothly, assign a meeting leader for each meeting. Be clear that the purpose of the leader is to facilitate discussion by asking questions, keeping everyone on time, and guiding the conversation. Allow the meeting leader to rotate each week.
If you’re wondering how to effectively choose the next team leader, simply ask the current team leader at the end of the meeting to pick the leader for the next week.
This can be done in “popcorn” fashion.
If necessary, divide book club participants into groups. Try to mix groups with people from different departments and people who don’t often communicate with each other.
This will not only bring the company together but also potentially forge new working relationships and potentially even friendships.
Now that the ground rules are laid, let’s talk about the three aspects of an effective book club meeting.
Book Club Meeting Agenda Part 1: Stories From Out in the Wild – 10 minutes
We like to call this part “stories from out in the wild.”
This is a time designated for team members to share how their real-life reminded them of what they’re learning from the book. Be sure the meeting is open flow and open dialogue. You want this to feel different from other team meetings, more relaxed, and very open for discussion.
The examples/stories should consist of how you’ve seen what you’re learning play out in your work and life over the last week. They are intended to be conversation starters.
During the week feel free to jot down any funny or impactful stories or application of the book playing out in your life.
Book Club Meeting Agenda Part 2: Lessons Learned/Topics For Discussion – 30 minutes
This part can be defined as simply asking what stood out to the team as individuals.
Here are some questions to prompt the book club discussion:
What paragraphs did they connect with?
What point/points stuck out to them?
What were the biggest takeaways?
What did you learn?
What would you like to talk about with the team?
Again, keep this open for discussion and input from all team members. Remember that this doesn’t have to be done in order or turn-by-turn, either.
If someone has something to add, just speak up!
Book Club Meeting Agenda Part 3: Takeaway/Application – 15 minutes
Ask the team based on the week’s reading, what their next steps are.
This doesn’t need to be too stringent, as you don’t want this to become another task to check off the to-do list! Include only one or two things you plan to personally put into action from your learning in the book/the meeting itself.
As a bonus, we’ve brought in different authors to do a short, thirty-minute Q&A. This helps our team connect on multiple levels because they’re already excited about the topic.
Experiencing a live Q&A with the author brings that excitement full circle.
You can check out another one of these we did here:
Book Club Meeting Agenda Final Checks
Here is a reminder of the few points to keep in mind when launching your first book club:
Choose the right book for the book club based on your team’s needs
Schedule all meetings in advance (this can be done in “batches”)
Pick first meeting leader in advance
Open discussion with real-life examples from team members
Remember that book you bought online late one night (or thought about buying) but never actually read?
You just purchased several copies of that book.
Together you and your work team read through the first and second page. During your first meeting, you even have a discussion about the entire first chapter.
Work gets busy but the book your team is reading becomes a central, unifying theme for the company’s busy season.
The topic you’d been so excited about begins to influence your work culture. You even met someone who works in a completely different department and you have plans for next Friday. This coworker will likely become a friend.
Your company’s work culture is growing, and so are you.
Chandler Bolt and the rest of the Self Publishing School team are excited to meet you at Author Advantage Live this fall. Here is how to get the most out of the event before it even begins!
#1 – LET TIME WORK FOR YOU.
[Here’s how] Most people get caught up the One Day Attitude. “One day soon I’ll finish my book” or “One day soon I’ll launch my business to $10,000 a month.” Having a time constraint for a goal is one of the best ways to ensure it gets done. Parkinson’s Law states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Time is on your side right now.
Action Step: Commit to one goal from now until we meet you at Author Advantage Live.
Use the form below to send in your goal so we can best hold you accountable & celebrate your success at the event.
“I plan to get through my 2nd draft and have it professionally edited.”
VIP & Launch Your Book Accelerator Student
“Publish my second book & finish my course content. “
Mike Acker VIP & Course Building for Authors Student
You are more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down. You are also more likely to complete your goal if you have someone holding you accountable. Let’s do both!
#2 – GET THE DISTRACTIONS OUT OF THE WAY.
[Here’s how] You have the opportunity to make a lot of progress during the event.
Most will get more out of 30 minutes at the live event than they would for weeks on their own.
In some ways, the amount of focus you will have at Author Advantage Live is equivalent to 30 minutes a day for 6 months.
Action Step: Tell people ahead of time that you will be “off the grid.”
Let your friends and family know that during the dates of September 20-22nd (or September 18-22nd if you’re coming to the Launch Your Book or Launch Your Course Accelerator) that you’ll be focused on your book(s) and your business.
For those that matter most, set a check in time at night so they know when to expect you and you won’t have to task switch throughout the day from your phone to the conference.
Use every moment you can to implement and connect with other authors and experts that will help you move forward. The more you can stay immersed during the weekend, the better you’ll set yourself up for success after the event for years to come.
#3 – UTILIZE THE BRILLIANT EXPERTS ONSITE.
[Here’s how] Often we get in our own pattern of how to do things, that we forget there are people who have already solved and conquered the problems we are facing. One of the questions we ask frequently at Self Publishing School is, “who do we already know that has solved this problem?” in order to avoid wasting time and money.
The more you are aware of your challenges the faster you can get real action steps from real experts in person.
Action Step: Create a list of the biggest challenge(s) you are facing as an author or a business builder.
At the event there will be numerous opportunities to get direct feedback from others who have already solved the challenges you are facing.
(Especially if your challenge is something massive, like I don’t like doing sales and marketing for my book.) Start your list now … so when you have the opportunity you will get the feedback you need.
#4 – BUILD UP YOUR NETWORK.
Yes, ESPECIALLY if you don’t love networking 😉
[Here’s how] A woman I spoke with last week was very excited about the event, but was freezing up by the idea of making connections with other people at Author Advantage Live. We always say, “Extroverts love live events, but introverts need them.” Building up a community of other authors and impactors is crucial to continue to challenge you to elevate to the next level.
Action Step: Show up physically & mentally. Instead of dreading the thought of networking, simply focus on being present.
Author Advantage Live is structured in a way where you don’t have to be a good networker and you don’t have to be an extrovert to get a lot out of it. Simply showing up and being present, you will leave with real connection and real people to support you on your journey.
You deserve support. Be ready to show up and you will experience it.
#5 – CREATE LIFELONG ACCOUNTABILITY.
[Here’s how] Having your Accountability Buddy to hold you accountability is one thing, but it’s also powerful to bring someone from your inner circle.
You may have heard that most writers—Self-published and traditional—are starving artists who never make more than $1000 a year.
The stories are true. Many writers starve. But many sell a lot of books and do very well, if they stick with it and build multiple income streams.
I’ll just get this out of the way right now. Writing a book is hard work. Creating a sustainable platform with several income streams is harder. But, if this were easy, everybody would be doing it.
Making a living from your writing is definitely worth it and, as a writer who wants to earn cash online from their craft, it is one of the most rewarding achievements you will experience in the self-publishing business.
Dune by Frank Herbert—rejected 23 times before it was published.
As an INDIE author, the days of sifting through rejection slipsare over.
You write, you publish, and you build your own book business like Jenna Moreci did creating her full-time author and Youtube business where she now gets to spend her days doing what she loves.
Check out an interview we conducted with her about how she did it:
Or, you build a business from a book. Either way, your writing is the gateway to a better life that you create and have total control over.
If you want to know what it would take for you to bring home a full-time income from your books, check out this book profit calculator. It’ll do the math and show you what you’d need to sell and how much you’d make in total:
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Do you know why most authors only earn a few thousand dollars a year or less from their writing?
Here are 4 reasons authors fail to make a living writing:
They only write one book. You need momentum with your book platform to generate enough monthly sales to support your lifestyle. This is possible with building out a library of books and maximizing on the earning power for each. We will look at this more later.
They don’t stay current with shifting publishing trends. The self-publishing industry is constantly changing. If you aren’t staying current with what is working (and what has stopped working) your book sales plummet and you don’t reach as wide an audience as you’d like.
They stick with one platform as the only source for earning income. Many authors stay with Amazon only. This makes sense considering they have 85% of the market for ebooks. And Amazon’s exclusivity program, KDP Select, makes it easy to sign over all power to the online digital giant. However, if you keep your eggs in one basket, what happens when that basket falls out of the tree? In other words, Amazon decides to make a major change to their platform overnight and, within a week, your monthly royalties get cut in half. Yes, it happens as we see time and time again.
They don’t invest in the quality of their product. Poorly designed book covers, sloppy editing, a boring book description…equals a product nobody wants. If you want to make a living writing books, invest in your book (particularly getting a good book cover) so that it sells.
Bottom line: Write and publish consistently, write high-quality books people want to buy, expand your reach by publishing across multiple platforms, and stay up-to-speed on the latest marketing strategies that are working.
This is the formula most successful self-published authors are using to make money with writing.
Build Your Author Platform to Make Money Writing
You, as an author and creator, needs to form the mindset that this is your business—your book business. Regardless if you are a part-time author looking to make some extra income, or your goal is to be a full-time author, when you start making money from your “hobby”, you are turning it into a business.
When it comes to creating income from writing, it boils down to one word: Platform.
Your author platform is the structure of your writing career. It should consist of multiple income streams. This begins with your platform.
According to Michael Hyatt, bestselling author of Platform and Free to Focus, a platform is, “The means by which you connect with your existing and potential fans. It might include your company website, a blog, your Twitter and Facebook accounts, an online video show, or a podcast. It may also include your personal appearances as a public speaker, musician, or entertainer.”
As a writer, even if you are writing a book for the first time, think about what your platform means to you. This will become the structural foundation that your writing author business is built on.
If you want to make a living writing fiction or nonfiction, the approach to how you structure your income streams are similar, although the content is different.
What drives your platform, however, is the one thing that many overlook: Your author mindset. From now on, approach your craft with the mindset that this is your business.
Like every business, you have to be focused on the customer experience and products available to those customers. Delivering the right product, in this case the book they are looking for, is how to convert the curious customer into a paying one.
Components of an Author Platform
Your author platform is made up of:
A Catalogue of Books: This consists of published books, and all variations of the book including paperback, hardcover, large print and audiobooks. Your books, aside from bringing in consistent revenue, act as funnels for building your subscribers list and promoting your other products. Your books could be stand-alone reads, as many nonfiction titles are, or a series of thrillers.
Email list: This is your list of raving fans that have given you permission to contact them by providing you with their email address. Your email list is at the heart of making a living, not just as an author but, anyone who is building an online platform.
Wide Distribution Model: As a self-published author, Amazon may be where you make 80% of your income. But if you have more than three books available, you want to consider opting out of Amazon’s KDP Select program and publishing wide with other platforms such as aggregators Draft2Digital, PublishDrive and Kobo. Set your print books up for sale through IngramSpark. You can tap into a huge international market that, not only will drive your book sales but, open up opportunity for international foreign rights.
Courses: As an author you could develop courses based on the content of your books. For example, take a look at what Lise Cartright has built through her platform Hustle & Groove. Picture a multitude of courses available for when browsers or subscribers come to your site for the first time. Building online courses is a great way to expand this platform.
Website: A critical piece of your writing business is your author website. This where you stage all of your talent. You might have an author blog that brings in leads for your books and courses.
You could create content that you don’t publish on Amazon and make it exclusive to your website only. You can cross promote with other authors and set up an autoresponder email funnel to build a deeper relationship with your readers.
Your author website should include these basic features:
A free offer: This is free content a new subscriber downloads after opting in.
Featured blog posts: Your blog is an asset and potential income stream as it brings in leads through visitor traffic.
Course platform: Highly recommended. These are great assets to build out and easy to scale up.
About page: Make a dynamic introduction here.
Scalable Assets and Multiple Income Streams
Let’s get to my favorite topic: Creating multiple income streams to grow your business!
This is what I love about self-publishing. You are at the helm of your own ship and you, and only you, get to choose the direction to take.
We know that, if we write and publish lots of books, potentially our library of books grows and this generates strong passive income.
But relying on book sales only is a lot of work, and it is more work if you are selling on just one platform, Amazon.
Check out how our very own coach Lise Cartwright has built her passive income stream with books (and how she can teach you to do the same when you become a student):
As an authorpreneur, a self-publisher who writes and publishes their own books, you want to always be thinking creatively how to expand your income streams.
Let’s take a look at the list below for book assets.
Large print books
Making a Living Writing with the “Multiple Book Model”
Let’s be honest. Making money from one book can be very difficult. Most authors who earn a living as a successful writer have several, if not many, books in the pipeline.
These authors not only publish consistently but, are focused on delivering a series of books to build a valuable fan base.
The people buying your book series, once they are hooked into your series, crave more. This makes it a no-brainer for scaling up your author platform with every new book launch.
The more books you publish, the more income you can potentially earn and add more subscribers to your list.
We know that publishing consistently brings in more money and builds your platform over the long-term. But why does this model work?
Your readers love new material, and so does Amazon. When your platform is active with new book releases, sales and reviews coming in consistently, the algorithm is “switched on” to help you sell more by pushing your books into the higher-traffic channels.
As your platform continues to scale up, your platform grows.
It might be slow at first, and you feel like you’re doing a lot of writing without any gains, but…that is the way it is when you begin to build.
Most fiction authors start to see a return on investment after the 4th or 5th book in a series. For nonfiction, this could happen sooner but, I certainly experienced a big shift after launching my 5th book Relaunch Your Life.
Another reason multiple books work is, new readers discovering you are almost always going to buy your other books if they like what they read. If that same reader likes your books, maybe he or she wants the course you are offering as well at 20% off.
Expanding Book Formats to Make More Money from Your Books
Don’t just settle for publishing in a single format.
We’re covering the several different types of book formats you can publish in that will increase your income from writing over time.
#1 – Boxsets
A boxset is a series of books bundled together allowing readers to purchase the series at a reduced cost per book. This is a great product to create as soon as you have 3 or more books in a series.
We live in the digital age but, paperbacks are still massively popular. In fact, 30% of my author revenue still comes through paperback sales.
With the power of Print-on-Demand, readers can buy our books through Amazon or IngramSpark, and these sites do all the heavy lifting. No inventory.
#4 – Hardcover Books
You can use IngramSparks’ powerful distribution network to create stunning hardcover versions of your book. Why not? It’s another income stream that, once set up, sells itself. You have to pay a fee of $49.00 per title and you’ll need an ISBN for each version of the book.
Ideally, you are not just selling a book. You are converting a browser into a lifelong customer. That is the real power of building a brand and an author platform.
Right now, take a few minutes to map out a rough plan for your book platform. How many books will you write this year? Is this a series of books or stand-alones? How far apart will you publish your books? Could you compliment your book by introducing a course to go with it?
Creating Scalable Income Streams
Successful 6-figure authorpreneur Joanna Penn accounts for her success to multiple income streams she calls “scalable assets” that bring in thousands of dollars every month.
Check out how she does it in the video below:
In essence, a scalable asset can be anything you create once and continue to sell over and over again.
For example, you put in over a hundred hours to write a book. Now, if you were being paid $30 an hour to write, that would be $3000 to you after the work is done. But let’s say your book sells at $4.99 as an ebook, and $12.99 for the paperback.
You consistently sell 30 eBooks a day at a 70% royalty rate, because your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99. The paperback priced at $12.99 earns a fixed 60% royalty rate through KDP. That is roughly 182.00 per day for ebook and paperback sales. Making money with ebooksis doable and sometimes the most lucrative option.
Now, this continues for 30 days and that is: 185.00×30=$5,550. Now, I calculated this just for one book if it does really well. Imagine where you could be with five, ten or twenty books each generating their own passive income streams?
How about if you had audiobooks as well? What about foreign rights sales? A course that goes with the book?
Get the idea now.
Yes, the dream is very real. It is right in front of you, if you want it!
How can you scale up your author business right now?
How many assets can you create over the next six months?
Build an email list of raving fans
If you haven’t started building an email list yet, you need one. Without a fan base to market your books to in the initial book launch phase, you are left to the mercy of the Amazon algorithm. Your list is the horde of fans waiting for your book release.
A successful book launch is critical. When you Sell More Books, this is a trigger to Amazon that your book is popular and in demand. Amazon steps in to push your book into the also-bought section, the area that recommends popular items to customers when browsing.
How do you create an email list?
You can start with offering a free gift inside your book.
This is a lead magnet that could be a:
Your readers give you their email by signing up (what Seth Godin calls “Permission marketing) and they get added to your newsletter list. This is one of the most effective ways to sell books and continue to add to your subscribers list.
Your list is happy because they get to join you on the journey as you keep them in the loop on every writing project. Then, when close to launching, you can invite them to your launch team and offer the book for free to a segment of your list.
This helps to secure book reviews during launch week. In turn, your book sales flow in and your book has a stronger chance of sticking in the marketplace after the initial 30-days is over.
Remember: From the day your book is published, Amazon puts all books in “new releases” category. It is critical you maximize paid downloads and reviews during this 30-day period for the long-term success of the book.
Ready to Become a Full-Time Author?
Okay, you don’t have to be full time to still make money selling your books. But to make money at this, there are three things you should do consistently.
Here is a list of three action items that you, as a real author, can take to scale up your platform, sell more books, and earn good money while you sleep.
#1 – Form a writing habit
I write every morning from 5:30—7:00. This is a consistent schedule I have kept for the past 3 years and during this time I wrote and launched 12+ books.
Developing a writing habit is crucial if you want to make a living writing.
If you still have a day job (and most people do) you’ll need to find the time of day works best for you, establish your most productive writing time and make this a habit of creating content during this peak time.
Once you’ve established your best time for writing, write consistently for five days a week.
#2 – Publish consistently
If you follow the steps above and write with consistency, you can publish frequently, too.
Imagine where your (fiction or nonfiction) platform would be if you put out a book every 3-4 months. This is how you create scalable income.
Do the work now and reap the rewards later.
#3 – Communicate with your fanbase
We looked at the importance of an email list and why you need one. When you are getting ready to launch, you want to be able to shout it out to someone who is listening.
Your team of dedicated email subscribers are ready to help you launch bestseller after bestseller. But, communicating with your list is critical in between book launches.
At the very least, send out an email once every two weeks, and if you can, once a week. Provide tips, strategies, or an update on what you are working on.
Keep your tribe in the loop!
#4 – Determine Your Level of Success
You have to work out the details of what your success means to you.
How many income streams can you build, and what are they? Will you focus on the wide distribution model, or stay exclusive with Amazon?
This is different for every writer and depends on what you are comfortable with in terms of time and financial investment.
Stay focused on the big picture and scale up gradually. With every new book, you are generating potential to earn more and gain wider recognition as an author.
If you write one book and focus all your efforts on this, think of other income streams to tie in with your book and the kind of fan base you want to build. Will you offer coaching? Courses? Outsource your tech skills to help other authors?
You are an author, and now is the best time to make a living as a writer.
Since the explosion of digital books on Amazon and various other platforms like Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords, first-time authors and professional authors alike can write, publish and promote their books for less than $1,000.
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 break down the costs of the self-publishing process.
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.
Before we dive into how much it costs to publish a book, check out how much you will make if you choose to self-publish your book by filling out the book profit calculator below.
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Knowing how much you stand to make can help you understand that any investments into publishing your book (like the expenses we’ll detail below), can be earned back—and this shows you how many book sales until you will have earned it.
Because 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 because 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.
When publishing 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.
How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?
The cost of publishing a book varies greatly but self-published authors can expect to spend anywhere from $100-$2500 to publish a book based on additional book production costs like editing, cover design, formatting, and more, which we cover.
To start, let’s look at a sample budget for publishing a book.
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.
As with really any service, you can choose to spend a lot more for more experience or you can opt for someone really great at what they do, with cheaper prices.
Just keep in mind that quality matters with your book!
It’s better to invest in yourself like you’re a business. Because as an author, you are one!
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.
However, these are some average prices you can expect when self-publishing your book.
What You Need
Professional Cover Design
Each book NEEDS a professional cover. People judge books by covers and without investing in one, your book will fail.
$100 - $600
Even if you're the best writer out there, your book will still need a fresh, unbiased pair of eyes on it.
$300 - $1,500
A good book needs proper formatting for paperback, hardback (if you want this) and for Ebook. Luckily, this can be included with cover design at many design firms.
$50 - $300
If you want to run ads for your site or pay your launch team in any way, these are costs you will have to cover.
$0 - $500
This includes courses, building your site, automated email services, writing software, and more.
How Much Does a Book Cover Designer Cost?
Even though we’ve been told “you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover,” the reality is, we do it anyway.
The book cover design 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.
A high-quality book should always be edited by a real editor. Whether you hire a line editor or copy editor, you should get a professional to look over your work. Don’t try to cut corners here. Even if you’re a professional editor yourself with 30 years of experience, you need to outsource it to a professional editor.
Trust me: A book that contains typos will get bad reviews and sales will drop flat.
Make sure you shop around when hiring a book editor. Since book editors rates vary so greatly, you can often find an amazing editor as a fraction of the price of bigger editing companies, like NY Book Editors.
If you’re a Self-Publishing School student, we provide a rolodex of tried-and-trusted editors with reduced rates.
A 40,000 manuscript edited through NY Book Editors can run you up to $2,700 for a comprehensive edit.
Love your book by spending 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, around 15,000 words, line edited for about $150-$250 if you search a wide variety of editors and find one with reasonable pricing.
Ghostwriting, developmental or structural editing will run you much more than that depending on the length of your book and the depth of edits you require — prices run around $2,000 for 100,000 words.
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 e-book and print book for around $60-$200.
Fiverr has some good 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, hang on to their contact information for future reference.
Take a look at these costs of publishing to get an idea for this:
How Much Does it Cost to Promote Your Book?
When it comes to spending cash on promotional sites, you could empty your bank easily. Set a budget for yourself and go with the best of the best within that budget.
Budgets vary but I’ll spend $29 on the low end for Buck Books and Ebook Launch 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.
For the best results on several paid launches, I have used:
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 branching out to learn other skills after you get your first big win.
#2 – An Author Website
Building an author platform is a great consideration if you’re looking to expand your business, write blogs and promote your work. You can build an entire website or just a landing page with a call-to-action to get users to opt in.
It’s also important to capture leads to build your mailing list. A lead capture form on your website helps you find quality leads and 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, which is 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. A domain name will cost around $10-$15 per year.
Email Subscription Services:
If you want to collect email addresses, you’ll need to sign up for 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: This platform costs $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers.
ConvertKit.com: ConvertKit has tons of value. Price is based on subscribers but starts at $29 a month for your first 1,000 subscribers. This is now one of the most robust sites for building an email list.
#3 – Publish Under Your Own Company
I’ve talked about this elsewhere, but there are perks to publishing your print book under your own company, instead of publishing with a CreateSpace (which has now merged with KDP) ISBN or another print-on-demand service.
The ISBN (the 13-digit number above the barcode at the back of your book) lets bookstores and libraries know everything about your book, including the publisher.
If you use a free, generic ISBN assigned to you by CreateSpace or Ingramspark, you’ll limit your chances of a bookstore carrying your own book.
Free ISBNs eliminate your ebook from being stocked on Overdrive, for example, which circulated more than 105 million eBooks in 2014 to public libraries all over the world.
Getting your own ISBN and setting yourself up as your own publisher will cost $295 for 10 ISBN codes, but it will help you access all distribution channels.
This isn’t necessary if you’re just starting out — it’s more important to publish your book and get it out there. However, if you are serious about building a self-publishing empire and making a full-time living from your writing, you’ll want to eventually invest in getting your own ISBN codes and setting up your own publishing company.
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, crush those low book sales, and get more eyeballs on your work.
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.
Run promos every 3 months. After your book has been at regular price for a while, wait three months and then drop it to 99 cents again. Set up some paid ads every other day for one week. Try using the KDP countdown strategy.
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!
Write another book. Building a catalog of books is a great formula for generating higher monthly income.
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.
This drives 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.
#3 – Barter When You Can
If you’re just starting out with self-publishing and you’re on a tight budget, look to barter services when you can. By coming to a deal where you exchange your services or something you have that is of value to people, you can save yourself lots of money.
As a writer, maybe you have some copywriting skills.
See if you can share some of that in exchange for design work from a cover designer. But it doesn’t have to be just raw skills that you barter — Dana Sitar got a cartoonist friend of hers to do the illustrations for her book in exchange for $50 and 10 percent of direct sales of the book.
It’s a decision she doesn’t regret, as the illustrations get her raving reviews. If you’re on a budget, you don’t need to fully cut back on the quality of your book.
See if there are possibilities to cut a deal and get the service you require to set your book apart.
#4 – 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 as 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.
Your Next Step
We are in a great era of self-publishing.
Anyone can turn their dream into a reality with just a few months of hard work, a bit of cash, and a great book idea. We’ve broken down the cost to publish your book so that you have a rough idea of what to budget. Writers have gone on to publish bestsellers with as little an investment as $1,000, while others have required up to $20,000.
It all depends what you prioritize and if you can save costs in a manner that doesn’t decrease the quality of your book.
You could place endorsements or “blurbs” on the back cover of your book, the praise sheet, or even the front cover, as you can see from my endorsement example below.
But, how do you get top influencers to support your book? Here are five simple steps to get endorsements for your book.
#1 – Find the right influencers
The most powerful endorsements are those given by people who are well-known in your field.
To select the right influencers, find out who your ideal readers admire. Post the question on targeted social media groups or ask them directly.
Also, ask yourself what top influencers you follow and respect. Add their names to the list.
Focus on quality over quantity, but if you don’t have enough names, search for bestselling books similar to yours and check out who endorsed them.
It’s important that the influencers have a style and values similar to yours. That way, your ideal reader will be likely to be attracted to them and be familiar with their work.
How do you figure out the style and values of potential endorsers? Start by visiting the “About Me” page on their website and pay attention to their branding and message.
Then, visit their social media pages and focus on the style of their posts and the content they share. You’ll get a good idea of whether the person’s values and style might be a good match for you or not.
#2 – Deliver value first
Because it’s much easier to get a yes from someone who has already received value from you, it’s important that you start planning your request for endorsements in advance.
For blurbs by top influencers, you might need to start the outreach process several months ahead of the publication of your book.
Something as simple as sending them a handwritten note about how much their message means to you, posting a video review of their book on Amazon, or recommending them on LinkedIn will help you stand out.
Here are other examples of powerful ways to stand out:
becoming an active member on the influencers’ social media groups
attending one of their conferences
joining one of their paid programs
You should do this because you truly enjoy their message and not just because you’re seeking endorsements. Your true intentions will come through in your communications and behaviors.
Avoid going straight to the ask without having taken the time to deliver value first.
#3 – Prepare to ask
Before you reach out to potential endorsers, do everything you can to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.
Prepare well in advance so you can find the best opportunities to ask for the endorsement, and give yourself enough time to get through gatekeepers.
For example, if the influencer will be speaking at an event in your town, you could grab a ticket and introduce yourself.
However, local events aren’t your only choice. One of my friends was interested in building a relationship with an influencer who would be speaking three thousand miles away. But that didn’t stop her.
By following the influencer on Instagram, she learned that this person loved brownies and would be attending the event with her husband.
My friend ordered a dozen brownies to be delivered to the event with a customized note that read, “Best wishes during your presentation. Hope you and your husband enjoy these treats!”
That was the start of their friendship.
As part of your preparation, write a sample endorsement for each influencer. Blurs usually hover around 50 words (never more than 100). If you know their work well, you will be able to create blurbs that closely match their writing voice.
#4 – Ask for the endorsement
It might feel nerve-wracking to ask, but never wrong. If you’re hesitant, it might be too soon in the relationship, especially when it comes to top influencers.
If you ask too soon, they will either ignore you or reject your proposal.
Rushing might mean that you’ll have to start the process all over again and find someone else to endorse your book.
Never send a mass request to a group of influencers. You’ll waste your time, and hurt your chances of ever building a relationship with them. Customization is key.
Send the influencers a copy of your book along with a well-crafted message asking for the endorsement.
Ideally, you’ll send them a physical copy. It doesn’t have to be the final version, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be a printed PDF.
That said, you must ensure that whatever you send to the influencer is professionally packaged.
If sending a physical version of your book is not possible, you can send them the PDF or ebook, but you’ll have to ask in a way that stands out. You could achieve this by customizing your message in a unique way, creating a video specifically designed for them, or preceding your email with a handwritten note.
Think outside the box! A video card or a note written on a balloon would be clever ways to stand out, too.
Be succinct. Remember that time is a high-price commodity for influencers (for everyone!) so you don’t want to make it a chore to understand what you’re asking.
Start by expressing why you feel they’re the right person to endorse the book and why you respect them so much. Be sure to mention that you’re eager to make your readers aware of their work.
Next, specify the length of the blurb you’re seeking as well as by when you need it done.
Don’t make your deadline too far in the future so that it’s put in the back burner, but don’t make it so soon that the influencer will immediately say no. I personally chose 3-4 weeks to collect the blurbs.
Be prepared to negotiate an extended due date, and allow for extra time in your planning.
When you share the blurb that you wrote, explain that you’re just trying to make things easy for them.
Express how much you appreciate their time and attention, and close with the promise to follow up in a week or two.
#5 – Follow Up for Book Endorsements
If you don’t hear back from the influencers, it’s easy to assume they’re not interested in writing the endorsement and be tempted to give up. However, it’s important to realize that they might have not received your message yet.
Emails go to spam folders. Gatekeepers delete emails and toss out mail. You never know!
When you follow up, try a different way to reach the person. If you used email first, follow up with a handwritten note or a message on social media.
If you find out the name of the influencers’ gatekeepers, reach out to them directly. Build a relationship with them as well, and you will have a great chance of success.
My rule of thumb is to follow up three times. If you don’t hear from them, it might be time to move on.
As you can see, with a well-written manuscript, proper planning, and a great dose of authenticity, it’s possible for you to get endorsements from top influencers in your field.
The most important step is to take action.
It’s easy to be sidelined by fear of rejection, but if you think about it, the worst thing that can happen is that they’ll say no. If you’re confident in the quality of your book, you have nothing to fear.
Take the first step today to gain powerful social proof and make your book a success!
Taking that leap can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. Let us do some decluttering of your mind by cluing you in on some of the unexpected realities of self-publishing your book!
#1 – You’ll become a tech-savvy self-publishing whiz
Self-publishing involves a number of different technical capabilities you probably don’t know of before starting the process.
And because you’ll be responsible for the entirety of your publishing journey, you’ll learn a lot about all of the different platforms you’ll need to make it happen – which is made a lot easier with a program that shows you exactly what you need to do, when to do it, and how to get it done.
#2 – A lot more income
You probably think of self-published authors as the “starving artist” type, forever playing catch-up with bills and life in general.
In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, check out this book profit calculator to determine just how much money you can make depending on how you price your book, the royalty rate, and how many book sales you acquire.
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If you do work hard and pursue self-publishing by learning from those who have done it before, you can actually expect some cushy additional income.
Why is that, you ask?
Because you don’t have to fork over a chunk of your earnings to a publisher. Because you are the publisher.
#3 – You’ll learn a lot about yourself
This is especially true if you’re writing non-fiction but it’s just as meaningful for fiction authors as well.
Writing a book takes a lot of your own experiences, values, and meaningful content to you. That means you get to do some digging into your psyche to uncover the very core of who you are. And if you’re writing a memoir, be prepared for a lot of this.
That’s a bit deep, but I really want you to understand just how much you can learn about yourself from self-publishing a book.
And it’s not even all about the writing itself, either.
Self-publishing takes a lot of drive, ambition, and a very determined individual.
It’s a challenge and whenever we enter into challenging times in our lives, we learn more about ourselves than ever before.
Self-publishing a book is the same.
Through your writing, editing, rewriting, marketing, and self-publishing journey, you can figure out more of who you are and what you want out of life.
And that alone is worth it.
#4 – You’ll make amazing connections
Networking isn’t really something many people think of when they consider self-publishing.
In fact, most people assume self-published authors are shut-ins who spend all their time shrouded in thick blankets with a steaming mug of spiked coffee between their hands.
And knowing talented, hardworking individuals will only help you reach your goals faster.
The point is, self-publishing helps you build those connections you might not otherwise get. After all, self-published authors stick together.
#5 – You build almost-instant credibility
The crazy thing about self-publishing is how much other’s view of you changes.
Before, you may have just been a blogger with a business that just wouldn’t take off. After you have a book available, others will see you as an authority figure in your field.
They will feel more comfortable paying for your products or services simply because you wrote a book.
It might seem a little silly because your knowledge base is the same, but when a potential customer can purchase your book, they instantly see you as someone with expert knowledge and this increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you.
Even if you’re not a business owner, self-publishing a book will still give you a boost in the eyes of strangers and even people you know well.
#6 – Opportunities will come knocking
We like to refer to self-publishing a book as opening the door to Narnia. Once you go through with the process, you will throw yourself into an entirely new world where opportunities basically fall into your lap.
One of the (arguably) best opportunities granted was becoming part of the Self-Publishing School team behind the scenes by teaching and helping other students find the same success she did.
Bottom line: you might become addicted to writing books.
#9 – You’ll generate tons of new ideas
Writing a book forces you into a quicksand-like imaginative headspace. The more you write, the more you understand what else you can be writing and you end up in a pit of creativity that releases your mind and allows you to think outside the box.
You practically get sucked into creative thinking.
Meaning, you’ll come up with so many new ideas for other books, blog posts, or even business ventures.
Think of your creativity like a muscle and self-publishing as the gym. Each time you sit down to further your self-publishing progress, the more creative you will become.
#10 – You’ll become a routine-writer
Before you learn the real process of self-publishing a book, you probably only ever wrote when you were inspired.
And that’s not always useful.
You’ve always had this book idea and would spend bursts of time typing out so much content…
only to lose that inspiration the next day…and the next…and the next, until you basically forget all about it.
When you actually self-publish a book, you learn that becoming an author isn’t just about writing when you want to but writing anyway.
The best part about this?
You write faster, become better, and can publish much sooner than if you waited around for inspiration to find you.
Let’s get started by comparing the 3 book writing software “giants,” and then I’ll share some less well-known tools that might help improve your writing process even more.
Which book writing software features are right for you?
I’m not trying to sell you on any particular book writing software in this article. Instead, my goal is to give you an idea of what’s out there so you can weigh the options for yourself in order to aid in your specific process.
In the end, the truth is that there are many great writing tools out there. It isn’t really a question of which tool is BEST. What it comes down to is: which tool works best with YOUR book writing process?
There are 11 things to consider when deciding which program to use for your book:
How easy is it to format text the way you want?
Does it have templates available?
How much does it cost?
Is the program simple & easy to use?
Does it offer any extra features or other bells & whistles?
How about a distraction-free writing experience?
Is the program user-friendly?
Can you access your files no matter where you are?
How easy is it to collaborate with editors & team members?
Is there distribution capabilities when it’s time to publish?
Writers everywhere flock to these specific tools and claim them to be the best book writing software for them. We’ll break down each so you can decide for yourself if their features are the best fit.
#1 – Microsoft Word
Before any other writing tools came along, Microsoft Word was the only option available. Everyone used it.
Today, even though there are many other word processors out there, Word is still the most widely used book writing software in the U.S. Millions of people continue to use it for their writing needs.
And it’s easy to see why. Word has a lot going for it!
It’s been around a long time. It’s trusted, reliable, and gets the job done well.
It also provides a relatively distraction-free writing experience; much better than working on Google Docs in your browser, for example, where you’re only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet.
If you just need to wake up in the morning and meet your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page, then Word is an obvious choice of book writing software. No fuss, no muss. It’s about as simple as it gets.
Word also offers some simple organization.
While writing your chapters, changing the chapter’s heading (seen in the example below) allows easy navigation as your book progresses further and further.
Using headers, you can organize your book into chapters—and then you can navigate through them quickly using the Navigation pane:
In order to view your navigation pane in outline-format click:
View > Navigation Pane (it’s a box to check) > select the bullet/outline tab within the navigation pane (seen above).
Word is also pretty vanilla. That’s part of its appeal, sure, but it also means Word lacks some of the more advanced features you get with other programs like Scrivener and Google Docs.
For example, Scrivener offers more advanced outlining functionality. And Google Docs makes it easier to share and collaborate on your files.
All in all, Word is a solid contender for best book writing software. But there are many other choices out there.
Book Writing Software Cost: $79.99 if purchased separately.
#2 – Scrivener
You just learned that Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processor in the world. But does that mean it’s the best book writing software?
Think about it this way. The fact that Word is so prevalent means that it has to cater to all sorts of users—students, businesspeople, writers, teachers, marketers, lawyers, the list goes on and on and on.
But Scrivener was created for one type of person only:
And if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve heard of Scrivener. A lot of writers absolutely love this program, with its advanced features and distraction-free writing experience.
In short, Scrivener gives you an insane amount of flexibility for writing, formatting, and organizing your book for self-publishing.
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 also praises 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.”
Here are some of the top takeaways of this book writing software:
Long story short: Scrivener is an investment, but one that’s worth it. It will take some time to master. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never go back—it’s the single most powerful book writing software out there.
If you like what you see from Scrivener, you can buy it here:
We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the in-depth power of Scrivener, but there’s another book writing software that more and more people are starting to use for various reasons:
Essentially, Google Docs is a stripped-down version of Word that you can only use online. It’s a simple, yet effective writing tool.
The beauty of this program (and Google Drive in general) comes in the ability to share content, files, and documents among your team. You can easily communicate via comments, for example:
This program keeps a complete history of all changes made to a document, so if you accidentally delete something you wanted to keep, simply click the link at the top of the screen that says, “All changes saved in drive.”
That will bring up the version history, where you can review all the changes that have been made to your book file and revert to a previous version if you so choose.
Google Docs doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser, or an app on your phone.
(Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)
And here’s one of the best features: everything is saved on the server frequently and automatically, so you never have to fret about losing a version or draft of your work
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.
Out of the “big 3” book writing software tools, Google Docs is probably the least sophisticated when it comes to formatting and outlining tools. But it makes up for that with easy collaboration, sharing, and online access.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free
Book Writing Software You Might Not Know About
Let’s get to know some of the best book writing tools you can use to up your author game and make some progress.
Just because you may not be familiar with a specific writing software doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial or even better than what you’re using now.
#1 – Pages
Think of Pages as the Mac alternative to Microsoft Word.
It has a variety of beautiful templates to choose from, has a simple design, and syncs with all devices from within iCloud so you can access it in a number of different places.
Personally, I love the ease of Pages. It works great for creating ebooks or manuscripts with a variety of writing tools you can get creative with.
Book Writing Software Cost: $28
#2 – Freedom
Freedom isn’t technically a writing tool, but it sure can help improve your writing. It’s a productivity app designed to help eliminate distractions by blocking certain websites – something more than beneficial for those of us who get sidetracked easily.
For example: let’s say you have a tendency to get distracted by social media sites. All you have to do us start a Freedom session that blocks all your social media sites—and then you won’t be able to visit them even if you wanted to.
Here’s what it looks like when you schedule a session:
Notice that you have a lot of options. You can schedule one-time sessions (starting now or later), or you can set up recurring sessions (for example, to block distracting sites every day when it’s time to write).
When you try to visit a site that’s being blocked, you’ll get this message:
This is a really liberating tool. Once you know you don’t have the option of visiting those distracting sites, you’ll find it easier to keep focused on your writing and you’ll be able to get a lot more done.
Book Writing Software Cost: $2.42/month and up, or $129 for lifetime access.
#3 – Ulysses
If you’re a Mac owner, this might be the best book writing software for you. While you do have to pay $39.99 per year to use it, the cost to use Ulysses is completely justified.
One of the best features has to be the distraction-free capabilities. As a writer who gets distracted easily, this is definitely a feature I look for in a good book writing software.
This one is also great for exporting. Meaning, you can do all your writing in-app and then export it in relatively any format you’d need in order to send it to your editor, critique partner, or even beta readers.
And if you’re someone who has a hard time keeping all of your notes and ideas organized for your book, this app also has a feature that helps you keep all of it straight!
Say goodbye to forgetting what you wanted to add in that obscure scene you wrote two months ago!
Overall, this is one of the best book writing software programs out there for Mac users. But if you’re not sure if it’s worth the price, you can actually try it for free for 14 days. What a deal!
Book Writing Software Cost: $39.99/year
Free Book Writing Software
There’s not much we love more than getting stuff for free – especially when it comes to our aspirations. You don’t have to doll out a ton of cash just to use highly beneficial book writing software.
In fact, there are many best free book writing software programs.
#1 – FastPencil
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 as well.
Everything happens online in your browser, which means you can access your files from any computer (as long as you’re connected to the Internet).
Here’s what the word processor looks like:
Book Writing Software Cost: Free (paid upgrades are optional)
#2 – FocusWriter
FocusWriter is a word processor for writers that’s intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It’s a basic, lightweight writing tool that was designed to be completely free of progress inhibiting 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.
FocusWriter also allows you to choose what your screen looks like, as seen in the example below.
You can customize the image in the background to suit your project to help inspire your writing.
It’s simple and effective. If you need a lot of features, it probably won’t work for you. But if simplicity is your thing, then you may have found your perfect free writing tool.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free
#3 – yWriter
yWriter is a really popular word processor (intended mainly for novelists) with some impressive features (especially for a program that’s completely free).
It helps keep your project organized by giving you space to include notes on all sorts of things, like character notes, scene notes, scene goals, etc.
You can specify whose point of view each scene will be written in, and you can see the word count of your entire novel broken out by chapter—all at a quick glance:
One thing that yWriter does differently than a lot of other writing programs is focus on scenes rather than on chapters. A lot of writers prefer this since scenes are usually fun chunks of story to work on.
And using yWriter, you can rearrange all those scenes to compose a compelling novel.
I’d call it a Scrivener alternative that’s free to use. But one downside is that it only works for Windows (at least, for now).
Book Writing Software Cost: Free
#4 – Evernote
Evernote is a note-taking app. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts—like brainstorming ideas, outlining chapters, and jotting down inspiration when it strikes.
The mobile app is particularly useful for capturing new ideas when they strike, since most people have their phone with them 24/7. This is what it looks like on a mobile device:
While Evernote has been around for a little while, they seem to always be expanding on their features, making it one of the best writing softwares out there.
Here’s are some of the extended features Evernote offers:
While you can use Evernote to write content—I’ve used it for writing blogs and other small sections of books—you wouldn’t want to use it as your main word processor. Its functionality is a bit too limited.
But as a way of keeping track of ideas, it’s a great find.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free, but there is a cool upgrade for $5 a month that gets you Evernote Premium
#5 – Hemingway Editor
The Hemingway Editor is a unique kind of writing tool. It’s a style checker that’s designed to help tighten up your prose and make your writing clear and bold.
Simply paste your writing into the editor and scroll through. You’ll notice that the program highlights certain words & passages—like long, hard-to-read sentences, passive verbs, and phrases with simpler alternatives.
It’s basically your own personal editor rolled into a writing software.
Here’s an example of what it looks like:
(Yikes. Too bad Dickens didn’t have this app.)
What I love about this tool is how easy it is to use. Everything is color-coded and super easy to understand, so you can see at a glance where your writing could use a little elbow grease.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free, or you can purchase the desktop version for $19.99.
#6 – Dropbox
Reading this, you may be wondering: Dropbox? How is that a writing tool?
Trust me—it is!
While it’s true that Dropbox isn’t a word processor like Scrivener or yWriter, it is a very helpful writing tool. Especially for writers who write on more than one computer, who need to collaborate with other writers or editors, or who want an easy way to back up their work.
Here’s how it works:
When you set up Dropbox and install it on your computer, it will create a new “Dropbox” folder on your machine.
Any files that you save in this folder will be automatically backed up to Dropbox’s servers in the cloud, which will be automatically downloaded to any other computers that are synced to that same Dropbox account.
A lot of writers choose to save their book on Dropbox, so that it will be automatically backed up. And as you can see, it looks the same as any other folder on your computer:
Using this strategy, you can make it easier to share and collaborate on your files—even if you aren’t using Google Docs.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free for a basic plan, or $9.99/month for extra storage.
#7 – Open Office
You may know of this software, you may not. Essentially, it’s a free version of a word processor much like Word or Pages. If you don’t have Word on your computer and can’t afford to buy it, this is a great alternative that’ll get the job done.
Here’s what this book writing software looks like:
The capabilities are pretty limited with Open Office but if you really only need the basics and don’t want to spend any money, this is the perfect writing software for you.
Book Writing Software Cost:Free
#8 – PauseFor
If you’re someone who needs incentive to stay off your phone (and actually write), this is a perfect writing software.
Technically, it’s not for writing. PauseForis a productivity app designed to motivate you to stay off your phone. That means you can get more writing done by spending less time scrolling through Twitter or whatever your social medial of choice is.
PauseFor is designed for YOU to set a time, and then not pick up your phone until that time is done.
But what’s the incentive?
The longer you stay off your phone and the more sessions you complete successfully, the more you’ll have to DONATE. That’s right. You can be a philanthropist AND a writer at the same time.
Simply set your time, don’t touch your phone, and collect your Kin. When you a certain amount, you get to choose where the donations go.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free + the added benefit of feeling great about donating
#9 – Grammarly
If you haven’t heard of this editing software, you’ve been living under a rock. It has taken over as one of the most versatile simple editing softwares and for a good reason.
We have a Grammarly review that covers all the features and functions but essentially, this is a browser extension you can download and it automatically corrects your grammar and spelling in whichever online medium you’re writing on.
This writing software is perfect if you need to brush up on your grammar or are looking for an easy way to sound professional in written emails as well.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free with upgrade options
How Much Does Book Writing Software Programs Cost?
I would recommend not worrying too much about the cost of these programs. After all, dropping $100 or less on a program is not that big a deal if it is going to help improve your writing for years to come.
That said, I know you work hard for your money—and you want to get the best deal you can!
Here is a breakdown of the most recent prices for all of the tools in this article along with their comparative features:
What’s Your Favorite Book Writing Software?
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?
Author Advantage Live is the ONLY event dedicated to helping you as a self-published author sell your first 10,000 book copies, build a platform to scale your income and impact, and unlock your Author Advantage.
My team has been working on this project in secret since January with the purpose of creating the most valuable, go-to conference in the self publishing industry…
And at the risk of giving away a few surprises, I think we’ve done exactly that.
But here’s the deal – because this is the first live writing conference we’ve hosted, we’ve capped the number of tickets at 300 attendees…
(We didn’t want to end up like the Fyre festival disaster on Netflix.. ;).
And if you’re reading this blog post right now…
So are approximately 150,000 other writers and authors just like you who visit this blog each month.
Which means Author Advantage Live will sell out.
Right now, and for the next few days we’re offering an Early Bird Discount on all Author Advantage Live ticket packages…
This is the lowest price these tickets will ever sell at (to reward our longtime community members who are fast action takers).
But there are a limited number of Early Bird Tickets Available…
Once the Early Bird Discount tickets have been claimed, the price goes up $100.
What Is Author Advantage Live?
Author Advantage Live is the ONLY event dedicated to helping you as a self-published author sell your first 10,000 book copies, build a platform to scale your income and impact, and unlock your Author Advantage.
Who is Author Advantage Live For?
Are you a writer looking to learn today’s cutting-edge book sales and marketing strategies based on what’s working right now?
Are you a coach or consultant looking to cut through the noise, position yourself as the undisputed expert in your niche, and create an asset that makes clients ask you to work with them?
Are you someone who wants to take the knowledge and expertise you’ve already written in your book (or already have in your head!), repurpose it, and turn it into a higher-ticket digital product or service?
Are you looking for a proven process to write a book that positions you as an expert, and generates a steady stream of qualified leads for your business?
Are you someone who wants to use their book to build a highly profitable business on the backend?
Or maybe you’re an aspiring author looking for the strategies, frameworks, and inspiration you need to make your bestselling book a reality?
If you found yourself nodding “Yes!” to any of those questions above, then Author Advantage Live 2019 is specifically for you!
What Will I Get At Author Advantage Live?
Author Advantage Live is the first event of its kind hosted by Self-Publishing School… and we’re pulling out all the stops.
At AAL, you’ll be rubbing shoulders and collaborating with some of the top Self Publishing School coaches, team members, and your fellow authors and community members so that you can see what it actually takes to write and publish a bestselling book, build a six and seven figure business, and create a platform that allows you to scale your income, influence, and impact.
Get feedback, support, and encouragement for your book and business ideas during our Author VIP night and mastermind breakouts…
Immerse yourself into the mindset of what it actually takes to grow a six figure online business…
See and engage with Chandler Bolt in person! He’s inspired and trained you via video to this point…the opportunity to engage live with your book, brand, and business ideas is like adding gasoline to the fire.
Build life-long relationships with other authors in the Self-Publishing School community during our networking events and cocktail night, so that you have allies, accountability, and don’t have to go through your journey alone.
All of this takes place over 3 days designed to Change Your Life and get you results:
Day 1: Crafting Your Message & Identifying Your Audience
There is nothing more powerful than a compelling story, and Day 1 is all about focusing on crafting YOUR unique story and identifying YOUR perfect audience.
On Day 1, we’re covering ALL the necessary elements that a compelling story MUST have, as well how to ensure your story and book topic are positioned the RIGHT way that sets you up for maximum book sales while positioning you as an expert in your niche AND driving qualified, ready-to-buy leads to your business.
Day 2: How To Sell Your First 10,000+ Copies
Day 2 is not just about giving you tons of content and theoretical knowledge about selling more books. Our goal for you on Day 2 is to arm you with the playbooks you need to walk away with a tangible, step-by-step gameplan to go out and sell at least 10,000 copies of your own book to position you as the undisputed expert in your niche and unlock YOUR Author Advantage.
At 10,000 copies sold, doors start to open for you that had previously been invisible. Podcast interviews, speaking engagements, partnership offers, and business opportunities will suddenly all start to present themselves.
This is what we call the Author Advantage.
Day 3: How To Build A Business On The Backend Of Your Book
Day 3 is possibly the most POWERFUL day of Author Advantage Live.
Whether you’re a career author, entrepreneur, or what we call an “impactor,” you’re going to walk away from the last day of Author Advantage Live with takeaways that have the potential to change your life.
On Day 3, Chandler is going to show you EXACTLY how to take your book and repurpose the hard work you’ve already done into a higher-ticket digital product or service…
And the step-by-step playbook you need to build a six or even seven figure business on the backend of your book.
You’re going to learn the EXACT strategies we’ve executed at Self-Publishing School to build a $12,000,000 business on the back of Chandler’s OWN books in just 5 years.
Lastly, there’s a special keynote speaker on Day 3 that we are INCREDIBLY excited to announce. You don’t want to miss this!
Otherwise, stick around so that you can gain a further understanding of what it actually means and what it truly takes to get on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Because it could impact your path to get there…
Why do authors want to get on the New York Times Bestseller list?
Getting published in the New York Times Bestseller list is traditionally regarded as the gold standard in the publishing world. While many notable bestseller lists exist in the publishing world —The Wall Street Journal bestseller list for business-themed books, for instance—the New York Times Bestseller list, published weekly since 1931, is the oldest and most prestigious list.
To that extent, getting your work published on the list is a major deal–but there are “rules” that bars many ridiculously great authors from ever reaching this status.
Getting published on the Times’ list not only raises your profile as an established author but can offer many more opportunities.
Here are some benefits of becoming an NYT Bestselling author:
Land future writing contracts with established printing houses
Broader industry recognition
Establish you as a major thought leader and expert
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the New York Times Bestseller list is that it is an evolving list.
It always has been and, as historical and more recent trends seem to suggest, probably always will be. To be fair, it is not only the Times.
Only as recent as 1995 did the Los Angeles Times begin to count paperbacks again on its bestseller list.
Further back in time, in 1961, the Chicago Tribune more infamously denied certain high-selling books that it considered to be “sewer written by dirty fingered authors for dirty-minded readers” from appearing on its Bestseller list.
Various genres and classic works of literature have historically not appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list. The recent explosion of E-books (The Times began counting them in 2010), self-published books, and audiobooks have also contributed to a more evolving list.
How do best seller lists work?
The New York Times Bestseller list is made up of various lists divided by different categories such as fiction and non-fiction, hardcover, paperback, Ebooks, audiobooks, and various book genres.
For you, the aspiring writer whose goal it is to be published in the their Bestseller list, probably the most important thing to know is what is worth writing if you are to get your work published on the list.
Again, The New York Times does not consider various categories for their bestseller list. A helpful article published on their site about their various guidelines and scoring method clarifies the matter.
Here is what those guidelines state:
“Among the categories not actively tracked at this time are: perennial sellers, required classroom reading, textbooks, reference and test preparation guides, e-books available exclusively from a single vendor, journals, workbooks, calorie counters, shopping guides, periodicals and crossword puzzles.”
Cookbooks, contrary to popular belief, are included, as are religion, spirituality, and faith books.
The NYT Bestseller “List” is Not a True Measure of Bestselling Status
It may seem contradictory and still remains controversial to say but it is nonetheless true: The New York Times Bestseller list does not represent a true best-seller list–that is, when accounting for actual total sales.
Just what constitutes “Bestseller” status has been the decades-long battle – legal, political, commercial, and otherwise between—the Times, various authors, and book publishers.
Like any traditional gatekeeper, the Times has its set of rules, standards, and procedures. As such, they hold the “keys” as to “who” gets in…and who is left out (even if they’re deserving).
It is best to think of New York Times Bestseller status as something that is subjective in nature. A book that becomes a New York Times Bestseller doesn’t necessarily have to sell millions of copies, or hundreds of thousands, for that matter. While book sales do meet the subjective criteria that the Times uses, it is a specific kind of “book sale” that counts toward New York Times Bestseller status.
Moreover, given the explosion of online sales and the diminishing number of traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores (and, consequently, bookstore sales) the sales methodology behind how books are counted has influenced which books appear or do not appear on the list.
As explained in a recent article about how to become a best-selling author and how to appear on a bestseller list, it’s stated that the New York Times in particular, when tallying books for bestseller status, considers:
Books that sold in a very specific time period: The Times does not track cumulative sales. Hence, why the Bible, the best-selling book of all time, will not appear on the list. Books like Don Quixote and The Tale of Two Cities, worldwide beloved classics that have sold millions over the years, also will not appear. Dan Brown’s Davinci Code, however, will appear, as it did for several years between 2003 and 2006.
Books sold at very specific places: certain book sales are “weighted” more favorably depending on where they originate. Bulk sales, under certain conditions, are counted toward bestseller status; ebooks published by a sole vendor are not, etc.
Again, the Times explains this in more detail on their site.
What Writers Need to Know About the New York Times Bestseller List
Even though it retains its prestigious reputation, The New York Times Bestseller list has been the subject of much controversy. Charges of “curated elitism,” an overreliance on books published by the major New York publishing houses, questionable methodologies, bribery, editorial and political bias have prompted lawsuits and intense debates among authors, book publishers, and industry executives.
A 1983 lawsuit by William Beatty, an American writer best known for his novel The Exorcist and 1973 movie by the same name, is a case in point.
While his book Legion sold many copies during its initial publication—enough to earn a comfortable spot for a while on the Times’ Bestseller list—his book appeared on the list only for one week.
Sensing bias and claiming that by it not remaining on the Times’s list his sales were being hurt, Beatty took his case to Court. In Court, the Times defended itself on grounds that “The list did not purport to be an objective compilation of information but instead was an editorial product.” The Court sided with the Times, dismissing a $3 million lawsuit.
Think of it like this: The New York Times is the newspaper equivalent to a prestigious university and fashionable high-end clothing brand. When it comes to getting on their bestseller list, just as it is for gaining admission to, say, an Ivy League School, few get in.
For those that do, they did their due diligence, worked incredibly hard, made great contacts, followed the rules, met the editorial standards, among other things.
How to Get on the New York Times Bestseller List
If you really have your hearts set on becoming a New York Times bestselling author, here are some of the things you’ll have to do in order to make it happen.
#1 – Know What the NYT List wants
A Stanford Business School analysis done years ago concluded by saying that the “majority of book buyers seem to use the Times‘ list as a signal of what’s worth reading.”
Knowing what the Times regards as a bestseller is important because it provides a helpful window into this segment of the bestselling publishing world (which has evolved past just the Times in recent years).
It helps to know what is currently passing for a New York Times Bestseller.
Simply start with the category in which you would like to be published: fiction, non-fiction. Beyond that, genre: history, political, fantasy, science-fiction. It helps too to know who the Big Players are.
The Times is known to favor the Big New York publishing houses. Who are these? What are their submission guidelines? Who are some agents known for working with them?
#2 – Obtain fast and diverse sales
In the age of digital self-publication and promotion, the traditional publishing route is virtually a thing of the past.
Not so for a New York Times Bestseller. Unlike selling on digital mediums where you can become a Bestseller by selling your book on, say, Amazon, to whomever, wherever, becoming a New York Times Bestseller follows a different system.
To achieve bestseller status on the Times not only do you have to sell at least 5,000 – 10,000 copies in one week, but these sales have to be diverse sales.
That is, you cannot sell 10,000 books to a pre-existing list of followers through a personal website or thousands from only one marketplace like Barnes and Noble.
Rather, these sales must flow from retailers across the country and in different geographical locations—everything from Big-Box chains like Barnes and Noble and Walmart, small independent book stores, E-commerce giant Amazon, university bookstores, etc.
It is worth noting that the public does not have access to who the aforementioned retail outlets are. To prevent possible abuse from those looking to rig the system.
But the thing that is discrediting the NYT Bestseller List further and further is the fact that you can sell many more books than what is required, but would still not make it on the list.
Therefore, Amazon sales only (where 64% of books are purchased!) will not count on their own.
#3 – Build a Strong Author Platform
For first-time and lesser-known authors it is especially critical to have a pre-existing audience before attempting New York Times bestseller status.
This is how you can start to build your author platform and audience:
Be active on social media: it goes without saying, people—potential followers, collaborators, industry leaders, publishers, agents, and readers—exist in the digital space. Find them, connect with them, and collaborate, if possible.
Be already building credibility / expertise on your particular niche / topic / passion: write a weekly blog, as an example. This is perfect practice to hone your writing skills, develop your voice and writing styles, conduct research for your eventual book. The goal is to establish trust and credibility.
Collaborate with others in your particular area for more knowledge and broader exposure: if you want to get in with the Big Wigs you got to know your stuff. Once you have built up some credibility you can leverage this and reach out to important figures in your field. It is a win-win-win for you, the person you are reaching out to and the audience that is set to gain important information from the two of you.
Engage with your audience: Assess your audience’s “book pulse:” how hungry are they for your words of wisdom, unique insight, creative mind? What questions are you asking them? What have they had to say about your previous blog posts, vlogs, tweets, etc? Are they genuinely impressed, suggesting you write a book perhaps?
Maybe they are giving you more fuel for your book—telling you about things you had previously not known before, mentioning other books that further your expertise? Engagement is key. What, if any, do you have with your audience?
#4 – Have a Pre-Order List Before Your Book Launch
You should have such a list for any book you seek to publish. For a potential New York Times Bestseller it is especially important from a sales perspective.
Rob Eager, a notable book marketing consultant, explains that, in the case of a New York Times Bestseller, all pre-orders sold before a book launch are counted during the first week of official sales.
So, for instance, 5,000 sold during pre-release and another 5,000 during the first official week equals 10,000 total books sold—a critical number to reach during the first week for New York Times Bestseller status.
Having a pre-order list works hand-in-hand with a pre-existing audience. If you already have the audience it is, of course, easier to have a ready pre-order list. If you are successful enough to have both of these before launch you are in good shape.
#5 – Exchange speaking fee for a bulk book purchases
While it may not be the best course for everyone, speaking engagements are incredible opportunities to double-down on your writing endeavors and entrepreneurial goals more broadly.
They are not only great confidence-boosters but serve as great book marketing opportunities.
Exchanging speaking fees for a bulk book purchase is especially important during the pre-order phase because it allows you not only reach a broader audience (and hopefully make more sales) but allows you to meet the Times’ requirement that book purchases be in different geographic areas.
New York Times Bestseller Status vs. Writing as Means to an End
Given the age of digital entrepreneurship where self-publishing a book continues to gain significant traction, effectively taking down the traditional barriers of entry—publishing industry contacts, top-notch agents, and costly marketing plans—it is really up to you to figure out your writing goals.
Traditional publishing with the aim of appearing on an internationally-recognized Bestseller list like the Times versus self-publishing with the aim of achieving personal / business goals (and potential Bestseller status just not in the Times) is a tradeoff you’ll have to consider.
Remember publishing a book is not an end in and of itself. With its ability to boost your name, reputation, and authority, not to mention, depending on your industry, land you more consulting clients and speaking gigs, writing a book can open up some pretty amazing doors. A successful published book is a marketing tool like no other.
Whatever path you choose, keep in mind that achieving Bestseller status in places other than the New York Times Bestseller List has been proven to land equally promising and lucrative opportunities.
And we are just in the beginning phases of this amazing trend. Self-Publishing School is here to help.
For example, most lists only take into account the number of book sales in a very specific time period and from very specific places—and most of them don’t count online book sales the same as in-store sales.
What does this mean for you and your desire to be on a bestseller list?
While bestseller lists aren’t exactly a “lie,” they don’t paint the whole picture. Someone who sells a lot of books right at launch and then nothing for a while can still make the New York Times bestseller list…even though they might sell far fewer books than someone else who just didn’t have as many sales at once.
Essentially, it means that becoming a New York Times bestseller is a great goal to have, but it doesn’t mean that your book is any better than the millions of others out there.
That being said, many of us love the title of becoming a bestseller, so I’m here to walk you through how to do that in the way that makes the most sense for you.
Benefits of being a bestselling author
Even if most of the popular bestseller lists aren’t necessarily “fair,” there are still some perks to becoming a bestselling author.
Here are some benefits of landing your name on a bestseller list:
The title. There’s really nothing that has quite as satisfying of a ring to it as “bestselling author” does. It makes you feel good and rightfully so! It’s an accomplishment no matter how it happened and the confidence boost alone is enough of a reason to work hard to reach that goal.
The credibility. People just take bestselling authors more seriously. Because there’s some sort of proof that your book sold more, people think that means it’s better. When they feel that way about you being a bestselling author, they’re far more likely to respect you, your book, and anything else you put in front of them—like a business.
It helps you sell more books. Just like I mentioned above, being a bestselling author increases credibility. That means people will buy your book simply because it has that title—even if they’re not quite sure who you are or what’s in your book. It’s a simple way to increase your book sales.
It’s easier to sell future books. Once you hit bestseller status once, you can then add that title to your future books. Because of the same reason I mentioned in the point above, people are more likely to buy your book because the public perceived a bestseller status as an indicator of a good book.
You can charge more for non-author gigs. This includes if you want to be a speaker or any other side business connected to your book. Because you have that bestseller status, you can charge more.
How to become a bestselling author
If your heart is set on becoming a bestselling author and reaping all the rewards associated with it, we can help you get there
No matter if you want to become a New York Times bestselling author or an Amazon bestselling author, we’ve got you covered.
#1 – Decide which bestseller list you want to get on
This will ultimately define which path you follow to get published.
Our list above details a couple bestseller lists you can aim to get on, or you can shoot for all of them if you’re really ambitious.
Here at Self-Publishing School, we teach our students how to excel in becoming Amazon bestselling authors in order to gain authority, increase your book’s rankings on the #1 platform for book sales in the world, and ultimately, sell more of their books.
It’s up to you to determine if you want to get on one, two, or even all of the bestseller lists available.
#2 – Write an amazing book
Obviously, your book is important. While there is a lot of strategy involved in becoming a bestselling author, you do have to write a book worthy of selling.
Here’s how you can write an amazing book:
Decide if you want to write fiction or nonfiction. Both types of books can land on their respective bestseller list. This is a fairly easy decision—just go with the first idea you have.
Come up with a book idea. This can be made a lot easier with a list of writing prompts like this one right here. Remember that you have to be passionate about your book because if you’re not, your readers will be able to tell. No “bestseller” banner will save you from negative reviews.
Outline your book. One of the best ways I’ve learned how to write a good book is to outline it. When you know where you’re going, everything in between is easier to write, and that means you can focus on writing with quality.
Write your book. It may take time, but if you follow our process for writing a quality book, you will be proud to have it out into the world. Keep our tips in mind throughout the process and you’ll write a better book, faster.
#3 – Build an author platform
This should happen before you write your book—or during it, if you just decided you want to become an author at all, let alone a bestselling author.
What is an author platform?
Your platform is your audience. In order to sell your book and on a consistent basis (which is key if you want to be a full-time author), people need to:
know you exist and
that you’re writing books for them to read.
In order to do this, you have to be present on social media, have an author website, and market yourself as an author regularly.
Where you spend your most time and how you go about that marketing will depend on what type of book you’re writing and who your audience.
As an example, if your intended audience is an older generation between the ages of 45-60, they’re more likely to be on Facebook than other social platforms simply because those are Facebook’s deomgraphics.
Here are the demographics for social platforms so you can determine where you’ll focus your efforts:
Facebook: 54% female, 46% male, 65% between 50-64 years old
Twitter: 24% women, 23% men, 40% between 18-29 years old
Instagram: 39% women, 30% men, 72% between 13-17 years old
Pinterest: 41% women, 16% men, 34% between 40-49 years old
Using these numbers, you can get a better idea of where you should start building up your author platform first.
#4 – Market your book NOW
Yes, before it’s even done.
If you start on your author platform like I mentioned above, you can start marketing by simply creating social posts, videos, and more content related to your book and its contents.
Here are some ideas for marketing your book before it’s done:
Create social posts with tips and tricks related to your book’s contents
Update your followers on your book’s progress
Talk about the process of writing a book
Voice your challenges with the writing or content itself
Create countdown posts when it gets closer to time to launch
Engage with your followers by asking them to comment below—and then have conversations with them
#5 – Decide to pursue self-publishing or traditional publishing
This is where your earlier decision of which bestseller list you want to be on comes into play.
If your goal is to become a New York Times bestselling author (which isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but you do you), you’ll have to go the traditional publishing route and commit to spending a couple years mostly waiting.
However, if you want to become an Amazon bestselling author, that achievement is right around the corner.
Ultimately, we here at Self-Publishing School believe becoming an Amazon bestseller is not only the most attainable goal of becoming a bestseller author, but it also grants the same rewards as the others.
A self-publishing company is a business dedicated to helping you achieve your desired level of success within your self-publishing journey.
They detail the process and streamline otherwise difficult avenues you might not be able to maneuver yourself.
But every self-publishing company is different.
Here at Self-Publishing School, our mission is to make the process as easy as possible for you while ensuring you do everything you can to succeed the right way.
Sure, you can throw your book online with a cover you created in Canva and call yourself a self-published author. But will that yield book sales? Will that give you the authority, recognition, and fulfillment you’re looking for?
How is a Self-Publishing Company Different than a Traditional Publishing House?
Traditional publishing houses are where you first land an agent, and then they submit your manuscript, and they take care of the printing/editing/publishing – at the expense of your hard earned royalties, of course.
Here’s a table detailing the differences between self-publishing companies and traditional publishing.
What You Get
Sole control of your book's outcome
Sole control of your book's rights
Control over the story
Control over the cover
100% of royalties
Why Use a Self-Publishing Company?
After all, you want to do this yourself, right? Self-publish. But like I mentioned before, you don’t know everything about self-publishing.
Do you know the best book launch process for getting your book with the coveted orange “Bestseller” banner (that also increases your book’s ranking, and sales!)?
There is far more to self-publishing than simply hitting “publish” on Amazon, and without the right process, your book might end up as one of those stereotypical self-published books that sells 3 copies – to family members.
And that’s why you use a self-publishing company. Someone else has already done the research, the work, and has the experience to guide you through the process.
If you’re someone who wants to see real book sales and achieve other goals, like growing a business or becoming a full-time author, then a self-publishing company will help.
What You Can Expect with a Self-Publishing Company
What does working with a self-publishing company look like?
While not all self-publishing companies are the same or provide the same type of information and training for you, it’s important to understand what you’ll take away from working with one.
This is what you can expect when working with a company that helps you self-publish.
#1 – You keep all rights to your book
Unlike traditional publishing houses, you actually get to keep all the rights to your books.
What does this mean?
It mean that, when you publish, you are the sole owner of the book and all of its contents. It’s copyrighted under your name and the self-publishing companies will not have any of their information inside of the book (unless you want to thank them for everything they’ve helped you with).
This is a major benefit because with self-publishing companies, you can keep the book in print for however long you want.
On the flip side, traditional publishing houses can choose when to pull your book from shelves and simply no longer print or sell it. And since you no longer own the rights, you can’t self-publish that book unless you buy the rights back (which some publishing houses don’t even offer you the option of).
#2 – You’ll save time
Time is our most valuable asset. It’s the one thing in our lives we can never get back no matter what.
Unless you’re a secret time traveler and have uncovered the secrets of bending and warping time (and if you are, PLEASE SHARE), you have to treat time like it’s precious.
One of the biggest perks of using self-publishing companies to help you get your book published is the simple fact thatthey tell you what needs to be done, when, and how.
Not only will you save time actually writing the book (assuming the company gives you instructions on how to write faster, like we do here at Self-Publishing School), but you won’t have to go through the hours upon hours of research in order to get it right.
And, you don’t have to waste time making mistakes and adjusting them.
#3 – You keep 100% of royalties
Everything you earn, you keep. Now, there may be self-publishing companies out there who require a percentage of your royalties, since they helped you, but here at Self-Publishing School don’t’ believe in that.
After all, you did the work. You put forth the time and effort. This is your book. Therefore, you keep what you actually earn.
Aside from what Amazon takes for allowing you to use their platform, 100% of your profit is yours to keep.
This is much different than traditional publishing houses in the sense that through them, you’re only pocketing about 10% of royalties (and sometimes even less).
#4 – You’re kept accountable
The hardship is in the name itself: self-publishing.
It’s a very lonely process if you don’t have anyone else going through it with you. And we all know how much easier it is to stay on track when we have someone else rooting for (or hollering at) us.
Many self-publishing companies have some sort of progress tracking, coaching, or community to help keep you motivated and working to achieve your dream.
How we do that here at Self-Publishing School is through all three of those methods, including a Facebook Mastermind Community with hundreds of dedicated current and past students ready to help.
#5 – You get coached by experts
At least here at Self-Publishing School, you do. Not all programs have this perk, and boy is it a perk.
Our coaches are all experts in their field. You get one-on-one coaching that allows you to take personalized tips and put them to use in your own publishing journey.
Since coaches have been exactly where you are and have come out on top, and maintained book sales themselves, you get a leg up on anyone else doing this without that help.
Take a look at one of our amazing coaches, Lise Cartwright, and how she still manages to bring in $4,000 on her self-published books, all while helping our students learn to do the same.
Again, not all self-publishing companies offer this service to their students, but if they do, it can help you understand a side of the industry you likely wouldn’t get to see otherwise.
#6 – You make connections
This is particularly true for programs that include access to a community of somesort.
You never know who you’ll get to know, like, and befriend. These are all like-minded people who are after the same things as you.
You can make dear friends, get even more advice when needed, and maintain a sense of purpose when you’re constantly fed motivation from them.
#7 – You create a bigger impact with your book
What’s the reason you’re self-publishing. Why do you really want to get your book out into the world?
I’m willing to bet it has something meaningful to you. You want to help others, share information, or show the world a theme or message that’s important to you.
By using one of the self-publishing companies out there, you’re able to create a bigger impact with your book.
Because you will write it better, market it smarter, and sell more. And after all, that’s the point. Right? You want to get as many eyes on it as you possibly can.
#8 – You gain more opportunities
Because your book will do better than it would if you didn’t have that outside help, you gain many more opportunities.
Becoming a published author places you as an authority in any field you’re writing in. Not only does this help your business grow, if that’s your goal, but it also helps you sell more books through new and better opportunities than you’d have otherwise.
Take these students of ours for example:
After publishing their books, they have been either contacted or pursued speaking engagements on their own along with other opportunities to grow their book and platform.
#9 – Your business will grow
Leveraging your book to grow your business is one of the best methods out there.
Chandler Bolt, you know him—the guy who built this 8 figure business from his first bestselling book—swears by it.
But he’s not the only expert out there who agrees.
Ryan Deiss, CEO of DigitalMarketer, also uses a book to grow his business. You can check out how he does so in the video above, but the point remains: self-publishing is a perfect way to grow your business.
And if that’s your goal, then you want to make sure you’re self-publishing for success. Otherwise, your book won’t make nearly as big of an impact on your business, which is why working with a self-publishing company can help.
#10 – You have a repeatable, successful process
Many of our students write multiple books with our program – not just one.
As one of our favorite author says, if you write one book and you enjoy it, you will write another book.
The most successful self-published authors out there are those who write more than one book. Not only do they maintain a steady stream of passive income this way, but since they have a reliable, repeatable process, it makes it easy for them to publish multiple.
So long as the self-publishing company you’re working with has lifetime access (like we do), you can hop on and go through the system every time you want to.
Plus, imagine how nice it would feel to say, “Yes, I’m a published author of multiple books.” Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid
Not all self-publishing companies are created equal. Unfortunately, there are some self-publishing companies who only want your money and don’t want to see you succeed.
These are some red flags to keep a lookout for when researching self-publishing companies to help you get your book out there.
#1 – They take a cut of your royalties
Why even self-publish if you don’t actually get to keep your hard earned money?
This won’t necessarily mean that self-publishing company is a scam or fraudulent in any way. However, it is something to think about and be wary of.
You want to make sure you’re actually benefiting fairly for your book’s success. So working with a company that allows you to keep every cent is essential.
#2 – They make you sign over your book rights
As mentioned earlier, traditional publishing houses technically “purchase” your book from you. It’s why you get that nice big (usually not big, though) advance.
However, self-publishing companies should not require this. Since you are self-publishing, all of the rights should remains 100% yours.
#3 – They maintain creative control
Obviously, self-publishing companies are meant to help you.