How To Read More Books & Find Time For Reading! (3 Ways To Read FASTER)

One of the questions Self-Publishing School founder and CEO gets most is: “How do you have so much time to read books?”

He shares his insights in this video.

Reading books is an incredible way to boost creativity, grow as a writer, and educate yourself on specific topics that interest you or you need to learn more about.

Chandler has made a habit of reading one book a week. This single decision resulted in him reading four books a month, and fifty-two plus books a year. One book a week compiles to a lot of books at the end of the year. Sound inspiring yet daunting?

Maybe you don’t consider yourself much of a reader.

Maybe you’re simply not used to reading or don’t read often.  

Don’t be discouraged. It might surprise you that not that long ago, Chandler didn’t read much either. In fact, he was a C-level English student and a college drop-out. Regardless of his English grade, he realized the importance of reading. Rather than make an excuse he had two thoughts:

One: “I don’t have time to read.”

Two: “How do I make time to read?”

More important than even those two thoughts was his third thought, “I’m going to find a book on how to read faster.” It might seem counterintuitive to read a book on how to read a book, but Chandler’s first step in his process of reading set the tone for all the books he would later read.

He realized that if he spent purposeful time reading a book that educated him on how to read books, all the books he’d read in the future would be much more profitable.

In this post, we’ll cover what he learned from the book “10 Days to Faster Reading.”

The fundamental principles we’ll talk about are:

·      Where To Read Books To Get The Greatest Benefit

·      How To Track What You’re Reading

·      How To Read More Books  

·      The Secret Of How To Read Faster

As you read through these points, take note of the ones that will most benefit your own goals and lifestyle.

Number 1: Where To Read Books To Get The Greatest Benefit

A good rule of thumb to follow is to never read in bed or on your couch. Of course, when it comes to fiction this is a different story. When reading fiction, pick the most comfortable place to read. Reading can and should be fun!

But when reading for educational purposes, you want your brain to be on full alert. Your brain goes into lazy mode when sitting on the couch where you just binge-watched that last Netflix series.

On the topic of where to read, it’s helpful to never even work from the couch. Blurred boundaries on work/life balance are not healthy and certainly not helpful.

It’s important to read with intentionality. Make it a point to,

·      read at a desk with a comfortable (but not too comfortable!) chair

·      read in a chair where your brain is used to being alert

·      read at the coffee shop you love working at during the week

These seemingly small choices will go a long way in how much content you’re able to cover and how well you retain the information you read.

Set yourself up for success by choosing a place to read where your mind is already on full-alert. You’re doing yourself a disservice trying to read in bed. It will probably take you just as much energy – if not more! – to stay awake as it will to read.

When starting your new reading habit choose a well-lit chair or desk where you’re used to being productive. This will help your reading sessions be much more efficient. Ultimately, it will also allow you to make more time for reading because what you’re reading can be read and retained in a much shorter amount of time.

Number 2: How To Track What You’re Reading And Read Faster

Tracking what you’re reading is a tremendous benefit when it comes to speed reading. Wondering how to do so? It’s much easier than you might think. There are three different methods for tracking your reading:

·      Simply cover up the words as you go

·      Uncover the words as you go

·      Or put your finger in the middle of a page

Chandler’s favorite method is to sit at a desk with his finger in the middle of the page he’s reading. This keeps him looking back and forth and scanning the page as he goes. He’s gone from hardly reading to reading a book a week, and recommends you try this method out for yourself!

Number 3: How To Read More Books  

Finding time to read on a daily basis can be difficult. You likely have work, family, and friends, not to mention working out, meals, and sleep to consider. However, even finding 10-15 minutes a day has a compound effect on how many books you’ll end up reading.

Chandler has established a specific morning routine that allows him 30-45 minutes of reading every single work day. If you’re wondering how to make time for reading be sure to put it in your morning routine. You don’t need to start with 30-45 minutes a day, but even reading for 10-15 minutes every morning will impact your own, self-education in a positive way.

Not only will establishing a morning routine allow you the time and space to read more books, but tracking what you read will speed up your reading and allow you to get more read in the same amount of time.

Bonus: The Secret Of How To Read Faster

We’ve covered where you should be reading, how to track what you’re reading, and how to read faster. But you might still be sitting there thinking,

“I’m really not a reader. I love learning but when I pick up a book, it takes me so long to even turn one page. Reading is so important but my day is packed. I only have 10-15 minutes to read, on the weekends!”

Short on time to sit down with a book? Chandler has another method of reading that will greatly benefit you, especially if you have a long commute to work or a workout you just can’t miss.

His secret?

Get those books read on audiobook!

Whether you’re on a flight, walking to a meeting, headed to the gym, or even at the gym, listening to an audiobook gives purpose to time that could be spent passively listening to the radio.

Reading doesn’t need to be viewed as simply a time with your eyes on the page, scanning word after word. Reading can also look like you on the treadmill, earbuds in, keeping your brain healthy and growing as you keep your body healthy and fit.

Chandler prefers to listen to audiobooks on 2 or 2.5 speed. This allows him to track faster with what’s being read and additionally get more books read in less time. He even listens to audiobooks as he scooters to his next destination!

If you’re just starting out listening to audiobooks, start listening at the normal speed. As you get used to actively listening and working to retain the information, try upping the speed to 1.5. As you grow as a reader/listener, you can up the speed even more.

If you already have a habit of listening to podcasts, simply swap some of your podcast time out for audiobooks. Chandler’s a fan of listening to audiobooks over podcasts because often, podcasts are a stream of thought. They aren’t as centralized or focused. On the other hand, books are way more intentional, practical, and laid out. 

If you’re a writer yourself, you know the work it takes to create a book.

You have to get the idea, expand that idea into chapters, and then write it all down. That’s before the multiple drafts of editing! It’s only after countless hours of time, energy, thoughts, and lots of typing that the book’s theme is laid out in a reader-friendly way.

The privilege and opportunity of listening to a book while driving to work or running at the gym should be taken advantage of. Even if you’re not a reader, you can still get a lot of reading done.

How To Read More Books, Recap:

Making more time for reading and reading faster are goals that will change you as a writer and as a business person.

Yes, it takes effort to read, but the benefits far outweigh the effort it takes to get the habit started.

Establishing a specific amount of productive reading time into your morning routine will make the effort seem even easier to accomplish. Those 10-15 minutes of dedication will grow you as a person, in your business, as a writer, and as a reader. Your self-disciplined education will take you further than you realize.

So you’ve committed to reading.

You incorporated it into your morning routine.

You downloaded an audiobook app and are ready to go.

There’s one important question to ask before starting the first chapter of your next book.

What should you read?

Some questions to ask when considering what to read next are:

·      What’s the field I’m working in?

·      What subject most interests me?

·      What’s a topic I’ve wanted to brush up on?

For a more in-depth video on how to pick which book to read next, click here.

The number one thing to consider when starting your reading journey is to be intentional with your reading.

It’s one thing to read every book that crosses your path. People love recommending books, and many of those recommendations are good, quality books that should be read. 

However, it’s important to consider your own goals and aspirations when choosing the book you’re going to read next.

You could easily spend 10-15 minutes on your daily commute to work learning about a subject that will never be directly beneficial to you. While learning stretches and grows the mind no matter the topic, how much better to read a book that will directly impact your work/relationships/personal goals right now, today?

This is why choosing the right book is so important.

We all have the time to read. Whether that time looks like reading early in the morning as we work through our morning routine, or listening to an audiobook as we work out at the gym, we all have time to prioritize what’s truly important to us.

Choose the right place to read. 

Let your mind be alert and ready to go.

Track what you’re reading so your time spent will be productive and efficient.

Read all the books you can, but make sure they support your goals and dreams.

Let us know what book you’re currently reading and how it’s impacting you. We’d love to hear! 

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How To Create A Successful Morning Routine (And Using A Morning Routine To Write Your Book)

How many times have you hit snooze? It’s hard to get up in the morning and go right into work. The day gets busy and when five or six o’clock rolls around, working out or reading can easily seem too difficult a task. Finding time to write your book seems nearly impossible.

What if we told you there was a keystone habit that would fix this issue? You’d never want to hit snooze again and when the beginning of the day dawns, you’d actually already have your daily workout in. You’d already have a good bit of reading in. And to top it off, you’d be much better prepared to write the book you’ve always dreamed of writing. 

A thought-out morning routine is the keystone habit guaranteeing a successful day.

Our CEO, and the founder of Self-Publishing School, Chandler Bolt, shared how he started his first morning routine in 2014 when he dropped out of school. 

He quickly found it made him happier, more fulfilled, and more successful in his business. Since that morning in 2014, everything has changed for him.

Below are the details of his morning routine, how he sustains it, and what the details of getting up early actually look like.

We will cover:

1. How To Create A Successful Morning Routine

2. The Two Factors Contributing To Successful People

3. Getting Practical: The Do’s and Don’ts Of Your Morning

4. Consistency: The Key To A Life-Changing Morning Routine

5. Chandler’s Make Or Break, Daily Decision

6. How To Make Your Morning Routine Fluid And Sustainable

Keep reading to discover how to use a morning routine to write your book.

Number 1: How To Create A Morning Routine

When diving into his morning routine in this video, Chandler shares how the book The Miracle Morning, (which shares the story of his friend Hal Elrod) influenced his daily routine. The book shares details on how Hal was hit head-on by a drunk driver and told he would never walk again. Not only did Hal prove he could walk again, but a few short months later he came back strong, running two marathons back to back. As if that’s not enough, he battled and beat cancer as well. 

Hal shares his life “savers.” The acronym can be broken down and implemented for a successful morning routine:

·  Silence

·  Affirmation

·  Visualization

·  Exercise

·  Reading

·  Scribing (journaling)

Chandler uses most of these every single day, and we’ll show you how you can use them too.

Number 2: The Two Factors Contributing To Successful People

Most successful people have two things in common. The first is a morning routine. The second is reading. Why not combine the two?

The goal of a morning routine is to be able to already have a successful day before the day starts.

Especially when it comes to writing, it’s important to read on a regular basis. Writing demands creativity, and habitually giving yourself a specific amount of time devoted to reading will help you become that much better of a writer.

Number 3: Getting Practical, The Do’s and Don’ts Of Your Morning

When recommending how to create and sustain a successful morning routine, Chandler points out two practical tips.

First, he says you want to have discipline and structure. Even if you need to start with a twenty-minute routine, slowly lengthening it from there, be sure to start small so you can keep the habit every single morning for a month.

Second, your routine can change with the seasons of your life. It can be flexible, fluid, and should always be evolving. One aspect of Chandler’s morning routine is that it changes based on his personal needs. During one season of his life, he cut out one aspect of his routine in order to allow more time for stretching due to a back injury.

Remember, a morning routine is for your benefit, not for the sake of tying yourself to a stringent morning. It should be fluid because a healthy individual is always growing and changing. 

The important point is to implement it in your life and try at least some sort of routine for about a month. This will help establish a habit and allow you the time and space to hone in on what routine best helps you.

Number 3: Consistency, The Key To A Life-Changing Morning Routine

Going to bed at a certain time can be difficult, but when you know you have to get up at a certain time, it gives you that much more incentive to get a head start on sleep. When it comes to your morning routine, consistency is important. Your start and end time should be consistent as well.

When you’re first starting out, you can be a little easier with your flex time, while making sure you hit your REM cycles. Know how much sleep you need, and if you go to bed a half-hour late one night, start your morning routine a half-hour late the next morning. 

Especially when you’re writing a book, you need to be well-rested and alert. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep before starting your routine will greatly influence the quality of your writing.

However, once you get into the habit of getting up at a specific time, try to maintain a certain level of consistency.

Chandler recommends setting a consistent wake-up time and bumping it back 15 minutes at a time until you have plenty of space to complete your entire morning routine.

An abbreviated morning routine is a good place to begin. Start with a wake-up time that’s not too much earlier than your usual time (15-20 minutes) and then stair-step up to a longer routine.

As you become more accustomed to your routine and begin to see the benefits, you’ll see your morning routine is actually one of the most important parts of your day. You’ll be willing to get up on time even if you go to bed late. Having a hard stop, or cut off time, for your routine will encourage you to get up on time as well.

Chandler’s hard stop is his first, 8 am meeting. For you, it might be leaving for work at a certain time or taking your kids to school.

Number 4: Chandler’s Make Or Break, Daily Decision

Once you establish your alarm time, it’s important to decide to actually get out of bed when it goes off. It’s helpful to wake up to something positive. Your subconscious is most open to new ideas in the morning and late at night, so at these times try to focus on affirmations rather than negative things like news or email. 

Chandler’s brother recorded himself speaking affirmations to Chandler, and listening to affirmations is one of the first parts of Chandler’s routine. Below is a bullet-point list of his routine:

· Wake-Up Time: 6 am

  • Brush teeth and listen to affirmations

·  Mini workout

  • 65 pushups
  • 65 sit-ups
  • Stretching

·  5 Minute Journal

  • 3 questions
  • What are the 3 things that would make today great?
  • 3 things I’m grateful for
  • 3 written affirmations

·  Bullet-proof coffee

·  Read 30-40 minutes

·  Guided meditation

  • Head Space app
  • Calm app

·  Put on work clothes 

  • mental flip into work day

·  Make eggs for breakfast

·  First meeting (hard cut) at 8 am

Wake Up Time

You can easily take this layout and personalize it to your individual goals. For instance, maybe you’re wake up time needs to start a little later. Simply bump your time a few minutes back and work with your specific time for a month to establish the habit.

Mini Workout

Chandler is the first to say he didn’t start cranking out 65 pushups. He worked up to it. And you can do the same. He enjoys working out in the morning because when the end of his workday rolls around he doesn’t still have a tough workout to face. Personalize your workout in a way that is something you can accomplish and feel good about. You want your routine to be a definition of success and accomplishment!

5 Minute Journal

This type of journaling was started by a company run by some of Chandler’s friends, and you can use this method or create your own. One year Chandler decided to write a thank-you note every single day for the entire year. This reminded him of everything he had to be thankful for and also enabled him to show his gratitude to those important to him.

Bullet-Proof Coffee

There are countless articles online about the benefits of this specific type of coffee. Because it has so many fats in it, it curbs the appetite and allows you to get more done before breakfast. As you can see from Chandler’s morning routine, he has a good amount of reading in and his workout complete before making his first meal of the day.


As mentioned above, books are one of the two important aspects contributing to a successful person’s lifestyle. Chandler recommends the book Miracle Morning. This can not only educate you but show you how to use a morning routine to write your book. Miracle Morning is a great book for writers who want to create a specified morning routine.


Maybe you’ve never meditated before, but realize the need for a little calm before the day gets busy. Chandler uses guided meditation apps to help bring focus and clarity to his morning. Even a few minutes of stillness and mindfulness can help establish a positive morning and an even more successful day.

Work Clothes

Although Chandler works from home, he recognizes the importance of dressing for success. Dressing for work helps him create a mental flip from his morning routine into his workday. When his first meeting time calls at 8 am, he’s dressed and ready to go in business clothes. This physical act helps him mentally get into the headspace he needs in order to have a positive, productive day.

This type of thought process can even be related to where you end up working or choosing to write your book. 


By this time in the day that bullet-proof coffee is probably starting to wear off. Don’t forget to fuel your body with healthy food to kick-start your workday and finish your morning routine. Chandler’s personal choice is eggs, rich in protein, and great fuel for his day.  

Remember Morning Routines Are Fluid

Chandler mentioned how he switched up his morning routine when he suffered a back injury. Hopefully, it’s not a back injury for you, but there may be another reason to switch up your routine and swap a new aspect in.

Try a different meditation app, see if you can write a thank-you card each day for a whole year, or Chandler’s personal recommendation: a cold shower. There’s nothing like a cold shower to wake you up in the morning and get your senses on full alert.

You may also want to try listening to motivational videos or an audiobook throughout parts of your routine that allow for it, such as your morning exercise or even something as simple as brushing your teeth.  

Remember, the goal of a morning routine is to already have a successful day before the day starts. Why? A productive morning routine helps lay a strong foundation for the rest of the day.

Even if you only complete your morning routine by the end of the day, you’ll know you’ve had a productive day. Perhaps you’ve even been more productive in the first few hours of your day than many people have their entire day!

Wondering where to start? Pick one or two aspects from Chandler’s list and implement it into your daily morning schedule. After a month or so, check in with your writing goals. 

You’ll be surprised how much a morning routine benefits your writing. Not only does it help you meet your daily goals before the day starts, but allows you time to read and prep for the book you’re writing.

After you’ve established your routine let us know how it’s going for you. We’d love to hear!

How to Translate Your Book Into Another Language

(Hint: Don’t ask your teenage neighbor…)

Congratulations on self-publishing your book!

This is a huge milestone, maybe one you’ve been dreaming about for years. You may be exhausted from all the work it took to transform your original idea into a book, but you’re beginning to see the impact it’s having on people’s lives.

Then one day, you realize that only English people can read your book . . . 20% or less of the world’s population. Hmmm…. what to do?

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“I know”, you think to yourself, “I’ll have my book translated!”

You decide to start with the second most common language in your country, which is perhaps Spanish.

Your teenage Spanish neighbor is bilingual, so you ask him if he would be willing to translate your book. He eagerly agrees (for an amazing price!) and the process begins. Possibilities begin to roll through your mind.

After Spanish, you could do French, German, Italian, then maybe even some Asian languages. How exciting! Here come the royalties. . .

Time out!

Hold on a minute. . . Remember how conscientious you were with your original book? You agonized over the title and subtitle, gathering feedback and making adjustments. You invested in meticulous editing and proofreading to avoid annoying your readers with typos.

You carefully selected a cover designer and spent hours perfecting your book description, painstakingly choosing categories and keywords. That attention to detail is what helped you establish your reputation as an author, and likely earned you the coveted bestseller banner on Amazon.

You may have already begun to launch a business using your book as a calling card.

Don’t throw caution to the wind now! The unfortunate truth is that a poor book translation makes an author appear naive at best, and unprofessional or even careless at worst.

I collect translation bloopers as a hobby, and below is one of my favorites from a bagel shop in the city where I live (the word “tongs” got confused with “tongue”).

The Translation Myth

There is a common belief that anyone who is bilingual is capable of translating, such as the owner of that bagel shop. This reasoning appears logical on the surface, and I used to believe it myself.

But a decade of translation studies at university, culminating in a doctoral thesis on translation quality, has changed my perspective.

Let’s explore the idea of bilingualism. People who understand two languages can certainly express ideas orally in both. Even if they can’t match sentences exactly, they can convey the same general information. In conversation, grammar rules are more relaxed, and people are generally patient while someone tries to express what they are thinking.

But it’s just not the same with books! There are standard writing practices to be respected, and readers become impatient with typos and with sentences that are hard to follow.

That’s why you spent money on an experienced editor, rather than asking your basketball buddy to proofread it just because he speaks English. You knew that talking about an idea and being able to express it properly in writing are two different things.

And that’s the crux of the translation myth. Just because your best friend speaks two languages does not automatically mean she has good writing skills. Nor does it mean that she is capable of written translation: university translation programs exist for good reason.

Translation is an art underpinned by solid “transfer” principles that can only be learned through extensive training or experience.

Obtaining a quality translation

The quality of a translation can make or break your book, so it’s important to proceed carefully. Here are nine steps for obtaining a quality translation of your book.

#1 – Polish the English version first

The appropriate time to start on a translation of your book is after the final editing and proofreading (of a printed copy) are complete. Errors that seem to be unnoticeable on a computer screen miraculously show up in print.

While proofreading almost two million words for 50 French translations published by the UPCI French Literature Cooperative, I have found errors that made me cringe.

I’m not referring to a misplaced comma overlooked by the translator or editor, but serious errors such as saying in French that the Bible was vindictive, when it should have said self-vindicating.


So it is important to have a clean book manuscript to hand to a translator. Otherwise, you will incur much extra time and cost by having to go back-and-forth with the translator because of changes made in the English text after the translation has already begun.

Translation is time-consuming enough without adding in this frustration.

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#2 – Choose the best language

With thousands of languages in the world, how do you choose which one(s) to translate your book into? There are several factors to consider, beyond simply determining the top languages spoken in the world.

Especially when self-publishing, you need to find out what languages are popular for digital books. The chart below shows the top ten languages used online as of December 2017.

The first consideration, if you are publishing on Amazon, is to determine if the language you are interested in is supported. Currently, books can be uploaded in over 40 languages, but some are only supported for Kindle versions, not print.

Look for countries and language groups:

  • where Amazon is investing and growing (India is first);
  • where there is less competition in your category;
  • where there is a demand for your type of book (ex. China: non-fiction, children and youth books, crime stories and romantic fiction);
  • where your book content appeals to the culture.

#3 – Allow enough time for translation

Time and quality are intrinsically connected. If someone offers to translate your 30,000-word book in 3 days, this should be an immediate red flag.

Even with the development of technological aids, it is not feasible to expect a translator to produce quality translation of more than 300-500 words per hour; this varies depending on the book content.

This means that a 30,000-word book should take a minimum of 60 hours to translate, and possibly up to 100 hours. You probably spent a similar amount of time writing your book.

Translation involves recreating content in another language, and should not be rushed. Also, try to avoid splitting the book between two or more translators to speed things up. This could result in style and terminology inconsistencies that will confuse the reader.

Be sure to leave enough time to obtain and evaluate a translation sample, as will be discussed in Step 7. If you have to do this more than once, it will probably take a week or two for each round.

#4 - Don’t Google it!

Can you remember life before Google? I remember when school projects required a trip to the library to consult an encyclopedia. Now we have instant information at our fingertips, including access to Google Translate, which is a machine translation.

Implicit in this term is that no human checks the translation for errors. Just for fun, I recently typed traduire à la pige (the French term for “freelance translation”) into Google Translate and received the response below.

I am sure you want more for your book than a stilted machine translation that doesn’t understand the context and is blind to the nuances of human emotions. Machine translation can be useful for large quantities of technical material such as manuals. But a crucial part of the process is “post-editing”, in which a trained translator corrects the mistakes made by the machine.

If you come across a translator offering “unbelievable” rates to translate your book, it is probable that they are using machine translation and then just tweaking it. They may or may not have the skills and experience to produce a final quality translation.

#5 – Set a budget

When it comes to translation quality, you really do get what you pay for. A low-priced translator generally means a hasty and possibly inaccurate translation. Your goal should be for people who buy your books in another language to have the same reading experience as your English readers. Translation rates vary widely between countries.

OTTIAQ, with whom I am certified in Quebec, reported average rates of $0.21 per word in 2018, which is higher than many countries in the world., an online community of translators, posts average rates of $0.09 to $0.14 per word.

If you were able to engage a quality translator for $0.12 per word, the cost for translating a 30,000-word book would be $3,600. This is a large investment, so make sure you do market research first to determine if your book is likely to produce sales in the language or geographical area you are considering.

It is not advisable to pay a translator by the hour, as some translators work much more slowly than others. Also, if your book is very scholarly or requires extensive terminology work, you may have to pay an above-average rate.

Find out if sales taxes are payable on the translation services provided (the sample contract under Step 8 includes taxes in the price).
One final consideration is that when you hire an individual translator, you pay them only for translation services rendered, and they have no right to royalties from the translated book.

Some aggregate translation services may offer you a lower price upfront, but expect to share in your royalties. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to.

#6 – Find a qualified translator

If your budget allows, the safest option is to hire a certified translator, meaning that a professional order or translation association has verified that the person’s translation skills meet a quality standard. You can usually check credentials online; just be aware that membership does not always equal certification.

For example, everyone accepted into Quebec’s professional order of translators (OTTIAQ) has been certified, but the American Translators Association (ATA) includes translators who simply pay a membership fee to join. ATA does have another level of translators who have earned certification by “passing a challenging three-hour exam to assess their translation skills”.

If you cannot afford to pay a certified translator, the second option is to hire someone with translation experience who can provide customer testimonials as proof of quality work. This should be someone who translates into a mother tongue so that the translation is idiomatic and easy to read.

For example, you should have a Spanish person translate your English book into Spanish; this requirement is not as relevant if the translator is certified.

If the main market for your translated book is in another country, choose a translator who is familiar with the culture and customs in that country, to avoid unknowingly offending readers.

Your translator should be familiar with the topic of your book (through work experience or personal knowledge), so the translation will be authentic. Usually, you can search a translation-provider website by both language combination and domain specialization, as shown in the OTTIAQ screenshot below.

#7 – Ask for a sample first

A translator will probably request a sample of your book in order to give you a fee estimate. It is a good practice to ask for the translation of a 500-word sample. Most translators are willing to invest the time to do a sample of this size in the hope of receiving the whole book contract.

The next step is to ask a native-language speaker with excellent writing skills, who also understands English, to compare the sample translation to the original text and give you an honest evaluation. You might have to pay a small fee for this, but it will save you problems in the long run. If the translation is into Spanish, look for a Spanish writer, editor, teacher, or even another translator, to do the independent evaluation.

You will need feedback on three aspects: fidelity, idiomaticity, and conformity.

You can do this by asking three questions:

  • Does the translation convey the same information as the original text, with no omissions or additions?
  • Is the translation idiomatic — pleasant to read in that language?
  • Does the translation conform to standard grammar and punctuation guidelines?
  • If you receive positive answers to these three questions, you can confidently sign a contract with the translator who did the sample. If not, you should find a different translator.

A translator will probably request a sample of your book in order to give you a fee estimate. It is a good practice to ask for the translation of a 500-word sample. Most translators are willing to invest the time to do a sample of this size in the hope of receiving the whole book contract.

The next step is to ask a native-language speaker with excellent writing skills, who also understands English, to compare the sample translation to the original text and give you an honest evaluation. You might have to pay a small fee for this, but it will save you problems in the long run. If the translation is into Spanish, look for a Spanish writer, editor, teacher, or even another translator, to do the independent evaluation.

You will need feedback on three aspects: fidelity, idiomaticity, and conformity.

You can do this by asking three questions:

  • Does the translation convey the same information as the original text, with no omissions or additions?
  • Is the translation idiomatic — pleasant to read in that language?
  • Does the translation conform to standard grammar and punctuation guidelines?

If you receive positive answers to these three questions, you can confidently sign a contract with the translator who did the sample. If not, you should find a different translator.

#8 – Obtain a written contract

It is important to have a written agreement with the translator of your book, in order to protect your investment. A simple one-page contract that can be signed, scanned, and returned should be enough. The sample contract below shows important information that should be included.

It is a good idea to insist on receiving the translation file if you make a payment partway through the translation process, both to verify that the work has been done, and to protect you if the translator were to have a computer breakdown.

My personal policy is that I do not hand over a translation to an individual (as opposed to a business) until they have paid me. The client is protected by my insurance through OTTIAQ, but I have no such protection against non-payment by individual clients.

In regard to insurance, not every translator has professional liability insurance even if they are certified (for example, it does not appear to be mandatory for ATA certified translators). You will need to decide your comfort and trust levels; will you only use a translator who has insurance?

If you printed 100 books and later found out there were serious errors in the translation, who would pay for the reprinting?

The good news is that when you hire an experienced translator who earns their living through translation, they are concerned about their reputation, so that should reduce the risk to you.

9 — Don’t forget the extras

Before you finalize the contract with your translator, think about translation needs beyond the actual book text, and decide on a payment structure for assistance with these items.

Some things to consider are:

  • Feedback on the title and subtitle
  • Feedback on the cover: Are the image and colors appropriate for the new reading audience? Would a different image have a stronger positive impact?
  • Translation of the back cover and the book description
  • Choosing Amazon keywords and categories
  • Creating ads and marketing materials

If you do not speak the other language, you will likely need assistance in navigating the corresponding Amazon site (ex. for Spanish books).

Finally, remember that your translated book is a separate product and will need its own ISBN. Also, be sure to choose the correct book language in the drop-down menu when you set up the book on Amazon.


Whew! That was a lot of information, wasn’t it? But it’s always best to be well informed before plunging into a new endeavor, especially one that involves significant costs.

Obtaining a quality translation of your book will not happen overnight, but you can follow the steps above to facilitate the process.

What languages are you considering having your book translated into and why? Comment below to get the conversation started!

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Passive Income: How To Start Your “Side Hustle” & Make Money

Have you ever thought about establishing a source of passive income? Do you think your 9-5 job isn’t enough to cover your financial needs? Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to do nothing? Maybe you can!


There are many ways to set up passive streams of income to fatten your pockets and keep you a little warmer this winter. Having a few extra income streams can be beneficial in preventing financial disaster when something like this inevitably happens again.

But here is the question: But where do you even start, and which passive income ideas are actually the most lucrative?

Here’s what we’ll cover for how to make passive income:

  1. What is passive income?
  2. Reasons you should have passive income
  3. Building a platform for passive income
  4. Writing a book for passive income
  5. Sell materials online
  6. Create online classes for passive income
  7. Get into rental property ownership
  8. Make smart investments
  9. Affiliate marketing for passive income
  10. Some general tips to keep in mind

What is passive income?

Passive income is regular earnings from a source other than an employer and accumulates without your need to be actively working. It’s income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain.

You’ll almost definitely have to do a bit of work at the start-up to get things rolling, but ideally, passive income will require very little upkeep in the long run.

Passive income can mean freedom. It can be a great supplementary income, a way to free up valuable time, and it can give you room to have a flexible schedule and build the life you’d rather have.

Many people even go into early retirement through passive income streams like writing and publishing a book, or other means.

Why should I have a passive income in 2020?

So we know what passive income is–why do you care? Is it something you can do yourself? Why spend the time and effort creating a passive stream of income when you already have a regular paycheck? WELL–

  1. Because of COVID-19, passive income is more relevant than ever. A global pandemic is a great time to be secure: you’ve been laid off and need an alternate source of income until you find a new opportunity. You can simply take advantage of the extra time people have on their hands by providing entertainment or engagement with your product or service. If you’re busy taking care of family and others, a more passive stream of income would free up the time you’d be committed to a traditional form of income. It’s hard to imagine a situation right now that couldn’t be improved by a passive income stream.

  2. Extra money! Who would say no to some extra, practically effortless cash? It can give you more financial independence, flexibility, and safety. Perhaps you stream your passive income directly into a retirement fund. Maybe you use it to fund a hobby. Maybe it goes to a savings account for vacations, or even adopt a dog. Or maybe it’ll just grease the wheels in your monthly expenses. No matter what you’re using it for, the extra money that doesn’t cost a ton of time and effort will never make your life harder.

  3. More time to devote to things you actually care about. Maybe you don’t invest the money for extra things–maybe you just allow yourself to work less. Time is our most valuable commodity, so the more you can free up, the better. If setting up alternative income streams can cut the number of hours you work so you can use that to spend time with family and friends, fix up your house, or just have more fun, why wouldn’t you do it?

  4. Security. Even with a regular job, nothing is permanent and nothing is guaranteed. If you lose your job today, where does that leave you? Do you have a savings buffer? What if you burn through it before you’re able to be employed again? Having passive streams of income expands your safety net between monetary stability and poverty. Even if you can’t completely live on passive income streams, they will give you more room to tread in a flood.

As you can see, passive income is never a bad idea. An initial investment of time and effort can pay off Big in the long run.

So how do we get started? What are the ways to generate those passive streams of income?

make money as an author

How to make passive income?

There are countless streams of passive income, but I’m going to talk about seven big ones you should jump on today if you want the freedom of making money while away in the future.

#1 – Build an online presence

Be it a blog, a YouTube channel, an Instagram dedicated to your skill or interest, or any other type of content, having a platform to sell things to can make a huge difference for any business endeavor you’re interested in trying. I use the platform I built through my YouTube channel to sell books, workshops, freelance services, and more.

Having an online audience in and of itself won’t generate passive income, but it will give you the means with which to find success doing several things, such as the other items on this list!

#2 – Write a book!

Self-publishing an ebook can have no start-up costs and still pay off BIG with a little work. This is one of the main ways our Become a Bestseller students bring home a few extra bucks (or even full-time equivalent incomes).

Not sure what to write about? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you good at?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Do people often ask you about something that you have to explain over and over again?
  • Do you have an idea that has been lingering in your head for years?
  • When do people say, “you should write a book!”

Turn one of your interests or skills into a book and earn royalties for as long as it sells—and self-publish it, while you’re at it. So you keep 100% of the royalties.

Writing a book isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, especially if you’re writing about something you know and you have the right writing and publishing system in place to guide you to success.

#3 – Sell online

Again, what are you good at?

These days, starting and maintaining a website is easier than ever, so what’s stopping you from launching one to sell non-fiction books like:

  • Cookbooks
  • Craft instructions
  • Self-help guides
  • Whatever informational packets you can produce in your field

Or maybe you use your website to sell products like:

  • Merchandise (websites like Teespring and Redbubble allow you to create and sell merchandise for no down cost)
  • Homemade items (you could also use sites like Ebay and Etsy, as opposed to creating your own)
  • Flipped items (furniture, clothes, and other items bought at a discount and revamped to sell at a markup)

The options are endless, but one of the most cost-effective materials to produce and sell are ebooks!

#4 – Online classes

Are you an expert on something? Produce your own course about it!

Platforms like Skillshare and Udemy allow you to produce, upload, and sell your own classes. If you’re up for a slightly bigger challenge, you can run a class from your own website with online lecture series, live streams, worksheets, ebooks, etc.

Hosting it yourself would provide more freedom, but also requires a larger time and money investment, so keep that in mind.

I teach on Skillshare. I produced classes with the equipment I already had from YouTube, so all I paid for was a Skillshare account (which I use a lot), and that runs for less than $10 a month.

So the startup costs to produce a class were very low for me. The payoff has been amazing.

Here’s how to get started on this passive income stream:

  • Figure out what you’re best at
  • write a script for your class
  • film it
  • pick a platform
  • and let it roll!

Once your class is posted (on Skillshare, as an example), it requires no upkeep! I’ll occasionally promote my classes on social media, but once I had some good reviews posted, Skillshare started internally promoting my class.

Now it’s just free money.

#5 – Rental property

Maybe you have the money and time to invest in spare real estate, but not a lot of people do. But! Rental property can still be an option for you. Do you have a spare room? A couch? A truck you’re not using? A lawnmower? Consider renting out your space and equipment.

Websites like Airbnb and Vrbo make it easy to rent extra rooms and space to travelers, so if you have spare space, think about listing it!

You can post about equipment availability on a ton of free sites, like Facebook Marketplace and craigslist.

You might have free money laying around in the form of unused assets. Give it a think!

#6 – Investments

If you’re in a stable place right now, maybe you have some money lying around to invest in the stock market.

Sites like Robinhood and e-trade help you invest in stocks, ETFs, and options easily. Investing is a great way to make your money work for you instead of working for your money.

#7 – Affiliate marketing

There are tons of ways to cash up with affiliate marketing. If you have a platform of any kind, there will likely be a company willing to partner with you.

Especially if you’re already producing some sort of content, slipping affiliate marketing into the things you already make is a super easy and quick way to earn some extra cash.

Maybe you do one-on-one sponsorships with companies to plug their product or service, or maybe you do general affiliate links, like with the popular Amazon Affiliate Program.

You could even cash in on company-specific perks, like this link I use to get and give $10 of store credit on ThredUp. 🙂

I check with the companies for any service or product I use and love to see if they have affiliate opportunities. It costs me nothing to promote something I already like to an audience I already have, so there’s no reason not to utilize affiliate marketing opportunities.

Passive Income Tips to keep in mind

Now you understand what passive income is, and you probably have a few ideas bouncing around in your head about how you can make it happen for yourself, but here are a few things to think about:

  1. Beware of anything that promises huge and effortless rewards. Passive income isn’t an overnight achievement. Everything worthwhile will require a little work, so look out for get-rich-quick schemes and multi-level marketing gigs. Look for long-term gains versus overnight magic.
  2. Do your research! When you have an idea, read up on other people who have done it, look at their success, and see if you can figure out what they’re doing that makes it successful. Almost everything has been done before–it’s been done well, and it’s been done poorly. Knowing what a successful version and a failed version looks like before you begin can save you a lot of strife later on.
  3. Be hesitant to drop large amounts of money right away. Think your ideas through before you invest more than you’re willing to lose. Do your research, and have a plan before you invest in anything. But remember, some investments make sense. It’s all about your end goal and how much you really want this.

Those are only a few of the many ways to generate passive income. Which one sounds the most achievable for you?

Writing a book might be a great place to start.

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corporate book club

How To Run A Company Book Club (And Why Every Company Should Have One)

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:

  1. What Are The Benefits Of A Company Book Club?
  2. How To Choose The Right Book
  3. How To Run The Book Club Itself
  4. Book Club Ground Rules

How to Run a Company Book Club Successfully

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.

Better Employees:

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.

Better Leaders:

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.

Self-Publishing School Virtual Company Book Club

Better People:

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.

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#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.

company book club book

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:

company book club schedule

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 resonated?
  • 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.

Bonus Step:

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 q&a

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.  

Sound crazy? Actually, it’s very doable.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

What’s Your Author DNA? Find out Which Famous Author You Are!

Knowing what type of author you are will do wonders to help you sharpen your writing skills. When we become aware of our strengths and weaknesses, we begin to flourish.

Nobody is perfect at writing. Not even Stephen King or George R.R. Martin. But the one thing these authors know about themselves is how they write and what they need to work on in order to improve themselves.

But those pros have been at it for years. They had to put in hours, weeks, and years before they were able to determine what type of writer they were.

And with the self-publishing world on the rise, who has time for that?

It’s so important now, more than ever, that you realize your strengths and weaknesses as an author from the start. When you know what you need to buckle down on and what you should spend time highlighting in your work, you can save time while writing and become a better writer overall.

Find out what type of author you are!

We decided to do the work for you. Instead of wasting weeks, months, and even years figuring out the type of author you are, you can find out in just a few minutes!

This quiz is composed of 10 highly intuitive questions to help match you with a famous author just like you! Along with learning who your author twin is, you’ll gain a stronger understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and even gather tips for improving.

What are you waiting for? Find out what your author DNA is right now!


Take the Quiz Now!

Click Here to Take the Quiz