And Bill was a victim of those misconceptions for years.
It prevented him from following his oldest dream to become an author because he just thought it wasn’t in his realm of possibility.
“Self-Publishing School made publishing on my own a possibility. Not understanding how the publishing world worked, I just assumed I wouldn’t be able to do it or I’d have to work too hard to get myself published.”
This is not uncommon. After all, who wants to spend years simply looking for an agent to take them on, and then have to go through the process of seeing which publishing house will take their book?
And then have to wait in line another couple years for that publishing day to come?
But this is what people think is their only option to publish a book. When it’s simply not.
“When I saw Self-Publishing School and saw the success other people were having doing it, and held a book in my hand that was self-published that was good, it really opened my world.”
From never getting past three pages, to publishing a great book was Bill’s biggest accomplishment, to which he credits the community at Self-Publishing School greatly.
It’s hard to showcase just how big our community is and how willing and ready we are to help each other at the drop of a hat.
In addition to the community within Self-Publishing School team members, the Mastermind Community (which each student gets into for free) is made up of over 2500 members, there to aid others in the journey based on their own experiences.
Here are just a few pictures showcasing how the community can help in so many ways.
The Best Part of the Process Was Also The Worst
Few people see writing a book as something as impactful as it really is.
Bill was able to experience first-hand what publishing a book can really do for your mind and spirit.
“When you write a book, you meet every demon that you have inside; the insecurities, the fears, the procrastination, everything that came up.”
Writing and publishing a book is a vulnerable process. Many people who don’t succeed often get overwhelmed by the process without the right support.
Feeling doubt as writer is common, but it should never stop you from pursuing your dreams.
It might be a scary journey, but it’s worthwhile.
Just take it from Bill:
“Who I become by writing this book is my favorite part of writing this book.”
If you’re ready to experience that growth the way Bill did, don’t wait. Start today!
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.
In fact, your kids may even be inspired to write and publish a book themselves! And yes, it is possible.
Our student and thriving mom, Anita Oommen, is living, breathing proof.
The downside is that your kids may just want to write and publish many books after getting a taste of it once (and you will as well!).
Maybe you’ve wanted to write a book for years, maybe even decades like many of our students.
But fear keeps getting in the way.
Fear that you won’t be able to write the book.
Fear that you don’t know what to write about.
Fear that the process will bring you further from your children and home life you’ve worked so hard to maintain.
But imagine this…
Despite all of those fears and doubts, you put bravery first and decide to take action and, like Anita, and you find the process easier than you imagined with the right program and it actually brings you closer to your kids.
So much so that they feel inspired by your bravery, and motivated that they can write and publish a book too!
Over 80% of people say they want to write a book…but the fact is that only about 2% ever do for so many reasons like the doubts and fears Anita faced.
And yet she did it, and succeeded so much so that her children jumped on board, each publishing one book themselves.
“I heard Chandler Bolt, and listened in, and was all in.”
This simple thing, signing up for free training, was the catalyst that led her to publish her book Picking Up The Shards, a story involving fear and doubt itself.
And it was what led her own children to each publish a book of their own, at 11-years-old and in kindergarten!
Leveraged Impact on Her Family
Here at Self-Publishing School, we talk a lot about leveraged impact. It’s the idea that by writing a book, you can impact several people.
Yourself, by accomplishing a goal and something arduous.
You impact those in your immediate surroundings like friends and family.
You impact strangers who find your book, read it, and are changed because of it.
And they impact their friends and family because of you and your book, and the cycle continues, until your leveraged impact reaches corners of people’s lives you maybe never even imagined.
For Anita, this impact was direct. She inspired her children to each publish a book.
“I started writing and the kids were like, ‘I think I can write a book too!'”
The impact this will have on her children is expansive. Not only can they say they’re published authors, but the confidence this has given them, the insight into how they can inspire others will be carried with them throughout their life.
Alaina Oommen, at only 11-years-old, already has a taste of this for herself.
“It’s really changed my life because most 11-year-olds aren’t exactly like, a published author and it’s just an amazing feeling when someone actually just runs up to you and says, ‘I read your book, and it inspired me.’ Because that was the whole point of even writing my book.”
Not only does Alaina, at 11, have a professional piece of work she created, but she’s also already seeing this concept of leveraged impact in action.
Just imagine where this will carry her and her brother in life now that they know what’s possible.
Their lives are already forever changed.
At Self-Publishing School, we’re in the business of changing lives and helping others achieve the same.
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.
You nod as the light turns green. Time to go, time to move forward.
“Letting fear drive you will only drive you to disappointment,” the narrator reads his book to you. Your speakers beg for just a little more volume to drown out the traffic.
You lean in and turn it up.
This is what you want for your readers, this is what your current readers are missing, and these are the readers/listeners you are missing by not having an audiobook.
There is an entire audience who have no idea that your book could change their lives. In fact, they don’t even know it exists if they only listen to audiobooks.
Don’t worry! We can fix this, just hang out with me for about 10 minutes or so, and you will be equipped with encouragement, inspiration, and most importantly, aplan!
After writing multiple books and recording my own audiobooks, I’ve learned a few things that will help both green and seasoned writers. With so much useful information packed into one post, we’re going to break it down to some basic questions straight from middle-school English class.
Here’s what we’ll cover in relation to audiobook creation (if you’re in a hurry, skip to 1, 3, and 5):
Why not just sell both the digital and the audio? I know the temptation. After investing all this time and money into this audiobook, I need it to “pay” off, so why should I give it away? If that’s a hurdle you can’t get over, at least try using it as a lead magnet for a limited time, then switching to paid. Doing it this way allows for #4 (below) to thrive.
Fewer customer complaints.
When people get something for free, they are less likely to complain about it, though it still happens. However, this releases you from feeling like you have to have the perfect product. As Chandler says, “done is better than perfect.” We’ll cover more in the HOW and WHAT sections.
If you decide to put the book on Audible (the leader in audiobook production) or other sites like Findaway Voices, you will still get sales from people who never took the time to visit your Amazon (or other) page.
The most obvious: Build Your Subscriber List!
Having an author career is a long game. It requires support and a following at the least. This is the point of a lead magnet, to entice readers to sign up for your correspondence. Subscribers by email are gold for an author. Check it out here (and get a free audiobook) to see how the process looks from the subscriber’s side.
None of the other questions matter if we don’t understand our “why.”
As an author, you want to reach a broader audience while also better serving your current readers.
The market for digital and print books is saturated (which isn’t the worst thing), but the audiobook market is still wide open. This is a great time to jump in, stand out, offer more, and expand your reach.
Audiobooks are growing faster than any other digital publishing.
Nearly half of all listeners are under 35 and listen to 15 books a year, claiming that “audiobooks help you finish more books.”
People choose audio for multi-tasking, portability, and the novelty of someone else reading to them.
Podcasts (another growing industry) are a gateway to audiobooks.
Some publishers are skipping ebook production and going straight to audio, recognizing that audiobook sales are independently increasing.
Are you convinced yet?Before you go hire someone or crank up your voice memos,read on to see how best to create your audiobook.
#2 – How do you make an audiobook?
SPS has a great post here about how to make an audiobook. It includes tips on prepping your content, recording, hiring narrators, equipment, uploading to ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) for Audible, and more.
In addition to those things, here are a few tips from my experience when producing my first audiobook.
Use two computers or devices. I used one to handle the recording and audio editing (I chose to do simultaneous editing), and the other to read from while revising. No matter how many times you edit your book, you’ll always want to tweak something; recording your audiobook is no exception. If you’ve hired out your formatting, make notes for them of what you’ve changed.
Keep plenty of water nearby. One time while recording some of my music in a studio, the producer told me to take a drink of water before every take. I didn’t realize how much difference it made until I tried it. Take a deep breath and a big swig before each take.
Don’t beat yourself up for tripping over words. If it keeps happening, take a break. “Ahh! Can you even read? Come on, Michael!” Believe me, I understand the frustration.
Invite or hire a professional or semi-professional to help with setup. If you have any musician friends or podcaster buddies, have them help set up your environment and equipment, down to chair placement and lighting. I made the mistake of trying to do it all by myself (cue Eric Carman) and I ended up re-recording my book 1.5 times—that’s 2.5 total! It was a mess.
BONUS: A crucial piece of advice: listen to audiobooks in your genre. This should sound familiar, as it’s common advice to read the genre you write in, and it’s just as important to listen to it. To be a great writer, you must be an avid reader (and listener!)
With so much screen fatigue, it’s nice to break away and maybe look at, I don’t know, the sky or something real. Try that now…I’ll wait…
Ah, wasn’t that nice?
Let’s get back to business! What makes a good audiobook?
Cast the right voice (even if its yours): coming up in #4: WHO…patience, young grasshopper…
Conviction: Not only does your book need to be believable, but your narrator needs to convey the same conviction as you did when writing it.
Eliminate Mouth Sounds: This. Was. A. Pain. You, like me at one point, probably have no idea how much sound your mouth makes, from breath control to saliva and lip smacks. I ended up hiring someone from Fiverr to go through and edit my four-hour audiobook; the cost was around $300, which included mastering (adjusting the levels and frequencies for the specific ACX requirements).
“Is my book right for audio?”
I would argue that ANY book can be useful as an audiobook!
“What about children’s books?”
Imagine the novelty of having the author narrate his/her own work while the kids flip through the pages, all without having to go to a book-reading.
“How about short, daily reads, like religious devotionals?”
Au contraire…imagine how helpful it could be to have someone walk you through a recipe in real time, hands-free. If that doesn’t quite work, it can still serve to push people to your digital/physical book for reference and pictures.
In fact, some audiobooks come with companion content such as Good Clean Fun by Nick Offerman.
By now, you’re seriously considering this audiobook thing. Logically, the next thing to work out is WHO should narrate your book.
#4 – Who should narrate my audiobook?
Having a perfect book will not save you from poor narration. Audible makes it a point to offer a Performance section in their reviews.
Did you also notice the tab below for Amazon Reviews? That’s even more reason to get the “WHAT” right in this entire process.
When it comes to narration, there are two ways to go: do it yourself or hire it out.
Narrating Your Own Book:
There a plenty of advantages here. If you choose this route, you can either set up your own recording space or purchase studio time with an engineer.
Many readers will say they prefer authors to narrate their own works because it’s more authentic to the intentions. However, not all writers are great narrators.
I suggest this, a test run:
Use a phone app or voice recorder and try reading a chapter into it.
Listen back with objective ears, imagining your ideal reader.
Ask yourself if you were drawn in to the story or distracted by the narration. Be honest with yourself, and consider what it would take to make it better: cadence, pronunciation, accent, or perhaps a professional narrator. *If you choose to tackle accents, do your best to respect them rather than stereotyping. Audiobook listeners tend to care about accuracy and honor. For example, in England alone, there are half a dozen or more accents. In America, southern accents vary across states and regions.
Send the sample to an objective friend (preferably one familiar with the accents and style you’re going for), and be open to honest feedback.
If you decide self-narrating isn’t for you, then you can hire a professional.
Tups for hiring a narrator:
Cost: Narrators can be paid in different ways. ACX offers an hourly rate or a 50% split royalties option. There are other ways as well, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Voices.
Voice: fiction or non, nailing the voice is a make-it-or-break-it detail for many listeners. In fact, Audible has an entire section of its reviews dedicated to Narrator Performance. There is a common consensus that says having an non-preferred narrator is one of the biggest turn-offs for listeners.
Communication: you’ll want to make sure the narrator gets the pronunciations right as well as any specific occasions of sarcasm, humor, drama, timing, or more. They can fix some things in post-production, but changing the pronunciation of a main character’s name after finishing the book would be nearly impossible. It’s not as simple as “Find and Replace” (one of my favorite word processing functions!). ACX has great videos to help with such things.
If this post has stirred you up at all, then you must act!
You and I both know this to be true, so here are some things you can do right now to become a better writer and jump start your audiobook production.
Try the self-narrating tip from #4. For me, I’ve always loved doing impressions and finding new voices and accents. In fact, it has influenced my writing; I now try to include characters whose voices I know I can give life to. Recently, I made one of my characters Scottish, an accent I’ve always admired and respected.
Get started listening with Audible right now if you haven’t already, and start reading reviews, specifically in the Performance section. There are also plenty of free audiobook sources out there.
Continue polishing your book as best you can. Adjustments to the written word are fairly easy, but punching in seamless narration is nearly impossible. It doesn’t have to be perfect though! There is always the option to re-record your book (and likely be even better the next time around) or hire someone else to do it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The authors who are willing to put themselves out there—whether in the form of speaking gigs, media, or other in-person appearances—have the best chance of standing out from the crowd and grabbing the attention of book buyers.
What area speaking engagements?
Speaking engagements are when you speak in front of a group of people on a specific topic you’re knowledgable about.
Most people think of Ted Talks when they hear the term “speaking engagement.”
However, not all speaking gigs have to be at the Ted Talk level in order to be considered a speaking engagement. Any scheduled speech you give (even unpaid) in front of a group of people is considered a speaking gig.
How do you get paid to be a speaker?
Not everyone can get paid to be a speaker upfront. If you want to be a paid speaker, you have to first hone the craft of speaking and then gain experience in the field.
Some may get lucky enough to be booked as a paid speaker upfront but usually, it can take time, experience, and a resume of speaking engagements in order to take home money for it.
An easy way to expedite the process of becoming a paid speaker is to increase your authority by writing a book.
Before you can reach the days of paying someone else to book your speaking gigs, you have to put in the work for yourself first.
This means doing research and performing a lot of outreach in order to connect with those responsible for booking speakers at different events.
Keep in mind that you may have to start small (and we’ll touch on this below) before you can expect to book yourself at larger, paid speaking engagements.
How to Land Your First Speaking Engagements as an Author
We’re not saying it can’t be nerve-wracking to stand up in front of a crowd. That’s why we recommend starting small, saying “yes” to multiple opportunities, and getting lots of practice.
This isn’t a one-and-done proposition if you truly want speaking to become an effective piece of your “professional author” repertoire.
So, how exactly should you land that first speaking engagement?
Read on for our ten tips, and you’ll soon be writing your notecards for your debut talk.
#1 – Start Local
Conferences are a natural place for speakers of all levels to take the stage. However, don’t feel as though you have to limit yourself to formal settings to find speaking engagements.
Any group where your desired audience gathers can provide a chance for you to speak.
You could speak to students, to religious organizations, women’s groups, at your library, local business associations…the list is endless! Look around your own community and make a mental list of all the places where you might ask to speak.
#2 – Speak to Your Niche
If your book is geared toward a specific niche, explore related groups. For example, if your book is a memoir about overcoming an obstacle—such as domestic violence or cancer or another illness—you could speak to a support group.
If your book is about productivity, then seek out entrepreneur groups or the chamber of commerce.
If you’re a nurse, and you’ve written a book about health care, then hospitals are a natural place for you to speak. If your story relates to a specific sport, then hit up the closest sport teams.
No audience or venue is too small or informal for your first “official” speech.
#3 – Find a Natural Connection
While we do recommend starting small and local, look even closer: make sure the group you choose will actually be well-served by hearing your message.
Look, there’s nothing worse than standing in front of a crowd that’s bored, or worse—hostile—because you’re wasting their time.
There’s an easy way to warm up any crowd, and that’s to have something in common with them. You want your first speaking engagement to be closely related to your book and your book’s message.
If your book is all about the stressful life of a lawyer, then you’re not going to want to speak to a group of airline pilots.
For your first speaking gig, your goal is to find an audience that will benefit from your book’s message. Ideally, you want to find an audience you naturally connect with, because that connection will make you more relaxed and authentic, which will result in a better speech.
#4 – Build Excitement
If you’re not quite ready to beat the bushes in order to grab your first speaking engagement immediately, then consider building up some excitement first.
We authors share a common goal: to get our target readers excited about our book’s message!
How do you do that? The good news is the Internet makes building a virtual audience fairly easy these days with consistent effort. You can establish a following of readers through your website, through online forums, via social media, and by writing blog posts, both your own and by writing guest posts for others.
Use all of these types of content to build your audience with the goals of increasing book sales and finding your first speaking gig.
#5 – Hone Your Skills
Think of informal ways to practice your speaking abilities with the goal of scoring a “real” gig.
You can produce videos on your book’s subject, join podcasts, and seek out online interviews to share your voice with the world, gain exposure, and get comfortable with your talking points.
By showcasing your speaking talents, you open the door to an invitation to speak in a more structured setting—that even pays more.
Plus, you get great practice speaking about your book’s message before you have to stand on a stage in person.
#6 – Attend a Writer’s Workshop
A great way to get the inside scoop is to meet other authors and pick their brains about their speaking process.
How did they find speaking engagements? What are their best speaking tips? What fees do they charge?
Meeting other writers gives you a broader network to use as resources on all topics that impact authors—not just the nitty-gritty of drafting books.
#7 – Speak at an Industry Event
These fact-based speaking engagements are perfect for non-fiction authors. Whether your industry is blogging, healthcare, law, plumbing, or real estate, it’s likely you can find a conference about it.
The exact nature of the industry doesn’t have to mirror the topic of your book.
Instead, you can focus your talk on skills that can help people in that industry.
For example, if your book is about productivity, you can create a talk that’s focused on how your audience can adapt the productivity lessons found in your book to suit their particular industry.
#8 – Aim Low (at First)
The first of your speaking engagements probably won’t be a Ted Talk, and that’s okay!
The first time, in fact, you may have to volunteer your time to speak at a pretty tiny event.
But as the saying goes, you have to walk before you can run. Just keep taking steps toward bigger and better events. With each new speaking gig, your resume will grow—along with your confidence!
#9 – Practice Makes Perfect
Write a speech today, and read it to yourself daily—before you even have speaking engagements lined up. You want to be able to handle a speaking engagement that’s the very next day if someone called you out of the blue.
What way when the times comes, you’ll be ready to shine.
#10 – Say YES!
When you’re offered your first speaking engagements—take it!
Even if it gives you butterflies or if it’s not the “perfect” fit for your brand, you need to be open to invitations when you’re just starting out. You’ll gain valuable experience, polish your skills, and get your book’s message out there to the public.
All good things!
Get started now on finding your first speaking gig. No matter the size of your audience, you’ll gain exposure for your message, while achieving the unparalleled life experience of speaking about your passion.
Writers don’t just write, they communicate. They have a burning message that they have to get out there, and if they are successful, they find an audience hungry for that message.
But as an author you’re not just limited to writing when it comes to communicating with your audience. You can also speak to your audience. When you learn how to become a motivational speaker, you will connect with your audience in ways you never could as a writer, and you’ll be able to build a much stronger brand.
In this article we’ll set out to convince you that, if you’re serious about becoming a professional author, you should also think about building up your speaking career. Since becoming a public speaker isn’t easy, we’ve put together a few tips on how to get started so that you can begin planning your public speaker journey today.
Here’s why and how to become a motivational speaker:
8 Reasons Why You Should Become a Motivational Speaker
Once your book is published, your next move will determine your book’s success in the long term. We’ve already discussed how to launch your book, and some other ways you can market your book, but speaking will establish your author brand. Here are eight reasons why.
#1 – Becoming a Speaker Sets You Apart
The truth is, the world of self-published books is quickly becoming a saturated field. That means you need to do whatever it takes to bring attention to your book, including being assertive about marketing. Us writer types are often reserved and introverted and may not seek out public speaking opportunities. If you’re a speaker and an author, you stand out from those one-trick ponies!
While some authors prefer to stay out of the spotlight, it’s not a good marketing move. To find readers and make a name for yourself, you need to put yourself out there. Speaking engagements garner attention for your book and set you apart from the (shy!) pack who aren’t as comfortable in the limelight.
The good news is that even if you aren’t a born speaker, you can learn the skills you need to become comfortable on the stage.
#2 – Speaking Engagements Make You a Better Writer
Learning the art of both forms of communication — writing and speaking — will bode well for your career. Reading passages from your book is commonplace at book launches, author events and speaking engagements.
The beauty of this exercise is that you get to see your words through a different lens — that of your readers. You can see the real-world, real-time impact your words have on others. Not only is this a cool feeling, it can help you tailor your next book to whatever your audience responds best to.
There’s nothing like real-world feedback to let you know which topics ring true with your audience and which don’t.
#3 – Speaking Establishes You as an Expert
People make value judgments, and if you’re speaking in front of a specific group about your passions, then you MUST be an expert, right? While writing a book can also establish you as an expert, there’s something about standing up in front of a crowd that solidifies you in that “expert” light.
Speaking engagements in your professional area or your book’s niche will earn you professional credibility within that community. Your perceived authority and prestige will be boosted by your association with the event you choose to speak at.
#4 – Speaking Fees Generate Income
Speaking fees can add up when you consistently book speaking engagements. If you do it enough, speaking can become a significant income stream for you as an author. In fact, speaking fees can even surpass the money you make from book sales.
The more speaking engagements you book, the higher the rate you can demand for your services. The more you speak, the better you’ll be at it, thereby opening the door to lucrative engagements, like keynote speaking at large events.
#5 – Speaking Gigs Sell More Books
If you knock it out of the park with your speech, you’ll have attendees clamoring to buy your book. “Back of the room” sales can boost your book’s success!
Sign, smile and meet your fans, and you’ll make money while feeling like a rock star in the process.
#6 – Becoming a Speaker Broadens Your Network
Public speaking enables you to connect with your existing fans and create new ones. If you make a connection with your speech, and you take the time to develop a relationship by answering questions and signing books, you’re marketing yourself, your brand and your books.
By extension, this type of marketing will result in your fans talking about you to other potential fans. The word will spread that you’re a speaker who must be heard, and an author who must be read. Leverage these connections by collecting emails at your speaking engagements so you can follow up on future speaking dates and book releases.
#7 – Speech Writing Lets You Test New Ideas
Perhaps you have a cool new idea for a blog post or a book topic? Write up a speech and try it out during a small speaking engagement, before committing it to print. This is how big-time comedians test their material: a surprise appearance at a tiny venue. They get to see the audience’s reaction to what they’re saying up close so they can refine their messaging.
CDs, DVDs, courses, and workshops: All of these options are secondary sources of income from your book and your role as a speaker. The more prolific you become as a speaker, the more marketable your additional revenue streams will become.
Even if you start off speaking for free to 10 students at the local community college, your speaking career can evolve to higher levels. If you’ve recently been published in a well-known publication, had a media appearance or hit a best-seller list, you can up your speaking engagement fee and product prices accordingly.
You may now be convinced that it’s time for you to you dust off your shoes and hit the public speaking circuit to sell more books, but the question remains, how do you become a motivational speaker? Where do you start and how can you guarantee success?
5 Steps to Becoming a Motivational Speaker
Becoming a public speaker can launch your books to the next level and add credibility to your author brand. Sometimes there’s nothing that screams “expert!” louder than seeing someone give a speech on stage to an attentive audience.
However, if it was easy to become a speaker, then everyone would do it. We’re not going to sugar coat this: Becoming a speaker can be tough, and it can be hard to figure out where to start. But, we’ve made things a bit simpler by putting together five steps that you can follow to get started on your speaking journey.
#1 – Improve your speaking skills
You’re getting into the field of speaking to build credibility and heighten your audience’s perception of you as an expert.
But, there is no quicker way for your audience to think you don’t know what you’re talking about than to bomb on stage.
If your talk is filled with lots of “ums” and “ahs,” you get flustered when the microphone stops working, or you speak really fast, your audience will lose confidence in your message faster than they can say “refund.”
Before you run you first have to learn how to walk, and before you can fill out a room and sell more books, you first have to learn effective public speaking skills. You need to learn the right tone of voice, perfect your body language and hone your speaking abilities.
You can do this by joining your local Toastmasters club for practice and by watching lots of motivational speeches by successful speakers. Find a speaker’s style that you like and see how you can adapt your own speaking style to match.
#2 – Network Like You Mean It
To get better at speaking, and potentially build a speaking business around your book, you’re going to have to meet other speakers. Only they have the know-how of the industry in your local market and know the names of agents and venues that can land you speaking gigs.
Meeting inspirational speakers will not only improve your speaking skills, it will in turn inspire you on your speaking journey. Any self-employed project can be disheartening, and you’ll need all the inspiration you can get, so network like it’s your job.
Ask your friends and family if they know anyone with public speaking experience. Find and join your local Speakers Bureau and the National Speakers Association.
Networking will also introduce you to something else that can fast track your success.
#3 – Get a Mentor
Often as writers we avoid any formal or informal training. We choose to be self-taught instead of seeking training or mentorship. This can be fine, as some of the best writers in the world were self-taught. However, many other crafts require you get a helping hand before you succeed.
Can you picture Rocky Balboa without Micky? Harry Potter without Dumbledore? Or Thoreau without Emerson? It’s not possible. There’s no way any of these characters or writers could have undergone their personal development journey without a mentor, and you’ll need the same in your speaking journey.
Speaking is still a “who’s who” type of industry. There isn’t a formal marketplace for speaking gigs and speakers. Mentors can help you get a leg up and introduce you to speaking gigs if they think you have potential.
#4 – Invest in Yourself Up Front
Before college we have to go to high school, before high school we go to junior high, and before junior high we go to elementary school. You can’t go straight from elementary to college. Sure, there are some geniuses who get to skip all of that, but those happen once or twice in a generation. The rest of us mere mortals have to go through each stage.
Public speaking is the same. If you stick at it, continue to improve, build your network and your reputation, there will come a day where your inbox will be filled with lucrative speaking opportunities. However, before you get there, you need to invest in yourself. And that involves giving lots of free speeches.
Take up any speaking gig you can find. Whether it be at local events that match your book’s topic or speaking to college students who are studying something related to your work, land any free speaking gig you can.
Most great speakers succeeded because they were in it for the long term and weren’t ashamed to take free or low-paying gigs in the beginning. They knew they were investing in their future. Adopt this mindset and instead of thinking of free speaking gigs as a burden, you might start to become excited to do them.
But don’t speak for free for too long. The next step is crucial.
#5 – Have a Marketing Plan
Think about your cliché pirate story. There’s swashbuckling pirates, the one-eyed baddie, the seven seas and what else? Treasure, of course!
And how do they find the treasure? With a treasure map! Even though they brave the fierce seas, battle sea monsters and put down crew mutinies, the protagonist in a pirate story is confident they’ll find the treasure eventually because they’re following a treasure map.
You have to do the same with a marketing plan. In case you didn’t notice from everything else we’ve mentioned in this article, speaking is competitive. In order to see success, you’ll not only have to differentiate yourself from other good speakers, you’ll need to have a focused and consistent effort to get the word out there to potential clients.
A marketing plan will help you with all of this. Often newbie speakers use a “hope and pray” approach to marketing, or follow their latest creative marketing idea, and this is why they fail. You cannot fall for this trap. Having a solid marketing plan will keep you focused, give you room for continual improvement and help you discard what isn’t working.
Becoming a new author requires a unique fortitude and strength of character.
Writing a book forces you to plan, write, and edit between 50,000 to 100,000 words!
It also requires working with an editor, a publisher (or self-publishing), a design team, and developing a book launch strategy to get readers to see your upcoming bestseller on Amazon. This amount of work can feel overwhelming and can easily crush your confidence.
But what makes new authors become bestsellers like Stephen King comes down to one factor: hard work.
Writing takes tremendous effort, but more importantly, requires a strong mindset. Having coached and taught so many successful writers ourselves, we’ve studied and compiled all of their strongest personal qualities that you can adopt and apply to your life to become an author.
Let’s reveal how these qualities can shape you to become a published author.
#1 – Exercise Patience
Writing a book is not an overnight process. It takes a lot of time! Part of learning how to be a professional writer means that you have to cultivate not only discipline and focus, but patience.
The good news is that patience is something that can be developed with practice. Suzannah Windsor Freeman, author of The Busy Mom’s Guide to Writing, discovered that “infinite patience” was the key to her success.
Freeman also famously said, “If your dream were to be a concert pianist, you wouldn’t expect to sit down and just play. You’d take lessons for many years, practice every day, and sacrifice a great deal in order to achieve that dream. So, why do we expect ourselves to be able to write well without the same level of commitment and patience?” Her words advocate that the more time you spend practicing your craft with patience, the better writer you will become.
Action Plan: Cultivate patience by practicing your craft everyday. Whether it’s creative writing or creating short stories, experiment with any form of writing to improve your skills and develop great ideas.
#2 – Apply Consistency
To become a professional writer, you must treat writing like a serious job. This means that you must commit to a consistent schedule and adhere to a writing process in order to develop good habits and not waste time.
Consider the following strategies to make yourself more consistent as you start the writing process:
Emulate the “Calendar Strategy.” With a calendar, mark an X for each day you write and make it a goal to not break the chain.
Find your creative space. Find and create your own space where you’re most comfortable and creative. Whether it’s your office, a coffee shop, or even your kitchen, use it as your place to write everyday.
Create a writing schedule. Writing at the same time everyday will develop a consistent writing habit. Consistent writing actually creates a muscle memory, triggering your brain to turn on creativity when you sit down to write.
Action Plan: Experiment with these methods to optimize your writing process. Following a consistent plan will easily double your output and complete your book in no time.
#3 – Practice Optimism
Psychologists say that practicing optimism can help you be more productive and live a happier life. It can also help you overcome inevitable pitfalls like writer’s block.
The best part is, you can train yourself to think more positively and take on even the worst events that can negatively impact your life.
Here are a few ways to practice optimism:
Anticipate a positive outcome. Our realities reflect what we think, making our perception of reality the mirror of our thoughts. So having a positive attitude will always increase your optimism, even at your worst.
Share your optimism with others. Optimism is a contagious attitude powerful enough to shift the momentum of any negative situation to a positive one. So share your positivity with others and build that unshakable force to complete your goal.
Remove all negativity. Negativity will bring you down, and surrounding yourself with it will encourage more pessimistic thoughts and self-doubt. Avoid it at all cost.
Action Plan: In your writing process, come up with both negative and positive outcomes for any given situation. For each negative situation, try to look for positive outcomes and work towards turning it into a favorable result.
#4 – Value Criticism
No matter how amazing your book is, there’s always someone who will harshly criticize your work. Instead of viewing it as a humiliating remark, learn to apply the feedback to your writing.
Developing a thick skin is one the hardest things to do, and like many of the other characteristics, takes time to build.
When writing your book, you can build resilience to criticism by practicing the following:
Anticipate harsh edits and rearrangements across your entire book.
Prepare to cut out your favorite paragraphs or sentences.
Count on reading plenty of negative reviews on Amazon, social media or by the press.
Action Plan: Try to find positive feedback from every negative criticism or review on your book. Make it a goal to develop enough flexibility so that one day it will no longer bother you.
#5 – Be Empathetic
Know that by sharing your story, you’re helping someone else. Your unique experience will empathize with readers and they will draw strength from the words you wrote in your book.
Here are two successful authors whose work has touched many readers:
Professor Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, was faced with a terminal illness at a young age. Rather than wallow and fade away, he used his last days to create his masterpiece. His book wasn’t about death, but rather short stories that advocated the importance of overcoming hurdles and capturing every moment you have to live for. His generosity to share his life resonated with readers as a tale of courage and inspiration to anyone facing similar adversities.
Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, wrote her memoir while going through a devastating divorce that left her full of anxiety and panic. She stressed the importance of discovering the best version of herself by leaving behind her previous life to set out to explore the different aspects of nature within food, travel, and love. Her painful story of loss and regrowth profoundly connected to readers so much that it eventually became a movie.
Action Plan: Make the effort to write down the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered and explain how you have dealt with them. You will be surprised to see how meaningful your story is to your readers.
Adopting these characteristics can mean the difference between seeing your name on the best-seller list and never publishing your first book. Applying these practices not only help you become a published author, but also a better person.
Authors don’t just make money from books. Often, the majority of their income comes from what is behind the books. Recently my friend Gregory was four weeks out from publishing his first book. He had spent the better part of a year writing and preparing to launch his book. Just a few weeks out from the launch he realized he had neglected to think about something important: how was he going to monetize the back end?
The journey of self-publishing hits a major milestone with the launch of a first book, but it does not end there. While a well-launched book can certainly earn a good income, if you do not monetize the back-end of the book by consulting, speaking, or creating online courses then you are not realizing the full potential of self-publishing.
As they say, a book is the new business card. But, you can’t just have a business card – you need the business behind the business card as well.
There are several ways to monetize the back end of a book:
Consulting / Coaching
Speaking / Workshops
Create Online Course (fastest and most scalable)
While I am biased, my absolute favorite method is to create an online course. It doesn’t take 6-12 months to develop like a software product would, and it doesn’t rely on your personal time like offering services, consulting, and speaking.
Knowing that I specialize in online courses, Gregory reached out to me for help with producing a course for the new book he was about to publish. I’ll be sharing 3 steps to create online courses from your books. With these tips you too can maximize the results of your next (or a previous) book. Imagine if you take every book you have published, which people are buying for $5-$10, and quickly transform the same content into a parallel product for which you can charge 10 to 100 times that amount.
3 Steps to Create an Online Course From Your Book
As the owner of a course production company, people often have the same question when it comes to turning a book into an online course:
What’s the difference? Why would people pay more for the same material?
Great question. There are a couple key differences between a course and a book (aside from the obvious differences in format).
Step 1 – Understand the differences between a book and a course
Tone – If you were to read your book out loud, verbatim, that would be an audiobook which has a very different feeling to an online course.
Focus – Again, using the audiobook example, your audiobook might be 15 hours long, while you course is 5 hours long. A large part of the value of a book is exploring the “why” of a topic or possibly the history, while a course is designed to be extremely actionable. That means the content requires great focus.
Specificity – Books are filled with great stories and great ideas. They plant important seeds in your mind, and might even have some simple exercises at the end of the chapters. That being said, it takes a lot of effort to apply what you learn from a book. A significant part of the value of an online course is how easy it is to take action. If it’s a course about networking, you can provide email templates, step-by-step guides to follow, software tools you can use. It’s designed to be immediately actionable, while a book on networking might discuss more general concepts on networking such as why it’s a good idea to go to a conference, to make good eye contact, to introduce people to each other, etc.
If you want to see some real life examples of the differences, check out the audiobook and the online course version of Gregory’s book to compare (you can do a free preview of each to see what I mean). Both are based on the same content, but the tone, structure, focus, and specificity is quite different.
Step 2 – Build an online course from a book or a manuscript
Here is the exact process we used to build courses in dozens of different industries, following our Course In A Box Method:
1.) Decide the Format – There are many ways to build a course. You can build a text-based course, a video-based course that focused on live filming, or on recording your screen while you teach someone to program, or by recording slides as you teach. Usually it’s a mix. You can also have courses two hours long, or 20 hours long. With or without PDF handouts. With or without bonus content (such as expert interviews).
Here is what we decided on for Gregory’s course:
Ultimately 3 modules, with 3-5 lessons each
The lesson length would average about 10 minutes (although it ranges from 5-15)
The content style would primarily be a mix of recording well-designed slides, mixed with bonus content like expert interviews, follow-along PDF guides, etc.
Pro tip: How do you decide the course length/structure? One module should bring people through a major milestone. For example, setting up a website before beginning to write content and market the site in later modules. One video should have one clear, stand-alone step in the process. For example, video 3 of module 1 for Building Your New Website might entail setting up the site hosting, video 4 might be configuring wordpress, etc.
2.)Turn the manuscript into a course script – This means cutting the fat and changing the tone as discussed above. Your course should clearly get people from point A (where they are now) to point B (where they want to go) and this should be clearly reflected by the course script. Even if your book is quite long, you can do this in about a week if you maintain focus
3.) Turn the script into a slide plan – This is a document which matches up the main ideas in the script with slides that you will be recording. Most people jump straight from script to slide design, but this (quick) intermediary step ensures that your course has a good flow to it and stays organized
4.) Turn the slide plan into slides – Create a slide template that you like, then customize slides to match your slide plan. Or better yet, outsource this process to a professional.
5.) Record the scripts as an audio file – Sit down and read your script as enthusiastically as possible.
Don’t try to record your screen with the slides at the same time, the quality will be lower. Record the audio separately then match the slides in post production.
Leave a pause and say “SLIDE X” between slides. This will help with the next step, editing.
6.) Combine the slides and audio file into a video file – Self-explanatory. It is not recommended that you do this yourself, as a professional likely would do it better/faster. Invest a few hundred bucks to get it done right the first time.
7.) Find useful places to add extra materials – PDFs, expert interviews, new examples, templates, etc. Just ask yourself every time you say do this, “how can I help them do that?”
8.) Clean up, edit and structure everything into a finalized course – Did everything stay organized? We recommend using a google drive folder structure that we link to below to keep things organized.
9.) Upload the course to your website – If you want the simplest option possible, go with Teachable. This is what we used for Gregory’s course as well. If you want something more sophisticated, go with MemberMouse (another popular option we use with clients).
Step 3 – Connect the book and the course
Now that you’ve completed the course, how do you get people from your book to find your course, and vice versa? The simplest way is to directly link from your book to your course website. However, sometimes people will complain about that approach “they are just trying to sell their other products!!!”
Another way is to direct people to a companion website which offers additional resources and downloads for free — in exchange for their email address. Then you will want to set-up an email autoresponder which offers additional value and guides them through the process from having read the book to wanting to delve deeper and buy the course.
Pro tip: Add this download link to the beginning AND the end of the book, and preferably a few times in the middle. Not everyone finishes every book they buy, so you want to make sure they see the link even if they stop after the first chapter. In fact, you can even include the page with the link in the “free preview” of the book on the kindle store to get even more people to see it.
What kind of results would this really get?
Let’s say you get 5,000 downloads as part of your book launch, then 1,000 purchases per month after that
20% of those people who grab the book also check out the link
Then 50% of the people who visit the page submit their email address
Finally, 10% of those people who join your list also purchase your course
You now instantly have 500 more people on your email list, and 100 more people per month ad infinitum
50 people buy your course during your book launch, and 10 more people buy every month
If your course is priced at $500, then that is $25,000 in additional revenue during your book launch, and $5,000 every month after that
…and that, my friends, is the power of combining a book with an online course.
I know writing a book is hard (I’ve written several myself) and by the time it’s done and published you may feel done yourself. But, don’t forget that offering a course is your chance to either kick start or rapidly grow your business. The best way to maximize the value of your book is to lead people from your book to discover other parts of your brand.
Give the people who love your book the opportunity to work with you further, either through an online course or through one of the other methods discussed above.
Leave a comment with questions about this process, or share your results creating an online course from your book. I look forward to hearing about your success.
Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Trainingas he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!
If you’re here, you might be wondering how to be a writer for a living. When I see bestselling authors who have turned writing books into a full-time career, I have to stop and ask myself: “How did they do it?”
Stephen King has written over seventy bestsellers since the publication of Carrie in 1974. To this day he continues to write consistently.
James Patterson has sold more than 300 million books worldwide. He has been quoted as saying: “It’s pretty much seven days a week for me. You’re lucky if you find something you like to do and then it’s a miracle somebody will pay you to do it. That’s my situation. It’s not work for me. These are all stories that I’m really dying to tell.”
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, once jobless and with a dependent child, has sold over 430 million copies of her books.
What magic formula do these authors have? What super-talent have they been blessed with? What am I NOT doing now that I could be doing to turn my passion for writing into a real career?
How to Be a Writer
Now you might be thinking, “Well, good for them. But I just want to make enough money on my writing to earn a living, not 100 million bucks!”
But it’s not about how much money you can make at your writing. That might come later, but what really matters is this: practicing the habits and actions professional authors implement as part of their work life that leads to this kind of success. You don’t have to earn a fortune to be a professional writer; you just need to model what the pros do and the outcome will take care of itself.
There are a set of definitive traits pro authors have that make them masters of the trade. Good writing that sells is the result of these essential traits. For both indie and traditionally published authors, these 10 traits of professional authors are universal and a must-have for launching your author career.
Here are the top 10 traits of pro authors, and how you can adopt these traits to become a professional writer that gets books published, earns you an income, and creates a sustainable business you can grow and love.
Pro Author Trait #1: Develop a Daily Writing Habit
Pro writers have developed the writing habit. They write almost every day and have a word count goal for the day. Pro writers stick to a consistent writing schedule and put in the time to put pen to paper [or words into a Word doc]. This is one of the most critical traits. Without putting in your writing time, your book becomes a “someday” thing instead of an “it’s-happening-right-now” thing.
By nurturing the writing habit, you are creating content people will love to read and pay money for. You will exercise that writing muscle and churn out a great story, a memoir, or a book that offers solutions.
What is my daily word count goal?
How many words would I have to write every day to finish my next book by a chosen deadline?
How many books could I finish in a year if I stick to a writing habit of 1500 words per day? [You might be surprised!]
Pro Author Trait #2: Approach Writing as a Business
A hobby is something you do when you have time; the business of writing and becoming a pro author is what you make time for every work day. Authors who approach writing as a business are far more likely to succeed than hobby authors who show up occasionally with little direction and lofty ideas. A professional author is, essentially, a creative business person.
As with any business, your author business needs a schedule, deadlines, goals, and a plan. Authors spend time planning the material they are creating, how they will deliver it and, most important, they deliver when that deadline approaches.
As with any job, you have to show up every day at the time designated or else you don’t get paid. Writers who make a living at their craft go to work every day with the mindset that this IS their business and not just a dreamy project that they are going to pick away at. One of the fatal flaws many “hobby authors” make is in thinking that the writing success will just happen if they keep plugging away haphazardly. Maybe it will, but most likely, it’s your approach to the writing craft as a business that will determine your level of success.
Of course there is nothing wrong with writing as a hobby! However, if you want to turn this into a real thing, start to think and plan as a business leader. Pro authors make a living at writing because they are intentional with their business goals.
Am I a writing hobbyist or is this my future business?
Pro Author Trait #3: Write Valuable Content People Want to Read
A pro author does one of two things: either tells a good story [fiction] or provides solutions to a problem [nonfiction]. A great author can even combine both for a more compelling read!
It isn’t enough just to be a good writer, but you have to write with intentional purpose and provide valuable content people want to read. If you write fiction, you craft page-turners with crisp plots leading to a compelling climax.
For nonfiction authors, your readers have a problem and they need you to solve it. Knowing your audience and writing for them is the best way to make your content valuable and in demand. You can master your craft by giving people what they desire most: entertainment, information, inspiration, or a book that promises to change their lives forever.
Who am I writing for?
Does my content provide a specific solution?
Am I engaging my readers?
Pro Author Trait #4: Delegate Business Work to Other Professionals
There are so many tasks that a writer can do that have nothing to do with writing: editing, cover design, formatting, book promotions, and social media engagement. The list is endless. For pro authors, the crux of your daily activities should focused around product creation. This could be writing a book, blogging, or creating a course.
But the fact is, time is limited. If you try to do it all, you’ll get burned out and start watching television to escape.
As with any business, you need a tribe of people assigned to different parts of the business so that you have more time to do the work that only you can do: writing books. This means creating content readers love should be at the forefront of your business. Delegating everything else to freelancers will save you precious time and eliminate the stress of feeling like “I have to do it all.”
Is there anything I’m doing that falls outside of content creation?
If so, could the extra work be done by someone else?
Could I find someone on Upwork or Fiverr to take care of it, or do I need to look elsewhere?
Identify where you can save yourself both time and stress by delegating the little stuff so you can spend more time doing what pro authors do best…write books!
Pro Author Trait #5: Become a Habitual Note Taker
Both fiction and nonfiction writers craft their books around the ideas they have day and night.
And we never know when or where these ideas are going to strike.
Ideas are like rainbows; one minute they’re here and the next minute…poof, they’re gone!
You need to be ready at all times to catch ideas as they come.
If not, you’ll struggle to remember hours later what that “golden idea” was that passed through your mind.
Get into the habit of carrying a small notebook with you.
When you go to sleep, keep your notebook within reach for ideas that come in the night, or as you doze in the morning.
You can install idea-capturing apps on your devices such as Evernote, Simplenote, and Apple Notes. Make your idea capturing system easily accessible at all times.
How can I set up my system for note taking when I’m on the run? When I’m sleeping? When I’m at a party conversing with important people and suddenly get that idea I’ve been waiting for all year?
Pro Author Trait #6: Read with Purposeful Intent
Writers read! Yes, we love reading. It stimulates your imagination and paves the way for more ideas. You can read books in your genre or read something totally unrelated. When you’re not writing, set aside time to read your favorite book. If you are writing a series of books on sales, you could read books on that topic. It could give you more insight into your area of expertise.
What book can I start reading now that would improve my business or contribute to personal development?
Pro Author Trait #7: Retain Readers and Build a Loyal Fan Base
If you notice, almost all professional authors got that way because they focused on a particular brand or niche. Then they built a strong following of raving fans in that niche. Readers become fans and fans become regular customers who buy your other books.
The best way to create a loyal following is to write for your fans. Keep giving them more of what they crave by constantly creating content that offers value. When you write, know who you are writing for and create content they need.
By using an email marketing service such as MailChimp or AWeber, you can gather email addresses of your loyal fans and communicate with them regularly. Pro authors understand the absolute must of having an email list, and they build their author business entirely around it.
Am I writing for a specific niche, or do I change topics often?
What do my readers like about my work? If you aren’t sure yet, find out why people are reading your stuff.
What email marketing service am I using to collect email addresses?
Pro Author Trait #8: Recognize the Importance of Rewriting
Every great author knows that the real writing isn’t in the first draft—the real work towards greatness begins during the self-editing phase. The first draft offers a framework for the book and the rewrite is the guts of the machine; it’s here that all the sweating and crying pays off.
Writing is 10% talent and 90% hard work. The pros spend about 20% of their efforts on the first draft and the rest goes towards rewriting, revising, pulling their hair out, and refining the manuscript until they get it to the point that it’s good enough to ship to the editor.
Many authors, even the pros, can get bogged down in editing. This is especially true when the perfectionist monster is on your back. But real pros know that an unfinished book is an unpublished book, and nobody reads a book that isn’t published.
In a very tiny nutshell, here’s how to be a writer:
Be a pro.
Revise your work.
Let a professional editor polish it.
Ship your product.
Do I spend enough time on rewriting?
Do I get bogged down in the editing phase and need to ship it to the editor?
Pro Author Trait #9: Ship Product Consistently Despite Their Fears
“Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly. Skip meetings. Often. Skip them with impunity. Ship…The paradox of our time is that the instincts that kept us safe in the day of the saber tooth tiger and General Motors are precisely the instincts that will turn us into road kill in a faster than fast internet-fueled era. The resistance is waiting. Fight it. Ship.”
James Patterson published 15 titles last year. Indie author Patrick King publishes a book every 4-5 weeks.
Pro authors are always putting out content and creating. But shipping raises fear in many people. Let’s face it, it’s scary to put stuff out there for everyone to judge and criticize. But if you want to become the professional you know you can be, you have to ship your product as often as you can.
Am I stuck because I’m afraid of shipping my book?
How can I get over the fear of putting my content out there?
Pro Author Trait #10: Become a Master of Rejection
If there is any one trait that a professional writer has it is this: the ability to keep pushing forward despite the critics, naysayers, and abundant forms of rejection. You’ve no doubt heard the stories of power authors like Rowling and Grisham, King and Margaret Mitchell. Getting rejected or having your draft torn apart by critics and reviewers can crush your confidence, but only if you let it.
The one trait that turns an average person into extraordinary is the ability of taking rejection and crushing through the barrier of being told “No.” The authors who make it develop grit. In psychology, grit is based on your passion for a particular long-term goal, alongside motivation to achieve your objective. In other words, you get what you want when you want it badly enough.
How badly do I want to write this book?
Am I passionate about the story or content I am crafting?