SPS 143: How To Sell Books As A Podcaster & Speaker with Ryan Hawk (The Learning Leader)

Posted on Sep 25, 2022

Ryan Hawk is the creator of The Learning Leader Show podcast. His podcast is a huge hit, and he’s super passionate about excellent leadership. He also delivers keynote speeches on leadership and performance excellence. He’s also the author of Welcome to Management: How To Grow From Top Performer To Excellent Leader and his new book The Pursuit of Excellence: The Uncommon Behaviors of the World’s Most Productive Achievers. Ryan also founded The Learning Leader Academy and Leadership Circles to help like-minded leaders receive direct coaching and collaboration with like-minded people. 

We talk about what inspired Ryan to write his first book, Welcome to Management. Ryan started working in corporate America as an entry-level sales rep. He worked his way to manager and realized that he needed a playbook for the transition. After becoming director and then VP of sales for a multi-billion dollar company, he knew what he needed and wanted to write. While exploring all facets of leadership through his podcast and community, he created the book that he wished he had when first becoming director. 

Ryan shares how a writing coach helped with his book proposal. He also talks about how useful already having a platform is for launching and marketing a book. He promoted his book through podcast guest appearances and speaking gigs that included mandatory book buys. We also talk about Audible, losing reviews, and reading the book yourself. Ryan shares his strategy for his second book, The Pursuit of Excellence, and how he used a similar technique to his first book but made them bigger and better. He also talks about copying the successful tactics of others and many more inspiring tips. 

Show Highlights

  • [01:41] Ryan wrote his first book because he knew what a challenge it is to make the leap from individual contributor to first-time manager. This was a pain point for many people.
  • [02:36] He wanted his first book to be a guide or a playbook for new managers. He wrote the book that he wished he had in that moment of his life.
  • [04:35] Ryan hired a writing coach who specialized in proposals. His book started with his podcast and some interest from friends and took off from there.
  • [06:43] Already having a platform was very helpful in launching and selling his first book. It’s never too early to start building that email list. Ryan learned this the hard way. He also had speaking gigs with book buys. Being on podcasts also helped.
  • [08:45] Leverage the impact of your book. You can write it once and sell it millions of times.
  • [09:17] If Ryan is asked to speak, he makes a book buy part of every deal. When he works with a company, he also wants to get the book into everyone’s hands.
  • [11:03] They don’t pay you to write the book. They pay you to sell the book.
  • [13:25] Not everybody listens to podcasts, but everybody at least knows about books.
  • [15:49] Having a book adds credibility to speaking gigs.
  • [17:53] Ryan shares how he lost his Audible reviews on his first book and how he got everything back. He reads the books himself. He also has a text opt-in for his email list. 
  • [22:06] Ryan talks about building relationships and having a foreword from Patrick Lencioni. 
  • [24:30] He is doing a lot of the things with his second book, The Pursuit of Excellence: The Uncommon Behaviors of the World’s Most Productive Achievers, as he did with the first book. 
  • [25:29] Ryan does have more speaking gigs and podcasts planned. He’s doing more of everything but bigger and better. He’s also copied some email sequences like what James Clear used for Atomic Habits
  • [27:48] Traditional publishing takes a lot longer. Ryan had his second book planned when his first was published. He might challenge himself to write a shorter book. 

Links and Resources

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