15 Authors Dish At Self Publishing Success Summit
Want to improve your writing?
Maybe you even want to write a book?
So I spend a lot of time studying, reading and writing. I’ve learned that one of the best ways to improve your writing is from listening to successful writers talk about their craft.
Since I’m focusing on writing a marketing book, I signed up for Chandler Bolt’s Self Publishing Success Summit. Bolt is a great interviewer.
I don’t say this lightly. I studied writing in New York and around the world. I learned to write from bestselling authors including 2 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Published Author Book Writing Tips
To provide you with publishing and writing insight, here are the highlights of my notes from the summit. It’s the best from 15 authors.
Mel Abraham, Author of The Entrepreneur’s Solution
Think about your book as taking someone on an intimate journey into their life.
Approach your book like a business. Consider marketing, content and messaging.
Write your book to create a legacy. Focus on the one person who needs your message.
David Allen, Author of Getting Things Done
Outline your thoughts. This becomes the blueprint for your book. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Have a place to capture all of your ideas (Word, Google Docs or Evernote).
Develop a visual model to organize your thoughts reach visual learners. Visuals include quotes and graphics.
Once you’re finished your first draft, copyedit. Use as few words as possible. Ask: What’s the essence of what I want to convey?
Make an appointment to write every day (Time Blocking). It must be on your calendar.
Chris Brogan, Author of Trust Agents and others
Focus your marketing activity on the prime selling week. Start with grassroots efforts.
A good book differs from a blog post. A book needs a clear narrative. Write on different topics. Don’t hold back. Never repurpose content. Re-imagine content.
For established publishers, you must be able to move 5,000 books. Only 4-6% of books are sold in physical stores. The exception is Hudson stores in airports. Retain audio book rights if you use an established publisher. If you self publish, get physical copies of your book.
Figure out who your audience is. Create resources related to the book.
Speak for free at events. Think exposure. Include libraries and meetups.
Books are your hallways. They’re marketing and connections.
- Answer the question: “What will make readers reach out to you?”
- Your success comes from knowing: “What I do now that I have your attention?”
John Lee Dumas, Author of Podcast Launch
Dumas created a physical book priced at $40. It was the highest Kickstarter book launch to-date. He recommends getting proof of concept and making people part of your book journey.
Here’s how John built momentum for his book launch:
- He mentioned the book in EOFire podcast.
- Sent emailings on related topics.
- Reached out to influencers.
- Participated/interviewed on other people’s podcasts
- Held Blabs to answer questions.
Hal Elrod, Author of Miracle Morning
Write a book that permanently changes people’s behavior. Most books only change people temporarily.
To do this, create a new ritual or routines. For example, The Artist Way’s Julia Cameron got people to write morning pages.
- Create a downloadable affirmation PDF. Add value to people’s lives by creating a ritual around your content.
- Don’t save your book opt-in until the end of your book. Most people won’t finish it. Use several opt-ins.
- Turn your book into a series. Don’t re-write the book by substituting one word for another. Instead encapsulate the first book in a few chapters and create new content for the rest of the series.
Ray Edwards, Author of How to Write Copy That Sells
Ask yourself: What’s the main thing I want someone to do after they read my book?
Pastor Framework – Takes care of the sheep (your customers)
P: Person (talk to a specific person), Problem you solve, pain
A: Amplify, Aspiration
S: Story, struggle, Salutation (Turn solution into a system)
T: Testimony (Other people’s stories to achieve the same outcome), Transformation.
O: Offer (what I have to sell-20% about deliverables, 80% about transformation for each part)
R: Request, Response
How to sell your book
- Copy on the front of the book is to get people to look at the back of the book.
- Back of the book copy gets people to look inside.
- Table of contents sells the book. Each line should read like a headline. It’s a sales letter for your book.
- First chapter of the book gets people to buy the book. Use it to sell.
- First sentences of each chapter get people to read it. Include a checklist at the end of the chapter and sell the next chapter.
At a minimum, you need 110 pages to create a spine.
Pat Flynn, Author of Will It Fly?
Ask “What will help the most people?” Flynn created a survey to test ideas.
Start marketing your book before you write it. Plant the seeds of your idea. Discuss your progress to get your audience vested. Create a formalized process to get people’s manuscript feedback and endorsements. Shared detailed content around the book and behind the scenes.
Here’s what Pat Flynn did:
- Livestreamed his launch party for 8 hours.
- Collected email addresses with a free companion course with the book.
- Emailed his house file.
- Did 60 podcast interviews.
- Created personalized video outreach for specific people.
Jeff Goins, Author of The Art of Work
Focus on one argument and arc in your book. Use pithy names for things so people remember them.
Preparation is key to your book’s success. Research and organize your information.
- If there are no books on the topic, then there’s no demand for it.
- Read a few books on the topic to find a hole.
- Narrow your idea down.
- Test your ideas on your blog.
Bake marketing into your book.
- Put your big lesson at the beginning of every chapter and repeat it at the end of the chapter.
Kelsey Humphreys, Author of Go Solo
Answer this: What do you want this book to do for you?
Create the title and tagline. If you have a message worth sharing, then it’s your responsibility to share it.
- What is your theme throughout the book? Be direct and to the point. What will make your book stand out on Amazon?
Don’t write for everyone or you write for no one. Be specific about your audience. Go deep. (Check how to create a marketing persona)
7 Book Marketing Tips
- Offer your first book chapter for free. Let potential readers test drive your content.
- Create related videos Humphreys created 10 videos for her book and posted them on Facebook. She bought 100 books to create a video.
- Let followers to vote on the cover.
- Have a private Facebook Group. Engage with your fans.
- Get endorsements. Create a pitch letter for your book. Cut your request to the basics. Target each recipient’s needs. Give them a reason to say yes. Do your homework to find key people’s email address. Test customer service. Send a few relevant chapters of your book.
- Write guest blog posts. Start with smaller blogs and work your way up.
- Build your email list. Humphreys asked her friends and family. This yielded about 200 names. Start wherever you are. Most people undervalue their own personal circles.
Michael Hyatt, Author of Living Forward
Make your messages into sound bites. Think WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) for your audience.
Put hooks into your book to draw people in. Create tweetable quotes from your book.
Content is king; Platform is queen.
Build your platform (Where your content is seen and heard)
- Who is your audience? Write out your definition. What do they want? What keeps them from getting it?
- Activation. Hyatt started with a blog. You must own the platform.
- How to get more readers?
“People view blogs as learning but not social media!” Michael Hyatt
John Jantsch, Author of Duct Tape Marketing
Change the context in which you are viewed or make the competition irrelevant.
Jantsch’s point of view: Marketing is a system. Most marketers jump to tactics.
- You need a vision. Ask: Who is your ideal customer? How do you make your competition irrelevant?
- Content. Is the voice for your strategy.
- Customer journey. How do you guide buyers?
- Lead generation
- Lead conversion. This yields results.
Send key people you want to influence a copy of your book. Mark sections they should read with post-it notes.
Make your Amazon page into a sales page.
- Write headlines for your readers.
- Give testimonials.
- Use bullet points
- Show social proof
- Offer easy-to-scan benefits
Create different sales materials for different target markets.
Cal Newport, Author of Deep Work
Chunk up your content to write every day. Understand your format.
Develop a writing habit. Writing is a book is a job. Treat it with respect. Write all the time. Create free time to write. Separate planning from writing.
Work deeply. Embrace boredom. Don’t run to fill your time with your smartphone. Quit social media. Block out 4 hours for deep work. Treat it like a doctor’s appointment. Zero distractions or you need to reschedule it.
Crystal Paine, Author of Money Saving Mom
Recommended reading: Sell Your Book Like Wildfire.
Create your launch team.
- Ask for volunteers from your community. Have a list of 4 things they must do.
- Ask them to read chapters of your book and provide feedback.
- Ask for marketing ideas.
- Share the book with their community.
Gretchen Rubin, Author of The Happiness Project
Make your research searchable. Use word boards. Highlight what’s your words and ideas and what belongs to other people.
Make complex ideas simple. Use stories, antidotes, and examples.
Josh Shipp, Author of Teen’s Guide to World Domination
Read the 3 star Amazon reviews for similar books to discover what they missed.
Think evergreen, timeless content (Example: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Worth reading!)) Create handles on your ideas so people can grab them and apply them to their own lives.
- Be helpful and prescriptive
- Outline the benefits
- Explain what you did
- Show what other people did
The writing bottom line:
Writing a book is a major undertaking. It’ll have an impact on both your professional and personal life. (I know. My husband wrote a book.)
Therefore before you dive in, consider these 2 questions seriously:
- What do you want people to do or remember from your book?
- What do you want to happen to your life or business as a result of publishing this book?
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