Learn how to write a book that grows your business. Every week, I interview your favorite authors - the most successful authors on the planet - to see how they write & launch their books and to learn how they use books to grow their business.
I’m your host, Chandler Bolt - CEO of Self Publishing School / SelfPublishing.com and the host of the 7 Figure Principles Podcast. New episode every Wednesday.
SPS 077: From Writing In Prison To 4x New York Times Bestseller & 1M Copies Sold with Wahida Clark (How To Create Raving Fans With Your Fiction Series)
Today, I’m joined by Wahida Clark, a New York Times Best Seller who has authored over a dozen books. She has created a successful fiction series and a raving fan base who read her books.
While living in Georgia, Wahida worked for an advertising firm. She was sent to the federal prison in Kentucky. While there, she taught computer classes in the evening and worked at the library in the morning. She picked up a magazine one day that talked about an author who wrote a book in prison. “I started looking at all the books in the library, and I started visualizing my name on all the spines of the books.” That is when she decided to write a book.
Wahida noticed a class on creative writing at the prison, and she decided to sign up. “We were in prison, so there were no computers. I had to hand-write my book on yellow legal paper. I had the inmates reading the chapters as I write them.” She sent out inquiry letters to publishers and agents, which ended up being rejected. One agent, however, reconnected with her when she was released from prison. She agreed to represent Wahida and is still her literary agent to this day.
She asked prison workers to make copies, so she had a transcript to send to a publisher. They agreed, as long as she put them in the acknowledgment in her book. Wahita started publishing in prison and sold over a million books before she left prison.
Listen in to find out how Wahita spread the word about her book throughout the prison system, sold books and became a popular author while in solitary confinement for writing a book, and how she inspired others in prison to become authors. Learn the two elements that keep her readers reading and engaged.
[01:52] Why Wahida decided to write her first book. [05:47] The writing process in prison. [07:55] Wahida reads books by Carl Weber. [09:06] Her first royalty check of $25,000 bounced. [10:09] The lieutenant's office at the prison wanted to know how she wrote a book. [12:30] She made flyers to send to other prisoners and her book started to take wing and fly. [14:04] Simon & Schuester signed Wahita after her release from prison. [16:20] Why she sold so many books while in prison. [17:59] Genres she considered when writing her book. [19:15] How she came to write a series of books. [23:04] Keeping her readers engaged and leaving reviews. [26:32] Why Wahita is moving out of her genre. [30:23] Top takeaways from Self Publishing School. [32:05] Advice for authors to write their first book. [3:11] What she would have done differently with her book and her channel. Links and Resources
Visit Self Publishing School Online SPS Free Training Course Wahida Clark Publishing Wahida on Fantastic Fiction
SPS 076: 0 to 450k Subscribers In 3 Years - Using YouTube To Grow Your Business & Sell More Books with Gillian Perkins
Today, I’m joined by Gillian Perkins, an online market strategist for entrepreneurs and author of the book Sorted. Gillian is the CEO of four successful companies in four different verticals. Her YouTube channel, Gillian Perkins, has close to 500,000 subscribers and focuses on digital marketing.
When forced to become a minimalist, Gillian says, “I created a life that I enjoyed living more and was less focused on managing stuff and more focused on enjoying the things that I had and enjoying the people in my life.” From her experience, she decided to write a book, which she completed in one month.
Reflecting on her book, Gillian looks back at the toughest part of the process. “One was losing momentum when I got towards the end of the book. But probably even tougher than that was the editing. I found it tough to find the right editor.”
She recommends starting out growing your social media first, then writing your book. “If you can tie them together, you’re going to build more momentum.”
Listen in to find out how Gillian was able to write her entire book in one month, how she wrote her book while being a mom, and how she built a following of over 400,000 YouTube subscribers in three years. Find out how she sold over 10,000 books, how Gillian gained traction early on, and how you can increase your YouTube SEO.
[02:30] Why Gillian decided to write her first book. [05:27] Gillian meets Chandler at a business conference after writing her book. [06:22] How she was able to get her book done in one month. [08:15] Advice for moms trying to write their book. [10:36] The toughest part of the writing process. [13:39] Steps to her successful book marketing plan. [16:26] Starting her YouTube channel from zero subscribers. [19:30] How she gained traction for her channel early on. [21:25] YouTube SEO that works and understands the YouTube algorithm. [25:39] Watch time versus watch duration for YouTube metrics. [27:00] Getting ideas for your YouTube video content. [29:38] Not all views are created equal. [35:23] How to monetize your YouTube channel. [40:44] Gillian’s critique of SPS channel. [45:11] What she would have done differently with her book and her channel. Links and Resources
Visit Self Publishing School Online SPS Free Training Course Gillian on YouTube Gillian Perkins on the Web
SPS 075: Using Publicity & Influencer Marketing To Sell NEEDTOBREATHE Albums And Grow A Treehouse Business with Seth & Tori Bolt
Today, joining me is Seth and Tori Bolt. Seth is a book author, Grammy-Nominated artist, and the bass player and founding member of Need to Breathe. Tori has created Bolt Farm Treehouse and has a background in television.
The first record deal Need to Breathe signed was in 2005, which took years to achieve for his band. “Typically, the longer you build something and the slower it grows, the stronger it is and the longer it lasts.” Seth’s advice is to think of growing your business for the long term.
Seth has taken advertising to the next level. His record label set him up with late-night show performances, even in the pandemic. Need to Breathe had PR opportunities through the music scene, popular magazines, and podcasts.
Tory says that her entrepreneurship aligned with her bigger goal. “For me, Bolt Farm Treehouse and being an entrepreneur allowed me to align with my bigger vision goals because it was about having purpose and hearing other people’s stories and doing something with impact.”
Both pieces of advice to make something amazing, and your project will attract people when they know you really care. Of course, marketing and PR is a big part of getting out the word about your business. Make sure to tell the world about your company!
Listen in to find out what to expect at Bolt Farm Treehouse, how to find local press opportunities, and how to target niche markets to advertise your product or company.
[04:05] How Seth received his first record deal. [07:12] His seventh video album release and the PR he created for his album. [10:27] Seth’s appearances on late night shows. [13:44] Tory talks about starting Bolt Farms Treehouse. [17:31] How Tory aligned her goals within her business. [18:24] Checking off boxes with your entrepreneurship. [21:11] What to expect at Bolt Farm Treehouse. [23:14] Why Bolt House Tree Farm is unique. [26:23] Tips for landing local press. [29:14] Targeting niche markets to advertise. [32:47] The promise Tory and Seth are providing with the treehouse. [38:45] Affiliates and ambassadors who bring the right customers. [42:32] How Tory grew her Instagram account so quickly. [44:44] Their exposure on Good Morning America. [48:22] Pivoting their business when COVID hit. [51:18] Working on their next treehouse location. Links and Resources
Visit Self Publishing School Online SPS Free Training Course Bolt Farm Treehouse Need to Breathe
SPS 074: This One Quiz Funnel Will Sell More Books & Turn Readers Into Paying Customers (Better Than A Free + Shipping Funnel) with Ryan Levesque
Today, joining me is Ryan Levesque, the Inc. 500 CEO of the Ask Method Company and author of the best-selling book Ask. Ask is the #1 marketing book of the year on Inc.’s book list. Ask helps readers avoid the single biggest mistake when starting a business and guides readers to answer the important question of what type of business they should start.
Ryan believes everyone should write a book. “If you can convince someone to read a book, they are investing hours of their life. You can convey your beliefs and ideas.” Books are one of the few ways you can personally relay your message and advertise in one medium. “You own physical shelf space with a book, which is the best advertising medium in the world.”
Looking to get people from Amazon or Barnes and Noble to your email list? Ryan recommends using a quiz funnel. By creating a short quiz related to the content in your book, your potential client can use the quiz results and outcome as a path to purchasing your upsell that is offered. “I see this as a universal strategy that any non-fiction writer can incorporate into your book.”
Two main funnels attract different types of buyers: people who are aware of your brand and the potential customers unfamiliar with your brand. Find out how to advertise to these two distinct markets.
Listen in to find out how you can use pixel segmentation in your book marketing, how to become an expert in your space by using quiz funnels, and how Ryan’s new software company fits into his brand.
[02:55] Why Ryan decided to write his book and how they work with his business model. [05:20] Which book marketing ideas worked out well for Ryan’s book. [07:45] Marketing differences in his second book. [10:23] Which marketing factors outperform when offering a book with free shipping. [10:25] CPA - cost per acquisition and AOV - average order value. [13:28] Attracting potential clients with a quiz funnel. [16:05] Using assessment and quizzes to buy your book or service. [19:26] Ryan’s publishing strategy with his trilogy. [20:52] Two main funnels that attract different types of buyers. [23:08] How you can use pixel segmentation in your book marketing. [30:25] Ryan’s new software company and how that fits into his brand. [33:12] Transferring your expertise into a piece of technology. Links and Resources
Visit Self Publishing School Online SPS Free Training Course Visit Ryan on the Web Choosequiz.com Ryan’s book Choose
SPS 073: Build Your Personal Brand (And Double Your Business) Using A Book with Chris Ducker
Today, joining me is Chris Ducker, who is a keynote speaker and author of two books. His first book, Virtual Freedom, he had traditionally published, his second book, the Rise of the Youpreneur, is self-published. He is known as a Virtual CEO and regarded as an authority on virtual staffing and personal outsourcing. Chris is here to talk about using a book to build your personal brand and your business.
“For me, I believe that a book is one of the easiest and most important expert positioning strategies for anyone who wants to build a business based around their experience and expertise should act on - plain and simple.” This is the first action item he works on with coaching clients is to create and publish a book.
He knew that authoring his book would bring him more business. The trick was to put all the information he had in his mind into one definitive guide. Currently, his book has over 1000 five-star reviews on Amazon and continues to create monthly sales every quarter.
“We don’t give Virtual Freedom away, but we do pitch it as a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn how to work with virtual staff, and to learn how to hire support and run their business with a virtual team.” Chris considers his book a “tripwire product” to get the easy, low-dollar item out of someone to get them warmed up to his business. “I totally agree with qualifying a prospective customer.”
Chris recommends not to work on your weaknesses when building your personal brand, but to delegate them to others to get the job done. “Delegate your weakness and work with your strengths. Do the stuff that you’re good at but do it in a way that is uniquely your own path.” Completing this process with the right amount of transparency will build a community of people around you that will consume your content.
Listen in to find out why Chris put his face on the cover of his second book, why he self-published his second book, and his mistakes when publishing his first book.
[02:03] Why Chris writes his books and how he intentionally fits them into his business ecosystem. [05:39] Chris’ experience with traditional publishing. [07:27] Virtual Freedom launch party details. [08:27] How Chris strategically used his book in lead funnels and sales. [10:25] Using your book to prospect for future clients. [13:21] Why Chris’ book is the $20 business card for his company. [14:42] Why Rise of theYouPreneur is more of an aspirational book. [19:20] Should you put your face on the cover of your book? [23:48] Traditional versus self-publishing experience for Chris. [27:38] Chris wanted to be an example of how to self-publish your book to his students. [30:28] Have your foundations down before you build a personal brand. [34:40] Building a personal brand around you as a digital marketing strategy. [37:08] Advice for new authors. Links and Resources
Visit Self Publishing School Online SPS Free Training Course Circle of Profit Get Chris Ducker’s Book Coaching with Chris Ducker
SPS 072: Writing Great Fiction Using Beta Readers...And How To Build An Author Platform On YouTube That Sells Books with Jenna Moreci
Today, joining me is Jenna Moreci, who is known as a YouTube star with a subscriber base of over 200,000 watchers. She is the author of two books. Jenna has authored The Savior Series with Save Your Sister edition debuting in September.
While she writes full-time, she is also a full-time caregiver. Jenna isn't able to fully devote her day to writing. If you are writing fiction, a good goal is to release one book per year.
"For me, focusing on the quality of the story really matters. One way I make sure that quality is focused on is that I have a lot of people read the book before it's out. I have critique partners, which are solo writers, who critique everything from the story to the grammar. I have beta readers who like reading." She enlists 20 beta readers from very diverse sexual, ethnic, and demographic backgrounds. From this list of people, she collects market data, looks for trends within her betas, trends that they like and dislike.
Jenna doesn't sit around and wait for her beta readers to finish. While busy critiquing her work, she is busy working on her author platform, looking for cover artists and editors. Her time efficiency doesn't elongate her publication date as these tasks are being done simultaneously with her beta testers.
She gives advice on which type of criticism is constructive "If someone gives you feedback that doesn't stick right, sounds funny or doesn't make sense, you have to discern that this may not be the best feedback to listen to."
In addition to her writing, Jenna also has a YouTube channel. "In terms of reserving the creative energy, for me, that's what I'm passionate about. That's me being myself. It's me expressing my personality." Jenna explains how she manages scriptwriting for her videos without intruding on her book writing time.
Listen in to find out how Jenna uses the Rule of Three with her beta reading group, how she manages her beta reading group when someone reading her book is late, and why it's essential to write what you're passionate about.
[02:59] Quality and quantity balance of writing for a living. [04:27] How to focus on the quality of your book. [05:25] Make sure to implement feedback given on your book. [06:27] Streamlining and discerning the beta reader feedback. [09:00] How Jenna uses the Rule of Three when writing a book. [11:38] Recruiting people to read your book grassroots style. [12:20] Joining reading and writing groups are great places to find beta readers. [15:08] Creating videos for her YouTube channel and balancing writing. [16:50] Differences in the creative process of videos and writing. [22:39] What you should do when you get a 1 star review. [24:18] Jenna gives tips on what works best when marketing your book. [26:50] Advertising dollars that work for your book. [30:33] How Jenna gets hundreds of reviews on her books with ARC readers. [34:28] Pros and cons of building a platform on YouTube for book authors. [40:33] The importance of paying attention to writing analytics and data. [44:00] Pre-orders and giveaways and how they work for Jenna. [45:47] Video creation dos and don’ts on YouTube. [47:47] Reading your metrics on YouTube and what they mean. [51:33] Advice Jenna would have given herself when she wrote her first book. Links and Resources
Visit Self Publishing School Online SPS Free Training Course Circle of Profit Author Advantage Live 2020 for Writers Jenna Moreci on YouTube Instagram The Savior’s Champion on Amazon
Customer ReviewsSee All
Another amazing SPS resource!
Incredible interviews of people who are willing to share their expertise in business building as well as what publishing a book can do for you. After listening to 1 episode I was hooked and I binge listened to more for several hours on my phone. I can't wait to listen to the rest of the back episodes. Great content.
Great podcast with so much useful information. Listening to the podcasts always re-energizes me to keep writing. I enjoy listening to the other authors and learning about new authors and their books.
The best indie author school in the world!
Over the past two days at Self Publishing School's [Re]Launch Your Book Accelerator, I went from The Little Engine That Could saying, "I think I can...," to "I KNOW I CAN!"
I CAN relaunch my book! I CAN optimize categories and keywords. I CAN mobilize a dynamic launch team! I CAN create a strategic promotion strategy utilizing a variety of online tools and resources. And... I WILL become a bestselling author this time, thanks to SPS!
Also, there is such a sweet, collegial spirit among SPS authors. There is a powerful sense of collaborative learning and mutual support for each other's journeys. Competition is nowhere to be found. This sentiment is desperately needed right now, as so much of the world struggles with the drastic effects of the pandemic compounded by political strife and unrest. Kudos to Chandler Bolt and the entire team for facilitating this "oasis-like" environment.