Expert Interview: Establish Credibility
Hey welcome back to How to Write and Publish Your Ebook. We have been talking about how to choose your topic and create an outline which is sort of the big, first, hard, scary step towards what is really a pretty simple, straight-forward process once you go from there. Now, we have been able to pull together some very special people, some friends of mine who are also people who have self-published, people who have put their ideas in print and made it possible for the world to see what they're up to and read their messages, their ideas. And so I'm really excited to bring these people to you and kind of give you another perspective, because my perspective, I think it's pretty good but it's just one perspective, you need a lot of different perspectives on this. So our first guest expert interview today is with Charlie Gilkey, and Charlie Gilkey is the founder of ProductiveFlourishing.com but he's also the author of "The Small Business Life Cycle" which is a book I highly, highly recommend...
you read, it's going to explain a lot of things that are going on in your business right now I guarantee you, so Charlie has a lot in common with me in that we can talk about weird, post- modern theology and philosophy stuff, which is pretty fun when we can also talk about business, and management strategy, and operational strategy and all sorts of fun stuff like that. So I could not think of a better person to kick off our expert interviews than Charlie Gilkey. So Charlie, welcome to Creative Live, thank you so much for coming!
Thanks for having me here, I'm so delighted about the ability to jam with you.
Yeah, awesome so, as I mentioned you are a man of many, many talents and interests, which is something that I love about you but I also imagine it made it very difficult to choose the topic for your first book, you could've written a book on a lot of different things, how did you choose The Small Business Life Cycle as the topic for your first book?
The hard way.
Well see, I think in some ways "The Small Business Life Cycle" chose me. And I'll be very brief about this and this might be something that comes up in the questions but what I had been doing is I had been giving keynotes and presentations about the small business life cycle and how businesses grow and the reason I was the vessel for that is because so many entrepreneurs came to me and they were just fundamentally doing the wrong stuff, at the wrong time. You know, they didn't even have a website, and they're already talking about systematization and scaling and I'm like, you got this backwards. How about you know, you actually put your shingle up and then we worry about some of those types of things. And so I was talking a lot about the small business life cycle as a way of understanding your growth as an entrepreneur and how that relates to your business's growth, and I had a teammate. Well, as a standard practice I typically record myself giving presentations and speeches and so I had a teammate who just found it and she was like, what's this? And I was like well it's this presentation that I gave, and she's like I'm gonna have it transcribed and put it on the website, I'm like, whatever, go for it, right. Fast forward eighteen months, and I was looking at website stats and I noticed that Small Business Life Cycle is like the third most searched thing on my website, like what is that about? I didn't even write that, did I? (Laughing) Where's this coming from? And so pause, put a pin in that, come back, and I had actually been in that dip and tussle with a traditionally published book that just wasn't coming together and I had a brilliant creative partner, his name is Todd Sattersten highly recommend Todd and his work and he said you know Charlie, I've seen you for years, like when you're clear and you're really set on something it just happens, you've been messing with this book for like eighteen months, something is out of alignment. In another conversation, I had Seth Godin do what Seth Godin does to you and just like, why are you doing that and so on and so forth and so I was like you know what, screw it, I'm not writing this book right now, it's not the time for it, but I'm finishing something, and so I had this "Small Business Life Cycle", the work for that laying around and so I said, you know what? That's what's right here, oh and third piece, so, stats, advisors, and then people coming to me and saying hey, I want to hear more about that, I want to hear more about that, can you tell me more about that? And so stats, advisors, and people all saying they wanted the same thing. That's how I chose to write "The Small Business Life Cycle".
Fantastic, that's a great explanation and I think really helpful for these guys, so why write a book in the first place, you mentioned that you'd been in this tussle with the idea of traditionally publishing, so you'd been thinking about this for a while, why write a book?
I might get in trouble here but I think what we're experiencing is, especially with online publishing, we're experiencing a lot of like great thoughts, but a lot of incoherence in people's body of work, right.
And a book is the single most efficient and effective way to make your body of work around a topic, coherent and to give it to someone. Because you can say, go to my website and then after 72 clicks they're done and they may not have gotten your central thesis, I mean because what we're talking about with a book is a especially a non-fiction book, you're talking about an intellectual journey that has a coherent start, middle, and end, you don't get that with blogs. You don't get that with random webinars, you don't get that with Facebook Live and Periscope and blah, blah, blah. You get it with a book and so it's the most efficient and effective way to take a reader on a transformational journey as far as non-fiction goes, that's why they, I mean despite what people say about books being dead, I think it's all hogwash, I think the medium and the form of a book might change but that contract that we set with a reader will always be there, that's why you write a book.
Absolutely, amen. No, you're not getting in trouble here, that is exactly what we're talking about, that's fantastic. Okay, last question for me and then I'm gonna turn it over to the audience for a little bit, how has writing a book impacted your business? What are some of the results that you've gotten from it?
You know that's an interesting question because I think many people think about the book being the thing that makes money, the book is not the thing that makes money. I will put that out there, unless you're in that random one percent of people that it takes off, don't bank on your book making relevant cash flow for you, your book sets up opportunity and visibility and positioning and so what it's done for me is when people start thinking about the challenges of small business growth and they look for it, who do they find? Me, right. If we were to quantify or dollarize the amount of leads that I've gotten from the books, we're talking well into the $50,000 to $75,000 range right, where we're talking about just from this book. We're talking about the additional visibility, it's been featured on Time Magazine, it's been like it's one of the reasons why I'm here, right. Now to be clear, I love Productive Flourishing, I love my body of work there, but the opportunities by which somebody says hey Charlie, come talk about the blog in its entirety, pretty rare. (Laughing) Opportunities by which Chris Brogan, Jonathan Fields, and say hey come talk about "Small Business Life Cycle", really high. And so, that's what you've got to think about it's not only is it this journey for a reader it's a really great tool for your referrers because they can give somebody something, there's a dump factor, there's a read this now factor that's different than go to Charlie's website and get lost because that's what happens right.
Absolutely, I knew you were the perfect person to kick this off. (Laughing) Alright guys, what questions do you have for Charlie?
Hi Charlie, I noticed that you have a printed book that you just held up, was yours an Ebook and a printed book and what was your decision making around making it both or one or the other?
It was both, well let me, I think, let me make sure I'm being accurate here. The first edition was definitely, yes, because I have two printed copies of it, I had to throw away some first editions a few weeks ago, so yes it was both. And so it's multiple reasons, one, I am a business strategist and advisor and I will tell you that there are few things that are more powerful than showing up to a meeting and you know I have a sales packet and it's actually literally a brown manila packet that's got all the sales resources I need and this is one of those things that's in it, and when you show up to a conversation and you've got your book sitting to the side, you've got some frameworks, it sets up a level of professionalism, and rigor that really makes a difference because they know that they're working with a pro, not just someone who has random ideas and thought giblets hanging around right, so that's one thing, the other... Thought giblets right, we have the giblets. (Laughing) Right, the nuggets, right. So the second thing is, and I learned this, well I learned this from being a common book reviewer so I get galleys and things like that, they love to send me an Ebook, I don't love to read an Ebook, right, and so I needed this to send to referrers to send to Tara, to send to the different people because I knew that if I sent them a PDF or a Mobifile, that it was going to get lost in the clutter, and I mean just check with yourself how many Ebooks or Kindle Books, I say Ebooks for the pretty PDF or the Kindle Books for that version that you started but haven't really finished right, or that you keep meaning to get to, right. And so I wanted the book to stand out and that's why it's this. The third thing is it makes a great client gift as well so when a client does hire me, we send it, I can write a note, send it to him, so on and so forth and so I think that's, I learned this again from Todd Sattersten, who learned it from someone else I have to remember who he said but, books are cultural artifacts, right, they really, really are, they're an experience and this tangibility of it, is something that's really important to think about, it's the difference between someone sending you an email saying, hey Shannon, how are you doing today versus them sending you a card where they write, hey I was thinking about you today and I enjoyed our last conversation just wanted to let you know that you're amazing and you know, hope you're having a great week, that card, would mean so much more even if the words in the email said the same thing.
Absolutely, and I'll say that we're not going to be specifically talking about print books in this class but everything that we learn in terms of formatting you basically just apply to a different type of template and a slightly different place on Amazon to get it done and, or that's one way to do it and there are some other ways to do it as well. Do we have any other questions for Charlie?
Hi, so during Tara's lesson she was telling us to really focus on a very specific small topic and the topic I'm coming up with is kind of a more advanced topic that people come into when they're blogging and content marketing so I'm wondering how much pre-action do I include, like how much do I lead up to it, how much do I introduce the topic before I get into the more meaty stuff? I was just wondering if you, you know, if you're talking about small business lifestyle, how much real basic startup stuff did you talk about in your book as opposed to just launching into your concept?
So that's a great question, instead of thinking about it thematically, I would want you to think about it as what problem is that book solving, and you launch with the problem because if you can explain the problem that your book is solving, it will, it will anchor a lot of that. So for instance, if you are dealing with a problem that intermediate content marketers have to deal with, explain exactly that problem, don't worry about beginner, intermediate markets, don't worry about up, advanced, that problem, because if you try to answer, you know if you try to make the one problem to rule them all, you're gonna write a book that no one will read and get through, right? You're not gonna like it and it's just not gonna have that effect and so I don't know if Tara's gonna talk about this but I think many authors overlook the value of a short book, the value of a very focused, short book, right? And I brought some comps, I brought some comps to the conversation just in case we went there so "Small Business Life Cycle" is about 20k words, right? Now it's bigger than every single Domino Project books right that were back in the day right, very short books, I will tell you, it's harder to write a short book than it is to write a long one, so that's one thing you've got to know about it. The second thing is you have to check with yourself and check with your readers at what gets read, what gets read, you know, there's another book, a very similar book, "The Fifth Discipline" by Peter Senge right. You can see how thick that is, you can imagine how many people have actually read the book. (Laughing) And to make things worse, this book, needed this book to explain it.
Because he was handling such a wooly topic, it's a phenomenal book but I wouldn't say in this world of attention craved readers, that starting with "The Fifth Discipline" is the way to go, right? Start with something, and I know it feels really odd for you to spend however long it's gonna take you to write a book that someone can read in an afternoon but I will tell you from the feedback that I get that many people said you know what, I went to a coffee shop, I read the book, I took notes, I appreciate that, thank you for writing that book that way. And the fundamental thing is, I have to go back to my Why with why I wrote "The Small Business Life Cycle" I didn't want it to be a one-time read, I wanted it to be a read that as you're in the earlier stages, you read it, and then you move a little bit along and then you come back to it, and then you come back it and so I wanted it to be that way and so the book itself had to be set up that way and luckily that's what people are doing that's what they're telling me to do, like hey I re-read it this quarter. You know, I say for me your body of work stands and everybody's perspective about this is different, but for me, if someone is willing to come back to your book three or four times, not because it was terribly written but because it was well written, I say you've won the game when it comes to your book.
Amen, that seems like a fantastic place to leave at. Charlie can you tell us where we can find you online?
You can find me at ProductiveFlourishing.com that's, all roads lead there. You can also find me @CharlieGilkey on Twitter.
Perfect, Charlie thank you so much, this was just an absolutely phenomenal way to kick off our expert interviews thank you.