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Sell Your First 1000 Books

Lesson 18 of 18

How to Launch Your Book

Tim Grahl

Sell Your First 1000 Books

Tim Grahl

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Lesson Info

18. How to Launch Your Book


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 The Impact of Books Duration:25:28
3 Setting up the System Duration:15:39
6 How to Grow Your List Duration:24:59
10 Q & A w/ Tom and Tim Duration:18:00
11 Outreach: The Attitude Duration:1:09:21
12 Outreach: The How-to Duration:34:35
13 Outreach: The How-to Part 2 Duration:48:00
14 Natural Selling Duration:19:56
15 Interview with Hugh Howey Duration:48:20
16 Q&A w/ Hugh Howey Duration:52:16
17 Q&A w/ Hugh Howey Part 2 Duration:36:14
18 How to Launch Your Book Duration:57:14

Lesson Info

How to Launch Your Book

You know, with each of these things, we pull it together, whether it's blogging website, you know, guess blogging all of this crazy stuff, you know, how does it actually work together? So we're going to look at some of those case studies, and then we're going to talk about launching the book, and the whole point of this right is to actually use this platform to launch your book a lot of times, you know, work with an author for awhile, and we're work, you know, really hard to build that email list and make it big, and when it comes time to actually sell the book, they're like, well, I don't really want to email the list too much about it and like, why did we build this thing right? Like, the only reason we built this list really is because you're an author and you want to sell books, right? You know, if you didn't have books for sale there's no reason to put all of this time and effort and ability and email list, so we want to actually see how do we use this to launch a book into the wo...

rld? We've talked a lot about how to use the platform to naturally sell books over a long period of time. But we want to look at okay, I have a book coming out it's coming out and, you know, six or eight weeks, what do we actually do to put it out to the world and make sure we sell a lot of copies when it comes out? So we're gonna talk about that and take your questions as well, then we're going to end the day and go from there. So just a reminder the connection system, permission content and outreach. Those are the three main pillars of it having that permission to stay in contact with your readers in a way that drives action over time, you have content that you freely make freely widely available, and it gives that way for people to interact with you and get to know your content before going deeper by buying a book or signing up for your email list. And then of course, outreach, which is moving people from not knowing you exist knowing you exist. And this whole idea is to move people from strangers to readers that's what we're trying to do, and when we look at it, we really look at how content drives both right? So content is what you know, the promises of content of giving away compelling content, and then interacting with them is what drives your email list. And content is also what drives outreach whether you're speaking whether you're doing guest posting you know in most cases you're generating content to do outreach so let's look at some examples some specific examples of how authors are being successful with this and one of my favorite examples is the heat brothers dannon ship heath they've wrote they were made to stick and switch and their most recent book is decisive and I highly recommend by the way decisive it's a fantastic book about how to make good decisions in your life I personally still use it all the time but they do something really need they don't have a blawg well actually they do have a blogger what they block like three times a year maybe and s so we're going to say they don't have a blogger and they're not on social media there's er they're not on twitter there not on facebook at the same time they've built one of the biggest email list I've ever worked with when it comes to authors and the way that they did this is they put resource is out around each of their books so when made to stick came out they put out pdf ce and audio downloads and stuff around made to stick on they did the same thing with switch so switches about how to change when change is hard so they did a podcast about switch for personal change they switch inside of organization they put out pdf workbooks for each of their books, and so they have all these great resource is, and they put it behind a wall where all you have to do is sign it for their email list to access all of this stuff. And so if you think about this, it also gives them something to go out and promote, so when they're speaking, when they're doing workshops, they have this content that they can say all of this contents available on our website for free just go and download it so all of their outreach can drive people to their website where this contents available, this really compelling content to get people to put their email address in and sign up and download their resource is and so, as you see, without what I really like about them is they're not constantly generating new content. They generate new content when they're new book comes out and that's pretty much it, and but they've really leverage that to build a very sizable email list, and then they stay in contact with their email lists on an ongoing basis. And that email list is primed and ready when it comes time to sell the book, and they're the ones that their book came out this last year in march of two thousand thirteen and dan and I had coffee in december when we first started talking about working together and I was able to guess within five hundred copies how many books we'd be able to sell off of his email list because it just works right this stuff works I know how many books you're going to be able to sell and I can guess just based on the kind of numbers that you have an engagement you have with those people and so um so they were able to do this by using each of these tenants in uh in the connection system. Any questions on that one? Because I know that's a little more outside the box and feel free to interrupt with questions will bring them in as we do this because I go ahead dan okay, so the heat brothers are creating content and around their their books and their really leveraging like you said, like for business or for personal gain how do you how do you do that? How do you how do you decide like this is how I should be using my book whether it's a business book or a fiction book to create that additional content there's dvd extras what does that look like? I looked for ways that I can add value to to the book outside of the book itself, so if we look at the book as a bigger ecosystem what can you provide around the book that will add more value to the book than just the book itself? Eso we talked some about you know, steve when he did all of those great interviews for his book this is great content that he can release now around the book that if people buy the book they can go to the website and download these great interviews and it adds more to the book um I also look at ways that we can, you know, like an audio flower video fire file or something like that, you know, you can't put that in a book, right? You can't it's the books of printed page, you can't bet audio in it and so it adds value around the book by doing that, so I just looked for ways of how can I create content around the book that adds value to it on dh that's what I feel like they did is, you know, inside the book it was kind of outside the context of the what the book should be to go deep in these specific areas, so they used their website to provide that content in a different way doesn't make sense yeah, we do have a couple atsu danielle if you are already on their list, how do they allow access to the free stuff or how do you allow access to the free stuff so it's kind of technical what we did there um it's it's kind of hard to explain uh in the specific way that we did it with them um I don't know how to explain it without getting technical um we wrote some special programming code that does it right so there's some different ways that you can go about it um in the case of this you do you would need a developer involved to make it happen you could probably get it done pretty pretty cheaply but the best way to do it without needing any programming involved is to promote it on the website and then deliver it through an auto responder right? So you promote on the website have people sign up through male chimp and then the way that you deliver it is it goes out in an e mail with all the winks and is auto responders so that is a very easy way to do it that's built in the mail too perfect. So another example is, um behavior gap behavior gap is run by a guy named karl richards and he does these really cool vin diagrams and other kind of charts around money and he really does a great job of taking really complex ideas about money and breaking them down into these great little vin diagrams highly recommend you check it out and I wanted to bring up him for a very specific reason um, one of the one of the decisions he was making when I first started working with him a couple of years ago is whether or not he should have a blawg, and what happened is he had just recently got a gig writing for the new york times, money block and he's trying to decide what should I should I keep? I can't do both. Should I blow my own website? I should should I blow for the new york times? And I'm like, are you crazy? Like you blogged for the new york times, right? So what I really liked about it is that he took his outreach in his content, and he combined it, right? So if you're blogging for the new york times, you're using somebody else's platform to build your own platform. So we actually just killed the blogger and use that and constantly looked for ways to invite people in from his new york times riding into his platform and get them on the email list of that he has them on the email list for all the reasons we've talked about and so that's, what I like to is looking for interesting ways that you can use your content to also do your outreach. You know, providing content to your followers to the people on your website and driving people to your website by attracting them with content is a good thing, but also you putting the content out into the world on platforms that already exists is a really great way to do this and there's, you know, it can look like guest posting it can look like all the things we've talked about, but again, what are those tools for right, these air tools in the toolbox? What are we using those tools for? And when it came to blogging, the whole reason of blogging was to attract people, and he could use new york times platform instead of his own it's a lot easier to use a platform that already exist instead of create your own. So another example is jeff selingo and I mentioned him earlier, and he wrote this great book called college unbound and it's, and he had a unique problem and that he was riding for the lincoln influencers, and so the lincoln influencers are where they've invited people to start writing for the linked in platform, and he was getting lots and lots of traffic to his articles. He could see the numbers, they were very popular articles, but nothing was really happening for him and you know he's like I know people reading it I can see the stats I know people were taking advantage of the content but nothing's happening is a result like nobody's coming to the website that what he's signing up for anything what's going on and what when I looked at it I realized everything was disconnected he hadn't strong everything together and so he's writing these articles over here but he didn't really have anything for them to do when they were done. And so what we did is we came up with these pdf so that he could give away and he developed them and we put them together is a pdf and we just put him on a web site on a page on his web site that said, sign up for my email list and you can download this pdf um and then one little thing to connect them together is then from then on whenever he wrote something he put a little line at the bottom of every article that says I have this free pdf that you can download by clicking here and they click on that they went to his web site in an eight weeks his email lists grew by eight hundred percent because we actually connected those two things together, right? So we want to make sure that as we do this, everything is one long thing that's connected together right you're your outreach leads to your website leads to your email list, and we're always looking for ways to make that happen, and so whenever you get opportunities to be in front of people always look for ways that you can invite them to be a part of your platform. I've done this myself at least twice over the last two days, I've reminded people that I have a thirty day course on my website that you can sign up for, and I've got a lot of people that have signed up for it, so again, I can get people to my website where it's very clear that I want you on the email list and people consign up, and it just works that way and there's all kinds of different things you can do and that's, what I really want you to take away from this is I want, you know, I tried to give some specific tactics that you can do, but every book is different. Every authors platform is different, everybody's opportunities are different, you know? You know, and sometimes when I use karl richards with behavior gap is example, people say, well, I can't get in new york times column, you know, it doesn't matter to me and it's, like you can do something right, take away the fact that you know let's look at it and see what can you do? What can you do? How can you be creative with the tools that you have available with the people that you're connected to in causton b be looking for ways to introduce yourself to new people, invite them to your platform and get them on your email list knowing that that's how you're going to eventually sell books? So uh, gene kim is another example and his is the example about eleven dev ops things right? Eleven things you need to know about dev ups and, um, we've done the same thing with his content where it come to the website and sign up for the email list, but he did something really interesting with his outreach that I wanted to point out and he did something that was really I felt like above and beyond a lot of what people are willing to do to help people. So he was writing this book and he knew he had a while until the book was going to come out and that's what I talked about right it's really good to start long before your book comes out, so all you have to do is help people help people help people, and so he started going toe live events and I walked him through my whole process for how you goto live events and take advantage of him and in every meeting he would end every meeting with is there anything I can do to help you? And if the person was kind like, I'm not sure you know they couldn't really come up with anything he said, well, you know, I have these, you know, four pieces of content that I think you might be interested in it teaches you how to do this or teaches you how to do this could I send that to you when I get back to my hotel? I think you're good and they oh, that'd be fantastic and sometimes they would ask him say, hey, you know, my developers are really struggling with something could you jump on the phone with them and explain a few things? And he said how I'd be glad to and so what each meeting he made sure he came away with not how they could help him but how he could help them if he followed up on all of that stuff and when it came time to promote his book, it went really, really well because all he did was go back and say, hey, I've got this book coming out, what can we do together? And they came and we came up with all kinds of fun stuff of speaking of bulk buys of all kinds of stuff that he was able to do because he started out by setting these meetings meeting people face to face and coming away with something that they could he could help them do live your legend I mentioned him earlier scott densmore and he did really need stuff with his outreach of doing lots and lots of own vlog post to drive people back to his platform but he also does some really neat stuff with giving away really compelling content and it's really hard to explain here so I just recommend you go to his website it's called live your legend dot net and he just has a really great hook for signing up for his email list it's great content that you can download there's little pictures of it and I know it converts really really well and so he did all of this work to drive people back to his platform and he's constantly going out and getting people back to his platform but he also worked really really hard to make sure when they landed at the website they would sign up for that email lists right we want to plug those holes in our bucket as much as possible it's never going to be perfect we're never going to sign up one hundred one hundred percent of the people that come to our website but we can constantly be tweaking with it and playing with it and experimenting with new things that as people land on your website they're signing up for that email list derek sievers is uh the author of a book called anything you want and it's a fantastic book about entrepreneurship and I want to point out what he does with his kant he's a he's one of the nicest guys like I've gotten to talk to him a few times and I know some people that know and like he's just one of the genuinely nicest most nights most nice people you'll ever meet but he does this really neat thing a long time ago he loves to read and so every time he would read he take these extensive notes right? Like just notes after notes long pages of notes based on these books that he was reading it was how he basically learned from the books is he take notes go over the notes a few times and kind of storm away so that he could go over them um and what he realised one day's like other people might be interested in these booknotes I'm creating and they're just stored on my computer somewhere and so he started posting these book notes to his website and now you can go and there's like tons of books that he's put just pages and pages of notes that he's learned from this but these books and it's done all kinds of great things he has a really big email list and a lot of people found him because of this content that he's put on the website it's really, really helpful because he rates the books, he tells you whether or not he think he thinks you should buy them and it's great content that you can read and it's a constant draw to his website. And I want to point out to because I know that I've talked to some people in publishing that know about them and their kind of annoyed at how extensive they are because they're long, extensive notes on books, and they're like, always giving away so much content, they're going to just read those notes and not by the book and just the other day, I'm like reading his notes and I got halfway through. I'm like, I have to buy the book now, and I just I just bought the book, and so it's another example of how giving away a lot of content actually ends up driving sales. And hugh and I talked a lot about that, and so of course I put in here, you, howie, right? Because I have to put a fiction writer and he's, the one I work with. If you go to his web site, you can see the work that we've done to make sure that as people land on the website, they're actually signing up for that email list, and originally when we started working together. The email list was like I think it was like a little button on the site and it was like really hard to find and you couldn't really sign up very easily and so we switched it over and when we when we made the switch it was a couple months before his latest book dust was coming out and so we're talking about well what should the hook b to get people to sign it for the email list and I want to point this particular point out as you think through that compelling reason people should be on your email list is the first thing that came up was the idea of giving away like a couple kindles kindle paperwhites and the thing that I wanted to caution against that is the fact that then people just start signing up because they want a free kindle right we don't want just anybody on our list we want people that are actually interested in us and interested in our content and if he gets a bunch of people signing up just because they want a free kindle that's not really going to help on down the road sell more books so we talked about a couple things we came up with the idea of giving away fifty signed first editions of the original wolf when will first came out that was something you couldn't buy anywhere else but it was also something that only fans are gonna want only people actually interested in what he has to say you're going to want if I'm not interested in hugh and his riding or anything else I don't care about a first edition of one of these books but I would sign up for a kindle maybe but so we wanted to make sure that we're getting people on his list in the you know we moved it to the top of the page we made it stand out we added a little picture we added that great hook and his email sign ups went through the roof and he did actually sent an email when dusk came out to drive sales and so were you know I also want to just pause here and talk a little bit more about fiction writing um you know it's honestly really hard to find good examples of fiction writers taking advantage of this kind of stuff and there's all kinds of reasons behind that but I encourage use fiction writers to think of this as a business you know, a lot of times we forget that like it's actually a business and you're now an entrepreneur that starting a business and think about how you can apply all this stuff and I know a lot of times like the the question in the last session of light well I'm not a non fiction writer I'm not really helping people and that's just not true um you know I have read lots of nonfiction books that have helped me and change my life but I've read a lot mohr fiction books and it's because we love the content I love the content I love the value I get out of it I love the storytelling I love people inviting me into a story so with all of these things you know, I really if any time you start telling yourself, well, I can't do something because of x you're lying to yourself it's not true don't use don't put anything up is an excuse don't put anything up is a crutch don't put anything up us? Well, if I was like this, I could do this or if I had time I could do this do what you can get started and let me tell you you're going to fail like you're going to fail, you're going to mess up, you're going to screw up and, um hugh could tell you stories of lots of times that he screwed up and now when he screws up it's in public ways and it could be really embarrassing. But now if you're not well known, do it now while it's like doesn't have much, you know nobody's going to see it, but be willing to try new things experiment and put yourself out there and just see what works and watch what works, you know I like to think, you know, in my own life when I want to try new things, I'm constantly thinking like there's there's actually so few decisions that you can't go back on like we're talking things like okay jumping off a roof right? You know you can't go back from that one you know, um there's a couple others I'm sure having children can't go back from that one, you know? But in most cases almost every decision in your life you can just say I don't want to do that anymore and you don't have to do it anymore, you know? And I learned this from I first heard this idea from the guys that started this company called thirty seven signals and I don't know if they still do it but a tte the time they gave everybody in their company a corporate credit card and the only rule was use it wisely and they just trusted their people to use it wisely people like that's crazy you need to have rules and then you've gotta track everything he's like, you know what I trust him and if I think it's not working I'll just take them back I can't go back on my decision right? And so in most in almost every case we can try something and if it doesn't work we just try something else and if if nothing else you get out of this I really want you to become an experiment to have that mindset of I'm going to try this I'm gonna work on and I'm going to put myself into and see what happens so that's the connection system you know, that's the way that's a system we're putting in place to connect with readers you know it all comes back to connecting with readers, but now that you have that platform now that you've been building it now that you you're connecting with people and you're starting to build that connection and you have that email list that's starting to grow how do you actually launch the book out into the world when it comes time that you have something new to release? How can you take the most advantage out of your platform? You know, I get calls a lot from authors that are coming out with a book and they think I'm a publicist, right? They think I'm going to go out and get a lot of people to pay attention to what they're doing and I'm really bad at being a publicist honestly, I don't know how publicist do theirjob seems really, really not fun, eh? So I'm not a publicist, but what I am really good at is leveraging a platform if a platform I'm good at building platforms and then once they exist I'm really good at leveraging them and so I've put together lots of launch plans, and over the last year I've launched, I lost track several lots of books. The two that were the most successful is I ran the entire launch campaign for to sell us human damn piece to sell his human came out december thirty first and then decisive by the heath brothers in march, and both of those debuted at number two in the new york times list, and in march, I had five clients at the same time on the new york times list, so I know how to do this, and so I'm going to teach you the framework behind how I look at launches and what I look at, and I'm going to give you some specific examples that you can take to get ready for your next launch, and I'm going to teach you not only things I've learned from launches with big new york times best selling authors, but even small time nobody authors like myself that started with just eighteen hundred people on the email list, okay? And so and I'm going to teach you about how you can take advantage of it. So when I launch a book, I look at three things the first is, how many books can I sell to my fans? How can I sell as many books as possible to the people that I'm connected to? And again, we're thinking of two groups of people were thinking of fans and influencers fans of people that will buy our book influencers of people that will get other people to buy our book so the fans that I'm directly connected to through mainly my email list but also social media and also other things how can I sell as many books as possible to them? That's the first thing I look at the second is how I can invite them to be a part of what I'm doing how can I put tools in their hands to share the book with the people in their lives? Right? So again, this goes back to the idea of how we lever social media. Now we're leveraging their two hundred fifty connections, right? So it's really hard for me to connect with two hundred fifty people, right? Like that's a lot of work to add another two hundred fifty people add another two hundred fifty people, but if I'm connected to a thousand people, I'm now connected to potentially two hundred and fifty thousand that's the right math, right? Potentially two hundred fifty thousand people just threw those thousand people. So what can I do to put the tools in the hands of fans to help spread the word and really get them t take those steps, and then the third thing is, how can I work with influencers to spread the word, how can I take these connections I made with influencers and get them to help me to promote the book when the time comes. So let me tell some stories. Okay? So selling to fans the main way to do this is to email them a lot about your book when it comes out. If you are traditionally publishing and the a lot of times, the difference between traditionally publishing and self publishing is the fact that you can't actually put your book upto for pre order, right? So now if you look at you in your light, well, he self publish is, and he can preorder that's because he's in with amazon now, and they help him out. Most authors ifyou're going through, like, create space or kdp, you can preorder your book, your book actually has to be up for sale. Um, so I'm going to talk about both of those, but pretty much the tactics are the same. So, uh, you want to send a cz many emails, as you possibly can to your list without it's, mostly it's, mostly going to be your own head that gets in the way. When we promoted the books too damn pinks list and dan he's list, I think we sent out four emails each um for my list, I sent out nine emails, and through all of those emails, my open rates stayed the same. My click rate stayed the same, and my unsubscribe rate stayed very, very low. They're all of those nine e mails I sent promoting my book, you would think they would be sick of me, but they weren't sick of me because I was sending really great content through to the email list. I made sure that the content that I was sending was really, really valuable. And how I look at this is, um with books, um, you can look at them lots of different ways. You can reframe them lots of different ways. You can talk about them in lots of different ways. People are going to buy your books for lots of different reasons. So in my book, it's basically teaching the connection system well, people were going to buy the book. Some of them bought the book because of my tips on email. Some of them bought the book because of how I talk about outreach. Some of them want to hear about how I can create content. People are going to buy the book for different reasons, so I made sure when I was promoting my book, I talked about the book from lots of different angles I basically wrote out lots of different personalities that I think would by the book and why I thought they would buy the book because I know I've, you know, I work with authors and know where they get stuck, so I made sure when I wrote that e mails that I came from lots of different angles and I shared a cz much as I possibly could tons of content that was very, very compelling as much as I possibly could, and I didn't lots of different ways. I did videos, I did just straight email, I did a webinar, I tried to do it in lots of different ways to make sure that I was putting content in ways that people would read, people would interact, and I had to remember that other people were busier than me, other people had more important stuff going on, then my e mails and so you have to send a lot of emails because there might only catch every third one that comes into their inbox. So I want to make sure I gave them plenty of chances to see my emails, and so I started to I did my campaign for right about two weeks, I sent out nine e mails over the space of about two weeks I made sure I only sent them between monday and friday um and I just sent him out as I got them ready, right? I had a plan in place of like every two days I was going to send one out and I just kept sending them out and what I saw was that I got the most sales from the first email and then they slowly went down but with every email I sent, I got more sales and what that means to me is every time you promote something you're going to get more sales the more that you promote something that more sales you're going to get and as long as you're doing in a way where you're trying to be relentlessly helpful with the content and I really did try to make the content something that stood on its own legs right? If somebody just read the email and did it by the book it would be valuable content for them and I would be fine with that. The other thing I did was make my both cheap and made it three ninety nine I made it available on katie p on katie p so kendall and I also did a print version, but I really want to drive those kindle sales because I could control that price the most with direct uh um direct to print publishing I totally forgot what that's actually calling but um when you're you know, or what is it on demand? Yeah, and so I knew you can only control the price so much. And so, you know, once I hit like six or seven dollars, I would be losing money if I was selling, if that's so I knew I couldn't make it as cheap as I wanted. And I really wanted to make sure that this book got into a cz many people's hands is possible, and so three, ninety nine seemed like that price where I could make a decent amount of money and it would allow people to just make a no brainer by and it also would allow me and by selling so many books up front allowed me to get name was on system where they continue to promote my book, and I started becoming of recommended book for other for other types of books, and that's continued to keep my sales pretty high all through that time. And so with that, I, um I really focused on how could I sell the fans and I kind of left out the other two pieces for my launch. There is a couple of reasons for that one is I was really busy, I run, you know, I have a full time job. I have clients, I've got to make sure I do everything for them and I couldn't just drop all that stuff and work on my book and so that's where I feel like I was in the boat of a lot of authors is like while I do this for a living, I do it for a living, so, like, I have to keep making that living while I'm getting my book out into the world. And I knew just from past experience that of these three things, the most effective thing is just letting everybody known my own my email list and I've got a book for sale, and this is how they could buy it, and then what I've done with mine is I've started, um, inviting fans to share it, so I've invited people in my email list to share the book. I made it really easy where they can just click a button to share it on twitter, click a button to share it on facebook, and I begun to work with influencers, and for me, I've really enjoyed doing podcast interviews, and so in the past, I've met some people that do podcast, and so I reached out to them and I said, hey, you know, would you have me as a guest on your podcast? They agreed, and then when I got done with that podcast I went back to them and said, hey, do you know two or three other podcasters that you think I'd be a good fit for? And one of them actually went contacted three or four of them for me and then sent me a list of six or seven more that I could reach out to and use her name, and so now I've got more than I can actually handle, and so I was looking at this is more of a long term, a long term game. I'm not trying to hit any of the bestseller list, I'm not trying to get on the new york times list, so I don't care if I sell the book last week. You're next week here in three months, I'm just going to continue to promote my book on an ongoing way, so I'm going to continue to work with influencers as I meet them. I reached out there is a guy named shane parrish runs a great vlog called the farnham street blawg, and he does lots of book reviews. Well, about six months ago, we were connected. And I reached out to him and said, hey there's some things you could be doing differently like starting any mail list so he's like hey, would you would you talk to me about that? I was like sure, so I got on the phone and spend an hour with him talking to him and sure enough, when it came time for my book I said, hey, you know, would you read my book and if you feel like it's a good fit, do something with it and his next email he sent it out as one of the books he was reading and that is what started the connection all the way back to the venture capitalist that put it on his blob and sold a lot of copies for me, so I'm costly looking at these three things, how do we sell the fans? How do we invite fans to share and how do we work with influencers? So for dan pinks launch it's a very different type of launch traditionally published, which means we could drive preorders. Preorders are very expensive because we've really wanted to hit all of the best seller list and I really want to hit all the best seller list because this was the first big national campaign that the author said here you're doing everything I'm not having anybody else do anything, so I felt a little bit of pressure I dreamt about it, I'm going, I'm going to be honest and and so the plan that I came up with was a weekly email for four weeks promoting a, um a package of things that people could get if they pre ordered the book. So we came up with some pdf sui came up actually with, um, a little field notes book that people would get if they signed up. He did some interviews with some other authors, and we would give all of this stuff away if people were willing to pre order the book. And so what we're trying to do is get as many people as possible on his list, too, by the book. Now what you'll find is is that everybody, all of us probably have a stack of books we already feel guilty of the fact that we have not read them yet, right? So when you are getting somebody to buy a book, you're trying to get them to add your book to that stack, okay? And so there's three types of people that you're talking to when you're trying to sell your book, there's people that are going to buy it no matter what, that love you love what you do, and if there's a new book coming out, they're just going to buy it. I have authors that I'm like that with if I see they have a book coming out in eight months and it's already for pre order, I'll just go ahead pre order just so I know it'll show up on my door when time comes, then you have people that are not going to buy the book no matter what, no matter how much great content, no matter what you do, they're not going to buy your book. We're just going to forget about this people there's nothing you can do there's a group of people that just aren't going to buy your book for whatever reason it is maybe because their book is just two days after stack of books just too damn high, they can't have another book to it, we don't mind its finest their decision, we can't worry about them that right? The middle group is the one that we're really trying to pay attention to and there the fence sitters, okay? They haven't decided whether or not they're going to buy the book, they probably want the book they might be interested in the book, but it's like, well, let me add it to my wish list or oh, maybe I'll wait till reviews come in for I read that book and, you know, I'm kind of interested those are the people we're focusing on with the campaign we want to push them off the fence onto our side of the fence where they actually by the book and that's where doing campaigns where they get bonuses by buying the book can be really helpful especially when there is a deadline like when you're doing a pre order campaign. So we started several weeks before the book came out sending out e mails and we said you get all this great stuff if you pre order the book but you have to do it before the book comes out we sent a serious of four e mails and then the final email was like you have twenty four hours to buy the book because after that he goes off and what was great is all of those pre ordered books count towards the best seller list. So how the best seller list work is the count towards any books that were shipped in any week time? Okay, so all of those pre ordered books shipped out that first week so they count towards that first week plus all the sales that happened that first week so we were able to move a whole lot of books and we were able to debut the book at number two on the new york times list and of round sixty to seventy percent of that those books were from our efforts through the email list and the other thing is I'm going to talk about just as an idea, like how many books is that they need to, uh, computers to debut on the list? It depends on I can't give exact figures of what we sold for any of my clients, but yeah, it depends on what kind of list you're going after. What? Um, you know, there's different new york times list so there's, different competition. Umm it's somewhere between four to ten thousand books. If you sell four thousand books, you might be on the very bottom edge of making the list depending on the week has remember it's comparing to other books, right? So there's not like you sell this many books and you hit the spot. It's, you have to sell more books than everybody else. So with, um with one book that I was launching, I think it was decisive. Um, like, I thought we had the number one spot and then come to find out, dr phil's coming out with a book and it's like you can't be. Dr phil yeah, steve, quick question, how do you work? How do you find out how to get the list of the people of pre ordered? I'll come to that second, yeah, um, that's another technical thing, but I'll come to it. So, um then what we tried to do is come up with ways that we can leverage the fans to get them to share, and this could be all kinds of ways, and this is where I really encourage you to have some fun. You know, I talk sometimes about the top one percent or your street team or whatever as you grow your platform there's going to be a group of people that aaron intrinsically motivated to be very much a part of what you're doing, I've seen it with every type of author across all kinds of genres as your as you're following grows there's going to be a few people that show up over and over, that love what you're doing. So what we want to do is give them tools and say, go tell all your friends about the book, right? The simple way to do this is something like hey, click here to share it on twitter. Click here to share on facebook. Another simple thing that I would love to see more authors do is create images, images spread on social media more than anything else. So can you create infographics around your book? Can you um, create images of your characters and put them out. Can you come up with funny things for this class? I just I came up with something I found a picture of a guy like put his hands over his face like he's in agony, and it said most books on ly sell two hundred fifty, copies don't let that happen to you sign up for my creative live class, right, and a lot of people shared in a line on dso that shared a lot more than just me saying I have a creative life class sign up, and so I really wantto look look att things that I think people would like to share if it's an excerpt of the book, you know, it's much more likely that somebody will read an excerpt if they're giving it given it by a friend. Um, we for damn pink. We put together a little street team of people that we brought together and try to get them to help promote the book, and they were doing some really neat stuff where they would, like, highlight their favorite passages on on an early copy of the book and then take a picture and put it on pinterest and put on facebook and so content, and the book was spreading before the book even came out. So invite fans to share the book and a lot of times are you have to do is let people know you actually want them to do it there's been so many times where people are willing but they don't think you need to help you're a famous off there why do you need our help? You know? And if you just say, hey, can you spread the word? They'll be like, okay, and they'll spread the word, you know, and so just inviting them to be a part of the process and a lot of this comes back to like, hey, you know, I've been talking about this book for so long, it's coming out here is three things that you can do to share the book, right? You can put it on twitter, you can forward it to a friend, you know what else can you do to promote the book? And then when it comes time to work with influencers, we just look for ways to, um, get influencers to help spread the word, and this could be a very deep topic. So I'm going to hit the highlights on how you go about it and really how you go about it in the things that I think about, so if you look at that spreadsheet that comes as part of buying the course, it basically has I keep track of people's names their email address I keep track of what we're going to ask of them and I'll come back to them to that keep track of if we sent them a book to review, I keep track of what they've agreed to do, but one thing I do is I tear everybody and I have tears one tears to interior three and the reason that I do this is because some people are worth a lot of your time some people are not going to be worth a lot of your time if there is a blogger that only gets a few hundred people get only gets a few hundred people um a month bring his blawg you don't want to spend hours and hours of your time working on a two thousand word blawg post to promote it to that many people. But if there's a really popular blogger if there's something really popular out there that you know if they post something about your book you're going to sell a thousand copies there tier one I will buy a plane ticket I will get on a plane I will fly to sweden and I will meet with them if that means them promoting my book and I tear it tear one or people usually about a dozen that I will do anything it takes to get them to promote the book tier two are people that air in between tier one into your three like you know I'll do a podcast interview I'll write a short block post I'll maybe give them an excerpt of the book but I can't give them a ton of my time it's just not worth it and then tear three is usually the biggest a lot of people I would love to have talk about the book I'll send them a review copy but I'm not going to spend more than a few minutes because I just don't have time around the book launch and that's and then what I do is I go through each of them and see well, what can I do for them if they're good friends? I'll just say, hey, can you review my book on your block and they'll say yes if they're not I'll say, hey, can I right? Can I write a guest post a lot of the stuff we talked about outreach, right? How can I do something for their platform that would promote the book and I try to do as much as if I'm trying to hit a bestseller list. If I'm trying to sell a bunch of copies in that first week, I try to make everything happening in one week all the interviews air coming out that week, all the guest post, but if you're like me and you're not going after a bestseller list, I kind of spread it out and I, you know, I do it as I have time, I fit it into my schedule, I have a full time job and I just promoted as I go, so those are the things I look at, and I know I kind of ran through that, but what I want you to really hear through that is once you have this platform, and once you're ready to actually launch a book, make sure that you invite everybody to be a part of that be a part of that launch process, make sure that you are giving that every all of the fans you're connected to your inviting them to be a part of it by buying a book, make sure that the fans that are ready to promote it, you invite them to promote it and give them ways that they could promote it. And then all of these influences that you've connected with start reaching out to them early in the process six, eight weeks before it least and start talking to them about your book coming out how you guys can work together and that's how you launch a book and that's how you're going to sell your first thousand copies, and that's how I was able to sell a thousand copies. With just eighteen hundred people on my list, I was able to launch a book and sell a thousand copies in two weeks and that's changed. A lot of my business has changed a lot of a lot of stuff about what I do, so any questions on watching book? I know there's tons of questions, and we'll try to hit him as much as I can. Yeah, quick question, um, he said earlier that you were ableto predict within a couple hundred what the initial sales were going to be. I don't remember which author you referring to maybe dan pink what's your surest and what's your rule of thumb in terms of you have x number on your list, you're going to sell what percentage of x in what period of time for a typically priced, traditionally published book. So we're talking about a book around fifteen bucks, you know, after amazon discounts at a ton um, you are going to sell somewhere between fifteen percent and twenty five percent the size of your list, as long as you do the launch, right? And do everything that we talked about and, um, that's about how many books I can comfortably say you'll sell as a result of your list now, I want to be very clear here that one in four people on your list aren't going to buy your book that's probably not going to happen, but as a result of the outreach you do through your list, that's, how many books should be able to sell? Does that make sense? So because, you know, one person on my list bought the book they're driving my ranking up, which means I'll sell more books on amazon because of ranking, or I know. So just from how many books book launches I've done that's the number of books that I can comfortably say you'll be able to sell and with I knew a lot more about what we're going to do with the heat brothers, so I was able to, like, zooming in and say exactly how many books I thought we could sell and honest, I mean, it was an educated guess I was now I just say hale's within five hundred copies, I'm awesome, you know? But but, yeah, that's, that's im very comfortable saying fifteen to twenty five percent you'll be able to sell through your list, and the reason why I sold so muchmore, I believe, is because my book was four dollars, so you talked about not now you're not necessarily doing a lot of reaching out to major major influencers, you know, members of the media or low like that what's your perspective on hiring a publicist to help with your book launch and or your perspective on how well the publishers publicists do that are helpful should an author should an author who is press crunched for time and creating all this content and doing all this with the platform go out and hire a publicist to help augment and reach out to some of those, you know, members of the media and major book reviewers who can help um in most cases the the publicist at your publisher's not going to be able to do much because they have one hundred other authors they're trying to do stuff for and usually what they're stuff involves is taking a form letter that they wrote that you really need to look over because I have some horror stories of what have been in those things they put it with the book and they just send it out to a list of people they have that's what they do for publicity and I know authors that have been on the phone with their publicist from their publisher and that publicist is encouraging them to go hire a publicist you know? So um as faras hiring a publicist um I I start with no and then you got to talk me into it is basically the idea there are some situations where publicist can be good um I see um nonfiction authors that have not done any work to build their platform and basically want to do everything they can to have this book build their consultant practice if they can hire a publicist that gets them in some major media positions that's going to turn into some good things for them book sales and some other things so that can be good but good publicist you're looking at fifty sixty thousand dollars to do a book campaign so again are you going to so you make about two bucks a book fifty sixty thousand they need to sell thirty thousand copies of your book that is not going to happen so you have to look at it as what else am I going to make money on for speakers if they can get them a half dozen extra speaking gigs don't get that money back easy you know so but in most cases the other thing that I've seen a lot there's basically good publicist and there's everybody else and everybody else one of the tricks that they do to make themselves look like they're doing a lot is if they try to do some publicity and it doesn't really work they backfill it with radio interviews which are mostly worthless I've never heard of an author saying I sold a ton of books through radio interview they just don't sell books but every radio station needs content so it's really, really easy to get guest spots on local radio stations so publicists that air scrambling I will just say, we'll backfill and say, look, we got you fifty radio interviews, it was worth the forty thousand dollars and you're like, but I only sold fifteen hundred copies of my book, you know? So there are some cases I think they're rare that it's worth it. I hear way more horror stories with publicists and then praise stories, and so I always start with don't hire publicists, and then you've got to really be talked into it. Um, and that's that's, anecdotal evidence. I've never hired a publicist. I've never worked with the publicist I've been on teams where publicist had been involved, but again, I talked to a lot of authors and I hear horst or horse or horror story for every ten horror stories there's one like, I think it helped so for lance's team, actually, because I've had a terrible pain with my own publishes published publishers publicist, because I really actually appreciate you asking that question. Thank you for that, and I got another one on the subject. I just want to see it is anything else in the audience would like to ask before we do go to our final question. Because one the area we've not touched on it all I just thought I'd throw it in there because joyous asked this question on this again something that I had a lot of pain with my publisher what role does a great cover design playing marketing obviously when you want to get your book out there you want it to look great is it? Is it is it important to tall absolutely is very important I I was looking at some of the questions that were coming into hue on twitter and that was one of the questions they're too about like money spending money what should you spend money on? Um I absolutely recommend if you spend money okay? So I'm not an expert on the publishing process I've gone through it myself with self publishing I've worked with a lot of authors if your self publishing and you're going to spend money on two things spinning on an editor and spend it on a cover design you got to remember people are making decisions based on your book on something about that big on their screen so the cover is really, really important in most cases you can look at a book and say self published self published self published traditionally public self published just by the cover design if you do it if you're not a designer and you try to do it yourself it's going to look like it and it's it's going to hurt your sales so I highly recommend that you you do a good cover design you put the money into it um, you know, I go back and forth on this because I know there's a lot of authors out there that don't have, you know, a lot of extra money to put into their books, so they gotta really be careful, but the same time this is something that, you know, if you put a little bit of money into, you're going to get that money back, and so I do recommend that they they put some effort in time do trade with, you know, you know, go like mow a designer's lawn for their summer so that they'll give you a design and I mean, you know, like there's all kinds of stuff you can do, but yeah, especially if, like, most of your sales are going to come through amazon, they're going to make a decision off of that off of that that cover and I think it's really important important to this really great advice thank you too fantastic. We are coming down to the end of the day here. Do you have any final thoughts that you want to share with everyone out there? Yeah, you know, in a lot of ways I've been kind of dreading this part um the most because I want to wrap it up and I want it. I want to tell you everything that's possible. You know, I love books I love reading. I've loved reading since I was a kid, and when it came time for me to actually work with authors, you know, and I talked about how josh help me make that decision toe work with authors, it was like, this is a dream job like the fact that I get to help authors and work with authors put their work into the world is like, amazing, and what I've seen is that any author khun to it like the tools there there, there's no longer some gate keeper that is deciding who should and who shouldn't come in that gate, the tools are there, you can do it. I think any author could do it, and it comes back to looking at marketing that new way marketing isn't a dirty thing. Marketing is connecting with people being relentlessly helpful and inviting them into the way that you're changing the world, and it starts there believe that you're changing the world, you're making the world a better place, and you're doing that through your books, your doing that through your content, you're doing that through your writing and people like me, people like you. I have had your lives change because people did that hard work, and then they did the work to actually get the book out into the world, and so I want to leave you with that I've given some tactics, I've given some ideas I've given a framework that I think is really helpful, but I want you to go out and experiment with it and try it and do it and put the work in and know that it's possible people like you are able to do this, you know, people that are not as good as you are able to do this, you know, I read writing that's like this isn't that great, but the guy's selling a lot of copies of his book, that could be you like, if you're not even a good writer, right? And so but, you know, focus on trying to help people help people get what they want on life, whether your fiction writer nonfiction writer doesn't matter. You're adding two people's lives, and I believe that you can do it. I believe any author can do it. I wouldn't do this if I didn't think that was possible. I love this, I think any author can do it, so take what I've taught you. Take that idea of permission and content and outreach and selling in connecting with people and bring them into your work and have fun with it and look for ways that you can make it yours. Look for ways that you can't connect people in new ways, connect him to yourself, connect them to each other, you know, use your content to do that. Use your content to make the world a better place. And as a result this this sell your first thousand copies that'll be just the start. That's just the start for you that'll be the beginning. You'll be able to do so much more with your work and go so much further. And so I just I want you to know that I believe in you. You can do it and I want you to be successful. And I hope that this two days ofmy blabbing my mouth has helped you become successful. Well, I don't think you've been blabbing your mouth have taught him. I think everything you have shared with us in the last two days has been enormously helpful. I think is going to help a lot of people be very successful in the publishing world.

Class Description

Self-publishing has turned authors and photographers into business owners. In this new era of publishing, you are your own startup and your book is your product. In this workshop, self-published author and book marketing expert Tim Grahl will teach you how to help your book find its audience.

Book sales depend not only on the quality of your work, but also on the strength of your marketing. You will learn how to develop a strategic outreach plan to engage your current audience and introduce yourself to the right new communities. Tim will also show you how to develop a reliable email list, use content to drive sales, and negotiate with publishers.

Whether you’re publishing a novel or a coffee table book of lush images, Tim will give you the marketing playbook your talent deserves.


Sonja Dewing

Loved it! A lot of great tips on what needs to be on your author page, even some helpful plugins for WordPress! Love the extras. Well worth it.

Mark Leruste

This was my very first Creativelive class and it was amazing! In short it's the course I wish I took before self-publishing my first book. It covers all the basics and highlights all the mistakes you're most likely to make as a first time author or a serial writer. Everything you need to know about selling and marketing your book is in here. I've been recommending it to everyone interested in writing a book! Thank you Tim Grahl for a brilliant course.

Rachelle Ramirez

I've had the blessing of training directly with Tim Grahl and this class pulls all the basics together. Master these techniques and you've leveled up as professional writer. Why write a book and not get it to its readers? These are the tools that not only sell your book but get readers interested in reading YOUR book when they a million other choices. Worth the money.