Skip to main content

Sell Your First 1000 Books

Lesson 3 of 18

Setting up the System

Tim Grahl

Sell Your First 1000 Books

Tim Grahl

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

3. Setting up the System


  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

Setting up the System

So systems okay so josh kaufman who was um another creative live guy highly recommend his course mainly because he recommended my course during his core so I have to give it back but so system so hey was my business coach several years ago after a somewhat of a nervous breakdown I needed a business coach to help me get everything on track and so I started talking with him and the first thing he talked about with me is I needed systems in my business and I was in a company with me and one other person to people I'm like I am not some microsoft bureaucracy giant corporation why don't I need systems? This is stupid you know and but I was paying him money so I thought since I was paying him money I should take his advice it's like your therapist, right? You know, you might as well do what they say since you're paying them a lot of money and I started thinking about systems and started thinking about how I could systematize my business and I really thought, you know, especially in a busines...

s like mine where I like to think of myself as creative that systems would just hamper my creativity if I do the same thing the same way every time is going to hamper my creativity and so what I want you to start thinking of is actually if you think about systems the right way they will enhance your creativity actually what it will do is it will give you space to be creative in a way that you've never been before and so when I'm talk about systems, what I'm talking about is how can we look at what you're doing as an author what you're doing in marketing and actually systematize it in a way so that you know it's gonna happen you know how it's happening and you know it's happening the same way over and over and I know I'm this is kind of a right now but we're going to get deeper but I want you to start looking at the world as how kanai systematize things that aren't important so I have more time and focus to to do the things that are important that only I could do right so when I sit down and I write I'm the only one that can write those words right we know that as writers you know I was listening this great podcast it's called radio lab go download every episode and listen to them but this guy was talking about how he was a mathematician and he was really excited because I got technical but basically he figured this thing out toe like the fifth decimal place out about a star somewhere and he was so excited he's right in the paper and right before it goes to publishing he finds out that somebody in china I just figured out the exact same thing and beat him to write because everything's the same in math, right? Two plus two is four no matter where you go in the universe, but with writing you're the only person that can create this you're the only person that's ever going to string these words together this way, and so what we need to do is make sure that we put systems in place that give us space to do that creativity because marc, you were talking about if feels overwhelming, right? It's like I can either right or I can market, I can't do both, and what I want to do is talk to you about how you can put systems in place so it can all work together and it doesn't seem like this big, overwhelming thing. So there's two types of systems I want you to be thinking about the first is checklist and checklists are for things you do over and over, but you can't automate, right? You can't make them happen automatically. So in my business we launch a lot of websites and there's lots of things that we have to do to get the website live, and what we're finding is we'd put the website up and then, like a week later we realized we had blocked starch engines, and so we needed to make sure that we didn't block websites from search engines or we wouldn't put tracking coders whatever number of technical things we would forget so we made a checklist and now we have a checklist where every time we launch a site joseph my developer goes through and says I do this I do this I do this I do this and I have tons of checklists now any time I find myself doing the same thing over and over and it has more than two steps I just write them down or I put him online somewhere and I created checklist somewhere write the other thing which this didn't come through great but that's supposed to say computer is not computer s um so computers is computers are really good about automating things and if we can find ways to get computers to automate things for us that's helpful to right so there's this great little program I use called tex expander and it's really neat because you khun type something one time and give it like a little code and then every time you write that you do that code boom the whole thing pops in yeah and so for somebody like me I get a lot of the similar emails a lot of times I don't want to have to write the same thing over and over or when I was doing my book promotion and I was you know, offering this in people copies of the book I didn't wanna have to type out there and then if you copy and paste you put somebody's wrong name and they're so now I could just like right three or four letters and boom the whole thing would poppin right save me ton of time another great thing is I use this service called you khun booked out me you know I run a company I do a lot of consulting, I'm on the phone a lot and what I was finding is I was spending a lot of time setting appointments so people would say, hey, can we talk and I'm like yes let's talk sometime next week can you do tuesday and they'd send an email back no, but I could do wednesday and I see nemo back saying no, I can't do thursday how about two o'clock? No, I can't do two I mean you're talking six eight e mails at a time and the other thing I found was I kept having these phone calls creep into my creative time like when I actually got you know, good work done so I signed up for this service called you khun book got me hooked into my calendar and now I just send out a link and it shows my calendar and people can pick a time that works for them and so now with one email I kick out six other emails that I would have to send back and forth and it saves my creative time cause I just block off time and say this is the time I do my writing this is the time I do my my work I can't have phone calls during that right so it's really great to have these little systems in place to make things easier and I'm going to talk a lot about that with different things that we do about how to use technology and how to use checklist to make your life a little bit easier and save you time in save you brain power to right we all have just a little bit of cognitive power each day we wake up and we get our coffee and we get started and if we spend all our time spinning wheels on these things that don't really matter we won't have any time left or any space left to actually create into our writing so what I want to look at as we go through the next two days is how we can actually use these systems to make our life easier in to start putting some things in place where we know certain things were gonna happen the same way every time we do things over and over the same way so that they we know they work and we can actually watch them and see them see them save time and so all of this working together all of this marketing stuff it's very simple what we're trying to do the systems, the connecting people with our work, the long lasting connections, the being relentlessly helpful this is all we're trying to do we're trying to take people from being strangers that have never heard of us and turn them into readers that's it and everything that we do should fit into that somehow how are we taking people from not knowing we exist to knowing we exist and then being engaged with us in some way and then being in a place where they're going to buy the book that's actually what all of this is for? So when we talk about twitter, where does it fit right? Where does it fit in our plan to move people from strangers to readers and if it fits somewhere we use it if we don't we throw it out and we try something else, right? And so this is what I mean when I say we're no longer focused on the tools were no longer focused on any one way of doing something. We have a plan, we're going to move people from strangers to readers and we're going to use tools to help us get there in the system that I've come up with is called the connection system and I named it that for two very good reasons one is what are we doing? We're connecting with people that's what we're trying to do and we're trying to systematize it in a way where we know it works and we can actually see it working and it saves us time and become something that fits together. And so our system for moving strangers to readers is called the connection system and there's four pieces to it, so the first one is permission you need a way to stay connected with people and communicate with them in a way that reliably drives action. I'm going to throw a bunch of words out here don't feel like you have to understand cause over the next several sessions we're going to go through each of these, but permission we need a way to stay connected with people so we can communicate with them in a way that reliably drives action. That means when we say jump, people jump, okay? And we want a way to actually communicate with them that we know that's going to happen right again back to that imagine a world where before you pin the first words you know, people ready to buy it it's because you have permission to talk to them the second piece is content we use content to get that permission and the way that use content as you spread it freely and you spread it widely and you give people something to hold onto something to sink their teeth into the third piece is outreach and that is the process of moving people from not knowing you exist to knowing you exist and a lot of times actually when I look at this I feel like it's sometimes backwards right? So I said strangers to readers and now I've gone readers to strangers and that's because you have to have permission ready to catch all of the people that are coming in from outreach we're going to talk about that in the next session well actually we've got a question here from holly true that seems very perfect what you're just talking about right now about content they're saying they want to block about the not novel there currently writing but they're not sure how to do it without feeling like they're giving away all the good stuff hang on okay we're going we're going to talk all about that right after lunch it yes right hold on honey tree yeah talk about what we're going to talk about this this is definitely an introduction I just wanted to lay out the road map this is where we're going we're going to talk about permission you're going you're going to be tired of hearing me talk about this by the end of it so we're gonna permission content outreach but what I want you to think about when it comes to outreach is all outreach is a lot of times we think okay, I need to do publicity or I need to get on these radio shows, or I need a, you know, blogger on this, so I need to go speak over here, and it all works as long as it's moving people from not knowing you exist to knowing you exist. This class for meat is outreach, right? Because a lot of you in the chat rooms couple you here in the audience didn't even know I existed before this class, right? So it's moving people from not knowing I existed to knowing I existed, right? I tried to actually do this stuff I talk about here. So, um, so that's, what outreach is simply moving people from not knowing use that you exist to knowing you exist, giving them content to engage with and then getting permission to communicate with them? And then the last piece that we all love talking about is how to actually sell them a book, right? And we'll talk about that and it's actually one of the shorter sessions, because it's very, very simple if you do all the other three pieces it's very simple to invite them to buy. So those are the four pieces of connection system. We're goingto talk about each of those over the next two days, and through each of it, I'm going toe we've this idea of tracking through everything, because in today's world you do not do things and hope they work and have no idea if they work, you should actually be able to see if they're working and you need to be able to track all of the tools are out there. I'm going to talk about where that, what they are, how you can use them, most of them are free, but you should actually know if this stuff is working, right? Like so many times we're off running around, doing like, eight different things, and all of a sudden we sell some books and were like, I have no idea how I sold those books, right? And we can't recreate that system again toe actually sell more books, and I actually had a client, um, that was talking to me about this, and they're like, well, I have these three opportunities to write for these three different places, you know? And you know, this one looks good for this reason, and this one looks good for this reason, and this one looks good for this reason what should I do? And I'm like, I have no idea what you should do, though I just said, I don't know, but I do know, I don't know which one you should pick except try them. Do some writing for them because it was an opportunity to ride on an ongoing basis right a couple times for each one and then track and see if it does anything do you get more permission? Do you sell more books? Does it do anything if you actually watch it, then you'd be able to pick the one that works if you're just running around taking every opportunity that comes in you won't know what's working and what's not working and so that's where we have goals and litmus tests, right? We know where we're going we know that we're trying to move people from strangers to readers and then we have litmus tests along the way we have things to actually test and see did this work is this working? The world is changing, right? You know, just over the last year or two pitchers has exploded on and we had a whole class about marketing on pinterest and if you had said marketing on pinterest two or three years ago, people would say, what are you talking about everything's changing right? This stuff that we talked about specific to twitter and facebook and email and belonging, that stuff is going to change, but if you have a litmus test of you know I'm trying to have permission, I'm using content and I'm doing outreach those three things will not change the tools will change right I remember when I was in college I uh worked on a framing crew for a while and, um a bunch of guys that would drink a bunch of beer and then walk on rafters and they were so excited because what had just come out was the new cordless um nail gun, right? So for the first time they weren't dragging cords around to compressor and they would literally just they would throw it to each other just because they could, you know, and so the tool change, right? It used to be a hammer and a nail than a nail gun with the compressor now and that's changed, but what hasn't changed the fact that two boards have to stick together to build a house right and that's what we're talking about outreach will not change you always are going to need a way to move people from not knowing exist to knowing you exist. You're always going to need something for them to engage with, to get to know you before they give anything up and then you'll need a way to communicate with them on going that will not change, but the tools will change. And so over the next two days we're going tow always hang everything on that connection system because again I've worked with over one hundred authors I've studied a whole lot more and it all fit into this connection system

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.