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Sell Your First 1000 Books

Lesson 4 of 18

Sharing and Connecting with Readers

Tim Grahl

Sell Your First 1000 Books

Tim Grahl

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Lesson Info

4. Sharing and Connecting with Readers


  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

Sharing and Connecting with Readers

And so right now I just want to stop because we've gone through a lot of stuff and just any kind of like, I don't know what to do with this. I have some questions and anything that's coming to mind that you're thinking of chat room questions, anything we can start here in the audience. Well, I've already had a no han written a note about a change I want to make specifically around the litmus test I plato, the way I'm trying to market now and I'm looking for a lot more to come of course, but I had one idea already. Good wait, do you have a question that we could ask from mr porter kind of amore broadbased does good content market itself or is there too much noise nowadays? You know, that's interesting, actually, was it this morning or on the plane out here? I read this concern now that some study shows that you know, our attention span over the last ten years has gone from twelve seconds to eight seconds and everybody's like it has to be short, it has to be punchy has tohave, you know, ...

awesome headlines to engage people, and what I found is if it's interesting people will pay attention, you never meet who's done a class here, very successful, his emails are like long, like love letters to your girlfriend in high school weren't this long? I mean, it was like long, and he turns them out, you know, and there's one guy that does a lot of email marketing, and he sends emails every single day and he's like, if you don't like it, unsubscribe, right? That stuff matters, right? So making something short, making something punchy, having good headlines, you know, making stuff readable, all of that stuff matters, but it's twenty percent, right? If the core of it is not very good, people won't pay attention, but if you really focus on being relentlessly help awful and creating great content, it is something people will pay attention to. And as far as does content market itself, you know, kanye market content. The answer is yes to both right, of course, there's ways that you can get people to pay attention, and we'll talk about some of those. But if you're doing really great content and we'll also market itself. So when my book came out back in june, so a couple months ago and for about a month before it came out, I had a friend of mine, a friend and client suggests to me that you start keeping a book, a journal. Start keeping a journal both what I'm doing to launch the book and also just like how you feeling about it all right every day I'd say dear diary this is my book launch is going right so I'm typing it out and every day I did this for the whole month leading up to and it was pretty personal like it was like I'm freaking out, you know, a lot of my I always wondered why my clients were like I want a lot of people to buy my book but I don't want anybody to buy my book you know? It was like this dichotomy and I'm like why it's crazy and I'm feeling that I'm sitting there saying I want to be the guy that sold five thousand copies of the book but I don't want anybody actually read it, you know, on uh and so I like put all that stuff in there and there's actually a point in time we're like I was sitting there and I'm thinking every copy is digital right now I could delete it and walk away and like the dozen people that know, I'm working on this like, you know, I'll just tell them you know don't tell anybody you know, this whole thing to go away so I put all this stuff in this book journal thinking it was just for me and then, um a couple weeks after I came out with the book, I went to this conference and I saw a lot of my friends and people I've worked with and colleagues and several times people are like, you must have been so confident going into this year, the book marketing guy you had this down, you know, no big deal and I'm like that is not true. I was freaking out just like everybody else. And and so I put this this book channel together and I put in a pdf and I sent it out to my list and I have never gotten so much response to something I sent out, right? And we can talk about all the reasons around that we will in content, but what I want to point out is it's spread far I got lots of people that want me to have because of that, people wanted me on their podcast interview me talk about the book, it really spread, but I did two things, right? So I grated what ended up being good content? I marketed it like I sent it out to people, and I tried to promote it of like, I actually did this work, I want people to read it, and then it took a life of its own and what you'll see in a lot of what we talk about. Is that you're creating this platform? So you have this big push from the beginning because if you do create content and write a book in this void, it never has. It never can really catch legs, right? And I know there's outliers, of course, there's books that somebody wrote in a hole and, like, left it in a coffee shop and somebody picked up the book was like, this is amazing and published it and, you know, but that's, not most people were talking about normal writers that actually have to do a little work to get their work into the world, right? And so what I found is, if you have a good platform, you can launch content and it gives it that boost toe actually get over the hump of nobody knowing it exists, and then it can spread and that's, actually, we'll talk about some of this if we want teo get into it in the next couple of days. That's, how my book took off is I have a pretty small list, and I lost my book to the list and it's sold enough copies were gotten two amazons engine, and it started becoming a recommended book, so I ended up selling a lot more copies, but I had that first push, right, so to answer them, I sometimes like talk a lot and then finally answer a question and to answer the question it's both right you've got to create great content and a lot of ways it will find people but if you give it a boost it spreads a lot quicker um you know, so back to marketing right? You know, this is what I do so of course I love it and I don't want people to say that I'm sleazy and swarm me and pushy but I think marketing is really that that idea of like how can I connect with people? How can I connect him to my work? You know, how can I bring people into what I'm doing and people are doing this and all kinds of different ways you know there's this great writer patty dive and uh she runs a site called thirty seven days and um it was based on her father um found out he was going to dining he died thirty seven days later so this whole idea of like if you only have thirty seven days you know what would what would you do with that thirty seven days? And she brings people in in a way that I've never seen and in fact all of her books have this great artwork in it um and it's submitted by people in her community so she takes submissions and that work ends up in the book and she shares this these great stories and this great idea of what would you do if you only have thirty seven days? And that changes people's lives and it's and she's able to do it because she has that connection to our community? And I think, you know, I was I was talking a while ago with this writer, and he was lamenting all of these changes in publishing, and he was talking about how I wish I could just do my writing, and I have to worry about all this other stuff I'm like, I really like you don't want to see the way that your work is changing people's lives like you don't actually want to watch that and interact with that and see it happening and do it in a way where it's this part of something bigger and then, you know, not on ly with that emotional side of, like connecting with your readers, but think about how that changes what you do is a writer, you know, publishing's changing it's not always going to be the way is today. And this idea that, like, you know, I can just go through the traditional publishing route and it's all gonna work for me, it may or may not be around and it may or may not even be the best decision for you and so what does that mean if the system is no longer there to sell the book for you what you're going to do but if you have that direct connection with your readers the answer is I can do whatever I want I can write about something completely different you know? I can create a product that isn't even a book you know I can do workshops I can meet people in person I can tell stories in a way you know, what is even a book is changing. We're not going to get too much into this kind of stuff, but what we even call a book is changing, right? You know, now we have short books, we have long books, we have books that have a lot of media in it um and we were now seeing books that are words on a page that are part of a bigger whole online right there's all kinds of stuff happening. And when you have that direct connection with the reader when you're no longer abdicating that connection too barnes and noble and amazon and your publisher and all of these other people when you have that door connection you have options, right? You have the ability to, um do something meaningful and so that's what I want to get you thinking about here so as we get in to all of this nitty gritty we're no longer thinking about sales is pushy we're no longer thinking of sales as something where I'm pushing myself on other people we're inviting them in to be a part of what we're doing we're inviting them in teo to connect with us in a way where we are building that connection and we're building something that makes a difference and you know, um one of my clients in this uh his name damn pink and I mentioned him before and he does this in a really good way you know, he's written book it's on lots of different topics he's written his last book was on sales the one before that was on motivation his first book was on freelancing um pretty divergent topics right? This isn't a guy that just turns out the same ideas over and over and every one of themselves really, really well and that's because he's met he's built a group of people that are fans of him as an author, the fans of his worldview and how he thinks about the world and then he writes books out of that and what that means is when he sends an email out to his list that talks about his five favorite novels of two thousand twelve now if you think about that that's a little weird right? I just read this guy's book on sales and why do I care what novels he likes like really you know if you think about that well, that doesn't make sense okay? So he did some research on sales I don't really care what you read before you go to bed, but the thing is that his people that follow him love it because they love his worldview they love following him and that gives him options to talk about what he wants to talk about he loves he travels all the time he loves taking pictures of he calls it emotionally intelligent sign it right and it's like all these signs from around the world and he puts him up online and people love it right and again a guy that writes books on freelancing and sales why is he taking pictures of signs and putting them on the internet? And what we find is we just like his worldview and so that's what we're trying to do in all of this is create that connection with our readers in a way where they're connected to our worldview and will follow us and fought not only by this book not only by our backlist but by everything that we do in the future and be a part of everything that we do in the future so that's what we're going to do for the next seven sessions we have some guests coming in we got tom fishburne coming in today hugh how is going to be here tomorrow we're going to get in hue howie is a great author who's done a lot of really neat stuff himself publishing and I know mark and jerry have read his books as well as I in oh you have to and um and so uh we're gonna have a couple of guests talk about how they've done it and then we're going to dive into each of these things and we're going to take lots of questions so I'm really excited teo dive into this and we will get started on that coming up fantastic we actually have if you've got a couple minutes weakened become questions on some general stuff so mr porter what if you don't want to turn into a personal brand and attach your name to a specific topic how do you market then you have to come up with a pseudonym and create a fake personality or what if you don't want to be that that sort of person well so we all start with our goals and minds and everybody writes books for different reasons right? And so um you know, there is this idea now that if you do want to be the writer that just sits in their cave in turns out work that may not be an option any more and that's just life technology is happening things they're changing options are going away that used to be there so you know one question I get a lot that he may be alluding to is you know what if I'm trying to do two different things you know and again it depends on options like I know one guy who writes nonfiction books and then under a pen name he writes his fiction books and he's successful in both places right? And that works for him and um and then you have people like um you know, there's different authors out there one of kate white she was the editor in chief of cosmopolitan magazine for a long time and while running cosmopolitan magazine, she writes nonfiction career books and she writes best selling fiction books and she's able to do both and so as far as becoming the persona, you know that also you know, I'm trying to like, pick up what he means by that but you're not becoming anybody you're just being yourself and you're sharing things that you're interested in we're going to talk a lot about that but you don't really have to become anybody you can just be yourself and you use these tools to get people connected to what you're doing I mean, I can talk to some personal experience about that because I did write about a very high profile subject and I became the go to person for that subject afterwards which I found very frustrating because all my other work was being completely ignored yeah, I mean any other subjects why? I kind of understand what mr porter's coming from there that you need to be a little bit careful about that in fact, the white color is asking questions very similar subject does having a niche market matter, so I'll answer. So let me say one thing about that, that is a elizabeth gilbert did this great ted talk about creativity, but in there she said something about how her it's very possible that her best work is behind her and that could make her start drinking in the morning, right? And, um and that that is an issue, but that's an issue for anybody, right? Like people still talk about how stephen king's best work was thirty years ago, and he has to live with that, so, yeah, it can go back and forth and then, um about nici so, um, so I have a couple of defaults that you know, I watch it a lot of authors and there's a couple default I go to the first is you shouldn't it build your brand around a specific book or a specific topic? In most cases, you shouldn't start there because it's, you know, if you're in your thirties or your forties and you're writing your first book, what are you going to be writing about in twenty or thirty years? You know, is it the same thing? Are you sure this is the topic you're done until the day I die? This is what I'm talking about and if that's the case sure build something around the topic but my default is become the author becomes somebody that people can be connected to how you write and of course you're going to be interested in certain things along the way, so I think niche ing is important niche, right? I wrote a book for authors and but what? I'm at the same time, what I've seen is don't worry too much about it, like talk about what you're interested in if you're writing about a book about a specific niche right about it, talk about it, share about it and what you'll find if later you change, readers will follow you like I'm really surprised about how quickly we are, you know, stephen king hey came out with a book about gun control and how he feels about gun control, and I bought it and read it it was really good, right? So I followed this guy who writes horror fiction, and when he comes out with a non fiction book about gun guns around, like, sure, I'll give it a try, all right? So I find that, you know, feel free to niche but really make it, you know, tash people to your name attached people to your voice because that will never change your names not going to change your voice isn't going to change your world view is who you are and bring people into that and then as you move of course you're gonna have been flowing things you talk about, but once you have that connection to them they'll follow you agrees with utah totally saying the niche matters on apparently he learned that the highway hard way too big a nation one gets lost in the press that's interesting yeah and that's go ahead yeah that's you know and that's you know we're getting in the business to write and folks there business and all that kind of stuff um and uh, you know, socheat you talked about the recession proof graduate and he talks about knitting in that and, um and becoming somebody that's known for something in particular and hugh, how we will talk about that about how it's easy to become known in a genre instead of just kind of writing random stuff um but what I'm saying is from what I've seen don't worry too much about it right about what you're interested in right about what you want right now and if you change later on, people will follow you along you know, you look at tim fares he wrote for our work week then for our body, then for our chef and all of them were bestsellers, some sold better than others, but all of them were really best sellers, and his fans followed him from topic to topic to topic and even muchmore variant topics on his belong. And so but what you see through each of the books and threw everything that he creates is this common threat about how tim sees the world and if you like the way that tim sees the world, you're going to like hearing him talk about philosophy and hearing him talk about cooking and hear him talk about starting a business, you're going to like it all because it has his common thread through it. And the thing is, you don't have to try to have that common threat like you are the common threat, so just bu and that common thread will naturally come. So, uh, by the way, mr porter did clarify saying what I mean is I'm a tax lawyer and write children's books. Yeah, so it's exactly that issue, they talk out, so thank you. Uh, we do have a good general question from the rainy day store and from claire good question is, how do we determine if we should self publish or find a publisher big topic, but I'll try to hit on it very quickly. So what I like most about the question is that you can ask the question now, right? So in the past it was actually called vanity publishing, which means you're doing it just for your own vanity right? And actually is recent is like a year ago and editor was telling me at a major publisher that anybody that sells published is just vanity publishing, right? The truth is that that's not true anymore, right? So we have all of these options and options are great and so what this allows you to do is make the best decision for you so let me just give a couple examples so with my book I wanted to write a book about how to build a platform for authors step by step guide I talked to two different agents both of them were interested, but they wanted me to write a book about platforms for anyway. One of them even said it needs to be even for magicians, right? And I didn't want to do that like I want to be the author guy like I'm building my business around helping authors so why would I write this book for anybody? And I didn't know anybody else like I didn't know other things like I know authors I've been in the trenches, I've done it, I know what works what doesn't work if I start talking about magicians, I don't know how magicians build a platform you know? And so I decided for my business when I want to do I want to self publish I could get it out quicker I could write the book I wonder where right nobody was going to get on to me about the word count right? So I wanted to self publish I have I have clients that do a lot of public speaking and get a lot of gays consulting with major corporations they need to traditionally publish because it is still a signal in certain veins in certain markets. Steve I would say you're in that same position you have to do a lot of consulting with a lot of great companies and if you just throughout a book that was self published and did it really look good that could hurt your brand right? And so you've got to make those decisions when you look at fiction writing I'm of the belief that it's becoming very, very hard to make a case for traditional publishing for fiction writers because if I'm a non fiction writer I make money off of everything but the book right? Like I speak do consulting aiken do workshops aiken sell other products I can do all kinds of stuff if I'm a fiction writer, I need those royalties right? And now I can self publish and make seventy percent or aiken traditionally publish and make fifteen percent can I sell more books at three dollars or twenty dollars, right? So so the biggest thing is, is, look at start with your goal in mind. What do you trying to accomplish with this book? Do you need something to sell to the tribe that's in place? Maybe you should self published, you can make more money selling for cheaper get more copies out there if you're like me, and you're just wanting to step out from behind the curtain, right? So I've been behind the curtain, helping lots of authors, and I kind of want to step out and start building my own tribal little bit more. I want to create a book, that's four bucks that I can put out, I can market, I can give the whole damn thing away if I want to nobody's going to bother me, I just wanted to self publish it, right? But if I'm somebody that needs to have major corporations ringing my phone, that I need to get consulting gigs and they're looking at that, and it is, it is true, like, you have to go through a lot of processes to get a traditional publishing deal, and they read out a lot of crap, and a lot of self publishing stuff is not that great, right? And so the biggest thing is why you're you writing a book what do you trying to accomplish with it? Do you have the platform to get it out there? If that's the case then you start looking at all the different all the different avenues because it's not even just self publishing in traditional publishing there's lots of companies that are sitting in the middle now there's greenleaf publishing I think they're from austin and they I kind of do that middle ground where they do a lot of the pieces for you but you still are technically self publishing and so lots of options but start with the goal right? Why you writing a book and then look at all your options and figure out which one gets you there the best way? Any questions from our audience here today? Anybody right now because you got quite a lot coming in from the internet. Certainly we could ask questions for hours from the way this works. This is a really interesting one. That's we got lala who I'm assuming is a lady judging by the tone of the question she's saying that some writers unnaturally private it's not a question of being shy or introvert is just not interested in making yourself available could tim help with this especially for women? There could be so many people who want something from you that you need to fend off becoming a public person is that has it so there's lots of different ways to do this so if you look at um I feel like I'm good example here because I don't do a lot with social media right? If you look at my social meet first of all, if you look at twitter it's two things it's me trying to get to so support staff it's some company or it's me retweeting somebody else and I'm liking it along there like every three weeks right? Facebook it's kind of like I ran this race and here's a picture and oh, I'm doing this creative life thing you know, like um not very good and so I kind of stay back from social media and I do a lot through my email list and I do a lot through emailing people we're going to talk about that what I found is like sometimes we get this idea that the example I used to use his gary vanner chuck has anybody heard him? Carrie maynard, chuck wright and like for a while I I don't know how many articles I read about like you need to do marketing like gary vanna chuck and like you look at the guy and you're like nobody can do marketing like gary van a check because gary's entire marketing is his personality like he's out there and he's loud and he's crazy and he loves to just yell a lot talk about wine a lot and like all of this stuff that I will never be because this alone sitting and standing in the studio is terrifying to me and so so the idea that you have and that's what I think it's in our minds a lot as we look at these people that are out there and like putting themselves out there and constantly like like kind of being loud and, you know, sharing pictures of their kids or whatever it is that we have to be like that and what I found is I've seen authors that are all stripes that are private and want to be private but want teo but can still connect people with their work and what I found is, you know, one of my authors I mention her pam slim she loves social media she loves putting pictures of kids out there she loves sharing her life with people and it works so well for her and then I see people that are much more private and when they talk publicly they're on point they're talking about their content there talking about what they write about and both can work and so what I think is as we talk about this think about okay, I need to fill permission I need to feel content and I need to do outreach and I can do it in ways that are natural to me as a person

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.