Ben Shaffer – Native Ads Formula
Tim Grahl and Jeff Goin – Instant Bestseller Course 2014
Want to become a successful author in 2015?
Let me help you learn
how marketing really works.
Marketing a book seems to be full of nothing but unpleasant, confusing chores that rarely reap results.
Just the technology alone is overwhelming:
- Setting up even a simple website can be expensive and frustrating
- It can take months to figure out all the social media platforms
- How do you even start to get an email list set up?
- Or get an image placed correctly into your blog post?
But it’s not only the technology that causes us problems.
There’s all kind of things working against us when we’re trying to put our book out into the world.
Worse yet, it’s not even the work itself that’s the biggest problem—we’re willing to work hard and put in the time.
What really gets in the way is that damn little voice in our head.
“I don’t know where to start!”
“I’m not focused enough.”
“I’m too introverted.”
“I don’t know what to write about.”
“I’ve already failed at everything else and this will be just the same.”
“I’m too busy.”
“It won’t work for me.”
“I’m not smart enough.”
“Or talented enough.”
“Or interesting enough.”
“Or successful enough.”
The fear is always there, chomping at our gut.
During the launch of my book, I kept a journal documenting the entire process. Then, a couple months after the launch, I released the whole thing for people to read. It’s now been read by thousands of writers.
This is the line that has stood out the most for them:
“I want to be the author that sells a lot of copies of his book without having anyone actually buy and read it.”
Yes, the writing process can often be a hard and grueling task.
Yet the most terrifying moment of all is when you actually put your work out into the world for people to start judging it.
At that point, you have no control. They literally can say anything they want about it! They can post a 1-star review on Amazon for all the world to see!
Even worse—and here’s the core fear—if I start putting my work out into the world, people are going to realize the truth.
The truth that I’m a fraud.
That I’m a bad writer.
That I’ll never be good enough.
That this whole being a writer thing is just a stupid fantasy.
I get it. I’ve been there with my own writing and I’ve talked to hundreds of writers about these same fears.
And here’s a secret I’ve learned along the way…
There’s not a writer alive who doesn’t deal with those same fears and doubts.
I’ve worked with a broad range of authors, from top New York Times bestselling authors to those just trying to get their first project off the ground, and they all deal with those same paralyzing fears.
So why don’t we all just give way to those fears, hunker down and “stay safe”?
Too many writers are already doing that. So let’s step back for a moment and consider our options.
If you’ve been at all paying attention to how publishing works these days, you’ll have very quickly realized that the whole marketing/author platform/selling your book situation is up to you now.
Nobody—not your publisher, your publicist or your website guy—is going to do it for you.
And if you don’t do it, the outcome is pretty disastrous.
I’m not even talking about money. While you obviously want to make money with your writing, you didn’t get into writing just to get rich. There are lots easier ways to make money.
No, the first thing that occurs if you don’t actively market your book is shame.
You’ve been working on that book for months or years. Everybody in your life knows you’re working on a new book!
So then, when it comes out and nobody buys it . . . what now?
People are going to ask. “How’s your book doing?” And what are you going to say?
It’s embarrassing, when everyone you know is aware that you’ve put a new book out, and it’s not selling.
There’s also the feeling of failure.
You’ve put so much time, energy and heart into your writing, only to find that it doesn’t do what you hoped it would do—move people. Lots of them.
When you start thinking about all the time you’ve spent on writing, editing, rewriting, advertising, it quickly becomes very depressing.
And I haven’t even mentioned the worst part about your book not selling.
The worst part is: it’s finally out in the world, but nobody is reading it.
You see, my life has been changed by books. My life is better because of books.
Think back to the times when you read some of your favorite books.
The first reading experience I remember that really affected me powerfully was when I read Jurassic Park as a kid. It both terrified and delighted me in a way that is still with me to this day.
A decade ago when I was sitting in a closet office at a job I hated, I picked up a copy of Purple Cow by Seth Godin, which set me on the path to becoming a writer and entrepreneur.
The worst part about your book not selling is not the sudden lack of fame or wealth.
It’s that people don’t get to read it.
And because of that, their life lacks some of the shine, some of the magic, maybe some hope and encouragement they would have gained if they had read it.
And of course, we now have to talk about the money.
After all of that work and investment, you want to actually get paid.
It’s OK to want your book to make money. Because if it does make money, that will allow you to keep writing!
So how can you get away from that embarrassment, failure and loss of income?
You have two clear options here:
- Give into the fear—write your book, put it up for sale and hope it sells.
- Learn to conquer the fear—learn how to do the marketing using simple, proven methods—and put out a book you know will sell.
And if I ask 100 authors which they would choose—hope their book will sell or know their book will sell—all of them will choose the latter.
So what holds people back from actually carrying that out?
One day not long ago, I was sitting on a train heading into Washington DC, getting ready to share a crucial plan with my biggest client.
I was about to show him how we were going to take all the work we’d done for the previous three years and use it to launch his book as an instant bestseller.
On the overhead shelf was my flipchart with my plan sketched out in black Sharpie. In front of me were my notes. I was going over them for the twelfth time, wondering if I’d missed anything.
I felt like all of my work for the previous three years had led up to this point, and I was scared that I would blow it.
New York Times bestselling author Daniel Pink had told me that he was foregoing his usual book launch strategies.
He was trusting my strategies alone to make his book a bestseller.
Like many authors, he’d had success in the past. But there was no guarantee he’d repeat it.
He needed a way to ensure that all of his work would pay off, to guarantee a bestseller each time he launched something new.
So he’d hired me to build his platform and direct his launch.
When he’d first hired me three years earlier, I had some good ideas on what it would take to build a platform that would guarantee bestseller status, but didn’t know if any of those ideas would work.
So for the next three years, I worked with Dan to build his author platform and connect directly to his readers. We worked hard, and when we launched his book To Sell Is Human, we saw that work pay off in a big way.
It quickly hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestseller lists—all at the same time.
My campaign was the determining factor behind the book launching so high—higher than any of Dan’s previous books.
You’d think I’d be excited at the prospect of creating a gangbuster. And I was. For a little while.
Then I thought, “Well, maybe it was just a fluke. Maybe his book would have hit #1 without my efforts.”
Thankfully, I got a chance to test my methods again a few months later, when I ran the book launch for Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
Once again, they didn’t hire a publicist or any other outside firm. They just hired me.
The result? An instant #2 New York Times bestseller.
That same week I had not one, not two, but five clients sitting with bestsellers, all at the same time.
My clients Daniel Pink, Hugh Howey, Charles Duhigg, Chip and Dan Heath, and Michael Moss all had books on the New York Times bestseller list that week.
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