You don’t think Sarah Palin, Beyonce, Pamela Anderson, Lance Armstrong, and Nicole Richie actually wrote their books? As one celeb said, “I don’t do my own typing.” So many bestselling books were the result of an author hiring a great ghostwriter.
Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written with Ken Shelton. Richard Branson in Losing My Virginity acknowledges Edward Whitley. Howard Schultz’s Onward was penned by Joanne Gordon. Many of the top-selling CEO and celebrity books are penned by someone else, but the book could not exist without the author. The ghostwriter provides the words, and sometimes some supplemental research, but not the expertise, not the story nor the advice in the pages.
That’s all you, the author. So, if you hate writing, don’t have the time to do it, or you just know you aren’t the best person for the job, a talented ghostwriter could be the right solution for you.
A ghostwriter is someone who can write your book, in your words. Good ghostwriters work hard to capture your voice to create a first draft.
So, what exactly does a great ghostwriter do?
First, the ghostwriter needs to flush out the concept for the book. Which means, identifying the ideal reader, and the hook of the book. Working with the author, the ghostwriter will create the outline for the book.
Second, the ghostwriter has to get the content from the author. Usually, this involves interviewing the author extensively to capture their voice and expertise. The ghostwriter also will research the subject matter to supplement the content as needed.
At some point early on the writer will send a sample over to the author to check the tone of the writing. Then, they will put their head down and their hands to the keyboard and complete the first draft.
Finally, the writer then will take feedback on the full first draft from the author and rework the manuscript.
Once it’s a solid draft, it’s off the editors, and over to you, to review and revise.
If that sounds like exactly what you need help with, your next question probably is where can I find a great ghostwriter?
How much research do you need the ghostwriter to do to add to the manuscript?
These are all important things to figure out.
Now, you start looking. Here are three ideas for where to find a great ghostwriter:
Number one, you can ask your friends who have written a book.
Some may disclose they worked with one; others may say something like, “Oh, I have a friend who worked with one.”
Number two, check out writing groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Many of the groups are closed groups, but if you write the admin and let them know what you’re looking for, they just might put up a post on your behalf. When I was hiring a ghostwriter for Book Launchers, I received about 20 highly-qualified applicants from a writers group one of the people on my team is a part of. It was a fantastic source.
Number three, Google business ghostwriters.
I connected with a few ghostwriting service companies when I was trying to find a very specific, skilled ghostwriter for one of our clients.
Four, post a job where you might hire other freelancers, like Guru.com, Upwork.com, Indeed.com or Scriptd.
Post a job for a great ghostwriter could result in an overwhelming number of responses though. So, the next question you might ask is: How do you know when you’ve found a good ghostwriter?
We’ll cover that in a second, but first let’s explore what it can cost to hire a ghostwriter.
When Book Launchers first started, we only helped you write your book with writing coaches. We didn’t have ghostwriters on our team. Then one of our clients said, “I don’t want to be the one to put the words to my expertise.” I tried to argue the benefits of writing his book, but he insisted, “It’s not a good use of my time. Find me a writer.”
My first call was to a ghostwriter I knew would be perfect for him. She’s written at least one Wall Street Journal bestseller. My client loved her, but her price tag of $50,000 to $60,000 was a bit of a budget killer. So I brought in another writer who was a well-respected sports biography ghostwriter. He couldn’t disclose a lot of his clients as many people don’t want you to know that they didn’t write their book. And because I didn’t know his experience level as well, I expected him to be cheaper than the other one. He came in at $1 per finished word.
Most business books are somewhere around 50,000 to 75,000 words, so you can see how $1 a finished word could add up.
So, I expanded my search and I started interviewing all kinds of people who had ghostwriting experience. Most of the other quotes came in between $25,000 and $35,000 for a book. The cheapest ghostwriter I found, and they were a service, not a single writer, started at $18,000.
When you understand that it will take most ghostwriters up to six months to write your book, the prices make sense. Great ghostwriters dedicate a lot of their life and time to this project. They aren’t making a living if they charge much less. And it’s not easy being a great ghostwriter, it’s a skill to be able to write a book well and to do it in someone else’s voice.
It’s not just a matter of putting words to the paper; it’s a matter of making sure they would be words that you, the real author of the book, would use.
Now, you can hire much cheaper writers. And the writing might even be half decent. The issue is that it’s not your voice and that is so important. It’s not your book if it’s not your voice. And if someone writes in a different style than you would, then you have a mountain of work to do to redo it. Sure, you save money, but you add a whole lot of time, energy and effort to the entire project.
Bottom line: to get a skilled professional ghostwriter working on your book, you’re looking at a minimum of 30 cents per finished word. The average cost is going to be closer to 50 cents per word. The more experienced the writer and the more extensive the work you’re asking for them to do, the higher the price.
Now, how do you select a great ghostwriter?
With all of the other things figured out, including:
Your goals for the book,
What you need your writer to do,
Where you are going to find your ghostwriter, and
How much you expect to pay,
now it’s time to uncover the secret to screening and choosing the best ghostwriter for your project.
This isn’t as easy as you might think because most people who hire ghostwriters don’t want you to know they didn’t write their book, so this presents a pretty big challenge.
How do you evaluate a ghostwriter’s work if they’re not allowed to tell you the books they’ve written?
In many cases, the ghostwriter has signed an NDA, so they can’t tell you they wrote that book. The more experienced ghostwriters will be able to point to a few projects they’ve worked on and can give you samples of their writing, but how do you know if they’ve captured the author’s voice if you don’t get to know who the real author is?
There’s a lot of ways to approach this, but here’s how I hire ghostwriters for Book Launchers:
Number one, I put something in the job ad that acts as an initial screen.
For example, I ask a weird question, like their favorite fruit, or I request that they do not send a resume, but instead send a short writing sample. If they don’t follow that instruction, I immediately eliminate them. If they lack care and attention to detail at the start when they should be showing their best self, it’s not a good sign for me, and it’s an immediate rejection.
Number two, I make sure that they’ve worked on similar projects.
Have they written several business books before? Not just articles, but full books. Have they written any of their books? Ideally, I want to check out their writing somewhere. Assuming that the writing was decent and they had relevant experience, we’ll move onto number three.
Number three, I send them a content editing test.
I’ve been using the first five pages of a client’s manuscript. I ask them to read it, provide five suggestions to make it more engaging and easier to read without impacting the author’s voice. Do they recognize the key issues? Can they offer interesting suggestions to improve the material? Are they able to identify questions they should be asking?
Number four, I then set up a time to chat.
When we’re talking, I’m looking for personality fit, engagement, and dedication. I don’t have a specific list of questions I’m asking when I interview a potential ghostwriter except for the following:
What do you love about writing non-fiction books? I’ve found a lot of ghostwriters who are passionate about fiction, but non-fiction pays their bills. I’m looking for a writer that loves learning new things and turning them into material that will be helpful and easy to digest for someone else.
How do you approach a ghostwriting project? There isnt’ a right answer but they need a process. If someone doesn’t have an approach at all, I will be concerned about their true experience level.
Finally, how do you prefer to communicate with a client?
If everything looks good, references are next.
Ask, “What was it like “to work with them?” “What was challenging about working with the writer? “What did you have to do to help them with the project?” And then, even ask them, “What did you think “the process was like?”
Now, before you hire them for the full project, you still may want to do a tester. Maybe you pay to an article written for you. That way you can see how it is to work with them and if they can capture your voice before you hire them to write your full book.
Finally, you have to talk price and expectations. You should have a good idea of this from above already. But here’s a few more points on this:
The lower the price, the faster they’re going to need to go to get to a first draft. This isn’t a bad thing, but know that they’re making money on quantity, not quality.
You have to manage them, set deadlines, layout expectations and provide feedback.
Remember, you’re getting a manuscript, not a book. You still have to hire editors, layout designers, cover creators, and more.
Writers won’t give you a satisfaction guarantee because it sets themselves up for a world of pain if they get a picky client. You can set a number of re-writes or revisions in your contract, but it will not be unlimited. It’s your job to manage the process from the start to make sure you get what you want.
If all this sounds like a giant pain in the behind, and it is, we can help! We now have writing coaches who help clients to write their book. If you prefer to have an experienced ghostwriter do the writing for you, we can do that, too! The best part is we can do it for less than it would cost if you hired one of these amazing writers on your own. If you want to chat about it, fill out this form and we’ll hop on the phone!
“I want to write a book, but I don’t think I’m successful enough.”
Have you thought that? I get it … when I wrote my first book to help real estate investors, I wondered the same thing.
My husband and I had been investing for ten years, but we were far from driving Lamborghini’s and vacationing on yachts. We knew several folks who had done more than 100 deals. Two of our friends in Florida had done more than 300 deals!
Who were we to write a real estate book? When I started writing, I think we’d done 30 deals, and many of them were problem properties, not profit centers. I didn’t have all the answers, but I did have a perspective that wasn’t being shared that openly in the industry. And, I had the desire to share that perspective to help others.
The success of my book (it hit #1 Overall on Amazon as a print book!), proves it’s not about being the best or having the biggest numbers.
In fact, you might be MUCH better suited to write a book than the person who is THE BEST or THE BIGGEST.
Here’s why … Who would be best to learn from, someone who is a few miles ahead on the road you’re on, or someone like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, or Richard Branson?
It’s fun to read about their journey, but it’s almost impossible to picture yourself doing what they have done. Most people would rather learn from someone who has unique insights and a different approach to teaching them EXACTLY what they need to know to move forward from where they are today.
So, look at it this way instead:
Someone is going to become famous doing what you do … why not you?
If you think you have to do SOMETHING BIG before you write your book, let me share something that changed my approach when I quit my job to start my first business.
This idea originated from Zig Ziglar:
‘Be, Do, Have’
It’s the reverse to how most of us approach life. Most of us approach our goals with the idea that if we have x, we will do y and be z. For example, I thought: when I have an MBA, I can do a job where I make six figures, and then I will be successful, have freedom and feel financially secure.
It doesn’t work that way. In fact, that line of thinking often takes you in the entirely wrong direction – or at least that is what happened to me.
So many people think they need to have the perfect story for a book. Then they can write a book, and become the known expert.
You DO need to have material for your book, sure. But, if you’re waiting to have something before you do something so you can be someone, it’s never going to happen.
Figure out who you want to ‘be’ first.
Keith Cunningham business mentor explained it this way: “who you be dictates what you do, and what you do dictates what you’ll have.”
I think it’s about connecting to who you are and letting yourself be that person. That will dictate what you do, and what you have.
Consider carefully who you are. That’s where you begin when you set out to write a book, explode your career and become famous for what you do.
And of course, you don’t know all the answers. Very few authors will when they set out to write ANY book. That’s part of the amazing benefit of writing a book. You add to your expertise and your network.
So … If you don’t have all the answers, who can you interview to help you get the answers?
What research can you add to the book to support your experience?
What stories can you find to illustrate the message you want to share?
BE your fabulous self, DO the work to fill in any gaps you may have and showcase the expertise that will help your ideal reader. Then, you will HAVE massive book writing success.
Figuring out how to price a non-fiction book for sale is tricky business. You want a price point that is high enough that a reader knows the book is valuable, and that it opens you up to cross promotional opportunities. And, you want to be competitive so you don’t scare away your prospective readers.
To me, book pricing is one part art and one part science.
To figure out how to price a non-fiction book, first you want to know:
What is the ultimate goal of your book?
What are the distribution channels?
What formats are you printing in?
How many pages is your book?
And, what is the value you are offering to the reader?
By the way, Amazon’s really what you need to pay attention to as a self-published author. That’s where more than 80% of your book sales are going to come from, even if you have book store distribution. So really, you’re figuring out what’s going to make you stand out and keep that Amazon monster fat and happy.
But how do you figure it all out? Well, let’s take a look:
How to Price a Self Published Book on Amazon - YouTube
And, of course if this seems like a giant pain in the butt and you wish someone else would do it all for you, your Book Launchers membership includes pricing research and a price range recommendation. That’s just part of our service to help you write, publish and promote your book. We also do extensive category selection and keyword research.
Media interviews are an ideal way to boost visibility and credibility. As an entrepreneur or professional media coverage is incredibly valuable in business and book sales. The good news is that when you’re a book author it’s substantially easier to get media coverage than when you’re not!
It’s just another reason to stop procrastinating and write your book now!
But, the reality is that media interviews are easy to mess up. And, authors make mistakes all the time.
You only have one opportunity to shine in that interview, so here’s 10 tips to master those media interviews .
If you’ve written a nonfiction book, chances are, the media is going to want to talk to you. They’re always looking for content and they’re looking for experts to talk about different things on their show. When the media comes calling, you want to make sure that you are prepared. And these ten tips will help you master the media and make the most of it for your book and your business.
Number one, is to show up for your interview.
It seems obvious, but here’s why it’s included in this list.
If you’re doing podcast interviews or radio interviews, it’s really easy to get time zones mixed up. Double-confirm the time, and make sure you’re showing up for the interview at the right time.
If you’re on a TV show, and you have to start really early in the morning, give yourself extra time. Some of my media interviews required me to be in the the greenroom at six A.M. If you’re driving around at 5:30 in the morning trying to find the location of the TV studio, and you get lost, guess what? You’re going to miss your interview. And on live TV, it’s going to run without you.
Make sure you know where you’re going and leave extra time so you don’t miss that interview.
Number two, is prepare in advance.
If it’s a TV show, watch it before you go on it. If it’s a radio or podcast interview, listen to a few shows, make some notes about what they like to talk about. Most importantly make a note of the host’s name and the show name and have it on a cue card. It’s easy when you’re under pressure to forget important details, like who you’re talking to. So, have it on a cheat sheet, and then you’ll always know.
Number three is have water handy.
It seems obvious again, but you can get rushed onto a set and you suddenly get this dry cotton mouth that happens when you’re nervous. Have water handy so you can take a quick sip and carry on. Don’t worry about bringing it onto the TV set with you. They will tell you where you can put it, or ask you to pour it into one of their sponsor mugs to drink from.
Number four, read your book as a refresher.
Sounds funny, ’cause you wrote the book, right? But by the time media interviews are happening, it may be three to nine months after you’ve been deep in the trenches of your book and you forget what you wrote.
Picture this … you’re live on TV and the host of the show is opening up to page 123 and saying, “Now here you say … Tell me what you were thinking when you wrote that.”
Do you remember your book well enough to be able to explain a random passage from your book? If not, refresh yourself fast!
While most hosts do not read your book and will use the questions you submit to the show producer, the odd one will pull from your book. Avoid any awkwardness or missed opportunities by knowing your material.
Number five, stay up to date on the news, especially news specific in your industry.
Knowing what is happening in your industry is critical for creating relevant pitches for your media outreach. It also gives you something trending and topical to talk about when you’re on the show, which the show will always appreciate. If you do this well, you could become a regular guest of your local show.
Number six, think of this as a speed date.
Typically you only have a couple of minutes and they go fast, so you want to have quick tips. No long stories. Prepare short antidotes and little soundbites. Hit ’em fast and hit ’em hard. The time will be gone before you know it.
Number seven, prep your talking points in advance.
Every show producer will ask you for questions or talking points. Create questions that lead into the answers that you most want to talk about. And write those questions word for word, because a lot of hosts will actually ask them word for word.
But, here’s the trick. You don’t have one question and one answer. Have multiple ways to answer each of those questions, so not only will you keep your interviews fresh, but you could go a slightly different direction if that show needs it. You want to be prepared so you can be flexible.
Number eight, invest in the right equipment to do home interviews.
I’ve been on shows where you Skype in, so you don’t have to travel. Here’s one example here:
Fire and Fury Book (Donald Trump's Amazon Best Selling Effect ) - YouTube
It’s great because you don’t have to travel. However, you will not look like a pro if you don’t have good lighting, great audio, and a good backdrop.
I’ve seen shows where you can see people’s closet and see the clothes in them. It’s even worse when you see their messy office! It decreases the credibility of the guest. It’s really distracting as an audience viewer. And the show won’t like it either. If you were a great guest, a lot of times these shows will have you back again and again and again. So, spend a few hundred dollars and get great equipment and you’ll look like a pro and probably get invited back. The above interview was in my office. But, I’ve done them at home in my messy bedroom. I just put up a bluescreen background. It’s not as nice as my office but it works too!
Number nine, send people to a specific page with a specific offer.
You can have them go to your website but you’re more likely to get a response to a specific offer. Go to BookLaunchers.com/sellbooks where you’re going to find a fantastic resource on eight ways to sell a thousand books for under a hundred dollars.
Now they’ve got a reason to go to that page, sign up for your newsletter, and you can build a relationship with them.
Number ten, don’t be freakin’ boring!
Let your personality come out. Have some fun with it. The shows are really looking for character and personality. They want great interviews. And that only happens if your character comes out and you have a little fun with it. If you’re too nervous or you try too hard to be perfect you won’t shine!
Alright, when you’re a book author the media is going to call you. These ten tips will have you so much more prepared!
10 Tips for Media Interviews for Authors - YouTube
Writing under a pen name is tricky business. There are good reasons to do it, but more and more, I think it’s better to write under your real name. Let me explain …
Do you have a favorite thought leader or writer? You know, that person whose content you consume hungrily no matter what they are talking about?
Before I quit my job and joined the ranks of entrepreneurship, my go to author and virtual mentor was a man named Michael Masterson. I read everything he wrote online and bought all his books. When he his company hosted a conference in Florida, I put money I was planning to use for a vacation into a ticket, got on a plane and attended that conference.
I wanted to learn everything he had to teach. And, I owe a lot of my early business-building success to what I learned from him.
But, when I had the opportunity to meet him, I got a bit of a shock.
His name wasn’t Michael Masterson. That was his pen name.
Now there was this awkward thing. Do I call him Michael, or do I call him Mark? I didn’t know what to call him anymore.
And even though I was deeply grateful for all I’d learned from him, there was this thing in my head now:
Why couldn’t he use his own name? What is he hiding? What else isn’t true?
Again, I’m super grateful for all I learned from him. But the fact that he had a pen name made things uncomfortable and weird for me, a fan and a client.
So with that in mind, let’s talk about whether it makes sense for you.
Should You Use a Pen Name to Write Your Book? - YouTube
Good Reasons to Use a Pen Name
Number one, your privacy is important. Let’s say that you have insider information for your industry, and you don’t want people to know it’s coming from you. Or perhaps you’re well-respected in a Corporate America job, and you wanna write about erotica and you don’t want all your colleagues to know about your S&M fetish.
Those are solid reasons.
Perhaps you have a famous parent, or perhaps you’re famous for something else that’s unrelated, and you want to chart your own course without the burden or benefit of that name.
Perhaps you really need to have different brands. This is happening a lot in the traditionally published world. Some agents and book publishers are recommending authors with middle-of-the-road sales, come in and publish under a new name. Traditional publishing houses are looking for that breakout author, or their bread and butter that always sells really well. If you’re in the middle it can be difficult to land a deal.
For most nonfiction authors, I think this doesn’t really apply, and we’ll talk about that in a second. But, if you’re a fiction writer, it’s definitely an issue for some authors.
Finally, you may choose to use a pen name because you want a cooler or more marketable name. If you have a really long name, or it’s hard to pronounce those could be good reasons to use a pen name.
All that said, here’s the three reasons why almost all non-fiction authors should not use a pen name:
Number one is trust and credibility.
You are writing this book to grow your business or build your brand in most cases. That’s very difficult to do if people find out it’s not actually you.
So use your own name to establish that trust, build the credibility, and showcase who you are and what you know.
Number two is confusion.
When somebody knows you as your pen name, but they also know you personally as your real name, who do they introduce you as? What do they call you? It might seem small until you have the problem, but when you go to a conference, what do you put on your name tag? And, who do your friend’s introduce you as to others? They won’t know what to call you, or who to refer people to. It can be really tricky business. You’ll definitely miss out on some readers because some people will opt not to introduce you at all just to avoid the hassle.
Number three is marketability.
Even if you’re writing in different categories, there’s cross-promotion, and there are people who are going to read everything you write, no matter what category it falls into. In fact, here’s a fun fact for you. I am well known in Canada as a real estate investing expert. When I opened Book Launchers, and started helping people write, publish and sell a brand-boosting book, my first ten authors were people who knew me as a real estate expert. Why would they write and publish a book with me when they know me as a real estate expert? Because they know me, they trust me, they believe in me, Julie Broad. As a result, it creates massive credibility and trust, which you’ll lose if you go by a fake name.
It’s fun to be someone else for a minute, but when it comes to writing and publishing a brand-building and business-boosting book, you probably don’t want any confusion over whether somebody’s talking to Julie or Jane. You want them to know who they’re talking to, trust you, have credibility, and of course, be able to tell their friends about their friend, Julie.
If you’re a nonfiction author, or you’re going to be, I highly recommend you put audiobook on your list of things to do, especially once your book is written. And I’m not just saying this because I listen to more non-fiction books than I read. I’m saying this because I’m not alone.
How people consume books is changing. The biggest change is that we’re listening to books more than ever.
3 reasons why it’s time to create an audiobook for your non-fiction book:
E-book and print book sales are stable or declining, but audiobook sales are growing.
Nearly half of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35. But, audiobooks aren’t just for the young reader. Podcast listeners love audiobooks too. If you are a podcaster, it’s quite likely you have a built in market for your audiobook in your listener base. (And, here’s an article on turning your podcast into a book!)
Credibility and trust.
For most of our clients at Book Launchers, the goal of writing a book is grow your business and build your name as an expert. If that’s you, here’s a few cool thoughts for you.
First, there are far fewer audiobooks on the market than there are print books and e-books. That makes it easier to stand out.
The costs are higher to produce than the other kinds of books in some cases, even if you do it yourself, and that definitely reduces the size of the market. And it’s also a bit of a pain to produce. But if you’re the voice narrator, the benefit will be that your listener will build a level of trust with you directly. That bond is so much stronger than if they just read your words. There’s something powerful about your voice being in someone’s head.
Also, the fact that you have an audiobook makes you seem even more credible because few books have that audio component. When someone checks out your book on Amazon and sees multiple formats, it makes you look like the ‘real deal’. This is really important if you’re a consultant, a sales person, you’re selling workshops, you’re speaking, you’re doing media, and so much more.
It’s easier to stand out on Audible.
I couldn’t get actual up-to-date numbers on the size of the Audible library in comparison to the Amazon library, but in 2013, the Audible library only had one hundred thousand titles, and Amazon had millions.
Even though both catalogues have grown dramatically since 2013, you’re still standing out in a sea of probably no more than 20% of the size of the current Amazon library. That’s a much easier job for a nonfiction book. Don’t believe me? Go to audible.com and do a search in your niche. Instead of finding hundreds or thousands of books that you’d be competing with, you’ll probably find a few dozen.
So, how do you create a fantastic audiobook worthy of five stars on audible and other platforms?
Here are six tips for creating a fantastic audiobook version of your book:
6 Tips for Creating an Audiobook for Audible - YouTube
Number one, set up your own studio, or arrange a studio rental.
You can’t just get a mic, open VoiceNote on your iPhone, and start recording. Second, you will be rated on performance, story, and the overall book. In other words, you don’t want your book to get panned in the reviews just because you tried to do your audiobook on the cheap, and didn’t get it edited, right?
If you’re going to use the equipment again, or you live in a remote place, setting up a home studio is easier than you think, and recommended. If you’re a podcaster or you’re gonna create online courses, it makes sense for you to do this so all your content creation is of a good standard.
You can often rent spaces for 60 to 100 dollars an hour, and most books can be recorded in less than three hours, unless you’re terrible. But that leads nicely into point number two.
Number two, practice.
I don’t just mean practice talking, I mean read your book out loud. A paid professional would read your book out loud two to three times before sitting down in a studio to record it. You’re not a professional, which means even though it’s your book, you probably need even more practice reading out loud in an engaging way.
Number three, get voice coaching.
While you’re reading, record 30 minutes of it, and send it to a voice coach. Google ‘voice coach’, and I’m sure you’ll find many. Ideally find one that specializes in audiobooks, or just hire Book Launchers and we have a multiple award-winning sound editor who will coach you. She’s taken home the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar twice for her sound work so, she’s pretty awesome. She also helped me with The New Brand You, if you want to hear what she did for my voice.
There are definitely things you’re doing that will detract from your performance, and Audible listeners rate your book based on performance so it needs to be decent.
The good news is when it comes to nonfiction, Audible listeners are a lot more forgiving. When it comes to fiction, they expect you to be a professional actor.
Number four, hire a professional sound editor.
Generally speaking, 10 hours of a book will take 30 hours to edit. This is audible’s guidelines and the suggestion of my audiobook editor. You can hire audiobook editors on Upwork.com, guru.com, and lots of different places. Generally, audiobooks will cost about 300 dollars per finished hour of product.
If you want to guesstimate how long your book will be, use this tool.
Number five, keep Audible’s rating system in mind when you’re making your audiobook.
I’ve already covered the audible ratings, but it’s important. Success is a balance between a good recording, strong pacing, and great editing, with good mastering. And if you don’t know what any of that means, that means you need help.
Number six, prepare for pick-ups.
What are these? They’re spots where it’s faster for an editor to replace your voice than it is to try to clean up the mess you made. The pick-ups are easy, but just know, you can’t take down that studio right away. You’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and re-record some sentences, even sometimes two or three words.
It might feel a little overwhelming, but you just might find it fun to create an audiobook. I know I loved it, and the really cool part is none of my other author friends have done it. It’s pretty cool to have done something most people haven’t done, and do it well. Plus, it’s the growing market for books and an excellent way to get in your readers’ heads!
There’s a lot of bad advice in the book publishing market. As I’ve shared before, there are also a lot of self-publishing scams to watch out for. One of the areas where I think there’s a lot of misguided advice is in the area of book pricing.
Generally, I don’t like to go exclusive with Amazon unless you have a really good reason. Amazon’s not telling you who’s buying your book. If you’re giving it away for free (or really cheap), you need to be benefiting.
You may think more downloads is better, but if you need people to read that download to then become a customer, you’re putting a lot of faith in your audience to read your book.
Have you ever downloaded a free book you didn’t read?
Yea, me too! All the time.
Even if you pay a lot for a book, it’s still not a guarantee you’ll read it. But if you download a free book, you’re even less motivated to read it unless there’s an amazing hook or a really killer promise.
When it comes to book pricing, that’s just one of the reasons I won’t sell my books really cheap. Here’s the three main reasons:
Why You Shouldn't Sell Your Non-Fiction Book for Cheap - YouTube
Number one is value.
You are putting years of expertise, education and experience into this book. It probably took you tens of thousands of dollars to gain that expertise. You likely invested thousands of hours to learn what you’ve learned.
You invested in something that your reader is going to use to save time or money. So there’s a lot of value in those pages. So why sell them for 99 cents and make nothing?
Number two is perceived value.
Depending on your industry, your clients probably spend a lot of money to work with you. Do you want your services to be perceived as cheap?
If you price a book at 99 cents, what do you think your clients are going to think not only about the book but potentially about your services?
Number three, book stores and wholesale opportunities.
If you want to do a lot more than break even on your book sales, this is really important.
How Do I Break Even on My Book Sales? - YouTube
You can move hundreds or thousands of copies of your books with the right kind of deal. If your book is too cheap those deals won’t be there.
For example, if you write a book on fitness, you may be able to strike deals with the distributors of equipment you recommend. This kinda deal can move thousands of copies of books. But, this is contingent on your book having true value to their clients and the people they give copies too.
People still thinking self-publishing has a stigma don’t know about all the money being made by the authors.
The latest Author Earnings report is out, at long last, and the result was interesting. If you don’t know of this list, it is the most comprehensive and detailed analysis of the book market available to the public.
And, after listening to the Sell More Books Show discussing the Top 50 self-published authors list, I was extra excited to check out the latest report.
I was too slow though.
Data Guy, the man behind the report, had to remove the list of the Top 50 authors because half the authors wanted to remain anonymous. They didn’t want everyone knowing they were doing SO well as self-published authors.
Granted, these authors were primarily fiction authors, with multiple book titles. But, the reality is that there is a lot of money in books. And, self-published authors can make a lot more money than you might believe.
That said, it’s not that easy to be an author making the money. It’s easier than ever to self-publish, but the average book will sell less than 250 copies in it’s lifetime. So, just because you can go the easy and cheap route, doesn’t mean you should.
Here’s why most non-fiction books won’t sell that well:
1. The author wrote the book for themselves, and not readers.
Have people told you that you should write a book?
If so, you probably should … but even if it’s about your life, remember that the book is not for you.
This can be really hard to do when you write on your own.
Even after writing two successful books, I am amazed at how useful it is to work with a writing coach. After reading Chapter 1 of my new book he said, “That was a great story about your husband Dave, but what is your reader supposed to get from it?”
That story made me feel good to tell it, but it didn’t fit with the hook of my book. The reader wasn’t really benefiting from the story. That’s ok once in awhile, but if you do too much of that, your book won’t sell because people aren’t interested in you, they are interested in what they can learn from you.
2. The author worried about break even.
Breakeven for a professionally created non-fiction book that sells for at least $9.99 is around 1,500-2,000 copies. Less copies, the higher the price point. And, of course, it depends on how much you spend on marketing.
But, if you focus on break even that is all you’ll get. Instead, think about ways to 10x that investment. How many speaking gigs do you need to land as a result of your book? How many new clients do you need to get 10x of your book investment back?
When you do that, you won’t be afraid to invest in creating an amazing book, hiring a marketing team, and pushing hard to get the word out about your book.
3. Fear of Failure or Fear of Success.
The single greatest thing that holds people back from investing in their book’s success is fear. You’re afraid you are wasting your money. You’re afraid your book won’t be good enough. Or, you’re afraid it will be a great success and change your life.
As an entrepreneur, or professional, you’d never act as your lawyer, accountant, HR consultant, and PR person. So why are you trying to write your book alone?
Authors who are successful hire a great team from day one. They know they can’t do it well on their own.
The author earnings report declares that self-publishing is mainstream now. There’s no stigma. If you create a great book with your ideal reader in mind, focus on massive success, and get over the fear, the money, movie deals, and monstrous opportunities are yours for the taking.
How much time does it take for to self publish a book? The self published and Amazon best selling author Julie Broad was interviewed by Stephen Woessner on Onward Nation Podcast.
how much does it take to self publish a book - YouTube
– You know having a book can really be that that key piece of credibility especially if you’re in the professional services essentially the expert space right I’m okay so let’s let’s say that Onward Nation business owners thinking well how do I do I self-published do I you know try to sell my manuscript to you know a publisher like your traditional publisher so like do I need to engage in agent and and so you know.
I know there’s pros and cons to both of those and so let’s say you’re advising a business owner trying to help them you know him or her make that right decision for them you know what are maybe some of the factors you’d want them to consider.
– For sure. It’s such a great topic and and in a generic sense for the vast majority of business owners who are doing this to position themselves as an expert and they’re pouring their expertise into this book it does not make sense to pursue a traditional publishing deal and
and the main reason is number one the time.
It’s gonna take to publish so by the time you get an agent get a book proposal that’s solid enough that they’ll shop it for you and then get a deal negotiated because guess what there’s a whole bunch of lawyers involved in that and then you write it and publish it you’re looking at a minimum of 24 months in most cases there’s the odd exception to it like some of the dummies deals it’ll be like six months of contract negotiation and then they wants this you know six months until your book has to be done they some of them work on really tight timelines but generally speaking it’s a long time whereas most of our authors that are writing books working with us right now they’re gonna have a fall launch in 2018
You’re looking at nine to fifteen months from start to finish when you self publish in most cases so that’s one the bigger point though is I have a number of friends who have had traditional publishing deals who bought their book back and why and why they bought their book back is because the publisher owns the content in that book and what does that mean?
It means you have if you want to you know do an audiobook or you want to have a course that has the material that’s inside of that book guess who gets a cut or guess who gets to have their hands in that your publisher and if you get speaking engagements off your book guess who’s taken a cut of that your publisher so there’s some real if you were using the content that’s inside of your book you actually don’t own that content anymore.
Some of my friends found this extremely limiting in their business and very frustrating so they bought their book back from the publisher. One other friend of mine left he was in the real estate space wrote a book with with a major publishing house and then a few years later stopped he left real estate and went into a really strong personal development business and the publisher went up well you’re not promoting this book anymore and they took his book word-for-word and put somebody else’s name on the cover of it and just put a new introduction on it no credit to
anybody he had worked because he had two co-authors help him with it because he’s dyslexic so they essentially were the ones that wrote it and he provided a lot of the content and the publisher gave those other authors no credit took his name off and put somebody else’s name on the front and then the publisher was 100% within their rights to do it so you know there’s a lot of things that I challenge people to kind of think about what’s important and if you’re putting all your expertise into this book you want to make sure that somebody’s negotiated a heck out of it giving you a contract that actually makes sense for you and your business.
The only exception to this is if you really want to drive towards a New York Times best-selling book and you you know you’re doing this because you want to be on the 50k or higher speaking circuit if that’s you then yes pursue that traditional publishing deal but for the vast majority of us self-publishing and just making it look as good as as though it was traditionally published buyers don’t know the difference buyers don’t care they care about reviews, they care about the quality of the book you know they can tell when they pick it up if you’ve cheaped out so you don’t want to do that but to me I think and a lot of smart authors are switching over you know a lot of publisher a lot of authors are doing both you know they’re doing some that are self-published and others that are traditionally because they can make more money self-publishing too.
If you want to self publish your book on Amazon and bookstores in US & Canada, contact Book Launchers office in California:
Julie Broad, the self published and Amazon best selling author and our founder, talks to Sully Sullivan and Russ T Nailz on The Big Biz show about one of the big mistakes she made while self publishing her first book, More than Cashflow.
A $1200 Book Publishing Mistake | Big Biz Show Interview - YouTube
– Filter, writing coach, hey buddy we’re right here.
Jackson, Action Jackson’s over there.
– And then what’s beyond, I mean what’s sort of the next thing, you just let it percolate from there I’m assuming.
– Well once you’re done writing that first draft, so you work with the writing coach to get to that first draft, then we take it from there.
We have a content editor, we have your copy editor and then your proofreader, so that it looks like a professionally produced product.
– And then we take it from there to put it into the layout. So when you open a book, some people think you can just do it like in a word document. But when you open it, you see there’s actually
a proper layout to it like you know.
– Galleys, Rusty, they call them galleys.
– Okay, look at the galleys.
– So we have the person who would lay it out the way you would like, so there’s different approaches to that.
– If you were to start over again, knowing what you know now, had never written a book,
– [Julie] Yeah.
– What would you write a book on? What would be the subject space?
– Trick question isn’t it?
– I right, knowing what I know now,I would write about publishing a book. ‘Cause there’s a lot of mistakes.
– [Bob] No kidding?
– I made a $1200 mistake.
– No kidding, wait a second. Wait, that’s fantastic.
So you’d write about, but would that necessarily sell to enough people?
– Well, you wanna write a book.
– Yeah, but I mean, that’s just anecdotal. Listen, if you did a Google keyword search and find out what people are searching, I’m assuming it would give you an idea what people are interested in, right?
– They say 80% of, there’s been surveys, 80% of the population feels they have a book in them.
– [Bob] Yeah, I do.
Ah, gotta get it out.
– Hey everybody.
– That’s from a bad lunch like two weeks ago.
It was rough.
– Chapter 2, you don’t wanna know where it went.
– The uh, so you said you made a mistake.
So what was your mistake?
What was the $1200 mistake?
– I didn’t check this one box that said, there was a choice.
So, if you want your book in book stores, it has to be returnable.
But you can have it be
– [Bob] Whose box are you checking at that point?
I mean, who’s giving you that form?
– When you’re uploading it to the distributors.
– [Bob] Oh, I see.
– Print on demand. There’s called print on demand.
So, it would go to Amazon or to.
– And if you don’t check the right box, it’s not gonna make it somewhere.
– Well, it’s return and destroy or return and send back to author.
– [Bob] So yours is return and destroy.
– I didn’t want to destroy it.
I love my book.
– This is somebody’s wrapping paper or something that, oh.
– Yeah, I love this.
So I said, return to author.
– But that’s an enormous cost they charge you
per book to ship it back to you.
– That’s an Elvis song by the way.
– Return to author.
– [Bob] Return to author.
– So that was a $1200 check box.
– [Russ] Oh no.
– And a garage full of your books.
– No, you know, they sell too well. (laughing)
– [Bob] So my mistake.
– Ah, that a girl.
– My question would be, you know, so is that like a typical mistake?
Like, what’s the number one mistake?
What’s the worst thing somebody does, and how often do they do it?
– Well I think the worst thing people do is write boring books.
But, I mean really truly they.
– That is a mistake. I would argue that’s a pretty good mistake.
– Does your coach spice ’em up a little bit?
– [Julie] Yeah.
– It’s like a producer for TV or music, right?
– Absolutely, he’s got a background in comedy. You know, something that you can relate to because he wants to look at it and find.
– You could be a book spicer.
– I’d love to.
Really, flannel pajamas?
You couldn’t come down the stairs in something a little more Vicki Secret?
– [Bob] Jesus.
Russ T Nailz, book spicer.
– So is that really the number one mistake people make is they write crappy books?
– Well, I don’t like boring books. But I also think that some people, because it is easier than ever to self publish, and I think a lot of people cheap out.
They don’t invest in making it, like a book that would
be the same as what is on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.
– [Russ] Yeah, yeah.
– And so if you don’t invest in those editors, in the layout, the design.
– Stapled together.
– There are some terrible books.
– Give us an idea of, you know what, can you stay with us a little longer?
Do you have to go?
– I can stay.
– [Bob] Can you stay for a minute?
– As long as Jackson is okay?
– [Russ] Jackson, are you hungry?
♫ Mail keeps comin’ back
– [Russ] I hope not.
Be right with ya.
– I won’t keep ya long. I’m going to keep you a little bit though.
– [Russ] Perfect.
If you want to self publish your book on Amazon and bookstores in US & Canada, contact Book Launchers office in California: