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Today I brought my buddy Chandler Bolt back on the show. Chandler runs Self Publishing School where he teaches others how to write and self publish a book in 3 months.
He’s the author of multiple best selling books and he’s an expert when it comes to going out on your own in the book business.
In this episode, we’re going to catch up with Chandler to discuss the overall publishing landscape
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What You’ll Learn
- How quickly grow your book business
- What’s changed with Amazon in the last year
- All of your options when you want to publish a book and the pros and cons of each
- How to get reviews for your book
- Self publishing vs traditional publishing. Which is better?
Other Resources And Books
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Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast we will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so can spend more time with your family focus on doing the things that you love. Here’s your host Steve Chou.
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today, I brought my buddy Chandler bolt back on the show. And if you recall Chandler with someone I met at a Fincon meeting in San Francisco while back and he was actually a prior guest on the podcast probably a little over a year and a half ago. Chandler runs self-publishing school where he teaches others how to write and self-publish your first book in three months working just 30 minutes per day and he is also the author of multiple best-selling books and an expert when it comes to going out on your own in the book business. And what we’re going to do today is we are going to catch up with Chandler to see how the landscape for book publishing has changed in the past year and with that welcome back to show Chandler. How you doing today, man?
Chandler: Hey Steve, really great to be back really great to be here.
Steve: I’ve been following your massive growth in just the past year. Congratulations on your success. I believe you made the Inc 5000 once again and you grew in the triple digits, I think year to year. How did you manage to grow your book business so quickly?
Chandler: oh man, a lot of different things, but I think it’s really great people and really great team a focus on a gap in the marketplace that not a lot of people are fulfilling and really focusing on and then just being laser focused on what we do well and not getting distracted by what we don’t do well. So, I think that’s kind of been the combination and that’s led to a significant amount of growth and just laser and in and on what we’re doing well and then on. Actually over the last year and a half on the Marketing side that’s been a big area of focus for us. And so I mean, it’s so funny. I’m just seeing guys like you who have been just executing on this for years and I feel like an idiot because we didn’t focus on that enough.
And so now we’re just really emphasizing content and just adding as much value as humanly possible to people when they’re in the book writing consideration phase. So that you know, by the time they commit to doing it they’ve already gotten so much help from us that they’re like okay, of course. Yeah. I want to work with you guys. So that’s kind of a..
Steve: Hearing you say that it’s just kind of ironic since you’re in like the book publishing business and to hear that you’re just doing content now, it’s just kind of ironic don’t you think?
Chandler: Yeah, if you think because we should
Steve: Well no, I mean like you write content for a living, right?
Chandler: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It’s just a different kind right, you know, it’s gated content in the sense that someone has to purchase it. So the like the books are great. But how do we reach folks who even pre that phase right? There just in the consideration pay so, you know building out like are blot the self-publishing school blog we bought self-publishing.com. So that’s a new property that we’re growing to be just the definitive resource for all of self-publishing. So kind of broadening that out building up our YouTube channel and conjunction with our blog and just kind of trying to do a multi-prong Content approach. That’s and then people can Ascend to buying say my book published or things like that and then they can Ascend to ultimately working with us. So just build a more of a path and especially reach in folks who are in that consideration phase.
Steve: So can we talk a little bit more specifically about what aspects of your content straight. So you said a bunch of things right there. You said YouTube and then just content for like a Blog. How did you decide how to kind of split that up? And what is your strategy for figuring out exactly what to write about or publish a video about?
Chandler: Yeah, so we you know, we had some traction on our blog but that’s been really really growing so it’s kind of a mix between is their search volume and is their buyers intent for self-publishing school. So, you know, there’s there just key terms whether it’s how to write a book how to self publish a book self-publishing things like that that those are the key things that we focus on and so that we’re not just growing traffic for traffic sake but we’re also not focused on social in a bunch of other stuff because we know that a long-term defensible moat for us is organic. So we just kind of exclusively track daily organic traffic unique users. So it’s you know people for people who are less familiar with those terms.
Someone’s searching in Google and then landing on our blog or landing on one of our content articles are aside or things like that. So we just kind of go through what’s the keyword difficulty what’s the search volume. Can we and then Step 1 can we write the best blog post on the internet for that topic and then step two can we get backlinks to that content so that it can actually rank on Google and then once that content goes well and once we have stuff ranking then we say alright. Well, how do we expand this and create a YouTube video create other things so that now, you know. We’ve got 2,000 hits a day on this article then if we can embed a YouTube video at the top that can translate to maybe a hundred views a day on that YouTube video.
Which now helps us rank for say how to write a book or best book writing software or something like that on the YouTube side, which circles back traffic to the blog which then now the YouTube videos hopefully ranking on page one for the same turn which means we’re covering more real estate for that post or for that keyword as well and just kind of trying to feed the whole ecosystem.
Steve: So, what tools are you using to figure out your keyboard strategy?
Chandler: We use AHrefs. We that’s the main tool that we use, we use Moss but more from just Like a domain Authority evaluation tool and stuff like that, but I want to say it’s mostly AHrefs and we’ve used some other tools, but that’s the main ones
Steve: So what is your criteria like you spout a bunch of those keywords and they all sounded really competitive actually. So I’m just kind of curious what’s your criteria. I mean, do you go for those competitive ones since you have pretty solid domain strength right now?
Speaker 2: Yes, and you know for so it’s kind of different. So we’re in the middle of growing self-publishing.com. That’s the early early early phases. I just bought that that domain a few months ago and so it’s still relatively low traffic. So for that we’re going more for lower competition keywords that we can rank for faster to build momentum and then we’ll go in the high competition keywords for self-publishing school. We’re going for way more High competition keywords. And and even if we don’t think that we can rank for maybe three to six months. We’ll go ahead and write that article and start getting some momentum behind it so that we can just build up.
And so yeah, I mean what we are getting our butts kicked on the how to how to write a book ranking right now, which is the most competitive and also the one that we want the most I mean, obviously that’s like the most if someone is searching how to write a book they need self-publishing school and that is like the most vibrant and keyword that we can get maybe other than how to self publish a book and I think you know a few a few. I don’t know if we are currently but a few weeks ago when I checked we were ranking number one for the term self-publishing. Above the self-publishing Wikipedia page. So ethical but yes some some of the some of the higher competition keywords. Absolutely. It takes longer to rank but we’re just trying to really go after it and that’s when I think Step One, is the most important part in the process, which is what I think most people ignore which is we’re not going to write an article unless we think we can write the best article on the internet for that topic.
And so we believe that if that’s the strategy that we’re taking that, you know long-term that’s Google’s goal is to get the best article to rank number one. So sure it might be super competitive and sure it might you know have a ton of backlinks and has been ranking number one for a really long time or any of those things. But if we can if it is the best article then nationally people will start linking to it more they’ll start, you know, they’ll click, you know, Google tracks all that where it’s like I click search result number one go back, search result number two go back, search result number 3 stay on that page for 10 minutes. Okay. Maybe we should bump that up. You know, so that’s kind of the signals that are kicking over to Google that hopefully will help us Rank and when in log term..
Steve: This is kind of like a related question, so you bought this really awesome domain. How come you’re not redirecting everything over? It Sounds like you’re trying to establish it on its own.
Chandler: Yeah, we are and that’s a great question because we kind of went back and forth on that. We said do we Rebrand the whole company is self-publishing.com and I mean to be honest, maybe maybe we should down the road, but I think I think self-publishing.com lends credibility to what we do. So there was a compelling argument for that. It’s like okay if your self publishing. Well, you’re with self publishing.com, but honestly long term we want this to be an independent property of from self-publishing school. So just like it’s an unbiased resource and it’s not just self-publishing School propaganda machine, you know, but it’s like a truly is the go-to site for all of self-publishing so we felt like we feel That site and that company can even be bigger than so publishing school.
So we want to keep that separate and although yes, we’re using some publishing School resources right now to support that, you know, it’s very much in the prerogative of everything kind of meant to be third-party objective non-biased info. And and so we feel like that can be just the voice of self-publishing as a whole and then sure will say if you need help like we’ve got an education arm and then probably a Services arm And right now we’re just referring all that out to a bunch of other people. But who knows maybe we get in that business, maybe we don’t but either way it’s like need help on the education side. Great. Here’s self-publishing School need help on the services side. Here are a bunch of our service providers things like that.
Steve: so in terms of your YouTube strategy, would you say that every post that you write has a corresponding YouTube video as well.
Chandler: Not every post but the best, the most popular post pretty much do. We’re working way through that right now. So for all of our, we’re kind of working our way in order of highest traffic to post to turn those into videos and then, you know, corresponding somewhat with traffic search on on YouTube, but mostly if we have a good really good post this ranking and it’s getting too much traffic. We want to have a video for that as well and then just build that up. That’s I mean, we didn’t pay much attention to YouTube until a few months ago. But I just believe that that video and audio, I mean are the future of search and Google has come out and said a bunch of things that are in line with that. So we’re trying to get you know, we’re trying to move that direction and it’s we’re behind..
Steve: I just jumped on the YouTube bandwagon myself actually, so maybe we can compare notes at some point. Okay, so so content marketing was a huge driver of growth. What was another factor that you mentioned?
Chandler: Just really great people on the team and I think focusing on something that kind of knowing problem that we solve in the marketplace and differentiating and just staying laser focused. I think what I’ve seen some not so much our competitors, but just a lot of people in this in this space and then the online marketing or online education spaces, they just get super distracted and they just jump around to a bunch of different things and don’t really stay committed and we’ve kind of Been a one-trick pony for years and it’s like we know what we’re good at and that’s helping people write and publish their book and use that book to grow their business.
And so we just laser focus on that and sure we’re probably leaving some money on the table and we don’t have like this elaborate Ascension model where it’s buy this and then buy this and then buy this and then here’s my 30k Mastermind and like all that stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. That’s just not the path that we’ve chosen to take. And so I think as a result of that we’ve been pretty laser-focused and Helped us with with execution.
Steve: Prior to your content marketing efforts how had you been getting your customers?
Chandler: Yeah, our top customer acquisition channels, in the early days. It was Affiliates a lot of affiliate stuff a lot of paid traffic and those were the main things now, I would say its Affiliates paid traffic content marketing and speaking so speaking was a new customer acquisition channel for us last year when we did zero on that in 2017 and we did right at a million dollars is a customer acquisition last year. So doing more of that and traveling around speaking and we found that to be relatively successful.
Steve: I’ve noticed you’re speaking in every single event last year at least that comes across in my feed..
Chandler: Oh I spoke to way too many events last year. It was 20, I think It was 24 events. But actually, this has been good Steve, one of our philosophies is actually one of our five core values. Stir fast, fail forward, fail often. So we just believe that there’s no learning and no growth without failure. And so we Embrace that celebrate that and Champion that internally and so that was our Big Goal. We said, all right, we’re working with a friend of mine Pete Vargas super great guy. He kind of laid out his stage strategy and we said, all right, we’re going to we’re how we’re going to differentiate is we’re just going to get on as many stages as fast as possible and just fail a ton and as fast as possible but in doing doing so we know that we’re going to learn faster than anybody else and that therefore our results will increase.
And so we just took kind of like the blue collar bring a lunch pail to work mentality and which is kind of what I’ve always done and I’m from the middle of nowhere in the South and just tiny little town and just that’s just what was instilled to me in growing up and that’s kind of the approach that we’ve always taken and so we just got on a bunch of stages and took a bunch of losses, but also had a decent amount of wins and now this year we’re really really really focused on just less but better and so going fewer stages, higher caliber stages, increasing what Pete Vargas would call like your average stage value, ASV. So that our Revenue per stage increases and..
Steve: How do you measure that actually?
Chandler: In sales on site and immediately after..
Steve: Oh you sponsoring events also? Got it.
Chandler: Yeah, yeah we sponsor events. So speak as well and a lot of cases. I’ll wave my speaking fee and I’ll bring the team and people will do strategy sessions. So sit down and talk through people’s goals about their book. So it’s like what are your goals? What are your challenges and what are your next steps and if it’s a fit and if they qualify to work with us, we’ll talk about what it would look like to work with self-publishing school. And then we’re able to measure that from a revenue perspective. And and so our goal is to increase that this By being more selective and we said no to a ton of events this year. Whereas last year. We just said yes to basically everything.
Steve: Any tips on getting these speaking gigs though?
Chandler: oh man, so we just targeted Outreach very targeted Outreach and trying to think so I’ve got Pedro on my team who kind of runs point on this but and and Pete Vargas is a really really great resource. So we’re just kind of following his Playbook to a tee, but it’s targeted reach, the target Outreach building what he call Champions. So people who are you know, you like you trust you things like that and getting intros and then just having conversations. So we just have a pipeline. There’s initial Reach Out made contact intro call follow-up call..
Steve: Like good old fashioned legwork and networking..
Chandler: Good old-fashioned. It’s like, you know, maybe got Circle back to the question secret to all of this is hard and we just yeah, I’m gonna We lock in on a handful of things that are important. And then our priority and then we just go after it and so but with but we try to be smart about it. Right? not just not just hard work. But you know, it’s I mean people always say work smarter not harder and I’m just a big fan of working smarter and harder to being targeted and then and then, you know working hard at it. So that’s that’s a lot of what we did is just Outreach and then referrals and then, you know, we speak on some key events and then do a great job and over deliver for the The event organizer and then next thing you know, someone is in the audience or talk to that event organizer and says hey I want to bring you to my event..
Steve: Yes, it just gets easier after you get that one big event and I appreciate you waving the podcast speaking fee today. So since we last spoke, let’s transition to books a little bit. Bunch of my friends like James Clear, Pat Flynn have released brand-new books and they’ve chosen to go the traditional self the traditional publishing route, you know with the publisher and whatnot. Can we kind of talked about The options that you have when you want to publish a book and the pros and cons of each because I know you kind of preach like the self-publishing Amazon Kindle route. And if you could kind of talk, I think we those are all our mutual friends. So can you just kind of talk about the pros and cons and why they made their decision and whatnot.
Chandler: Absolutely and so funny. We’ve got a blog post and a video on this self-publishing. There’s the traditional publishing. But yeah, so so, I’m pretty sure that Pat’s most recent book which at the time of us recording. This was just launched a few days ago. I’m pretty sure that that one was self-published. I think the one that’s this is super fans book. I think the one prior to that was traditionally published. So yeah, I mean, there’s definitely pros and cons, you know for 99.9% of people it makes more sense to self-publish and I think that’s what Pat’s seen and that’s what’s worked relatively well for him. Now the cool thing is he’s got enough clout now where his self-published book is in a bookstore, right?
So and that’s pretty awesome and that honestly is the main bottleneck or so. Traditionally people would always go with Publishers because you needed a publisher to get into a bookstore and you needed a bookstore to have distribution and have any sales. Well now over 70 percent of all books sold are sold on Amazon and you don’t need a publisher to get on Amazon. So it’s kind of like the my brother if you know this my brother plays in a grammy-nominated rock and roll band called Me Debris. Okay, so so I’ve seen the music industry. I like behind the scenes very very close up and it’s very similar to the publishing industry. So you’ve got the publishing industry who had a Chokehold on distribution through bookstores and you have the record label industry and music industry who has a Chokehold on music distribution through radio and and things like that.
So very similar and so that’s the main reason that people are still going with those institutions amongst a few other things when you’re just seeing shifts. Well in both Industries away from the way things have been traditionally done and more towards independent deals. And so now that you don’t need a publisher to get the bookstores and you don’t need bookstores because that’s not where a lot of sales happen. A lot of authors are moving over to the self-publishing route. So, you know, my buddy Hal Elrod is a good example of that. We’ve got our first ever live event coming up and he’s speaking at that but how he sold 1.7 million copies of the miracle morning self-published. And I think it’s even over two million copies now and so so just circling. I mean, I realize I’m like circling the airport with like all these disparate facts about traditional publishing versus self-publishing, but from a royalty perspective, you’re going to make a lot more on the on going to self-publish route.
This is something we just we just put together this little on self-publishing outcome like this book roll T calculator because I’ve always been talking about this but never had a good way to show people the numbers and so it’s like you click you toggle around and you go Indie publish traditional publisher self-publish and you get to see like the actual numbers difference between the different royalty amounts, but you’ll make a lot more money self-published and you have you retain the freedom and control and that’s a big one because for a lot of folks don’t realize that traditional Publishers will not Market your book and also you lose control.
So I’ve got a bunch of friends can you know kind of I like your mentioned who just published books and I’m like, alright, cool. Amazon ads are working really really well for us right now. Why don’t you fire up some of those that’s going to be a great return on on your ad spend. They can’t do that because they don’t have to log into their book because the publisher has that so there’s like all these random little things like that. They it actually undercuts your ability to Market and sell the book when you go to the traditional publisher.
Steve: So outside the money, though. I mean clearly there’s a reason why some of these people are going the traditional publishing route. What is the main advantage? Is it Prestige is it?
Chandler: Yes. Yeah, so there’s there’s probably two or three main advantages ego, because you’re published with a traditional publisher. So to the outside world, you’re more legit not saying that’s good or bad. But that is a big reason why people do it. There are still some distribution advantages whether it be bookstores stuff like that. And then a third thing would be access to Big bestseller list. So New York Times for example is an editorial list. So the New York Times list is kind of a scam because it’s not a true bestseller list. It’s an editorial list, which means they pick the books now. Yes. It’s meant to directionally be is directly a best seller list, but if they don’t like you if it’s raining in New York or if the editor’s girlfriend just dumped him they can keep you off the list for any of those reasons, right?
Or for any of this. I mean, this is why you see someone like Michael Hyatt with one of his books. I think it was In forward, I want to say he sold 20 30,000 copies or something like that. Whatever the number was and week one. It was more than enough to be number one and but he wasn’t on the list at all. Because they, I think I’m just obviously just this is theoretical here, but I think it’s because the they’ve been trying to keep off quote-unquote internet marketers. And so even though Michael Hyatt was is I mean just an incredible person. He’s one of the top people I learned from was a CEO publisher for 30 years. CEO of publishing company for 30 years. They kept them off the list. So the USA Today is a true best seller list based on actual book sold. That’s the truest bestseller list that exist but New York Times, so that’s one of the advantages..
Steve: Can you knock it on the USA today list, self-publishing..
Chandler: You can’t, you can’t get on it. It’s mainly the New York Times and just people that’s the one that is it’s not impossible, but it’s very I mean, it’s very close to impossible to get on the New York Times list self-published. So that’s the advantage and then probably final advantage or two would be just International rights and distribution. So if your goal is not to make money off of the book and your goal is you want to be the next Tony Robbins or you know, Something like that Gary Vaynerchuk and you already have clout then that’s like the point one percent are the one percent of people that it makes sense to do a traditional publishing deal because you’re just basically saying hey, I’m going to make significantly less.
I’m going to have less of the rights and all that stuff, but I’m going to be able to pump this out in a major way internationally and kind of get more clout from this book and that’s where it makes sense. And so that’s why I think you have people like Ramit or I think you mentioned Pat here. Yeah. I mean, it’s I would imagine a lot of cases that they do they’re one big book. And so it’s like I think that’s what Pat did and his other books or self-published.
I know that James Clear has self published books and he did his one big book I would imagine Ramit similarly. So it’s like you do that one big book. That’s a huge credibility play and then you have other books if you choose to do them that are self-published and you keep a lot more the royalties from those.
Steve: Okay, but you know, if you’re a beginner obviously self-publishing is probably your only option right if you don’t have the clout your I’m going to sell any books and traditional Publishers probably won’t want to work with you. Anyways, right? Okay.
Chandler: Yeah that I mean I don’t I hate saying it’s your only option because it I mean you can hustle and get a book deal. It’s just probably not going to be a great one and you might get a hybrid deal where you have to pay or something like that. So I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s your only option. It is probably the most viable option and I mean, obviously my opinion is biased but I think it’s the best option.
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Let’s switch gears a little bit. I mean, it’s been well by the time this gets published. It will be almost two years since we last talked and you know Amazon changes fast. So I was wondering if you could give all of us an update about some of the major changes to the platform and maybe some shifts in the book industry.
Chandler: Yeah, so major major changes or they launched an ad platform. I think since the last time we talked Amazon ads that’s been working really really well
Steve: Can we talk about this a little bit. Like how much does it what are the metrics involved? I mean traditionally for like an e-commerce product at least, you know, the cost per acquisition will probably exceed the cost of a book and in some cases. So just kind of..
Chandler: Oh definitely doesn’t make sense. Yeah, so it’s kind of all over the place and to be honest. I haven’t had my eyes super on the ball. Got some people on my team that are tracking and monitoring this and that sort of thing, but I know that for a lot of our students and for a lot of yeah, a lot of our students and for myself personally that’s been pretty profitable. So they count the Amazon cost of sale. I think it’s like a COS what they call that and so I want to say that I mean it’s it’s typically like 2 to 1 3 to 1 return as what we’ve seen so, you know pretty solid return but for us, we’re even happy to go break even because we have back in product. So I just want to feed the funnel and what doesn’t get tracked is that when we’re selling more books will we’re ranking higher on Amazon, which means we’re showing up in more searches which means we’re selling more books that way as well.
So it’s kind of a way to prime the pump and keep your book ranking higher for the keywords categories things like that you’re trying to rank for.
Steve: So you processed based on the revenue and can you refresh my memory on what, how much profit you actually make off of Book sale assuming a certain price point?
Chandler: exactly. Yeah, so it kind of varies and so it’s 70 percent typically for a Kindle book if that books price between $2.99 and 9.99. And then it’s you know, 35% on a Kindle book if that books price from 99 cents to $2.99. And then from a you got print and then you’ve got audiobook. audiobooks are typically 20 or 40 percent royalties independently published through ACX or Amazon’s audible platform basically and then print books kind of varies based on trim size color, color and on color number of pages all those things. But I mean, you’re typically looking at like a 20 to 40 percent depending on list price and print cost.
Steve: That’s how much you get to keep?
Chandler: yeah, exactly and and that just vary so widely. sorry I kind of hesitate to give like a ballpark answer.
Steve: Yeah let’s say though, it’s like the average book does it cost like 9.99 I don’t know. I’m not, I don’t sell any books. So what do you tell your students to price it at?
Chandler: Yeah great question. So if it’s Kindle book is between $2.99 and 9.99 if it’s a print book typically is between $12.99 and 17.99 is the ballpark for that and if it’s an audio book that you know that kind of varies and also based on length. You don’t have control over that pricing audible prices are based on length.
Steve: Okay, so a typical Kindle book that sells for 9.99 let’s say did you say you get to keep 70% of that? Okay, so it’s..
Chandler: exactly exactly..
Steve: and you’re saying that it only costs you like two dollars to acquire a sale there?
Chandler: Yeah, give or give or take and it really depends like that’s why if you just have a Kindle, Kindle only it kind of can hurt your ACOS because it’s lower price. So it helps to have print audio all those things and then there’s random things that you benefit from as well, which there’s an audible bounty which basically means that you know for every if someone signs up for Audible and I’m the first book that they download and that could be randomly there that could be I sent them there I get a bounty from honorable for basically helping them acquire a customer and I think it used to be 50 bucks. I think now it’s 75 bucks or a hundred bucks. And so, you know, I make a few hundred bucks a month just off of those audible Bounties in addition to the role to that I get for them downloading that audiobook.
So those are kind of cool ancillary stuff and then Then like I said for me the ACOS is cool. But yeah, I mean I’ll break even even lose money because people that are reading my book published especially, I mean, there’s turning into leads turning into customers turning into reviews turning into additional Book Sales all those things.
Steve: I’m just kind of curious how the bidding works on that because you know, what keywords do you bid on do you bid on like just the title or I mean, what do you how do the ads work?
Chandler: Yeah. So, I mean, it’s largely author and book focused so you’re adding and keywords for a ton of related authors and a ton of related books. So there’s all kinds of tools that help with that and can help like scrape bestseller list and stuff like that to keyword generate but that’s kind of how you do it.
Steve: So you’re allowed to bid like I could bid on Chandler bolt. And so whenever your book show up my books due to?
Chandler: exactly yeah exactly and the sponsored and then also if you click into so like say if you went to my book published on Amazon and you scroll down well, what used to be customers also bought is now sponsor.
Chandler: So that’s sponsor and then there’s usually a customers also bought and then there’s another sponsor. so there’s there’s like two or three sponsored slots that kind of looks native, but those are paid placements with a brief little bit of AD copy plus the book cover plus the number of reviews. stuff like that and so those are the places where a lot of the books. That’s where a lot of our ads..
Steve: Interesting, what keyword tools. Do you use?
Chandler: publisher rocket by Dave Chesson really solid that’s one of my favorites and one of the ones that we recommend.
Steve: And that tool is strictly for keywords for books. Is that correct? Okay.
Chandler: Yes. Yes. So, I mean it does a bunch of other things but like it helps with selecting your keywords for actually publishing the book selecting your categories that you’re putting in helping with generating keywords for Amazon ads a bunch of different stuff like that.
Steve: So can we talk about like an updated launch strategy for a book then?
Chandler: Yeah, absolutely. So I mean our main launch strategy is to is to create a launch Team. And so launch team is basically small group of people. It could be five people. It could be 15 people. It could be 50 people and it’s a small group of people that support your book. Now, they’ll read the book ahead of time leave a review on day one when it launches and just generally support the book and then we give them a free digital copy of The book we give them a by like to put their name in the book people love that and then they get to see the behind the scenes of the launch. So we have a run a Facebook group and I’ll give them one assignment per week for like three weeks leading up to the book launch and that just helps spread the word about the book share on social get PR and then ultimately I mean the big deal is leaving a review on day one when it launches because then you got you know, five fifteen fifty or more reviews. Right out of the gate which really helps generate sales.
Steve: So I just have question on that. So coming from the physical products world. If you were to get reviews the way you suggested that could be considered manipulation. Does Amazon care in the book World?
Chandler: they do care and the big the big differentiator is you’re not what they would call incentivizing reviews. So I’m not saying if you give a review I’m going to give you an Amazon gift card, or I’m going to give you x y z. It’s kind of a your Launch Team and part of that is I would love for you to give a review. That would be super helpful. That’s not a stipulation, of you being on this launch Team getting your name in the book getting the book for free anything like that. So, I mean it’s like all the way up to the line without crossing the line.
Steve: Do they check whether you’re related to the people in some way or connected to them in some way?
Chandler: Yeah, they’ve started doing that and so we’ve got two, two things. We got a video and blog post on launch teams and then Got a video on our YouTube channel about why your reviews are being removed. And because that is like one of the most common questions that we get because yes, they’re cracking down on this and and there’s a couple of patterns that we’ve seen. Well, there’s a few things if three reviews have been left from the same IP address. Usually when the third one is left. They all three get pulled down. So that means if three people in your household leave a review so you definitely want to be careful about that people obviously can’t leave reviews if they Spent more than 50 dollars on Amazon.
So sometimes that keep people from leaving a review and then there’s other things. I mean people speculate that they’re connected to Facebook friends. No one’s ever been able to prove that and obviously humans not going to say that but they do own Goodreads which most people log in to Goodreads via their Facebook login. So and Goodreads is obviously connected back to Amazon. So there’s speculation about that but can’t really be proven.
Steve: How do you form a launch Team I guess is the assumption that you have an audience kind of already?
Chandler: No, so I had a, I’ve done this even before I had an audience so it’s you know depends on the person but we say, you know, this could be friends family members colleagues co-workers customers anyone that supports you and the message behind your book. So I mean as with anything that we’ve talked about on this interview, like our general philosophy especially early on when we didn’t have an audience is that we you know, we would just scrap for everything you know. So it’s like I was personally messaging people and if anyone shared the book on Facebook, I would direct message them with a video. That was like Hey, thank you so much can would you mind leaving honest review on Amazon by the end of today?
That’d be super helpful for our goal 50 reviews by the end of the week or you know, whatever that is. So just like guerrilla marketing. And so this this especially works well. you don’t have to have an audience for it. And then one of the things that we do like at self-publishing school is like we support each other through each other’s launch teams and stuff like that. So that’s like a super helpful thing like author to author.
Steve: when do ads come into play in the launch?
Chandler: Yeah ads are typically after the launch just because you can’t get enough velocity during launch for it to be a huge needle mover we’re doing promotions via promotional sites. We’re doing launch team we’re doing you know, pre-release List for anyone that’s on that and then just a bunch of random stuff like that and then ads are more of our sell more books strategy. So to keep sales going month after month.
Steve: I see, so how does the I guess the launch web sites. How do they work?
Chandler: Yeah, so there’s a bunch of launch promo sites. There’s only a handful of only a handful of ones that actually work and so there’s some when you’re in a 99-cent promo, there’s some if you’re doing if you end up doing A free Kindle giveaway promo. There’s some that are you have to be $2.99 and have to have 25 reviews, you know, there’s like kind of all different types, but some of them are paid some of them are free and there’s these ecosystems that you can kind of tap into
Steve: I see and then what are the best ones that you use?
Chandler: and I’m trying to think offhand. I know that we use Buckbooks. We use BookBub. We use BK Nights we use there’s two or three four more. They’re always changing too. So you kind of have like these top few. I think we have a blog post or a video or something best book promotional sites, and we just keep that like up to date with the newest best ones.
Steve: Do you introduce that or pay this people or?
Chandler: I’d say it’s about 50/50. Some of them are free. Some of them are paid. None of them are all that expensive except for BookBub. But BookBub has from our experience been by far the most effective if you can get accepted, so that’s those ones that stuff to get accepted in but and it’s not cheap relative to what the other ones charge but I mean they drive solds.
Steve: So the goal is to generate some sales velocity and hopefully hopefully some of those sales turn into reviews and that just kind of grow organic ranking?
Steve: I just want to let you know that tickets for the 2020 Seller Summit are on sale over at sellersummit.com. Now what is seller Summit? It is the conference that I hold every year that is specifically targeting e-commerce entrepreneurs selling physical products online and unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high-level BS. Mine is a curriculum-based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an e-commerce business. And in fact, every speaker I invite is deep in the trenches of their e-commerce business entrepreneurs who are importing large quantities of physical goods and not some high-level guys who are overseeing their companies at 50,000 feet. The other thing I can assure you is that the Seller Summit will be small and intimate every year we cut off ticket sales at just a couple hundred people. So tickets will sell out fast, and in fact, we sell out every single year many months in advance now if you’re an e-commerce entrepreneur making over 250K or 1 million dollars per year, we are also offering an exclusive mastermind experience with other top sellers. Now, the Seller Summit is going to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From May 6 to May 8. And right now, we are almost sold out of Mastermind tickets already and I will be raising the ticket price regularly starting the day after Cyber Monday for more information, go to sellerssummit.com. Once again, that’s SELLERSUMMIT.COM or just Google it. Now back to the show.
Chandler: A hundred percent sales velocity and review velocity by far the most important thing and just reviews, reviews, reviews, reviews, reviews. I mean, it’s kind of like I’m sure you know this it’s similar ecosystem to podcast ecosystem. I mean a lot of the same things that you do to get a podcast to rank or what you do to get a book to rank. And so I mean as you know, what iTunes like pretty review focused as well, the same type of thing. So we just encourage people to scrap and claw for every single review that they can get especially early on.
Steve: What’s special about books though is like in the search results, at least, they’re going to be typing in the author or the title of book right and chances are if it matches your author or the title, it’s going to rank right. So what is the real benefit? Is it just getting on these bestseller lists or?
Chandler: yeah. I mean it’s getting on the bestseller list like I would say. Yes. That’s the majority of search traffic but there’s a decent amount of search traffic that’s not author or book Focus, but that’s keyword focused. I mean Amazon is one of the biggest search Engines on the internet and so, you know people will go and I’ve done this same as like productivity book or you know leadership book best leadership books stuff like that.
Steve: Got it, makes sense.
Chandler: So you can certainly do that. But then also I mean they ranked based on title subtitle description’ content and the book things like that so they know related books and Amazon reviews are a great way to get bumped up and those related searches so that for both something that’s brought his leadership book or whatever keywords, you’re targeting, you know, you can improve your ranking there. But then also for something like say, you know, 21 irrefutable laws of leadership by John Maxwell, you know, if I’ve got a related book and I want to rank right there, you know, it’s like kind of doing both.
Steve: Got it, cool man. Well anything else you want to add that’s changed that’s worth mentioning?
Chandler: Those are the main things from landscape. I mean, it’s always changing and there’s other sites popping up. There’s things intricacies inside Amazon and all that but that yeah, it’s always changing. Those are the main needle movers though in my opinion from a book launch and a sell more books perspective.
Steve: Well Chandler I told you we’d only be chatting for 40 minutes and I want to be respectful of your time. Where can people find more about how to launch a self-published book?
Chandler: Yeah, so we got really great blog posts like first place to start how to write a book. It’s very intense and in-depth and great videos there that’s on the self-publishing school blog and then we’ve got a lot of just self-publishing information that will be coming out over the next year, two years, three years five years, whatever to come on self-publishing.com. So those are our two kind of best resources. And then that’s where people will be able to tap into a bunch of free training and a bunch of the specific kind of posts and videos and all the stuff that we mentioned.
Steve: If you’re going to describe the content difference between self-publishing school and self-publishing.com. Like what is the real differentiator right now?
Chandler: Great question. Yeah. So self-publishing school is all about how to write and publish your mostly your first book and then self-publishing.com is more industry-wide. So the self publishing industry as a whole. So what are the best self publishing companies what our service companies? How do you Ingram spark, how do you get an ISBN like all these different kind of more broad topics from a third-party perspective.
Steve: Oh okay, so if you’re just getting started self-publishing school is the right place to go. Awesome.
Chandler: yeah, I’d say so. Well..
Steve: So Chandler I appreciate you coming back on again and thanks a lot man.
Chandler: Yeah, Steve. Thanks for having me.
Steve: Yeah, take care.
Hope you enjoyed that episode now Chandler is my go-to guy when it comes to self-publishing a book and I may have a little project on the horizon, which I’ll announce when the time comes. For more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode287.
And once again, I want to thank Privy for sponsoring this episode. Privy is the email capture provider that I personally use the term visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture exit intent and site targeting tools to make it super simple as well. And I like Privy because it is so powerful and you can basically trigger custom pop-ups for any parameter that is closely tied your eCommerce store. Now, if you want to give it a try it is free so head on over to privy.com/steve. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve.
I also want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, Klaviyo is my email marketing platform of choice for e-commerce Merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence a post purchase flow or win back campaign. Basically, all these sequences that will make you money on autopilot. So head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo. Once again, That’s mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo.
Now I talked about how I use these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store heading over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six day mini-course just type in your email and I’ll send you the course right away. Thanks for listening.
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2 thoughts on “287: Chandler Bolt On How To Quickly Grow A Self Publishing Book Business to 8 Figures”
Very nice Website
Steve and Chandler thanks!!!!
Awesome podcast and great info. I’ve already passed on Chandler’s info to a friend of mine who self-published his first book a little while back. He was super grateful.
Thanks Steve for the fantastic content and steller guest.
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