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Book:  Published

Author:  Chandler Bolt

Purchase:  Paperback

Citation:  Bolt, C. (2016). Published: The proven path from blank page to published author. Chandler Bolt.

Three Big Takeaways:​
  1. A book is a $15 mentor. The smartest, most successful people on the planet have written and published books with the best knowledge they have learned in their lifetime. To learn from them, all we have to do is pay $15 and invest a few hours to read the book. It’s the best, most succinct education you can get. (pg. 11)

  2. I did work once to create the book, and I’d be making royalties from the book forever. In the publishing industry, it’s called “mailbox money,” a royalty check that shows up in the mail every month. A book is the best and fastest way to grow your impact, your income, and your business. (pg. 13)

  3. My favorite way of doing a self-editing process is to do a “verbal read-through.” This means reading the book out loud to yourself and making changes in the manuscript as you go. When you read your writing out loud, you transition out of your own head and into the mind of your ideal reader, hearing what the book will sound like to them. Errors, content gaps, or places where you need more supporting points all become obvious in your manuscript. (pg. 70)


Other Key Ideas:​

According to the New York Times, 81% of people want to write a book. Less than 1% actually do it. (pg. 25)

Self publishing has become the preferred option for most authors who want to actually make money from their books, aren’t afraid to do a little extra work, and are willing to bet on themselves. (pg. 27)

Traditional Publishing: These companies are very selective about who they publish, can be somewhat antiquated in their approach, and will take the biggest cut of royalties. But, they have access to connections and distribution. You will get 8-12% royalty per book and it usually takes two years to complete the project. (pg. 27)

Hybrid Publishing: New form of publishing that sits between traditional and self publishing. It’s an innovative alternative to traditional publishing with better royalty rates, better terms for the author, and more flexibility, but they often require large up front fees with little support, trapping the author into a publishing contract and taking a larger portion of royalties than necessary. Similar royalties (8-12%) to what you will see with traditional publishing. (pg. 27)

Self Publishing: More work for a higher reward. Requires doing the work yourself or hiring help throughout the process. The extra work scares away a lot of authors, but if you know what you’re doing, there are significant upsides: earning 3-7x the royalties per book, keeping control of your content, etc. Your royalty rate will be somewhere between 20% and 70% depending on formatting, printing costs, etc. Unlike traditional publishing, there is no manuscript deadline or external accountability. (pg. 27)

For 99.9% of you, it makes more sense to self publish. The only time it makes sense to traditionally publish is if you’re a big name and can get a sizable advance ($50k - $100k+). If you don’t have an email list of 50,000+ people, a social media following, or some other form of audience, you won’t get signed by a publisher. (pg. 31)

Editing will never be finished. It’s done when you decide it’s done. There’s always things that can be added and “final” tweaks that can be made. At a certain point, you have to stop the madness and decide that your editing is done. Remember, done is better than perfect and your book will never be perfect. (pg. 79)

With editing, book production, marketing, and just about anything else for your book, you can spend money to save time or you can spend time to save money. Which one is worth more to you? This decision comes down to your “hourly rate.” To figure out how much your time is worth, take your yearly take home pay and divide it by 2,080. That’s your hourly rate. Can you pay someone to do the work at a lower hourly rate than yours? If so, then do it. If you are worried about spending the money on an editor, look at it as an investment. By producing a higher quality book, you will gain credibility as an author, get more positive reviews, and sell more books. (pg. 81)

Most self-published book covers are bad. Really bad. A book cover is one of your biggest opportunities to legitimize your book and stand out from the crowd. Don’t settle for a mediocre cover. (pg. 95)

Dan Sullivan popularized a concept called “Who Not How.” The principle says that any time you run into an obstacle or problem, you should ask: “WHO has solved this before?” not “How do I solve this?” If you figure out who can solve your problem, you can pay them for the shortcut. Paying them will ultimately be worth it because they’ll save you time, money, energy, and the waste that happens from making mistakes. There are no new problems. Every probably has been encountered and solved by someone. It’s your job to find who’s solved the problem and hire them to help you. (pg. 97)

If you truly believe that people’s lives will be better after reading your book, it’s your responsibility to do everything in your power to get them to buy and read the book. Marketing isn’t about harassing people. It’s about helping them solve their problems. (pg. 104)

Most people want to write a book, so they live vicariously through your journey. Giving people a “behind the scenes” view builds interest, elicits feedback, and gets people excited leading up to your book launch. When you do this well, people feel like it’s their book launching too, and they’re eager to help however they can. (pg. 107)

Creating a launch team is like having an army of advocates going out into the world telling people about your book. Instead of doing everything yourself, you have a team of people helping launch your book. (pg. 111)

The most important thing your launch team will help with is leaving a review on launch day. This helps you launch with fifteen, fifty, or maybe even 100+ reviews, maximizing your launch and making all of your other marketing efforts more effective. Beyond leaving a review, the launch team can: purchase your book from Amazon on launch day, use their social media to promote your book during launch week, etc. (pg. 112)

One of the best ways to maximize reviews during launch week is to have people prepare their reviews ahead of time. Get people to write their review and send it to you ahead of time. Then, on launch day you can reach out with their review and the link to leave a review to make it as simple as possible. (pg. 116)

Follow up with every person on your launch team individually at least twice during launch week. Remember, they committed to being on the launch team, so you’re doing them a favor by reaching out directly and making it as easy as possible for them to help. (pg.116)

Most authors use free supplemental text material as their lead magnet to get people to subscribe to their newsletter. I’ve found that the best two options for increasing subscribers AND consumptions of your lead magnet are: offering free video content or offering a free audio version of your book. Not only is it easy to listen to the audiobook, if you narrate the book yourself, you’ll deepen the connection with your readers. (pg. 122)

If you want your book to sell long term, you need reviews as social proof. Everything else you do will be amplified if your book has more reviews. The amount of reviews has a big influence on your book showing up in search as Amazon is more likely to bump them up to the top of the search rankings. (pg. 133)

Categories are another way readers discover books: searching for new books by looking at the bestselling books in a category they’re interested in. I recommend picking one category with less books and less competition. This allows you a better chance at becoming a bestselling with your book. The bestseller banner will help with the conversion rate of your book listing for as long as you’re able to keep it. (pg. 134)

One of the biggest mistakes I see authors make is only publishing their book in one or two formats. One of the easiest things you can do to maximize book sales is to publish your book in all formats. You’ll sell more copies of your book by giving readers the option to purchase the book in the format they like best. (pg. 135)

For most authors, I recommend launching on a Tuesday. Book publishers figured out long ago that Tuesday is the best day to launch because the craziness of a new week has somewhat died down. You can get people’s attention on Tuesday and market to them all the way until they escape into the weekend. (pg. 143)

To hit the New York Times bestseller list, you need to sell around 7,500 to 12,000 copies of your book during launch week. The book sales also need to be spread out amongst small bookstores, bulk sales, big box retailers, Amazon, etc. The NYT has made this process more complex over the years; even if you sell enough copies, you can be left off the list for any reason at the sole discretion of the NTY editors. (pg. 146)

People often get caught up in leaving the “perfect review.” They want to support you by making their review as helpful as possible. This means they put it off until they have time to craft something great. To ease this pressure, let them know that it only takes two minutes and they can always go back and change it later. (pg. 157)

Anytime someone reaches out to you with praise for your book, always respond with “Thank you so much! Would you mind copying and pasting that feedback here in a book review?” This helps turn every piece of positive feedback into a review. Then, once they have said they would leave a review, say “Amazing! Thanks so much. Just let me know when you leave your review so I can make sure it goes through on Amazon.” (pg. 158)

Any time I invest money in something new that doesn’t work, I call it “paying tuition to the school of life.” I didn’t lose money, I paid for an education. Instead of being mad that it didn’t work out, this helps me look for the lessons I’m supposed to learn. (pg. 184)

If you give someone a business card, they’ll probably throw it away within twenty-four hours. If you give someone a book, they’ll keep it. Every time they see that book in their home or in their office, they’ll think of you. (pg. 216)

At any speaking gig, I bring books. Instead of selling them, I give them away for free when people give us their contact information. (pg. 220)

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