Rory Vaden titled his webinar "From First Book to Big Business: Turning your Book into a Scaling Company".
He thought about writing a book because it was very cool. At a conference in Feb. 2008, a mentor of his told him the difference between "the hook and the book". The book is the content that's inside, but that doesn't sell. The hook is the title. And that's what sells. The title of his first book, Take the Stairs, came up that same day while talking with another mentor and telling him a story that had happened to him (Rory) at an airport. Four years went by from the moment he got a literary agent to the moment he launched and hit #2 of the New York Times bestseller list.
While he's thinking, he takes note of everything in a Word document and does all the necessary research in advance. When he's ready to write, he goes into what he calls the harvest season, "an imbalanced life for a short period of time". A week of writing practically non-stop.
Selling is what takes the longest time. It's building the machine and the platform, which, for him, is the channels that you have to sell your book. And Rory recommends that someone who is going to self-publish needs to have a plan for how they're going to sell their book. And also needs to save money, because it takes money to carry out launches. [All this seems to me somewhat unrealistic, almost impossible, for a first timer with no business or experience as support.]
Going back to writing and selling simultaneously, Rory explained that creating pre-orders is how a book can hit the #1 bestseller list in a week, because sales can only be officially reported when the book comes out. How can you create these pre-orders? In his case, by advertising on Facebook, doing webinars, being on podcasts... However, the best strategy for pre-orders was through keynotes, where people pre-ordered Take the Stairs in advance in exchange for digital bonuses worth 4-5 times more than the price of the book. That was the bait for pre-orders and email addresses. For Procrastinate on Purpose they created a way to do this virtually.
Advice on monetizing for self-publishers:
- give away materials of value for free
- incentivize people to help promote your book by making an irresistible offer
- do free 30-minute or one-hour webinars where people have to opt in to register, and sell your book at the end; you can include digital bonuses for the same price
- send an email blast to all your connections on LinkedIn
- post on Facebook
- tweet for several days straight always including a link to opt in, pre-order or buy the book
- ask family and friends to pre-order the book
- advertise. [Imagination is the limit, imho.]
Rory's final remarks on this topic were: "Whatever you do, do it for free and then make the irresistible offer at the end."
Parting advice: "Do whatever you decide you're going to do and you're already on that journey. That should give you confidence."
Thanks, Rory, for a very interesting webinar full of great tips and ideas! Congrats on being a great interviewer, Chandler!