Join Jason Hartman and self-publishing expert, Stephanie Chandler as they discuss the numerous advantages of writing your own book and self-publishing, and how it can enhance your business. Stephanie shares how she got started in the custom publishing business and offers some of her methods for writing, such as starting with an outline and chiseling away at it to get it done. Stephanie relates that self-publishing is becoming more and more attractive to even those who have been traditionally published due to the lower expenses involved and the quicker rewards. Listen for more details at: www.SpeakingofWealth.com. Stephanie also explains additional ways to generate revenues from a book, as well as the benefits of both trade paperbacks and ebooks, and best marketing practices.
Stephanie Chandler is the author of Booked Up! How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book to Grow Your Business, and has authored several other business and marketing books. She is the founder and CEO of Authority Publishing.com, a company that specializes in custom book publishing for nonfiction books. Stephanie is also a frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, BusinessWeek, Wired Magazine, and many other media outlets, including blogging for Forbes.com. Stephanie started her career in Silicon Valley, reaping the rewards and surviving the burst of the Dot Com Boom. In 2003, she fled the corporate world and opened a bookstore in Sacramento, CA. She began studying online marketing strategies and put the techniques to use to quickly put her store website in the top of Google. From this experience, a passion for internet marketing was born. In 2004, Stephanie launched BusinessInfoGuide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs, and began writing business and marketing books. She sold her bookstore and later launched Authority Publishing.
Introduction: Speakers, publishers, consultants, coaches and info marketers unite the Speaking of Wealth show is your roadmap to success and significance. Learn the latest tools, technologies and tactics to get more bookings, sell more products and attract more clients. If you are looking to increase your direct response sales, create a big time personal brand and become the go-to-guru. The Speaking of Wealth show is for you. Here is your host Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Speaking of Wealth Show. This is your host Jason Hartman where we discuss profit strategies for speakers, publishers, authors, consultants, coaches, info marketers, and just go over a whole bunch of exciting things that you can use to increase your business, to make your business more successful, and more and more passive, and more and more automated, and more and more scaleable. So we will be back with a great interview. Be sure to visit us at speakingofwealth.com. You can take advantage of our blog. Subscribe to the RSS feed, and many other resources for free at speakingofwealth.com, and we will be back with a great interview for you in less than 60 seconds.
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Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Stephanie Chandler to the show. She is an expert on self publishing so you are an author, a speaker, a publisher, and you need some help getting out into the marketplace. She offers a lot of great service, so I think you can learn a lot from this interview, and Stephanie and its great to have you welcome.
Stephanie: Thank you Jason and my pleasure.
Jason Hartman: Well, so tell us a little bit about your background. I guess you were in the very traditional old side of the book or do you a tech background and then you opened a bookstore. What a crazy move nowadays to open a bookstore huh [laughter].
Stephanie: Yeah a lot of people thought I was crazy when I left my Silicon Valley job and I opened a bookstore fact of the matter back in 2003 and I could looking back now I could see why they thought that was a little bit crazy, but the bottom line was I wanted to write, and I thought well, I didn’t how to make a living doing that so I opened a bookstore thinking that I was just going to sit in my back office and become the world’s greatest novelist, and its all kind of humorous now because it turns out I was not a very good novelist, and I hated running a retail business, but I was quickly forced to learn all about small business marketing, and that I discovered I had a passion for, so that all kind of evolved into writing business books, some business and marketing books and ultimately selling that store going down my to publishing journey while I started with a self published book that several subsequent traditional publishing contract started speaking and being asked to consult, and so ultimately sold that business, and launched a custom publishing company and its just been a wild and crazy ride, but I wouldn’t try any of it or anything, sounds great.
Jason Hartman: Good. So you are a — you said a self publishing company. Define for the listeners what that means if you would?
Stephanie: Basically we do — we are custom publishers, so we help people want to self publish their books. They pay us to produce the books. We kind of provide that one shop for busy professionals. We only produce non-fiction, but we do everything from the editing, and the cover design, and the interior design. We register bar codes and ISDN. We set up distribution with Amazon and banesandnoble.com and Ingram. So you know the true form of self publishing is involved a lot of work.
There is a lot of components to producing a book was getting your editor and your designers, and your printer quotes and everything setup and we are kind of that place where you can stop, and just have it all done in one place. Why professionals? We don’t outsource overseas or anything like that. All of my entire team are publishing industry professionals with years of experience, and I think that’s really important if you are going to produce the book especially when to enhance your business, you wanted to be as professional as possible.
Jason Hartman: Now why would someone want to self publish. I mean this may seem like a very elementary question given my audience I understand that, but I just wanted you to quickly address that question of why self publish.
Stephanie: Well speaking as somebody who has been traditionally published several times. Self publishing has becoming more and more attractive to many of us. The traditional publishing contracts are difficult to get first of all they are time consuming and they don’t pay very well. It’s a big mess that you get this giant book advances and you make all kinds of money from a book that’s not the case at all. In fact the average author makes $1 per book.
You even write a $20 financial guide that’s you are going to be paid a $1, a $1.25 a copy. You might get a $7000 book advance, and by the way you won’t see another penny of it until you’ve enough books are sold and they earn back that advance. So self publishing has becoming much more popular. The stigma is gone especially when you produce that professionally, and I think that’s why it’s just grown in popularity so much.
Jason Hartman: No question about it. So how does one embark on this journey, so they’ve got the idea for you do non-fiction right? So I don’t want to say the great American novel [laughter]?
Stephanie: Yeah [laughter].
Jason Hartman: But they’ve got an expertise. They’ve got experience in the certain industry, certain business usually, and they think why don’t we just share my expertise with the world, write about it and where does it all start, and what did they do first, and then what are the steps as they go along.
Stephanie: Yeah you know at first of all I have to say that I am a huge believer, and a book can really help you grow your business. It is a credibility builder. It can help you book speaking engagements. It gets you media attention. There is just so many benefits to being the author of the book. As far as getting started you know it starts with an idea as entrepreneurs many of us are kind of ideas factories. We have lots and lots of ideas. My suggestion is to definitely sit down and look at the competing books. Whatever book you are writing there is other books out there.
There should be similar books out there because that shows there is a market for your topic, but you want to make sure that you can differentiate your book from what’s already out there. How is your book going to be different or better, and I think its important to just determine that before you even begin writing so that you know what you are writing about and also who your target audience is going to be for your book.
These are two really important elements that a lot of people miss. And then they end up writing the same book that’s been written 15 other times so it really starts with understanding what other books are out there, so that you can position yours to really stand out, and then you start with the whole writing process which is different for everyone. I personally like to start with an outline, and I kind of chisel away at it to get it done, and this process is dedicating some time, and it doesn’t have to be a part of people think it is.
Jason Hartman: Sure. Yeah very, very good so, and that’s what I was really going to say. When you were talking about the fact that published authors that are published by publishing companies they just really don’t make any money usually it’s a $1 a book type idea, and there is obviously no money in that we all know, but what it does, what the book does is it really it can increase ones speaking fees if they are a paid speaker, increase exposure for their business, its really kind of a new business card in a way there are so many books published. It’s almost like if you want to be known as an expert in your field you need to have a book nowadays. It’s not like oh my gosh they are an author who that’s so amazing. A lot of people are authors nowadays, and this is sort of the new basic group that a lot of business people need to jump through just as a standard practice isn’t it?
Stephanie: I couldn’t agree more. It’s almost like you expect some of as an expert to have written a book and if they haven’t written a book through. It kind of raises an eyebrow. Why have you written a book yet? They just ask what you do, right?
Jason Hartman: Right yeah, exactly very good point. Well, it sounds like a lot of work to write a book. I mean any tips that people can use on actually getting it done ghostwriters, do it yourself collaborators, what’s a good methodology.
Stephanie: All of the above. I can tell you in my process which has worked really well, and I am on my seventh book now is I use the old storyboard method where I get a stack of 3/5 cards or post-it notes, and I start writing down every topic that I want to cover in the manuscript. Every minute detail and I spread that out before me, I may spend a couple of days getting all those thoughts out, and then I search and move them around and so they logically become chapters you know the — I am organizing them in chapters, and then I copy that into an outline, and begin chiseling away if that outlines. It feels like such a huge deal to write a book from the scratch, but for those who like writing it’s really not as big of a deal as it sounds. It’s really a matter of writing a bunch of articles that you think about it that way and also the average book of the manuscript is about 60,000 words. And a 1000 words is about three type pages. If you could commit to writing three pages a day you will have an entire manuscript in 60 days, so when you look at it that way I think it’s a lot less than [editing 0:10:26] and it really is all it takes to put that manuscripts there, and then of course you do have your book coaches, your ghostwriters, you can use Dragon Naturally Speaking software to transcribe audio and there is just so many options.
Jason Hartman: So gosh I don’t know which question I want to ask first here. I apologize. Talk about the money. You know how much does it cost to do this may be you want to talk about some of the charges, that your firm actually charges so its real estate. What kind of budget is an author looking at to get a book off the ground?
Stephanie: There is a lot of components involved. Professional editing, I think is one of the most important things that you can do to your book. It’s the biggest time that a book is self published if it’s been edited by a friend or a relative, or a spouse, and that happens a lot unfortunately so you’ve got investment professional, editing. You’ve got to have a professional cover design; interior layout is not just a matter of formatting a word document. It’s putting an end design and only paying attention to details, but these are labor intensive things. I can tell you that for us our publishing package started $6000 that’s on an inclusive with cover design and interior layout things like that.
There are other types of publishers who charge far more than we do, and there are just as many that charge less, so you really want to pay attention to those details when you are shopping for our service, ask them where there people are located, who is going to be doing the actual work on their work, and then also look at things like what is your book going to cost you to purchase. I see that as a big challenge for people who are going in, and get this low cost kind of the big box publishing solutions and then find out that they have to pay $7, 8, $10 per book, so there is a lot of factors to consider in all of that, but I would say from an overall budget perspective when you are factoring the fact that you need to do some marketing and may be do some publicity campaign I would say 8 to $10,000 is a good starting point.
Jason Hartman: When you talk about cost Stephanie should one even publish a printed book anymore with the amazing success of Kindle and other ebook readers. Should someone just go direct to electronic publishing?
Stephanie: And my firm answer to that is no. You still need both. Kindle books are on fire. Amazon announced earlier this year that they are out selling all books on the site which is phenomenal but you are still missing half of the reading market, right? Not everybody has the Kindle or an iPad so that you look on plus that its that tangible something that you can mail out to contacts or sells that back to them there if you speak, so I firmly believe that you need to have both because otherwise you are missing one or the other even if you just put it in the print, you are still missing a huge chunk of the market if you are not making available on eBay.
Jason Hartman: Yeah so not just ebook. The other thing is that tangibility of being able to hand that book to someone that you meet in networking event is really cool too, isn’t it?
Stephanie: It’s incredibly cool, and they mail it out to media contacts. You want to have that physical products plus I mean what a huge accomplishment to write a book. Why not be proud of that, and I give my book away like crazy do the right contacts because that’s how you continue to build that buzz.
Jason Hartman: What is your per book cost though if you are thinking of you want to mail our books to may be a 100 media contacts to give away to influential people, networking events whatever it is. What is the cost per book looking like, and may be before you even answer that question tell us is there an ideal size for a book. You did mention 60,000 words I believe. How many pages is that? what size, format because this all influences cost so may be you want to go into that first, and then answer the cost question so people can kind of budget their printed copies.
Stephanie: Yeah you know we are talking mostly trade paperback which by the way is the most economical way to go. Very few authors are using hardcover so that it cost twice as much, so and you will even notice that from the big publishers they pay like a far more common these days. As far as your per and 6/9 by the way my favorite if you can do can do it is 8/5. If you’ve written us per manuscript say 30,000 words you probably want to go to smaller trim size to make the look a little bit more substantial from the —
Jason Hartman: Define trim size if you would just for the people you know?
Stephanie: The actual size of the book, the dimensions of the book, so its 6/9 trade paperback is probably the most common term book trim size, and then you’ve got your 8/5 or your 8.5/5.5. If you look at your book shelf they are probably all somewhere within that range.
Jason Hartman: And so what is the number of — what’s the page count look like in there?
Stephanie: Well, depending on your word count I can tell you that from my experience, a very few authors actually end up with the 60,000 word manuscript. We are seeing a lot of 30,000-40,000-50,000 word manuscript, and that’s totally fine. The traditional publishers are the one who set the 60,000 standard, and the beauty of self publishing is you set your own standards.
So, your book to be anywhere on average I would like to see 150 pages because it looks substantial, 150 to 250 pages. If you are going beyond that you might want to look at do you need multiple books, should you pull the chapter out, making a bonus. A thick book can overwhelm people and it also adds your cost for printing. I could tell you from order standpoint a 150 page book would cost less than $4, and it also depends on how many you purchase video, print on demand so the more that you order, the less that it cost, so you could do getting those as little as $2 and some change depending on how many you are working.
Jason Hartman: Yeah and then what kind of quantities would those be for $2 and change?
Stephanie: You’re probably looking it over a 1000 at that price.
Jason Hartman: Well, that’s not that much. I mean this is the great thing about print on demand nowadays. A 1000 is a pretty small quantity really so basically someone spent may be $25,000 and they’ve got 1000 books so it’s a phenomenal marketing opportunity. It really is and that includes a color cover, right?
Stephanie: Always a color cover absolutely. Cover interior, now that’s a whole different story, and that also increases the cost.
Jason Hartman: Right.
Stephanie: Back of my interior color cover, professional binding variantly.
Jason Hartman: So someone did the printed book now and let’s assume that they want to also capture the Kindle and ebook reader market. How do they do that? Does your company offer that service there?
Stephanie: We definitely do ebook formatting because wonderful thing about ebooks is there is so much flexibility in this market. Amazon allows you to set up your own digital publishing account with them, so what we do for our clients is we format the books and then help them set up their own publishing accounts, but we are not taking any of their ebooks royalty. We set them up directly with Amazon, Amazon depending on how you set the price for your ebook if it’s 9.99 or less Amazon, it’s going to pay you a 70% royalty it’s really, its really good royalty rate. If you price it over 9.99, Amazon only pays you 35%, so clearly what they are doing is really pushing authors to price their books at 9.99 or less on ebooks format, but it works out pretty well. Its very easy to setup and then the other option that we’ve been recommending is to publish at Smashwords and also talk about Smashwords.com.
This is a brilliant service where you format your manuscript to their guidelines which is a kind of a script found word document, and they put the manuscript to their proprietary technology called the meat grinder, and that produces your ebook in nine different formats, so they distribute for the Barnes & Noble not for the iPad and iPhone. They’ve got a wonderful distribution channel. There is no upfront fee to do that, and Smashwords pays you 85% of the fees that they collect from the various outlets that they distribute to you.
Jason Hartman: But Smashwords doesn’t include Kindle, is that right?
Stephanie: They actually produce a Kindle version hat they do not distribute directly to Amazon’s Kindle store as of yet.
Jason Hartman: Okay so in other words Smashwords does the formatting for Kindle. Let me just make sure the listeners understand that. Smashwords do formatting for Kindle, and then all of the others they do formatting and distribution, is that correct?
Stephanie: That’s correct. So you will have a Kindle version available on your Smashwords account, but its not going to be available in the Kilned stores. You still have to do a separate formatting on your own for the Kindle store because you can’t download your format and send it over to the Kindle store. They fit two together the Kindle setup and the Smashwords setup covers all your major retail outlet.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic yeah boy, the opportunities nowadays for publisher Stephanie it’s so much better than it’s ever been in terms of the opportunity to get ones message out there. We’ve gone through a lot of that. talk to us a little bit more if you would and may be we will kind of wrap up with some stuff on this about marketing. Obviously it’s great to have the book. Certainly, people can use it in very organic ways just kind of locally they can send them out. They can give them out etcetera, and they can also sell them, but again the play on the book is usually not to make direct money or I should say profits, to make direct profits from the book in less someone is famous or they are going to really, really sell lot of books, right.
It’s mostly a credibility booster. You know someone has got a consulting business, or whatever infopreneur. They can get more gigs. They can get more speaking engagements. They can get more clients, and that’s where the money usually comes, but talk to us a little bit more about that, about ones view of may be the business model of being an author, and the marketing opportunities out there.
Stephanie: Yeah you know you are so right about that. The good news is that with self publishing you will make more per book than you would with a traditional publisher, so with your distribution with the retailers of Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, they are going to take a big percentage of the top. We set discounts to 40% so Amazon would like 55. We set them to 40% off retail price and then what’s left is after the cost of your printing, and what’s left is your royalty so most of our authors are saying 4 to $6 royalty earned per book sold online which is really good. Now, of course then you sell your book yourself, you make even more because if you are buying your book at $3 whatever your quantity you are purchasing then that you are potentially making 10 or $12 when you are [unintelligible 0:21:20] at the back of the room. But the bottom line is you still have to sell heck a lot of books to make a decent living, and very few authors actually make their living strictly of those books unless your last name is you know King or Grisham.
Jason Hartman: Right Steel or something like that yeah.
Stephanie: Or Steel yeah exactly.
Jason Hartman: Or Colin Powell whatever yeah.
Stephanie: [Laughter]. So, you are right. It is all about how you use that book to create more business for yourself. It was a big surprise to me when I published my book. It was a business startup guide, and I started getting, people calling asking for consulting. I wasn’t a consultant at the time. I wasn’t a speaker at the time, and I was starting to get invitations to speak, and a lot of us speak for business. We go to our local chamber whatever may be do a speech, but let me tell you paid speaking can be very lucrative, and a book can really help open doors for you to get paid speaking opportunities, more consulting, you can create workshop. You can build a whole brand around your book. One of my favorite authors who has done that is Jim Horan wrote a great book called the One Page Business Plan. I have been recommending that book for years.
Jason Hartman: And how many pages is the book. I just had to ask [laughter].
Stephanie: I don’t know how many pages this book is, but it’s a very good size. It’s a 8.5/11 and it comes with a CD of business plan templates, and Jim Horan self published and produced that book I don’t know how many years ago, probably 10 or more years ago, and what I most love about what he has done is he has built a whole brand and a whole company around that book, so he certifies other consultants on his one page business plan message. They pay him to go through his certification program, and then they go out and teach his methods and sell his books, so he has created this agents for this company and it’s a really good book, and its also launched a whole series of book, so there are so many ways that you can take that book and really build all kinds of revenue around it. You mentioned info products one of my favorite thing, create a companion workbook, build audio programs, record yourself giving workshops. The book is just the first step and what it becomes a world of opportunity.
Jason Hartman: Well, good stuff. Give out your website if you would and tell people where they can learn more.
Stephanie: Yeah its authoritypublishing.com. I also run businessinfoguide.com, and we expect guest articles to welcome any business listeners to contribute there, but you can find me on Twitter on biz author and I would love to hear from any of your listeners.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well, Stephanie thank you so much. Stephanie Chandler and you also have stephaniechandler.com, so thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate it.
Stephanie: Thank you Jason, my pleasure.
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The Speaking of Wealth Team
Transcribed by Renee’ Naphier