You know what time it is, Healthpreneurs! Welcome back! Do you have a book in you? Well, today I’m going to be telling you the truth about writing and selling a book. I’ve written three books about diet and nutrition, so I’ve got some important behind-the-scenes insights.
If you want to write a book, you should. But first, you need to know the truth about what is really going to transform someone’s life. And you must have a clear objective. Without this truth bomb, you’ll be headed into the process blind.
I’ve published both traditionally and on my own, and I think self-publishing to start is the way to go. I’m going to share with you why self-publishing is the best way to get your message across, and I’ll crunch the numbers for you based upon my experience with self-publishing. Tune in if you’re interested in writing a book and leave with some helpful hints to get started!
Click here to subscribe to the Healthpreneur™ Podcast on iTunes
In This Episode I discuss:
1:00 – 5:30 – Publishing vs. self-publishing and your book’s objective
5:30 – 9:30 – How to really help people and when to publish traditionally
9:30 – 15:00 – Why you should self-publish and how to sell your book
15:00 – 17:30 – Getting your message across and knowing your primary objective
17:30 – 24:00 – My book example and putting book sales into perspective
24:00 – 27:00 – Why coaching programs are still the solution
What You Missed:
In the last episode, my guest was Matthew Hersh, the co-owner and operator of The Brand X Method.
Matthew talked about both the business-building side of things and the journey to create a movement.
Matthew is a savvy businessman. He’s passionate about his work with The Brand X Method and knows the value of continued education through podcasts, conferences, coaching – and lots of reading – so he can make the biggest impact with the kids his company serves.
If you missed this one, you can tune in right here for some actionable tips to take your business to the next level, reconnect with your mission, and use your uniqueness for good.
Have you ever wondered to write a book, or do you have a book that you want to sell? Well, in this episode, I want to talk to you about the truth about writing and selling a book. As you may or may not know, I’ve written three published books in the diet and nutrition space, including a number two New York Times Best Seller, USA Today Best Seller, Wall Street Journal Best Seller.
Publishing vs. self-publishing and your book’s objective
I just want to talk about a few things here with respect to writing either a published book or a self-published book, and just give you some important behind-the-scenes insights. Okay, because we are now, what, December 17th. We’re at the end of the year. A lot of us are probably thinking about, like, what’s 2019 looking like? How do we start getting our message out? How do we start attracting more clients?
Here’s the thing, it’s like I think everyone should write a book. Everyone has a great message to share. I think if you want to write a book, you should write a book. It’s great. You also have to consider what is the objective of the book. A lot of people ask me, actually, one of my … Not students, but when I was coaching at the University of Toronto, one of the players on our team ended up going to a naturopathic school, now he’s out, and he’s at his own practice.
He sent me an email the other week asking this exact question. Everything he was asking is stuff that, I think, would be important for you and him to understand. Maybe I’ll just send him this podcast episode as a response to his email.
All right. Okay, so here’s what he wrote. I’ll just take out some of the personal stuff. He’s like, “I had a few questions in regards to book publishing. As I’ve read your books and respect your opinion quite a bit, I decided to write a book, and the first draft should hopefully be done in the next month or so. Is there anything I should know when approaching publishers with my book. What was your experience with Rodale and other publishing companies you approached? What should I expect when discussing cost and profit with publishers? I’ll need to take a lot of images for the book, which I’m happy to hire someone to do.
How to really help people and when to publish traditionally
Okay, so let’s talk about the publishing route for a second. Publishing a book is essentially when you write a book, or you write a manuscript, or you have a proposal, you pitch it to a publisher, and they say yes or no. Right? The big publishers … Well, in my case, I published my first book with Hay House, and then my second two were with Rodale. There’s Penguin. There’s Random House. There’s all sorts of publishers out there.
Here’s the benefit … Actually, I’m not too sure if there’s a benefit to go in the published route. Okay. Let me backtrack. If you have a huge following and you can sell the publisher on the fact that you’re going to sell a lot of books, you could get a very big advance. In my case, I was able to get an advance that was almost seven figures, so very, very high six figures.
I’m like, “You know what? Yeah, I can write a book on that. Not a problem.” It was worthwhile doing that, but if you’re just starting out, or if you had a very small platform, and I’m talking about no following, or even a thousand following. When I say big platform, I want you to be very realistic of what a big platform is. I’m talking millions of customers, clients, or followers.
That’s what I’m talking about in terms of big platform because I know people in our space, some of them have actually been on this podcast, who have massive platforms and their books still did not hit the New York Times list. Earlier, I said, “Okay, you have to know what your objective is with the book.” My objective with my first book was to hit number one on the New York Times list. Why? For no other reason than ego. To be very honest with you, that was the reason why.
You need to be honest with yourself. What is the reason for the book? Oh, I just want to help people. Great, if you want to help people, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to build your perfect client pipeline. You’re going to get people on the phone. You’re going to enroll them in your coaching program, and you’re going to help them at a very deep level. You’re not going to give them a book that they’re not going to take action on. Okay?
That’s the way I see it. If you really want to help people, don’t give them a book. You can give them a book afterwards. If someone is really in need of help, they need your help. They don’t need the book. This is the biggest thing I want you to understand is that a book is not going to transform someone’s life. There are, obviously, exceptions to that. You pick a couple tips and insights here. You change the way you eat. You change the way you live, and it’s all good.
Remember, we only value what we pay for, and the more you pay, the more you pay attention. If someone spends 20 or $30 on your book, are they fully invested, or is it like … What’s the pain of loss if they didn’t read the book? Worst case scenario, they lose 20 or 30 bucks, but if they enroll with you as a client and they spend, three, five, $10,000 with you, the pain of loss, of not doing the work is massive.
I want you to understand this. Okay? This is why I have a very, very strong opinion about books and products, especially if you love coaching people. There are some people that just want to write books. Robin Sharma is a friend of mine. We meet up every now and then, and his ideal life is to sit in a log cabin in this beautiful remote area and just write. That’s all he wants to do. That’s perfectly fine if that’s what you want to do, but if you want to really coach and help people, then you just have to cut to the chase. That’s why I talk about the shortest path is usually the best one.
Why you should self-publish and how to sell your book
In respect to publishing a book, the only time I would recommend publishing a book with a publisher is if you have a huge following in which you can get a very high six or seven-figure advance. If you cannot get that, it is a complete waste of your time and a distraction to get a book published. Publishers will not do anything meaningful to sell copies of your book. Here’s the thing. Again, it’s 100% ego for why we want to publish a book. Oh, I just got a book deal with a publisher. Great, how much was it for? The average book advance, do you know how much it is? $5,000.
$5,000 to get a book advance so that you can have a nice-looking book that’s going to sit on the shelves, not front of the store, right, but maybe one or two copies tucked away somewhere in the bookstore. The publishers are not going to help sell the book. I mean, I’ve worked with two different publishers. They’re both amazing. I mean, I love both those companies, but very honestly, I did all the work. I did all the work to get on Dr. Oz and The Doctors in conjunction with my publicist at the time. I did all the work to sell the books. They did nothing. Okay? A publisher is basically a glamorized or a glorified printing house. That’s what a publisher is. If you want a nice looking book, they will print you nice-looking book. That’s about it.
Let’s talk about the alternative, which is to self-publish. Actually, let me go back to publishing for a second. If you want to make money, you’re not going to make money publishing a book, unless you had a big advance. If you’re getting advance for five, $10,000, that’s about it. That’s all you’re going to see in terms of money because how are you going to sell the book then? Okay?
You’re going to drive people to Amazon or a bookstore, and then you’re going to get, what, a 25 cents royalty on the book sale, or are you going to do this whole big launch to sell the book, but who’s going to support your launch if no one is getting paid because you don’t own the sales process? When you publish a book, you don’t own the sales process of the book. You’re sending people to a bookstore or Amazon. That is a problem if you want to make money and have a lot of people support your book.
Now, the flip side is you can do a self-published book, which is my favorite. Every book I’m going to be publishing into the near future is going to be self-published because I control 100% of the process and the sales process. If someone were to buy a book from our website, that money is coming to our bank. We obtain the customer, the client, end of story, instead of me sending them to the bookstore, and then not knowing who that person is.
If you want to write a book, I would strongly recommend self-publishing it. Hey, and if it does really well, and as you grow your audience, you can always take that book and pitch it to publishers down the road once you’ve had a bigger following. I would say, self-publish to start because it’s way better. Publishing a book, takes a lot of … It takes a lot of time, energy, and focus away from your business.
When I was writing my three books, I decided I’m not going to have this be a major distraction for my business, even though it was, so I’m going to write between 5:00 and 7:00 AM every morning, Monday through Sunday. That’s how I was able to crank out three books in the space of five months. I didn’t disappear, shut down my business, compromise all this other stuff because I had to write the book.
I just said, “Listen, I’m going to wake up early. I’m going to get the books done, and then the rest of the day is normal business.” Still, there’s a focus and energy that’s put into the books, and that’s a split energy. When you got split energy, you get split results. You have to be very clear about what the book is intended to do.
That’s the first thing. Second, so when we talk about publishing … Sorry, self-publishing, publishing, you’re going to absorb the cost of publishing the books. There’s no advance coming into you because you’re the one who’s the publisher. You’re going to take a little bit of a risk. You’re going to publish 100 copies, sell them. You make money back, whatever.
The real benefit of self-publishing is that if you wanted to do a launch around your book, now, you control the sales process, you control the funnel, and you control the cash, which means that if you’re selling the book for 20 bucks, which by the way, good luck selling a book for 20 bucks nowadays when everyone is doing free plus shipping, but let’s just say you were selling it for 20 bucks.
Now, you can reach out to different partners and say, “Hey, listen, I want you to support my book. I have this really well, dialed-in funnel,” which is a whole other ballgame. In order for people to promote your book, they need to be compensated. In order for them to be compensated at a good level, in order for them to send a lot of traffic to you, you got to pay them wall.
I’m not going to go … Well, I probably should go into a little bit of granular detail here. When somebody sends you a click, they want to know how much earning am I going to make per click. That’s known as EPC, earnings-per-click. Let’s say you have a book. You sell your book on the front-end. You’ve got a few upsells, because if you don’t, it’s not going to work, okay, in terms of other people promoting it because no one is making money on the front-end, especially if you’re doing a fee plus shipping offer, right?
The book is free. You cover shipping. They give their credit card, then here’s the first upsell, you’ve got this VIP package for 67 bucks. The next upsell is, whatever, a VIP coaching thing for 297. Whatever the upsell flow is, is what it is. That’s where most of the money is made. If you don’t have it in place, don’t even bother with the book launch. If you do, and you’re launching a book, people are going to know … They’re going to want to know what’s the converting at, what are the earnings-per-click.
Any earning-per-click under a dollar is unacceptable. That’s pretty much it. If you have a book launch and you’re earning … Most people would get from a book launch under 10 cents earning-per-click, don’t even bother. When we did our book launch for The All-Day Energy Diet, it was a published book, but I actually acquired all the copies myself, and then we control the sales process. That’s why I bought $300,000 worth of the books, so I can control the sales process, and then run a big launch around it. It was a big risk, but it worked out.
Our earnings-per-click were close to a dollar on a book launch, which is almost unheard of. If you’re not experienced and you’re not a really well-seasoned marketer, I won’t even bother because there’s just too many moving parts for you to worry about. Our last book launch was a self-published cookbook. It was a free plus shipping offer, so we self-published it, right, so we printed 30,000 copies, whatever that ended up being, and we said, “Okay, we’re going to give a copy away for free. You just cover shipping,” and then we had a number of upsells to offer other complementary cookbooks on the back-end.
Here’s why I’m not a huge fan of launches, especially when it’s … Well, as you know, I’m not a huge fan of anything that’s low-priced because it doesn’t make sense, and here’s an example. Free cookbook, you pay 9.95 for shipping. We split-tested nine different funnels. Now, you’re probably just one to write a book and get into people’s hands. You don’t want to split test nine different upsell funnels, each funnel, three to four upsells, and then track all that data somehow and get partners promoting it, it’s a freaking nightmare.
Getting your message across and knowing your primary objective
If you are going to self-publish a book, again, be very, very clear about what the objective is. Is the objective, I’m just going to put the book up on Amazon, and I’m going to send some people there, and if they buy it, that’s great, or we’re going to house the book on our website, in our storefront. When people go there, they can buy the book, end of story. They’re taken to the thank you page, not upsell flow, whatever. There’s going to be no product launch, no big launch around this. I’m just putting a book that I want to get a message around, and I’m going to put it out there.
You can totally do that. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re going to see a lot more of that. For me, actually, I’m publishing a book a day. Sorry. That would be a little bit insane. I’d be on cocaine. A book a month, that’s my goal in 2019. You’re going to see a new book released from me every single month, and we’re going to be building out the storefronts on the HP site to basically sell that. I’ll tell you why we’re going to do that in the coming weeks, but that’s my intention.
I have no intention of doing book launches, trying to get a publisher to publish it. I don’t care about any of that stuff. I just have a message, and it’s done in a way that’s actually fairly simple for us to publish the book or self-publish it. I don’t have to write for weeks. It’ll take me a day or two. We got a pretty good system in place to be able to make that happen, but our intention is not to use that as a primary way of generating business and clients in our business because if that is your primary objective, you’re doomed to fail.
We had a call with a prospective client a few months ago who, funnily enough, didn’t end up working with us because her boyfriend ended up finding something on the Better Business Bureau website about one of our fitness products from 10 years ago that had some copy that was a little bit over the top. He told her, “Listen, I don’t think this is the type of guy you want to do business with.” I was like, “Wow, that’s great. 10 years ago. We weren’t even on the Better Business Bureau. They were just looking at one of our sites and had somehow popped up on their site as an audit or something.
Anyway, so she was in the position … She’s in the position … She has a book, and she wants to sell it. I’m like, “Great, what’s the objective?” Well, I want to use it to get some clients on the back-end. I’m going to have a course and all this stuff. I’m like, “Great, how are you going to sell the book?” I’m going to do a couple talks here and there. Awesome. How many talks are you going to do to sell enough books to make enough money to live? There’s no answer to that question.
Guys, this is so important. The reason I’m sharing this with you because I’ve done all this shit. I’ve done all this stuff. It really is just a distraction. Listen, you have to decide, are you a writer, or are you a coach, or are you a business owner, or are you an entrepreneur? You got to figure that out. If you’re a writer and you love writing, write books. That’s great, but you also have to figure out how to sell them.
Don’t ever write a book before you’ve got a platform of people to sell it to. If you want to write for the sake of writing, that’s your choice, just understand there’s an opportunity cost, and the opportunity cost is lost time, energy, money, that could be spent on building your business and working with your clients.
If you’re going to write a book, I would strongly recommend self-publish where you control the process in terms of the writing, editing. You can do whatever you want with it. You can choose Amazon CreateSpace for publishing the book, or you can go with print-on-demand services like Vervante or there’s others out there, or you can go with a fulfillment house where they print the book and house it, and then ship it out.
There’s all sorts of different options that you can use when you’re self-publishing, but I would strongly recommend you self-publish because then, you don’t have to answer anyone. You have to answer, “Oh, like, listen, I need …” Here’s another great example, okay? My last book, The All-Day Fat-Burning Cookbook, is an amazing cookbook. All the recipes, unlike most other cookbook authors out there, I created myself. I would source the recipes from some people on Fiverr and stuff like that. I created every recipe myself, tested everyone. I actually still used a couple to this day. It’s amazing.
My book example and putting book sales into perspective
I submitted the cookbook to Rodale, and it was, I think it was like 40,000 words. It was a hundred and somewhat recipe. I’m like, “I’ve said everything I can say. It’s all done. Here you go.” They sent me an email back a couple days later like, “Yuri, this looks awesome, just one thing. We need you to write another 25,000 words.” I’m like, “For what? For what?” Because they had to fill their printing quota size for the book. I had to come up with 25,000 extra words because they needed to meet a printing quota.
This is the nonsense I’m talking about when you’re trying to get a book published, like why? Why do all that stuff? I’ve got up … Excuse me. I just had a hiccup. That’s pretty funny. I have another friend in this space. I’m not going to mention their name, but they had a book that was published with my publisher as well and did pretty well. Now, what they’re doing is they’re taking all the published books. Basically, they don’t even care what they’re doing. Now, they’re just selling all their stuff through ClickBank because they control the process, right?
That’s a whole other beast of making the whole ClickBank affiliate marketing stuff work. At least, with that, they’re going to get a lot more leverage, and a lot more longevity selling a book in an eBook format, for instance, or even a physical book, through ClickBank. I’ve got friends who you would never know, right? They’re not published authors. They’re not these experts you see on TV, and they’re selling hundreds of thousands of copies of their books and eBooks every single month.
Do you think they’re ever going to hit the New York Times list? No. Do you think they care about that? No, because they’re making tens of millions of dollars a year. You have to be very clear about what your objective is. If your objective is to hit the New York Times list, I would say check your ego because it really doesn’t do much for your career. It’s not like I’m speaking on every stage around the world now because I’m a New York Times Best Seller. It helps. It opens a few doors. It adds a little bit of credibility, but would I do it again? Probably not.
I mean, I’m happy that I have it. It’s something that no one can ever take away from me, but you don’t have to have that stuff to be successful. You don’t have to be known by everyone or be on stages or be on TV and have your books hit the list to impact people’s lives and make great money. I would actually say that all that stuff is a distraction and because it’s a very, very convoluted, complicated business model.
Again, I’m not going to mention names. Another colleague in the space, multiple time New York Times bestselling author, she was telling me at one time, they had done … The revenue is $10 million in a year, and she was saying she barely profited $100,000. I’m like, “For what? You’re doing all these book launches, where you’re giving people cars for the top price, and you’re spending half the year bringing everyone together and get in to promote the book, and then the book doesn’t convert well.”
In my case, I’m not going to continue sending tons of traffic to it, but other people do, and that’s their choice. Here, you have this massive book launch, and then you’re selling supplements on the back-end of it. Hey, that’s totally fine, but you just have to understand what you’re getting into. Most people don’t. Most health experts don’t understand what goes into launching a book, let alone a product, a business, a coaching program, whatever. That’s why I wanted to step in here and give you some insights into making that a reality.
I just want to give you one more example. Let’s say that you have a book that’s $20, and let’s say that you kept all $20. That was 100% of your profit. Caveat, that’s not going to happen, but let’s just say it did. Okay? You make $20 per book. You want to make a million dollars per year. That’s your goal. How many books do you have to sell to have a million dollars? You have to sell 50,000 books.
All right. All right, so how do we sell 50,000 books? You can do launches, Facebook ads, all sorts of different stuff, okay? Anyways, let’s just assume that you got a book page, like a page that sells your book, and it converts at 1%, which means that if a hundred people land on the page, one person buys the book. If you want to sell 50,000 books, how many people need to land on that page? The answer is five million.
All right, so here we go. Do you have five million people at your disposal? Probably not. Okay, so what’s the alternative? You reach out to partners to promote the book. Okay. Great. Dilemma, do you have a funnel that is going to increase the lifetime or the average order value of that book transaction so that that partner is going to make a great commission and want to continue selling or promoting it? Maybe, maybe not, or you can buy Facebook ads, in which case, you could lose a lot of money trying to sell a $20 product unless you have a really, really well dialed-in funnel, which again, is probably not the scenario for most people listening to this.
How are you going to get five million people to the websites? You can’t. Therefore, you can’t sell 50,000 copies, and therefore, you can’t earn a million dollars, unless you are an amazing marketer who loves writing sales copy, and who wants to pump out all sorts of different funnels in the back-end and upsell flows and try to increase the average order value from 20 to $25 so that you can spend $23 to acquire a client on Facebook. You’ve got $2 profit. You could do that if you wanted to make a million dollars.
I doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? That’s why I really believe, if you want to coach and you want to help people at a deep level, just freaking coach them. You don’t need all the convoluted stuff. Run traffic to a webinar. From the webinar, invite people onto the phone, solve their problem. They’re drowning in the water, don’t throw them a water wing, throw them the frigging life preserver.
Why coaching programs are still the solution
That’s what your coaching program is going to do. You’re throwing them the solution to their problem. A book is a crumb. Let’s say you’ve got a coaching program at $5,000. How many clients do you need at $5,000 to make a million dollars? You need 200 clients. Which would you rather have, 200 clients or 50,000 people buying a book? I’ll tell you this because we have book funnels right now running from Facebook ads, and thankfully, I’m not involved in that because it just sucks the soul out of my body, but our health and fitness business does that, partly.
It is a lot harder to sell, in our case, a $10 book than it is for us to sell a coaching program for several thousand dollars. You’ll find the same. I’m telling you. You will the same. It’s really not worth it, so my suggestion to you is write the book because want to write the book. Get it out to people if it helps five people, a thousand, whatever, but if you really want to help people, build out your coaching program. Let us help you build out your perfect client pipelines that you can predictably get people into your world, serve them, transform them, help them, and then, over time as you build your platform, if you want to or not, then you can release the books on a bigger scale, but whether or not that happens or not, it doesn’t make any difference.
I hope this makes sense for you, and if it does, great. If you are of the opinion where you’re like, “You know what, Yuri? this makes a lot of sense. Let’s built out this perfect client pipeline. That makes more sense to me.” Then I invite you to attend our free training, Seven-Figure Health Business Blueprint.
Go to healthpreneurgroup.com/training. Do it now. Attend the training. You’ll just get a lot of insight. You’ll get a lot of clarity about exactly how to do all this stuff. Again, if it resonates with you and you want our help, book a call, and we can drop on the phone with you and figure that out, okay?
That is the truth about writing and selling a book. I hope it finds you well. If you know anyone else who is thinking or has a book, thinking of writing a book or has a book, please share this episode with them. It will save them a lot of pain and frustration. Okay? In the meantime, have an amazing day. I look forward to speaking with you on Wednesday. Continue to be great, do great, and I’ll talk to you again.
Subscribe to the Healthpreneur™ Podcast on iTunes
If you enjoyed this episode, head on over to iTunes and subscribe to Healthpreneur™ Podcast if you haven’t done so already.
While you’re there, leave a rating and review. It really helps us out to reach more people because that is what we’re here to do.