The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 119 · 1 year ago

119. The 6 P's of Writing, Publishing, and Selling Your Book (Part 2 of 2) w/ Ethan Beute


It opened doors that I didn’t know existed. I met new people, found new opportunities, and received other unexpected benefits from organizing my thoughts.

This result of writing, publishing, and selling a book makes the entire 6-step process worthwhile.

I’m Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, host of The Customer Experience Podcast, and co-host of the CX Series on the B2B Growth Show. I am here today to share Part 2 of the 6 Ps of Writing, Publishing, and Selling Your Book.

A very quick overview:

- The 6 Ps: purpose, proposal, process, publishing, people, and promotion

- Publishing decisions should be guided by purpose

- It takes a village of people to publish a book

- Promotion is ultimately your responsibility

Check out these resources to help you navigate the 6 Ps:

- This is a blog post of reflection on writing my book

- Check out this slide deck of the 6 Ps

- Building Relationships Through Video (my talk about writing)

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

... process or option you choose, you ultimately have to sell this book. The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Hey, if one of your goals or resolutions is to write, publish and sell a book, you are in the right place. This is part two of a two part series, the six piece of writing, publishing and selling your book. My name is Ethan Butte, Co author of Rehumanize Your Business. My friend, teammate and CO author, Steve Passinelli, and I worked with wily to bring that book to market about a year and a half ago. It has exceeded our own expectations, selling something like twenty fivezero copies and counting, hitting a couple best seller lists and, most importantly, equipping more people with the philosophy and practice that we know can improve their employee experience and their customer experience. The subtitle of Rehumanize your business is how personal videos accelerate sales and improve customer experience. It's the what, why, who, when and how of building relationships through video, of making people feel seen, heard, appreciated and understood, the process of communicating more clearly, building more human connection and ultimately increasing conversion, all those micro yeses and macro yesses that we need every single day from the people that were reaching out to in order to be successful in our roles. If you want to hear part one of this two part series, in which we cover the purpose of the project, the proposal that you should write to support the project and various things to think about regarding the process of getting the book written, you'll find those in part one. That's episode one hundred and fourteen of the customer experience podcast, and we also put up posts to support these episodes at bombombcom slash podcast. So will link up related resources in the post for this episode as well as episode one hundred and fourteen. And just as a habit of using simple, casual conversational videos to replace some of your plane typed out text, that faceless digital communication can improve your employee experience and your customer experience, so too can the process of writing, publishing and selling a book. Something I didn't share in the first part was a specific aspect of the purpose that drove steven me early on in the process of writing rehumanized as talking with my longtime friend and team member and a guest on the customer experienced podcast, our chief customer officer, Jonathan Bolton, and he asked me, hey, how long do you think it's going to take to get this written? and honestly I don't remember how many hours I guesstimated, but he said if that is the investment of time required, it would be worth you pursuing this, even if we only did it for our own employees to share the philosophy and practice, the stories that support it, some of the valuable frameworks around it. If it was only to help recruit and on board and retrain our existing employees, this would be worth it. Of course, a fantastic employee experience at a high level of employee engagement are necessary precursors to an outstanding customer experience as well. Now, we didn't limit the purpose and scope of our project to our employees alone, although it's been very, very useful in that way. It's also been helpful in broadening the community, in attracting New People to this movement and helping our...

...customers be more successful, helping our competitors, customers be more successful, helping our competitors be more successful by writing the first and only book on this topic. and not a week goes by, even a year and a half later, that Steve or I fails to hear from someone who is reaching out to us because of the book. I picked your book up at LAX or at the Nashville airport or in Denver, or a friend of mine gave it to me, where I saw this on a CO worker's desk. There are so many employee and customer benefits to organizing your thoughts and making this commitment in a book format, your ABM strategies and tactics, your digital ads, your email nurturing. It only reaches a certain number of people. There's something very interesting about this physical, tangible product, or even the digital ebook version or the audiobook version. It can carry your message so much farther than you ever imagined. So with that setup, we'll go to the three P's in this episode again. The first three were purpose proposal and process. Here we're talking about publishing, people and Promotion Publishing. This is a big one. There are so many ways to bring your book to market these days. One of the obvious options is traditional publishing, something we did with Whiley, very prolific nonfiction business book publisher. I and my teammates have read several of the titles they've brought to market. I won't list out all of the traditional publishers, but you know them, penguin, McGraw Hill, Random House. There's been a lot of consolidation in the industry, so I'm sure a lot of them are all kind of rolled up together and it's a great option, and I'll explain why and why we went that way in just a moment. But another category is the hybrid publisher. In my view, the leader in this pack is Greenleaf Book Group. As a quick related bonus, their CEO, Tanya Hall, wrote an excellent book on this topic. Ideas, influence and income. Write a book, build your brand and lead your industry. I read Tanyu's book while I was deep in this process and it was so helpful in so many different ways and I don't remember it in great, great detail, but I'm sure it has something to say about all six of the P's that I'm covering in this two part series. So this hybrid category is a bit more white glove than the third one I'll mention here, which is self publishing. A couple options you might look at here our scribe and idea press. Friends of mine have used both of those services and speak well of them. And a fourth and off an overlooked category is unpublished. For example, I wrote a twenty five to Thirtyzero word piece about how to successfully adopt video as part of your workflow as an individual or as a team, and we opted to go unpublished with it. It's it wasn't feature length, although I could have pushed it out to that. Our design team, and a haze and particular, did a beautiful job designing a cover, laying it out, coming up with a visual theme for it. We created it in the EPUB format that when you open it up, it automatically opens in something like apple books. Will also print some hard copies and send those two prospects as well as to customers. It'll be very helpful in educating people, but we're not going to go to the extra effort of getting it listed for sale or for download, and Amazon were certainly not going to put it in hardcover and try to get it positioned in retail outlets. So again going back to the first P purpose. Depending on the purpose of your project, you may not even choose to publish it in any kind of a formal way. Now a quick consideration here between traditional, hybrid, self and unpublished is the upfront cost. With unpublished, I would give that a single dollar sign. You can do it pretty...

...and expensively. I would give two dollar signs to self publishing. Plan to spend at least tenzeros getting that going and because you own your intellectual property in both the hybrid publishing and self publishing models, also plan on the cost of printing and warehousing the books. I can't get into all of the details there, but you will pay to print your own books in the self and hybrid models. Hybrid publishing is the most expensive upfront because it comes with a number of other benefits and services. I gave that three dollar signs and a little graphic I designed. And Traditional publishing has no upfront costs. That was one of the reasons we went with Wiley. We also felt like a traditional publisher would give us some credibility as many customers as we have, as large as our community is in relative terms and certainly relative to the total addressable market for the message in the book, where nobody as many people host even me, thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of times more people don't. And there was no upfront investment. Again, that's why, when I was explaining in the first part of this, you want to demonstrate with your marketing plan in the second p proposal that you can mitigate their risk and make it an easy yes, if you're going with a traditional publisher, because they are bearing the costs and the risks of the project. Now on the back end, how are you going to recoup your costs? Again with purpose, I said it was largely a fool's air and to think that you're going to do this in order to make money. But you can generate revenue on the backside to recoup the costs of your time, perhaps upfront investments with a hybrid or self publisher and your marketing spend to support the project. UNPUBLISHED, you obviously won't generate any back end revenue with self publishing. Of course, we said two dollar signs up front, but we'll say three dollar signs on the back because you own the work. You get one hundred percent royalties from mo most pure self public wishing options will go two dollar signs on the back end for hybrid publishing because you're sharing in the royalties with the hybrid publisher. So three upfront, two or three on the back and a higher level of service, even white glove service, along the way with a hybrid option and with traditional publishing, I give that a single dollar sign. You'll want to pay very close attention to the promised royalty rate. Our effective royalty rate was much lower than what we anticipated. It was because we didn't fully understand, for example, that the royalty rate was on the sale price, not on the retail price, and Amazon had our book listed at thirty four percent off, sometimes forty five percent off, at times fifty two percent off. In trying to decide the best way to bring rehumanized to market, I built a business model around it and I used the stated royalty rates that we would get at different levels of sales and again missed head detail about actual purchase price versus retail price. In addition, I missed the fact that bulk purchasing is often subject to a lower royalty rate as well, and we sold thousands of copies in bulk, two hundred, five hundred, a thousand copies at a time, and so in reality my model didn't hold. Totally my fault and I share it here, so you make sure not to make the same mistake. A final note before moving on to the next pe and moving off of publishing, is that the advance is just a no interest loan against your royalties. The advance is not a gift, it's just a present payment coming out of your future royalty. A small detail, but for us the upfront payment or the advance was not really relevant in terms of negotiating the contract. It may or may not be a value to you and a restate. All of this should be guided by purpose. What is your purpose behind the project? That will help... determine the best way to bring your book to market. With the fourth P they're publishing. The VP is people, and I'll rip through this one. Organize your people. Who is involved in this project? How often should they be updated on it? What is their preferred method of contact? Organize this information in advance. Some people to consider our people who'll be helping you with editing and or your advanced readers. When do you want them involved? How often should they be looking at the draft material? Another category as people featured, mentioned or cited in the book. They can be helpful in so many different ways, even if it's just for tagging and mentioning when you go to social media with the opportunity to pre order or order the book. We had a list of dozens of people bull who were featured or mentioned in the book and fifteen or eighteen books and authors who were cited in the book. Organize these as you go, don't wait until the end. Launch partners. This is especially common for Solo preneurs and entrepreneurs. It's a best practice, really is to get formal commitments from ten or twenty or fifty people who believe in you or who believe in the message, and keep them informed all along the way. They can provide guidance and support in a variety of ways, including promoting the book again when it's ready for pre launch or for formal ordering. An easy category to bring to mind is personal and professional network. Who is in your personal network and who is in your professional network that would be excited to support you? And the project in some way. You can go with the formal route as well. Your publisher, a PR agent or agency, a literary agent or agency, a podcast placement agent or agency. Who can you hire or involve or bring in to help you be more successful getting your message and your book into the right hands to the right people? In the final category, I'll call community, these are people who you may not know and who may not know you, but they believe the same things, they need or want to hear this message or they're already communicating similar messages. They have a similar point of view about the world, a similar passion for how things can or should be. Think about where these people are and whether you're reaching out and participating in that community directly or you're using your launch partners or your personal or professional network or an age in or agency in order to help get your message and awareness about your book into this community. This is where you will get the most traction. Again, you can already advertise and send emails and do targeted campaigns to people that are already on your map or your radar. It's getting this message through this channel, two more in different people that can really make the project of success so here's the sixth in final category. Number One, purpose, number two, proposal. Number three, process, the process of writing the book and bringing it to market. Number for publishing. Just cover number five people. Number six is promotion. And, to restate, no one sells your book, accept you. No matter what type of publishing process or option you choose. You ultimately have to sell this book. You need to promote it, you need to market it, you need to sell it. So a few practical tips here. Locking your budget early. It may be a thousand dollars. It maybe a hundred thousand dollars. It maybe more, but it's probably in between one and one hundredzeros. figure out your budget early and lock it in and build your marketing plan early. If you can get it basically shaped up early on in the proposal...

...stage, you'll be ahead of the game, because there is a gap between the completion of the manuscript and the presale window, and it's in that gap that you really want to step on the gas pedal in terms of working into your marketing plan starting to execute some of the elements. Again, you can carry momentum into that gap by communicating actively with the right people on the right cadence weekly or monthly or quarterly. Leading up to that presale window you will have a launch date, a formal release date, but typically your book will be available for preorder weeks or sometimes even months before that. You want to start preselling copies asap, especially if you have aspirations of hitting something like a USA Today or Wall Street Journal or even New York Times best seller list. Quick side note there. Even though we sold nearly tenzero copies in the presale and the first week of release, we did not hit any of those lists, and I suspect, and having talked with a number of people, who's because we did too many sales in bulk. Selling two hundred, three, three hundred, five hundred, even a thousand copies at a time. Selling Ninety eight hundred or tenzero two hundred books that way is not nearly as interesting to whoever is curating those lists as selling, say, tenzero copies to ninety five hundred different people. Another tip in promotion. Know that, like everything, it is paid to play. Placements and retail outlets, like an airport or even a barnes and noble, pay to play. It shouldn't come as any surprise. All of that retail space, whether it's a grocery store or bookstore, is all paid to play. Now we did do some of that pay to play and I will say it has been very effective. We paid to get rehumanized placed in bookstores and again, Steve and I continue to hear from people who saw it. The title spoke to them, they read it, they enjoyed it, they bought multiple copies for their team members and some of those people even came to us as customers. Again, that was not the fundamental purpose behind US writing, publishing and selling the book, but it is a very nice byproduct of it. So just because it is paytoplay doesn't mean that there's not a direct and indirect return on that investment. Another big tip here, and this is going to be a reason you want to go to bombombcom slash podcast and check out the blog post four, episode one hundred and fourteen or episode and nineteen. I will include a link to the exact structure of our pre order packages. But the tip here is to design pre order incentives or packages. Pre Order one copy and get X. preorder three copies and get x plus. preorder. Five copies, get x plus ten. Twenty five, fifty, one hundred two fifty five, hundred and a thousand. I think those were our breaks there, and we actually did sell one of the one thousand copy packages. It was something like a fifteen thousand dollar commitment. Things you might offer our digital bonuses. We did a custom t shirt run specific to the pre launch and included that in some of the packages and we bought some copies of our own book and so Steve and I signed them and they were part of the preorder bonuses. So buy three copies, get one sign copy free. At one hundred or more copies we started doing some custom training specific to the topics covered in the book. At the one thousand copy level, Steve and I agreed to fly and stay on our own dime to wherever you wanted to bring people together into a room. We didn't care what room, we didn't care how many people. It could be a five thousand person auditorium, it could be five people in a conference room, all pre covid of course, and we'd give you eight hours of training,...

...a hour morning, a lunch break in a four hour afternoon and we would pre meet with you in advance to learn about your audience so that we would customize it to you. It was such an awesome experience for us. It continues to serve us well today and we got great feedback on that experience from our host and from the guests he brought into the room, is something like two or three dozen people. The specific advantage of structuring a pre order incentive promotion is that you can collect email addresses. You know who's actually buying the book and how many they're buying. This allows you to follow up later to do things like ask for online reviews, which, by the way, are very difficult to get. Even well meaning people who love the book have to be so intentional and conscious to carve out a couple minutes of their day to go do that activity. If you can reach them by email and you know who they are, congratulations, you're a step closer to getting that done. Another pro tip screenshot and save everything as you're doing specific marketing activities related to the pre sale or the sale. Your book will bounce up and down in rankings and Amazon, for example, they update them every ten minutes or so. So you're going to hit number one perhaps, or the top ten perhaps, in a variety of different categories. Pay attention to it. screenshot that when you hit a specific ranking. Is it a bit of a vanity play? Of course it is, but some people who are on the fence are moved by the activity of others, the activity that generated your arrival in the top three. And say business sales. We humanize hit number one new release in about a dozen categories and I failed to screenshot most of them because I was completely ignorant going into this process. It only occurred to me later on we did hit number one best seller in business sales, business communication and customer relations. We also hit some best seller lists with a couple other retailers. A special shout out here to porchlight book company in Milwaukee and to Aaron Schleicher in particular, a great partner on our launch of rehumanize. The fulfillment and execution of all of those incentive packages that you can see by checking out episode one hundred and fourteen or episode one hundred and nineteen at Bombombcom podcast. We put those together and he and his team helped execute those. So as I collected names and email addresses at the different buying levels, we rounded those up, shared them with him and fulfillment went through porch light because we ran so many of our bulk purchases through them as well. We had people buying through them. We were the number one best seller in the opening month of release with porchlight. Again a little bit of a vanity play, but it also adds some credibility and provide some social proof for people who may be on the fence about buying your book. Last tip here, and it's something that we did not do as well as I would have liked, and I only have myself to blame here, is sustaining the effort. Something I would do the next time around is to find bite size pieces of the book that you can use to sustain an education based marketing of the book in social in email and in other places. Something that we did do well, Steve and I hired a podcast booking agency to put us on to podcasts a month. Again, we've been doing that for a year and a half now, so I don't know how many podcasts that is, but the podcast format is an excellent format for having conversations about the expertise that you have and that you expressed in the book. And of course, hosts are always looking for great guests that speak to the topics that are interesting to their audience and agency can help you find those hosts, find those shows, pitch you and place you. A natural outcome of that is that you'll start getting invites on two shows that you don't have to get booked on through a booking agency. It begets itself.

It also helps you sustain the effort, not just through reaching that podcast audience but giving you something that you can share on social or an email, your appearances in these conversations on these shows. So that's publishing, people and promotion, three of the six PS of writing, publishing and telling your book here on the CX series on bb growth and on the customer experience podcast. Closing thought here. I mentioned in the first part of this two part series that I'd reached out to people I knew who had written and published books to learn what their writing process was and how they chose to bring their book to market. So I want to leave you here with something that two of them stated very explicitly, basically in these words, and something that a couple other people mentioned in other words, and the concept is this. It opened doors that I didn't know existed. I met New People, I found new opportunities, I received unexpected outreach and invitations, organizing your thoughts, getting them written, getting them published in getting them to market is such a rewarding activity for so many reasons. I hope you found the series valuable. Again, you can learn more by visiting Bombombcom podcast. Check out episode one hundred and fourteen and one nineteen. There parts one and two of the six piece of writing, publishing and selling your book. I hope you found it helpful. Again, this is a huge, huge topic I was only able to cover a little bit here. I hope you find extra resources there at bombombcom slash podcast helpful. I wish you success in your journey to your first book or your ten. As an avid reader myself, I so appreciate everyone who perseveres through the challenges it involves and I hope you found something helpful in this two part series. Best to you, take care and thank you for listening to the CX series on bb growth and the customer experience podcast. My name is Ethan, but you can reach me at Ethan at Bombombcom or by reaching out on Linkedin. Ethanbut last name spelled beute. Have a great day. Clear Communication, human connection, higher conversion. These are just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book rehumanize Your Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improve customer experience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's bomb bombcom book. Thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit Bombombcom podcast.

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