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Ep 080: “Finances for Authors”

Welcome to the 80th episode of The Author Hangout, a podcast designed to help authors, especially self-published and indie authors, with marketing their books and improving their author platform. Authors struggle with various aspects of marketing and we are here to help!

“The big challenge I had with my books is just dealing with reviews.”– Todd Tresidder

Finances for Authors

In this episode, we were joined by financial guru and author, Todd Tresidder, who shared his insights on how important book revenue is as a financial asset, tips for dealing with bad reviews, as well as great book marketing strategies.

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Intro

He’s a former hedge fund manager turned pro-consumer advocate, podcast host and award winning financial educator. He’s also a well-known with 5 book titles to his credit including, The 4% Rule and How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? Besides creating the Financial Mental Podcast, he developed the 52 Weeks to Financial Freedom course and has been featured by media giants such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Money Watch. Here to share his expertise in growing your wealth while growing your career as an author is the founder of FinancialMentor.com, Todd Tresidder.

How did you become an author and publish your first book?

“There’s just some types of education that are better long format, so I’ve been building the site, FinancialMentor.com for a while. I’ve always been known for long format posts before it became the Vogue. Back in the day everybody would say, nobody will read long content on the internet. You’re supposed to write 300-500 word little sound bite posts and I always hated that. I try to explain financial concepts and they require some texts to get the message across to do it justice. I was writing long content posts but then there’s stuff that needed even longer content and so I actually published my first eBooks back in the day before Amazon was selling them. You know, when we could sell them as a PDF download behind the security gate for $50 kind of thing.”

What is your most recent book or project?

“I’m working on a book, Expectancy Investing. It’s going to coincide with the course. One of the things that’s distracting me from publishing more books lately is I’ve been building out courses.”

Can you tell us about a time when you really struggled as an author?

“The other big challenge I had with books is just dealing with reviews. Just accepting reviews. I found that 90-95% of the people out there are good people and there’s the 5-10% contingent…which are just kind of nut heads. They don’t actually read the work. If you look at the negative reviews, the 1 star, 2 star, 3 stars, there’s not punctuation, no capitalization, some sentence fragments, they’ll leave comments that aren’t even related to the book. And then they’ll ding you and you’re like, “Don’t you understand, that’s my baby. I worked hard, I delivered that baby and you just took a marker to its face.” People don’t realize there’s another human being on the other side of that comment and I cared enough to writing that book. I thought it was important and I had something to share and these people would come in…like I said, 90% of the comments are 4 and 5 stars. Those people are good and they care and they read it and they give honest reviews. And there’s that tiny contingent but it always got under my skin. It was a tough thing for me. I’ve gotten better with it but nonetheless the thing that really bothers me is that it hurts the overall rating of the book. It’s a permanent thing. It’s not like when a nut head sends you an email and you can just ignore it.”

How important is book income for long-term financial health

“The thing about a book is it provides a stable residual income stream once you build it up. My books have provided stable sales for a long, long time. It’s been surprising how long and stable the sales trail is for the books. That was why it was really worrying thing for me. I want to continue to produce them. It’s a very stable business model. Once you get it built. The cash flow from the book is worth a multiple to an equivalent to a retirement asset. In other words it’s far easier for a book author to build a secure stream of financial independence, a secure source of financial independence than a conventional employee because there’s a rule of 300 or a rule of 400 depending on how conservative you want to be, which is basically, for every $1,000 that you spend to support yourself, it requires roughly $300,000 to $400,000 in assets to support that $1,000 a month of spending. You can flip that upside down and say, “Okay, well you only make $1,000 to $1,500 a month selling your books right, that’s your royalty check.” Some people might dismiss that as, “Oh you work so hard for that.” But that’s equivalent to a half million dollar asset. A lot of people don’t realize that that’s actually the way the math of finances work out. That cash flow stream is extraordinarily valuable and equates to a very valuable asset.”

What one marketing tactic is really working well for you?

“I think if you write, this is for the How-to non-fiction right because that’s the world I come from. It’s going to be a lot tougher for a fiction author. One of the advantages for a non-fiction author, hopefully you’ve written something remarkable and worth talking about. If you have something worth talking about, it’s not that hard to get placed on relevant subject podcasts. If you go out and explain the contents in the book, basic premise of the book and some of the interesting angles inside the book in the podcast, it creates readers. And if you have a series of these books, the readers who have a great experience will then they’ll follow up with your other books as well. You’ll actually see that in my “Also-boughts”. If you go and look at any of my books, the “Also-boughts” is populated entirely by any of my books.”

They also talk about how it can work for fiction authors too:

“An interesting angle on that Shawn, is the setting of the book could lend itself to where you want to park it. I’m going to make one up, it’s not really relevant but you’ll get the idea. Let’s say you write a fiction book set in submarine warfare. You’ll find a podcast, I don’t know if they exist or not, probably not, all about submarine warfare. Even though your book is fiction the setting will lend itself interest. The more obvious one will be a pilot flying. Think about what subjects are covered or related in your book that would be very attractive for podcasts on those subjects.”

We created a free guide to help you to learn how to pitch to podcasts:

FREE Guide: How To Pitch to Podcasts

If you started over today, what 3 things would you tell yourself to help you sell more books?

“Write more books. I’m sure nobody’s ever heard that one before. Right? Well, the reason you hear it all the time is because it’s true. One book markets the other, markets the other. Build a platform. And spend a designated amount of time to marketing. Recognize that…think about it, when you build your book, when you write your book. Writing is 1/3 of the task, another third goes into editing and production, another third goes into to marketing, launch, and follow up. You should be designating your time accordingly to be just persistently marketing. It’s part of the job.”

How can people connect with you?

“I have everything on http://financialmentor.com. From there you’ll see my social media profiles, the books, the courses and everything else. But it all stems from http://financialmentor.com. I give away a free eBook and a free eCourse on the site as well. Everybody who want to sign up it’s kind of a relationship builder.”

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