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Ep 038: “How To Launch Your Book”

Welcome to the 38th episode of The Author Hangout, a “Hangout on Air” 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!

“Let people feel like they’re in on your process. Take them behind the camera and show them, because people love it.”– Chandler Bolt

How To Launch Your Book

We were joined by bestselling author Chandler Bolt who discussed his projects, including his latest book entitled “Book Launch”. He talks about tips and secrets for launching your book, as well as his struggles and successes.

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Intro

He’s a bestselling author, speaker and marketer with a passion for teaching fellow entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers and authors how to find success in the world of self-publishing. In addition to launching a 3-month program called Bestselling Book System, he co-founded Self-Publishing School and has authored several popular titles including The Productive Person, Breaking Out of a Broken System and Book Launch: How to Write, Market and Publish Your First Bestseller. Please welcome award winning entrepreneur, Chandler Bolt.

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

Chandler had quite an unusual start:

“I kind of tripped into it. I never considered myself to be a writer or anything like that. I actually hated writing. I didn’t like it at all and I didn’t have fun doing it. It was a real struggle for me. I was just tripped into writing my first book and put it out there when I was still in college. It kind of took off. It topped David Allen’s Getting Things Done for the #1 time management book on Amazon. He lowered his price from $9 or $10 to $3.29 which is cheaper than our book. The book went on to make close to $7,000 in the first month and continued to make $2,000 to $5,000 a month after that for a while and that’s what actually paid the bills when I dropped out of school. Once I saw that my eyes were really opened to the possibility of self-publishing, of writing books and it really became a labor of love.”

What is your most recent book or project?

Chandler is helping self-published authors with his newest projects:

“We just released Book Launch, our new book a couple of months ago in January. (I guess that’s more than just a couple of months ago now.) That did pretty well. That kind of put us on the map in terms of what we do with Self-Publishing School and really showed people the process. That we followed the process that we teach. People seemed to really like that book. We’ve got another one in the pipe. It’s not titled yet but it’s more about not sucking at writing your first book. It’s written for people like me who hated writing or maybe didn’t think they could ever finish a book and help them doing that.”

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

Here is one of his struggles that you may be able to relate to:

“I learned a good lesson with one of the book launches that I did. Where I put way too much expectation on it and that really helped me empathize with a lot of our students, which is maybe a lot like your listeners. Maybe they had a book in the pipe for a while. They’re stuck in the editing phase or they’re stuck in the finishing of writing phase and it’s to the point where all their friends know they’ve had a book going on for a year or two maybe 3, 4, 5 and people start to know and they start to build this pressure and you start to put more pressure on yourself…it’s almost like you never want to publish it because that’s the moment of truth. It really just puts a lot of expectations, so I did that the wrong way with one of my books and I noticed the differences between that book in the productive portion and it sucked all the fun out of it and the book didn’t do as well. There was so much pressure and expectation…it was a really tough…it took a lot out of me to be honest. That just about killed me, not literally but it was a tough one to write.”

What one marketing tactic is really working well for you?

Chandler shares a really great marketing tip that all authors can apply to their books:

“What I like to do with books is make people feel like they have an inside track to what’s going on. So we started this a while back but now it’s really popular. In terms of like voting on covers…what we did when we launched our book we had zero audience, no followings, any of that. We had no leg up or anything like that. But when we launched our first book we made people feel like they’re involved so that by the time we launched our first book it felt like it was their book too. We had them vote of the cover, we had them vote on the title and sub-title, we would take goofy pictures of us writing over at Google Hangout, this funny stuff. We make it and we kept getting people’s input and then we gave away a bunch of copies for free ahead of time. Just making people feel like they were involved, like there were on our team and then they just spread it like wild fire.”

He also shared how he has worked with other people to writer his books, and some of the benefits and downsides of it. Be sure not to miss this part of the interview.

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

He dives right in and doesn’t pull any punches:

“1) Just put the book out there; 2) Be more specific even when you question it; and then 3) Do it again. People get so caught up in thinking that their first book is going to be the best book they ever write and THE book, it keeps them from ever starting another.”

He and Shawn went more in-depth on what he meant by “be more specific”:

“People worry about being specific in cutting off part of their market. You’ll notice that a lot of the books that do well, especially self-published books are ones that are specific. I’ll give you an example, time management is a big competitive category. If you just go and write a generic time management book, you’re not going to get any traction. But with ours, what we did with The Productive Person its Productivity Hacks and Schedules for Entrepreneurs are people who control their schedule, so like very target market. We carved out an unserved niche in there. So many people come to me and they’re, “I want to write this book about pursuing your passion, how to live your dreams and how to live your dreams worth doing your passion…” I’ve heard a million people say that book title. But that’s the book that everybody wants to write but you have to drill down further.”

Chandler shared some really practical tips on how to do that:

“Ask questions like, “What is your book really about? What is the one benefit that the readers are going to get from reading this book? What do you actually want to happen in their minds when they read this book?” Stuff like that.”

The key is to find a particular niche, and serve that niche. By going too broad, many people won’t know if the book is right for them. But, by being specific, you will really energize those who the book does apply to.

While this is mainly geared towards nonfiction authors, the same can be applied to fiction as well. A previous guest said “Don’t just write a thriller. Write a sci-fi thriller, a political thriller, a dystopian thriller.” By being more specific, you will tap into a specific market and your book will find its audience easier.

How can people connect with you?

“They can shoot me an email at chandler@self-publishingschool.com or they can find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/chandler.bolt.3 or just go to http://www.self-publishingschool.com/ we’ve got some videos and stuff there.”

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