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Ep 074: “Replace Your Income With Writing”

Welcome to the 74th 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!

“If it’s not a really great product, marketing it is going to be an uphill battle.”– Sylvie McCracken

How To Replace Your Income With Writing

In this episode, we interviewed entrepreneur and author, Sylvie McCracken. She shared how both fiction and nonfiction authors can make more money by writing and selling ebooks. She provided actionable tips with regards to mindset, what to write about, and marketing.

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Intro

She’s a former celebrity assistant who became a full-time entrepreneur after starting Hollywood Homesteader. A business in the health and nutrition sector that helps people treat and prevent health conditions with real food. Today, she’s a successful author and eBook marketer who teaches fellow entrepreneurs and writers for quickly and easily scaling their revenue while working less. Besides regularly contributing to her self-titled blog, she runs her popular Create Passive Income With eBooks course. Please welcome the author of Paleo Made Easy and The Gelatin Secret, Sylvie McCraken.

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

“I had just recently “gotten healthy” myself and really radically changed my life and my health and of course, I couldn’t shut up about it and so I decided to start a blog about it because my friends and family we kind of tired of me preaching. I had to take my preaching online. But I knew I didn’t want another hobby because at the time, my 3 kids, 2 of them were toddlers, one was a teenager so it was like… working full-time in Hollywood, which was interesting. So, I didn’t want a hobby I wanted a business. I was like, “Okay, how I can make this blog into a business?” Very quickly I landed on the fact that I was going to have to create my own product so I decided to go with eBooks because I already had some information that I could re-package into an eBook that I already had on my blog. I thought that was the easiest way to do it and that’s kind of how it all began.”

She also discussed how this has worked for many authors doing nonfiction books, but there’s a good discussion on how it all applies to fiction authors too, so don’t miss that discussion on the podcast.

How do we know what to write about?

Here are some great tips on finding out what to write, whether you are a fiction or nonfiction author:

“Just start to listen and pay attention. Because I think sometimes we get into our own little bubble and we just want to write about what we want to write about or we think we know the answers. I might ask you, what do your readers prefer and you might tell me but the truth is, if you send out a survey you might get different results that might shock you. A survey will be a really good place to start in my opinion. And also start looking. In terms of fiction, you can even start looking at what your competitors are doing in terms of topic. What are the bestselling books out there? What are they on and that kind of thing? Differentiate yourself enough to where it’s your own thing but also, don’t reinvent the wheel.”

Can you tell us about your course?

“The course is called Create Passive Income with eBooks and we have 8 different modules in it. Believe it or not, module one starts with the mindset because that was one of the big hurdles I had which, with my third book which is about a very specific medical topic and one of my big hang-ups was, but I’m not a doctor, who’s going to want this and why won’t they want to buy it from a doctor instead? So I had a big mindset hang-up and I noticed that a lot of my clients did as well. They were coming to me saying, “Who am I to write this eBook?” I see that tripping people all the time. So we start with that and kind of get that out of the way with a simple exercise that we do.”

Can you tell us about a struggle many authors have?

Here’s a tip from Sylvie about marketing (and writing):

“I don’t want you to spend all of your time trying to market this [book] like crazy because the questions I get asked a lot, not only by clients in eBook course customers but I also from my blog. I get questions all the time about marketing. Again, I really have to stress, if that’s not a really great product it’s going to be an uphill battle. Marketing it is going to be an uphill battle. You can do that but I think your time is better spent just throwing it out there and getting to work on the right product next. Of course none of that time is completely wasted. You learned a lot of lessons just by doing that process.”

What one marketing tactic is really working well for you?

“The reason to do the PDF on your site is because obviously there’s a much lower overhead and you can keep much more of the profit. All 3 of my eBooks are about $25 a piece on my site. That’s full color PDF. That’s not to say you can’t do Kindle and Create Space and whatever you want in addition to but…as a matter of fact I did because all my eBooks have a cook book component to them so I thought, let me just see what happens. I threw them on Amazon, of course I make just about $5 an eBook there (the physical book there). But Amazon is a search engine in of itself, so I do make several hundred of dollars a month from Amazon without mentioning it anywhere at all. It’s just organic traffic from Amazon. So that’s fine, you can do both as well of course.”

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

“One of the things would be to start sooner. I think you can’t possibly start soon enough. It doesn’t matter how small your audience is. It doesn’t matter how small your newsletter is. Because again, like I said, that first product is where you’re going to do all your learning on. So start it tomorrow. The other thing would be to get help. DIY is expensive at the end of the day because it takes you so much time which is our most valuable asset and also the mistakes can be costly. I’ve done plenty of costly mistakes. I’ve learned my lesson on outsourcing most things. I think that I would focus on getting it done over getting it perfect because again, that slows you down.”

How can people connect with you?

“I’m at http://sylviemccracken.com. Everything about my course which is opening back up in January. I’m not sure when this show will be live, but it’ll be opening up again in January for a hot minute and everything is on the site. And pretty much Sylvie McCraken on any social media is where I could be found.”

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