The Three Step Process to Build an Audience – Jonny Andrews

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Jonny-Andrews-PinterestLooking for tips on how to “hack” the publishing industry to successfully launch your book by gaining and growing your audience?

Learn how to use your book to elevate your credibility and authority in the marketplace by following a powerful three-step “clarity hacking” process.

Jonny Andrews, the “go to guy” for author entrepreneurs and host of Audience Hacker podcast, joins us this week to tell us how he has helped thousands of authors create huge publishing successes by helping them grow their audience both before and after their books have been published.

Big Ideas:

Now, do you have a special deal on quotes that you’re just using them? You’re like, listen, we’ve got a thousand quotes, we might as well just start putting them in everywhere.

  • Yeah, you know what it was is that broker, or whatever the heck they’re called, that give away ISBN’s, they actually had an upsell after I bought about a thousand ISBN’s and they said, “hey, if you’d like to use some extra quotes in your bio, that’s another twenty bucks for unlimited for the next three years.”
  • And I was like, you know and actually I bought those two and a half years ago and I just wrote that bio again, so I literally have to get about 50,000 quotation marks down in the next couple of days before it expires.

If you want to send those over, when we write up the show notes, I’m going to put so many quotes.

  • Absolutely. It’s funny because what I tell people all the time is when it comes to books, I’ve written and I’m a bestselling author, but I’m not a best writing author.
  • I cannot punctuate or spell to save my life.

I’m going to get you a copy of ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’, one of the funniest books ever on punctuation.

  • Seen it. It’s hilarious. Oh my word, that is awesome.

So let’s start with the obvious question, how does one “hack” the publishing industry and what is this powerful three-step “clarity hacking” process you speak of?

  • Ah, very good questions, and thank you. Actually If I could, let me kind of just for your audience and whatnot kind of clarify why the heck this might be something that people would want to do with themselves, because I know statistically speaking because clearly all statistics are real and I read this on the internet which guarantees that this is true.
  • But basically the New York Times, I believe, said roughly 89% of people think that they have some sort of book in them. And especially with the entrepreneurial…

Is that because they swallowed one as a small child?

  • I think so, because I know I ate a lot of book pages as a little kid.

I ate a lot of paper. You know the paper candy dots? I would actually eat all the paper as well as just the candy dots.

  • That, actually they used that to transport blotter acid into the United States, so that might, that makes a lot of sense. We’re kind of coming to a clarity moment here.
  • No, so basically the reason you want to do this stuff is when you use something like a book, books and podcasts to be perfectly honest, podcasts are on their way up to being almost the same level.
  • What a book does for you is it elevates your sort of credibility and authority in the marketplace. It’s like you’re the person that “wrote the book on the subject”. And so when you put that stuff out there, you really do a great deal to elevate your business. And my favorite sort of situation is to use it as lead jet for your business.
  • It’s sort of like, for example, your podcast. You’re the voice in that person’s head, and so you’re very much in a very intimate kind of conversation. I call it conversational conversion where it’s not like you and I, we’re not necessarily selling anything right now, but there’s going to be a certain kind of person that’s very whack and is like “well, maybe I’ll go check out more about this Jonny guy.” And that’s kind of how that whole thing works with the book, you know.
  • Somebody called it, and I don’t remember it’s absolutely not my quote I probably should have done my homework first, but I don’t remember who said this so if anybody else does you can post it probably in the show notes. But, a book is a 7-hour handshake or a 5 hour handshake, or something like that.
  • Because that’s about the length of time on average it would take someone to consume that info. And so if you think about that, you’re living between their ears for that length of time, which is pretty stinkin’ cool.

Absolutely. So how do you take that and then turn that into lead gen? I guess, how do you even take that process and first get a book into their hands and then move them down the sales funnel so to speak?

  • Alright, well, now this gets back into the first question you asked me. So, how do you actually do this? And this is something that since I started audience hacking I’ve been bumping into folks all the time that have these amazing businesses, but a lot of folks seem to be, it’s crazy like, even a lot of very successful people aren’t quite sure who their market is.
  • And there’s nothing quite like creating a book to make you sit down and answer that question. And that’s really what it’s all about is who is this person that you’re speaking to in this book.
  • Because it doesn’t make any sense anymore to write for this massive, generalized audience. It’s very difficult to be a generalist nowadays. You have to be something and stand for something and speak to someone, because if you don’t you effectively are speaking to no one.
  • Because there are so many very large companies out there, like, let’s take you know for example Ryan Deiss and Digital Marketer and folks like that. They’re very much like a generalist company who caters to online business, and that’s going to be everything from social media to email marketing to, I mean, you name it, SEO. You name it, they’re going to talk about it and probably have a product on it.
  • That is a generalist thing. They’ve been around for like, almost fifteen years now. And so they’ve been through the many evolutions of the reality that we now call this interwebs thing. And today, and I was actually just speaking to someone yesterday about this, even a topic like social media is so dramatically fragmented that to just say, “Oh, I’m a social media expert”, people are like, “Ok, how is that relevant to me, because I’m really looking for some help with Facebook right now?”
  • So even though you might have just said social media, and within that umbrella it’s all about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you didn’t directly say to them, “Facebook”, and so now you’re not relevant to them. And so that’s the beginning of the process of creating a book is how can you be relevant just to those people. Like I said, it could be anything.
  • It’s like, people with shar peis are looking to trim their dog’s hair, or Facebook marketing or Twitter marketing or mobile marketing or something like that. And so you kind of pick that moment in time and become the person on that subject. And that doesn’t cement you in it forever. They say the promotion time for a book is about sixty days, which I actually kind of disagree with, but for that sixty day window you’re the dude on that thing. And then after you can go be the dude on a different thing. But right there, just be that dude on that thing for those people.
  • That’s what is really comes down to is knowing who you’re talking to and being so hyper specific and literally alienating everyone else. Because by doing that, I’m serious you’ve got to strategize your audience, that’s why I’m almost on the fence about doing media training, just because I let to get the message out there and stuff like that and there are strategies where I could communicate differently, but I’m sort of like authentically bumbly by nature.
  • And it’s funny because I get these emails from people who I think are high school english teachers, and they’re like, “We really think you have a good message, but my word, man, your sentence structure is just awkward. Can we help?” And it’s like, “Nah, probably not.”. Like, I’m ok with that.
  • When I put out my first book under my name, it was actually a personal finance book, of all weirdness. And I’m not a personal finance guru, I was just sort of telling my story about how I was living in that office and stuff and had all that crazy credit card debt and how I actually figured out a way to make enough money to pay it off. And it was funny everyone said, “Wow, this is a really great book, but dude, learn how to string together sentences because this is horrifying.”
  • And so you just have to be authentic to yourself. And people, what they do is, they’re going to “self select”. And if you try to be vanilla, or if you try to cater to everybody then it just kind of all falls over sideways.
  • So that’s really the first step in producing a good book, is “Who are you and who do you serve and also who don’t you serve?”.

It sounds like what you’re saying is, we’ve got to be willing to alienate the people we’re not going to be able to help.

  • Absolutely. And it’s not like, I’m not talking about shoot them in the head, burn the bridge, that’s not what I mean. It’s like you’re just not going to worry about them for now.

No. And I think this is generally just good business sense, too, is that you need to know who your avatar is, your ideal client, and then focus entirely on what their needs are and not really worry about all those people that you can’t help anyway.

  • Absolutely. I’ll give you a great example. Because what happens is now these people who might not necessarily be your direct market, they all of a sudden start creeping into your sphere because they want to know what’s going on.
  • Great example of this is a website called Working Moms Only, not that you could tell by the sound of my voice or my name, but I’m actually not a woman, and I’m on her list. And I buy stuff that she sells. And it’s for working moms. I’m not a mother.
  • Seriously, look at that. Working moms only, and I have the audacity as a man to sneak in the back door on that one and get on that list. And so that’s what ends up happening, she is catering to working moms only, that absolutely is the clearest message you can possibly imagine.
  • But then look at who shows up at the party. Of course, I dress like a woman when I go, but still. No, I have facial hair so it kind of gives me away, I just tell them I have a gland disorder.
  • But that’s my point, by focusing in and kind of alienating the rest, you’re going to end up attracting more people than you originally thought.
  • So it’s actually the technique of exclusion ends up being a technique of inclusion in a very strange way. And so that’s the beginning, who are you and who do you serve?
  • So you have to know who you are and what you want to do and who your ideal client is, and write the book for them.
  • And then really it comes down to three components then – you have and internal ecosystem, you have an external ecosystem, and then you have your book. Which literally, the importance of those things are in that order.

Ok, so explain those, please.

  • No.

Alright, the interview is over

  • And we’re done.
  • So basically, internal ecosystem – this is what’s really important. I started picking this stuff up listening to Mindset podcasts and things like that.
  • Really just this year I was like, “oh, this is a better way of explaining it”. Internal ecosystem – these are things that you, personally, can control. These are things, like, you really at the end of the day cannot control whether or not someone is going to buy from you. Like, I don’t care how many neurolinguistic programming courses you take, “These are not the drugs you’re looking for, you don’t need to see his identification.” And they’re like, “Here’s my wallet”.
  • That only works so much, and then after a while it just kind of gets ridiculous. But what you control is, you can control how many actions you can take on a daily basis. This is great in sales, I think you would probably really resonate with this one. It really comes down to old school phone sales, like door-to-door phone sales, like knowing your numbers.
  • So guys in the call centers, back in the day when I used to do this, would be like, “Listen, you need to make 50 calls a day”. And they didn’t day have a conversations, they didn’t say schedule deals. And this was back when I was doing loans, I was a loan officer at a mortgage company for a while. And they said just focus on getting those 50 calls. And I was like, ok, I’ll do that, because my job was basically do what they told me.
  • And what ended up happening was, I focused on just getting to that number and what ended up happening by proxy is that I would run into people who were interested in what I had to sell and what I could offer them. It was really kind of crazy.
  • And so what would end up happening is I focused on just smiling and dialing, I would then set appointments, and as I went to those appointments I ended up getting loans to close. But I never focused on closing the loans, I always focused on that one thing that I had control over.
  • Because I can’t control if somebody is going to like me or like what I had to say, or you get to their house and they’re going to have all the documents and a check for the appraisal – you can’t control that.
  • But you can control the fact that you made 50 phone calls in a day. And so that’s what you want to do for your internal ecosystem from a mindset perspective, and let’s kind of bring that out of the cold calling because lord have mercy, everybody hates that.
  • And what you can control is, for example, let’s say I want to go out and do interviews for a podcast or with other podcasts to drive traffic back to my website to then build my list and sell my book.
  • Well, I can’t control how many people are going to say yes, but I can control if I send out, “Hey, would you like to interview me, here’s my cool stuff?”. I can send out that kind of message to 20-30 different shows a day.
  • That’s it, that’s all you have to worry about. Because then what happens is, then those people start responding to you, and as that happens then you start getting interviews; as you start getting interviews those interviews start going live and as those interviews go live the listeners of that show hear you and are like, “Hey, this dude’s not too terrible.”
  • And they go and say ok, where’ s he from, I’m going to go check it out. Next thing you know, you build the audience and people are like, “Wow, I kind of like this idea of this stuff that I’m selling, let’s join up on the mailing list.” They get on the mailing list and then you give them more cool stuff.
  • So you really can’t control anything past that first step. But everything else happens by proxy. So that’s really the internal ecosystem.

And I’ll just say, just to back you up on that, is that I used to do sales, too, and I hate that this is true. But when doing cold calls the experts will tell you, if you make 63 phone calls, you will get 7 appointments out of it and god damn if they’re not right every single time. It sucks that they’re right, but it is true. And if you know that and you can kind of deal with that, if you say, like you’re saying – podcast outreach or blog outreach or whatever it may be – and you say , “I’m going to reach out to 50 people this week to try and get an interview”, then you will get some people who say “yes” because you just hit them at the right time and the right place, those number do, I mean some might be a little higher some might be a little lower, but it does work. And what you’re saying is, this is your sphere of influence, or as you call it your internal ecosystem – the things that you can control. Is that a good way of summarizing it?

  • Absolutely, yeah, that’s sort of the mindset sort of shift I think a lot of people make. And don’t get me wrong, there is definitely something for optimizing your outreach and optimizing your landing page and stuff, because you absolutely can also control that stuff.
  • But just in terms of rudimentary first steps, understand that that’s what’s in your control. That beginning zygote of a concept of reaching out and getting that stuff.
  • Now here’s why this is important – because you’re internal ecosystem, the thing you ultimately control, like you don’t control Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads – whatever site you might be using. Not to say due paid traffic, you don’t control that.
  • I mean, I think the recent changes with Facebook and the minutely changes with Google, I think everybody kind of gets that now, is that you need to have your own email list.
  • And that’s sort of the effect of what you do there, that’s what the tangible part of your internal ecosystem is – to build that email list through actions you control. Does that make sense?
  • So your goal with this, for example when we launched ‘Pure Fat Burning Fuel’, this was a book that was obviously a diet book, it flies a little in the face of my ”be a generalist comet”, but there’s a reason for that – that I’ll share with you in just a second – but it was a paleolithic style book.
  • And the reason it was generalist is that we tested the titles beforehand to make sure that we had the right thing for the right crowd and whatnot. And then we went live with this thing, we tested some of the elements of the cover, the elements of the title, the book – great info, well researched lots of documentation and support – and when we went live with this, is was mostly due to the internal ecosystem.
  • Because this was a company called “The Beyond Diet” – Isabel De Los Rios – are one of the biggest online diet companies. I don’t know if you really call them diet companies, it’s eating habits, lifestyle, that kind of stuff, they don’t sell pills. And they have this wonderful community of people, they had 680,000 buyers on their email list.
  • So when we wanted to make a big ‘ka-chunk’ when we first stepped up to the plate, we wanted to stack the deck in our favor.
  • I can think of very few moments in time when the deck is stacked in the favor quite like this. So its like, we could have literally painted a rock green, hung it on a stick and flung yack feces at it and probably sold about as many copies. That’s just how it is. This is why you want that internal ecosystem.
  • You want to have that email list, you want to have those subscribers and have a relationship with them, because when you go to sell them something, there is an overwhelming response to try to buy it.

Alright, makes a lot of sense.

  • I think so. Literally we hit ‘send’ for 7 days and it’s funny we didn’t actually know we hit the ‘Wall Street Journal’ because I was only concerned with Amazon.
  • Amazon is a very visible place to look at your metrics, and it’s also like, 70-80% depending on who’s looking, of the book buying market. But here’s what’s really funny about this entire situation is that when we did this – this was before the big Kindle craze on how to make money with ebooks kind of thing came around – all of a sudden not very many people even knew what Amazon Kindle was when we did this.
  • So we didn’t have, the obstacle we were trying to overcome was the fact that nobody knew how to actually buy this book, and so we had to teach people how to consume the product. And that was a huge hurdle, so had we done that today, we probably would have sold twice as many.
  • Because more people now are aware that every droid phone comes with a Kindle app preinstalled, and most people understand how to use that stuff. So that’s the internal ecosystem and that is why.
  • Because the bigger that is and the more relationships you have – people say it’s not about the size, it’s about the relationship – I’m a fan of both, personally.
  • And so that’s why you want to grow that, because you can control that. The only way you grow that is by focusing on the mindset, like what actions can you take that you control to get traffic to your list building offer.

So let me just kind of make sure that I understand the steps here. So, before we’re ready to publish our books we’re already going out, we’re doing outreach, we are reaching people through podcasts and blogs of appropriate topics, we’re driving traffic back to our website, we’re building our list – maybe by giving away a free chapter of the book or something like that – but getting them onto our list so that we can have a big push that says, “Alright, the book is now on Amazon, please go buy it.” And then that’s really what we can control, and by doing that we’re going to greatly increase our success.

  • Absolutely! Let me give you a visual for this one that will probably help out those people at home picture this in their minds.
  • Basically picture an empty Colosseum, the Colosseum if that helps you. And so every single person out there who’s in business all owns an empty Colosseum when they first start. And you have a thing that you want to sell, in this particular case we’re talking about a book, so you have your book.
  • Now you’re going to stand on the stage at the Colosseum and you’re going to address it and say, “Hey everybody, why don’t you buy my book?”, and you’re going to hear a bunch of fricken crickets.
  • And so you need to go outside the Colosseum, because that’s where all the Romans are milling around, and you need to say, “Hey, why don’t you guys come in here, we’re going to have some cool shows and we’re going to have some people get eaten by lions and this will be awesome. Some chariot races anyone? Hey how about a beheading? Sir, you look like you could use a beheading.“
  • And that kind of thing, people are going to come in for your free entertainment of wanton death and destruction – and possible some gratuitous nookie, who knows – and you’re going to bring these people into whatever business version of those things you offer them.
  • And now lets say after a couple weeks you have about 500 people in your Colosseum and you’re like, “Hey, I hope you enjoyed the show, by the way, I have this book on how to increase your enjoyment through watching ritualized, public beheadings.” And now you have these 500 people and maybe 100 of them are like, “You know, that sounds pretty good. I think when the kids come over from Pompeii they might enjoy some ritualistic, public beheadings.”
  • And they’re going to buy that book and you just sold 100 books.   You’re like, “Wow, this is awesome! I had 500 people in these seats, what happens if I go out and get more people?” So you go out and you get more people and now you have 1000 people in your Colosseum who are watching people getting eaten by lions and it’s awesome. Then you’re like, “Hey guys, by the way, I have this awesome book on how to increase your family’s enjoyment through ritualistic, public beheadings.” And everyone is like, “Oh, this sounds fantastic !” And you end up selling another 2000 copies.
  • And on and on and on, until you’re at the point where you have an entire stadium literally filled with people chanting and chanting and you say, “Hey, buy my book.” And they’re like, “Hell yes!” That is the difference. And obviously this doesn’t happen overnight, but you can do this very quickly as long as you’re strategic about it.
  • But I just wanted to give that visual along with an absolutely absurd topical example as to why this is so important for these things. Now, we get into the external ecosystem. Things you do not control. And the external ecosystem is, to get back to the situation of ‘Pure Fat Burning Fuel’ and stuff like that, what we did with this is we brought in a bunch of partners who also had these massive email lists.
  • So this would be like joint venture partners. This is basically other people who are in your marketplace who are probably friends of yours, or who you can get to be friends, who also have email lists, their Coliseums are filled with people. And not only now is it just you saying, “Hey, buy my book.”, but all these people at the same time say, “Hey, buy this person’s book.”, and you get this wave of traffic that flows into your ecosystem so that the people then buy your book and that just adds to it.
  • Now the reason that’s an external ecosystem is you really cannot control whether or not these people are going to promote you. Even if you’re best friends, and I came up in an industry where this was the exclusive method of driving business; was you would create a product, you would get in the phone with friends that you had just met at a party or at a conference and say, “Hey dude, hit ‘send’ for my offer, it’ll be awesome.” And then most times people would do it at some point, and it was called a ‘launch’ and it is awesome.
  • You have no control over if these people are going to say “yes” or not, but it is absolutely a thing you want to do. And so if you focus on the internal ecosystem, both like the intangible of just knowing what it takes to do that, and then the tangible meaning actually getting those people onto your list.
  • And then the external ecosystem, meeting all these cool people that you’ve met over a couple months, and you put them together, then you get – it’s cool, I had this live training that I’m doing literally right now called “How To Sell 10,000 Books in 7 Days”, and this is kind of the crux behind it – is that when you combine these two powers, this is where you get your ten year overnight success.
  • This is how you manufacture that outcome. And you use the book then to propel yourself even further forward. That making sense?

Absolutely. In fact, Michael Stelzner’s book, ‘Launch’, calls them ‘firestarters’, these extra people. And just all getting them to all say it the same day can also make a big impact as well.

  • Absolutely, you know, BookScan is the list that feeds the list. Like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today.
  • And they look at a Monday through Sunday algorithm. And so that’s how we ended up on the Wall Street Journal. Like I said a friend of mine actually told me almost 2 months after the fact that we had done it. I was like, “Oh, that makes for a handy screenshot, let’s take that!”
  • But yeah, that’s what it really takes, you want to get those sales within a short window of time because the more lists you’re on the more visibility you get. And it’s one of those things, you’re a bestseller because you’re selling a lot of books, but you’re selling a lot of books because you’re a bestseller.

Exactly. One of those virtual circles.

  • Exactly. And in this case it’s awesome, but you do need to put in a little chutzpah to “fire start”, as they say, the cycle.

Absolutely. Ok, so we’ve talked about internal, we’ve talked about external, and now let’s get to the book itself.

  • So this is one of my favorite things. I absolutely love books. I have this weird kind of like super OCD ritual that I do.
  • Everytime I put out a new book, whether or not I am behind it at all. You know there are lots of folks that have done books and if I was involved with the launch or something, I always get a printed copy of it shipped to me and I literally walk around the house just holding it, because there’s something about a book that’s really cool.
  • So I have all these fiction pen names that I’ve been experimenting with and I always get their books and walk around the house holding this book in which I am a female pen name and just channeling it.
  • It’s really hilarious, like, most of my pen names are women, it’s very fun. But anyway, long story short, let’s talk about the book. The book has a bunch of different components. And the number one most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone will judge your book by its cover. Everybody. That is just a fact of life.
  • There is absolutely nothing anybody can do about this. And so your role in life is to position your book as the thing that your people want. There’s actually two ways of doing this whole thing.
  • The way that I described it earlier with the internal and external, you can do that before the book is created, you can do that after the book is created.
  • Just realize you probably won’t sell a lot of books very quickly if your book was created first. For example, ‘Chicken Soup For The Soul’. Guessing you may have heard of this one?

Yes. And the seventy-four versions that came out after.

  • So basically, that was after they had built their ecosystem that those subsequent books came out. And so what happened was, these guys were literally selling their books out of the back of a car. And so they created the book, and then they had to go and find the market.
  • And so they had this uphill journey, and that is totally fine. I’m actually, there’s a site out there, I can’t remember the guy’s name but it’s called Outthink (outthinkgroup.com), he does a lot of stuff with publishers and books and things like that, but he’s doing the same thing with his book right now, he’s trying to sell 10,000 copies over the course of a year.
  • And that’s cool, that’s awesome. So there’s definitely two ways to come at this. If you already have your book, don’t think the stuff I’m saying – or if you published traditionally – it can kind of be this feeling of discouragement, like. “Oh, man, this stuffs all set in stone”. Well, if you’re self-published it;s absolutely not, you can make tweaks to your book.
  • If you’re published traditionally, you can’t make tweaks to your book, but, you definitely can build these ecosystems. But the first thing you want to make sure, if you haven’t created your book yet, what do people actually want to know?
  • Tim Ferriss was excellent at this. He talked a lot about this as he knew his book was going to be a hit long before he wrote it because the topics and the chapters in there were actually pulled from his blog. So he knew because his audience told him – like voting through reads and like and tweets and this, that and the other thing – or whatever the heck back then when he did his stuff.
  • That’s what they wanted to hear. They wanted to know about these topics, and so that’s why I really recommend you build your audience first, and then get our audience to tell you what they want.
  • Because that makes all the difference in the world. If you did it the opposite way, all is not lost.
  • All you have to do is make sure that you’re positioning your book correctly, so that everything from the title to the cover to the subtitle to the description, and then when it does go live make sure that you have lots and lots of reviews. Because that is social proof.

Reviews on Amazon, or reviews in other places?

  • Amazon specifically, but definitely other places.
  • Reviews are what sell the book at the end of the day. Because people are going to look and they’re going to see, “Oh, you have..”. And you definitely need, like, fifty. And in fiction, that can be a little difficult. Nonfiction it’s pretty easy.
  • Actually, if you have an ecosystem you can go, “Hey, can you guys tell me what you think of the book on Amazon.” It’s a really easy way to boost conversions. Books without reviews, even if they’re free sometimes, people just don;t even want to download them for free because they don’t know if it’s going to be any good.
  • They look at the cover first and they’re like, “Is this cool, does this resonate with what I want to do?”
  • And the trick here, and this it’s funny because you think, like, old school business opportunity products have that person sitting in their Lay-Z-Boy chair on the beach or something with a laptop in their lap and there’s a hand with a fistfull of money flying out of the screen, and it’s supposed to represent leisurely income.
  • That’s sort of like the 80’s version of acting on soap opera television. It’s lampooning itself. And so please do better.
  • When you do your cover, don’t make it cheesy, but do make it representative of the outcome people are trying to get to. Is that making sense?

Yes. Definitely at least in terms of a lifestyle book?

  • Right, well actually any book. Unless you’re doing some sort of fiction thing, in which case you want to represent a crucial moment in the story kind of thing.
  • Or sort of like the overall theme of the book, then you can do it that way. Really, most nonfiction books, unless it’s just sort of a blanketed memoir or an outcome based book, and if they’re not they should be. And this is another big thing, your book – and so few people do this – your book needs to have a direction to it.
  • Meaning, you have this opportunity now with your book to have this 5 hour conversation or this 5 hour handshake or whatever that number was.
  • And so you’re going to be influencing people for this length of time and it would behoove you to not just write content for the sake of writing content or stories for the sake of writing stories, you want to write them for the sake of motivating this person reading your stuff to have no other choice but to take the action which is to go to your website, subscribe to your newsletter and buy your stuff.
  • So that’s what the book means. That’s what it needs to be, to have that direction to it.

But what if you’re writing something that doesn’t necessarily have direction in it? How might you continue to use it, it sounds like you’re using direction to continue to build your audience? It’s almost like it’s a rotary, and this is just one more entrance ramp.

  • Exactly. It’s the difference between having a subscriber list versus a buyer list.
  • And I’ve seen this time and time again when I worked with folks, I’d have people buy the book and move from the book onto the email list to then be presented with an offer.
  • And a lot of times, I don’t remember exactly the numbers but they’re pretty close to this, there was once instance where the people purchased the book and signed up to the list. their offer typically converted to about a half percent with cold traffic, paid traffic.
  • The book buyers were purchasing at a rate of 16%.

And I’m sorry, what was the difference there? I think I lost the thread.

  • One audience is cold traffic, no relationship.
  • They probably just pulled them off randomly off Facebook based on interest targeting.
  • And then the other one was they had come in from the book.
  • So they had developed that, that’s the difference between that 5-7 hour handshake. We’ll call it the 5 hour, who cares?
  • So yeah, that’s what happens when you have an appropriate 5 hour handshake.

Alright, so let’s say that we have a book that’s already out there, and/or that’s just being published or whatever. We haven’t done all this audience building because maybe this isn’t something we thought about in the past. What are some of the techniques that we could use to maybe, let’ say we do have to rely on Facebook advertising based on interest to drive traffic to some sort of platform from a website blog or landing page to get people into our ecosystem . What are some of the tactics authors may use? I mean, I mentioned because I’ve seen it before, download the first chapter of the book, which you know requires and email registration. Great, now we’ve got then our name. What are some of the other things you’ve seen have been successful in terms of building that list for authors?

  • Oh, just a ton of stuff really. It just comes down to whatever works for you.
  • And I’ll break down a bunch of these things, but really quite honestly from a perception kind of situation here a lot of people have the belief that they need to get published, or they need to do a major publisher or even a mid-level publisher or something like that, because the publisher will do all your marketing for you. That will never happen.
  • Publishers are on the ropes right now because they don’t understand this. I think they really fundamentally do understand this, but they don’t know how to adjust their business model accordingly.
  • And so there’s this really, really awful – it’s called a false belief – not quite a lie because people aren’t really screaming it to the high heavens. But it’s definitely a false belief that if you get a publisher, the publisher will market you. The publisher will not market you.
  • And so you need to understand this stuff before you go live. You need to be willing to get out there and do this because that’s why so many people are self publishing.
  • Publishers are literally driving the best authors into the arms of self publishing. It’s just crazy because, you know, the best authors are also understanding that they also need to be at least workable marketers, which then, takes us to this thing.
  • How do you build a platform? How do you grow those ecosystems? One thing that I’ve seen is, for example, I own this awesome little online ecosystem or the paranormal, romance genre called “I Love Vampire Novels”, I know it’s hilarious.
  • It can reach up to 3.7 million, there was actually a time it hit like 5.1 million people every single week.

I’m guessing my wife is on your list, personally, but that’s a whole other story.

  • There you go! Yeah, so what that is, it’s called a ‘book discovery’ ecosystem.
  • So it’s slightly different than an author ecosystem in terms of it’s more of a magazine style.
  • You know, it’s like Rolling Stone magazine, for example, doesn’t have their own band kind of thing. They’re just a place where you’re going to go to read about bands and find more music and get some news, that kind of thing.
  • And so that’s one way to do it, and this is actually called “one step removed’ where you can do something like that where it’s like a magazine-style site and you get to then cater on a very non threatening level.
  • You get to cater, let’s say on Facebook, to all of the people who really like you. So for example, with entrepreneurs, you could do like Gary Vaynerchuck, Entrepreneur On Fire, all these different kinds of people and you can pull their fanbase to you and speak to them in sort of a non threatening kind of way.
  • Whereas an author has an agenda and so it’s less likely that you’re going to get a 93% opt in rate kind of thing. You can definitely optimize, but it’ll be a lot more than that.

So are you suggesting that authors might consider creating a pseudo-online magazine about their genre? And that’s obviously a huge undertaking for a lot of people, people who are like, “I just want to sell more books.”

  • Absolutely, and that’s actually what I was going to say is that is a really big thing to do. I know this because I’ve done it multiple times.
  • And so it’s sometimes easier to create an author ecosystem just for the author. The reason I mention this is because there’s – specifically in fiction – a lot of times there’s very, until you hit a certain level of success, it’s very hard to monetize that side of the books.
  • And this gives to the ability to do that. Like you can sell ad space and different kinds of things to actually make a workable living while you’re making a living with your books. And so you sort of build your audience by proxy with this.
  • So the problem I’m trying to solve by mentioning this is how some people go off the rails with shiny object syndrome. They’re like, “Hey, do you think I should produce this money maker while I make this money maker to make money?” It’s like, “No, don’t! Focus on one thing and do that.”
  • And this is like focusing on one and a half things, so it’s not quite chasing because it’s still very much in the line with.

Or whoever would be running my genre. So if there is a small business book one out there or a local business, I want to find that, I want to find those type of industry magazines and make sure they’re aware of my book and hopefully review it or talk it up or whatever it may be.

  • Absolutely. And that’s part of the external ecosystem that you want to focus on as an author of getting that big list of dudes. That’s very, very important stuff to do.
  • And so, yeah, you know, if you really want to just get out there and kind of shake the tree and see what falls out.
  • So for entrepreneurial kind of people who are personal development, self help, health, all these different kinds of things, there’s a billion and a half things to sell on top of your book.
  • You can add coaching, you can add done for you services, whatever your business turns into, and so you can grow and monetize very well while you’re building this. Because there is a lot of paid traffic that you should utilize.
  • You were asking me what a lot of these things are, you can do things like Facebook now is pretty much a pay to play environment, but it’s obviously still one of the best. And I want to recommend it heavily if you have a budget.
  • But drive traffic out of Facebook, you know, build your fanbase and then build your list through Facebook and obviously if you do have a book, then give away a free chapter and then encourage people to buy the rest.

Alright, so I have a question. These are some tactical questions, I just want to make sure, because we have been talking, I know you have things to do. But a couple things I’ve been running into over the years I’ve been doing web design and internet marketing for 17 years and have had my share of authors and one of the questions that always comes up is , “Do I build a site for this one book – whether it’s my first or my tenth – or do I just create an author website and have this new book on the homepage and maybe one other page?” Do you have any strong feelings about whether or not every book deserves its own website?

  • Absolutely. I love this, that’s a really good question. And you’re right, I bump into that a lot, too, with folks asking about that. I call it the “umbrella concept”.
  • You always want to be publishing in something that can be a brandable series, because that’s going to further push your brand.
  • Like if you look at Tim Ferriss, ‘4 Hour Workweek’, ‘4 Hour Body’, he’s probably working on ‘4 Hour Foot Rub’ or something like that.

That sounds nice.

  • I know, doesn’t it though?
  • Yeah, so you want to definitely not necessarily have the one book. Although the one book page is cool, that’s not going to be your predominant focus.
  • What you want to be doing if you think about this in terms of the amount of steps, involvement, and money that you’re going to put into this.
  • Every time you create a new ecosystem it’s going to cost you a certain amount of money and take a certain amount of time. How many books are you going to publish? Say, three. Well now you have three times as much time and money to invest.
  • Whereas, if you build a singular ecosystem that is focused around you as the brand, now you have one location. You can have one continuous conversation and you only have one ad spent to be able to get that stuff out there.
  • So you reduce your cost, you reduce your time you reduce your daily involvement with it. And so I have a very strong opinion on that. You can absolutely put up a website just for the book and use that as a promotional tool, but I do not recommend going off the rails and doing a bunch of different sites, like per book kind of stuff.
  • Always publish in a series and always focus on building your audience. And this was a big problem with the make money and Kindle market , was that people were doing a book on dog training, then they’d do a book on cooking, then they’d do a book on how to raise your baby, something like that.
  • And the audience was literally nowhere close to synergistic. And so they had all these books all over the place and just nothing was working because they couldn’t focus. In fact, the very first thing I talked about was who’s that one person you’re speaking to.

Alright, makes a lot of sense. Well listen, and I know I feel that you and I could talk forever about this,and I even have a few more questions that are bubbling to my head, but let’s let the people do some of their own homework and dig a little bit deeper. Where can people find out more about you and what you’re up to online?  

  • Awesome, well right now I have a cool, free training called ’How To Sell 10,000 Books in 7 Days’, even if you haven’t written your book yet. You can find that at audiencehacker.com/free.
  • And if you just want to check out the show, audiencehacker.com, it’s for who I call the “author entrepreneurs”, so anyone using content marketing to grow their business, build their list, drive more leads and sell more stuff.

That sounds awesome. Jonny, always entertaining and always full of information. Thanks a lot man, I appreciate the time.

  • Thank you.

Juicy Links:

Rich Brooks
Is hacking you right now.

  • Audience Hacker

    Thanks for having me on the show! This was beyond fun!

  • Keith F. Shovlin

    I’ve been listening to this podcast from the beginning and have found it to be absolutely priceless, but this episode is worth it’s megabytes in Gold. As a self-published author that recently launched my own independent publishing company, the ideas on growing your audience are perfect for me. I’m definitely clicking over to Jonny’s website and I saved the podcast on my iPhone to listen to again. This makes me even more eager to drive up to Maine, and I’ll be there with my notebook out ready to soak in all this glorious knowledge.

    • Wow! Thanks for the kind words. Mind if I use this for some marketing? Hell, mind if I tattoo it on my arm? 🙂

      Look forward to seeing you at #aoc2014!

      • Keith F. Shovlin

        Of course you can use it. It would be wrong of me to keep you from that. Hold off on the tattoo though, I’m sure you’ll get far more worthy praise.

  • Thank you for a very educational and informative podcast. This allowed me to firm up most of Jonny’s comments on his recent webinar. Thank you for your transcription in the links at the bottom of the page as I had missed a lot of that stuff on the webinar.

    Gordy

  • Guest

    I loved this podcast so much I tried to check out the How to sell 10,000 Books in 7 days training. However, my computer freaked out when I tried to access the site and Chrome said it wasn’t safe. I’m not sure what’s going on but I wanted to let you know. 🙂

    • Huh. Very strange. I just tried it in both Chrome and Safari and got in no problem. Thanks for the heads up.