Ep 258: How to Execute a Book Launch with Chandler Bolt

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Publishing has changed a lot in the last few years.

With the advent of self-publishing, writers no longer have to go the traditional route.

However, this has led to self-publishing becoming more competitive, making it extremely important to know how to launch your self-published book in a way that differentiates you.

Chandler Bolt is the Founder of Self-Publishing School and he joins us today to share some of the secrets from his new book Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page To 10,000 Copies Sold. 

Central to Chandler’s thesis is the need to think of a book launch as a year-long project rather than a one-week sprint.

To this end, he has designed a ‘launch triangle’, a three-part framework that you can use to skyrocket your launch.

We explore this framework with Chandler and he explains how to set up and manage its individual pieces: the launch team, reviews, and promotions.

In our conversation, Chandler also explains how to use reviews and structure your book’s content as well as its Amazon order page to boost its discoverability.

If you want to be a self-published author, this episode will be extremely relevant to you, so be sure to tune in today.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE

  • Whether or not anything has changed about self-publishing in the last two years.
  • The need to learn sales and marketing if you want to self-publish.
  • How to launch a book if you don’t have a big following.
  • Using the ‘launch triangle’: a launch team, reviews, and promotions.
  • How to create a launch team and get them to leave reviews.
  • Moving from the mindset of the one-week launch to the one-year launch.
  • Using the TEAM acronym to get the most from your launch team.
  • How to manage a launch team, set expectations, and hold them accountable.
  • The role of social proof in discoverability and long-term book sales.
  • Giving the launch team an easy link for where to leave a review.
  • Why reviews matter so much for discoverability on Amazon.
  • Strategies for increasing reviews using giveaways and a ‘review sweeper’ method.
  • Structuring your book’s content with the knowledge that it forms part of Amazon’s SEO.
  • Thinking about your Amazon page as the sales page for your book.
  • Three things to do when it comes to promotion: virtual book tours, email lists, and more.

TWEETABLE MOMENTS

“Create a launch team which is a small group of people that support you or the topic of your book.” — @Self_Pub_School [0:06:59]

“That’s what is going to help drive the book long-term, is the social proof. It boosts your discoverability on Amazon and all other platforms. That is what feeds the flywheel for long-term book sales.” — @Self_Pub_School [0:13:45]

“Amazon is the search engine of buyers. Google is the search engine of browsers.” — @Self_Pub_School [0:17:42]

“Your Amazon page, that’s the sales page for your book.” — @Self_Pub_School [0:26:55]

“You give some incentive to join the launch team and then the key to managing them is to give them specific action items.” — @roryvaden [0:37:05]

About Chandler Bolt

Chandler Bolt is an investor, the CEO of Self-Publishing School & SelfPublishing.com, Forbes 30 Under 30, and the author of 7 bestselling books including his most recent book titled “Published.”. Self Publishing School is an INC 5000 company the last 3 years in a row as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US. 
Chandler is also the host of the 7 Figure Principles Podcast and the Self Publishing School Podcast. Through his books, podcasts, YouTube channels, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people write a book that grows their income, impact, and business.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Chandler Bolt on LinkedIn

Chandler Bolt on Twitter

Self-Publishing School

Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page To 10,000 Copies Sold

Self Publishing School Brand Builders Group Free Training

Bestseller Launch Plan

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

RV (00:07): You know, it’s, it’s not all that often that we’ll bring somebody on the show who services an audience that’s closely connected to ours, but we do it for Chandler bolt. And the reason is cuz I, I love Chandler, I believe in Chandler and I’ve known Chandler for a really, really long time. And we’ve heard great things about everything that he does at self-publishing school. So he’s the CEO of a company called self-publishing school and he’s the author of several books and his most recent book is called published the proven page from blank page to 10,000 copies sold. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. You, I was showing Chandler before we kicked off, like I’ve gone through like the whole back half of this book especially like, and just earmarked stuff and underlined stuff. And I love how practical it is. RV (01:02): I love that, you know, what Chandler does is like a very, you don’t have to be famous to do this. It’s like, these are things that anybody with a book can do. This is actually the second time that we have had ’em on the show. We did another episode a while back where we talked about basically how to construct a cell published book. And then now we’re gonna talk about what do you do once you have the book in your hand and how do you launch it? You can go to brand builders, group.com/sps. Okay. So brand builders, group.com/sps which is self-publishing school. That’s our affiliate link that if you wanna check out a free training beyond what we talk about with Chandler, I’ll mention that again. But the book again, published the proven path from blank page to 10,000 copies sold Chandler bolt, brother. RV (01:52): Welcome back to the show. CB (01:54): Great to be here. Thank you for having me. RV (01:57): I’m so proud of you, dude. Like you are serving your audience, you, you serve such a, a specific in, in such a deep way. You’ve made a great business out of it. Your ink 5,000 business, you guys are booming and you just really, you know, in the world of self-publishing, it’s just like, you just know this, this space inside and out. So my first question for you is, is there anything that has changed about self-publishing in like the last two years specifically? So obviously there’s been a lot of talk about how traditional publishing is changing and why you might self-publish by the way, one other little disclaimer for everybody, if you’re a traditionally published author or you want to be, I promise that this episode be extremely relevant to you, like sure. So it, even though self-publishing is sort of Chandler like bread and butter, these principles, I mean, that’s why I took notes cuz I’m like, I’m gonna some of these things I’d never heard before. I’m gonna do ’em but what what’s changed recently. CB (02:59): Yeah. There’s a lot of changes and, and you’re right, Rory, everything we teach, well, I’d say probably 80% of what we teach you can do, whether you’re self-published or traditionally published. And there’s a lot of good crossover, but you know, kind of over the last, you know, over the last couple decades self-publishing has become the preferred option. For most authors people who wanna make more royalties key, keep creative control, have flexibility, move faster through the process, you know, used to be that the only way you sold books is to get into bookstores will now 70% of all books sold or, or are sold on Amazon. So that’s been a massive shift. It continues to shift. And then the shift over the last couple of years is that it’s just gotten more competitive, just writing and publishing a great book isn’t enough anymore. And, and you know, it used to be in the early days of self-publishing it was like, oh, if you just put it on Amazon, it’s gonna sell. Speaker 2 (03:47): And there’s so many buyers, there’s not a ton of competition, but the market has gotten more sophisticated. You know, kind of like the levels of market market sophistication. So it’s gotten more, it’s gotten more competitive. And there’s a bunch of things that have progressed. And I think it’s a really exciting time to publish a book and to self-publish, but the big thing, and I think what we’ll be talking about today on, on this interview is you’ve got to learn sales and marketing. I mean, obviously we are, we, and then both of our companies are very aligned on this is like, Hey, you’ve got to learn and invest time, money and energy and, and become friends with Sam sales and marketing. And, and if you build it, they will not come. You have to tell them about it. And so, I mean, that’s with your book, that’s with your business, it’s, there’s their synergy across the board. RV (04:32): Yeah. I, I’m excited about that. Part of the conversation. One of the things that we were talking about recently with some of our members is that, you know, I Pete there’s, this people are pure artists, right? They go, ah, you know, I just wanna create my art. I wanna create my art. And what we realize is that marketing is art. Like marketing is part of your artistry. Like what good is the greatest painting that nobody ever sees or the greatest book that no one reads or the greatest music. Of course your brother is in my all time, favorite re band need to breathe. So any of you need to breathe fans out there, Chandler’s brother, it plays and they like if no one hears the music, like what good is it? And so marketing has to be part of your artistry. RV (05:17): You know, the, the other thing that, you know, when I look at what you’ve done, what is happening in the marketplace, you know, there’s always been these things that, that traditionally published authors do like book launches and media tours and, and book tours and bookstore signings and all that stuff. But in the self-published world, there’s been this whole immersion of, or, or immersion of like tactical things that anybody can do if they’re not famous and they don’t have a huge email list and they don’t have millions of social media followers. So talk us through that. Like, how do you even start? How do you even start to think about your launch if you’re, you know, if you’re not Insta famous, like what do, if you can’t get on good morning America? Like, what do you do? Speaker 2 (06:03): Yeah. And, and so I, I look at this in a few different ways, so you’ve got the, what are the, what are the fundamentals of a bestseller? So how do I make sure I structure the book in a way that it’s gonna sell well, long term, then you’ve got kind of what I call the envy P launch, which minimum viable product launch, or you’ve got the traditional launch. And so a, a lot of, a lot, if you’ve ever seen a book launch, I mean, it’s the traditional book launch. I mean, like a traditional published book, it follows what I would call the traditional launch and that’s chapter 19 in, in the new book. And then chapter chapter 18 is MVP launch, but really it comes to down to, and I don’t know if anyone will see the video version of this, but it comes down to a, what I call the launch triangle. Speaker 2 (06:43): Right? And so it’s these three core elements you’ve got first off creating a launch team, second off, getting reviews and then third off its promotions. And so the, the first two, I mean, it doesn’t matter what type of launch you’re doing create a launch team, which is a small group of people that support you or the topic of your book, right. Could be 15 people, 50 people could be more, they get a free digital copy ahead of launch. And then they leave a review on day one. So now all of a sudden you’ve got 1550 reviews, right. Outta the gates. And this is kind of an army of people who support your book, right. Or the topic of that book. And so these could be family members, friends, customers, all that. So you’ve got launch team that helps with reviews. And then you’ve got the, the third component is promotions and that’s kind of the accordion is how I look at it. Speaker 2 (07:31): And so that’s based on the time that you have the money that you have, the resources and energy that you wanna put behind this and is on also somewhat correlated to whether you’re self-publishing or traditional traditionally publishing, right. Is how much are you you putting into this, the success of this launch, and that’s where you can kind of accordion based on that. And so these, those are kind of the three fundamentals of, of the launch. And then I think there’s an important distinction, which is I, I talk about the the Lamber launch versus the Toyota Camry launch. Okay. Or the Toyota Camry approach. And just, most people look at book launches like a Lamborghini and, and, and, you know, Lamborghini, they’re fast, they’re sexy. They use up a lot of fuel, so they’re gone. Right. And so, so they use up all this energy on week one and launch week, and they don’t realize that it’s not, yes, launch week is important, but it’s more about I call the Toyota Camry approach. Speaker 2 (08:26): It’s like, how do I just create a book that sells for years and for decades? And that is the mindset of what I call the one year launch. And so launch your launch. It’s not a week, it’s a year. And I forget, this is a quote that I, I was reading this book the other day and I, and I, and I, I saw that and I was like, yes, that’s the one year launch. It’s a mindset to keep marketing your book after the launch. So I think all those things kind of combined to set up the book for success. And then that book goes out and brings back more, leads, more sales, more referrals for your business, builds your personal brand, all that good stuff. RV (09:06): Yeah. I think of one of my good friends is Phil M Jones. He wrote exactly what to say which is a self-published book that sold a million copy and he sells them because it’s the only book he has and he sells it constantly. And he creates custom versions, like for Remax and for like, and he’ll sell 200 at a time, a thousand at a time, like, and it’s just, you know, it it’s, he built his whole career on, on this. He has some other books too, but really that’s, that’s the one yeah, so that’s so great. So let’s talk about the launch team real quick, because there are different ways to get on the launch team, right? So a lot of our clients that we’ve worked with that are, you know, maybe have a larger following online, they make people buy the book to get on the launch team. But then if you’re a newer author, maybe you’re like a, you’re a younger author, or you just don’t have as big of a platform for whatever reason. Usually you just kind of make the ask for people to join. So how do you, what, what do you do there in terms of getting people onto the team? Speaker 2 (10:14): That’s a great question. That’s the thing about having new concepts as you gotta look ’em up I’m like, look, I’m, I’m flipping up in the book. I’m like, right. What are so when I think about team, so you’re right. I love the, if you’ve got an experience or if you’ve got an existing audience, either having them apply or having them buy a book as a, as a, as a prerequisite to join, I think that’s super smart. Because at the end of the it’s quality, not quantity. Mm. You don’t want a bajillion, half committed people on, on your launch team. You want less but better. Right. And so I look at team as an acronym. So T a M so the T stands for tell everyone, you know, about the launch team and just in a clear, concise way a or, sorry, the E stands for enroll. The people who say, Hey, I’m interested in that, right. Who’d be interested in a free digital copy of the book. And to C the behind the scenes of the launch, people raise their hand and supporting the launch. Okay. E is in enroll, instead of expectations, a is ask for review, which is like, dove, of course you would do that. A lot of people, I mean, very specifically, I wanna RV (11:20): Talk about reviews in a second, cuz it’s not as much of a does you would think, so. Keep going. All right. Ask for, review Speaker 2 (11:27): It really. Yeah. And so ask for a review and then M stands for a message everyone individually and follow up because you don’t just send out one mass email and say, Hey, everyone, leave a review. It’s launched day, but the, the powers in the follow up. So that’s how I look at a launch team. And then you’ve kind of got the two ways to recruit your launch team, which is kind of what you talked about, which is, Hey, either mass outreach, like, Hey, I’ve already got a big audience. And I could just blast out an email and say, who wants to be on the launch team or for a lot of people who are getting started. It’s one to one and sure. I might have a small social media following or family and friends, that sort of thing. But it’s in one to one conversations about the book leading up to the launch, that’s where you really build, build a healthy launch team. And then, then you’re launching with reviews and with momentum. RV (12:11): So RV (12:14): You get the people on. Okay. And you can do, I mean, one of the things that’s, I mean, there are some amazing things about a lot of amazing things about self-publishing one of which is that you can do things like get a free audio copy of the book or get a free PE book version of it. I mean, it is really things like that, especially if you’re are just beginning and you’re just starting out, like you can really use it as a list builder and credibility booster and lead magnet and all the things that a book really should be. You, if you, you are traditionally publishing, you can’t do some of that, but you can give away, sometimes your publisher will say, give away the first three chapters or the first chapter, or, you know, there’s other, and you can use to get people to join. We go through a bunch of ’em in, in our training, but once the people are there, okay. What do you do with them? And also, is it, is it typically a Facebook group? Is that typically the mechanism you’re using to manage the launch team? Speaker 2 (13:13): Yeah, that’s what I like to do. I I’d say go where your audience is. Right. And so is your audience on Facebook? Awesome. Do that is your audience somewhere else do that and you, I, I would do dual, so Facebook and email, so, so that it’s, you’re getting in front of people and, but then it’s pretty simple. I mean, you form the launch team a few weeks before launch, and then I like to give them one assignment per week for the two to three weeks leading up to the launch and starting with reading the book ahead of time. And then the most important thing is that they leave a review on day one. I mean, that’s kind of like, you can very clearly communicate expectations. That’s the E and team right. Is expectations setting. And so just saying, Hey, if you do nothing else, I need you to leave a review on day one as part of this. And so mark this on your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, whatever you need to do, like that is the most important thing. Anything else is a bonus above that, right? Because that’s, what’s gonna help drive the book long term is the social proof. It boosts your discoverability on Amazon and all other PLA like that is what kind of feeds the flywheel for long term book sales. RV (14:21): Yeah. So, so you’re gonna say, read the book, leave a review. And then other than that, it might just be like, you know, make this post on social media. Yeah. Or, you know, send this email to your friends and family like that. It’s just all that kind of, it’s not rocket science. It’s just like following up with them. And it, it really hit me hard when you were like in, so in, in the book again, the book is published, it’s called published the proven path from blank page to 10,000 copies. So we’ll link to it in Amazon on our, on our site in a show notes following up with people one on one and like, yeah, going, Hey, I, yeah, I run, I need your help. Would you be willing to help me? Speaker 2 (15:00): Yes. Yes. And, and being very specific, which that’s the piece about reviews, right? Is, is give them an exact link on where to leave a review. Right. And this is one thing that, that might help with your, your clients and, and with book launches that you do as well is just a quick link. That’s easy to remember. And so for me, it’s published book.com/review brand builders.com/like what, whatever the URL is for that person, or then forward RV (15:29): The Speaker 2 (15:29): URL slash review, and then us forwards to the exact place on Amazon, where they can select the stars and fill out the form. And then anytime you’re asking for a review, I mean, I do it in the book, but then obviously within this context is specifically to your launch team. You say, Hey, go directly to this page and leave a review, take two minutes to do it today. Okay. Our goal is ex by the end, like just very specific. And then anytime someone says something positive about the book, it’s like, Hey, thank you so much. Would you mind copying pacing that into our review link? RV (16:02): So I have a confession to make, and I want you to slap me and tell me what I should do. So we have completely ignored reviews, never, never driven people there. Take the stairs still sells very, very well. My second book doesn’t sell as well. But my, my very first book still sells, you know, pretty consistently. And you know, we have, we had, we had 300, we had 300 units last week. Like we get these, we get pops of like big 300, 600 unit weeks. Of course, if I’m speaking, it’s more. And one of the things that we did is we had a, we have like you talk about inside your manuscript, you have to offer lead magnets, right? So you put a link to go download a lead magnet. So we, we did that. We created a test called the focus 40 to test. We’ve been so busy building brand builders group. The last three years, we have completely ignored. All of those people haven’t even looked at it. We just looked at it and we found that 1000 people last year, apparently bought, take the stairs, read it, saw the link, went to the link, filled out the assessment, and then they’ve just sat there and I’m going, we don’t even have a thousand reviews on the book. Speaker 2 (17:23): Yeah. RV (17:24): We have like 700 reviews. And so I’m just like, I have just missed the boat on the reviews. So why do reviews matter and what we do to, to really drive them? I mean, we’re clear on the launch team. That’s a great one. Yeah. And I hear you saying they can’t leave a review until the pub date. Of course. Yeah. Speaker 2 (17:44): Yeah. RV (17:45): But what do you do after the fact and like, what Speaker 2 (17:48): Should I do? Yeah. Oh, that’s a great question. Or I I’d say I mean they matter cuz they highly impact Amazon’s ranking, right? So there’s two ways you discover, well there’s two or three ways that people discover books. Right. They’re searching for something on Amazon. So they’re actively searching for a book or someone refers it to them and maybe there’s which you’re looking in like a category that they like and saying, Hey, what are the top sellers here? But really it’s the first two. And so how do you show up in search? Well, keywords categories and then reviews because obviously it’s like Amazon is a search engine of buyers. Google is a search engine of browsers. So when people go to Amazon, they got a reason to buy stuff, right. They one click purchase, their credit card is on file. So I wanna bring them into my ecosystem and then show up when they search topics that are what I would call high buyer intent for my business. Speaker 2 (18:40): Right. So for us, if they’re searching how to write a book, how to publish a book, like those things we know through all of our content marketing, I mean, that’s someone, who’s a buyer for self public. And so reviews help fulfill that for Amazon. Right. Because they wanna say let’s recommend stuff that they’re most likely to like, well, how do we know that as Amazon? Well, other people said they like it. How do they say they like it through reviews? Right? This is not anything that you don’t know. But what I would do like one or two very practical things that I would task to your this week or next week is I would send a follow up email to anyone who’s ever opted in to that challenge or anything related to take the stairs, the book specifically. Yes. And I would do the book specifically and I would do some sort of giveaway. Speaker 2 (19:28): And it’s you know, Hey, if you’re getting this emails because you, you checked out, take the stairs. I’d love to hear what you think. Take two minutes to go here and leave a review on the book. I’m gonna read everyone. So, and I’m gonna randomly pick 10 people who click this link and send you a signed copy of take the stairs. You don’t have to, you know, you don’t have to you don’t have to leave a review to enter to win, but you can click this link and I’d love for you to leave a review and hear what you think. I did that one time got 188 reviews in 48 hours. So that works unbelievably well, second piece that I would do, and this is most important for long term. I’d do this with every book that you have is I called a us the review sweeper. Speaker 2 (20:13): It’s just a simple automated email sequence, three email sequence. And anytime anyone opts into anything related to the book, they get dropped into this follow up sequence. 21 days later, they get an email from you that says, Hey, looks like you grabbed a copy of my book. A few weeks ago. I’d love to hear what you think hit reply on this email. What do you think about the book so far? And then your team, you got kind of a customer support macro that just says, Hey, oh, Hey, if it’s positive, obviously is, oh, Hey, thank you so much. Like this is really helpful. Would you mind copying pacing that into an Amazon review? Here’s the link? So you’re kind of doing a two step into leaving the review and then, you know, maybe you have a, a, a, if they don’t reply to that, you’ve got one or two other emails. That’s like, Hey I’m not gonna bother you about this anymore, but I’d love for you to take two minutes today and leave a review with what you think about the book. So I love it. RV (21:05): I Speaker 2 (21:05): Love that. I mean that I call it the review sweeper, cuz it just sweeps in reviews month after month, year after year, I’ve RV (21:11): Heard that you can’t incentivize an Amazon review. Is that, have you heard that? Speaker 2 (21:17): Correct? You cannot pay for a review and you cannot in like, I will give you X, Y, Z, if you leave a review. Correct. RV (21:25): Okay. But you, you could say leave a review to be entered in a drawing and that’s different. Speaker 2 (21:33): I’m going all the way up to the line. So I’m saying click this link. I’m gonna click, I’m gonna select 10 random people who click this link. This Link’s gonna take you to where you can leave a review. I’d love for you to leave a review. You don’t have to leave a review. RV (21:46): Oh. But basically if click the link, you, the click, the link is the entry Speaker 2 (21:50): Point. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And I’m not doing what Amazon doesn’t wanna do is, Hey, I’ll give you a $10 Amazon gift card or I’ll give you blah, blah, blah. If you leave a review, because then that’s compromising the integrity of the review system. But kind of going up to that line while still staying within Amazon’s guidelines and hooking people up and saying, Hey, I’d love for you to leave a review kind of in the process. RV (22:13): Yeah. And I’ve also heard people say, just send them a free gift, you know, kind of like a, a law reciprocity. Just send them a free gift. Hey, thank you. I love hope you love the book. Here’s another free gift. You know, by the way, if you ever get a chance, I’d love a review and that’s totally fair game to do. Cause it’s not a quid pro quo. Exactly. Type of type of thing. So so that’s, I, I love that. It’s so as many Speaker 2 (22:36): Readers you got, I bet you do that on take the stairs. You’ll be over a thousand reviews within the next three months. RV (22:42): Do you think I would get flagged for sending a blast to like whatever that list is? Speaker 2 (22:47): No, I, I, RV (22:48): I mean it shouldn’t, it’s just a bunch of people, but it, they would probably see the pretty big spike. That’s amazing. You got 188 reviews in 48 hours. That’s like a third of the total reviews I’ve gotten in 10 years. Speaker 2 (22:59): Like it’s crazy. That’s amazing, RV (23:00): Dude. Speaker 2 (23:01): It’s well, cuz that’s the big thing. Right? The overarching thing that I think maybe is major takeaway for listeners is ask like so many people to, they want to help and they enjoyed the book, but all you have to do is just say, Hey, could you take two minutes today to leave a review exactly here. Right? Like here’s the link. So I’m making it as easy as possible and just asking and then doing so you’ve probably got hundreds, if not thousands of people on the sidelines that are like, oh yeah, I love that book. You, but I never left a review. Right. When’s the last time you left a review on a book, unless it was audible at the very end, like, Hey right now, like please click the start. I mean, you know, you got a physical book, you set it down. You’re like, oh, that was good. And I’m not gonna log into Amazon. So it’s like leave review and all that. But, but if someone asks, I’m like, oh, I like that book. Sure. I I’d take two seconds, two minutes to leave review. So, RV (23:53): So I love it, man. This, this is the kind of stuff that I’m talking about. Y’all so again Chandler has a, a training brand builders, group.com/s P S. That is where you can go watch the, the free training. That’s our affiliate link. You can check it out, you know you can tell like he he’s giving the goods, right? Like he’s not holding stuff back cuz he’s got a lot of stuff to offer. One of the reasons why we, we love him. It’s not like he can teach you everything. He knows in one 30 minute podcast interview coming back to the search thing in Amazon. Yeah. So the keywords and all of that, that you know, it makes sense just like YouTube is a search engine, just like, you know, Google is a search engine. Amazon is a search engine. Where do you actually go to optimize the profile? Like where do you go to say, I want this book to show up for these terms. Speaker 2 (24:47): Yeah. there’s well, there’s a bunch of stuff and, and Amazon doesn’t publicly give information about the, their algorithm, just like Google doesn’t, but we know, I mean you just know what their major influences on that. Right? And so the first they give you seven keywords. So Amazon does, when you publish the book. Now, if you’re traditionally publishing, you can recommend to your publisher. But at the end of the day they’re gonna have kind of the final call and final hands on keys for that. That’s another benefit of self-publishing, but they give you seven keywords that you can target. Those are helpful, but really more so than that, I mean, Amazon’s gotten a lot more sophisticated. It used to be that you could just put that in your keywords and in your title or subtitling, your description is like, cool, no on ranking for this, but like all algorithms they learn and get better. Speaker 2 (25:32): And so what they’re trying to say is they’re kind of aggregating a lot of search and when people search these things, they end up on this book and they purchase it. Right. And, and they’re going into the me metadata of the book and, and there’s a bunch of different things like that. So for me, strategic, like if you even look at the table of contents for my book, I’m thinking like I’m thinking in SEO and also in helpful content. Right. So if you see like we’ve got let’s see self-publishing versus traditional and publishing that’s chapter three, we’ve got how to hire and work with an editor that’s chapter nine designing your best selling book cover that’s chapter 11, chapter 12. How to format your book. Right. I, I mean, I could go on and on how to build, how to using a team to sell more books. RV (26:21): You’re choosing titles, like chapter titles that people would search for answer a question, same way you would construct a YouTube bid or something like that. Is this reverse, reverse engineer. What would someone be searching for? Are you saying that you, your hypothesis is that Amazon reads the book and can under no doubt the con yeah, Speaker 2 (26:42): Really. And, and I think it’s probably a tree, right? That we’re the top things are the keywords, your title and subtitle, your book description. And then I would guess like your back cover your editorial reviews and like maybe some reviews and stuff like that. But I think it pretty summer along that path that goes inside the actual book, because previously people were just gaming it and they were just keyword, stuffing, all the other stuff. So it’s like, Amazon’s gotta go in and say, right, what is this actually? And they’ve got a text file of the whole book, right. It’s if it’s RV (27:14): Self publish Speaker 2 (27:16): Kindle. Well, no I’m saying like the version, like, yeah, they’ve got a text file. And so it’s very easy for, to aggregate that and improve their search quality. And then that combined with all the other machine learning around what people are searching, what they’re clicking on. RV (27:31): Yeah. So, but title, I mean, it’s just the things you would think title subtitle, but there’s not, it’s not like on a webpage where you can go in the back and change your H one tags and your H two tags and update your image, tags and stuff like that. You can’t do that on Amazon book. Speaker 2 (27:46): Not quite. I look at that as selecting my keywords. I look at that as like the actual, the structure of the blog post. Okay. The structure of the book. And then I look also look at that as you know, some of the things that you do on the page itself. Cause that’s another thing. I mean, my we’re getting the, I weigh into the weeds, but I mean, when I, your Amazon page, that’s the sales page for your book and people are either gonna come on there for a, a, you know, 15 seconds and leave or a minute and a half and buy. And so on this note I look at, and if you look at my my book page for publish, we’ve been testing and, but we’ve got they call it a plus content. So there’s extra pictures. There’s from the back cover, there’s video reviews. Speaker 2 (28:30): There’s a bunch of stuff that’s designed to keep people on the page because the longer that they’re on that page, the more likely they are to buy. And then there’s something like within that. Sure. That there’s a, an image. That’s how to write a book. There’s an image. That’s how to publish a, there’s an image that sell more books and I’m titling those images. I don’t know if that has anything, like, I don’t know if that does anything for my Amazon SEO or not. They won’t tell me, but but that keeps them on the actual page. And then makes it, makes the book stand out and makes them more likely to actually purchase the book. RV (29:04): I’m looking at your, I looking at your Amazon page. Yeah. From the publisher. You have pictures in there. Yeah. And that, again, those are things you can’t do when you’re tr you can, you can do them. If you traditionally publish, the problem is you’re not in control of it. You have to convince them to take the time to stop and go update your Amazon page. Meanwhile, they’ve got other authors who are selling, you know, bazillion books every week. Speaker 2 (29:29): Yeah. RV (29:30): That’s you Speaker 2 (29:31): Can tinker with that. Well, I’ll tell you R one of the things I’m trying to figure out right now Michael Bunge, senior wrote a book called the coaching habit. Great book had him on the self publishing school podcast. One thing he did his book page is really good. And I’m, I’m, I’ve got one of the guys on my team trying to figure out how we can do this right now. But is he uploaded a video? It’s a video from the merchant and he’s his, self-published that, I mean, that book sold million, if not millions of copies as well, but he’s got a video that’s from the author which I think is really clever. It’s right. Bef as you get to the reviews, cuz again, I’m trying to figure out how do I get this to jump off the page to where people say, oh, I I’m interested. Speaker 2 (30:11): Like this stands out from the other books or other things that I’ve looked at and increasing that final mile kind of that conversion. So we haven’t figured it out yet, but I also encourage people to lead video reviews. And you’ll notice that when you’re on my book page, as well as there’s at least a few of them and th those and I, that’s a, that’s a hack, I think as well is leaving video reviews on other people’s books that are similar authors or SIM it’s. Hey, my name Chandler bowl. I wrote a book called published. I’d love to give this review, take the stairs. Right. And then that’s just a way where those videos are getting a lot of traffic because they’re prominent. And if I’m, if I’m someone scanning this, you don’t see it too often. So I think that’s kind of a hidden gem within the RV (30:55): It’s like a, yeah. A pattern like a pattern interrupt kind of a thing. Yeah, Speaker 2 (30:59): Exactly, exactly. RV (31:00): I was just, I was just looking at my Michael’s thing. That’s awesome. The yeah, I mean, I just, I think I just totally missed the boat on, on the review scenario. So when you, RV (31:14): Yeah, so, so, so when you get into, so you have your launch team, you put this together you gotta drive reviews. You have a simple my for doing that when it comes to promotion. Yeah, I believe that was, that’s the other part of this of course time and money. Yeah. You know, costs a lot relationships count for a lot. Right. A lot, a lot. Like even, I mean, that’s almost all we’re doing with our clients is we’re just constantly trying to introduce them to people that are sort of like, you know, in their same ballpark, you know, if you had to, if you had to do three things, when it comes to promotion and you were like, these are three things that I would do that, you know, maybe you don’t hear about that often. What, what comes to mind? Speaker 2 (31:59): Yeah. I would say the launch team, if you, if you do nothing else to do that I would say the second piece RV (32:06): Would be, I’ve never done that by the way. I’ve never done that for one, not for one of mine. We’ve done ’em for our, our clients, but yeah. Yeah. So that’s a good, good one. Yeah. Speaker 2 (32:13): That’s unbelievably powerful. That’s that’s the highest and, and best. Then I would say, and this, I don’t know that this is gonna fulfill the intent of, of, of stuff that doesn’t get taught, but it’s tried, I mean, a virtual book tour, AKA, a bunch of podcast interviews. I mean, that is far and away, the biggest needle mover. And then the third piece is is building a pre-release list or building an email list. I mean, like, again, this is not earth shattering information, but those things tried and true work well. And then if you’re going big one thing I’ve had some success with and we had success with is I sent, you know, I sent you one of these influencer boxes. And so it’s just a fun little box. It has a copy of the book in it. And then you’ll probably notice if you remember from that letter, it was very much no obligation, cuz I hate when people send me a book and then they just like relentlessly follow up and it’s like, it’s like, oh this is a quid pro quo type deal where you just, so it was very much like, Hey, I’m sending this because I think you’ll love it. Speaker 2 (33:19): If you’re in this camp, go to this chapter. If you’re in, if you wanna use a book to grow your business, go to chapter 24, if you’re blah, blah, blah. So showing how it could be relevant to them and then saying, if you want to help, here’s two or three ways to do it. Right. Bring me on your podcast, take a picture with the book and post about it. Or, you know, I’m happy to give a, do a book giveaway to your audience or something like that. Right. So making it very clear how people can support similar to the, the, the, how they can leave a review, like very specifically saying, Hey, here’s how you can help. That’s worked well for me. And then, I mean, and then if we’re zooming out 30,000 foot is how do you strategically use the book to grow your business? Right? Because that’s, I mean, all that stuff is good to sell copies, but at the end of the day, most people who are listening to this probably wanna use a book to get more leads, sales, and referrals. And so structuring the book to do that and structuring the launch with that end in mind. RV (34:14): Well brand builders, group.com/sps for self-publishing school is the free training that Chandler put together. The book is called published, proven path from link page to 10,000 copies sold. You know, I think a lot of this stuff is simple, but what makes it hard is remembering all of it and doing it in the right order. And you’ve done a great job of checklisting some stuff out here I think to apply to anybody. And there’s not that many books. I mean, we, we created our bestseller launch plan course because it was like, nobody actually knows how to do this stuff. So there’s not that many resources. And this is, this is a great one. So check it out, y’all check out Chandler and so grateful for you, man. You’ve been so generous. Like this is super tactical stuff. You’re helping me like figure out things that we, we, we missed the boat on of completely. I mean, two thirds of everything you’re talking about, we’ve never been done. We’ve never done launch team. We’ve never done reviews. So we got, we got things that we could be doing and yeah. I just wish you, you and your team and your family all the best. Speaker 2 (35:15): Thank you, Roy. Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 3 (35:18): Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much are taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group dot slash podcall brand builders, group.com/podcall. We hope to talk to you soon. RV (36:05): Executing book launches. One of my favorite things to talk about one of my favorite things to do, although it’s a lot of work you know, we’ve been through this so many times we’ve helped so many clients launch books. I mean, we had three clients at the New York times bestseller list last year. We have at least two clients that are gonna make a real run at it this year. And I, I mean, actually at least at least three, I can think of off the top of four. I can think of four off the top of my head brand builders, clients that are gonna make a run at the New York times list. But I, I, I love this conversation with Chandler because you know, it, it shows how there’s something you can, it shows you, it’s like, there’s something we can all do and you need to do it when, when you launch a book. RV (36:51): And I, and I’ll tell you this even though this conversation with Chandler was much more focused on people who have like, you know, a small all our platform, just like not as many followers and maybe not as, not as many like assets in terms of their direct reach and the number of people they can access. A executing a New York times bestselling launch is a lot of these same things, just at a bigger scale. Like we still do. We still do launch teams. And you know, launch teams are a big part of that, you know, reviews. The promotion is a huge part. You layer in a lot more, you, you have, you know, speaking as a component that we talk about and then you’ve got doing public seminars is a huge part of it. And so that, that enters into it. RV (37:36): And then you have like press and media, like tradit channel media is, is a huge part of it. And then, and then you have like podcasts then you have social media, then you have street launch team. And then you have like the whole mechanism of like, actually, you know, how do you get all the orders placed doing bulk sales and like, how do you get people to, to, you know, anyways, those are the things that we help, like some of our very high profile clients that you see on our website and stuff. A lot of them we’ve, we’ve helped do that, but you know, even though that’s a lot like, and there’s a lot there there is the, again, it’s just a greater, it’s just a greater magnitude of the simple things. A lot of the simple things talking about here with, with Chandler. RV (38:23): So, you know, my three takeaways, first of all, is just the launch team because th this, even though I’ve never had one, we’d never used one for our books. We ha it’s been a, it’s been a crucial part of like every launch that we have run for people. And that several of our friends who have, you know, move a lot of books that they have done. It’s just one of the things that you do and, and you gotta recruit people in. So you’re gonna give them some incentive to join, right? But it’s not rocket science. You do have to have a mechanism to do this, whether it’s a website or you’re just using like a Facebook group or whatever, but, you know, you give some incentive to join the launch team. And then the key to managing that launch team is to give them specific action items of exactly what to do every single week and in our a traffic strategies training, which is our phase two course phase two course, two training of our 12 part brand builder journey curriculum. RV (39:26): We, we teach affiliate launches and how to do affiliate launches and why affiliate launches matter. One of the reasons why that matters is because all, a lot of the mechanisms and the, the process and the protocol of running an affiliate launch is going to be very much emulated when you get to bestseller launch plan, which is our phase three course two and you know, much of what we’re talking about here. And so you need to, you need to, to know how to create assets for other people and how to keep them excited and how to hold them accountable and how to ask them to share things. And, and so that’s a huge part of the launch team, but you gotta, you gotta have that launch team and bring them in early and let them see behind the scenes and spend time building relationships with them. RV (40:08): And they’ll help you promote your book. They, they, they will. So that’s really huge. The second thing that that Chandler said, which this was newer to me, I, I mean, I’ve never heard it said like this, I thought this was so sharp the way he said it. Amazon is a search engine of buyers, whereas Google is a search engine of browsers. And that’s really true, right? I mean I mean, there is when you’re searching for something on Amazon, like you are searching to buy, you are not spending free time, like just searching around for no reason you go to Amazon to buy something. And that’s, yeah, I think YouTube specifically is a search engine of browsers. Like those are people just like searching for information. The there’s certainly a level of buying intent. You know, when you search on Google often too which is different from like you know, paper, click ads where you’re trying to, to shove an advertisement in front of somebody versus showing up when they, they do a search. RV (41:18): Amazon is, is definitely a next level of that. And so, you know, very similarly because of that, you have to think of your Amazon page is your sales page. So just like we would teach you to construct a sales page for your funnels. Of course, you know, our method for that is what we call the 15 P the 15 P of copywriting, which we teach inside of revenue engine. But like, those are the, you know, the words that you put on the page to get somebody to, to buy. And we talk about all the things that need to be on there. You know, the promised the, the, the, the promised the problem, the pain et cetera, cetera, as you work your way down and the order, well, your Amazon page is a sales page. And like for whatever reason, that never sunk in with me quite in the way it did in the moment that Chandler said that, and going, man, you need to optimize that page. RV (42:10): You know, you just gotta like pay 10 to it and, and think about what can I do to make this page more engaging? What can I do to keep, make it more valuable? What can I make it to, you know, what can I put on there to make it, you know, more user friendly and, and to encourage them making a decision, which leads to the third big takeaway for me, which was obviously a huge part of that conversation is which is review. You gotta get reviews. And I think, I mean, here’s the part that, like, I haven’t just missed the boat on reviews. I’ve missed the boat on Amazon altogether. Like, I haven’t even thought about optimizing anything related to my profile or the book itself or reviews, or even, you know, looking at my Amazon page, like other than popping in there once in a while, because we’re buying a copy and it’s just easier to send it to somebody through Amazon versus shipping it ourself, or, you know, something like that. RV (43:05): Or occasionally we’ll check like best seller rankings and stuff to see how, how the book is doing long tail, but to go, oh my gosh, like you gotta get reviews and all you have to do is ask for. And so my action item that I gave myself was to do, you know, Chandler calls it, this, the review sweep. I’m just calling, you know, I’m just calling this like the review sequence. And so we already have mechanisms built inside of both of our books that, that have people on opt in. And so I actually did the search between when I finished the interview with Chandler. And we have 2,102 people in our database, 2000 people in our database that we know bought the book, read the book, clicked on the assessment and completed the assessment. The meanwhile I have 723 reviews on Amazon that is crazy like 2100 people in the database that we know bought and only 700 reviews on Amazon. RV (44:09): And these are just the ones we know, like we have a huge database. I’m, I’m sure that we’ve got many more, many more people inside of the database who have bought the book. And I just, I’ve just totally missed the boat. So I you know, first wanted to identify the list. So I had to go like, you know, fortunately we’re very organized with how we keep our database and all of our tagging structure and all this, all this kind of stuff. So I was able to pull that up quickly, then I’m writing an email to all of these people. That is the subject line. Super duper quick question for you. And then I wrote this, this copy, Hey, you know, Hey, you know, name, thank you so much for buying a copy of my first book, take stairs and for completing our, our focused 40 self-assessment. RV (44:51): I have a quick question for you. 20, 22 actually marks the 10 year anniversary of the book, yada, yada, what were some of your biggest highlights from the take the stairs book? And we’re gonna send this out and then everyone that replies, we are going to reply back with a, a message. Oh, that’s so wonderful. Thank you for sharing that with me. Any chance you would leave a review, so we’re gonna do this because it needs to happen and it’s time it’s long overdue and yeah. So stay tuned. You know, I’ll probably by the time that this episode goes live, we will have done this and we will have data to report back to you, but, you know, that’s simple, like it’s, it’s simple things I think launching a book is it, it’s kind of like, you know, people say there’s death by a thousand paper cuts. RV (45:42): Well, launching a book is like success by a thousand micro steps. It’s it is doing all of these little things and they all add up to be a big thing, but it’s, it’s a lot of just little minute details like this that you, you have to, you have to build into your process. And of course, if you wanna learn more about that, we, one of our courses is called bestseller launch plan. We teach the full system, how do the bestseller list work? How do you get the book deal? What needs to be the book proposal, you know, how to negotiate advances how to write the book so that it sells what needs to be inside. How do you create the pre-sales? How do you do the pre-launch? How do you run, you know, all the orders through, how do you you know, what do you do on launch week? RV (46:26): What do you do with the media? What do you do, you know, for, for weeks two through eight, I mean, it’s, it’s just a monster. And it’s, it’s incredible. And of course, you know, if you’re a brand builders group, client, you already have access to that and we’ll walk you through it, or we’ve got, you can come to our live events. So you could check that out or just hit me up with questions. I’m happy to answer your questions on social media. If you’ve got questions about it, I’m, I’m happy to answer ’em, but yeah, so that what we’re doing, practical things, actionable things to learning them here. Watch, watch these launches y’all and, and, and pay attention. If you’re following me on social, we have some pretty massive book launches. We’re a part of, and I can’t, you know, release publicly who, who they are for, but they are huge. RV (47:15): And if you’re following me on social, once we get closer to the actual launch date, you’ll start to see us promoting these things. And you’ll, you’ll see who the people are that we’re working with, and you can follow ’em and, and watch it happen in real time. And those are big ones, but for yours, you, you, you start with what, you can get five people in your launch group, your launch team have ’em support, so you can do it. It’s, it’s all simple steps. They’re not easy, but they’re simple. And most of these ones actually are pretty quick. So you can make it happen and keep coming back every single week we’re sharing the goods, right? Like we got guests coming in, sharing you some of the best secrets for building your personal brand, helping you get your expertise out to the world. So you can become more well known and you can make more impact that’s it for this episode, we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand podcast.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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