IndieThinkers 101: Indie Book Strategy for Serious Non-Fiction

This seminar outlines some strategic principles — and specific tactical suggestions — for anyone planning to write an indie book in genres of "serious non-fiction" (philosophy, science, history, etc).

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All right, everybody, thank you for coming out today. I'm happy to be talking to you today about something I've been very interested in, especially over the past several months. Which is indie book publisher. I have recently finished my first grant experiment with an indie published book, and pretty much I just, I learned a lot and I have a lot of people kind of in my orbit and my circles who are really interested in doing something similar.

[00:00:29] So I basically thought now would be a good time to pretty much just put down to paper. Everything I've learned and try to share with you my method. It's been fairly successful. so that's pretty much the, the idea here. So if anyone has any questions, issues, or comments, you can leave questions in the chat.

[00:00:48] I will be paying attention to them. And yeah, I want to start by talking a little bit about my experience and. In part that's because I want to be realistic and modest for you. I am not some extremely experienced book author. I published one book now and I just finished doing that whole process and I think I did quite well, but, and that's my reason for feeling like I have a few things to share or to teach that might help people, but I also want to be upfront that.

[00:01:24] I, I don't have tons of books under my belt. I haven't made millions of dollars.  and I just want to make clear, I'm not trying to,  tell you that I know everything there is to know about indie book publishing. I will tell you a little bit about my process though. My experience, just in a nutshell, I launched a indie book idea project and June, I believe it was of.

[00:01:51]This past year 2019 I had the idea and I launched a preorder product on Gumroad for a book idea. It was fairly improvised too. It was fairly spur of the moment. It got tweeted an idea. It got a lot of traction or at least some traction, and I took that as an indication that people would be interested in it, and from there I set out to write a book and to publish it.

[00:02:18] I gave myself about three months to work on it and it, I aimed for it to be about 20,000 words, and that's how it ended up. I then released it in September of 2019 on Gumroad as an ebook. And as an audio book. We'll talk a little bit about that in a little bit. And then I subsequently turned it into a paperback and an a Kindle book for Amazon later after the fact.

[00:02:44] And I only just recently, it's now March, 2020 I recently finished all of that, released the paperback and had a launch party. So, yeah, I think I did a few things that were really quite clever that led me to have a little bit more success than I would have had otherwise. And I also think I did a few things that certainly could be improved.

[00:03:09] So I'm going to share with you the good and the bad of my method as I've developed it. And one thing I'll just say briefly before moving on is that the world of indie book publishing for serious nonfiction is still very undeveloped. The fact is,  most nonfiction books that you find that are self published or indie published, what you'll find is that they are often about business or they're very self-helpy and all that's fine.

[00:03:35] I don't mean to throw any shade. However, serious nonfiction meaning,  erudite, disinterested, intellectual work of nonfiction nature is just much, much less common in the indie published world. So to be Frank. As an academic and someone who's published in several peer reviewed scientific journals, I do have,  perhaps, as much as experience as one could hope for and a kind of academic, serious nonfiction writing and publishing.

[00:04:09]When you, when you consider the fact that not too many people really have figured out how to do serious nonfiction indie publishing.  that's another reason why I'm comfortable taking just a little bit of authority here and trying to elucidate how to do this in the best way possible, because not really many other people are doing it for serious nonfiction.

[00:04:31] So that's, that's kind of my, my rationale for, for this particular talk. I'll give you a few numbers also real quick on base the laws, which is the name of my first published book I'm talking about now. it. Took me about 80 hours to write a clock to all my time. it, I ended up selling so far, it only recently went off on Amazon, but it ended up selling about 325 copies of the ebook on Gumroad.

[00:05:02] And, in the first week or so on Amazon, I think it's sold like 25 or something like that in paperbacks. So 350 copies for what is a pretty fringe piece of nonfiction, a highbrow kind of erudite, somewhat academic, serious nonfiction. I think that's pretty good. It's not amazing. As I said,  not claiming that you're gonna make millions of dollars with my method, but  that's actually 350 copies sold of a fairly obscure niche, highbrow.

[00:05:38] A philosophy book essentially is I think, pretty good.  that's more than many authors in history could expect to sell.  someone like Nicha, who essentially was for many years in his life, essentially a self published author, often did not sell many more books than than that. Then that range.

[00:06:01] So, yeah, I'm quite pleased with that and I think all things considered, it's pretty good. Another thing I'll tell you is that with just about 350 copies sold, I made almost $3,000. Now, and if you notice, if you do the, if you do the basic math and you divide,  3000 by 325. That's actually pretty good because a lot of eBooks nowadays that you see floated around the internet go for maybe five bucks.

[00:06:29]So I had some tricks up my sleeve for why I got actually a fair amount of money for just 350 or so books sold. And I'll kind of explain that in this session. Alright. So I should say another quick word about who this presentation is for. There are many people out there who might not find this valuable, that I am speaking here to a fairly specific type of potential author.

[00:06:59] I would say this presentation is going to be especially valuable for people who are considering their first book. Who have not already built a massive audience or have not already built a massive back catalog of cool books that they've sold in the past.

[00:07:20] They say that it's often best to learn from someone who's only one step ahead of you. And again, that's essentially my, my rationale for doing this, not because I'm super experienced expert, but because I know there are a lot of people who just want to get their first book out. And don't know how. And so as someone who just did that, it's fresh in my mind.

[00:07:41] I was fairly successful and it's kind of realistic and relatable for me to talk to people who are just on the cusp of trying to do their first book.  And th the talk in particular today is going to be focused on people who are starting off with not much audience.  That's some of the heart.

[00:07:57] That's one of the hardest things about launching a book, and in indeed published way, is you need to have some amount of audience to share your work with, for, for it to work. so the method that I've developed through the base does experiment. it's kind of designed for exactly that, that challenge.

[00:08:14] All right. So yeah, if you've written tons of books, you might not find this interesting. If you already have a big back catalog, you might not find this useful. Or if you're a fiction writer, you also might not find this useful because the fact is, in a lot of ways, fiction publishing is easier. A lot of people like reading a lot of fiction,  big.

[00:08:32] There's a huge market for people who will read tons of fiction. They're like addicted to it. They're just emotionally very into it. Serious nonfiction. It's a harder sell. It's a much more niche audience, more educated audience. it's a little bit more seen as boring. And, yeah. So as I said it. that hasn't really been cracked yet by indie publishers.

[00:08:52] So that's what I'm trying to figure out. Alright. So also, I want to start with a few of the key principles in my system that I think generally are useful for many people looking to publish their first book. The first thing you really need to appreciate about indie publishing in series, not fiction, is that.

[00:09:11] It's much faster and more flexible. You're able to just do everything way quicker than you would if you were going with a traditional publisher. but you obviously get less support, so you're on your own for everything, pretty much. And that's the trade off. Interestingly, even in trad publishing today, if you do get a big book deal with a big publisher, the fact is you actually get less and less support.

[00:09:33]Even with a traditional publisher, that's what all my traditional published friends tell me. And that seems to be with that. what, what the reality is. but  at least with the publisher, you get,  at least one person who's kind of dedicated to pushing you along, telling you when your deadlines are nagging you, if you're behind on your deadlines and helping you, kind of push the process along.

[00:09:54] Obviously things like cover design and all of that is not something you have to deal with if you have a traditional publisher.  So this is probably the most important thing to realize and it kind of. permeates all of the subsequent discussion is the major benefit is you get to move way faster and you get way more freedom and flexibility to do it, how you want to do it.

[00:10:14]But you have to do more work yourself and you get less support. I think, especially when it comes to accountability, kind of the social accountability you got from an editor. I think this less support you got as an indie publisher is a particularly important. but it's not. Impossible to overcome. It just requires a different type of attitude and a different type of strategy really.

[00:10:34]And so another principle is that if you're going to do it and do you publish a book, I think it's really essential that you write a book that excites you from the conception of the book to the execution of it. It should be something that you're really jazzed on and just intrinsically that, that it's fun.

[00:10:52] It gives you joy. when you sit down to write, you're actually having fun because if you're not, you're not gonna really do it very well. And you're certainly not going to do many books if you don't get into that attitude and that type of demeanor. and also why not? Like this is the whole point of what's so beautiful that indie publishing, you can write a book that excites you.

[00:11:12] If it excites you, it's probably gonna excite a certain type of reader. I think some people make this mistake of trying to do their indie published book. Like they're mimicking some traditionally published book. And this leads then to a very kind of dead, dry, heavy kind of morbid attitude and demeanor and actually writing the damn thing and how they think about it.

[00:11:33] They feel like they have to impress some third party that  never really shows up. Whereas if you just focus on having fun and designing and writing a book that excites you, that you think is awesome. Then you're going to be intrinsically motivated and you're also going to be intrinsically serving and catering to making something valuable for the particular type of audience that is your audience.

[00:11:57] So I think that's just really, really essential. It also goes back to this. To this accountability issue in this fact that as an indie published author, you get less support from,  an editorial team and all of that. because of that, you really need to focus on kind of your Mo, your motivations.

[00:12:13] You need to design a system of book writing and publishing that actually, you're able to follow through on, and that works for your own psychology.  Because we don't have an editor and a bunch of people. Kind of hounding you to finish something. It's really hard to do it, honestly, if, unless you're enjoying it.

[00:12:30] And enjoyment is kind of the crucial factor throughout all of this. So always optimize for your own enjoyment, your own style, your own preferences. It makes it fun. And, it's also, I think, more edifying. The other principle here is you really can't be precious when it comes to indie publishing. And what I mean by this is that.

[00:12:54] You should still be dedicated to quality and doing the best work possible. And it kind of perfectionist attitude is not necessarily a bad thing, but apply that drive for quality between books, not within a book. So let me, let me unpack what I mean here with a traditionally published book, and this is what a lot of people have in their minds when they're designing and conceiving of a book and then writing it and publishing it naturally, right?

[00:13:17] We just use as our mental models. the history of traditionally published books, because those are by and large, the, that's, that's been the typical way that books have been published with influence and success. So that's what we naturally kind of anchor ourselves to, is this image of a traditionally published author.

[00:13:35]And in that traditionally published process. It's really slow and there's tons of rounds of editing. There's all of this feedback from other people like your editor and this and that. And so there is a lot of effort put into improving a particular book throughout the many stages of the book publishing process.

[00:13:55]But in our totally different world, remember the first principle here. We have the luxury of doing so many more books, essentially in the long run than traditionally published authors that it doesn't really make sense to over optimize the quality of one particular book.  Especially if you're doing a short book in this model, especially for first time authors.

[00:14:19] I'm really gonna recommend you to a short book. Just about 20,000 words is kind of the lower end of what is acceptable in terms of public expectations as a book, it's quite easy to read. People enjoy a short read. People, people would like something that they can sit down with and finish in a weekend.

[00:14:33] That's very attractive and exciting to people, especially in today's world where attention spans are quite short. so in this faster, more flexible indie publishing mode. If you get too obsessed with one book. You're actually shooting yourself in the foot, and you're kind of destroying the unique competitive advantage and what makes indie publishing so Austin, which is that you can move fast and you can make mistakes and you can just make up for it in the next book.

[00:14:57] Right? So obviously do your best, with your first book. I'm not saying,. Be careless. Do your best for sure, but doing your best is good enough.  they say that perfection is the enemy of the good. And I think that's really, really true and important fact here in, in any publishing. it's especially when you don't have an editor breathing down your neck.

[00:15:16] It's super easy if you're, if you really want your first book to be amazingly perfect in every possible way. It will be really easy for you to literally never get it done. You'll spend 20 years working on your book.  how many people have you met, right? Who have said,  who were 60 years old, 50 years old?

[00:15:32] And they tell you about that work, that, that, that book they've been working on their whole life. Don't be that person.  and to not be that person. I really emphasize, just do your best, but move swiftly and focus your improvement attention. your perfectionism. Focus it on.  My second book is going to be so much better than my first in all of these key ways that I've learned through the first book process.

[00:15:57] with indie publishing, it's so fast and flexible that as long as you get into the routine and you follow through and you do at least a basically good work in your first few books, you can absolutely do. Literally dozens of books throughout your life, and the overwhelming majority of them can be perfect after you get your kinks out the first few times.

[00:16:16] So at first, you really can't afford to be precious. The other principle here is that, and I think this is something I, I won't say I invented or anything like that, but it is a kind of insight that I think I discovered early on in my first book experiment, which really made it. More successful than I would have been otherwise, which is that drafting the content for the book and building an audience for the book, or essentially one activity.

[00:16:44] And so I'm going to unpack what that means in just a moment, but pretty much what I'm getting to here is that when you're brainstorming ideas and you're, you're trying out different book ideas, and even when you're actually writing the sections, at least in draft form, all of that, at the same time that it's focused.

[00:17:01] Longterm valuable book, content production. It should. You should be constantly peeling it off and putting it out into public media. Primarily social media in the contemporary context. And so I'll give you many examples of this in just a moment. There are many ways to do this depending on what your current kind of platforms are and what your strengths and weaknesses and skills are.

[00:17:24] But this actually has a few advantages also because it makes it a bit more fun and you get immediate positive feedback. It's actually quite hard to lock yourself into a room and just write a book for three months with no feedback or stimulation from the outside world. So when you, when you use this process, I'm going to, I'm going to sketch for you where you're actually drafting the content and sharing it and building audience for the book all in one go.

[00:17:48] It's a, I think, a really powerful way to kind of hack your psychology. To combine focused, original, high quality work, but then also a little bit of instant gratification that comes in on a daily or weekly basis.  And then of course, the ultimate reason for doing this is so that you have an audience that's kind of primed for the book that wants to book, that knows it's coming, and that you will then sell it to them.

[00:18:12] And finally, I think one of the key principles for, for succeeding with a serious nonfiction public, a book that you're going to publish yourself, is. what I'm just going to call loosely parameterizing. And what I mean by parameterizing, you could also call it kind of systems thinking. But what I mean by Paramor parameterize is you need to set plans and goals in a way that is formal and concrete.

[00:18:36] I really think this is essential because as I said before, you don't have an editor who's kind of doing all of these calculations for you. Okay? And so, what I mean by parameterized is things like. When you decide you're going to publish a book, you need to decide upfront things like, when do I want my release date to be?

[00:18:58] And you need to commit to that. How many hours a day can I work on writing? And you need to put that down on paper. How many words a day am I likely to write realistically? Put that down on paper. You need to kind of put these things down and create a kind of formal awareness or a formal system of of what you're doing, when you're going to do it and how it's going to work, but not just how it's going to work.

[00:19:21] Also, you need to do this because you need to create a process that works for you psychologically. So for instance. You should at the beginning of a project. I'll talk about this a little bit more in a minute too, but at the beginning, if you're going to do a serious nonfiction book, you should sit down and you should think honestly to yourself.

[00:19:39] How many people do I need to read this for it to be worthwhile? How much money do I need to make for how many hours of work for me to consider the successful. If you don't answer those questions, you could just burn a lot of energy over a long period of time that's possibly on unlimited, and become resentful and unhappy, unhappy with the process.

[00:20:03] So I think setting realistic parameters for the project is really, really important, not only for your own mental health and for succeeding and actually following through on it, but for getting,  getting at least, a kind of realistic mental picture of, of what you're doing.  And, and kind of creating that structure and accountability for, for yourself.

[00:20:23] I'll talk about that in a little bit. The types of parameters that I'm talking about. Right.

[00:20:32] So those I would say are kind of the key principles. So the plan or the kind of overarching structure of, I guess the method that I've developed with my first book is essentially as follows. You start with an initial period of kind of drafting content, and this can be either with a plan of the book or it can be just roughly around the themes that you think you want to write a book around.

[00:21:00] And. As you're drafting that content, you're posting it everywhere, and as you're posting it everywhere, you're creating systems and structures where people are able to easily opt in to learn more about it later.  There are many ways to do that. We'll talk about that in a minute, but that's kind of the first stage.

[00:21:18] And then again, this is, I didn't invent this exactly, but it's somewhat unique and in kind of the strategic system that I developed for my own first project. I suggest that you do a preorder campaign for just an ebook in the first stage. And what that means is launching a priori product before you've even done any real work on the book itself, you ideally you in stage one, you would have already drafted a lot of content.

[00:21:44] Your mind would be filled with a good sense of what the content will be, and you've proven to yourself that you can write and that you have some people who have at least signed up to be interested in it, to learn more about it. W w when you write it. But you haven't really done any serious work on the book itself in any kind of focused or systematic way.

[00:22:02] You don't have a title yet. You don't have anything. And so with the preorder campaign is pretty much where you plant a flag in the ground and you say, here's the book idea, here's what it's going to be about. Here's the title, here's an image that represents the cover, and you allow people to buy it before you've even done anything systematic about the book that is.

[00:22:22] And, this has many benefits. But  and I'll talk about some of them in just a minute, but I think that this is, this is the best way to go. and then you, then, once, once you're done with your preorder campaign, hopefully you get at least a certain number of people to cough up a little bit of money in advance.

[00:22:40] It shows they want it. It's really motivating and exciting for you. And, It's really a kind of market validation before you do the work.  If, if you literally can't get anyone to pay,  between five and eight bucks for your ebook that you want to write, then the fact is you're probably not ready to do it yet.

[00:22:57] You should go back to the draft and build audience segment until you have people who will pay for a preorder campaign. But Hey, if that happens, it's good cause you just saved yourself a lot of time and energy by not writing a book that no one's going to buy and that being devastated when you're done.

[00:23:12] So then after the preorder campaign, then you go back into your cave a little bit and you've finished the book and then you, you produce it and we'll talk a little bit about the tools and workflows for to do that. I'll give you some suggestions. You deliver on the ebook preorder campaign, and then once you're done with that, then in a second stage, you work on the paperback for amazon.com.

[00:23:35] So, there are many reasons for why have laid it out this way. Many of them are psychological, some of them are kind of financial and strategic. So for instance, one reason why so some people would be inclined to, they think that the big launch day should be published, the book in every possible format on all possible platforms in one big launch day.

[00:23:55] Well, there are a few problems with that. One is that. When people buy your book on Amazon, let's say you put the paper back up on the first day of the launch day, and let's say a bunch of people buy your paperback on Amazon. Maybe they don't really want the ebook that you're selling on Gumroad or whatever.

[00:24:10]that's great. But the problem with that is the problem with Amazon is you don't get to keep the contact information of those people. And especially if that you want to do more books in the future. Being able to get the contact information of people who buy your book is so valuable, I think, and I didn't want to give that up, so that's why I decided to do the ebook campaign first.

[00:24:30] That's its own thing. That way everyone who bought the book on Gumroad, I get their email address and I get that. I get that ability to share with them later. Future books I write to me, especially on a first book. That's really, really important. So I didn't want to lose that by making the Gumroad product compete with the paperback.

[00:24:48] And, another thing is that I think launch days are overhyped.  Especially if you don't have a huge audience, your launch date is not that significant. Not that not everyone in your audience, not every potential reader who would want to buy your book is even going to see any of the media you put out on launch day.

[00:25:07] So actually. And I think this is true, the smaller your audiences, or it's more true, the smaller audiences, it's actually better to have multiple milestones where you get to share some type of event. So it's really kind of like embedding multiple launch days into the whole process. If you put it all into this one big launch day and the book drops everywhere on that one launch day, not everyone's going to see it.

[00:25:31] Whereas if you put. Many milestones throughout the process where you have kind of milestone days. Like today, it launches on Gumroad later it launches on, on paperback. that just gives you a greater probability of being seen by the people who would be interested in buying your book.  So that, that's pretty much, those are just a few of the, the kind of strategic bullet points, in the kind of method or plan that I developed with based laws.

[00:26:00] Which I think worked quite well in which I haven't really seen anyone else kind of delineate a real concrete strategy in this way. So this is the rationale for mine. So let's talk a little bit more specifically about drafting and build, drafting the content and building the audience. So far, I've only alluded to this, but now I want to really get.

[00:26:20] Deep and, give you some specific tips and tricks and pointers. And just from my own experience, let's talk a little bit more about parameterizing. I'm going to give you concrete examples of what I mean. So for instance, when I decided I wanted to do my first short nonfiction book, I said to myself,  how many, how many people do I need to read this?

[00:26:40] And how much money does it need to make for it to be, for it to be worthwhile to me? And then I set the preorder product according to that. A kind of mental model I had of my expectations and, and what I needed to be motivated. And for me, look, I love writing. I love philosophy and I love books.  I, I've like always, it's just always been one of my goals to write a lot of books in my life and I put that stuff off for awhile, doing like kind of bureaucratic, academic, career climbing.

[00:27:09] And now I'm just like, I was so pumped to get a book out that route for me. My needs were actually relatively low. I didn't need that much money for it to be worth it. I didn't need that many readers for it to be worth it for me, especially because I have this kind of longer term view. Like I said at the beginning, were doing an indie style.

[00:27:26] I could, I could easily do 20 books in my life easily when I don't have to ask permission. I don't have to wait for anyone. So I thought to myself for the first book, I don't need much. I just want to win.  I just want, I just want a quick win. I want a victory. I want to, I want to produce a book that I'm happy with as soon as possible.

[00:27:41] So to me, I said, I think I said, if I could just get 50 preorders on the preorder product, that I would write the book. And I told my audience this explicitly. I said, if it doesn't get to 50 preorders, I'm not doing it. And so that is a kind of clever little tactic in its own right, because you're kind of motivating people to not just.

[00:28:01] Preorder the book if they want it, but also to share it because they want, if they really want the book, they're going to have to kind of get other people to buy into it also. but I'll tell you some other parameters that I think you should think about. One is how many words a day can you write on days that you can write.

[00:28:17] Real and be realistic. You have to be realistic. So based that on your history, not on some idealized aspiration or goal that you have in mind, when you sit down to write how many words a day, realistically, in the past on average, can you write. In one days of work and one day at work. Second, how many days a week can you realistically give to a focused writing session?

[00:28:39] Again, be brutally honest, and even be more than honest. Be conservative and kind of assume the worst.  then think, how much money do you need to make? All right. think about how many people you realistically can get to buy the book. Alright. And then what you need to do is you need to sit down and you need to write these things down.

[00:28:59] And then you need to do some basic math and you need to, set your goals accordingly. And so that might mean,  increasing the price of it. If you think you, if you think you have passionate fans but you don't have a larger number of them, then maybe you'll sell your, your, your ebook for 10 bucks a pop instead of five bucks a pop.

[00:29:22] If it's a, if it's a really valuable thing that's kind of rare and people have some reason to really, really want it or find it really, really valuable, heck, maybe you'll try with a really premium price of like 25 bucks or something like that. In the, in the technical world, like if you do computer programming and stuff like that, those books regularly go for $30 or more.

[00:29:41] That's not even a big deal. but that's because it's very concretely useful. What's difficult about serious nonfiction. Is that it's usually abstract and disinterested, so it's not, it doesn't have a directly transferrable market value. So for obvious reasons, people aren't willing to really cough up a lot of money for it.

[00:29:56]for me, I started off with five bucks. That's in part because I was nervous and it was my first time. Realistically, I think, seven would have been better. I think I undersold it when I did the preorder.  set. Nowadays, seven bucks is not much at all. Five bucks is really not that much at all.

[00:30:10]so I think that was something I did wrong at the beginning. I, I pressed it a little bit too long. I think I should've gone for seven or more. Possibly. yeah, but you could adjust that based on how many people you think will buy it. Then you also can adjust the, the number of boards that you aspire to do.

[00:30:26] I think 20,000 is kind of the minimum of, of what you can write and still it feels like a.  as a worthwhile book, I think less than 20,000, it kind of starts to not really feel like a book, especially when you print it.  you need that kind of minimum heft to make it feel like this is a book.

[00:30:43]and I think 20,000 is the minimum. And that also, by the way, that's based on my research, for what it's worth, that's kind of the norm with other big publishers that have lines of books that are kind of short, quick books. Those short, quick books usually range for 20,000 to 40,000. I did the research.

[00:31:00] yeah. So that,  you can think about tweaking those parameters. maybe you'll force yourself to write one extra day a week, or you'll force yourself to get in a few extra words,  you can play with that, but basically you can do this in a spreadsheet. Just sit down and make a realistic model of, of what you're capable of doing and what the expected results would be.

[00:31:21] And. Just rejigger it until you have a model that is both realistic and also exciting to you, that you're like,  this is worth it. I'll, I'll write 20,000 words over the course of X months. and I'll be happy to do it, even if it only makes X amount of dollars.  So this is what I mean by parameterize and pretty much you can tweak any of those variables.

[00:31:45] To match the other variables. Ultimately, the best one to tweak probably, it if, if you don't know which ones to tweak to make it all work is simply extend the amount of time that you need to write it. So for me, I was fairly ambitious. I decided I would do it from conception to publication of the book.

[00:32:01] I gave myself three months.  So for my, for my parameters, and I'll just give you an example, I jotted them down without pretty much means is if you want to give yourself a three month runway. Until you publish. And by the way, you're going to announce this with the preorder. So you better follow through on it.

[00:32:15] You really, you really need to do what you say you're going to do or else it looks bad. You look unreliable, you don't look serious. And, again, you have control over this. So you have no excuse for setting parameters that you can't actually follow through on. This just requires you to be honest and, and discipline.

[00:32:31] So for me, I'll just give you an example. I decided I would. I would deliver the finished ebook to the Gumroad product that I pre-sold in three months. I gave myself three months. That means roughly, if I do writing on three days a week, and that means I could do, pretty much seven, about 700 words each of those days and get to, about 20,000 words.

[00:32:59]through about 30 days of work, 30 days of work spread out over about three months for three days a week.  So I decided, and then I, and then I also decided, that if I price it as five bucks, . Actually, now that I think about it, I forget if I said I needed to make $50, or if I needed to make a 50 sales, I actually forget which one.

[00:33:22] But that's subjective. That doesn't actually matter. That's up to you think, honestly and subjectively. How many people do I need to read my book or how much money do I make for it to be worth it? In my case, it took about 80 hours of writing. In your case, it might be more or less. I am an academic. I'm trained as, as, as a writer and, and, and, and analyst.

[00:33:41] So perhaps,  you should be realistic if you don't have a background in history of, of professional writing.  But that just to lay bare for you, the parameters that I set out for myself,  if you only need,  50 bucks for it to feel worth it to you on your first book, then.

[00:34:01] And you price it at five bucks, then you only need to get 10 pre orders.  And you have to remember that might not feel worth it. Like if you actually broke down all my labor hours and the amount of money I made on base to love in an hourly wage, it's not going to be very good.  But that's just the first book and all those people who buy your, your, your first book, you can contact them when you publish your second book.

[00:34:25] So, so every time you publish a book, you're going to do better than the last, almost almost certainly. Assuming that it's equally kind of interesting and valuable kind of on target content for the people that bought your previous books. so to me it's really worth it to have relatively low expectations just to get your first book out the door, but I think you should be honest about this and really map it out.

[00:34:46] Right. so that's what I mean by parameterized in detail. for the ebook preorder campaign. Personally, I think Gumroad is amazing product. I think it works really well. I think it has a lot of cool bells and whistles. and I think, I think, and it's extremely cheap. It's free. And then they just take a tiny cut out of all the transactions.

[00:35:03] But. You get pretty much a 90% of of the royalties when you sell a book. So if it's 10 bucks, you're going to get, I think more than 90%, actually. So, so nine bucks and change. it's almost nothing in the world of publishing, right? Where traditionally,  most of you, I don't know if this, but with traditional publishers, you get about, you've got about 15%.

[00:35:24] Of each sale.  So 90% versus 15% and in that, in that initial preorder campaign, I really want to emphasize something I said in the last, and you think there's one Oh one like lectures, which is that, don't be afraid to do weird things. Hustle, okay? Do whatever you need to do to just get people to poor.

[00:35:43] I'm not saying be sketchy or be rude or anything like that. I'm just saying. If you need to,  pull out all the stops and be creative, then be creative and it's okay if it doesn't scale. a good example that I really give it to people. I think something I did quite well with my campaign was, when I tweeted the idea for the book.

[00:36:02] I literally tracked, I wrote down in the spreadsheet everyone who liked and retweeted the tweets about the book. And then when I launched the preorder campaign, I went back to those people and I said, here you go. You said,  you liked it. You retweeted it, now. I hope you'll preorder. You can do the same thing, but you can also do it in other ways, right?

[00:36:21] If you are active in a Reddit community or you're active in a discord server, like keep track of the people that you, you have contacts with who you think would genuinely like your book, or genuinely be interested in your book, do that manually. If you need to email them, DM them, whatever, like it's not that hard, even if you have no audience.

[00:36:40] It's not that hard to get,  let's say 25 people to pay five bucks for a preorder product, and if you really have no audience, then honestly 25 people paying five bucks a pop for something you haven't even written yet, it's pretty fucking good. It's pretty exciting, honestly. and I think you'll find that it really lights a fire under your ass.

[00:37:02] In my case, it certainly did.  So do things that don't scale. Another bit of advice I want to give on the preorder stage. Which I don't think a lot of people realize or not a lot of people do, is there are a few very easy and common upsells. Well, there's one that's easy. And then there's one that's hard.

[00:37:19] And, by upsells, I just mean a kind of alternative option just for people who maybe want a little bit more content or a little bit better content, than the basic book offering and who have the money to pay for it. Whenever you sell anything online, I mean, you have to recognize is that, there's always going to be a tiny minority.

[00:37:37] Of the people who buy your shit, who have a lot of money and also want to support you and they really, really want what you're doing. Okay? That's only ever going to be a small minority. but you are leaving money on the table if you don't give them something that special or extra. And I think, there are two ways to do this with Gumroad that people should be aware of if they pursue this method.

[00:38:00] One is. when you set up the price for the product on Gumroad, it does allow you to do a pay what you want, option with a minimum. So this is one little pack to kind of allow for upsells and allow for people to pay a little bit more if they want to. So if you set your preorder product for the ebook at five bucks minimum, you can also then allow them to pay more if they choose to.

[00:38:22] And people will do that. So you're kind of dumb not to do it. It's sort of just leaving money on the table and there's no cost or downside to just to doing it. The reason people don't know this is that in Gumroad it's not obvious. So maybe in another session, if this is something people want, shoot me a message and tell me, I can do like a more concrete kind of walkthrough on the Gumroad site.

[00:38:41] Like I could do some screencasts or something like that. but basically when you go to put in the price, you have to type in a plus sign after the number. It's sort of obscure. It's not really written anywhere. and so I've helped other people do you book launches on Gumroad and they, they just had no idea they even do this.

[00:38:58] So they accidentally left money on the table by not doing it. later I had to show them, cause it's not obvious.  So either Google it or just remember to add a plus sign and then it will automatically make it pay what you want above that minimum number that you set. But another, I think opportunity that is for some reason not done by people, is, recording an ebook and selling the ebook also for a higher price.

[00:39:21] It's not that hard, especially if your book is only 20,000 words. It'll only take you a couple of days. To record the ebook and the audio book. I'm sorry, and look, it might not be perfect. It might not sound like an audible.com book, but the fact is that as long as you have a basically decent mic microphone, it's going to be, quite attractive to people.

[00:39:41] There are a lot of people now who much prefer listening to books and reading them. It's just easier if you go to the gym a lot or you drive a lot. It's just easier. And, people will pay more if they can get, not just the book, but an audio book. Kind of upgrade with the ebook and for me, I just did it. I did it totally DIY.

[00:39:58] I just read my book and I recorded myself reading the book and a good number of people bought the more expensive options with the, with the audio book. I think in my case, I did like five bucks just for the ebook and 10 bucks for the ebook and the audio book. In retrospect, again, I think that was a mistake.

[00:40:17] I think I could have done a little bit more. I think I probably should have done seven bucks for the ebook and 15 bucks or something for the. For the ebook plus the audio book.  But that's a no brainer, I think. I think there's no reason not to do that in an age where audio is becoming way more normal and expected, and you're leaving money on the table.

[00:40:34] If you don't, you can of course, like pay someone to do it if you don't like your voice or whatever. But, I think even if it's imperfect, even if you have like a,  not especially attractive voice, even if you don't have great recording equipment, still people would rather listen than, than read.

[00:40:49] Another big upsell, and this is really, really valuable. This is a game changer actually, financially, if you are the type of person who can do it, and not everyone can do it, it's, it doesn't suit every type of subject matter, and it doesn't suit every personality. But if you can also. Create alongside your book a course.

[00:41:08] It's really, really good idea to do that. Like an online course, and this is an insight I'm stealing straight from this guy named Nathan Berry, who's a,  kind of a entrepreneur, kind of a startup guy, but also a kind of major innovator and, and influencer, if you will, in the, in the online course and self publishing.

[00:41:31] Industries. As I said, those industries are still dominated by kind of self help type people and, and academics and kind of highbrow nonfiction has not really, learned from that entire world. so I'm trying to basically bring all those insights to a series nonfiction, kind of set of authors and intellectuals.

[00:41:51] But this is a really, really important point that Nathan Berry, talks about in his, in his book authority is what it's called. You can find it, Is pretty much, if you can create a course, an online course that's associated with your book, that kind of expands on the content in the book, you can make tons more money, like orders of magnitude simply because it's a perceived value thing.

[00:42:12]courses are seen as highly valuable, transformative life, improving character, improving personal worth, improving. Experiences and products. And they are, and if, if done well, they absolutely are. there's, it's associated with,  a more direct relationship with the author or the teacher. And they often have a kind of community component where you get to hang out with other students or talk with other students.

[00:42:34] All of that is seen as hugely valuable and transformative. Whereas a book is just a book.  So, this may or may not apply to you, depending on your subject matter, it may or not work. but if you can, and you have the type of personality who is capable of delivering some online course content and packaging that,  you can sell that for hundreds of dollars, in some cases, thousands of dollars, depending on the content.

[00:42:55] And depending on your. how you frame that.  So that's just something to keep in mind. That's one of the big lessons from Nathan Barry's kind of strategy, and I think it really applies, especially to academics. If you're an academic, especially if you have experienced teaching, and you're going to do an indie published book, there's really no reason to not do a course.

[00:43:15] Also, I guess the other requirement would just be that you have some amount of credibility. There's just something about your experiences or. History or accomplishments that give you a reasonable claim to, to teaching. so, but there are many ways to kind of frame that, and you can, you can be creative with that.

[00:43:32] If you really have something to say in a book and it's really worth writing, then  you, you should not sell yourself short. You could probably, there's a good chance you can also deliver an online course and charge much more for it. And again, even if only.  2% of your book buyers want the online course.

[00:43:50] Also, it's still going to be a major, gain to your overall results. And this, by the way, folks, is how, I only sold about 350 books so far. but I made, about $3,000, even though the book was initially only five bucks for most, for most of the books sold, it was sold at only five bucks. that's because I did do a course.

[00:44:11] Which I offered for a hundred bucks, and I did do the audio book upsell. Both of those were two upsells. And, that's why,  I actually made more money, much more money than I would have if I just did the audio, just if I just did the ebook.  So that's that. On the actual content of the book.

[00:44:30] I think a really important point that I want to communicate to people is that in terms of what you write about, in what way you write about it, how you organize the sections, how you piece them together, the type of writing that you do, frankly, sorry. Frankly, there are no rules really.  a book is just.

[00:44:51] A bunch of pages between two covers. And it's not hard to see that in the history of amazing books. There have been every type of,  every type of style. Every type of format has some representation. So,  you can do aphorisms, right? It could just be a collection of blog posts. Really. It could be, it could have some kind of weird creative structure.

[00:45:17] It could have,  a more kind of a poetic structure.  you can, you can be creative with that. I really don't think there are many rules as long as,  it's, trying to deliver some type of message. And trying to deliver some type of value. And I would say if there's one rule, this is kind of the next point, if there, if there's just one rule and it's not really a rule so much as the touristic, I think it's helpful for you and also significantly increases the probability of having a coherent product that people actually enjoy and understand.

[00:45:52] I would say try to hold yourself to one main idea per book. This is something I learned from my PhD advisors. one, one of my PhD advisors in particular. And  you might think that a book is supposed to have all these great ideas, but no, not really. Every unit of intellectual production generally should just have one idea and that's, it's like kind of fractal, right?

[00:46:11] Like, well, every book should have one idea. Every section in the book should have one purpose, kind of one sub idea, if you will. And then all the way down to the paragraph, like. this from grade school, every paragraph really has just one point. And that's ideally in the most traditional way, reflected in that the first sentence, right?

[00:46:31] So-called topic sentence.  So, really try to think of your book as, especially if you're doing serious nonfiction,  science, philosophy, history, whatever.  there should be like one concrete gist of the book that you can tell someone in an elevator in less than one a minute. And, that should be, that should be the, the kind of guiding structure.

[00:46:51] This is also known as kind of the thesis of the book. it's just gonna really assure that the book has at least some minimal coherence. If you really stick to one main idea that you can't go too far wrong, write it. If you allow yourself to have a bunch of different ideas, then it's quite possible that your book can just go in a million different directions.

[00:47:11] And to the average reader, it just. Maybe it won't add up to anything or it'll just seem like an incoherent mess. But if you see your book as having one main idea, then you can be creative about the structure. You can be creative about,  the sections or, or the formatting. And,  as long as it's more or less revolving around one main idea, then you can't go too far wrong.

[00:47:29] But other than other than that, having a kind of main thesis, I would say, don't worry about the content too much. I mean, obviously do your best, think as clearly as possible. think originally and be fearless and have fun and obviously,  pay attention to detail. We'll talk about editing in a little bit.

[00:47:47] But, other than that. Honestly, folks, it's not rocket science. Like I think a lot of people overestimate the difficulty of like how to piece together a book. you just, you have an idea and then you write it at length and you expand on it and you develop it, defend the implications and, defend the premises.

[00:48:05] You can get into the formal logic if you want, but frankly, even if I'll tell you totally honestly, it kind of how I wrote based the less, I think it's really quite instructive. I had the main idea, which is that Delos is actually for a radical LeFort philosopher from France. No less actually has some weirdly recurring conservative ideas and his books.

[00:48:29]That's the thesis, right? That, that Delos is more reactionary or conservative than people realize.  And then to develop the content,  I didn't really sit down and do some, like. Extremely organized and sophisticated strategic outline. I did do a brief outline. I sat down,  with like a one pager and basically jotted down the key points, in my mind, just for my own,.

[00:48:55] Writing a blog post and writing of previous articles that I had circulating in my mind, I wrote down the main points. and then I went reading and kind of looking for support for those points, gathering quotes, right. And, and then writing commentaries on those quotes. but then frankly, all I did was for each of those bullet points, I wrote like a really long blog post.

[00:49:18] That's essentially how I thought about it. and then. When I had,  something like 10 or 13, long blog posts, I basically just arranged them in a sequence that I felt would flow the best, would make the most sense logically. And then I added a few transitions,  like at the beginning or the end of the sections to make it flow a little bit better.

[00:49:42] But really it was just like,  it's not rocket science, and you can do this in different ways. Maybe if you're more of an aphoristic thinker.  you, you can absolutely do a 20,000 word book where it's just, a large number of 300 word chunks. You can absolutely do that. Right. And Neesha did it.

[00:50:00] His books were amazing.  if you're more of an essayistic writer, you might, sit down and kind of draft the thesis in a kind of introductory, kind of thesis statement essay or chapter. And in doing that, the sub points that would need to follow might come to you and then you drop down that outline and then you kind of write the whole thing as like an integrated essay that that's another possibility.

[00:50:26]But really what I'm trying to communicate to you is don't worry too much about this. Don't get caught up on it. Like if you have something to say, and then as long as you edit it and the spelling and grammar is good, then just get to work saying it, saying what you want to say. In whatever way you want to say it.

[00:50:43] And  as long as the spelling and grammar is good and you're saying something real then and you're able to put in the work hours, then congratulations. You're an author, okay? There's no like magic formula or limited set of templates that you have to choose from, but you need to get a traditional publisher because they're going to teach you how to do it.

[00:51:02] It doesn't exist.  And this also goes back to having fun, by the way, one of the initial principles I set out with, if you start getting bogged down in like, Oh, I need to study all these other books that recently came out to decode what the proper structure should be for a serious nonfiction book, you're gonna get, you're gonna get bogged down.

[00:51:22] It's going to get, you're going to get, you're going to get demoralized and stressed out. Just, I have fun working. The method that works for you go in a pace that works for you. Write in a style that works for you and piece together the content in a way that makes sense to you and that flows for you.

[00:51:39] And that is not too annoying or burdensome for you.  Because anything else, you're not really gonna do well and you're not, you're certainly not going to do a lot of it. All right. Finally, just another quick two points here. it's really essential that you come up with structures for creating accountability because like I said, honestly, this might be the number one best thing about the traditional published book method by getting a publisher.

[00:52:07] All of a sudden now you have people who are breathing down your neck to finish your fricking book at certain dates and milestones. And if you don't follow through, they're going to get mad at you. They're going to ignore you, okay? And you're going to feel like crap because you're letting them down. Okay?

[00:52:21] So this is probably, one of the biggest benefits of having a traditional publisher and an editor, and it's the major thing you, it's one of the major risks by going into, you don't have anyone forcing you to finish. So it can be hard to finish. What that means is you need to go out of your way to create accountability structures.

[00:52:39] Probably the one of the best ways to do this is to find other people who are also writing books or who aspire to write books and to create a schedule where you work with them or you monitor each other, or you share each other work you, you share each other's results. at certain dates, whatever method works for you.

[00:52:58] In fact, this is why this is something we're doing right now within you thinkers.org, for members of any thinkers that'll work. We're doing group writing sessions. because it's really fricking hard to do this by yourself. It's a simple fact. And if you're going to go Indy, you need to, you need to come up with other structures that are, and, and, and the social aspect, I think is crucial because the fact is that as humans, we really hate letting people down.

[00:53:19] We really hate being perceived. As failures or losers or as people who don't follow through. So,  there are many ways to do this. Come up with your own, or create a group like a new thinkers.org or join any thinkers.org or whichever you want. but you need to have a schedule and there needs to be some type of social punishment.

[00:53:39] If you don't follow through on that schedule. Alright? In some ways, launching the preorder product, one of the reasons that this is good is because that also is a form of social accountability. When you say, I'm going to deliver it the product by September 20th, it lights a fire under your ass because if you don't, then you're publicly.

[00:53:57] kind of outing yourself as a, as an undisciplined, unreliable loser. And,  most people want to avoid that. Last but not least, in this process of drafting and building the audience, and kind of this initial stage, one thing you can do is, share about the process. Okay? So you're not just writing the book, drafting the content, and composing it.

[00:54:21] And tweeting it out and making videos and podcasts, which is all good. but you can also talk about the process itself. Use the process as a pretext for sharing more content, for getting the word out about what you're doing. Right. So,  there are many different examples of this.  if you, come across some sort of snag with your word processor, or you come across some sort of,  interesting  experience with,, how you're doing something, how you're composing your work or how you're drafting it or,  whatever. Any, anything about the process that is itself worth sharing or interesting or potentially useful or valuable to other people. I encourage you to also share that to the public because it's a, it's really a kind of, It's like a kind of secret way of also publicizing your book, but as long as you're trying to be helpful to other people, it's in good taste. I think.  it can get corny if you're just like putting out all this content about yourself and like. Your process. If you're not delivering value, it's going to get corny and it's gonna people are gonna.

[00:55:24] People are gonna just like kind of,  scoff at it. It's like, Oh, this guy's just like talking about his book. Again, just trying to promote his book. But if you're actually sharing real lessons and teaching what  and, and stuff like that, then, it's genuine and it's a genuine kind of value exchange.

[00:55:40] Like you're helping people and you're also kind of getting the word out a little bit more about your book. real quick at the end of the slide, I'm only now just realizing that actually I did not talk too much about specifically what I mean by draft and build audience. I probably should've started with that, so apologies, but, I'll say it now.

[00:55:58] It's kind of self evident and I've alluded to it, but I'll say it a little bit more. What I mean by this is, as you're writing the book. Whether you're just doing some brainstorm blog posts to kind of warm up and dance around the themes that you're interested in. While you're just kind of thinking about what exactly the book is going to be about, or even afterwards, after you've done the preorder campaign and now you're committed and then you sit down to actually finish it up and compose it and edit it and ultimately deliver it throughout all of that process, when you are producing work for the book.

[00:56:32] You need to also then go post it on whatever media platforms work for you. So I said that before, but I'll break it down a little bit more now. obvious examples would be if you have a podcast or if you're willing and able to start a podcast, then you can do a bunch of things you can have on guests that are people whose name kind of reflects the niche that you're writing in, right?

[00:56:55]If you want to write a book about,  whatever, John Rawls, the, the famous, political philosopher and political theorist. you can go email a bunch of people at universities who either knew John Rawls or studied with John Rawls, or are themselves Rawlsian political theorists, right? And  you can get those people on your podcast, and when you do get those people onto your podcast guest, who's going to listen.

[00:57:22] To those episodes, people who are interested in Rawls, okay? you're genuinely interested in roles and you're actually working on roles. So the connection is perfectly organic. You're going to have questions to ask them. it's going to be on target. It's going to be an OnPoint conversation that's both fun for you and valuable for you and actually doing the work and valuable to your audience and attracting exactly the type of people who are going to be likely to buy your book.

[00:57:47] That's, it's kind of obvious, but in case you need. reminding of this. And another thing though, is you can actually post the content of your book as you're writing it to the podcast by speaking short little audio essays, right? If you finish a day of writing, and let's say you banged out a thousand words and you're like, Oh, this, these are good thousand words, I'm quite happy with them.

[00:58:11] Take 20 minutes. To sit down and just record yourself talking about it, but like literally talking the words and post that to your podcast, why not? and then obviously share the podcast. Blogging is another obvious example.  if you write a thousand good words one day and it kind of stands alone, it's not always going to happen.

[00:58:31] A lot of,  days of writing, it's not really ready to share. It doesn't really stand alone. It's not really there for sharing. but there will be some days where, boom. It's a blog post, right? and, and you should post it to your blog immediately. There's no reason not to, frankly, what I would say with base doulas is I think it might even be good to kind of, consciously plan this a little bit.

[00:58:55] Like, I think the model of a book where it's literally just a bunch of blog posts is actually a really good model because one. It's fun and punchy,  it's, it's, you can kind of jump in and out of the different sections or read one at a time, read them in different order and it, kindness will still work, but it really lends itself to this tactic.

[00:59:15]And so there were a few sections of baseless, which I published on my blog as blog posts, but that was in part because I was writing it, I was writing the book itself, and it's somewhat blog style.  So you could choose to do this a little bit more. and make it even more amenable to posting. and, and so, yeah, that, that's just another example.

[00:59:33] I think I jotted down, a few more. I mean, the other big one that's kind of obvious would be YouTube, right? So if you're really dedicated and you have the time and energy and you have the personality traits that would allow you to do this. and this is pretty much like what I've been doing. though I recognize not everyone can do it.

[00:59:49] It's kind of more of a full time. A kind of system here, but,  in an ideal world, you write a thousand words for your book in one day, and it's basically structured like a short blog post, so it stands alone. And then you, record a video of yourself reading it, or perhaps extemporaneously.  kind of giving a short talk based on it, but it's fresh in your memory.

[01:00:11] So it's relatively easy to do. I find, to talk about a thing you've written right after or maybe the day after. You do that on a video on YouTube, right? And then you extract the audio through one of these, tools that you can easily find online. And then you have an MP3 of the video, and then you put that MP3 on your podcast.

[01:00:28]Maybe you use like me, I use a tool called de script, which is pretty amazing. You can basically upload a video to it and then it will give you an MP three and a text transcript. So the technology is not yet quite perfect, but it's getting there. and so with this type of tool, you can pretty much write a thousand words if it's, if it's stands alone and it's, it's cool, you can record a video of yourself talking about it or speaking it.

[01:00:55] Straight up reading it, upload the video to just to YouTube, but also to the script, the script. We'll give you an MP3 and a transcript to post the transcript to the blog and you post the MP3 to the podcast. Like you only really did one piece of work. Those three hours that you spent writing a thousand words, you did high quality focus, original thinking and writing work, but then you've got three pieces of extra content that you could post that week and.

[01:01:24] If you do this over and over again, you're going to be building an audience at the same time that you are actually writing the book. And there's just one key additional point in this kind of concept of drafting and building audience, which actually doesn't have a written bullet point here, but it's, it's crucial.

[01:01:40] I talked about it in the last lecture. Also a unique, had an email mailing list. Email is just kind of the gold standard for anyone who's doing indie intellectual work on the internet, because all the other platforms are kind of politically sensitive. You're not guaranteed a spot on any of these platforms you can possibly get kicked off.

[01:01:59] Recently there've been a bunch of hype, high profile, not high profile, but in my niche,  there's been a lot of people kicked off Twitter for relatively. stupid reasons. so it can happen to anyone. You really can't rely on any particular kind of social media platform. Email is the gold standard.

[01:02:15]Everyone has email and no one can really take you, take, take it away from you.  So everything about the building, the audience part. Everything should boil down to getting people to sign up for an email list. and obviously don't be a Dick about it. Don't be, don't be like corny about it. You don't want to be a digital marketer.

[01:02:32] But, there are certain things that independent intellectuals need to learn from digital marketing. And the absolute priority of email list is one of them.  So be tasteful, be erudite, be sophisticated about it, more so than digital marketers. But nonetheless. whenever you share a blog post, whenever you share a YouTube video, whenever you share a podcast, whenever you're putting out your content for your book, that's both the book.

[01:02:55] It will be the book content, but it's also building an audience. if you can only direct them to one thing, make it be the mailing list, give them an opportunity to sign up. It can be as simple as saying at the bottom of your blog post, or at the bottom of your podcast, or at the end, or beginning of your YouTube video.

[01:03:12] Just say. Hey, if you're interested in this, sign up to my email list. if you'd like to hear more about this type of work, it can just be that simple type of one quick sentence or whatever.  do that in a way that works for you. Don't be corny, don't like, don't, don't over. Don't push things too hard.

[01:03:28]Cause it is corny, but that's the, that this is a really basic and really, really important insight.  all of your audience building should be organized primarily around. Letting interested people sign up with their email to receive notifications later. you can, if you want to say to them that you're writing a book, and you could say, if you're interested in this.

[01:03:50] Piece of work that you're consuming here. You might be interested to know that there'll be a book coming out soon about it and to hear when the book comes out, sign up for this email list. You can do something like that. You can also offer kind of incentives. This is, again, a little bit,  marketing, but there are ways to do it, I think, that are more intellectually sophisticated and tasteful.

[01:04:11]You can say like, if you sign up for my email list, I will send you some X thing for free or whatever. And so it just motivates people to do it. it can be really corny. so be careful with it. But I do think that there are kind of more highbrow and cool ways to, to, to be cool about that, to offer people something actually really interesting and erudite and valuable for free if they sign up for your email.

[01:04:35] There's so many options here. This isn't going to be about. Email lists in particular. I'm just giving you a few pointers from the kind of current best practices around this sort of thing. But, email is very, very important. Everything should basically boil down to the, it's so much more important than getting more Twitter followers or getting more YouTube subscribers.

[01:04:51]if you want to write and publish a book, channel all those people on these different platforms into signing up for email list.  All right. That's all on drafting and building an audience. So. Next. We'll talk a little bit about,  after you've done this process, you've, you've, brainstormed and you've done some kind of brainstorming blog posts, dancing around the themes that you're possibly going to write a book on.

[01:05:16] You've through this process, settled on what you think your book is going to be about, and you set it on a title, and you've. launched a preorder campaign on a site such as Gumroad, and you've allowed a handful of people to pay you without even having anything to offer them. And then you've also, after that, you've sat down to finalize the book, finish it up, add whatever sections, need adding, organize and compose them, and edit them.

[01:05:46] Well, this is where we pick off. This is where we pick up here, with, with composing. Let's say you've pretty much. Written about 20,000 words, assuming that's what you're going for or whatever word length you're targeting, and now you need to actually sit down and finish the product. You need to produce the book itself, and then you took the leap to deliver it and finish the whole process.

[01:06:08] So I'll give you everything I know about from here on pretty much. So, yeah, you need to compose the pieces. for me personally, as I said, I really think there are not too many rules here. Obviously, try to make things flow in a logical way. Try to make things, easy to understand as much as possible.

[01:06:26]I, I use a app called Ulysses, which is a writing app. and what I like about it is it has this, it's based on a visual metaphor of sheets. And so, every new document or piece of paper in the app, it's obviously not paper because it's digital, but the metaphors. Paper and sheets. Every new sheet or a piece of paper, is kind of easily stacked.

[01:06:50] And you can kind of see in sidebar, a preview of the first few sentences of each sheet and you can reorganize the sheets. In a, in a very kind of visual stacking way. I like that personally. Again, you can't over-generalize from just my experience, I'm not claiming it's the best app in the world. I know a lot of writers like the app Scrivener.

[01:07:11] To me, the app Scrivener is too complicated. I just don't need all those bells and whistles. I think that's a little bit better if you're doing like. Fiction writing where there's like multiple characters and play writing where you need all these other kind of weird things. for me, kind of doing serious nonfiction, writing about a philosopher or doing science or history, it's a little bit more straight forward.

[01:07:32] Like you, you write out sections. In different pieces, and then you just need to piece them together. You need to put them in an order that works. So I like Ulysses as an app. I think, the, the visual sheet metaphor is elegant and, and, has just the right balance of functionality and simplicity. So unfortunately it's on a subscription model, which is annoying, but it's not that much.

[01:07:54] It's like five bucks a month. I think if you're really serious about writing, it's, it's a good app. It's pretty much where I do all my writing. And I think for. For writing nonfiction books.  I don't want to overly enthusiastically recommend it because I think ultimately apps don't matter that much.

[01:08:08]Use what works for you. But personally, I found the composing of the pieces to be quite good. And in Ulysses, And so, yeah, I'll say a little bit more about workflow and tools, like specifically the actual production of the books themselves, eBooks, and then the paperback for Amazon.

[01:08:25] There are many ways you can do this.  and again, just pick whichever works for you, but for me, take a sip of water.

[01:08:36] For me, I'm fairly comfortable with very basic computer programming. Not even computer program, but it's just like the command line. If you've ever used the command line or the terminal, then, or you're comfortable learning about it, you don't have to learn any code or anything like that. You just have to be able to type some weird stuff into a, weird blank square on your computer.

[01:08:59]If you're willing to just get that much technical, then there's a particular workflow that I think is really most efficient and effective. And it uses, pretty much two key ingredients. The first is that you write the book itself in a really basic markup language called markdown. A. You can Google Mark down if you want.

[01:09:20] I can do another session on that separately. If it's something that people are interested in, it's hard for me to know exactly what people need discussion on. But markdown is a free, simple, basic, just, it's, it's a markdown, it's a markup system or markup language that's just. Utterly simple. So it's all plain text.

[01:09:38] Basically. Just imagine a simple text file like a dot TXT or whatever. and so it's just normal text. But to make a word, I kind of like, you put an asterisk on the left and on the right,  to make, a link. You just put the words in square brackets. And then afterwards. In parentheses, you put a URL.

[01:09:59] Okay? So really, really simple. I'm not going to teach you here, easy to find the documentation online, but it's really, really flexible. Is what's good with it. really simple. It's not dependent on any particular app. and what's cool about markdown. Is, you can write anything you want and including citations,  based, the Lotus has a citation apparatus, which is common in a serious nonfiction books.

[01:10:21]and then you can, because it's so simple and kind of standardized and it's just plain text, you can use other tools to process it really efficiently. So the other key ingredient in my workflow is, a free, command line utility called Pandora. pan doc stands for,  pan meaning universal doc for document.

[01:10:41] It's an, it's a universal document converter tool and it's totally free. You download it, install it on your computer. it's just, it doesn't have a visual interface, so you can't click around, you use it. You have to just open up your, your command line, which any modern computer has. And like I said, you don't have to learn to code, but you do just have to learn a few words really that you type in.

[01:11:00] And what that will do is that will take your markdown file. Which is just plain text and it will produce any number of different documents that you need just with a few lines of typing. Okay? So if you've never used the command line, it might be a little technically, intimidating to you, but it's really not that hard and you gain a lot of efficiency and power using.

[01:11:21] Markdown and pandoc, I think it's the superior way. And also it's all free.  So, if  you, especially if you want to write several books in the future, I think it's more than worthwhile to just spend a day, maybe two if you, and this is, if you're just utterly ignorant and really bad at computers, it won't take more than a day or two at most to basically install pan dock, learn the basics of markdown, and.

[01:11:49] A, B actually converting, marked down plain text into a number of different ebook types. So namely, the big ones are , which is kind of the generic, ebook format. You can,  you can read them on many readers. the Amazon specific one is known as mobi.mobi. And then of course, just a PDF form. So when I did base, the less I wanted to offer one of those, I wanted to offer each of those three when I deliver it, the final product to people who pre-ordered the book, I gave them an IPAB, a mobi, and a PDF version of the book so they could read it on whatever they liked, whatever they prefer.

[01:12:26]Normally if you were doing that all by hand, it would take a lot of time because you have to do each one of those books separately. What's cool about my process with markdown and pandoc, and by the way, if you want me to do a whole workshop on that County, I can do it. but I need to hear from people what they want.

[01:12:40]What's awesome about that is all you do is you write the book and Mark down and then one line, one line of typing out puts the book as the pub. Another line of typing outputs. The book as a movie, another line of typing. Outputs. The book as a, as a PDF, all from the same source text.  So it's really efficient and powerful.

[01:13:00] That's what I would recommend. If you're just don't feel like doing that or you're totally uninterested in using this kind of somewhat technical process. Then a other competitor workflows are many people will do, is do everything from Microsoft word you. Can you, can you kind of do that and then use a couple of like free tools to make,  different versions.

[01:13:22]You absolutely can do that. I think it just will take a little bit more time. Like you might have a little less control and, requires kind of more manual steps.  part of the problem by the way here is that when you make edits in the book later, every time you need to produce these new outputs, you want that to be as efficient as possible because you will need to make edits, right?

[01:13:43]Even when you think you're done,  there's going to be a one or two things you need to, you need to fix later. and so it might seem like at first, easiest to just do everything from Microsoft word. but when, when you realize that one small tweak in the source text requires you to do all these steps manually every single time, you realize that's where, that's where the pain starts to occur.

[01:14:07] That's, that's where the time the inefficiency starts to come in. But Hey, for your first one, just do whatever you're most comfortable with. You maybe you have to learn the hard way. it's all good. There are other specialized tools. One is called vellum, which I think has a pretty hefty price tag. I think it's something like 300 bucks or something like that, but it's basically an app made for, producing eBooks and, and, and various versions.

[01:14:28]By the way, also later, we're going to do, you're going to do a paperback for Amazon, and that requires its own specifications. Okay? So because you have to do all these different versions, and because there will be edits, it really behooves you to make it as programmatic as possible. And I think Pandora is, is just the best way to do it for that reason.

[01:14:47] But you can't do it in Amazon. I'm sorry. You can do it in Microsoft word. You can do it in Apple pages. you can buy a specialized app like vellum. Which I've heard very good things about it. I've never used it myself. I never wanted to cough up that 300 bucks, when I could basically do it with pan doc.

[01:15:00] And there are also some other lesser known ones, like one is called Pressbooks. Pressbooks is kind of cool. It's like a, I can't vouch for it cause I haven't actually published a book with it. But it's a web app where you log in and you pretty much do it all online in the web. Browser kind of looks like a WordPress backend.

[01:15:17] And then you can output multiple different types of books. again, I can't vouch for it. I haven't used it, but it seems possibly cool. so that's, that's workflows and tools. for, one more point on that actually for Amazon, for the paperback, it's called Amazon KDP. Amazon Kindle direct publishing, I think is what it's called.

[01:15:36] That's the system that you create and publish your paper back to Amazon on. that is more exact thing with the dimensions and the requirements. And so, as I say in this method, you should do that kind of after the fact, like, well, after you've already launched and delivered all the eBooks. but for that, personally, I did that in Apple pages.

[01:15:55]I thought it was actually quite, quite. Easy. but that's just because it, it needed some specific requirements that at the time I just, didn't feel like doing what pan or it felt to me like it would be a little too time consuming at that moment to figure it out with pan doc. So I just did that manually with Apple pages later.

[01:16:16] I helped to build a kind of totally integrated programmatic. Workflow, maybe even build an app or something that basically takes all this and makes it like easily repeatable. But in any event, I did my paperback type setting of the, of the, of the book in an Apple pages. And I thought it was relatively, it was relatively easy, the harder part with Amazon KDP, with making the paperback.

[01:16:38] Honestly, it was the cover design. And so that's the next step point here. a few words of wisdom on, on cover design. so. There are a few different ways you can make your own cover, your paperback cover. The first, however you decide to do it, the first thing you need to do is, make your paperback manuscript, in an app like Apple pages or however you want to do it.

[01:16:59] And you do that just following, following the criteria that Amazon gives you. and, and you need to know how many pages are in your book. So you have to, you have to kind of type, set. A PDF is what Amazon is going to want for the, for the paperback. So you have to create a PDF according to the criteria that Amazon gives you.

[01:17:17]And I did that in pages. Once you do that, how many pages your PDF is, and you don't really know how many pages of your PDF is until you do that. so you need to do that first because the. Measurements for your cover are going to be dependent on the number of pages that you have, and then you also have to decide what size book you want a word, word of wisdom.

[01:17:38] I think for if, if you, if you're doing a book in the 20,000 word range, I think you should do a five by eight paperback. I can actually show you real quick. Mine. Here's based the less, by the way, this is a five by eight. I like it. I chose the matte finish. You can either do glossy or matte, and I chose matte.

[01:18:02] I just liked it, but do whatever you want. so if you do six by nine, six by nine inches, for a book of 20,000 words, it's going to be really thin and it's going to look, I think, not great. It's going to look kind of just flimsy, whereas five by eight,  this is. Substantial enough, it feels, it feels like a book,  it feels like worth 15 bucks, which is what I charged for it.

[01:18:24]Another little word of word from the wise, by the way, while we're talking about it. if you look at the margins, notice that those are actually quite generous margins. Those are quite large margins. in all of the tutorials and guides that I found. People were generally like the Amazon guides where we're generally recommending quite small margins.

[01:18:44]but I think that looks crappy. I think large margins for a small book just make it feel a little bit more dignified. It makes it feel a little bit, I don't know, it's just more stylish. It's a little bit more, I just like it, I think, I think it looks, it looks better. so that's just a little, a little tip.

[01:19:01]I actually gave it quite large margins. And, yeah. So that's based the lesson and this is what a five by eight looks like. So for actually doing the cover, and there are a few different ways you can do it. Once you have your PDF ready for uploading as the paperback manuscript, and it, it will.

[01:19:20] Amazon will basically give you a template. It'll give you a, an image that is the exact size of what your cover should be. And then within that image, it will give you lines and it'll say it's just a rectangle, right? And then it'll say,  between these two lines in the middle, this is where your spine is.

[01:19:40] And then here's the back cover, here's the front cover, and it'll give you kind of edges that you should not go out of. and so, yeah, you'll, you can find that easily online. but pretty much once you have that template, then you need to create the cover itself. within that template and then you'll need to upload that final cover design as a PDF to Amazon KDP.

[01:20:03] Alright. And, I'll tell you a little bit about my process cause I learned a lot, and this is, I think one of the examples of something that I did not do well. Well, I ended up doing a great cover, but people seem to really like it. I'm very happy with it. I think it's quite elegant and cool and everything's lined up correctly and I'm quite happy with it.

[01:20:20]But the way that I did it was a total pain in the ass. Wasted a lot of time. And so yeah, this is something I can, I can maybe help you to avoid. So the first thing is, to my knowledge, there were pretty much like three different ways to do a cover. One the easiest way, but, for many people will be unattractive, is paying someone to do it obviously.

[01:20:39] And a lot of people in the self publishing community really say that you should pay someone to do a cover. because it is really crucial for purchases on Amazon. People do judge books by their cover, lo and behold, and so having a good cover is really, really worth something. so if you're not good with the design, you should really consider,  paying someone.

[01:20:58] But if, I don't know if you're doing, I know many people in my audience,  they're, they don't have a huge audience. They're probably not going to make a lot of money with their book. and that's fine. in that case,  you probably don't want to spend a lot of money on a cover designer. So, what I did, I didn't wanna spend a lot of money on the cover designer, so I figured I would just do it myself.

[01:21:18] And so if you're going to do it yourself, you have two options really, to my knowledge. One is to use an app like Photoshop. It's kind of the obvious choice. Photoshop is very powerful. Adobe Photoshop. It will basically let you do whatever you might want to do for a cover design. what you would do is you would upload the template that Amazon gives you.

[01:21:36] And use that as a bit kind of base layer and then create your images, create the front cover, back cover and spine within that, like on top of that template that Amazon gives you.  Photoshop, you can do layers and yeah, that's, that's pretty much the one way to do it. The problem with that is you have to,  a Photoshop is not hard, but you do have to learn kind of the basics and, and you have to have good design skills.

[01:22:02] And so for me personally, I have a pretty good sense of style or design, but I don't use Photoshop a lot and I didn't really feel like just for this first run, remember what I said at the beginning, don't be precious. Just try to move,  don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I just wanted a decent looking cover.

[01:22:17] I didn't really want to spend a lot of time. Like learning how to do it really well, personally. so I used a tool online called Canva, which is a free kind of graphic design, web app service, kind of like Photoshop, but for dummies, and based on in the browser. And one of the cool things about Canva is that they have a huge library of templates.

[01:22:41] And this, I think, is a really cool little secret thing that. I don't know, not many people know this because I ended up using Canva. And this, for instance, is a just a canvas template, right? Like the Paisley kind of flower backgrounds. And like pretty much everything. You see this,  this, rectangle, the type setting, this whole thing with the exception of the actual letters, which I put in myself, this, I got directly from Canva, it was in their library of templates.

[01:23:13] But a lot of people have been really impressed by this. Like they didn't, apparently people don't really know that you can easily find cover templates. So people were easily impressed. and little did they know that I literally just got her straight from Canva for free. And Canva has a bunch of book cover templates and many of them are quite nice.

[01:23:30]You could tweak them if you want you to, your heart's content. But basically, so the good thing I think I did on cover design, which I think will save you time and help you have a really good cover, is use a template from CAMBA. That was a good move. if you're not good on design and you don't want to spend a lot of money and you don't want to spend a lot of time, highly recommended that that was a really good decision that I made.

[01:23:51] The bad decision that I made was that I tried to do the entire cover for Amazon within Canva. In retrospect, that was stupid. So what do I mean by that? Like. So this square rectangle that you're looking at, which is the front cover this I got from Kappa.  What I could have done was just download this image with a high resolution and then import it into Adobe Photoshop or a similar app like pixel Mader and then.

[01:24:22] Completed the cover, which remember is there's a whole rectangle.  it's basically like,  the whole cover, the PDF that you need to upload to Amazon. Basically, it looks like this as a straight rectangle. You upload it like this as one rectangle, to make that is it's separate task and a whole other can of worms.

[01:24:43] So I tried to do all of that in canvas. I tried to make this,  in Canva. And that was really stupid because Canva is,  it's, it's kind of graphic design for dummies and,  doing a full book cover is actually fairly,  demanding and it's specific thing. And I ended up wasting tons of time for many reasons, many of, some of which I don't fully understand, which I won't get into, but pretty much I'll just tell you in a nutshell.

[01:25:13]The problem really is when I would, I would make a change, I would make a change and Canada and then export it. And I really think there was, there's like a little bit of error maybe in their exporting process. Like it wasn't, it wasn't super perfect every time, but also like the, you need kind of like, you need detail and specificity down to like the millimeter sometimes with when you're lining up things like the spine, especially with a small book, you have to be really precise.

[01:25:40] And Canva doesn't do well at like really, really zoomed in levels. but also movements like moving things, they have this kind of automatically snap grid, which in a lot of ways is good. Like for basic, for lining things up, basically making sure things are centered and with good spacing, everything in a generic way.

[01:25:57] Canvas is really powerful and good. But once you're doing kind of technical specific stuff, like what you need to do for the final cover design. It ends, it ends up being a more of a hassle on a time waster than anything. So,  just trust me on that. I could tell you more examples, but they would be boring.

[01:26:15] It was just clunky when it came to doing the actual cover. So what I should have done, and what I will do in the future is take the cover template from Canada that you like. There's a bunch of them. Find one that you like, tweak it if you want, add your, your words like this,  And then export it as a high resolution image and then import that into Photoshop or Pixelmate or, and use the, You use the Amazon KDP template as a base layer and, and then build around that. So use Canva to create images that will go into the cover, but for actually piecing together the cover images and the spine and all of that, do that in Photoshop or Pixelmate or at least that's what I'm going to do next time because,

[01:26:54] so another little word from the wise, which I didn't realize is that, when you upload your PDF. To Amazon KDP to be a paperback book. And then when you upload the cover as a PDF to Amazon KDP to be the cover for the book, you can then get a proof of a copy of the book before you put it live to market.

[01:27:17] So you can, you can check it out fiscally to make sure it all looks right. And you should definitely do this because, Here's the thing, there's a little bit of error. There's a little bit of random error. just basic kind of manufacturing and perfection and the Amazon printing process. And so you have to get, you have to have them mail, you approve for two, so you can hold the actual product in your hand before you can confidently make it available for sale.

[01:27:41] All right. what I did realize is that this takes a lot of time. We're so used to like Amazon prime things coming in two days, but the proof to request a proof. It first of all, like when you, when you changed the manuscript or the cover file, it takes like seven. It can take like up to 72 hours for to even register.

[01:27:59] Usually it was more than 48 hours, or even 24 hours. But still you have to wait a day or two. And then when you're, once it's updated, then you order the proofs and then it's like a week before you get the proof in your hand. So this is really important when it comes down to the. So the final launch of the paperback, because basically what I'm telling you is pad your time generously.

[01:28:22] It's going to take longer than you might think to get the paperback looking how you want it and holding it in your hands. knowing that it's good, that it, that it looks good and everything's right before you go, before you go live. I got myself into a little bit of a pickle with this, honestly, because I said that it would, I said that it would be available on a certain date.

[01:28:39] And it ended up taking a little bit longer. It's not that big a deal. But, I was, I wasn't happy about that cause I didn't understand this. So that's a little, little word of wisdom. this, by the way, is what we're talking about here. Issues with Amazon KDP. and so, yeah. But otherwise, honestly, doing a paperback and publishing a paperback is easier than it.

[01:28:59] It's easier than you might think. Honestly. The process is very simple. You just have to upload a PDF and have the manuscript and then you upload a PDF of the cover and it just has to meet their criteria and they give you plenty of documentation. So it's not rocket science. And it's just amazing, honestly, that it's so cool.

[01:29:15] Like it was so fun. Honestly, it took longer than I thought, and it was a little frustrating for that reason, cause I had to do so many iterations. If I just did it in Photoshop, I wouldn't have needed to do so many iterations. It would have taken me a little bit longer to, Get up and running with it, but then it would have saved me time on the back end cause I would have been more precise and wouldn't have needed to do so many iterations.

[01:29:34] Another thing is like Kappa doesn't, it doesn't even have a ruler. So you, it's a little specific. Things like this where you can't actually know to a millimeter if your, if your spine is in the right place or whatever, you can try and I did figure it out. I did get it eventually, but. Took way too many iterations, whereas in Photoshop, they have all the tools you need to make it perfect.

[01:29:54] So I wish I learned those tools a little upfront and that saved time on the backend, but still, honestly, the whole process was super fun. And. I just find it amazing. Like I think it's so cool that you can basically do something that you can write a book yourself and design everything yourself, and then have the paperback available to the whole world where most people buy books and you can hold it in your hand in like a week after finishing it.

[01:30:15] So, yeah, on the whole it was awesome. And here's the last bit of advice I want to give you. plan a party for the launch of the paperback. this wasn't something I really strategically. Thought of too much, but in retrospect, it was really good in many ways. So once you, once you're going to be done with the paperback, or rather, maybe even once your paperback is done, patting the time more generously than I did, maybe wait until your paper rack is actually done and you're holding a copy of it in your hand.

[01:30:45]that's. That's good. That's perfect. How you want it. Actually real quick, another quick tip. When you order cruise order two or three at a time, because there is random random error like the spine, if you notice the spine on here, it's if you, if I showed you three, you would see some of them are a little bit higher.

[01:31:04] Some of them are a little, a little bit lower. So to really check that your, your, your book is right, you have to order a few copies. and. And yeah, so, so do that. Keep that in mind. But once it's ready, I really suggest you organize some sort of IRL event, even if it's just like a local cafe, even if you don't have that many friends and you don't have a huge audience on the internet, even if only,  25 people bought your ebook and maybe you have no idea how many people are going to buy your paperback.

[01:31:35] Who cares? How do something do something local. Celebrate. It's not easy to write a book. Not many people write books. And I found that for me, like it was just like, and I,  I have a bit of an audience and maybe some of you don't have as much of an audience as I do, but I mean, my audience is not that big at all.

[01:31:52] Like for many authors, I'm small fry. but like, people,  a lot, like more people came out than I would've thought, honestly. And even if it's just like your personal friends and family. Who cares. It's, it's, it's worth it. Celebrate, have fun. And a few people will bring a stack of paperback books to the launch party.

[01:32:11]a few people will buy it on the spot because people like cool objects and man, there's just something awesome about like having a little party, having a little get together, having a real kind of final, kind of celebration on this long process that was really psychologically rewarding for me. but also strategically good too, because  you will sell a few books on the spot, which is fun and cool, and you'll make a little bit more money back.

[01:32:38] And when you order author copies from Amazon,  like this was like, if I order an author copy, I think it's like two 50 to two bucks, 50 cents a pop. So you sell them for 15 bucks a pop,. Even if you do a local thing,  even if people only buy like five, Hey,  if you're just starting out, it's not bad.

[01:32:57]but also like,  getting to talk in person about your book, people, people will ask you things about it. it's good practice. It's, it's, it helps you,  it, it just helps you. It's good. And, It gives you confidence, like to meet people, especially if there's like anyone around you who, like bought your book, like in your city or something like that.

[01:33:15] Like create some type of space, some type of celebration, some type of social gathering of any kind, whatever works for you. But when you've done all this work and you've done this whole process,  celebrate, congratulate yourself and invite out to it. Friends, family, anyone who's possibly interested in your book, and even if it's just a tiny, small, intimate thing, I think you'll find that it's psychologically really rewarding, as a kind of,  icing on the cake and you'll sell a few books and yeah, you might surprise yourself actually by how many people turn out or how people interest, how interested people are.

[01:33:52]and yeah. So that's my advice. There are many ways to do that.  you can talk to your local bookstore, give a reading, you could find some other event, maybe like find a music show or something like that that you can tag yourself onto or find some other author event. You can tag yourself onto a, it takes a little bit of hustle,  anything with indie self-publishing, it's going to, you're going to have to be creative.

[01:34:10] You're going to have to stick your neck out a little bit and you're going to have to hustle a little bit. but just, that's just my kind of quick, final bit of advice is when you are done with this whole process, . Celebrate because you earned it. And I think it's, it's, it's worth doing. So that's pretty much all of the major lessons that I learned publishing my first personal effort and serious nonfiction book writing.

[01:34:36] I hope you found it helpful. If you have any questions, comments. Concerns. please let me know. Shoot me an email if you want. if you want help with social accountability, that's exactly what do you think that org is all about? So reach out. Let me know if you want to, if you're curious about that, I'm happy to tell you more about it.

[01:34:51] Whatever. I have a question here. Giovanni says, do you think a book of about 10,000 to 12,000 words is too short, or should it be a little bit longer? I think if you want to do a book of 10,000 words, that's perfectly fine. I would only suggest, maybe don't do the paperback step as an ebook. I think 10,000 words is, it's fine with eBooks.

[01:35:11] There's really no rules. I mean, some people publish eBooks that are like,  25 point font and images, and it's like,  30 pages of, of stuff.  you can, you can publish an ebook. And get away with almost anything if it's valuable. And if it's like something people want in terms of length for eBooks, it really doesn't matter that much.

[01:35:37] But if you're going to do a paperback, if you look at this, and this book is about 20, I think it was ultimately about 22,000 words all in. it's pretty thin.  it's, it's just substantial enough to feel like it's a real book,? But if it was anything other than this, I think people might, if they're going to pay 15 bucks for this paperback book, and they get this in the mail, if it's any thick, if it's any thinner than this, I think they might feel like there's been a rip off.

[01:36:03] It just doesn't feel worth it,  even if it is worth it. So, yeah, my answer to that is, if it's ebook only, don't worry about word length. I think you can be creative, as long as it provides value and does what it's intended to do. But if you're gonna do paperback, I think 20,000 words. At a five by eight dimension is the minimum.

[01:36:25] All right, folks, I hope you found that useful. let me know if you have any other questions. Shoot me an email. there are many points in this lecture that I could have gone into more depth on. There's much I could have unpacked. this was just pretty much my first effort to throw out there.

[01:36:41] Everything I've learned about. My own efforts so far and what I think I did well, what I think I did not so well. And so maybe in future sessions I can unpack some of this or refine some of this if you'd like. This is just my kind of first brain dump of everything I've learned with my first process, trying to kind of show you the system or strategy that I've used.

[01:37:03] I hope you found it useful. And yeah, that's all for today. Thanks. So it's like.