Self-Publishing your first book can be overwhelming, so in this training we have put together a road map to highlight all of the steps you are likely to take from conception to selling your first and future books.
This training doesn't go into a lot of detail, spending more time looking at the forest rather than the trees, but it does contain links to where you can get the nitty gritty detail for each step along the way.
We work through 5 major areas:
- Getting Started
- Writing (and illustrating)
- Promotion & Scaling Up
Click anywhere within this unedited transcript to jump directly to that part of the training.
Hey everybody, Jay Boyer and Blaine Moore here. Welcome to this week's live training. And, we had a ton of brand new Apex Authors members lately. We've had a lot of new Children's Book members lately. And one thing we found is that, there's so much content on both of these sites and particularly Apex Authors, that it can be a little bit overwhelming to brand new folks that are, that are just coming into the program. And so, maybe even, to Amazon, not just the website, but Amazon publishing in general. I'm talking about folks that perhaps have never even published their first book or they've been working on it for some period of time, et cetera. There's a lot that goes into self publishing a book.
And so for the benefit of both new Apex Authors and Children's Book members, Blaine's put together a great presentation for you here today that's going to walk you through the entire process from Alpha to Omega; from start to finish. This roadmap is going to provide you with an overview, sort of like the view from 30,000 feet, of each step in the process.
With some convenient resources and tools that Blaine's going to point out to you that you can access both on and off of the Apex Authors website along the way. So Blaine, having said that, thanks for putting this together, buddy, and I'll hand it over to you.
Great. Great. Yeah. When we originally did this training, I think almost four or five years ago, we had a pretty good handle on how things, how things were running and so much has changed in, it's, it's almost like dog years with the way that the publishing industry has changed. You know, when I first really got into it, I wrote my first book, I think in 2007-2008 ish and started self publishing right around 2012 and it was, it's leaps and bounds different.
There are so many more resources available. Everything is so much easier to do from a technical perspective, assuming that you can find the right tools and resources, but it's also a lot more difficult because there's so much more competition than there was as well. So it seemed like this was a great time to do an update.
So as we go through this training, I'm going to go through the main steps, and you might recognize these, especially if you're a Children's Book Formula member. We've kind of been reorganizing our content in a Research/Write/Publish/Promote kind of paradigm, just to make things a little bit easier to figure out organizationally. So if you're a Children's Book Formula member, you have a nice, well laid out, the new core training kind of walks through each step and has everything right in order for you. So we're going to talk a lot about those same items, but all of the resources that I'm linking to, most of them are gonna be on the actual Apex website.
So don't feel like you need to keep track of the resources as I talk about them, I'll have links on the screen. But we will have those links in the replay page and you'll be able to access this presentation afterwards, so you'll be able to get through and click everything. So don't feel like you have to try and copy all of them down and I'm not going to put them into the questions box as we go because there are going to be a lot of them.
My goal today is kind of to to give you an overview, let you know what the process is from the very beginning when you want to start with your first book, all the way up to promoting your book and scaling up to that next level. And turning this into a career if that's what you want. And along the way, I'm going to touch on a lot of different topics, but as I said, I'm going to actually have links to much more detailed options where possible.
I've kind of linked to our special reports just because they're a little quicker and easier to get through without having to go through an hour long training for each and every item on here. But, let's get started with appropriately enough, the very first step, which is Getting Started.
So when were first deciding to write our first book, we want to get to, to get in into place, we really need to figure out what is our mindset. What is it that you're hoping to accomplish? So there's kind of two main areas to that. The first is, what are your goals?
Are you looking to make money from your book? Are you using it as some way of promoting your own expertise, or getting new clients for your business? Do you just want to share your knowledge and be seen as an expert, or maybe you're just looking to leave a legacy of some sort? Do you have a novel or a children's book or just some kind of expertise that you just want to pass on to the next generation? Have something that you'll be remembered by?
And there's, there's no right or wrong answer here, but it does help if you have a general idea what it is that you're writing for, because that's going to inform the approach that you take. And some of the steps that you'll follow will be slightly different.
For example, if you're writing a children's book that you've just been thinking about forever, you, maybe you're an illustrator and you've been doodling these, these illustrations for the last 20 years, and you just want to get that put together for your kids or your grandkids, then you're going to approach things a lot differently than if you're trying to write a super specific book on a very focused topic that you can then hand out to any potential clients and leads and get them interested in the services that you offer or the products that you sell and bringing them in to purchase from you or from your business.
Okay. So the first thing that we want to do is to go in and make sure that we have a good idea of, of what it is that we hope to accomplish. Once we have an idea for that, we can decide what kind of book is it that we want to write a fiction or nonfiction or kind of the to do big things? Are you going to make up a story or are you going to share some factual knowledge?
Or are you going to do some kind of a combination where you're going to actually be. Sharing a factual knowledge, but in a storytelling way. And who is your target? Are you writing for children? Are you writing for adults? and whichever you choose. What kind of age range are you looking at? Writing a book that's meant for a, a preschooler versus someone in middle grade is going to be very different, but so is writing a young adult book versus something that is intended for someone that's getting ready to retire or that's reaching the end of their life. So it can help to have a general demographic that you're aiming to write for.
And while you're considering that, who do you think is actually going to read your books? One of the obvious things is if you're writing a book for a baby, or a toddler, then you're not just writing for the child and you have to have to write something that's going to be appropriate for that child and that they're going to be enjoy listening to, but you also have to bear in mind that you're also writing for their parent who's going to be the one that's going to be reading the book to them.
If you're writing young adult, then, or even middle grade, you might find that your actual reader demographics skew a little older than you're expecting, even though the book is intended for theoretically 13 to 20 year olds, depending on where along that spectrum that you're writing, your actual people who are reading it may be people in their forties or fifties , look at Harry Potter.
It's certainly a book intended for a younger audience, but it's really found an audience with an older demographic and people that are just looking for a simpler time and an escape and they're just enjoying reading those books. So you kind of have a different people that you can target and that you can expect will actually be reading your book.
Is it going to be an illustrated book, a chapter book? Is it going to be more of a textbook? You know, and having a general idea of what sort of book that you want to write. And once you have some of these ideas about what it is that you might want to do, then that's going to help you do some research and find out where you're best served and what kind of book to actually create when you have a good idea.
And if you're having a little trouble and you're not really sure exactly what you want to do, you can find some inspiration. We have a whole number of Book Design Labs from the Book Ninja Academy that we've been adding into the Apex site, and in Children's Book Formula, we actually have one of the Design Labs for the children's board books.
So it might be worth taking a look through there at some point and just saying, Hey, what else can I create? You know, anthologies, cookbooks; there's all kinds of different sorts of books that you can create, not just the standard ones that you might be thinking of. And that might spark some creativity and say, Hey, it would be really cool to create something like this.
So those are, those are our initial ideas. That's gonna help us figure out what it is that we want to do on a very general level, and kind of inform what we're going to be looking into on this next step. And that's when we get into the research. So when you're doing your research, you're going to really determine your next, you're going to find out what genre it is that you're going to write towards and it's going to.
Oh, it's going to help you narrow down exactly what it is that you're going to do so that you'll have a strong starting point and you're not going to just flounder and spend three or four years trying a dozen different things and never finishing anything. So the place we're going to begin is with what are our interests?
What hobbies do you have or skills? Do you have any kind of professional expertise through your employment or from your business? Who is it that you want to be writing for? And this is going to help you really hone down and what is it that you'd like to write? You could certainly start off going straight to, Hey, what's selling?
And see if there's anything that you're excited about there. But if you have a general idea of what you want to write first and what gets you excited and is going to keep you motivated so that you'll be able to, not just start but also finish your book, then I think that you're going to wind up having a much better experience.
Not just in terms of the publication process and going through it yourself, but also your readers will have a better experience because the love for that topic is going to come through and you're going to actually create a better book if it's something that you are interested in and you're not just going for, Oh, it looks like, this sub sub sub category of romance is what's selling hottest right now.
So I'm just going to write these, even though you know, I've never read a romance book in my life. Does it, so if that makes sense, that kind of just, it helps you narrow down, okay, this is the type of book that I want to write. If it's nonfiction, something that you have some expertise in and it doesn't, you don't have to be the absolute best person in the entire world on that topic.
You just have to know enough that you can teach somebody else something about that topic. Or if you have a specific genre that you like. Do you like science fiction or thrillers or cozy mysteries or romance or erotica? Are you writing for children? If so, do you want to write something that's going to be more educational or more entertaining or something with, some sort of a fable that has a message that that'll really come across for them.
So once we have a place to start, that lets us get right into the markets themselves and find out. What is actually selling right now? So I have a, I have a list of topics that I'm interested in writing about. What categories are there that are going to fit into those interests? And more importantly, what are the current bestsellers in those categories?
What are people actually buying right now and how many sales are, the best sellers in those categories? Actually making. If you have a general idea of, what cat, what categories are popular in terms of they're making, there's a lot of people that are shopping in those categories, a lot of sales being made, then it might be a little bit easier too.
If you're goal, for example, is to make a living, then it might be better to go into one of those more popular categories where there's a lot of traffic. If the first book in a category is in the top 100 in the Amazon store, they're selling a lot of copies a day, and you'll be able to, if you're able to get into the top 20 of that category, then chances are pretty good.
You're going to be making a lot of sales. But if their top ranked books are only ranked 1 million, then you know, they're selling a couple of books a month, at the best. And in that case, sure, you could be a pretty easy bestseller, but you may not actually, there may not be a market there for you to actually make those sales.
So ideally what you want to do is you want to find a category where it aligns with your specific interests, whether that's a genre or a topic, and there's a lot of sales being made, especially in the, the. Top one to three or one to five books in that category. but also where there, you can get down to the top 20, and there's still some rooms.
So the 19th-20th books might be a little bit lower ranked if they're in the 30 to 50,000 rank. Then there's, there's some opportunities there where you can get onto that first page of the bestseller list. But it's not going to be so competitive that you're not able to actually make any sales.
But you do want to have that top end of books in that category, and at least a few books that belong in that category that are actually making sales. So you know that there's a chance that you're going to be able to, to make those sales yourself once you get your book out there.
So now that we have some general ideas about. Where our interests are, what kind of books are are selling. We want to actually make a choice for what topic we want to write on. And when we have that topic, we need to figure out, what type of book do we want to write and who's the ideal reader for that book?
So that way we can write something specifically for that person. And that's going to determine. Not just the topic of our book, but it's going to determine like the covers that we use, the messages that we put in, the tropes that we follow. We want to make sure that, that we're speaking specifically to that ideal reader and making it easy for them to make a choice to, to pick our book up.
And more importantly, once they have picked up our book, that we're satisfying the needs that they have as a reader and wanting them. to get to purchase more from you, that's they're going to leave a five star review. They're going to be so excited for your next book. And, we can do that by looking at some of the comparable titles in our categories.
So what are some books that are selling well and that are similar to the book that you want to write. And what we want to do is we want to look at their covers. We want to look at the titles that they use, the types of descriptions that they have, the tropes that you find inside of a, of the books.
Cause if you go through to, for example, the military Saifai category, and you buy the first five books at any given time and you read through them, you're going to find there's a lot of similarities in all five of those books. You're going to have this, spacers out in the middle of nowhere, a road captain and a scrappy band of soldiers, fighting against the aliens, whatever the tropes are for your category.
You need to know what those are and what readers are expecting. And then you also want to look at some of the more mundane things. How long are the stories? If your particular category is used to 300 to 500 page books, you don't want to come out with a, it's a 20 or 30 page book and expect that you're going to make a sales for Epic fantasy, for example.
It's a lot more difficult to sell. A 20,000 word novella than it would be to get someone to pick up a 100 or 150, 200,000 word novel because they're looking for an immersive experience and something that's going to take them a little time to get through. If you're looking in cozy mysteries, depending on your subcategory, you might find that they actually prefer having those 20,000 word novellas.
They want something that they can sit down and they can read in a sitting or two. or they might, like, depending on the category that, they might prefer to have slightly longer ones and their books are going to be, closer to the 70 or 80,000 words. So you want to look through and see how many, how many pages you're, you're expecting.
And then kind of getting into the, the last question here is what, to the one star reviews on those titles? Say. that can be some of the best, a competitive research that you can do when you are looking at books and your comparable titles and other books that are in your category. I go through a lot of times we'll look and see how well is a book doing by looking at the four and five star reviews and seeing what people like, but even more informative are those one star reviews where you can find out.
What are the, what are the problems that people have with these books and what's, what's leaving them wanting, because readers, readers are smarter than we give them credit for. They, they may not be able to articulate exactly what it is that, is missing from a book, but they know when it's not there and they, they're, they're going to recognize that and you'll find in the reviews, they're going to hint at what it is that they were expecting.
That just didn't happen. You'll, you'll never find a, romance book coming through with out that happily ever after. The HEA is kind of one of those most important tropes. If you tried putting a romance book and everybody dies at the end, and there's no final resolution between the lovers…
Chances are that book's not going to sell very well, and you're going to find a lot of one star reviews complaining about that fact.
And that can be a good clue of the sorts of things that you need to be aware of so you can avoid making the same mistakes. So when it comes to resources, we have quite a few different resources.
The Kindle bestseller mind map is available in both membership areas, and this is one of the best places because it lets you drill right down into the, the different categories and subcategories. And every month we update it. usually within the first or second week of the month, we'll have the previous months bestseller stats, and that'll give you the number one and the number 20 ranking for each of the sub categories as well as a link directly to that category.
And we go, we go three levels deep on all of the categories on Amazon. And that can be a great way. if you look and you see a little smiley face, then it means that the, the number 20 book is in the top 50,000, and you know that that's a, that's a category that's selling pretty well. and it's, it's, it's kind of fun to just kind of scroll around through it and open up the different branches of the mind map and see what's selling.
And, and just to discover some categories that you may not have even known exists. And Amazon is constantly adding new categories. They add dozens of new categories every year. so we keep right on top of that. if you're in Children's Book Formula, there's also the, idea wizard, and that can be a great way for just kind of looking through and figuring out what topics that you want to, w you want to cover and then find those, those categories on the mind map afterwards.
The book. Research rocket is a a great option for going in and seeing, what's selling right now and how much of it is selling. So you can scroll around right inside of Amazon and it's going to, it'll tell you on a bestseller list, here's the top 20 books. Or you can ask it for more and it'll say how many copies are still being sold about how much based on the cover prices.
About how much you can expect or each book is earning each month. And that'll, that'll let you compare to multiple categories and see, okay, well I kind of want to write something about this, but maybe this sub category is, which way should I lean my book? Even though it's the same general topic?
Which one makes more sense? And that can help you really narrow that down on a lot of different criteria. the rank rocket is similar to the research rocket, and what you can do is you can track books over time. So instead of just seeing, here's what, this book is set up for right this moment, if you start tracking it on the rank rocket than any time that you have it running, it's going to check once an hour and see what's that bestseller ranking.
So you can look over the last 30 days and see, Hey, is this book actually doing well or did they just have a promotion and that's why it was doing well? Or does it have some staying power? And that's a, that's a great. That's a great tool for tracking those, those titles that you've been looking at that are, comparable to what you want to write.
It's also a great way to track your own books once you have them published. Because if you get a new bestseller rank, it's going automatically take a screenshot for you that you can download, even if you're asleep and not paying any attention at the time. And then the book review rocket, which many of you are familiar with.
We often talk about using the review rocket to find reviewers and looking at the four and five star reviews, but it actually has a one star review mode that I recommend you check out. You can switch it to, pulling all of the one star reviews off of a. Those comparable titles. And instead of looking for contact information, what we're actually doing is it's going to record all the one star reviews on these titles, and then you can kind of scroll through them all at once.
Instead of having to click into each review individually, they'll all just be in one spot and you can read them as a list. and then. It's also great just starting right on Amazon, right on the Kindle best sellers list, or the book bestsellers list, which is includes all the physical books. and those are just, just browse around, see what's there.
Take a look at the, bestseller ranking for those top books and the number twenties in the category and see what catches your fancy. If you don't have the mind map handy or if you're not using the research rocket, then you can always just click right through to Amazon to see what's available.
So now that we have chosen what our topic is going to be and what we're going to write about, it's time to actually get into the writing. And if you're a children's book, a member of the a the illustrating portion of hour, a book process.
So the first step when we're writing our book is the planning process. How long is your book going to be? We can get that from the research we did to see how many pages. We'll have an idea of of how long we want to make it. It's a fully illustrated children's book. Then it's probably going to be somewhere in the 24 to 32 or.
Maybe 40 page range at the most. If it's a Epic fantasy novel, we're looking at a couple hundred pages. So you figure out how much do you need to write and then determine how much can you write in a day if, especially on a chapter book, if you're expecting to write a hundred thousand words for the book and you can, you can get in a thousand words a day, then well, this is going to take three and a half months.
It's going to take a hundred days of working. To actually write this book. Whereas if you're able to write 3000 words a day, then it's only going to take a little over a month to get the same, to get the same amount done. So if you have an idea of how long your book is going to be and your own production habits, that'll help you.
And if you don't know what your, you know how much you can write on a given day, then it might be worth tracking that. And just so you can plan ahead as you're going along and have a accurate timeline for when you want to do everything else. The next thing you want to plan is how are you going to actually write the book?
Are you going to create an outline or a mind map and then work off of that? Or do you write by the seat of your pants, which basically means you, you know what your starting point is, or you know what a specific scene is and you're just writing from there and seeing, where the characters take you.
some people will have a starting point. They know how the story is going to begin and they know how they want the story to end. But everything in the middle is just kind of a mystery. And they discovered as they go. There's no, again, there's no right or wrong answer for which, which method that you like?
personally I like working from an outline a little bit better because it just kinda gives me signposts. And if I have to deviate from the, from the outline, that's okay. But at least I have a general idea of where things are going and then I can re outline it later if I, if I do wind up deviating from that.
next, what are those tropes that the readers in your genre require? A lot of those you'll find by, buying the books and reading them yourself and just taking notes, seeing what's the same between those books. you can also, take a look at those one star reviews, see what kinds of things are missing that people really want to be there.
we also have an article on Apex Authors about, the favorite fiction tropes. And it, it includes 20 different categories and, and the general, general tropes that you'd be able to find. You can also take a look at, TV tropes.com. And that'll actually take difference, different TV shows and movies, and it'll, it'll list what the tropes are for that particular one.
So if you find some television shows that are similar to the one that the book that you want to write, then it'll give you a general idea. It's a different medium, so things won't be a hundred percent the same between them, but it'll still give you a general idea and a starting point if you, if you aren't really sure.
And then the next step is to just go ahead, create the outline for your book, or start writing, and, and begin creating a book.
So now we come to the step where we produce our books. and the two most obvious questions are, who's going to write your book and who's going to illustrate it? You know, Jay's first book, him and his son wrote it together and then they, they hired an illustrator afterwards, but some of the later books we just created some outlines and sent them off and we had a ghost writer write those books as a work for hire and then edited them and, and got our illustrations done.
You may be personally talented and, and be able to illustrate your own books. I know that if I was. Creating any books, I'm definitely going to hire somebody to do the illustrations for me because I don't really have that artistic bone. So the next step that I kind of alluded to earlier was, make sure you have a general idea of how long it's going to take, and sit down and actually get the work done.
You need to get some good habits in place so that you can be a productive writer and make sure that you're getting, getting the work done and getting that, getting through the book. And sometimes that's just, putting an aside an hour a day for writing or 15 minutes, a couple times a day as you, as you can, maybe on a lunch break or, getting up a few minutes early or staying up a few minutes late after you've gotten the kids to bed and doing a writing.
But it does really help if you can set some kind of a schedule for yourself. So, this is, this is how much I can get done, and this is when I'm going to do it. Because otherwise you'll find that procrastination will set in and you'll just, you'll never really get a chance to, to finish that book.
So a couple of, a couple of other trainings that we've done recently are writing smarter, not harder. This list of writers tools, actually training number 319, we have listed there has a lot of great tools for, not just the writing of your book and organizing it, but also some, some good marketing tools and things that would be, pretty relevant on some of our later topics.
And we also did a training with Joseph Michael recently on curing writer's block. And, he had some great tips in there for keeping yourself accountable and making sure that, that you can keep moving and not get, you're not getting yourself distracted. So now we have some additional tools and resources for writing tools.
Microsoft word is probably one of the, most commonly used, writing tools ever. it was, it kind of made desktop publishing accessible to people when it first came out. And, I think that it's, it's a good option for shorter works or for planning. If you are writing a chapter book or anything that's at all complicated, especially for nonfiction, then Scrivener is an excellent choice.
it can be a little bit intimidating, but it does have some really good options for organizing your work. And, that's personally, that's what I like to write in when anytime I'm doing any long form writing cause it lets me keep. Everything organized by scenes and chapters by different topics. it also lets me keep all of my research in one place so that it's easily accessible while I'm writing.
If you're writing with somebody else, Google docs can be a good option. It's kind of like Microsoft word, except it's online and you can actually have multiple people in there working on the same document at the same time without overwriting each other. Which is, which is convenient. I think Microsoft word, actually, you can do that now with their three 65 solution, but I haven't, I haven't played with their online solution at all yet.
for illustrating tools. if you are an illustrator, then Photoshop or illustrator is a Adobe illustrator is actually the name of an application as well. Those can be good tools that are professional level and they're gonna, they're gonna let you do pretty much whatever you need. if you need something that's free, gimp provides a lot of that same functionality as you would get inside of a Photoshop, but it's an open source program.
It's not quite as user friendly, but it is something that's, that's available if you don't have the budget for Photoshop. And if you're just looking to work on some, ah, some images and you're not doing anything super heavy or, or complicated, or you're just taking a look at the, making minor edits to something that an illustrator sends back to you.
Canva works really well. It's an online, application that you can go in and it's available for free with some paid upgrades if you need to purchase images from them that you can include with it. But for most of what we're doing in the free version, probably works just fine. If you're hiring people, then we're big fan of Fiverr and Upwork pretty much anytime we've hired someone, we've originally found them for our books through Fiverr.
Upwork. We've used for some of our, some of our other tasks that we've had such as software development. but I do know some people who've done really well, finding people on Upwork as well. But fiber is kind of nice because it lets you search based on a specific budget, so that if you want to spend five or $10 per image, you can set a search criteria and then go in and find, find that person and then you'll know, okay, this is exactly how much this book is going to cost once you found the person that you want to work with.
And we do have a list of, outsourcing resources on our, on our website that'll provide different, Not just writers and illustrators, but you can also find editors and book formatters and all kinds of different services.
So the next step is publishing. This is writing and be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work. Publishing is, is. Pretty much all fun. I enjoy this part of the process a lot. It's, it gives you some opportunities to be, to be creative. so the first thing that you want to do is get your cover design, taken care of because you're going to need that for some of the later steps.
So there's different kinds of covers that, that you need to be aware of. So for Kendall, you're going to want just a front cover. And it doesn't have to be really high resolution. You know, a thousand pixels on the longer side is probably fine. And it's, that's what's, that's where you should probably start because that's going to be the easiest one to produce cause you don't have as much to do for a paperback.
You're going to need the full, full wrap. So whether you create, use the Kindle cover creator inside of the KDP dashboard. using one of their templates or just uploading a front and back cover and then finding a, a spine color that'll kind of match it all together, that that needs to take care of.
It's going to have, the front cover is probably going to look the same, pretty similar, if not exactly the same as what you have on your Kindle version, but you also need to have the back cover, which is probably going to have a description of the book or maybe a. A small blurb or review, a, you might have an about the author section or a photo, and, that's where your, your bar code would go.
And it's, it's easy to get those in place. If you, leaves you leave some open space for it, then Katie peel, actually just put it right on there for you so you don't have to worry about generating one yourself. And if your book is, has enough pages, then you may also need a spine as well. And that could be something that's just a little bit of a solid color, just running from the back cover to the, to the front cover.
Or you could even have a, if you're over a hundred pages, you can put some spine text on there that, that way if someone puts the book on their shelf, they'll be able to tell what your book is, without having to pull it out. and then for hardcover, it may have a similar cover as your, as your paperback, where it's just the, the front spine and back cover.
but it could also have flaps if you're going to have a dust jacket. On the book. and then you also will need to have a, what you want to put on the insides of those flaps. So usually you would have a description of the book or a, introduction to the book to get someone excited. And if they picked it up in a bookstore, they could get excited and start, want to start reading.
And then on the back flap, you would usually have an about the author section with a nice color picture of you. So the next thing that you need to decide is who's going to design the cover? You could design it yourself, but again, I mentioned earlier, I'm not a particularly talented illustrator, and that goes as a designer too.
Unless you specifically are a designer, and more specifically if you're a book designer, you probably want somebody else to take care of the majority of your book design work, rather than just creating something completely from scratch. So whether that is modeling and already bestselling cover or using some sort of a template.
Or hiring someone to just create the cover for you. there's a lot of different options that you can, that you can go with. But, the book cover is obviously one of the most important, aspects of selling your book, because it's the first thing that people are going to see and it's, it's. The number one item that's going to need to grab their attention and and want them getting more interested in learning more about the book.
if you are looking to, create the cover yourself, you can take a look at our book cover rocket, which includes all sorts of, of different templates that you can use. Has it especially great for the Kindle covers? Because. you can get the Photoshop versions if you want to make a lot of really detailed edits.
But we also have Microsoft Word versions where you can actually swap in your own image and change the title and author and, and just save it, directly from word. And it's, it's an easy way of, of taking a template that's already set up and has the right fonts and the right colors, for a particular genre.
And you'll be able to create a, a well balanced and a good looking cover without having to come up with it from scratch. If you do want to hire somebody, 99 designs is a great way you can look. thank you. You'll be looking at spending about $300 on a cover if you go there, but you can have a lot of different designers actually work on your cover at the same time.
And then you say, I like this, or I don't like that about each of the covers. And then they'll iteratively over the span of about a week, come out with new designs for you. And then you just pay the one person who's designed you like the best. We have a lot of trainings on the website about book covers.
They're that important. We have the creating a book cover that sells. We have book cover design from, the Book Ninja Academy, which is, it's a great quick course. We also have a couple of trainings from, from Tony, Tony Laidig, who's a pretty good designer in his own right. both a, dedicated training as well as an expert media show episode.
And then, once you are ready to create a paperback, assuming that you're going with, with Amazon and KDP print, then, it's probably worth getting a cover template once you know how many pages your book is. And. what kind of paper you're using, whether using, a white or cream paper. If it's a black and white book, or if it's a color paper, then, it'll, it'll figure, it'll figure out exactly how, wide your spine needs to be and give you a, a template that you can either use to lay out your own book rep, or if you're having somebody else do it for you, you can just say, Hey, here's a, here's a template.
Please make sure this works. And it'll tell you where the trim lines are and where the bleed is, which. Of the bleed is part of the page that could get cut off. so you don't want to have anything important there. And it's a, it'll tell you where the spine is and you can, you can use that to lay out your book.
So now that we're ready to, produce our book, we have our cover ready. What kind of book is it and what format are our source files in? So are you going for Kindle first or are you going to create paperback or some other print version? what, what are you using to start with? Do you have a word document that's got all of your chapters in it, or is it a bunch of images that you got from your illustrator that already has the text embedded in it and you just have to somehow put those together? for us, we recommend using the book formatting rocket for your chapter books and Kindle Kids Book Creator for your illustrated picture books.
The formatting rocket is available in both Children's Book Formula and Apex Authors, and then we also have training on the Kindle Kids Book Creatorreator, which is a free application provided from Amazon. And that'll cover most of your books, especially for the Amazon ecosystem. we do have a training on additional, book creation software that you can use.
Hi. If you're looking to make something for the formatting rocket will work fine for your Kobos and I books and nooks and all of that, because you can actually create the, the pub format that, that is used by those marketplaces right in it. if it's an illustrated book, then it's a little more difficult.
You will want to find some other software that you, that you're gonna want to use for those. So once we have our cover ready to go, we've got our, our book formatted and ready to go. So now we're ready to publish our book. And obviously you're going to need to know what your, your book title is before creating the cover and, and formatting your book.
But before we actually upload, we want to make sure that our title and our book description are really optimized to make sales. Because after, after someone sees the cover and gets interested enough, they might take a look at the title and they click on that. The book description is what's going to actually make the sale and what's going to convince them to purchase.
If they aren't a, if they aren't gung-ho ready to buy just from the cover image, then. They're going to take a look at the first a paragraph or so first few lines of your book description. And if it's really interesting to them, then they're going to click on that, read more and keep going through. And if you do a good job with that description, then that's gonna that's going to convince them to make the purchase.
Or it may convince them that they're not the right reader, which is, almost, if not more important, because you don't want the wrong readers purchasing your book because that's going to. Caused them to, I have the wrong also bought. So Amazon won't know how to promote your book. It's also going to be a bad reader experience.
So they're going to ask for a refund or they're going to leave a bad review on your book. So it's better to make sure you want to target and you want it to attract just the right reader, the ideal reader for your book, so that you'll have someone who's going to be happy to read your book, who's going to want to buy more books from you, is going to want to leave a good review on your book.
And most importantly, he's going to want to tell their friends who like similar books about your books so that they'll also want to buy your book. Next we need to decide what kind of price is going to meet our goals. And this kind of hearkens way back to at the very beginning when we were working on our, our mindset type questions.
Because what kind of price you choose is, is really important. If you're looking to make the most money on Amazon, then you want to price between two 99 and nine 99 just because you'll make six times more money. because of the way that Amazon prices the books. And you know, the difference between a 99 cent book is, you're making about 35 cents on a sale versus a two 99 book where you're making like $2.
That's a pretty big difference. but if you're looking to brand yourself as a, an expert, and you want to have. You want your book to be at the higher price range so that even if you don't make sales, but anybody that does buy is just going to be a qualified lead for your nonfiction business.
Then you're more likely to have your book taken seriously if it's got a $10 price point versus a 99 cent price point. And you might want to experiment a little once you've published the book. You know, maybe launch it at a lower price, try and get some reviews, and then raise the price up.
Yeah. Two 99 is a, is a good place to start, especially for a first and series, but you might find later books in a series. Maybe you should price it at three 99 or four 99. so we do have a full training on all the different, Ways that you can price your book and ways to approach that so you can decide what's, what makes the most sense for your book.
And then we frequently get questions about copyright and ISBNs, which is the international standard book numbers, and whether you need to register your copyright, whether you need to buy an ISBN. so I do recommend checking out those two, two trainings that we have on those. You know, copyright in the United States at least exists as soon as you've put something in a tangible form, whether you register or not. And, whether you register has more in terms of how much you can sue somebody for based on when your work gets infringed on.
And for an ISBN, basically, you don't really need one for a Kindle book. unless you want to give it to a, give it one, and you can get a free ISBN, from KDP print.
And there might be some reasons why you'd want to buy your own, but generally speaking, you don't need to. Jay's never had to, to buy his own ISBN. And just as of may 20, 20, Ingram spark is actually offering in the United States, free ISBNs now as well. So if you decide that you want to go with a hardcover edition of your book.
Then, you and your, you're not buying your own ISBNs. You can do the paperback with KDP print and the hard cover with Ingram spark and each can have a, an ISBN number without having to, without having to purchase one, which is convenient. Now, obviously, you'd still need to purchase your own ISBNs if you wanted to have paperbacks through both Ingram spark and KDP print, because you need to have the same one for that particular edition.
but you can get more information about. whether you need one or not. Generally speaking, unless you have a good reason to, you probably don't need to purchase one. and one good reason for example, is if, I know we have a few people on this call right now that are, are from Canada, you can actually get a free ISB from your government.
So you might as well use your own ISBNs in those cases.
And then comes the actual publication step. So the, for your eBooks, are you going to go exclusive with Amazon or wide distribution? Are you going to have, Amazon's got their KDP select program, which gives you a few benefits, but it requires that you only sell your book on Amazon. And, so you need to decide whether you want to take part in that program, or if you want to be selling in all the different stores. And what formats are you going to actually publishing? So presumably you're going to have an Amazon Kindle version, unless it's something like a journal, a, which you can't do a Kindle version of a journal if you're expected to actually write in the book.
But with that exception, pretty much everybody's going to, that's on here, should be publishing through Kindle direct publishing. I recommend checking out our quick start guide for that. and if you are, going to be trying to get into bookstores, or you want to use any alternative formats other than paperback, such as a hardcover, you may want to consider using Ingram spark, and if you want to consider other marketplaces.
There are, well, there's literally hundreds of different market places you could sell in, but some of the big ones are, Amazon, Kobo, apples. I bookstore, Barnes and Nobles bookstore. Google play has their own store. Torino is a, is a major player in. in Germany, Scribd is a similar program as Kindle unlimited.
It's a subscription program that lets you download as many books as you want each month. So there were a lot of different options for different marketplaces. And if you're not in KDP select, then you can also sell your book in those marketplaces. And then if you are creating physical books, what formats make the most sense?
Do you want to have just a paperback, which is the easiest book to get up? Or do you want also have hard cover? Do you want a, a large print version of your book? There's a, there's a lot of options there as well that you can, you can take a look at. So now that the book is published, we get to promoting, this is, this is where we start to actually make some money from our books and, and we get people purchasing the books on the stores and start getting, building our fan bases.
So the first step is some free strategies. The first thing that you want to do is create an author central page. It's a, it's a free option and what you do is you go in and you sign up for your author central account. You can use the same, Amazon login that you're using for your KDP account, and assuming that, you're using your own name, then it'll be pretty easy to set up.
If you are using a pen name, there's a, there's a one little extra step that you need to go through. but we show you how to do that in the, in the members area. But basically what you go in is you just claim your book and then, prove to the, to Amazon that you are who you say you are. And they'll, they'll set up your pen name.
You can have up to three pen names in a single account. And with author central, there's a few things that you can do. The most important is you can set up an author bio page. And what this does is it allows you to actually. list all of your books, put up a little, a picture and a little description of yourself.
You can incorporate a, your blog or your Twitter feed directly in there. You can set up events so that people can come and find you in person. Not that at the particular time we're recording this. There's a lot of in person interactions happening, but you could also set up some online, events as well.
And basically it allows you to, to basically to show off your, your books and, and your brand and, and get people more interested in you. So if somebody clicks on your name from one of your book listings, instead of just going to search results, which might show your books, or it might show some other person that's just got a similar name or just whatever Amazon wants to show them, that they're going to be coming to a page that only has your books and just the books that you've curated. And, like for example, if you have a second edition and one book is out of print, you can make sure that the current version you want people purchasing is on your author page so that they are not even going to see the one that's out of print.
You can also go in and make some, look up some statistics about your books and, collate all of your reviews in one place, so you can look at them all at once. You can update your descriptions of your books and add in some extra functionality, such as, editorial reviews or author bios on the book listings themselves.
So they're kind of nice to customize your page as well. so that's, that's a basic step. Doesn't cost anything. And, and everybody should be taken care of that even if you only have the one book, it's worth doing. Next you want to generate, at least a dozen reviews from readers on your book, preferably four or five star reviews.
but the, the more important thing is getting as many reviews as you can. and if they aren't all five stars, then it's nothing to be stressed about. it's, it's not going to hurt things, especially if you can get to three or even four digits of reviews. then. It doesn't matter if your average rating is a lot lower, then if people see that there are a lot of reviews, then that's going to be a lot of social proof and they're going to be more likely to want to purchase your book.
You can use social media to raise awareness for your book. whether that is setting up, contests or creating, using, images to get people interested in your book. it's, it's one way of, getting people engaged and finding your book. such as through, joining groups that are for your particular genre or creating a, a group that's specific to the, the world of your books or to you as an author or to a specific series and getting those fans interacting with one another directly, then those can be a great way of, building up fan bases and getting people loyal to you as well.
We mentioned KDP select. If you join them, then you actually have the option of making your book free. And there are ways to make it free without being KDP select, but it's not guaranteed and you don't have as much control over it. But in KDP select, you can make your book free for a up to five days during every 90 day period that your book is in.
Or you can do what's called a countdown deal, which lets you reduce the price. Of your book, but still keep that 70% royalty rate. And it'll also show a timer on the page until the price of the book goes back up, which can also help, push sales of your book. And again, you can choose that or free days on, during each of your 90 days periods.
Looks like I listed generate dozens of reviews twice. That's how important it is. That's totally not a mistake. I did that on purpose. and then you can also consider building an author community. I touched on that a little bit with, with social media. But if you have a, a community of, Readers, then you can interact with them and get them to be fans, and you can also build a community of other authors, of people that you can then help promote each other.
Because we're not really in competition with other, with other authors in our genre. None of us can write enough that, That we could keep up with how much our readers can read. So it you're going to have a lot better luck if you have a good relationship with other authors in your genre. If you promote their books, they'll promote yours and you'll get a, you'll, you'll share readers back and forth and you'll have a, you'll have much better luck promoting your books that way than you would be by just trying to hoard everyone to yourself and pretend that that nobody else exists.
Now when you only have one book, using these free strategies makes a lot of sense. It may not make as much sense to use some of the paid strategies until you actually have multiple books and, can kind of leverage that a little bit more. but there are a lot of pre paid strategies that you can use as well.
So the first thing is just giving your book away for free. there are a lot of different ways that you can give your book away and still make money. You can make your books available in libraries. You could, give away books that make money on the backend with, by using them for lead generation.
You could give away copies of your books in order to get reviews, and then those reviews will help to, to convince other people to purchase your book in the future. So there's a lot of options that you can do just by, by giving that book away. And we do have a full training on how to do that. And you can also run ebook discount promotions.
So, we had mentioned joining KDP select, doing some free days or running a countdown deal. If you really want to, Build on that, then you can actually pay for, some sponsored advertising, especially if you take a look at the next option, the submit your book for a BookBub featured deal is probably the hundred pound girl.
You know, the thousand pound gorilla. That's going to be a. The, the biggest bang for your buck, because they have literally millions of subscribers in all kinds of different genres, and, they can, they can push thousands of people, within the span of a few minutes to your book. So, and there are other options as well.
There is, Freebooksy and bargain Booksy and Fussy Librarian and various, No various options such as that where you can, you can get your book and the discount promoted in front of people that are interested in it, that, that enjoy your Chaunra. And then, one of the most effective methods is just to run Amazon advertising.
We especially like sponsored keyword ads. There are other types of ads, but, those are the ones that we've had the most luck with. And it can be a little difficult to make your money back if you only have one book. So it might be something to consider when you have multiple, but. Especially for children's books, we found we're able to, to do really well with them.
And we're generally making a sale in every , three to 10 clicks depending on, on which book we're promoting. And all of them are, slightly profitable, too. Very profitable on just that book. And then we've also been able to track that. We are getting a lot of read through and we're making sales just from someone buying that first book and then going on to buy multiple books. And if you have a three or four books series or a dozen books in a series a, it can be a really lucrative way of, of making money back by paying for some of those advertising. And then finally, scaling up. And at this point, this is how you can, you can really increase the number of books that you're selling or, you can make enough money to leave your job, or whatever your goal happens to be, then this is, this is a great place to start.
So the first thing that you'll want to do is build a newsletter of readers that really love, love your book. Whether that's giving away some kind of a bribe. Jay likes to give away, An audio book version of his children's books that people can just sign up for, for free, and they'll get onto the newsletter and then we follow up and let them know about the different series that he has and some of his most popular books.
And then when he does come out with a new book, we have a few thousand people we can email that will then come in and, and purchase the book. we also have the paint by numbers creator software in both Children's Book Formula and in Apex Authors. And that's a great place to go. if you have some images, you can create an outline of your, of your illustrations and then provide some pages that people can then print out and, and color them in.
So there's a lot of different options. We've certainly spoken about a few of those. When I recommend checking out our, training with Tammy Librax, she came in and gave us some strategies for how to, how to automatically follow up with people when they sign up for your newsletter and to really build that relationship with them.
The absolute best thing that you can do to, scale up your book sales is to just have a. Back catalog. So writing more books, having series of books makes it a lot easier to actually make money with, with them. You know, Jay did pretty well with his first book, but his second book, it was a complete bust.
It's, it's sells okay, but it doesn't sell great. And, it certainly one of, if not the, the lowest selling. Books that he has, but his, I think it was his fourth book, is the best selling one. So you never know which one of your books, what's going to hit and, and, and B, super popular. You may find that you're surprised or you may be able to figure that out, but as you become a better writer, as you become a better publisher, and as you get more products out to market, you have a better chance of hitting the just that, that right topic in the right audience.
And making more sales. And similarly, you can build your back catalog also by creating new additions of your books. So we've, we've talked about Kindle, paperback and hardcover books. you can also do large print versions of your books. You can do audio book versions of your books. You can create, you can modify, if you have nonfiction, you can create a workbook version and create a version that's just as questions that people go in and, fill out answers for.
And excuse me. So each of those books, it gives you an extra title. It provides another format that's a, that gives you an audience that you may not have otherwise had access to. especially audio books is, has been growing, by leaps and bounds, and it is really popular right now. And I expect that that's going to, to continue growing.
And there. Audio books can be a little bit difficult to create, but, once you have them available, there's not nearly as large of a, as much competition cause you're looking at millions upon millions of books that are available in the Kindle edition. Probably just millions that are available as paperbacks and then somewhere in a couple of hundred thousand books that are available as audio books.
So there's orders of degree difference. And right now there's a, there are, they have to be human narrated for most of the major marketplaces. but I'm expecting at some point in the future we'll probably have AI and aerated. Audio books that are available for sale, even in the, the main marketplaces.
And that's going to really open things up. And, we'll probably talk about that. We've, we've had a few trainings on audio books, but I think that we're about due for a new one. So maybe in the, in the next month or two, we'll put that together because things have been changing a lot, even in the last two years since our last training on the topic.
Another way to scale up your book sales is to regularly update your keywords and categories. And this can actually make a pretty big difference. And it's not just your keywords and categories, but also go in and update your, your book descriptions as well. And test, test them out, see it, make one change at a time, and then give it a few weeks to a month to see what, what difference that makes in your book sales and see which, which ones to keep, which ones to move, to get rid of.
Making sure your book is in the right category and has the right keywords can put it in front of different audiences. And even if it's not a matter of one is better than the other, it could just be a matter of, an audience that has pretty, you've pretty much saturated, especially in some of the smaller categories, and they just all already got your book.
So maybe it's time to switch up and find a new audience. And, regularly updating your books can, can lead to. building more sales and then getting those people onto your newsletter and then being able to make more future sales as you go along. And then finally, one of the, one of the best ways that we can, scale up our efforts is to take the skills that you are learning in Apex Authors or in Children's Book Formula, and find other people that want to do the same thing and, and create services that are available for them.
You can sell $500 services up to $10,000 plus depending on how much you want to do for people and what you're offering. And that can, that can be a nice little bit of a, of income as well. So that is. The self publishing roadmap, kind of a, a walkthrough of all the different steps and, some resources you can follow up with.
And, of course, if you have any, any questions, we can certainly follow up and go into, to more detail for any of these topics for, for future training session sessions as well.
Hey, this was a great training, buddy. Thank you so much for putting this together. And Linda agrees. She says this was so useful and well organized, Blaine.
Thank you. It's going to be one of my favorites. I agree. And in fact, I think we're going to put this in a, in the getting started tab inside of Apex Authors, and maybe even add it to the Children's Book Formula in the bonus tab as well. It's a really great overview. If you have some feedback for Blaine, let them know if you got some value from this presentation.
Everybody likes to see, every likes to see that face has great training. Thanks. Lots of info as Sandra. I agree. Awesome training. Thanks. Says a and R really useful, says Janet. I'm at the writing stage. We'll definitely come back to the publishing promotion later. Fantastic. Of course. Yeah. We have expanded training on all any and all of these topics, both inside of Apex Authors and inside children's books, and as an overview, this is a great sort of jumping off point a at whatever stage you're in.
I'll have some, thanks for squirrel. How comprehensive. Thanks Blaine. I agree. Hey, if you have a question for Blaine or for myself regarding anything that we talked about here. Anything in general, anything related to our pre training programs, et cetera. now's your chance. We can hang out for, another few minutes here, but let us know how we can help you type your question into the questions box so that we can make sure that we answer it for you live and in person here today, faith has a question, says.
it says, the most difficult thing that I'm having is getting reviews for my book. He says, Jim Kukral Ashley has a paid book review service. What's your thought about using a paid service? Great question. Faith. Actually, I'm not familiar. I know Jim, I'm not familiar with that service. I'm assuming because it's because it's Jim that it, he's not talking about a paid customer view that's actually against terms of service.
You cannot compensate or incentivize a, an actual customer to review your book. And you can actually get in trouble doing that. I'm assuming it's some sort of editorial review service that you're talking about faith. So I'm honestly, I'm not, I'm not sure.
Yeah, I actually am, I am actually familiar with his service, actually won a free happy book review from him, a year or so ago.
But I never, I never took advantage of it, so I haven't tested it myself. I think. It's basically you pay $25 and he makes, he gives your book a free copy of your book to a, a list of reviewers, I think is the general way that it works. And there are a few different services that work that way. I'm trying to remember the name of it.
There's a, there's a service that used to be called instaFreebie, but they, they renamed themselves last year, or maybe it was two years ago at this point. I don't, I can't, I bet if we searched on instaFreebie, we would, it would still come up. But it basically works the same way where it's based. It's a list of people who are interested in reviewing books and it's perfectly okay to give, advanced review copies or, reader copies to people.
You can give your book to somebody for free and they can leave a review that is perfectly within the rules. A few years ago, Amazon actually changed the rules for most of their products that you could not provide a free copy anymore. but that has, that has. Explicitly ha, there's an exclusion for books where you can give review copies to people and it's not considered paying them for their review because that is a, a time honored tradition in the book publishing industry.
So they, they do respect that. in terms of actually buying a review, you're not allowed to do that. You can't say, Hey, I'll give you 10 bucks if you go leave a review on my. on my book that will get it removed automatically.
I like to tell the story. I was listening to an interview on a podcast at one point, and, somebody had done like a little book launch party and she gave a copy of her book to everyone that came and they had a video and she'd also provided some drinks and cookies and things like that.
And Amazon saw the video and went and took down all the reviews for the people that were there because they said that they'd been paid because they got the cookies. So they can be pretty, pretty particular about paying for the reviews, but there's nothing wrong with paying a service that gets you in touch with people who would leave reviews.
And even better is to build your own newsletter list of people willing to leave reviews. And then when you launch your book, you can get a lot of reviews right away by, just asking people to leave the review and even put it into your autoresponder sequence. When somebody signs up, wait a week or two and send them an email that says, Hey, did you enjoy the book?
I would really love it if you could leave a review and give them a link to the page on Amazon where they can leave it.
Yeah. Thanks for that buddy. Theresa says, what about a landing page or a little website to promote your book or a newsletter does chosen the book formula help with that? or maybe Wix or, or WordPress.
That's a great question, Theresa. We actually used to have a theme, a book author theme. but it's a little bit outdated and I think it, it may not be a, I think as a WordPress theme, I don't think that's available anymore if we pull it down just because it was a, it was a little bit out of date. let me, let me say this just on this topic, and I'll send it over to Blaine and he can give you his 2 cents.
Please don't wait to get like some sort of website up to promote your book. It's not necessary, and certainly don't wait to publish your book before you get all these, all of these ducks lined up, and that happens to be one of the ducks. Just get it out there. I, I'll tell you, I don't, I, I, it's on my.
On my to do list, but it never happened. However many years later, since I published my, my best selling children's book series, I don't, I still don't have a website for that darn thing. now a landing page is a different story. Three sides. If you're talking about, creating a free offer, like we talk about so much.
In our trainings, some sort of free offer to add value to your book that you can link out to from the interior of your book. And, and, offer an audio book like Brian was talking about or some other, some other valuable and related. Content to your book buyers or readers, then that's a different story.
I do recommend that, they, if that's something that you want to do in order to start collecting contact information of your book readers, then that's absolutely easy, easy to do, and it's a lot easier than building a website. So, we have a couple solutions for that. One of those insights is, is an actual landing page builder.
That we offer to, and host for all of our Apex Authors, members. you can also, create a sort of a one off landing page if you have click funnels or some other automated page builder service or even, as a plug into a, to a website. You don't even have to build out the website in order to create a landing page on WordPress with a cool little plugin.
But, Blaine, did you want to add to that?
Yeah. I was, I struggled quite a bit when I was putting this presentation together because I was thinking maybe I should put something about list building into the end of the publishing section, but I decided to move that to the scaling up because it is a really important step, but I don't think it's something that is so important that it should be.
I'm tripping you up. And it does tend to be a little bit more of a of a technical nature in terms of how people put those together. I think if you're an Apex Authors member, I just use the List Rocket. We originally started out with a WordPress plugin and then we moved to Click Funnels. And between the two of them, we kind of got a good idea of what worked really well. And then we now use the List Rocket for all of Jay's books because it's a, they're, they're not pretty pages, but they're. They convert well and that it's what has worked the best for us. So it just, there's no guesswork about it. You just go in and fill out what you want on your, on your landing page, upload a cover image and the code for that you get from your auto responder service that, that puts the opt in box on there.
And. You can either, if you do have a website, you can download the files and put it right on your website and host it on your own domain. Or you can just copy the, a hosted version of it that we host and just send people directly to it. So that's the easiest way of, of getting that set up. But you can certainly, No, you could go with just the, the opt in page that you can get from all of your, the different auto responders, aWeber or ConvertKit or MailChimp. They all have a hosted page right on the website. So you don't have to have anything separate and you could just link directly to that if you wanted to.
Thanks for that. Clara says it's, is it called List Rocket? Yes. It's called List Rocket. And actually it's a bland, you have the Apex Authors members' area. Handy on your in your browser there, buddy.
Yeah. Where to
find that. Ingrid says, what email service do you recommend? Well, I've actually been using a Weber for my entire online marketing career.
I think you can start out a new accounts for 1995 a month, but you can also, if you're brand new and you don't even want to spend a dime, you can get a free, I don't know if you know this. I think this is still the case. You can get a free MailChimp. Chimp, C, H, I, M P MailChimp accounts, and I think you can use it up to your first 2000 subscribers for free.
So that's a great deal. And we've actually integrated the, the List Rocket to, to work with both a Weber and mail chip. And I think a couple of other autoresponders as well. But yeah, a great budget option is MailChimp. That's actually a free option for houses and great. Yeah. Here
we go. Alright, got it.
chimps for free, Claire and, and a Weber is another paid service. There's a send lane, there's a convert kit. But if you're just wanting to, if you're just starting out and you want to, use something for free, MailChimp is, mail Chimp is a great option.
Sorry, buddy. Go ahead. Yup. So you can find it under author software.
We have all of our book rocket system, and when we go on here, they, Weber, Weber, a GoToWebinar seems to be slowing my system down a little bit here with the bandwidth. Here we go. So yeah, so they're, they're pretty straight forward. Yep. So if we come in, you can download the files here, edit them here, and I'll show you what a one of the hosted pages, oops, that's a test one.
They find, here we go. So here's the general lookout. So you can customize the colors and you can put new images at the top, bottom, and and everything. So, it's, it's pretty straightforward for editing these, let's see, come in. We have full how to use right there. So you come in, give it a name, choose your colors, or even hide the head, or if you wanted to, and then you can go in and, make an update for each of the different sections.
And it will just update in real time as you type. So it's, it's pretty straightforward to, to use and, and, and download the files.
Yup. And we're hosting this for you, so all you need to do is actually grab a link. Once you've created, set up your page, just grab a link and you can add that to, to your, to the interior your book and link out if you have a free offer, et cetera.
And just use that our hosted link, we'll host it for you. Hey, one question for while you're there, buddy. Ingrid, sounds like she's ready to format her book. She is where the formatting instructions in Apex Authors do you want to do? yeah, there's, there's certainly that. Would you do me a favor and click on that, on that search, on that little magnifying glass search feature and just type in formatting or book formatting or whatever it is right.
One thing that, Blaine's been doing and he's been doing a great job of it, is to actually tag all of the trainings that we have inside this website because we have so much, he's been tagging them all with keywords that we think that you might be searching for to get him to look for information on a certain topic.
And so if you're looking for book formatting trainings, just type into book formatting into that search feature. By clicking that hour glass and it will come up with all of the book formatting trainings that we have.
Is that helpful, Ingrid? Great. Suzanne says, love the way this membership set up. It's so easy to find stuff. I'm so glad that that was sort of our, that was my reason for it. Cause we used to have an old, kind of an old fashioned sort of, 2011 looking a site. And I wanted to update it and I wanted it to look good and I wanted it to actually be even more useful than it used to be.
And so that's why we settled on this theme. And that's why. You know, we're kind of going the extra mile, or I should say Blaine's going the extra mile to make things searchable and easy to find for members here. So.
Karen says, where do you put your landing page link in Katie P. great question, Karen. I, I typically put, I have a page kind of like right up front in my book, even before table of contents, after the title page and the rights page, I have a book, a page that says, Hey, if, congratulations. as a buyer, as a buyer of this book we're getting, if you a cool free offer that you're going to love, click here for XYZ free offer, whether it's an audio book version of your book or whatever, whatever you got something that's relevant to your book.
There you go. Plain showing you the, maybe it'll show up in the look inside there. In any case, it's something really small. Yeah, there it is. A free bonus Ninja for audio book, and then that's it. And then we have a, a short link right there connected to a funny fart startin.net site, which isn't really a website.
We're just using that as a short link. And it links out to the landing page. So I like to put it soup, right upfront in the book so that it's visible. Even a folks that just click on the look inside feature, even if. No, by the book, it's right in the first few pages of content that are visible in that look inside feature.
And I don't care if they don't buy the book, if they're willing to, give me their contact information that's, that's even more valuable or just as valuable to me as, as if they actually bought the book. So,
yeah. And I do apologize, GoToWebinar. It does suck down all of my resources. Everything seems to be taken awhile today.
But, yeah, so we, we just have all of our pages. I downloaded 'em so we could use them on our own domain, but I created them inside of, one of our apex accounts. And then, just upload it on. So the, the Ninja farts one is just right at funnyfarts.net. And then we have, You slash Santa. Slash, fart ball, learn all the different ones.
Do, they just each have their own own link on it and it's, they're not linked to each other. It's just there's a link in the book and that's the only place that we promote those links. And, and then they appear.
Yeah. Thanks buddy. Irwin, while we're waiting for, your browser to update their mine is crawling as well.
Erwin says, what do you think of book sprout? Actually, I'm not a, I've never used books prep, Blaine, have you?
I have not used them. I don't have any. Nope. It looks like let's check for a saved version.
Good to know.
Here we go. So there's our way back machine version of it, at least. I'll take a look and see what's going on with that afterwards.
But as you can see, we don't make a lot of a lot of changes to these these pages.
Masa Coro says, so you're only limited to three pen names. Is that for fiction or nonfiction or three for each? I think you're referring to, to author central account. Which actually gives you three different pen names, makes three different pen names available to you.
If you need more than that, then it's just as easy as as getting a second or a third or a 23rd author, central account, if you, in fact you have that many books or different pen names, but yeah, you're really, you're not lit as far as your KDP at the KDP account level. You are, you can have unlimited pen names that you're publishing your books to.
Yeah. So just to be absolutely clear, so nobody makes any mistakes. When we're inside of Kindle direct publishing, you have one Amazon account that you use to log into your account. And in there you can specify, you can have as many pen names or publish other people's books for them as you want. and then in author central.
For each Amazon account that you use to log in to author central. You can have up to three pen names on each of those accounts that you can claim. And if you need more, it's okay to create a second author central account that you can then claim more pen names for. the one thing to bear in mind though, is you can only have one KDP account, even though you can have multiple Amazon accounts to log in to amazon.com or to Amazon's, other services like author central or AWS or any of that.
For KDP, you are only allowed to have one, and if you create more than one a year at risk of Amazon shutting down your account, so just want to make that really clear that you should only have one KDP account and there's nothing that will tie your different pen names inside of the KDP account. you know, once you get to the amazon.com from a customer side, they won't see that the books are published to the same account.
So you don't have to worry about that. So, but the only, the only way you can have more than one KDP account is if you actually create a separate business and have a separate, employer identification number that you use, for each one of those. but it's, it's very important that you only have one KDP account, even though you can create multiples of other things like author central.
Yup. Thanks for clarifying, buddy. And, I think we've answered most of the questions here. Again, if you've got a last minute question for us, we are over the 90 minute Mark, which is kind of like where we sort of, like to, I don't like to go too far over 90 minutes, but we got lots of folks still on the, on the training.
If you have a question for us, I'm willing to hang out for a couple more minutes and get your question answered live. That's why we do these every week. And if not, then we'll, we'll be logging off here real soon. Ingrid says, do you recommend it. A pen name over my real name. Great question. In again, we have lots of training in the Apex Authors, a members area on that specific topic.
Go ahead and search for it yourself, but just to quickly address it, it really depends on what your. you're doing, if you're writing a book, maybe to, establish yourself as an authority on a, on a certain topic, or maybe put this book out in front of an existing business of yours, then it certainly makes sense to use your real name if you're publishing to multiple niches, right?
So maybe you have a book on, maybe you're a self help author right? And you want to use your real name for that, but you're also publishing children's books or to different niches, then it would, it would make sense to maybe use a pen name for that because just so that, just so that, folks clicking through, maybe a mom of a young child clicking through, a, clicking through to your author page.
To check out your other books doesn't, it would be kind of odd to see maybe a weight loss book or some more of this sort of self help book. Maybe not. That's up to you, but that's, those are some circumstances that you may consider using a different name or a pen name for your book. Publish it to these very different niches.
And I hope that, hope that makes sense.
Yeah. And we do have, quite a few trainings on that specifically. So I do recommend checking out, checking out some of these on the apex site. So if you search for pen name or pseudonym or anything similar to that, then they should all come up
a question from a NR.
Sorry, I don't see your first name here. It says, does KDP keep publishing rights if they assign the ISBNs bland? You want to cover that quickly?
Yeah, the way that, The way that works is they'll be the publisher of record for the print version, for that particular edition. They don't get any rights to your, to your book.
They're basically, they're still just licensing the ability to print and sell and distribute your book. but they can't then go and, it's, it's limited in terms of, of what they can do, but they will be listed as the publisher of record if you use there. they're free ISV number. So other than for vanity reasons, or if you're going to be, if you want to be able to print your book with multiple different, printers, then it's really not that big of a deal.
the main reasons you would want your own ISBN number is if you do plan on selling to bookstores. you can use expanded distribution with a KDP print ISBN number. But bookstore is really don't like ordering from Amazon. They don't get very good, discounts from Amazon. And. They're just not fans of, people ordering online.
They'd rather people come into the store, so they don't, they don't tend to just stock books. If, If it has KDP listed on it. So if you wanted to go to Ingram spark, then you can get into the catalogs and list yourself and your own imprint as the a publisher of record. And then there you are in diff.
You know, there's nothing to differentiate you from any other publisher out there. and as long as you're using your own ISBN number, then you can print at both. IngramSpark and at KDP print. So all of the Amazon sales would come direct from Amazon, and then everybody else would buy their books from, from Ingram spark.
And you can set the discounts in your return policy and, and you have a lot more control over that. You can get much better, royalties off of it that way as well. Just make sure you don't check the, Expanded distribution on the KDP side because they can, the book can only appear once in any of the catalogs.
So it would, it would appear multiple, basically Ingram spark wouldn't be able to put your book out if it was, it was set in an expanded distribution for, for KDP, and it takes between 30 to 60 days for your book to come out once you uncheck that box. So you'll have to, you'll have to wait and monitor if you did want to make a change there.
Thank you, sir. Rose says, I'm a children's book author. I want to offer large print. Mark it as how a grandma can read the books to kids. She said, I know this one personally. I think that's, I think that's a good idea. Rosa. Again, depending on the type of book that your children's books that you're publishing, if it's a picture book, those typically have large print as well.
If they're a chapter book or an early chapter book, maybe that's not necessary. If they're, if these are kids that are able to read anyway. But for, for a, for a picture book, the print is the print of whatever texts you may have. There is typically large on the large side anyway, if we're talking about a print book.
So, yeah, I think that's, I think that's fine. I don't know if it would necessarily add value to, to, to market it to grandma's. A large print children's book, but I know there's other books and book niches where you know, that makes sense and people are doing that. It wouldn't take too much to test though, Rose.
It wouldn't take too much to create a regular print size version and a large print size version of the same book. And market one four for grandmas and grandpas, to help them read, read the book better for their, for their young kids. So, Rose has, how do you offer large print for other books?
I get them from the library. It's just a matter of, of formatting. If we're talking about, formatting a. A LAR, a larger font for your print books, that's easily done. And again, it would be worth worthwhile testing if you've already got the book written to create a large print version. Let us know how that works out.
Rose, if, if you, in fact you do test it. Yeah. Blaine, anything, any, Alright. Any other feedback on that, on that matter for Rose?
Yeah, I don't know on children's books how much of a difference it would make. I will say if you want your book to be easily readable, for the grandmothers, and more important than the large print is to make sure that you have some good contrast in the letters.
you know, one thing that drives me nuts, everybody knows the cat and the hat. But if, a good third to half of that book is, black text on a blue background and it's, it's actually a little difficult to read, when you're, when you're reading it to your kids, especially at night, and you don't have the bright lights on and everything.
So if you, if you. Are going to be switching between, a, a light colored background and a dark colored background. You know, feel free to use white text on, on that dark blue instead of, instead of black text for those particular pages. And, as someone who reads books to kids all the time, that that would be, It's something that I would appreciate for the Kindle versions. If you go through our Kindle kids' book training, we actually show how to create a popup of the text so that if it is, if somebody does need help reading and they're having trouble with the with that. or if you're, if you have smaller text or whatever the case is, they can actually click on it and have a bubble come up, right?
It'll have the text on there, and then as they swipe, it'll go from one text area to the next across the page so that they can read it. and that's, that's a good accessibility feature to add in, just as a, as a matter of course, in terms of chapter books and you know, anything meant for adults and whatnot.
Then. It doesn't hurt to have a large print version. And basically you just set your, your trim sizes and you make sure that you have the right minimums for your fonts and everything in terms of the size of the book. And then when you upload it to KDP, there's an option. there's, it's just a check box that you check off that says this is a large print edition and you can upload, two copies of the same book, one of which is normal and one which is, which is large print.
And, and they'll actually get tagged together as a, as a separate edition that's, available on the Amazon listing page. And some people do prefer to have the large print and other people would prefer to, save the dollar or two on the, on the print book and have, fewer pages that they're, they're having to pay for it.
So you can actually price, you can price the large print version a little bit higher. And. People can decide, Oh, is the slightly easier to read a addition worth it for me to, pay a few extra dollars. And, and that's, that's one way to, to provide different options to people, fairly, fairly easily.
So, I would recommend that for chapter books. I don't know, for children's books, I can't say that I've ever noticed anything using the large print designation. And you know, for me personally, it's not something I would, I would look for. I would look at the look inside though, to see the contrast before actually purchasing a book.
Thank you, sir. Jan says, we do audio books for people. So if someone wants the books read, how can I hang out my shingle? Can I offer a special deal to members of the group? or should I go through Fiverr? Great question, Jan. Yeah, absolutely. We actually have a, we have a, Oh gosh, what's it called? A a database.
Of members inside the Apex Authors Facebook group that actually offers services like that, and we would be happy to add you to that, to that list or directory or whatever you want to call it. send a message to Erin at our help desk, Jan, and we'll add you to that. Or you can post over there. As well.
but if you want to send a message to Erin at our help desk, she can certainly help you with that. Send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and, regarding, other other platforms that you may want to, consider to, to, to list your business on. I know ACX is one. I've never done it before, by the way.
ACX is one. Fiverr as well. Upwork. Oh, guru.com I think all of those, you can sort of hang up your virtual shingle and connect with authors who want, who would want to hire you for you. That, for that. So, yeah. Any other, any other suggestions for Jan before we log off here? Buddy?
Yeah, we actually have a page.
I believe it's it. There's a page in Children's Book Formula and on Apex Authors with the, with the links, you can find them under the bonus tabs, for Apex Author Service Providers. And if you go into the Facebook group and scroll down to the, on the side where it has, discussion. And then one of the options is announcements.
And if you go into the announcements, we actually have an announcement that's a. You know, from a few years ago when we first created this, and that'll have the links as well. So you don't have to find the pages directly in the, Apex Authors or in the, Children's Book Formula member areas. But basically the way it works is it's just a, a Google spreadsheet and a, a form.
So if you want to add your information, just go and fill out the form and then, you'll appear in, in the, in the spreadsheet. So if you scroll down, we have, the list of service providers is right here. And then right here is the link for the, the form. So if you go in, it'll just ask you for your name, how you'd be contacted, if you have any samples online and like the types of services that you provide, and you know, what, what sets you apart.
And, if you do ever want to remove or update your information, just let us know and we can, we can take your record out or fix it up for you. But it is, it is something available. The only people who have access to this are people in the apex community.
Yeah. Thank you for that. Elizabeth has a related question, said no.
Have any good editing services for adult novels. You, I know we have lots of talented editors in the group. Elizabeth, you might want to check that out first. or when can you upload a PDF directly to KDP or do you have to create a.mobi version? The question or when I recommend that you do create a.mobi version, just because if for no other reason, then.
There's, it's just easiest for, for Kendall slash Amazon slash KDP to render it effectively. In all the different, devices that folks are going to be purchasing your book and reading it from different, definitely different national screen sizes, different resolutions, et cetera. So, it's not too much harder to create a.mobi version.
And certainly we have the software available to you in both Children's Book Formula and the Apex Authors, members area. So, yeah. Yeah. Let us know if you have any issues. With that conversion, but it's really not that much with it. With the technology out there right now, it's just as easy to create a.mobi version as it is a PDF version, and I recommend that you do.
Yeah, I think in general, it's not a good idea to use a PDF version for your Kindle. There are a few ways to do it. yeah. It's not, it doesn't lead to a good reader experience. And, it also means that you're going to be spending a lot more on delivery costs, assuming that you have the 70% royalty rate chosen, because PDFs are not particularly efficient.
File formats. so you're, you're much better off creating actual mobi files and starting from, if you use, if you have it in as a word document to start with, use the formatting rocket and we can, we can turn it into a well formatted, mobi file for you. We're an epoch file. Kindle Kids Book Creatorreator allows you to import PDFs, but you're much better off if you just take the JPEG images and optimize those, those JPEGs first, and then import them directly in and just lay it out.
It only takes a few extra minutes versus importing the PDF and, your file size will be much, much smaller. so, I definitely, and you know, I think if you use the textbook creator, which is another free application from Amazon. you could go direct from PDF to, Oh, right to Moby again. But I've gotten a couple of books that were created that way, and I just, I never bothered finishing them.
I just, it's just not a good reader experience, so I don't recommend it.
I agree. I think we're going to log off here very soon and. before we do it. Oh, I wanted to, I wanted to say one thing before we do, actually a couple of things, but start with this. Keri Ray Barnum, our new shelves, books marketing director, who very kindly comes on once a month and presents a. A dedicated live training on all things, book marketing, and many other things.
we're going back and forth this week. She's going to be presenting in a couple of weeks, and she's like, what topic do you want me to present on? Usually she has a topic or we've already talked about it before. but she wanted to put it to you, the group. What sort of information, what kind of training can Keri help you with?
Go ahead and type it into the questions box. If you have a suggestion for a topic, briefly book marketing, but it could be on anything. let us know. How can we help you? What topic would you like Keri Ray to present on the next time? I think she's going to be presenting in a couple of weeks from now.
Just type it into the questions box here. If you have a suggestion, we'll also going to be publishing a posting that same question in the Facebook group, so you can certainly, post your suggestion over there as well. Now, Michael says illustrations for idiots. Great. that's, that's a good suggestion there.
I don't know if Keri is necessarily going to be a, I don't know if she's an illustration expert herself, but we'll certainly take that into consideration. Masa courses where to start. That's kind of where we were at here today, Masa course. So, Hopefully this was helpful and if you want to, yeah. Where to start.
Right. Launching a book in any niche. Okay, great. Thanks Ingrid. Do you have a specific niche that you, that you were interested in and are says what's the fastest, easy way, easiest way to promote books so that they are lucrative as soon as possible? We do have, we have had a book launch, certainly book launch trainings and you may want to check out.
I'm not sure if it would be helpful if you could be a little bit more specific than than that. Cause there's tons of different ways to promote books. You may want to check out the new shelves books, a training category on the Apex Authors website. We have dozens of how to promote your books, trainings from Keri and from Amy, both from new shelves, books.
So, that may give you some ideas. Getting books translated. Great idea. Rose demonstrating Scrivener, demonstrating, creating a Facebook or Amazon ad, the actual creation. We, I don't think we have had an Amazon ads training. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe Keri can help us out with that. Great. Great suggestion.
Faith, Marissa. Okay. Sorry. I've got your, I have a different name showing off here. Personal development. Okay. I'm not sure if that's, if that's necessarily real personal development for authors. That's, that's an interesting. Interesting training idea books using other people's content, I. E. Curating content for others.
Great. Okay. Yes, Amazon ads. We do have an Amazon ads separately. Amazon ads training, and in fact an updated one that blamed recorded recently inside the members area, both children's books and Apex Authors. Okay, great. So thanks for all these suggestions. Fantastic. Alright, super helpful. And I think. We're kind of good to go here.
We're closing in on the two hour Mark. This is a longer than usual semi marathon training here today. but, but we've been on a roll. We've got lots of questions. I think we've helped a lot of people, certainly with Blaine's training and, and with, during the Q and a period here. last minute question from penny.
Do you have a specific training on getting the words over the illustrations in a children's book as opposed to separate illustrations and texts on the same page? Yeah. Actually, penny have a look inside the children's book members area inside the, inside the, the formatting, either the writing of the formatting tab.
We do have training specific to that. And I think we have do it yourself stuff. And we also show how, okay. But outsource it as well.
Okay. Okay. Okay.
Well, you seem to have cut off there, Jay.
If I am out. So, hello?
Hello? You just came back.
Okay. I think that's, that's my computer telling me that, it's time to close with this, this marathon training session out. Murcia says his session was so good with seven O's in the, so thanks Jane. Blaine. Thank you so much. I hope that this was.
Alrighty. Well, I think we will. It's Jay again.
You're on page marketing then that's going to be an opportunity. Blaine, you want to close it out, buddy, if you can.
Yeah. Yup. So next week we'll be doing a hot seats. Ask us anything. So if you have any questions that you want us to cover or if you would like us to do a hot seat for your book, just email email@example.com and Erin will get you onto the, onto the queue.
Just send us the link to your book on Amazon or, any of your questions that you'd like us to cover and we will make sure to get to it. And then also if you have any suggestions. For our next, dedicated training from, new shelves, books on book marketing. We are looking for suggestions and we'll be, we'll be deciding on, on what our next few trainings are going to be over the next few months, probably in the next week or so.
So I will put a post into the Facebook group this afternoon, specifically to look for suggestions there. So let us know what it is you would like.
Thanks buddy. Thanks everyone. We'll see you. same, same bat channel, same bat time, next Wednesday at 1:00 PM and a, until then, have a fantastic week and I'll talk to you soon.
AI Transcription provided by Descript.com.
Writing & Illustrating:
20 Genre Tropes
Guide to Outlining Your Book
Training #276 – Writing and Productivity
Make an Hour For Writing
Training #319 – Writing Tools
Training #318 – Writer's Block
Book Cover Rocket
Training #309 – Book Covers That Sell
How to Design a Book Cover That Sells
Training #292 – Professional Cover Design Strategies
Expert Media Show: Designing Covers
KDP Paperback Cover Templates
Book Formatting Rocket
Training #82 – Kindle Kids Book Creator
Training #270 – Book Creation Software
Optimize Your Book Description and Book Title
Training #170 – Book Pricing Brain Dump
Authors Guide to Copyright
Beginner’s Guide to ISBNs
Kindle Direct Publishing: Quickstart Guide
Training #225 – Ingram Spark
Training #120 – Selling Books in Other (Non-Amazon) Marketplaces
Training #288 – Printing Physical Books
Why You Should Create an Author Page
Generate Dozens of Reviews for Your Book
Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Authors
KDP Select Pros and Cons
Training #297 – Author Communities
Training #237 – 12 Ways to Profit from Giving Away Free Books
Training #316 – eBook Discount Promotions
How to Generate Thousands of Book Sales in 48 Hours
Training #313 – Amazon Advertising in 2020
Training #262 – How To Become a Newsletter Ninja
How to Write 12 Books in 6 Months
How to Make More Profits From Existing Books
Get Ranked for the Right Keywords
Get Ranked in the Right Category
Selling Publishing Services
Q & A: