In this Episode
- [01:31] – If you don’t have a book, how do you create one? If you do, how do you turn it into a bestseller? In his answer, Rob gives more insight into how his company works and discusses the biggest challenge people have with creating content — as well as how he gets around this challenge.
- [06:45] – Malcolm Gladwell does a great job of engaging people in his books such as Outliers, Rob explains, by keeping the loop open long enough to keep readers’ attention.
- [07:26] – On average, an author Rob works with creates about one chapter of content per week in about an hour to an hour and a half, so a book can be done in a couple of months.
- [08:40] – Rob discusses how Taki Moore went through the process of creating his book, which is different than anything else the company had done before.
- [10:47] – How long should a book generally be? Rob answers that the sweet spot tends to be 150 to 175 pages. He and Stephan then go on to discuss the issues and intimidation factors involved with long books.
- [13:02] – “When you pay, you pay attention,” Stephan says, and Rob goes on to discuss his thoughts on the intricacies of giving books away.
- [14:55] – Rob describes the process of getting to do a TED Talk, emphasizing the importance of building relationships.
- [17:04] – We learn more about the different types of bestsellers, suggesting focusing on those that you can control rather than worrying about those that you can’t control (such as the New York Times bestseller list).
- [19:40] – Rob explains how to drive traffic to your book, which absolutely isn’t doing a book signing at Barnes & Noble. He also talks about his company’s process of releasing a book.
- [24:19] – Do a bunch of reviews get removed from Amazon? After answering, Rob emphasizes the importance of getting reviews, because having lots of good reviews builds a good foundation for future sales.
- [27:17] – Rob suggests taking screenshots of any Amazon category or country where your book ends up in the top five of the bestseller lists.
- [28:55] – Stephan asks about making different sites for each of your books, potentially including some content from each, versus having one site for all of your books or products.
- [30:43] – Rob talks about where to make big money from your book (and it’s not from the royalties). He starts by talking about how to turn your book’s success into paid speaking gigs.
- [35:48] – Rob details some other methods for lead generation, and mentions the “free plus shipping” model.
- [37:45] – How does shipping itself work with the “free plus shipping” model? Rob recommends using a fulfillment house and recommends Joe Foley at Disk.com.
- [39:34] – Rob offers more details on how he makes the “free plus shipping” model work, such as pulling a template or content sample out of your book and offering it to a potential audience for leads, and the pros and cons of each method.
- [41:32] – We hear Rob’s thoughts on publishers in general.
- [42:48] – How do you get big media opportunities? Rob gives his advice on how to show that you’re qualified and professional enough to appear on a show.
- [45:55] – Rob talks about how one of his clients got to appear on the Howard Stern Show, and how much of an impact it’s had on his sales.
Hello and welcome to Marketing Speak. I’m your host Stephan Spencer. Today I have the distinct pleasure of inviting Rob Kosberg onto the show. Rob is a two time international best-selling author, founder of bestsellerpublishing.org. He’s been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox News. Rob has spoken to and taught thousands of entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants how to stop hunting for clients and instead position themselves as the hunted using their own best-selling book. Through his trademark Publish. Promote. Profit. Program, Rob helps his clients to create their own professional best-selling book, guaranteed, and then in his team books his clients for media opportunities like TV, radio, blogs, podcasts, as well as speaking engagements. It’s great to have you on the show, Rob.
Hey, thank you Stephan. Great to be with you and good to reconnect after a couple of years.
We actually met through Taki Moore and his Black Belt program which you probably know, there’s an interview with Taki on this very show. Listeners, go check that out, it’s a good one. Rob, let’s start with if you don’t have a book, how do you create one? If you do have one, how do you turn that book into a bestseller?
Boy, those sound like simple questions but there is a lot. I don’t know. Maybe a good example, we’ve done over 300 books for clients, we have a complete “done for you” service. There’s a lot of moving parts to it. We’ve done books for clients in every genre and category in different countries. In fact, right now, Taki’s book is being launched. I forgot to even mention that to you off the air but Taki’s book, we created and I can talk through the easiest way to create content and how we do it with our clients so it’s kind of effortless, is that maybe a good first direction to go in?
That would be perfect. If you think Taki would be up for it, we could use him as a bit of a case study. Kind of what he does using case studies in his awesome podcast with James, The Sales Marketing Profit Podcast.
We’re still in the midst of launching his and we’ll start on the PR and the media after the launch is complete. Really, the first day of the launch, he hit Hot New Release and in fact was the number one bestseller on his category. It’s going really, really well. We did some unusual things with Taki as far as creating content. He actually created all the content for the book in one week. Most of our clients take a little bit longer than that. Hey, we like it when our clients are really aggressive and Taki is certainly one of them. What we found is the biggest challenge that people have with creating content is they think there’s only two paths. One path is you’re like the author, you’re the content creator where every day you sit down, you write 500 words, you write 1000 words. Even if you have writer’s block, you just write through it even mindlessly if you will. What I found is that most authors or most would be authors are just not that kind of individual, they’re not daily content creators, and in fact I’m not either. The vast majority, like 95% plus, don’t create content like that on a regular basis. For most people, the only other option is the traditional ghost writing path. The problem with that path is that it’s like an interview process where you give a ghostwriter a table of contents and the ghost writer interviews you based on what the table of contents is. What we have found is that that doesn’t work because what it fails to capture is the voice of the author. You may have good content but often you don’t have good context. That’s the stuff that makes the book readable, vibrant and alive. I know this first hand because when I wrote my first book eight years ago, that’s exactly what I did, I hired a ghostwriter and it was just a complete debacle and cost me tens of thousands of dollars. Every single week, I talk to authors that experienced the exact same thing. How then do you do it if path A doesn’t work, path B doesn’t work? About five years ago, we created our own path, we call it hybrid ghostwriting. This is a great way for you to create content. Basically, the way it works is of course we brainstorm everything with them from soup to nuts, we help them create the hook, we do a deep dive survey into who their ideal client is, fears, frustrations, wants, aspirations, so that we can title it, subtitle it, and even help our client build out the table of contents. Once that’s done, then the work of creating the content for each chapter is the hybrid ghostwriting process. Basically, the best way I can describe it is it’s done like a great TED Talk is done. If you’ve seen a great TED or TEDx Talk, then you know they all follow a similar format, it’s generally 20 minutes which is the perfect recording time for one chapter. It generally starts with a story and it could be a story from a client case study, or from your personal life, or it can even be from sports, or history, or whatever. Then there’s an open loop where the story doesn’t culminate. The speaker then goes into the one, two, or three main points that they want to make in their 20-minute session. And then they close strong with either the close of the loop or a completely different story to make their points. What we found is when we work with our authors and our ghost writers work with our authors to create content in such a way that we capture the voice of the author in a really quickly kind of easy format. That’s a bunch of run-on sentences but hopefully that makes sense.
That’s awesome. I love that process. I remember doing the fears, frustrations, wants, and aspiration exercise in Black Belt. That was really enlightening. Mapping that out in the four quadrants, I really love that. And then keeping open loops, I learned about that from Neil Straussand Cat-String Theory and all that, he was quite a pick up artist. You probably know from his books and everything. Keeping open loops keeps people interested, what a great way to keep them engaged throughout the whole chapter and not saying, “Oh wow, that was a really cool story,” and then they close the book and go off on the run, or go to bed, or whatever.
Yeah. Malcolm Gladwell does a superior job at that if you’ve ever read Outliers or one of his other books. He’ll tell a story at the beginning of the chapter. He’ll talk about the Beatles, their experience when they were 16, 17 years old, the 10,000-hour rule, and all of that, and then he just leaves it hanging. And then he goes into the science of it, and then he closes the loop. He’s a great example of that too if someone’s interested in looking at it.
Yeah, yeah. I’ve read several of his books, love them.
Yup, me too.
How long of a process is this? You start with the hybrid ghostwriting after you’ve done the survey and you’ve developed the hook, what’s the time frame we’re talking about here?
It depends on how quickly and accessible an author is to us. As an example, I’d say our average author creates about one chapter of content a week which is a 30-minute session with our ghostwriter. They need a little bit of prep time ahead of that, maybe 30 minutes to an hour. If somebody has an hour to an hour and a half a week, then they can create every chapter of their book. If there’s eight chapters, that’s a nice 150 or 175 page book. It can be done in an eight week period. If somebody like Taki wants to bang it out and get it done in a period of two or three weeks, then all they have to do is just dedicate a little bit more time during that week to doing it. Certainly, we have clients that do that but I’d say on average our clients are busy entrepreneurs. They’re all financial advisers, doctors, dentist, chiropractors, tons of coaches and consultants, and lots of people that you and I know. They just don’t have the time many times to bang out all the content in two weeks. They’re happy once a week doing it.
With Taki, he would just lock himself up for a week with the ghost writer and would have pizza shoved under the door basically every so often, what was it like?
He did it actually very differently, which was hard on my team. What he did, we’ve never done it this way before. I don’t know if we’ll ever do it again because of the challenges that it entails. What Taki did is he did three webinars to his list basically encompassing all of his content. His three webinars were done in a one week period, and each webinar was about three hours long, so we have nine hours of content which is way more content than you need for a book. You and I know Taki so Taki didn’t quite follow the format we would’ve liked. We had to do a lot of cutting and editing and that kind of thing. If someone wants to do it that way, they can do it that way but they just need to understand that the work may not be in a webinar or the content creation but you’re still going to have the work, and the work is going to be in the editing phase. We had a lot of work in the editing and rewriting phase to take it from the spoken word to the written word which is typical but again, on a webinar, it was a little bit more unusual. That’s how Taki did it but lot of our other clients that have done it quickly, that is kind of what they do, they almost sequester themselves for a week or 10 days, and then they just crank out the content, and then they’re done. If they do it in our process then we can literally have the book back in their hands a month there after, at least the first draft of the manuscript.
Very cool. What sort of length do you want to aim for? Is it like the 150, 175 page? Or do you want maybe sometimes a larger book because it’s a more complex topic, like I’m into SEO and I’ve got of course 1,000 page book.
I know. I remember the day you handed it to me, I was like, “Holy cow!”
Yeah. I didn’t do it all by myself. I had help with my co-authors but it’s a lot of work. Every time we do an update, it’s daunting. We’re due for an update here probably in a couple months to start working on it. I’m dreading it.
This is an easy answer. The sweet spot for consumption, statically speaking, is about 150 to 175 pages. When you go longer than that, then consumption falls way off, people just don’t read it. Your book may be different because it maybe a little bit more like a manual. Someone can turn to a particular chapter and get the content that they need without reading the entire book through, but most of our clients’ books are not that way. Again, we want it to be consumed and we want our client’s books to be able to be consumed in a three or four hour period, which generally is about that 150 to 175 page mark.
Yup, got it. One thing, I give my book away to different industry friends and so forth like yourself. I check in with them later on, maybe I see them at another conference a few months later or even a year later and I’m like, “Hey, did you crack open that book I gave you?” Nope, they sure didn’t. They didn’t even bother to open it, let alone read any of it. It’s like, “What the heck?”
It’s intimidating. Probably, for most people, if they’re handed something like that, there’s an intimidation factor. Again, with your book they can probably turn to any chapter and get the content that they need. But for most people, they don’t think of books that way. They think of books in a linear fashion where I have to start at the beginning and I have to read it all the way through. When you have something that’s 300, 400, 500 pages, there’s just this intimidation factor that causes people to not even open it. We try to avoid that altogether. Again, you can do that with a manual but as much as possible try to avoid that. Try to keep it in the scientific sweet spot for consumption which is about 150 to 200 pages.
Yeah. I think another thing might be coming into play here is when I give my book away to people, they haven’t invested anything in it. There’s a saying that goes, when you pay, you pay attention. If somebody gives you a free online course, oftentimes it’ll just sit there and you won’t even go in and start watching the videos or anything for months because you didn’t pay for it.
Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly. I talked to my clients about giving their book away and the power of giving their book away. I make it really clear how they’re supposed to do that. Some authors will just do a speaking engagement and put a copy of their book in every exhibit bag or something like that, that is absolutely the worst way to do it. Because just like you said, it’s not something that they have requested. It’s almost like an opt in versus buying an email list. When I have a client that does a speaking engagement or when I have a client do a TV interview, or podcast, or whatever, I always suggest that they give the book away, and even give a physical version of the book away. But in a speaking engagement, the only people that they give a book to are people that exchange their complete information for it. We give them a little structure at the end of the speaking engagement where they can give away a success pack or something like that which would include a copy of their best-selling book. What they have to get is generally they’ll hand out sheets and the sheet has name, telephone number, email address, and even two or three questions that will really pinpoint if this person is a good client or potential client based on their criteria. Anybody that fills that form out and passes it in, that’s the person that gets a free copy of the book. Never on the spot, it’s always something that is mailed to them because they’re not going to consume it at an event. Later, they’re going to get it, they’re going to go, “Oh yeah,” and that will lead to a potential client. That works like gangbusters if any of your clients, or listeners, or speakers, and they’re interested in really generating great leads.
Yeah, that’s great. You mentioned that some of your clients got in TED Talks and so forth through your help. Could you describe the process for getting onto a TED stage or TEDx stage?
Yeah. Basically, a lot of that is relationship based. What do you have to do? You have to first build the relationship with those that are holding TEDx events all over the country, or TED events. You could go onto TED site and you can find out the upcoming TED and TEDx events all over the country. Also, notate the topic that those are on. When you find one that is as related to your topic as possible, you then want to go about to initiate and build a relationship with that individual. How do you do that? First and foremost, you send him a copy of your book with some type of introductory letter. As much as possible, you should also send a personal handwritten note to that individual. And then, you want to follow up on that. How do you follow up? Old school, get on the telephone or have an assistant call their gatekeeper and try to schedule a one-on-one call. Like any other kind of event, they’re going to fill their event with a) the most qualified people; and b) more than likely people that they know and that they already have relationships with. If you can check both of those boxes then by building a relationship and also by showing yourself as being qualified as a best-selling author, then you can get not only TED events but you can get as many speaking engagements as you want.
That’s awesome. That’s one thing I have not done yet is gotten onto a TEDx stage yet. I’ve done literally thousands of speaking engagements over the last two decades but never a TEDx or stage so it’s on my list for sure.
Let’s talk about becoming a bestseller because there’s magic in that. There are different types of bestsellers, right? There’s an Amazon category bestseller, there’s an overall bestseller on Amazon, New York Times, Wall Street Journal bestsellers, USA Today, a bunch of different bestseller lists. What do you aim for, what do you suggest the listener aims for, and what’s the process for that?
Good question. There’s a lot of steps in that process. I can walk through it quickly but first and foremost, we aim for what we can control. What I mean by that is New York Times, Wall Street Journal, even USA Today, to a certain respect, those are selection committees. Like Russell Brunson, we’re talking about him earlier. I helped him with his book launch, his first book DotCom Secrets, he’s a buddy of mine. He sold 30,000 copies in a period of about a month, 45 days. He should have absolutely been on every list and probably should have been in the top one or two for New York Times and Wall Street Journal but he wasn’t even mentioned on those lists. Why was that? Well, they don’t like marketing related books. They’re afraid that marketers are gaming the system and to be quite honest, they are. They’re paying attention to that. You can’t control getting on the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, or USA Today, or any of those because they may hate your content or they may just feel like you’re a marketer that’s trying to game the system. What can we control? That doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish that. You can accomplish that but you just can’t worry about that. It can’t be your primary focus. Our primary focus is Amazon because Amazon is a pure algorithm. It’s all dependent upon downloads and sales. Amazon just keeps track and of course there are multiple categories. A category is chosen, every author gets two categories, doesn’t matter who they are, and a category is chosen of course based on the content that is in your book. We focus foremost on driving as much traffic to our client’s books via a couple of many, many different angles. Generally speaking, our clients hit bestseller in major categories and even internationally. When we do a book launch, our clients usually hit international bestseller in five or six different countries and usually multiple categories just because of the amount of traffic that we drive. I don’t want to get too far off based but I can share details of what someone would do during a book launch if you like. Does that answer your first question?
Yeah, that’s great. It would be helpful to get a sense for how does somebody, an author, kind of drum up the interest. Are they going around from city to city doing a book tour or are they buying copies on Amazon for their friends and sending them out? What is the way the author helps himself/herself to get on this bestseller list?
Yeah. No, no, no, no, no to those things. We can drive more traffic from one website blogger podcast than anybody will ever see in a Barnes & Noble at a book signing. If any authors want to do that, it’s either a) they’re really thinking old school, or b) there’s an ego play where they like the feeling of people coming in and lining up to get their book or whatever. The truth of the matter is those methods are dead or dying. If you don’t have a big name and a big presence, then going to a Barnes & Noble and doing a book signing is going to be really an ego buster. You know what I mean? Because very few people are going to show up for it. We don’t focus in any of those methods, nor do we worry at all about our client buying books for their audience. If our client has a good size audience like Taki, then we want to take advantage of that, both for them and for the launch of the book. There’s a couple of things we can do, we can do Facebook lives together, we recommend that they email to their lists, etc., but we do this in a couple of steps. For someone that maybe is considering doing this for themselves, step one for us is we always make sure that our client’s title cover and formatting are done perfectly. The reason I even add that step in there is because we work with two types of clients, we work with the type of client that doesn’t have a book at all, just an idea, and we take them from start to finish, soup to nuts, and do everything for them. Many of our clients come to us and they already have a book completed. Before we launch that book, we want to make sure that the title is good, the cover design is great, and that the formatting is done well. All of that has to be right on point because books are bought on covers and titles. If they’re not great, I have a full time graphic artist that sits 50 feet away from me just because we want these things done right. That’s step number one. Step number two is something we call the soft launch and that’s the review phase. What we do is we list our client’s books, the digital version, for 99 cents for a period of about two weeks. We tell them to let everybody know in their social media, let everybody know on your email and we’re going to let our giant following know that this book is currently on promotion for only 99 cents, the digital version simply because in exchange for it at 99 cents, we want you to give us a good customer review, a good review of the book. That first couple of weeks, all we’re focused on is getting as many Amazon verified reviews as possible because Amazon gives a lot of love to books that have 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 plus reviews. Right out of the gate, that’s what we want to do. We also oftentimes like with Taki, we’ll hit hot new release and top rated book which means the Amazon is now going to give it it even more love and featured at the top of these various lists. After that’s done, we then do a big promo launch. Generally, what we do is we do paid advertising on 60 plus different websites that we pay for client’s book launch, all these websites are for specific genres and categories based on the genre and category of our client’s books. We do three big time press releases. We spend tens of thousands of dollars just on press releases for client’s books. We do three during the launch. First one, the day before the launch. Second press release, day three of the launch. Third press release, last day of the launch. Increases scarcity and gets people to get the book. And then we do a big massive social media campaign, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. All of this is geared towards just driving as much traffic as possible to the book and hitting that if we haven’t already hit it during the soft launch which often we do, then we absolutely hit it during what we call the hard launch. Those are all the elements that we do, we recommend. If you’re trying to do this on your own, then for crying out loud, don’t just put a couple of posts up on Facebook and cross your fingers, that will never work. You got to do it all, this is not cafeteria style. If you want success, just follow the steps.You got to do it all, this is not cafeteria style. If you want success, just follow the steps. Click To Tweet
Got it. Amazon is pretty aggressive about removing reviews. If you have some sort of launch related influx of reviews, do a bunch of those get removed?
No, a bunch don’t, but some invariably do. My authors are always upset about it, they’re always disappointed because the reviews that get removed are often from really close connections to them. I don’t know, no one knows what Amazon’s algorithm is for this, but obviously stay away from any quid pro quo. Meaning, if you review another author’s book and say, “Now give me a review,” that’s cool to do. Amazon won’t flag you negatively but they may remove your review because we have found, it’s not 100%, but we have found that often those kinds of reviews can get removed. Often, if there’s some type of connection, like deep connection, family, friends, and I don’t know how they figure this out but sometimes those get removed as well. Those people, if they are close friends, or family, or whatever, those people can absolutely fight it and go back to Amazon and basically say, “Hey my review was removed and I want it reinstated,” and oftentimes that works. Our focus is not worry about the two that get removed. We just want to get 15, 20, 25, 30. Yeah, two or three will get removed but don’t focus on that.
Right. What really makes it the bestseller isn’t the number of reviews, it’s the number of sales. That’s really the primary focus, getting as many sales as possible.
Yeah, absolutely. Our focus in the beginning is the reviews, and they’re Amazon verified so they are legitimate sales as well even at 99 cents. What we want is we want to create a foundation for our clients. I just had this discussion, we’re launching a book for Heidi Moneymaker, she’s the number one stunt woman in Hollywood, she’s Scarlett Johansson’s stunt double and is currently filming next month the new Avengers movie. Anyway, I just had this conversation with her because she was like, “I got friends and family that are giving me these reviews and they bought the book for 99 cents. I’m sure they would buy the book for $10.” I said, “Look, Heidi, yes you could have made an extra $2 or $3 in royalties from those people on your book. Let’s just say it’s 100 people and so you might have made $200 or $300. But what we want is we want someone that comes to this book a year from now when it’s no longer “bestseller” but they see there are 40 reviews, 100 reviews, 150 reviews. They immediately think wow, all their competitors have two reviews, one review, no reviews, this must be a great book.” We’re trying to build a foundation for the future by right out of the gate getting great reviews. They’re really important.
Yeah, got it. Let’s say you get to that bestseller status on an important category on Amazon, are you needing to take screenshots as evidence of this and then you post it somewhere on your book website, what’s the process there?
Yup. We do that for every client. If you do it yourself, I recommend that you do that. We screenshot every country. Generally, we only focus if they’re in the top five but most of our clients get to number one or number two in multiple countries so we’ll screenshot every country, we’ll screenshot every category, we’ll screenshot if they’re a hot new release or top rated book, we screenshot everything. We do recommend that they use those however they wish, but certainly on their book page and certainly when it comes to any kind of credibility pages they have, like media pages or if they’re doing speaking and they want to do speaking events, then they might have a speaker page, so those are things you want to use on all your pages.
Yup, that makes sense. Let’s say that you have a decent amount of content about your book that you want to release for free, maybe it’s the table of contents, maybe it’s a bunch of praise quotes, or book blurbs, and maybe some video testimonials and so forth, who knows what else, and it’s enough that it’s more than just a page, do you want them to have a whole separate site for the book or do you want to just hang that off your main site? For you Rob Kosberg, I assume you have robkosberg.com, would it go on that site? I have separate book sites for every one of my three books, artofseobook.com, socialecommercebook.com, and powersearchbook.com for the Google Power Search book. I don’t know if that was the correct approach, it just made sense for me from just the online marketing standpoint but I would love your opinion on this.
Yup. You’re an SEO guy so you know about this topic more than me but I would assume that you’re going to get some real love as far as link use and what not SEO by having your book title and of course Amazon’s going to give you some love for all of that. If anybody is searching for it, then you can drive people from a Google search right to your page. I think that’s a fine strategy, there’s nothing wrong with it. I can tell you that that’s typically not what we do. For Best Seller Publishing for example, even my robkosberg.com, I’m now forwarding to Best Seller Publishing because we’re trying to drive traffic. That’s our authority site and we’re trying to drive traffic just to that site where they have opportunities to opt in for webinars that we do, or live trainings that I do, or fill in the blank templates that I’m giving away, PDFs, etc. I think the real question is where is the place. What we’re telling our clients is the goal here once you become a bestseller is not to worry about selling your book. The goal after that is now how can I use my book to get people to write big checks to me instead of little checks to me. We don’t want to step over $100 bills to pick up nickels. Royalties are great, they’ll still come in, but use the book to focus on getting the $5, $10, $20, even $100,000 checks, because that’s where the real opportunity is. For that, it’s the authority site for most of our clients that make sense to have it on.
Let’s talk about some strategies to get those big checks because that’s the whole point. You don’t make much money off of writing the book. If I figured out how many hours I put in to my three books, it’ll be too depressing. I think I’d make more at McDonald’s.
Totally you would, absolutely you would. If it’s just about royalties but it’s not. We talk about three things, we talk about speaking engagements, we talk about free publicity, big media like TV, radio, podcast, blogs, etc., and we talk about lead generation. There’s old school methods that work like gang busters, there’s internet marketing methods that work like gang busters. Happy to talk about either or all of those things if you like.
Oh, let’s do all them. Let’s start with the speaking. How do you turn this into paid speaking gigs? Let’s say that you already speak for free. We talked a little bit about Ted, but let’s just start with basic speaking gigs, industry conferences and places where your prospects would hang out.
Yeah, easy to do. We found that old school methods seemed to work really, really well. Here’s a step by step process that we help our clients with and then we recommend they continue doing it. We tell our clients that they should think in terms of systemically having an assistant send out five copies of your best-selling book every single week. Those five copies get sent out to a master list that you put together. The master list is conferences, associations, private corporations, potential joint venture partners, potential great clients of yours. Believe me, you could put a list together of hundreds of those opportunities. We tell our clients initially put together a list of 100, try to grow it to say 200, 300, and every single week you want to mail five of those books out. You want to send a physical version of your book which generally will cost you, unless it’s 1,000 pages long, it shouldn’t cost you more than $3 or $4 to print it. And then you print it, you ship it regular mail, you put maybe a cover letter in it like a speaker one sheet, let’s say if you’re looking for speaking engagements, but you also put some type of handwritten note in it from you personally. You send it out to that key person, the conference organizer, the key person in the association, the key person in that private corporation that you want to get into, etc. You then have your assistant after three or four days, after you know the book’s been delivered, you have that same assistant follow up with five telephone calls. This whole process shouldn’t cost more than three hours a week, four hours a week of an assistant. And then probably no more than 25 or 30 hours in book printing and shipping costs. What you have that assistant do in follow up is you have them basically just ask, because they’re going to speak to the gatekeeper most of the time. They’re probably not going to get through directly to the person that you mail the book to so they’re going to ask the gatekeeper, or if it happens if the person are going to just ask, “Hi, Stephan sent a copy of his best-selling book. We just want to make sure that you received it, did you receive it?” “Yes you did.” They’re going to say, “Thank you.” They’re going to express gratitude even if they haven’t read it at this point yet. But they’re not going to throw it away because no one throws that kind of stuff away. And then the assistant’s going to follow up and say, “Stephan wanted me to let you know that whatever it is you want,” let’s say you want a speaking engagement, “Stephan’s speaking schedule on the fall has begun to fill up. He wanted to know if we could schedule an appointment with your boss to have a one-on-one call and see if there might be some synergies for Stephan to come out and speak in the fall or whenever you might have a need. How does that sound?” That assistant will absolutely positively get a percentage, depending on how good the assistant is, of those people to immediately set up a one-on-one call with you. That call is your opportunity to begin building the relationship and in some cases close them immediately into even a paid speaking engagement, or a joint venture, or something. I have clients that have done this, that one client in particular who is a corporate culture coach, which I didn’t even know was a thing until I did his book for him. He closed a six figure deal by sending a copy of his book to a CEO of a hundred million dollar company, he’s in Southern California and they were in Santa Barbara, California, a couple hours away. It took two or three months, but they closed a six figure consulting agreement from this process, from simply sending a book and then following up with an appointment. If you do this systematically, you will have more opportunities than you will ever know what to do with. The biggest problem people have is they get busy and the stop doing it but it works like gang busters.
Yeah, that’s great advice, great advice. The three prong approach we’ve actually covered, both speaking and lead gen. Was there anything else in lead gen besides mailing books out to get these sorts of opportunities like the one you mentioned with the CEO of the $100 million company?
That’s kind of an old school method, there is a bunch of other things you can do. Obviously, free plus shipping campaigns are fantastic to get using an online method to get real people that are pulling out a credit card to get your content. You’ll spend more money to acquire that customer than you’re getting in the shipping cost. But if you have a good funnel built out, and again, this is for kind of an advanced online marketer. If you have a good funnel built out, then you can make money on every free book that you’ve giving away. When Russell did his free plus shipping book funnel, for every free book he gave away, he did over I think it was like $32 in profit. Again, he did 30,000 books in his first 45 days. It was literally a million dollar free plus shipping campaign. He still runs it. You can see other real online experts doing the same thing, Ryan Levesque did this recently with his book Ask. It requires some advanced marketing, it’s not as simple as just getting a list and mailing and getting on the telephone with people. If you can do it, then it’s like printing money because when you get the funnel working, all you have to do is begin driving more and more traffic to that. There’s great ways to do it once you get in front of an audience like via speaking engagements. Again, I don’t want to just monopolize, you may have different directions for us to go but there’s 100 different ways that you can use the book to drive leads, drive traffic, make money, and build authority.
Yup. I love the free plus shipping model. Tony Robbins used this recently with his book MONEY Master the Game. I ended up getting a copy basically for free. It was like $6 or something in shipping. Are you using Amazon for the fulfilment of that or is there some sort of special fulfilment? How is that all?
Yeah. You can use Amazon but it’s a problem to use Amazon. You’re better off doing this with a fulfilment house. Joe Foley at disk.com is a good friend of mine and he’s great. I don’t know if you know Joe but they’re terrific at this and it’s not super expensive. If you’re going to do something like this and you’re going to drive a lot of traffic to it, then you need to have the backend like completely off the table for you. I know some people that fulfill directly in house and do this themselves so you can do it that way as well. It just depends on how many you’re actually going to drive. Remember, the free plus shipping is cool if you can drive really big numbers. Russell averaged $32 at net profit. That’s better than royalties but it’s still a kind of the same idea. If you are a coach or a consultant of some kind and you have a high ticket offer, then you may want to do a free plus shipping funnel that then leads to a one-on-one consultation with you. Because in a one-on-one consultation you may be able to get somebody to pay you $5,000, or $10,000, or $20,000. Now, you’re not so much focused or care about driving 30,000 of these in a month or two. You’re happy driving 20, 30, 50, 100 of these a month because that’s 100 buyers that you’re now getting on the telephone with, and these are super, super qualified people, and you’ll close a higher percentage of those people into your high tickets stuff than on a normal strategy session. It depends on what your goal is at the outset for who’s going to do fulfillment of it.
Yeah, that’s good advice. Earlier, you mentioned that you have different things like PDF templates and so forth. Are you having them go through that step in the funnel first before you give them the free plus shipping book offer?
It depends. Here’s the good and the bad of the free plus shipping offer. For people scrolling through Facebook for example, you’ve got to give them something for the most part that they can consume quickly for it to be a cheap lead. If you want just opt ins, then pulling a template out of your book or pulling a training out of your book, or pulling good content, your best content out of your book, and offering it as a PDF, or a template, or something like that, is going to get you really cheap leads. On the other hand, they’re not as high quality and qualified leads as a free plus shipping offer. If you drive people traffic wise directly to a free plus shipping offer, then it’s going to be way more expensive, it might cost you $10, $15, $20 to get your free book and pay for $695 in shipping. But you have such a better quality of lead there because you have their name, their address, their telephone number, you can get a sales team to follow up with them, they’ll take additional actions, they’ll sign up for a one-on-one session and now they’re a buyer which makes them far more qualified. Again, it depends on what your goal is and what you’re trying to do. If you’re just trying to build a lead list then pulling something out of your book and offering it that’s easily consumable is the cheapest way to do that.
Yup. These free samplers of the book, first two chapters or whatever, I never get much out of those. My publisher’s preferred approach, my publisher is O’Reilly, even though they’re a tech publisher, they’re a little bit old school, all publishers are. Free sampler, I don’t think is really compelling whereas if you create like a series of checklist from the book and it’s a five page PDF, that’s I think a much more effective approach than doing the first two chapters sort of thing. Is that what you’re doing as well?
Yeah. I can go on a rant here if you like about publishers. Nothing against yours but they don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s because most publishers don’t know how to sell books. What publishers do, and not this guy because I don’t come from a traditional publishing world, we approach it like marketers. What publishers do is they rely upon their author to sell the book to their author’s audience because they don’t know how to sell books. It absolutely does not work. There’s nothing compelling about offering the first two chapters of your book. What you have to do is you have to pull out the most compelling stuff from those first two or three chapters and offer that. If someone looks at it and says, “Oh, you know I’d love to have the first two chapters.” I never do that, no one does that. If someone’s going to do that, they’re going to buy the whole book. They’re wrong, it doesn’t work. What works is give them great compelling content or go after the whole book, it’s one or the other, it’s not the in between.
Let’s go back to the speaking, and lead gen, and then the third prong of this approach is the media, TV, radio, and so forth. I know that you recently got a client onto The Howard Stern Show which was a huge one. What’s the process for getting all that media coverage?
Yeah, great question. We’re big believers. We have two full time publicists here in my office in Pasadena. With our “done for you” program this is all we do. We book our clients constantly on radio, TV, etc. Even before I answer let me just say we’re big believers. When I wrote my first book back in 2008 and was positioning myself in a brand new industry, what exploded my business and helped me do over a million bucks in my first year with my best-selling book was radio. Not even TV, but I ended up doing all these radio interviews and having my own radio show where within about eight months I was doing four hours of live radio every single week and doing millions of dollars in income. We’re big believers in both mass media as well as podcast and etc. How do you do it? First and foremost, the producers of these shows, they need content. You already have a step up because they need you. They’re like you and me, they don’t want to put an idiot on their show. They don’t want to made a fool of. They’re constantly getting bombarded by people that want to be on the Today Show or Good Morning America, or Good Morning San Diego, or whatever. They have a criteria. What’s their criteria? Number one, you’ve got to be credible with them. How do you prove your credibility? It’s simple. If you’re a best-selling author and they have a copy of your book, let’s say you send them a digital version of your book, but we’d always recommend sending a physical version too, the net box is checked, they immediately know that you’re a credible expert. Number two is you have to be prepared for the segment. The talent on the show is never just going to wing it and ask you questions. If you don’t come with a prepared great segment proposal, then they’re not interested in you. You’ve got to check that box and show them, “Hey, I’ve prepared this whole segment for you and all you have to do is have the talent on the show, ask me these questions, and man I’m going to rip it.” And then lastly, this might come before the segment proposal but lastly what you have to think of is you’ve got to have a great audience hook for the audience of the producer you’re trying to get in front of. SEO for example may not be a great audience hook but you can niche it up in such a way that it becomes appealing to a much bigger mass audience. As an example, you might niche it up to how you can use the internet part time from your home to make money. Now, much more people would be interested in that topic. With mass media, you have to niche it up, you can’t niche it down, you’ve got to have a great segment, and you’ve got to show yourself as credible. When you do those things, then you can get as much mass media as you want, you can end up having your own even mass media show if that’s something that you want.
Yeah. The Howard Stern Show, that gave how much reach to your client?
Yeah. That just happened three or four days ago. That was old school. Book sent to Howard, we knew that Howard had a particular problem, he has back issues and this was a client, Steve Ozanich, who was actually just on Joe Polish’s I Love Marketing Podcast as well. That’s Steve specialty, helping people with back pain. It was a combination of knowing our producer, of content, and also old school getting the book in front of them. Howard’s got like 5 million plus listeners. All of my clients, he has multiple books, all of his books went to number one, he’s gotten all kinds of contacts from people all over the country that are interested in his services. Two weeks from now, that bullet is gone, you gotta do it again. For now, man, it’s a massive, massive opportunity.
That’s amazing. I know we need to wrap up. How do people who are interested in working with you get in contact?
Yeah. The best place would be to go to bestsellerpublishing.org. We have a lot of content on there. There’s different case studies that we’ve provided for people. If there’s something that they’re interested in, just opt in to it. You can go to bestsellerpublishing.org/apply if you want to actually have a call with one of our author coaches, and/or talk to me directly. We’d love to help and love to serve anyone that’s interested.
Alright. Amazing. Okay, thank you so much Rob and thank you listeners. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch you on the next show. This is Stephan Spencer signing off.
- bestsellerpublishing.org (and bestsellerpublishing.org/apply)
- RobKosbergCoaching on Facebook
- @RobKosberg on Twitter
- Taki Moore
- Neil Strauss
- Cat string theory
- Malcolm Gladwell
- TED Talk
- Ryan Levesque
- Tony Robbins
- Joe Foley
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
☑ Figure out what kind of content creation strategy works for you. Can you realistically get in the habit of writing 500-1000 words a day? If not, hybrid ghostwriting may work better.
☑ If you’re a speaker, generate leads by having people completely fill out contact forms. A week or two
later, mail these people a hard copy of your book.
☑ As tempting as it may be to do a book signing, rethink this outdated option. It’s no longer a great method and may take far more time and energy than it’s worth.
☑ Create a great title and a great cover for your book. This may involve hiring others to help you, if you
don’t have the necessary skills yourself.
☑ As soon as you release your book, focus on getting as many good Amazon reviews as possible. To do
this, temporarily make your book available for 99 cents.
☑ Rethink doing any quid pro quo reviews for other authors on Amazon. These often get removed, so they may not be the most efficient use of your time.
☑ Any time your book reaches the top 5 in any category, take a screenshot. You can use these for
☑ Come up with a specific game plan for how you’ll use the book’s reach to grow your company or career elsewhere.
☑ Send out 5 copies of the book every week to a master list you’ve compiled. Include a handwritten note
with each one.
☑ Make a list of five to ten different specific niches based on your topic, each geared for a different
audience. This will give you a head start on promotion.
About Rob Kosberg
Rob has spoken to and taught thousands of entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants how to stop hunting for clients and instead position themselves as the hunted using their own best selling book.
Through his trademarked Publish. Promote. Profit. (TM) program Rob helps his clients to create their own professional, best selling book (guaranteed) and then he and his team books his clients for media opportunities like T.V., radio, blogs and podcasts as well as speaking engagements.