Becoming A Non-Bestselling Author
So, when I go to conferences or meet ups or different get-togethers, even sometimes online, if I’m in a particularly sarcastic mood I change around what I said I do just for fun. Recently, I have enjoyed telling people that I am the non-best-selling author. they look at me like I just said something wrong or I made a mistake. And they will say what or excuse me? I would say yeah, I am a non-best-selling author. And I will go silent and see what kind of response they will say. When they eventually inquire about it, I’ll say yeah, I’m the only one. Everybody else is best-selling author, I’m the only non-best-selling author. And they generally laugh and agree with me and say You know you’re right, everybody’s best-selling author these days. I say Yeah like everybody’s best-selling author.
My goal wasn’t to be a best-selling author and I wasn’t. So, I am a non-best-selling author, I wear that badge with honor. There is a reason. If there is an author’s listening, I am probably gonna piss a bunch of authors off here, but it is the truth. The whole best-selling author thing is a bunch of crap. Here’s why. It used to be that the New York Times best-selling author had a lot of prestige to it and still does. As I studied it. I saw how manipulated the system would become. I learned that you can buy your way onto that list. Now as a first-time author two years ago, going into this, I knew there was no way I was going to buy myself on to list nor do I want to. So, I started doing some research and what I learned was pretty disappointing. There been authors who spent up to $300,000 to get their books on the New York Times bestseller list and they didn’t even make it. They did all the bells and whistles. All the little tricks to the trade to make sure these people buy at this time or and if you buy it in bulk. Make sure a different person goes to a different address. It looks like it’s a thousand sales instead of one sale.
All these things that I knew absolutely nothing about that just gave me the creeps. It was so not what I thought I was reading when I see the bestseller list. I thought it was when the book comes up for sale and the most people buy it, that’s how it gets on the list. And then when you see the amount of bias and bribery and tomfoolery that goes into it, you realize that it is not what you want to be a part of. The pinnacles lower than that and these are just some of the reasons why I just didn’t care with my book launch.
When the New York Times thing became unattainable, Amazon, which was growing in stature, they filled the spot. They said okay now you can be an Amazon bestseller and you get your star stamp on the book and you could use that for social proof. So, to be an Amazon bestseller, your book needs to be in the top 100 of the categories that you are in. To be the number one Amazon bestseller, you have to be in the top spot. When you publish your book on Amazon, you get to choose the category. You get to choose the price when initially goes up for sale and there are hundreds and hundreds of categories going down to even the most specific niche. So, I think you might able see where I’m going here.
As I did my research for this, I came upon a guy named Brent Underwood who was also tired of this entire thing. So, he did a way better than just record a podcast ranting for a couple minutes about it. So, he decided he was going to prove how silly it was and how easy it was to become an Amazon bestseller. He became a number 1 Amazon bestseller for two dollars and a photo of his foot in less than five minutes. So, as he tells the story, he wasn’t really in the mood for writing a book. So, he just took a picture of his foot and he called the book Putting My Foot Down. So, he submitted it to Amazon and a few hours later, his book Putting My Foot Down was up on Amazon. He then texted one of his friends asking if you would buy the book. So, in the first three hours of launching it sold three copies, one to his friend and two to him. And under the category of the widely sought-after transpersonal psychology. Just hours later, he became a number one Amazon bestseller and did a quick screenshot before it all went away.
So, this story folks are one of many reasons why I am proud to call myself a non-best-selling author. You want to know why? Because I’m not a best-selling author. I did not put the book out that sold tens of thousands copies within a certain week, that made it to a list that was selected because of the merits of the book and because of the people that actually wanted to go buy it. And the allure of becoming a best-selling author, that instant gratification, that quick fix of doing something for the short term so you can wear that badge and tell people about it, but you know you might not have really earned it. So I understand very well how Brent wanted to put his foot down and write a book about putting his foot down and how ironic it is that he took so little effort and so little energy and just gain the system on purpose and became the number one Amazon bestseller just to show how silly the whole game is. If you want to be a best-selling author, that’s what you truly want, go write a book that’s amazing. Write a book that changes people. Write a book that makes people think, makes people grow, makes people get better, makes people want to share it because otherwise what’s the point? It’s just about you. It’s just about ego. It’s just about trying to feel important and getting something in the short term that we might not observed. But if you want to have a little fun, hop over Amazon pick up a copy of his book, Putting My Foot Down. It is a quick read. It is just a picture of his foot, but it made it to number one on Amazon.
It was a snowy January weekend here in Pittsburgh. I just got inside having a snowball fight with the kids in the backyard. I turn on the TV and the NFL playoffs were on. the Colts were playing the Broncos and in an unexpected surprise, the Colts wind up beating the Broncos in Denver and going on to the AFC championship game. Now my football playoff dreams of shooting were squashed once the Steelers lost. But as soon as the game was over, I message my old editor of the Evansville Courier press where I used to be a photographer where I shot the Colts over a decade, and most of their playoff games.
Tim Etheridge, who was the sports editor who I used to travel with was now the editor of the newspaper. I sent a simple text and said Hey do you want me to shoot should the AFC championship for you guys next week in New England because the Colts is now going on to New England to play the Patriots. He messages Pam, director of media relations for the Colts who I’ve known for many many years and this is the power of developing relationship. The next morning, I got confirmation that I was in at the AFC championship game in New England. It is not a common story, usually you need to shoot for a team for long period of time for the full year to get to the playoffs but sometimes things happen, and things worked out and you got to just ask.
Less than a week later, I am on my way to New England and I was on the field of Gillette Stadium as Tom Brady and the Patriots are gearing up to get to the Super Bowl and I’m hoping the call to win because the Colts will go to the Super Bowl and I get to shoot that too hopefully. We already put the credentials in for that. So, at the Gillette Stadium, the media workroom is right next to the Patriots locker room. So I walk out for pregame stuff and I go out and I go and it’s raining out and before I went out of the stadium for the game I went to the bathroom, which is right near the field, clean myself up and head out to the field to shoot. And I am really going somewhere with the story, I am not rambling I promise you.
So even though the Colts look out match their staying in the game and at the end the first quarter, Tom Brady threw a pass and it was incomplete. It was a few incomplete passing through the first half and rolled over towards me. I took the ball, threw it to the ref. It happens probably once every two or three games. The ball comes right to me. The game starts again. So, the Colts going to halftime, still in the game, but at the second half started and the Patriots blew them out of the water, just demolish them. It was 45 to 7 was the final score. I made this trip out to New England and in the rain with my gear getting soaked and me being soaked and not getting to the hotel till 3 o’clock in the morning, I said to myself nobody is ever going to remember that championship game. It was probably one of the worst championship games that you ever get to see, and I made this trip out here and it is a waste of time.
So, as I my car and started driving back to Pennsylvania. I am listening to Sports Talk the next day and they are talking about the situation with the Patriots and possibly deflating balls during a championship game and this is the first time, even though I can’t stand the Patriots as that game was ending and all the fans are chanting, they’re singing songs together and the Patriots players waving to the crowd. I finally gave in. I find said I give up. This is the best team I am going to appreciate what they’ve done here. I’m no longer to dislike them because they’re so good. So when I heard this announcement on the radio, this is just another situation of people not liking them because they’re so good and blah blah and I turned the radio off, put music on and then I spend one more night in the hotel and I drove back the next day. Before I got home, I heard the stories about these balls being deflated again and now there’s like proof that different balls of the deflated 11/12 balls tested were deflated to make it easier for Tom Brady to throw the ball with the reasoning behind it. And now this turned into a major controversy.
So, this scandal went on for over a year, which resulted in the Patriots being fined over a million dollars. Tom Brady being suspended for four games and a stain on their legacy. No, I think they have proved in the last couple years as much as I am still not totally rooting for them. I don’t think deflating balls has anything to do with their success. They’re still winning Super Bowl, but it hit me months later, when it happens. I didn’t even realize I am at this championship game and it seems like this inconsequential game. Again, it’s never going to be remembered and not only is it remembered, it is one of the rare football games that actually has a title to it called Deflate Gate. But when that ball rolled over, that was one of the controversial balls that was being talked about and my joke is that I am one of the few people in the world that actually got the touch one of Tom Brady’s deflated balls.
And a side note to that, apparently one of the balls from that game for the first half of that game was sold for $44,000 if you could believe that. So the moral of the story, besides all the silliness of that situation is that that job, that assignment that you go into that seems mundane and it seems like it doesn’t matter, that seems like it’s never going to be remembered, you never know if that’s gonna be one of the most important assignments you ever get to have so always treat it like it’s something special. So that is my Deflate Gate story and I will be back with you tomorrow.
The Thank You Tour
So, the thank you tour, I got a bunch of messages about this. I been asked about these many times. what was the story behind the thank you tour for the launch of my first book Freelance To Freedom? It came down to a bunch of reasons. So, here’s what happened. I don’t like doing things the same way everybody else does it and I really don’t like doing things by a mass plan that everybody else follows. If you give me a step-by-step guide on how to launch something or step-by-step guide to success, I will crumble it up, I will throw it away and I would rather fail doing it my way than doing it the standard step-by-step way.
So, the logical thing to do when you’re releasing your book is to try to do some type of book tour or book signings and all that type of stuff. And I’ve been to enough book signings. You wait in line to buy a book, you go to the author, the author looks up at you, they say a couple of words. They sign your name. Maybe if you’re lucky, he talks to you for little bit and then get the book and you walk off now. I’ve been to book signings for big-name authors and I’ve been to book signings for very small name authors, beginning authors and never has it been exciting experience for me. Waiting in line for somebody to sign a book for me does absolutely nothing for me. it’s just like I’ve been in the sports world forever. I’ve been a sports fan, but I never really cared about autographs. So, I said I’m not doing that. I’m not doing book signings. I’m not doing a book tour. The book tour would be all about me. They will look at me, look at what I am doing, let’s go get some promotions and sells some books to make money. I didn’t want to do it.
What I wanted to do though is I want to thank as many people as I possibly could that helped us. I had this in my mind for a long time and there were different plans on how to do it and we finally came up with something that was somewhat solid but was very flexible cause that’s the way we need to do it because were going on the road with three kids and it’s kicking off on New Year’s Day as the book launches. so, we packed the car with all of our stuff and our books, and we hit the road. To be honest with you, what always driven me crazy about people that I’ve known who have written books and if you’re one of them, I’m sorry. I am just kind of weird this is kind of things that just drives me bananas. It is the self-promotion of hey buy my book, buy my book, buy my book 3 weeks to the release date, five more days. Three more days, buy buy buy, share share share. I said we are going to do the opposite. Just like Seinfeld we are going to do things the opposite.
What we did was right before the launch, in celebrations as a thank you, we gave away different prints of my sports photographs to friends online as a thank you and celebration. We hit the road on January 1st, the day before the launch. We wake up the next morning, we were in Cleveland Ohio after visiting my in-laws. It was so cold that the door of our van didn’t open. We got everybody packed in and we made our way to Columbus Ohio. We met with our friend Joe Kessel and his family on our way to Covington, Kentucky, we’re spending the night which is the first night of tour. And we got to the hotel and the kids were giddy. They want to go swimming. And then we are going to go to dinner where we will go to the Hopper House and get a great German meal to celebrate the book launch. And when we said that, I was oh my goodness, I never even posted on social media about the book launch. It is now 5 or 6 o’clock at night and I probably should post something about it. The launch is today. So really quick, while the kids are getting their shoes and their jackets on, I went to Facebook app. I posted to the effect of, oh by the way, today is the book launch for Freelance To Freedom. If you want to buy it today, that’s wonderful, if not it will be available for the rest of your lives. And I said that because this wasn’t about me. This wasn’t about how many books I can sell today. I really tried my best to strip as much ego away from this as possible. As hard as that is when you’re publishing your book, I want to strip that all the way. I wanted this to be a thank you. So, if you want to buy the book today, Wonderful. But you don’t need to buy the book today. It’s going to be available. So, if you want to buy it next week, or maybe I’ll send you a copy for free whatever and going back to yesterday’s episode, there is no expectation.
And I got to tell you, it felt so good. And the weird thing is I have seen so many people launch books on social media, and they will finally post Hey it is out and there’s crickets. and there’s a handful likely to have a comment. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe it was my joke about hey it will be available forever, but there were so many comments. there were so many likes. There were some people that went out and bought the book There were so many shares. I can tell you how many people shared that post because I think they just like the fact that it wasn’t pushy and it wasn’t selly and there weren’t expectations.
So that set the tone for the trip, that set the tone for the tour. We spent three months on the road, and it was just so gratified. We got to meet with so many people. People in our mastermind that helped us out, people that had read the book and reviewed it and shared with their friends. We got to go to Dan Miller from 48 days. We get to go to his house, meet with him and JoAnn Miller to give them a copy of the book for the help he did for us. We got to go to Dave Ramsey, which is a huge part of our book. We got to go to his studio, got to give him a copy of the book, and he looked at me and he slapped the book and he shook my kids’ hands. He looked at me as he walked towards the studio and he said this is the big deal. This is a really big deal. He said this is how it all started for me and he walked into the studio. And to get his approval, if you read my book, in the first half of the book is kind of an ode to Dave Ramsey. So, to have that was really just quite amazing. So, the book tour for me, ego wise, was complete there. But along the way, we got to sit down and have coffee with Pat Flynn at Starbucks in San Diego. He got to meet our kids and got to meet Elizabeth. We sat for an hour and 1/2. We just sat down drinking coffee and talking just about life, nothing about business, about family, about kids. It was wonderful. To give the Jolly Dumas, who I’m now in a mastermind with. You heard my story about gold dust from a couple weeks ago in the podcast in terms of that was part of the tour and finally Seth Godin what he had done for us and so many others in between.
So, the thank you tour was just all about gratitude. It was all about wanting to become the generous person that I wasn’t earlier my life. Instead of soaking this all in as an ego trip which is very easy to do, and trust me, that came over me a lot of times. it really at its heart and soul was about Thank you and gratitude because all these people did something for me that they didn’t have to do and they were great help to me, to my family and to my career. So that is the story behind the 2018 Freelance To Freedom Thank you tour and what’s fun is I’m working on the next book and we have a really great idea for how we are going to launch that one in a different, fun and generous way. So, thanks a lot for listening and I will be back with you tomorrow.
What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part III
Okay. This is the third and final episode about what I learned from Seth Godin about marketing my book. By the time the book was launched, we had over 125 reviews on Amazon. We have endorsements from people like Seth Godin, Pat Flynn, Johnny Dumas, John Rulen, Dan Miller and a host of other incredible authors and influencers. Instead of doing a book launch and a book tour, going to bookstores, we decided to flip everything around and do a thank you tour. I’ll talk about it on tomorrow’s episode.
During this thank you tour ,we were out in Oceanside, California for a month as a family. So, the thank you tour was built around thanking the people who helped us with this book launch. It wasn’t about selling the book. And it turns out, with no expectations of this, that we’re in Oceanside, California for a month as a family, renting a condo on the beach. I see that Seth is good in Newport Beach California being interviewed for behind the brand with Brian Elliott. Not only can we get a ticket for this, they also have a Q&A that happened before this. So, I figured while this really comes full circle. It all began with a Q&A with Seth in New York and then we go coast-to-coast we get to wrap up the whole thing on the thank you tour on the Pacific coast, with Q&A with Seth the month after we launch the book.
So, I was fortunate that my friend Don Wetrick was giving a presentation out in California and he was going to it as well. He runs a startup at a podcast, an incredible podcast about changing education. We went for Mexican food before we caught up and we just chatted about everything going on in our lives, about our families and we went over to the hotel for the event. And I had with me a copy of my book and three thank you notes that our three boys had written out the Seth because his endorsement that went on the cover of our book was vital to getting attention for the book. So many people took it more seriously for a first-time author, because Seth Godin went out of his way to give an endorsement. So, each of my boys spent the afternoon writing out a thank you card for Seth Godin. It has purple cows on it. Drew a little drawing of Linchpin. It is really cute the way that they did it.
So, we walked into the event and I see Seth is in the middle of the aisle. This is probably an hour and 1/2 before the event starts and he’s greeting people. He’s just having conversations with people, just being the generous person that is, and I’ve emailed him about a day before to see if I could get a little bit time like I should give him the book. I want to make sure that I hand him the book as a thank you. So, when he saw me, he said hey. I give the book and he asked me if I could sign the book form, which as you know, crazy for me. I’m signing my book for Seth Godin and I give him the cards that my kids gave him, and he seemed happy to get them and we took our picture together. It was great. And then he looked at me and this was the final lesson that I learned in this path from Seth from start to finish. I hate to sound like a just a fan boy with this, but I just can’t let this go unnoticed. How much this man helps me and how much she helps me when there was no need for him to do this. There wasn’t something he was getting out of it. He talks often about generosity and the need for more generosity and he lives it.
So, he has a big smile on his face. I gave him the cards and he looked at me and asked how the book launch go and I said it went great. I have no expectations. Because I truly have no expectations. Now it is the most fun part about it. I didn’t have expectations from friends, from family, from the publisher, for book sales. None of that really mattered to me. It really was oh my goodness I got to do this, and we get to help people with this and whatever happens from it happens, but there weren’t expectations. Some people might have been checking the book sales and seeing how good it was and It wasn’t meeting their expectations. I have a lot of people saying how is the bookselling. I said I really don’t know. So, I really just did not pay attention at all to book sales. I know we’re doing good. I was being ranked up here, you I checked the rankings a little, but I had no idea how many books were selling. I’m sure to my publisher disappointment, it really didn’t matter to me that much. It wasn’t the reason why I was doing this.
So, I said to him, the launch went great. I had no expectations. His face got really serious, and he looked at me and he said that’s perfect never have any expectations when releasing a book. And I was like okay this guy had written 18 best-selling books. He’s got 19th on the way and for him to say never have any expectations when releasing a book, he’s done so much more than I ever will in his realm and what it did is it solidified the approach that he taught me and the path that I took. It solidified the approach of like I didn’t have expectations for reviews or sales, or what people going to do for me, it was up to me to get the word out and to do something worth spreading, to make something that other people want to talk about because it’s good not because they feel guilty because I release the book and they need to promote it. I would never want to put out something that subpar, but asked people to promote it because it’s me and I need them to help me. So, the having no expectations part was huge. I hadn’t thought of it that way until he said that, but I realized that was the key. I had no expectations. So, it all is wonderful. Every bit of it was bonus. So, I thought that was the end of it. I thought wow, that was the ending of the story right here and now we move on to the next chapter.
So, I gave him the book and I sit in the front row with Don as I always try to do, sit in the front row and he put my book under his chair. I pulled out my phone because oh my God, my book is sitting underneath his chairs like that’s how close we’ve come to this. Literally, the book that he inspired me to do, the book that he endorsed is sitting underneath his chair while he was being filmed for his presentation. So, this is how it comes full circle and is how it shaped me from that day forward. And I am a different person because of it. I raise my hand to ask a question. Now he had answered probably about 20 questions that day, and I’m not sure if you knew anybody’s name, but he never called anybody’s name. I raise my hand and he looked at me and he said Vincent and before I could say anything, he said tell us about your new book and he went back to his seat, picked up the book, raise the book up for the crowd to see and for the cameras to see. I said thank you but that’s not why I’m here. And he said I know; I am just trying to get you some product placement. I went to ask my question which wasn’t about business. It was about homeschooling and his take on it and I was just stunned by it because his message is about generosity. It is about how we all need to be more generous.
I thought about that night as I drove back from Newport Beach to Oceanside. I am like, He put that book under his chair, and I wonder was it for reason that he sees a possible opportunity to be generous and he was waiting for it. It’s just the way somebody like that thinks. Now he didn’t ask me oh you give me this and I will promote your book. There was nothing for him to get out of it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he’s a disciple of Zig Ziglar which is you can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want. So, he’s not looking for anything. he just knows that being generous is the way to make the world a better place and good things come back to you when you do that. Everything on the surface it’s not like what you are getting out of it, but the truth is he gets a ton out of it. The reason why is I can’t stop telling that story. I’m telling the story here. I tell that story when I go on stage for keynotes. I tell that story almost everywhere because of the generosity of it.
So many people have expectations. What are you going to do for me before I do this for you? And he did the exact opposite. He’s generous first with no expectations and I can’t stop spreading the word and not just me but all those people in that room. And that’s the night of the book tour came full circle from that day in New York. Not only was that wrapping a bow on the book in the book tour, but it really shaped me for the next stage of my life. The words never have any expectations for a book launch. I cut the end of it out and I tried to live by the never have any expectations. I could tell you the elevation of this part of our career has gone on for nearly 18 months since that night has been astounding and it simply because I’ve kept putting that into my head to live without expectations. If you do the right thing for the right reason, the results will be there for everybody. So, this wraps up the trilogy about Seth Godin and how he has help me so much in my life, come back to you tomorrow with the idea in the process behind the thank you tour. You got a lot of questions about that. I will talk to you tomorrow.
What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part II
This is part two what Seth Godin taught me about marketing my book. So, Ken and I left the fashion Institute of technology in New York City that cold December day and we were just abuzz. We just talked about what we just went through for the entire evening, at dinner and back to the hotel and we were just ready to go. We both got something completely different out of it, but it was insanely valuable for both of us.
So, I began crafting my plan. Okay. Don’t count on Morgan James to market the book for me that’s the first one. I’ve seen so many authors blow this from start to finish and beyond, where they think because they’ve got a publisher, that the publishers go to do the work of marketing the book for them and they’re not. Especially for first-time author. And then first-time authors that get really big deals like my friend Grant Sabatier who wrote Financial Freedom. One of the reasons why they sign you because they know you have a huge following and they’re counting on you going to your audience and distributing the word and getting them to buy. They’re not gonna put the money and the time to marketing your book. You’ve got to do that. So just that cold water splash of they’re not going to do that work for me really allowed me to put the work boots on and get dirty and say this is all going to be on me. And I think I knew that, but hearing it from him there just solidified it for me because I couldn’t go back in two years and think I didn’t know this, like Seth Godin told me to my face just a couple feet away from me that this was going to be the case and this guy had written all the books you can imagine. he published in every way possible. He knew what he was talking about. So, heed the warning. Don’t count on your publisher to do the marketing for you. So, I didn’t.
When I went back and forth with the people for Morgan James and we’re talking about the launch plan, I told him what I was doing. I told him how I was going about and they were so happy to hear it because they still get so many people that believe that they’re going to do all the marketing for them when they’re publishing the amount of books that they’re publishing, they cannot put the time, the effort or the money into marketing each of our books. It’s just not possible. It is not profitable for them and it is not going to work out. So, they want people either with the following that’s gonna do it or somebody that is going to put the work in to get the word out.
So, to the other part get the book into 10,000 people’s hands. So, what I’m not sure of is how quickly he wanted me to get into 10,000 people’s hands because I hadn’t built up a social media following. I hadn’t built up an email list. I’ve never blogged. I don’t have anything to distribute this book through. I don’t have a social media child to do it, but I have also seen how other people would market their books and I wasn’t a fan of some of the methods. What I wasn’t gonna do was hound all of my friends and family to buy my book. That’s what I wasn’t going to do. There are few things that drive me batty than right now when somebody has a book launch or a podcast launch or a blog launch and they just really just hound their friends and family to support them. Because they’re asking for something without giving anything. And it goes against so much of what I believe in. Something that was taught by Seth Godin in terms of how to do marketing. They’re literally going to the bank. They’re looking to withdraw money without actually depositing money first. And they’re not only doing that but they’re doing that with people that are close to them. People that they have friendships with. They’re quite literally, damaging so many of those relationships only because they want a short-term game of this launch. I am going to talk about that in an upcoming episode.
So, I took a radically different approach of reaching out to friends, to colleagues and having conversations with them, having personal conversations with them. And one thing I’ve done well is reaching out to friends and connections and people within my network, really about their life, about how they’re doing. Nothing to do about me. I have been doing that for years. I reach out to just see how people are doing, check in on them. It’s part of what I call the hour of giving, which I wrote about in my book. This is with the hour of giving that I’ve done for years really paid off for me professionally. Because I have been in touch with so many different people. I’ve been checking up on them. I been connecting them with other people. I been sharing information and advising articles. Things that can help them with no benefit for me. I been doing that for a long time. So, when it came time for the book and I was still doing that, they’re obviously asking me how I’m doing. They’ve obviously trusted me because we been going back and forth for a long time. I casually mentioned to them that I’m writing this book, and one by one by one they all asked. Oh, can I read the book? I’m really interested in this.
Now if I would just reach out to them after not talking to them for months or years and then just mention my book, I would have lost a lot of trust to a lot of people. I don’t do that. All these people wanted to read the book. they were interested. they want to help. they asked how they can share it. So, anybody that asked me, I sent them a PDF of the book. Now this was months and was almost a year before the book was to launch. The book wasn’t even done like so many people say I can’t share. It is not finished yet. I didn’t care. There were times I sent the book when I was half done. There were so many typos. There were so many things that weren’t done. But it wasn’t about being perfect, it was about the message getting out to other people would be even interested in what was about. It was about that. It was about is this book any good? Are you interested in reading it? If it’s any good, these people are going to tell me if it’s not good. Hopefully they can tell me, and I can tweak things. But I’m not going to hold it close to the vest and then put it out there. Once it’s all done and then feel like Ha it is okay.
I got a lot of great advice while sending this book out. Sam Lynch who I just had a connection with, I send the book and he said to me I really love this and sent me 5 pages of notes that he wrote. But he said one thing that change the book. This is somebody that didn’t buy the book. This is somebody that was reading it on his own voluntarily. He said you got the story about your dad, and it’s buried like halfway through the second part of the book. If that story was near the beginning of the book, you have a lot of impact. I looked at it and I said, he’s absolutely right and I change that around. I can tell you when I got to choose the five podcast a while later, Jonathan Mendonca said to me was that story about your dad in the beginning of the book, I was hooked from that moment on. That only happened because I gave away the book to a lot of people and asked them for the responses.
So, I didn’t get to the 10,000 books that Seth Godin mentioned within the first year, but I’ve given away hundreds of physical books once the book was published. Before the book was actually finished to publish, I had given a PDF of the book out to over 500 people. And the thing that happened was 125 of those people wrote me reviews back during that year so without any type of promotion, without any type of list, without any type of following, before the book was officially launched. When I was just prelaunch on Amazon, we pre-launched over 100 reviews on Amazon which catapulted in the rankings. It made it more attractive for Amazon to promote then it winds out getting emails from Amazon saying you should check out Freelance To Freedom. I said yeah, I know I wrote it. Those were emails that are coming into our inbox because they were promoting our book because of that. And that all came from the advice that Seth had given in terms of get the book into 10,000 people’s hands and if it’s good it’s going to spread. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but story keeps continuing so I’m ending it here and come back with you tomorrow with part three, about this because there’s still a lot more to the story to be taught.
So, I’ll see you back here tomorrow.
What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part I
So, without a doubt, one of the main influences in my career over the last decade and a half has been Seth Godin. If you’re not familiar with Godin, go listen to his podcast, go buy his book Linchpin or his new book This Is Marketing or any of the 19 best-selling books that he has written. he is widely considered one of the greatest marketing minds of this generation. and I first heard of them, Ironically, while listening to the Dave Ramsey show about 14 or 15 years ago. You talk about serendipity or luck, but I heard his interview by Ramsey just weeks after we decided to start our first business. So, the timing was perfect because I knew nothing about marketing. I knew nothing about business. I probably would’ve been influenced by a lot of people that would not have taken me down the same path as I did from following Godin. When I listen to him speak, I realize the generosity, the authenticity, the intelligence and the incredible amount of knowledge that this man had. I knew this was somebody I am going to follow.
So, this was at the point that we are broke and desperate. We do not run a business. We were struggling with our jobs and I hear this guy that sounded so eloquent and yet at the same time so down to earth, so I went right over to the library in Evansville Indiana, a downtown library just hoping that I’d find a book from Godin. I realize there were at least eight books by him staring right at me. And I’m thinking, how did I not know this guy? The books are in the library. Apparently, New York Times best-selling books. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. So, I woke up, kind of from a stupor two weeks later because I was so much in the library so much over those two weeks that I had read five of his books just sitting there. I am feeling a little guilty that I hadn’t bought any of his books yet. I was reading for free at the library, but I guess that is what the libraries are for.
As each subsequent book came out, when he wrote Tribes in 2008, Just Consume It and then Linchpin around 2011, 2012, which completely reshaped my mind on business and marketing until his most recent one, This Is Marketing. In my opinion it tops Linchpin with that one. I am not a fan boy over many people, but this is one of the few people that I felt almost like a rock star like when I was a kid. like this really real person. Is this for real because so much of what he said resonated with me in good times and in bad times. But I never had the opportunity to meet them. So ironically, Dave Ramsey hired Elizabeth and I. He hired our company to do photographs for his company when they came to Pittsburgh for a couple of live events. And at that conference, I met a man named Chris Medford who generously gifted me a ticket for the Business Gets Personal conference that Dave, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk were doing together in October in New York City. They gifted me a VIP ticket and what I didn’t know was they gifted us two VIP tickets. I only thought they’re giving us one, so I made the trip to New York and Elizabeth is home with the kids. I had a VIP ticket for her, and I didn’t realize until I got to the Rose theater that day that there were two tickets for us. So, I frantically called a couple of friends in New York. None of them can get out in time to get to the conference. I had to eat that one ticket.
At that conference. I got to hang out with Dave, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk, asked them questions and go to the VIP dinner, the whole thing. It was a couple years later where Seth offered a live Q&A in New York City. It was $1000 ticket. And in blink, I bought the ticket in a heartbeat, got a ticket from my friend Ken ____ who desperately wanted to go as well. We went to New York City together because I have one question that I wanted to ask him. That’s the reason why I went.
So, Ken and I got there early. We sat in the front row because it is a rule of mine when I go to conferences and Seth started the Q&A. And I honestly missed probably about 1/3 of what he had said because I was so busy trying to frame my question the right way that I was daydreaming and thinking and trying to figure out what’s the best way I can ask this question because it is my one chance to ask this. And as you hear, it is a vital time for me to ask the question.
Now this is in December. My book was being published a year from then so his advice was going to weigh heavily on how I approached that year in terms of marketing the book and getting the word out and what I should do what I shouldn’t do. And I’ve done my research, I know about Seth, so I knew that he was good friends and had a great deal of respect for Jay Conrad Levinson who wrote Grow Marketing. I also knew that Jay was friends and he is going to work with David Hancock for Morgan James publishing. And Seth talks about freelancing all times. It was actually part of my book when Seth compares freelancing to entrepreneurs, and I put a lesson that he taught at that conference in New York couple years earlier in my book. I put that story in there. So, I knew freelancing was something Seth talked about a bunch and had a feeling that he might have an understanding of who Morgan James publishing was.
So, when I finally got my chance. I try to take advantage of every moment that. I said Hi Seth, my name is Vincent. My book Freelance To Freedom is being published by Morgan James publishing next January. Then I asked him what mistakes am I gonna make now that three years from now I will wish I didn’t make? He told me that it was a good question which totally ease my nerves and he said there’s two things you’ll do now that you wish you would’ve done. One, you will wish you didn’t count on Morgan James to market your book for you and two, you would’ve wished that you would gotten the book into 10,000 people hands. And I don’t remember if he said to give it to them for free but there was no indication that he said you need to sell 10,000 books. It was, you need to get this book in the 10,000 people’s hands because if it’s a good book and if it resonates with those 10,000 people and they tell 10,000 people and then they all tell 10,000 people. Now you got something. And just like that, I got exactly what I was hoping for out of going there and so much more. The money that I spent for those tickets was now just an absolute bargain because he allowed me to completely reshaped with a bit in my head, and he allowed me to actually create a plan for what I can do for the upcoming year to prepare for the book launch. And for the next 30 minutes, people asked question after question and I didn’t hear any of it. I didn’t hear one question. I didn’t hear one answer because I sat there with my pad. I sat there with my pen and I daydreamed. I took the information that he gave to me and within that time I was sitting there, I devised the strategy would be for the book launch going forward.
I am going to stop right there ad come back to you tomorrow with part two of this and explain how his advice and his suggestions led to a different approach to marketing the book, led to an approach that built the grassroots campaign that fueled our book launch. I’ll be back with you tomorrow with that story.
I Wish I Would Have Done It Sooner
One of my missions is to raise the unemployment rate. Whenever I say that in a group or on stage, I get chuckles and laughs and kind of confused looks. Here’s where I’m coming from with this. I meet so many people that can’t stand their jobs. They’re. absolutely miserable. They get up in the morning, they shower then commute to work either driving, by train through this job. The soul sucking job is the word that I hear more often than anything. They commute back home. They get home, they’re exhausted. They have no time with their family. When they are there, they’re checked out. I just want to do something entertainment wise to dull the pain. And they go to their kids’ games on the weekends and they start all over again.
When I asked them what they really wanted to do, they have this other thing that they’re passionate about. They doodle on their notepads when they’re at work, on the train or with their spare time. This idea that they want to work on this business that actually they’re building somewhat, but they can’t put very much time into it. What’s really fun is watching these people actually grow this business, grow it on nights and weekends, grow it in the morning before they go to work and grow it when they’re tired. I can relate because this is what we did when we start our first business while being employees. We had to grow it in the off hours and it’s hard to do when you have kids and it’s a big sacrifice, but I can tell you when you come out the other end it is so worth it.
So, I started talking people into quitting their jobs about eight or nine years ago. I remember the responses that I’ll get back. Some people were way easier to convince than others. Some people have it lined up. They were actually making more money in their side business than they were in their job. They hated their job. What they just needed was permission and a good kick in the butt. And literally I’ll get an email I just quit and a week later they were making even more money and have more time freedom. The more I saw that, the more I started saying a certain phrase to the people that were on the edge and they were listening to me. And I would say to them, you’re gonna come back to me and you’re going to say I wish I did this sooner.
I am not going to say his name, but I mentioned this to him before I recorded, but he was one of them. He was in a full-time job. Things were going well, but he was scared to leave even though he built the business up. And I said to him that you would come back to me and you are going to say that I wish I would’ve done this sooner. In about eight months later I got a text and it’s that I just said it. I said what do you mean? He said I just said I wish I would’ve done this sooner. I did a fist pump and was like Yes. It just keeps happening over and over again. So, when you’ve done this yourself and you guided a whole lot of people doing this the same way, you start to gain an understanding and the trust that this method actually works, and it works very consistently.
Last September we held a one-day mastermind in Tampa Florida. It was 10 of us in a room, overlooking the water, just doing a full day mastermind, letting all the fears and all the dreams and all the honesty out for everybody to understand and to see and to help. And those things are magical. I absolutely love doing them. A guy by the Greg Tosi was there. Greg and I had known each other but I don’t think we met in person before. I invited him to the one-day because he lives in Tampa and Greg had a full-time job that he despised. He couldn’t stand it but, on the side, he was building his business, helping people run Facebook ads to grow and expand their business. So, when it was his turn in the freedom zone, we dove into it and it was so much fear in terms of what could go wrong. So I asked him the difference and what would happen if he left his job? And every example he gave was something that was going to be negative. So, we start looking at what could be positive. Once we start looking at the positives, more time with his kids, no commute, more time to work on his business, less stress, not dealing with the boss. Quickly, the positives overtook the negatives.
And then we got to the money part of it now. I am not going to divulge numbers, but I asked him how much money did he think he needed to get by a little bit more? How much he needed a month? And he gave me a matter of fact number. I asked him where’d you get that number from? And he said I don’t know. I just kind of came up with it. That’s what so many people do. So, we sat down. Nick Elkins was there; he is a financial expert and we’re doing the numbers. We were writing down his expenses and write out all the different things he has to pay for. And once it was all settled, we look to the final number and it was around half what he thought it was. So, here’s the exciting part. We started talking about the income that he was making from his side business. The income that he was making from his side business was 75% of what he needed to live with the new numbers.
Now this is one of my favorite parts of these one days that we do is that look on his face when he started to realize what I’ve been telling myself all this time might not be true. When that situation arises, I love to go in for a little bit of an uppercut at that point, I have been reeling and he is on the ropes. We might be getting towards unemployment. We are that close to getting the unemployment rates to a little bit higher and I said to him, if you can make 75% of what you need while working mornings and weekends, with a wife and a son and little baby on the way, you’re telling me you can’t make 25% more if you got rid of your job and freed up to 60 hours a week that you devote to getting showered, getting dressed, commuting, working, commuting back. and then the exhaustion at that, you can’t make 25% more when you’re already making 75% on the side? And I was so happy to see that I really thought that that uppercut had landed. And there was a lot of fear going forward. A couple months later they have some issues with their house. The thing is, he had a supportive spouse. Kristin, his wife was so on board, believed in him so much and I remember her saying I wish you would just go for it. So many people do not have a spouse that feels that way. So, I was extra excited about him making this move.
So, after a whole other issue that came up over the winter. Greg put in his notice. Greg quit his job. Greg is now full-time, doing his dream and now when we get on the calls. He’s got the smile in his face. He got this energy. He’s got this focus, and it is not always easy. Entrepreneurship is not always easy, there’s ups and downs. But he says it himself how much happier he is and how he wishes he would’ve done it sooner and how now he wants to help other people do the same, which is just so much fun. So, together with linking arms we are going to all start one by one, helping raise the unemployment rates so we can get people out of the jobs that they don’t want to be doing and into the work they do want to be doing. Not just for the work part of it but just for the fact that you can wake up, do what you want to do, have lunch with your kids, go to the park with them when you want to do it and live life on your terms. Way too many people aren’t doing it so I’m telling you, if you do this the right way and you have the guts and the courage to actually make that move toward your dream, you will come back to me hopefully and point to this episode and say I wish I would’ve done it sooner.