Steve Chou is a service provider, blogger, podcaster, and coach. He’s now additionally a guide writer with the discharge in Could of “The Household First Entrepreneur,” his HarperCollins title on enterprise, freedom, and priorities.
That is Chou’s third look on the podcast. In 2020 he mentioned Bumblebee Linens, his osCommerce retailer. In 2022 he described his desire for frugal dwelling regardless of having achieved monetary success.
On this interview, Chou addresses the method of publishing and selling his guide, now a Wall Avenue Journal bestseller. The complete audio of our dialog is embedded under. The transcript is edited for size and readability.
Eric Bandholz: Inform us about your guide.
Steve Chou: It’s known as “The Household First Entrepreneur.” It’s about my values and prioritizing life in order that the enterprise doesn’t run you, and you’ve got the liberty to do no matter you need and spend time with who you need.
It’s at all times been a bucket-list merchandise to jot down a guide. That’s principally why I did it. It’s not a cash play. I dreamed of taking my children to a Barnes & Noble and displaying my guide on the shelf. I did that two weeks in the past.
By way of enterprise and technique, hitting a bestseller listing immediately provides credibility. Exterior of that, it’s a reasonably good lead generator for the rest you do. If you happen to promote a course, digital product, or membership, people can discover you that method. It’s a low-cost method for them to study extra about your work.
I obtained a guide deal, so I used to be given an advance. The method took a 12 months. I put collectively a proposal, which was round 50 pages. It had projections on what number of books I may promote. It had a top level view of the guide and included a pattern chapter. It was a number of work to place that factor collectively.
I had interviewed many bestselling authors on my podcast, so I hit them up and requested how I may get a guide deal. One in every of my buddies, Jeff Goins, was dabbling with a book-in-a-box service, basically a guide guide. I employed him, and he coached me by means of your entire course of.
I needed to go the historically printed route — primarily for ego causes. I pitched to eight to 10 publishers reminiscent of Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Penguin. You hop on a Zoom name, meet the personnel there, and see if you happen to get alongside. You then set a date when all of the publishers bid on what to pay you prematurely to jot down the guide. You take a look at all of the affords and choose one. I went with HarperCollins — they gave a six-figure advance, which was the best.
I get a 15% lower on onerous copy gross sales and 25% for ebooks and Audible. I received’t make greater than the six-figure advance till the gross sales exceed that quantity, which might be tens of 1000’s of books.
If you happen to’re doing it for the cash, self-publishing is finest since you get to maintain all of the proceeds. If you go historically printed, that carries with it some status. Plus, it’s a lot simpler to hit a bestseller listing.
The publishing enterprise is like enterprise capital. Publishers spend money on a bunch of writers, and so they want just one James Clear [“Atomic Habits”] or one Mark Manson [“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”] to make their enterprise for the subsequent 10 years. “Atomic Habits” sells round 22,000 copies each week. It’s unattainable to knock that man off The Wall Avenue Journal’s bestselling enterprise books listing.
Bandholz: How does somebody produce the subsequent “Atomic Habits”?
Chou: Step one is the launch. You need to promote a bunch of books rapidly to hit a bestseller listing. I had a three-prong assault. I reached out to people who had sponsored me and requested them to do a bulk guide purchase for his or her viewers. In the end, you need to get books into the arms of actual individuals. If you wish to promote 1000’s of books by launch, you’ve got an enormous viewers or leverage others. Most of the books I bought had been from contacts who purchased in bulk and distributed them totally free to their viewers.
My guide launch coach suggested me to go on 200 podcasts. I requested him what the largest bang for my buck can be with out sacrificing 200 hours of my time, and he instructed me to do a number of good bonuses for my very own viewers, get firms to do bulk buys, after which go on no less than the heavy-hitting podcasts — the ten or 20 which have gigantic audiences. That’s basically what I did.
I interviewed as most of the massive podcasters alone podcast as attainable and promoted the heck out of something they needed to promote. When it got here time for my guide to launch, I hit up all of them and mentioned, “Hey, bear in mind me? I used to be questioning if you happen to’d be prepared to have me in your present. I’ve a guide popping out.” Nearly all of them mentioned sure. It’s a networking play.
The majority buys and bonuses ended up transferring probably the most books. I provided three bonuses with the acquisition of the guide. One was a three-day workshop on easy methods to get began with print-on-demand, which I take into account a gateway to ecommerce. Then I had a two-day seminar on easy methods to get began and make cash with running a blog, YouTube-ing, and podcasting, that are three issues I do. Then I provided a six-week “Household First” problem, the place I stay stream in a non-public Fb group to assist everybody with their aspect hustles.
If you happen to go the historically printed route, you could have an viewers. You received’t get a guide deal until you’ve got a following, whether or not it’s on YouTube or podcasting, when you’ve got an in depth electronic mail listing. Once I utilized, I feel my YouTube channel was nonetheless fairly small. I feel it was 90,000 subscribers. I had been podcasting for a very long time. I had an electronic mail listing of 100,000, plus my weblog.
Bandholz: Listeners would possibly recall your two companies. Bumblebee is a web based retailer promoting handkerchiefs. My Spouse Give up Her Job is a media and coaching web site. Have you ever seen a gross sales carry with these?
Chou: Positively for My Spouse Give up Her Job. For Bumblebee, I don’t suppose so. We promote handkerchiefs. What are the probabilities that somebody desires a handkerchief? Fairly low.
I plan on making the guide a part of my general advertising technique as a result of I’ve a singular message in comparison with all the opposite make-money-online guys. It’s a method to differentiate myself, and having made The Wall Avenue Journal bestseller listing provides credibility to every thing I do.
I need to keep on that listing for the long term. However it takes time. I need to go on a number of podcasts and make individuals conscious of my guide, and hopefully, down the road, it turns into a family guide, like “The 4-Hour Workweek” or “Wealthy Dad Poor Dad.”
Bandholz: The place can individuals purchase your guide?