Byron White: Welcome back everyone. Byron here, for a podcast with Jeremy Jones. JJ, I should say. JJ, welcome!
Jeremy Jones: Hey Byron. I’m honored to be here. Thank you.
Byron White: Does anybody ever call you JJ? It’s just such a…
Jeremy Jones: Yeah. Occasionally, yeah. I go by that sometimes.
Byron White: Well you’ve got a fascinating background, and by the way we appreciate your military service. I just want to say foremost before we even begin this conversation.
Jeremy Jones: Thank you.
Byron White: Yeah. So, thanks for that. We’re going to learn a little bit about your book entitled, ‘Client Bait’. You wrote that book in 2015. Tell us a little bit about your interest in helping this growing community that you’ve helped to form, publish their books and create books and walk through the value to that as it fits with content marketing. Where did this spark first begin?
Jeremy Jones: Yeah, sure. Where it really began was back when I first got out of design school. I was a designer and more of a creative person and this whole marketing and sales thing was very foreign, very confusing to me. I never worked in a sales job, I never worked on a customer service job even and I was out of the military, I was just out of art school and I had the entrepreneurial bug. I wanted to work for myself. All growing up, I had a lawn mowing business. I had a thing when I was in the navy I used to draw tattoos that guys would go out and get tattooed on their body, so I had this entreupeuneurial bug. Once I had the skills to create a business out of it, I just was very confused about this whole marketing myself thing, so I discover content marketing. Blogging, writing articles, creating audio content through podcasts, I was just fascinated with it and grew a very deep appreciation of it as a way to provide value in advance, provide education based marketing and that’s really how it began and that’s a big piece of when I do in any kind of marketing coaching, to teach creative people or really anyone the simplicity of marketing, it starts with education based marketing.
Byron White: We know that publishing a book is not an easy task. How does your book make the process easier and almost bring some purpose to that whole process that might even be well beyond just you know, making money selling a book?
Jeremy Jones: You’re talking about in the process of publishing a book?
Byron White: Exactly. Yes.
Jeremy Jones: Yeah, so basically what we do with self-publishing…When I created my process that I call ‘Your Book Blueprint’ to help simplify the self-publishing process, when you’re promoting a book it starts with education based marketing. When we simplify publishing a book we break it into three basic categories and these are the categories…If you like we can go deeper but I’ll just give you on the surface…
Byron White: Sure.
Jeremy Jones: …is create, package and release. It’s basically, the first phase is creating the book, second phase is packaging your book for the distribution, and release is doing a book launch. If you can put each piece of your book into those three categories, it helps to simplify the whole process.
Byron White: Let’s talk about how you help and coach authors; young authors, new authors perhaps on landing on a topic that would be interesting and valuable and align with that person’s career and goals.
Jeremy Jones: Yeah, absolutely. What we do in the Your Book Blueprint process, is we start from the very beginning which a lot of people do not consider when they start to write a book. If they come up with an idea, they get excited about it or they think of a concept and they just start writing. What we do is we go through a process that we call a book strategy session and basically what that does is it starts with what is the purpose of the book for you. What’s the purpose of this book? Is this a way to generate leads for your business? Is it a way just to share a message? Are you trying to make money with this book? Is it a way to start a conversation about your products and services and what you do? What’s the purpose for you? The other side is what’s the purpose for the reader? What’s the benefit that the reader will get out of reading this book? After they’re done with their book, what do they get out of it?
When I, last year, went through Toast Masters and I had a fantastic mentor who was also a pastor at a church here locally in Arizona, and he taught me this idea of a golden thread and I’ve integrated that directly into our process of creating books and it’s basically…It applies the same way is when someone’s reading a book, they should be, after they read the book, they should have this overall feeling or overall message that you’re giving them. It’s the same when you do a presentation. You do a presentation or training; someone should have an overall message. If they get on the phone after they see your presentation and someone says, “Hey. What was that talk about?” You say, “Oh. It was about X.”, just a sentence or two you would describe it. Well a book can do the same thing. It can be an overall message. When we start our books we start with what is that message, and then once we identify what the message is, what the goal is for you and what the goal is for the reader, then we can begin to outline and structure the book and fill in all the pieces from there.
Byron White: It’s a great concept. I want to ask you some more about the golden thread concept. Are you trying to get it the value proposition to take away with the golden thread? Could you expand a little bit more on the feeling that you get. Is it a particular point that you’re trying to make? Does it need to be original and does it need to be woven if you will throughout the book in various places?
Jeremy Jones: Yes. It’s an action item I would say. Basically, when I speak with a lot of authors, because I’ve interviewed a lot of entrepreneurs that are authors as well through my podcasts and what I find in speaking with a lot of them and I always then, I lead with this question a lot of the times is after someone is done reading your book, what is your hopes that the reader will do with the information that you give to them? Because what I’m finding a lot of times, in pretty much 95% of the cases, someone doesn’t write a book and spend all their time, their blood, sweat and tears to put all their information into this book and package it nicely, just for someone to read it and do nothing with the information. When I look at the golden thread; it’s what’s the action that you hope that the reader will do with the information that you have, so what’s that message you want to give them, and what’s the action that you’d like them to take with that message?
Byron White: What are the secrets to marketing the book that you can share with us, and particularly I know your focus is often getting on the top of the Amazon list. What are some of your secrets there that might help people start thinking about their book or their...what they’ve always wanted to write…How hard is it and what are your thoughts?
Jeremy Jones: Yeah. With marketing a book, there’s a couple of things here. One of the things that stops people after they start writing their book is the marketing. They think, “Oh. I’ve got to be with a traditional publisher. They’re going to do all the marketing.” Which really isn’t the case, and so that is the thing that stops people so I’d love to share some ideas here. Number one; you have basically two phases with your book. You have the initial release of the book which is all the promotion you do before the book is available in the market place, which is very important. Then you have after the book is released, there’s this spike that happens. There’s a spike in book sales and readers, and people are reading and interested in the book and then it sorts of tapers off. There’s certain things that you can do to create an ongoing promotion which is, what I don’t hear people talk a lot about, but there are certain things you can do to do ongoing promotion for your book. Let’s talk about the before side of things.
Before you do your book the big key that I could give to all of you listeners here if they have that concern of, “How am I going to market my book?” is cross promotional partners. Think about all of the people that have an audience that would also benefit from the message of your book, and get them involved. Mention them in the book. Have them contribute ideas to the book. Ask for their feedback along the way. What do you think about this cover versus this cover? Get them engaged, get them involved. When people contribute ideas and they’re involved, they take ownership and they’re a part of it. Then when the time comes when your book release is happening, they’re a part of the experience of releasing the book. Then when the book is available, you now want to make all the tools, resources, social media blurbs, social media graphics, all that completely available to them so it’s very, very easy for them to promote. They basically just copy and paste something, maybe modify it and they can share it out. Just make it very easy for them.
Pay attention to influencers or people who are part of your network that have email lists. Email lists are very, very powerful for releasing a book both on the early side of things, before the book is available, and then also during that release time. Then on the outside of that, with ongoing book promotion, it’s content marketing. It’s providing valuable resources and articles…Providing valuable information in the form of YouTube videos are outstanding. Providing education to the reader on even various, different topics outside of the book, and then promoting the book. Talking about where they can get the book and make it very easy for people to find out where they can be able to purchase the book and learn more about it.
Byron White: I want to ask you some questions about publishing a book for more lead generation and more aligning your brand with super quality content and giving the book away for free to your valued customers or prospects, versus making money with a book; say you’re an author. We’ve published a lot of books here, well I have at WriterAccess, several books, and we’ve really wanted to just for the most part, play our part in being the leader in the content marketing revolution and creating great informational content, whether it be related to the Content Marketing Roadmap, my first book, or professional skills on writing guide to try to help get writers and customers on the same page to some content marketing tools books. My mission has been very different than a lot of people. I’m not about the money generated for the books which is why they’re available as a free download on the page. Is this a trend that you’re seeing? Do you use this strategy yourself? And do you think freelance writers should use that same strategy? Or do you think that a good book should have a purpose to generate income and revenue?
Jeremy Jones: Yeah. Really good question…The way I see it is it starts in the beginning of the purpose of your book. When your purpose is for lead generation, you want to lead with the value and not be overly promotional with what’s inside the book. I see reviews on Amazon all the time that, “This whole book was a pitch fest” and you do not want people to say that within your book. It’s just not a good idea. You always want to lead with value and I’d like to say, “Lead value with value.” Even if you put out a free book, which I have this model up right now is I have a free book that is available and then inside the free book, they can get access to another free book or another free resource or a checklist or a guide or something. What that allows people to do is you can even give away the book without asking for an email address and if you have the book on Amazon, you can’t get an email address, so you have to offer some sort of other value in advance to the reader so that they can get access to it, and then when they do that they put in their name and their email and that’s where you then can begin to follow up and create a conversation with that person whereas before you couldn’t.
Now as far as the book with making money with the book, yes you can absolutely make money with a book. It’s got to be a quality book. I believe it’s got to be, what I feel in the market place works very well right now is one topic, and we’re talking non-fiction books specifically, as a one topic related book for one audience, one problem, one solution type of books, even if they’re short, they work very, very well. And what I see works very well is a series of books. What’s happening right now on Amazon is you can create these short read books and what works very, very well, if someone would go onto Amazon, they purchase your book, they see you have three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine other books in the same type of a category or they like your style or your philosophy on things or how you do things and they purchase three, four, five, six, seven, eight of your other books, and it creates this snowball effect to where they buy one book, they buy another book. So it’s not necessarily one book that needs to be making a lot of money. Rather than one giant book, you can create a series of five books and that seems to do very, very well right now.
Byron White: How much time do you need to put into the creation, development, research, marketing and promotion of a book?
Jeremy Jones: All right. It really depends on the topic obviously. If there is a lot of data that you need to provide as resources, as research items and things like that…I like to tell people in general, we can do…For our company, kind of our specialty, we can do a one topic book that’s roughly about 100 pages. We can create all of the content with you for about four to six weeks. Then the book is done we go into the packaging phase which could be two to three weeks, then we go into the release phase of the book which is another about two weeks. The majority of the time, most of the time that I see happens is writing the book. It just takes time. It takes time to gather the information. It takes time to write it, to edit it, to make sure it’s in a format that is proper to go into the market place, that it’s edited properly, that there’s no grammar mistakes; that’s really most important. And because it takes more time on the front end, you want to make sure it’s completely polished and that’s why I divide it into three phases. When the creation of the book is done, then you move into the packaging and the packaging doesn’t need to take that long. If you have a resource available where you can get it done right, you just make sure your book is edited properly, then you move into the packaging where you take care of the book cover, which is the external, then you take care of the book interior which is the internal of the book and those both need to be done properly, and then you can start moving into the other phases there. That’s roughly about the time it takes.
Byron White: Give us a sense for what you ball park charge to help somebody through the whole process, to give yourself a shameless plug here at Jones Media Publishing. That was an arduous process that you just mentioned, many weeks of work and obviously you need to work with a good author that could create the book. What kind of fee structures are out there, even if this is not just with you, with other people. It’s just such a wide range and I’d like for people to understand that.
Jeremy Jones: Yeah, sure. I’m happy to break that down. There’s a couple of different ways that companies you’ll find out there that assist with self-publishing. There’s hybrid publishing which is very close to a traditional publisher where they have some kind of maybe a royalty agreement and then there’s just straight self-publishing where the author goes out and they have to hire an editor, they have to hire a book cover designer, hire a book interior designer and then you’ve got to try and make all of the people work together. If your book interiors ends up being bigger than you expected, you have to have the book cover designer adjust it. Basically, what we've done is we’ve packaged them all together to where we can handle all those pieces and efficiently make them work all together. So we have a variety of different packages that we offer. I’ve heard from other companies out there that…You can literally pay anywhere between 18,000 to 30,000 dollars to get your book done at a high quality traditional publishing level. Basically what we’ve done is we’ve streamlined the entire process to where if an author…Let’s say as an example, there’s an author that will…They can upload their own stuff, they can take care of a lot of these pieces and they want to more on the bootstrapping side of things. I mean we can do certain pieces of the book under a $1000. If someone says, “Hey I just want you to facilitate and walk me through the entire process” then we take care of everything, more of our higher end packages; those are closer to $5000. Those are kind of the ranges that we work with.
Byron White: What kind of money do people need to spend to promote the book and to get the book to be a number one seller on Amazon?
Jeremy Jones: Yeah, good question. If you arrange your marketing right with some cross promotional partners, it can be very, very little. I like to run some FaceBook ads at the same time to some of the audiences and we capture some of that as well so there’s a little bit of ad cost there. For the most part, if you get the Amazon category correct, you do your proper niche research for other bestsellers that are out there, other books that are happening in your category at the same time, you don’t need to sell 1000 books on Amazon to become a number one bestseller. The way it works for Amazon...and you probably know this Byron, I’ll share this for the listeners, is they do bestseller by categories. A number one best seller right now for small business, entrepreneurship and marketing, maybe you need to sell, let’s just call it 30 books in a certain window of time, maybe we’ll call it two or three days where you need to sell let’s say 30 books in order to be a best seller. If a huge influencer is marketing a book right now and their book is at the top of that category and they’re selling, 150 books a day in their category but you try to compete with them, you’re going to have to sell a whole lot more books. So it’s important to do the research in advance to see what’s going on in the market place, which is what we help authors with as well, so that you can sell a reasonable amount of books without having to kill yourself while you’re trying to promote your book and still reach that bestseller status, so you have the credibility that goes along with it plus Amazon starts to promote you more. I think it’s more about being smart about doing your little bit of research in advance, finding out what’s going on in the market place and then positioning your book in the right spot.
Byron White: Got it. Super. Do you have any thoughts on the biggest mistakes that people can make? You’ve talked about a lot of great things we should be doing but where do you think people…? What are the biggest mistakes people make?
Jeremy Jones: In self-publishing?
Byron White: Yes, self-publishing in general.
Jeremy Jones: Okay. Biggest mistake…Let’s cover…We’ll do one mistake for each of the three categories [0:20:10 crosstalk] I’ll expand further, so on the create side of things…I feel authors’ mistake is they think they need a 100% unique, mind-blowing idea in order to write a great book that sells. You really don’t. You have a certain unique experience, a unique life experience that…a perspective that will reach some people, that won’t reach other people. I’ve had Gary Vaynerchuk as a guest on my show a couple of times, a bunch of other bestselling authors, and he’s got a very unique and very interesting perspective on things. Some people say, “Ah, I can’t even compete in the social media realm.” Well, he can’t compete with you as…Let’s say I’m just talking to anyone of the readers here...
Maybe you’re a writer that is dyslexic and you figured out how to get through it. Well, there’s certain other readers that are going to relate with that. So because you have a unique experience, a unique lens that you look at life through, when you begin to share your view on how you see things, it makes your book entirely unique. You do have to be smart about how you position that book in the market place and how you position it. However, I think one of the biggest mistakes is that the thing that people do commonly, that I see is that they think about an idea, they just randomly start writing the book without doing a little bit of strategy behind it, they start writing the book and then all the self-doubt creeps in where they say, “I don’t know if this is going to sell. I don’t know if people are going to read it.” It’s very, very common. I would just say, if your idea, if you package that book and you give it to one person and they can take away one idea that’ll help their life get better, you’ve got a good enough idea for a book. Okay. That’s one of the mistakes that’s usually the create side.
Packaging, by far is just quality. If you’ve got a poor quality looking book cover and you’ve got an interior where you don’t have chapter headings that look good, your spacing looks terrible, your fonts are all crazy different sizes, if it just looks bad, it’s going to be a poor reading experience for the reader and they just can’t take it. You can only read so far through a headache. It’s just difficult to read.
Then on the promotion side of things, I mean I would say probably a mistake is just not getting other people involved. Why go through this great experience of writing a book, promoting a book without the involvement of other people! You can edify other people; you can lift other people up. You can involve and engage other people while you’re launching your book and it makes the whole experience a lot more fun.
Byron White: What are some creative ways that you were getting other people involved? Give some people some ideas there. Is the payoff for them a free copy of the book, or they can promote it through their channel, or is the payoff a mention in your book? And what if you’ve never published a book before so you’re asking partners to get involved with something that they don’t really know what the end product is going to look like, they don’t know what your marketing abilities are? I mean, it’s the old what comes first, the chicken or the egg; the great book that they can see and touch their hands on and say, “Yeah, sure. I’d love to be part of this”, or their endorsement and then a prayer to try to get them together quickly. Tell us what your thoughts are on that.
Jeremy Jones: Yeah, absolutely. Good question. Here’s what I would recommend in this area is when you are putting together your book, have maybe a one page outline of your book. And basically what that one page outline would be is your book title, all of the things that we just covered within this interview, our time together here, I would take notes…The reader listening to this, I would take notes on that and all of the things that I mentioned that are important to consider while writing your book is to just outline those on a one page document. What’s the purpose of the book for the reader? What’s the purpose of this book for you? What’s your hope of actions of the reader’s take? How’s it going to help change their life? If you’ve got an outline that you’ve thought that through and you reach out to someone who you have a somewhat of a relationship with and you say, “Hey, I’ve got this book. I think it’s going to be really great for people. I would love your feedback on the topic. Let me know what’s your best advice relating X; relating this. I’d love to just mention it in the book and give you some credit and have your participation as I release the book.” Just saying that right there…You don’t even have book yet. You’ve got basically a page that outlines the book. Because you’re asking for someone’s feedback, number one, people appreciate their opinion and feedback on things. That’s one of the things I learned about blogging and content marketing as well, is you can create a great piece of content that’s contributed from a bunch of different people by just asking for people’s opinions. Then if they’re an expert or they have an interesting view on the topic, it’s a compilation of people’s best advice. They put energy and thought and time into this advice, and when you ask for people’s advice for a book it’s the same thing.
I find most people; they don’t care about any kind of compensation. If they feel it’s of value add to their audience, their social media presence, anything, if they feel like it’s a value add, most people are good for it. The mistake that most people make is that they just randomly reach out to somebody and say, “Hey, can you promote my book for me?” with no adding value in advance to them. If you don’t want to have relationships with influencers or experts on a topic, and your book’s not done, you’re actually at an advantage right now. Reach out to those people and just say, “Hey, how can I promote your blog? How can I promote your podcast? How can I promote your stuff?”, and without asking for anything in advance. Then when the time comes, even if it’s two weeks later, that’s where you could say, “Hey, I’d love you to contribute to this thing I’m working on.” Always look to add value first.
Byron White: Terrific! Two final questions for you Jeremy…Who would you like to get a hold of you and how can they get a hold of you?
Jeremy Jones: Yeah. You can go to my blog which is askjeremyjones.com and that’s where I publish blog articles and podcasts and things like that. I also have…You can reach me by email, its fine to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. If it’s appropriate, I have an online community for aspiring authors. It’s a free FaceBook group that I’ve created where people can ask questions to me, and connect with me directly. They can ask questions. “Hey, what do you think about this book idea?” I’m actively engaged in that group. If it’s appropriate I can share that and that’s a great resource too.
Byron White: Terrific. It’s been great having you on today Jeremy. Thanks so much.
Jeremy Jones: Thank you very much.
Byron White: Hope everybody enjoyed today’s podcast. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you in next podcast. Thanks everyone.