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25 Secrets - How I Wrote and Marketed a New York Times Bestselling Business Book

The totally true, inside story of how Jay Baer wrote and marketed Youtility, a New York Times bestselling business book about truly, useful marketing

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25 Secrets - How I Wrote and Marketed a New York Times Bestselling Business Book

  1. How I Wrote and Marketed a New York Times Bestselling Business Book by Jay Baer Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  2. Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype Released June 27, 2013 Published by Portfolio/Penguin Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  3. Book Deal Secrets Writing Secrets Production Secrets Marketing Secrets Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  4. 1. I Had an Agent ➥The book deal process and paperwork is CONFUSING and WEIRD  My first book (The NOW Revolution, 2011) was published with Wiley (thanks Wiley)  This time, I wanted to talk to more publishers about their plans for Youtility, and how to position the book  But, Wiley had a right of first refusal clause in my original contract, so it was very helpful to have a literary agent to help navigate that and get me the best possible deal for the book  Agents take 15% of everything associated with the book  My agent, Jim Levine of Levine/Greenberg was introduced to me by Julien Smith and Mitch Joel (thanks guys)
  5. 2. I Used a Publisher That Loved My Concept ➥Publishers are interested in making money, not making you famous.  That said, they are not all the same, and sometimes their deal terms are different  Even if the deal is similar, you will get a different “feel” from publishers about you and your book. That feeling is ENTHUSIASM  Always go with the most enthusiastic publisher, even if the terms are not quite as good  ENTHUSIASM = SUPPORT = BOOK SALES  Youtility was published by Portfolio/Penguin, the business division of Penguin Books (thanks Portfolio!)
  6. ➥I got introduced to Portfolio by my agent (of course), and by Sally Hogshead, speaker/author extraordinaire
  7. 3. My Marketing Plan Helped Me Get the Book Deal ➥Lots and lots of books are pitched to publishers, many by good writers ➥To make money, publishers must sell books ➥The person that will sell those books is YOU, not them ➥In your proposal (that you send to agent or publisher to get the deal) put a lot of time into how you plan to market and sell the book  This reduces their fears of being stuck with a lemon
  8. Should you self-publish? ➥If you’re writing a book to make money, perhaps you should ➥With a mainstream publisher, you’ll keep ~ 15% of the book sales price in royalties = NOT MUCH ➥But, if you’re writing a book for credibility, or to advance your speaking/consulting career, the major publisher vote of confidence matters ➥Being with a publisher also helps drive media coverage of your book
  9. 4. I Made the Presentation First ➥Unlike most books, where the presentation is created after publication, the Youtility presentation was developed BEFORE the book was written.  This enabled me to use the presentation as a narrative backbone for the book, and makes the book “flow” well  The Youtility concept was first delivered publicly at Content Marketing World in September, 2011  First full keynote presentation was at Blog Indiana in August, 2012 Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  10. 5. I Used Transcriptions ➥I recorded the live keynote at Blog Indiana, and transcribed it, giving me a 15,000-word pool to use in the book manuscript. ➥I used (and recommend) Speechpad.com ➥I also recorded more than 40 telephone interviews and transcribed them using Speechpad, making it easier to listen (instead of having to take notes), and I could copy and paste quotes from transcript into manuscript Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  11. 6. I Used Scrivener ➥I used (and recommend) Scrivener software to write the book ➥Scrivener is incredibly powerful, yet inexpensive, and allows you to use pin boards and other techniques to build the book, while providing in-line bibliography tools, etc. Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  12. 7. I Created (and adhered to) a Writing Schedule ➥Based on when the manuscript was due, and the number of words required (~50,000), I determined which nights and weekend days I could or could not write, and made a rigid production schedule. ➥For weeknights, I wrote ~1,500 words between 8pm and 10pm ➥On weekends, I wrote ~ 5,000 words between 10am and 4pm, one day per weekend ➥Based on this schedule, I wrote Youtility in six weeks
  13. 8. I Edited Before Giving it to the Editor ➥Getting changes from your editor (employed by your publisher) can be useful, but can also cause panic, and delays and drama ➥You will be much better off (on timeline and mental state) if you give your editor a “cleaner” manuscript ➥To do this, have friends/family thoroughly review and improve the manuscript before turning it in ➥My Mom (an English teacher – handy!) did the initial copy editing, and Tamsen Webster (a brilliant marketer – handy!) was the initial “does this make sense” filter for Youtility
  14. Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  15. 8. Titles Matter, and I Stuck to My Guns ➥I wanted the title to be Youtility throughout, because I believed it would be memorable, and could become a common marketing term ➥Portfolio was less sure, and initially rejected the title ➥Eventually, we determined that Youtility was the best option, and went back to that title for production Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  16. ➥I’d love your feedback on this, just out of curiosity. Leave a comment, if you have an opinion
  17. 8. Covers Matter (I think) and are Hard ➥Cover for this book is tricky, because it’s a made up word, so you want to convey some sense of meaning with the cover, but not the wrong meaning.  Also, because “Youtility” is a new word, the subtitle was placed first on the cover  I don’t adore the wrench, but it has grown on me  I used my designer friend Chris Bohnsack of Bohnsack Designs to come up with some other options, but Portfolio wanted to use their designs, and we did ➥I tested semi-final covers on Facebook, and got AMAZING feedback that really helped
  18. ➥The final subtitle “Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype” was suggested by my friend Billy Mitchell from MLT Creative, on Facebook!
  19. 9. I Made the Book “feel” Accessible ➥All trends point toward shorter information. People don’t have time to slog through a giant, boring business tome  Youtility was purposefully written a bit shorter than most business books (50,000 words vs. 60,000+)  I made the physical size of the book smaller, so it would feel easier to hold, put in a briefcase for a flight, etc.  I chose to not have a book jacket on Youtility, again to make the book feel less stuffy and more accessible and approachable ➥It’s also easier/faster to sign books with no cover, and they don’t get wrinkled/ripped in shipping
  20. 10. I Read My Own Audio ➥On my first book, Amber Naslund and I decided not to read the book ourselves, and the “pro” reader was not very good ➥This time, I decided to read Youtility myself, and I convinced Marcus Sheridan (@thesaleslion) – who wrote the exceptional foreword to the book – to record his part, too ➥Feedback has been very strong on the audio version of Youtility
  21. 11. I Made the Data Look Consistent ➥Inspired by Youngme Moon’s Different (a great book) I wanted to make all the charts and graphs in Youtility feel the same ➥I commissioned my friend Michael Hale from Michael Hale Designs to hand draw all the data tables in the book ➥We created them in two colors, but ended up using them in gray scale only
  22. Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  23. 12. I Built Marketing Into the Book ➥Photos are the currency of the social Web ➥To ensure a steady stream of Youtility photos, I created an Instagram/Twitter #Youtility photo contest, and added a page at the back of the book to promote it  Best photos of Youtility “in the wild” each week receive free, limited edition T-shirts  Shirts were designed by my friend Doug Cholewa from Catywampus (also the inventor of ScreamingGuys.com)
  24. ➥Here’s my son modeling the shirt design ➥Just take your best photo of the book and upload to Instagram or Twitter with the tag #Youtility and you might be hearing from me, asking for your size!
  25. 13. I Started a LOOONG Time in Advance ➥Because the book is based on a presentation, I had been talking about the Youtility premise at events for nearly nine months before the book was launched  This “seeded” the concept broadly, and tens of thousands of people had been exposed to the message before the book was available Get a juicy, free book excerpt at YoutilityBook.com
  26. 14. I Spoke for Books ➥I give a lot of presentations as a keynote speaker. For Youtility, I often reduced my speaking fee in exchange for bulk purchases of books  These events were both live and Webinars, and will continue for five months after book launch  For bestseller list purposes, you want all of your pre-orders to run through in the same week, so Kim Corak on my team at Convince & Convert closely coordinated bulk book purchases and timing  I sold approximately 9,500 books in the first day that were somehow tied to speaking
  27. Does it make sense to take less money as a speaker, in exchange for book sales? ➥It depends. If you’re in it for the long haul, and want to help ensure your book/concept is sticky enough that you can speak about it for 2+ years at your regular fee, it may be worth it (at least that was my calculus) ➥But, there is no doubt it’s an expensive, time consuming approach that may not be right for all
  28. 15. I Built My Own Store ➥To make the New York Times (and other) bestseller lists, you must concentrate your book sales into one or more specific weeks ➥In addition to the bulk orders tied to speaking, I created a robust online store and asked blog readers, podcast listeners, email subscribers, clients and friends to purchase books in advance, directly from me ➥I used Shopify for the store technology (I recommend it), and my friend Neal Lumantara from Crefio designed it
  29. 16. I Incentivized Pre-Order ➥I created a litany of content available first (on a temporarily exclusive basis) to people who pre-ordered the book ➥These bonus items (like this one!) eventually became marketing assets, post-release  Official trailer  Executive summary  Interactive, online workbook  21 Quotes from Youtilty  Live, Q and A session with me about the book
  30. 17. I Had a Video Trailer Made ➥Because Youtility is a new concept, I wanted a concise, innovative video that explained it and built demand  I worked with the team at Simplifilm (I recommend them), and they created a terrific trailer for Youtility  We cut several versions to use in pre-order and post-release phases of the marketing campaign
  31. http://ar.gy/YoutilityVideo
  32. 18. I Had a Music Video Made ➥My amazing friend, Chuck Kent from Creative On Call wrote an original song about Youtility!  I asked people who pre-ordered the book to send in photos of themselves helping people  Those photos were used in the music video for Youtility, which I use as my entrance music at presentations now
  33. http://ar.gy/YoutilitySong
  34. 19. I Deployed Aggressive Pre-Order Advertising ➥To build demand for Youtility ~6 weeks out from release (and to generate pre-orders) I launched a comprehensive online advertising campaign ➥Total budget was approximately $20,000, split between banner ads and email newsletter ads  Social Media Explorer  Social Media Examiner  MarketingProfs  Social Fresh  Retargeted ads to Convince & Convert readers  Facebook and Twitter ads
  35. ➥Pre-order ads drove awareness, but few direct sales ➥Best source of pre-orders was personal emails from me to colleagues and supporters – this took many hours, but paid off in more than 2,500 pre-order copies via my online store
  36. 20. I Hired a Publicist ➥To keep demand for the book high, even after the launch, I knew I needed robust media outreach  After conversations with several firms that specialize in book launches, I retained Fortier PR to handle press for Youtility  Between Fortier and my own outreach, I have done more than 50 interviews and podcasts since Youtility debuted, and the book has been covered in FORTUNE, Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Success, Huffington Post, MarketingProfs, and dozens of other blogs and publications
  37. 21. I Organized the Launch on Basecamp ➥To keep track of the many facets of the pre-order and launch campaigns, I used Basecamp  Projects, To-Dos, and owners were set up for each element of the program  This was critical, as more than 30 people were involved in the production and marketing of Youtility in some capacity
  38. 22. I Deployed a Launch Advertising Campaign ➥Given the relative lack of success of the pre-order advertising in terms of actually selling copies, the launch advertising campaign was scaled back to ~ $5,000  Primarily, this was a “it’s finally here” approach that leaned heavily on retargeting  The retargeted ads – using the Google retargeting network – were augmented by ads on Facebook and Twitter  My Mom – who wasn’t clear on how retargeting works – was surprised to see a Youtility ad on a large sewing website!
  39. 23. I Used Guest Posts as Currency ➥Bloggers and other online influencers struggle when asked to read an entire book and review it – some will do so, but it’s a big request ➥However, bloggers always need good content for their blogs, to fill their editorial calendar  For Youtility, I worked with Peg Fitzpatrick of 12Most.com, who took an advance copy of the book and chopped it up into 30 different guest posts and excerpts  Jess Ostroff, the amazing managing editor at Convince & Convert took Peg’s posts and polished them up  I then approached friends and colleagues in the blogging community about running the posts, and placed more than 25!
  40. 24. I Built a Freestanding Website ➥I’m very proud of the website for the book (http://www.youtilitybook.com) built by Neal Lumantara from Crefio  It’s a scrolling, one page design that includes much of the content and bonus items, such as the trailer, video, excerpts  Plus, the site includes reviews, information about the photo contest, and links to new, recently discovered Youtilities that didn’t make it into the book (but might make it into the next version)  The site is built on Wordpress (Genesis platform, which I wholeheartedly endorse), and hosted by Synthesis
  41. ➥I tried to buy Youtility.com – but never heard back from domain owner
  42. 25. I Atomized the Content ➥Originated by Todd Defren of Shift Communications, the idea of “atomizing” your content is included in the book ➥It’s about taking an idea or an execution and repurposing it, to maximize efficiencies (Ann Handley and CC Chapman cover this well in their book Content Rules)  The guest posts were drawn from the book  I created a free excerpt of the book that’s downloadable on the website and is embedded in many of the guest posts  I created an ebook of the 21 best quotes from the book (thanks to Carrie Morgan for helping on that project), and those quotes became Facebook ads and Pinterest/Instagram fodder too
  43. ➥ View/download at http://ar.gy/21Quotes
  44. So that’s how I wrote and marketed a New York Times bestselling business book. It wasn’t easy, or inexpensive. But it’s doable. Many, many thanks to everyone involved, especially those who pre-ordered and continue to support Youtility by leaving reviews at Amazon.com and elsewhere, and telling their friends. Stay useful! And if I can ever help YOU, please let me know. ~ Jay Baer