Today Josh speaks with Julie Broad. Julie is an Amazon Overall #1 Best Selling Author, an International Book Award Winner, and has been awarded the Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Sales book.
Julie is also the founder of Book Launchers, a company which helps professionals and entrepreneurs effectively write high quality books that essentially help with improving their brand and boosting their business. In this episode, Josh and Julie will be talking about writing your own book.
Some points you will learn:
- The importance of having your own book to boost your brand / business
- Why having a book can make you more memorable to potential clients
- The top three challenges of writing a great book
- The cost of writing a book
- WHY write a amazing book
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, this is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business Podcast. Today, our guest is Julie Broad. Julie and I are going to talk about books. Specifically, we’re going to talk about why you need a book because that’s what she does. She helps people write books. I just finished mine and I’m going to ask you about all the mistakes I made. She can tell you all the mistakes that you don’t want to make. Instead of me talking about my mistakes, we’ll let Julie tell us what we should be doing.
Let’s bring her on board. Hey Julie, how are you today?
Julie: Hi, Josh. Thanks for having me.
Josh: My pleasure. Thanks so much for spending some time with us. So, first we have to figure out this boring question I have which has nothing to do with books and has nothing to do with the podcast. She says, “Why did you move from Vancouver Island to Los Angeles?”
Julie: Ha, ha, ha. Well, it’s kind of a long story. The short answer is my husband got into acting about four or five years ago. In Vancouver, he quickly realized that he was getting lot of auditions and few parts but they were align or two and they were flying, everybody else with all the good parts up from L.A. So, even though there was more filming in Vancouver than ever before, if he wanted to do anything but a bit part he was going to have to be in L.A. for the audition.
That was kind of a driving factor, but for my business Book Launchers, L.A. is just really phenomenal place for me to be with all the creative talent here. I couldn’t have taken a better place really.
Josh: Oh, cool. So, let’s start with the basic stupid question, “Why do you want a book?”
Julie: Well, I think— it was interesting a lot of survey say that 80% of people think they have a book in them. Some people probably fiction, some are non-fiction but whether that many people have a book in them, maybe they all just kind of pondered it. I think for a business perspective and especially we are talking to business owners, having a book is way better than a degree. I mean less than 1% of the population has written a book.
It really puts you in a category the smaller. So, it reduces the people you’re competing with. There are lots of reasons to do it. From a marketing perspective, I love books because people throw my business cards out. They throw brochures, but they’re unlikely to throw my book out. They might pass it along, give it away but it’ll sit on their shelf, they would sit on their desk. It’ll do some marketing for me. It’ll last a lot longer and it builds stronger relationships.
Josh: Okay, so how does it build stronger relationships? That’s an interesting idea.
Julie: Yeah, if they read it. It doesn’t just by sitting on their desk, build a stronger relationship but I noticed this in particular and it might just be because of how I write. I write very openly and share my personal stories. I often encourage people to do that anyways because it’s more interesting. People feel like they know me after they read my book.
Now, we’re having— instead of those superficial conversations, you can just dive right it because they feel like they know you. They’re going tell you their problems and you can move that relationship along so much faster than if you have to kind of build all that trust and then get to that point.
Josh: So, how long have you been writing for?
Julie: I don’t consider myself as a writer necessarily. I mean I enjoy writing, but my first book came out in 2013. I’ve been writing a newsletter since 2008. My background is in real estate. I started investing in real estate in 2001 and did an MBA in real estate and finance after that. I started writing because I wanted to help people. We made a lot of mistakes as real estate investors and had some great stories.
For other people they weren’t great stories for us, but they were great lessons. So, I started sharing those lessons and the newsletter is a great way to do it. That’s how I started writing and sharing and it went from there. I don’t think you have a writer to write a book.
Josh: Okay. If you don’t have to be a writer to write a book, what do you have to be?
Julie: You have to have a great plan. When I work with us, we start you with a writing coach. If you don’t have a writing coach, just creating a great outline, understanding your goal. So, why are you writing this book? Not just to sell books, but what’s that message that you want to get out there and what do you want to have happen when people read your book. You really want to think about that and who you’re writing for and then craft that outline and go from there.
With great editing, as long as you have a solid concept and you’re clear on what you’re writing the book for and who you’re writing it for then you don’t have to be a writer. [inaudible 00:04:59] can get fix. You just have to have the expertise and the knowledge and a really good plan and the book can go from there. A lot of our clients actually speak their books. So, with a really detailed outline, they can just talk and those pieces get transcribed and then they all get fix in the editing again.
Josh: So, you mentioned a book coach. What is a book coach? What do they do?
Julie: I call it a writing coach and I created the position, but I understand there are people out there that also do this outside. Our writing coach sits down and guides people through the outline creation process and they really figure out what’s that hook of your book. What’s that one or two sentences that describes your book and creates curiosity and creates engagement and makes people feel like, “I have to read this book?” They work with people to get that out. They are almost like miners, mining for the good stories.
They’re trying to figure out what’s going to make this book different than other books in this industry. What makes you the person writing it, different than other people? And really try to plan the book around that and then as they start writing the pieces, the writing coach is reading it and suggestions saying, “Okay, you need a story to fill in this piece” or “This is a little weak” or ” This is a little boring” all those kind of pieces.
The writing coach is there for that and also emotional support. So you said you just finished a book, I don’t know if you went through this but I do and I know a lot of people do—the, “Okay, this book’s going to be fantastic. Oh, my goodness nobody’s going to read this book. It sucks.” Like that roller coaster of emotions that you ride when you’re writing. The writing coach is there to support you and guide you and reassure you or sometimes say, “Yeah, this part really does suck, but the rest of the book is going to be great and fix this so it is good.”
Josh: So, I know that it took me a lot of hours writing my book. Some place in here you say—well, you can save somebody 1400 hours writing a book. How do you go about doing that?
Julie: Yeah, that was tongue and cheek I think. We joke around and I think that’s actually going to be a chapter title in one of the books that I write. How do you know exactly how long it would have taken someone to write a book you don’t know? A great outline and a good plan and support to keep you on track can make all the difference and I know from me, I’m working with a writing coach now on my third book.
My past books, I tossed out about 40,000 words that I spent hours and hours and hours writing and I wasted a lot of time staring at a blank screen because I was trying to figure out what I needed to write next. So, I don’t know exactly how many hours we save people but a great plan and that support makes a lot of difference. I’m seeing this. We have people who are powering through their books where it took me six to twelve months to write a book, they’re done in three. I think that the support but also the plan are really important so that 45 minutes that you have to write a book, you know exactly what you’re writing.
Josh: So, when you say you’re writing in three months, I’m assuming that you’re writing everyday for three months.
Julie: Some people would be, but not everyone. I usually say I need about five hours and I’m expecting most people to take six months— five hours a week I should say. I’m expecting most people to take about six months, but some people have a lot of content that’s already done. We work with a lot of podcasters and a lot of people who have a lot of books from a lot of years. And so, the people who are going really quickly, they’re taking that content, putting it together and with the writing coach they’re filling in the blanks.
They’re still writing to do so that it’s really powerful book, not just a book that has material [inaudible 00:08:23] together like that. If you have a lot of content already created that’s on point for your book, the writing can go a lot faster because a lot of it is already done.
Josh: What I’m finding is that marking the book is at least if not more work than writing the book. That’s a little secret that most people want to write a book don’t understand. So, talk a bit about clarity about what your book should do and what you want your book to do and what the options are. A general time fame for how much you’d have to spend if you’re going to door A, B or C.
Julie: For what it’s worth, I actually think writing a book is the third most difficult task. The first is marketing it. The second is choosing a great title. I think that’s really hard and a lot of people who think they’ve got the title and haven’t spent probably 20 to 40 hours on the title. You probably don’t have a great title unless you are just really lucky and then of course writing a book.
From a marketing perspective, the fast answer is relationships are the best way to sell books no matter what kind of a book it is. It’s also the freeway if not the short term. You can’t just call somebody up and say, “Hey, I want to be your friend because I want you to market my book.” It needs to be long term relationships, but on both of my books, I’ve seen that relationships are what sells thousands of copies. The best relationships are people who aren’t competing with you, but you’re target reader is their target as well.
As an example, my first book was a real estate book. Like I said, my background is in real estate and I was a real estate investor and my target audience was new or people considering investing in real estate. So, realtors and mortgage brokers and real estate associations have the same market like they have that same target person that they’re trying to reach. They were promoting my book. It’s a third-party talking about something that benefits them.
Somebody learning to invest in real estate, they’re going to need mortgages. They’re going to need real estate agents so on. Those were the people really sold thousands and thousands of copies of my book. That is really the best. Again, it’s not a short easy answer. You have to have relationships in order to say, “Hey, I got a book coming out. Can we do something?”
Josh: Would it be reasonable to say that you shouldn’t be writing a book because you want to make money from the book, but the book will help you make money in other ways?
Julie: Yeah, I mean I’ve made money from my books but that’s not the intention. If I hadn’t made money from the books it wouldn’t matter because the books for me and for a lot of our clients are a tool to get a message out and many people—we have a couple of realtors who are writing books. A mortgage broker who’s writing a book with us and all they need is a couple of clients.
So, somebody passes their book along and somebody comes and works with them, they paid for the book. So, if you’re looking at it on a per copy basis, you’re going to have to sell over a thousand copies maybe fifteen hundred copies to break even. One client or two clients depending on your business can pay for it.
Again, that’s why you want to think about, “What’s your goal?” There are different reasons to write books and if you’re clear on why you’re writing your book then you know what your breakeven point is and what you’re making money from the book.
Josh: Speaking of money, how much does it cost to write a book?
Julie: It depends. You can write a book for really, really cheap.
Josh: I’m talking about writing a book with somebody like you who does coaching and editing and brings you through the process and hold your hand and trying to figure out yourself. You are a fool because—although, self-publishing is relatively easy. It’s a lot more complicated than it first looks like. If you’re not going to be a dope and you’re actually want to get your book done sometime this century, what kind of cost can you expect?
Julie: Yeah, for sure. I need to create a book that is comparable to any other books sitting on any book shelves of Barnes and Noble or any other bookstore. You’re looking at probably somewhere between $6,000 to $10,000. It does depend on the size of the book because that if you can write a book faster or there’s less words involved then everything else is cheaper.
But, good editing is the bulk of the cost— forget about the fact that we have a writing coach, editing is really the bulk of the cost and skipping on editing I think is a huge mistake. The editing takes your book 10x is it. I’m sure you hired editors for your book, made a big difference, right?
Josh: It did. My book coach also is an editor at the same time. I actually have three editors looking at my book.
Julie: Great, so you’re book is going to be fantastic. A lot of people don’t do that. Our writing coach reads it. We have the content editor with the copy editor and then we have a proofreader. There are actually four people who will read your book before it goes to layout. That helps too with all the doubts of, “Does this book suck?” If you got four different professionals reading it and they all say, “Yes, this looks great.” It’s going to feel a lot better when you’re actually start handing it over to people. You’re going to feel a lot more confident.
Josh: I’m assuming that you’re clients self-publish. They’re not going to a hybrid publisher where it’s sort of self-publishing— you’re self real publishing or a traditional publisher. Am I correct in that assumption?
Julie: Yeah, for sure. We help them through the entire process. We help them upload their book to whatever print on demand. They’ll be the self-publisher. Hybrid’s a little bit different. That’s not what we do. If you’re going through our process you don’t need a hybrid. And then of course, tradition publishing is interesting from a non-fiction perspective because a lot people who go the traditional road when they have a non-fiction book, find themselves a little unhappy— not everyone, but traditional publishers dictate a lot of terms to you and they tell you what your book is going to be about.
They say, “This is going to be the title.” They often say, “This is going to be the cover.” At the end of the day, most of the contracts, they own the content. You actually have limitation over what you can do. You can’t buy the book from them for cheap. In a lot of cases or in some cases you have to buy 5,000 copies upfront and we already store them.
There are some limitations that I think a lot of people are finding unless your goal is to be a New York Times best-selling author and really be a writer for a living. They’re just finding that self-publishing is faster and they can make more money from it. They have way more freedom and control.
Josh: Here’s a dumb question, I like to ask dumb questions because it’s something I do very well. Why do you want to write a book that doesn’t suck?
Julie: That’s not a dumb question. My question would be, why would you want to write one that sucks? I’d be embarrass to hand it to people.
Josh: The truth is, more self-publish books really are terrible than are great.
Julie: Yeah, which is why I think you want to stand out and write one that’s great!
Josh: But why? I mean there are a lot more expenses, there’s a lot more work. It’s a lot more painful. I can tell you that from a point of view where you have your editors’ say, “These three words need to change.” Are you kidding me? They’re right.
Josh: Why is that important?
Julie: If you write one that sucks, what it’s going to do for you? Maybe you invested half the time and half the money, but what’s it doing for you? I think from a business perspective, if you put a book out there that sucks, what’s that going to tell people about the rest of your business?
Josh: The truth is, most of the people who get your book might read a little bit of that, but they are not like they’d read the whole thing. They’re likely to open it up, look at it, say, “Oh, there are words on the page. Oh, there’s a picture of the author at the back. Oh, maybe I should talk to this person because they’re obviously an expert.” I mean they wouldn’t say the last thing, but the first two things they certainly say and they don’t read it. I mean I read about 75 books a year which is ridiculous, but most people if they’re lucky they read three or four books a year.
So, again I’m going to this, why do you want to write a book that’s good? With those assumptions that are kind of in my world which I may be completely wrong about.
Julie: Well, you hired a book coach and you obviously invested in editing and gone that route so why did you not write a book that sucks?
Josh: Well, because I am sort of pedantic about these things. I don’t want to do things that aren’t good. Also, I actually intend to sell my book. My book is a business fable. It’s a story and business fables actually if they get some traction so quite well. You know Patrick Lencioni [inaudible 00:16:28], Steve Farber. They are all business fableist. Those books really are very approachable and people actually read them because it’s a story.
It’s not a ‘How To’ book with some stories throwing it. I had a bunch of people doing some reading recently. My sister called me up after shoot and said, “What happened to the family?” I said to my sister, “Nancy, it’s a novel.” I don’t know I haven’t written the other books yet. She told me, I read these business self-help books and I get three chapters and I just put them on the side and never finish it. Your book I actually like to finish because I want to know what happened. You have already kind of a good book to get someone to get to that point.
Josh: That’s the reason I did it, but then again we all have our own reasons. I’m curious about what your reason is to write a good book versus a mediocre book. Not a book that doesn’t really sucks, but the mediocre book versus a really good book. Why would you want to spend the extra few hundred hours and few thousand dollars to do so?
Julie: Well, there are lots of reasons. The simple one is I want to be proud to hand the book to anybody. That doesn’t come cheaply. People can tell even if they never read the book, they can tell if you’ve done it cheaply and you haven’t put the hours and you haven’t put the money into it, they can tell.
To me, I’m going to put the time in and to make some because again books aren’t like brochures. They last. I was just on a TV show last week and we were talking about Book Launchers but they pulled out. They got two copies of my books. They got my original book and my newer book. They have them at the moment. They were flipping through them and they were talking about what’s in it.
That’s four years later for that first book so it’s still around. It’s still a conversation piece. I’m grateful for that, but at the same time if I had cheap out on them I would have been shrinking on my seat going, “Please don’t open it. Please don’t open it. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m embarrassed.” For me, at the end of the day, I want to be proud and I think books lasts for a long time. I like books and I think that again they last even if you leave that industry. I’m not in a real estate anymore. It’s still around. People are still reading it and talking about it.
Josh: Well, that’s good stuff. So, I’m a little curious here. You basically say, you made $4800 in mistakes on your first book.
Julie: Again, I made up some of that number because I don’t know for sure. What happened was the $1200— I made a specific that it was $1200 mistake so I did across Canada book tour. I did book signings in a bunch of places. I did a lot of media. One of the provinces Alberta, I had book signings lined up but they cancelled all my book signings and it was because of this one box. The initial problem was that I hadn’t checked my box. There’s a box that says ‘returnable’ and another box that says ‘not returnable’. I had not for some reason checked returnable so bookstores would not order my book if it was not returnable.
So, all the book signings in this one province got cancelled. That was a pretty big expense because it wasn’t just the book signings I lost. I lost all the media that was around that, all the events that were around it. All of that got canceled because it was all kind of built up around those book signings. That’s where I guessed how much cost me.
So, I kind of made up that part, but the $1200 expense was after I fixed that immediately so that I didn’t lose my book signings in the other provinces. The choice is to return and destroy or return and return to author. The thought of people just burning my books like, “Why would you destroy them? There’s going to be somebody who would read them.”
I checked return and return to author not realizing that this means that I’m going to pay not only reimburse the store for their purcahse but one by one I’m going to be paying shipping for those books. So, basically it was like buying a hundred copies of my book back from Amazon. Not quite a hundred came back to me, but it was close and a $1200 bill came in the mail. It was $1200 US which [inaudible 00:20:24] as a Canadian because there was 30% currency change on that, too. So, that was a very tangible cost. I could change it to return and destroy and forgot about the fact that they burn my books. Go ahead burn my books.
Josh: Right, right $3 versus $7 to find a place to put all these books for coming back.
Julie: Yeah, yeah.
Josh: That’s a bit of a difference there. Julie, unfortunately we are out of time for our podcast. I’m going to bet there are some people listening who want to learn more about what you do and maybe have a conversation about why the heck they want to write a book. I personally think it’s a good idea to do it, but I would say that and you may disagree with me. We could continue on this. It’s a lot of work.
Josh: You can make it easier, but it’s a lot of work. You have to be committed to doing it. So, how do people find you?
Julie: booklaunchers.com— absolute, best place to go to connect with me and to grab the launch letter and you can hit reply to that any of our newsletters and it goes straight to me.
Josh: I’m assuming that you’d be happy to jump on the phone with somebody.
Josh: And spend some time talking about what their book might be about and why they might want to do it?
Julie: Yeah, absolutely.
Josh: Cool, cool.
And I also have an offer for you. I have a one-hour free audio CD course and the one-hour free audio CD course is called Success to Sustainability: Five Things You Need to Do to Take Your Successful Business and Making it Personally and Economically Sustainable. To get this it’s really easy. You take out your smartphone. And you don’t take out your smartphone when you’re driving, even if you’re on a traffic jam in LA. You just take out your smartphone and you text the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222. That’s the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222. You will get a link. You click on the link. It takes you to a form. It give you your name and your address and we mail you the physical CD.
Now, some of you folks whose car don’t have a CD player in them and if it happens to be you just email me at email@example.com. Tell me that you don’t have a CD player on your car and I’ll send you the audio file of it. You could listen to it on your phone or someplace else.
Anyway, thanks a lot Julie. I really appreciate you being with us today. You’re at the Sustainable Business. This is Josh Patrick.
Thanks a lot for spending some time with us. I hope to see you back here really soon again.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802 846 1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.