If you haven’t written your book yet, learn how to write a book in 30 days first.

It’s important to realise where the money comes from when it comes to books and publishing. It comes down to this: Usually you either get a publishing deal, then get an advance and royalties once you’ve sold a certain amount or you use the book for publicity and get paid for speaking engagements.

I didn’t do either.

I have no publishing deal, never have and never will.

I’m also shit scared of public speaking so haven’t done that either.

That leaves our third and final way of making money. Self-publish then sell the book for a profit.

I didn’t do that either.

Actually, I’ve sold 3 copies on Amazon for a total profit (after their fee) of about £3.40.

So how do I get to £300,000 from £3.40?

Simple. You give the books away.

Before we go any further, I’m not talking about e-books here. I’m talking about real, printed books that you hold in your hand, put into an envelope and post to someone.

WHAT ARE YOU SELLING?

Just before we get into the nuts and bolts of this, we need to assume you have a fairly high priced product or service with a sensible amount of profit in the deal. Don’t try doing this on a shoestring budget.

When we did this, we were selling custom software. Business Automation Systems which ranged from £8,000 to £20,000 with retainers upwards of £6,000 a year. We had some money to play with but we still needed customers.

Here’s the criteria I feel you’ll need for this to work:

 

  • A product or service you know sells and has testimonials
  • A sales process that you know works.
  • You just need leads.

 

THE PURPOSE OF YOUR BOOK

Your book should be written in a way that has people wanting to contact you. It shouldn’t be a 120 page sales letter but there should be a clear next step for the reader if they’re keen.

The best way I can think of this is to write it as if it will have a £10,000 price tag. That’s the level of value you’re looking to pack into this baby.

Keep it real and tell a story. Books full of blog posts are boring and don’t get read. Trust me.

The stage is set. You have your book worth £10,000. It’s all written and ready to go. It convinces people to get in touch with you at the end of the book. Now you just need to get it in front of people.

YOUR MARKETING PLAN

The basic marketing plan is pretty simple. It’s not revolutionary but if you do the basics right, it works beautifully.

 

  1. You drive traffic to a landing page
  2. Capture the data
  3. Send the book personally
  4. Start sending automatic emails
  5. Follow up personally

 

1. Driving traffic

You’ll need to assess who your potential readers / customers are and what platforms they use. We tried Facebook Ads and to be honest found it to be completely crap. Great response but completely the wrong people. The targeting is far better on Facebook now so don’t take my word for it.

What we did find that worked well was LinkedIn Ads. It’s expensive, which is partly why you need the decent profit margin but the quality of the traffic is way better. It’s well worth giving it a spin.

I would say, hang in there. It was 4 months before we saw any actual revenue from our efforts so it will take time.

What I did when running ads was took the main 8 or 9 key themes and points from the book (clue: they’re probably the bullet points on the back cover of your book) and created ads and landing pages around those themes.

Example: I had a bunch of generic “step by step guide to automating your business” type ads, then a bunch of lifestyle ones like “How to ACTUALLY live the 4 hour work week” then we dug into the more specific things like “Here’s what an automated sales process looks like”.

Don’t overthink it. You only need to utilise the main themes of the book and create a corresponding landing page.

2. Capturing the data

Whatever you do, make sure this is automatic. You need it going into a CRM or at the very least, into your email marketing software. Even with 3 book requests a week and a fairly busy client services business, I found it near impossible to keep track so we built something custom into our CRM which showed us what book requests had come in, which ones we’d sent out etc.

I imagine you could use a free e-commerce plugin for WordPress. That would do the trick.

An experiment we ran was collecting additional data, like problems in their business, which areas they struggled with etc. I found that it had an ever-so-slightly lower conversion rate but the data was worth capturing only if you do something with it.

In short, if you’re going to ask deeper questions about each person who requests a book, or get them to complete a short survey, keep it multiple choice and make sure you a) ask good questions b) do something useful with the data.

3. Sending the book

This is the magic that makes the whole experience for your reader epic rather than average.

First, let’s talk about packaging. You’ll probably get a book in the size called Royal. That’s the most common size of a regular book. They fit perfectly into A5 envelopes that have the bubble wrap inside.

You want to put the book, a ‘thank you’ card and a business card in the envelope. For a long time we just bought cheap ‘Thank you’ cards. In hindsight, while it wasn’t as polished, I think it was more authentic.

I would write something like this in the card:

“Thanks for requesting a copy of my book {first name}.

I really hope you enjoy it and get value from it. If you have any questions or want to share any ideas with me about it, my card is in here.

Please don’t hesitate.

Enjoy.

Adam”

This approach was different from what you’d expect and it worked really nicely.

The next thing is to make sure you send it THE SAME DAY they request it. This is absolutely non-negotiable if you want the epic response.

This probably sounds like a lot of hard work but this is how you nearly automate the entire thing, while still making it all look really manual. Basically, you’re batching the entire process.

  1. Get the book, card and business card, put them in the envelope and take it to the post office. Get it weighed and then buy 50x the stamps you need.
  2. Buy the same number of stamps, envelopes, books and cards so you’re always in sync.
  3. Package them up as if you’re supplementing newspapers.
  4. When you get a book request, you simply pull the card out, write the message, write the address on the front, stick it down and put it in the post box.
  5. Leave a few book packages in your car, some at home / office. I actually left a couple with my brother because I travelled a lot.

That’s what I did, you might find other ways to make it simple but whatever you do, post it the same day with First Class stamps and make sure it’s as easy as possible. If it’s any effort, it’ll be annoying and you won’t do it.

4. Send automatic emails

There’s so much that’s been written about automated marketing campaigns, I’m not going to write too much but I’ll make a few points:

  • We used MailChimp. Its Automation stuff is awesome now and even back when it was super basic, it worked perfectly well.
  • Start the autoresponder the first day with something like “We’re packing up your book”.
  • Have the autoresponder go out more frequently to begin with (every 3 days or so). After a month, slow it down to once a week. Get less and less frequent but make it last about a year. Trust me.
  • Keep the content 80% value adding and 20% sales.
  • When selling, still make it helpful to them. Get them to put their hand up for a discovery session/strategy phone call.
  • Keep the brand consistent with the book. Don’t have them request a book from one brand and get emails from another. Remember, they only know you because of the book.

5. Follow up personally

I didn’t actually do this to start with and it’s depressing how much business I must have missed out on. Hit them up with a couple of personalised emails, but preferably phone calls. Keep them super chill and just build the relationship.

The idea is to just find out from them what they were struggling with and offer help. Use Eben Pagan’s old “moving the free line” trick. Give them 3 or 4 times as much value as you would normally. Help them discover the solution themselves through you.

I liked to follow up with a personal email after 7 days just saying something like:

“Hi {firstname}

Adam Hempenstall here, I hope you’re enjoying Automate Your Business. Just thought I’d pop you a quick email and say hi.

While I’m here, could I ask, what was it that attracted you initially to the book? Are there any problems that you’re facing that you felt the book would help you with?
My ears are open.

Adam

This kind of approach is different to the normal state of affairs which is just booking in a “sales appointment”. This is a far more fluid approach so it’ll require you to use a CRM. After a while you’ll find you’ll do lots of mini-consultancies, then leave them a while, then maybe they will buy your solution 4 or 5 months later.

I would also reach out to them at about the 3-month mark too. It doesn’t matter what you say, just get a conversation going.

how to make it profitable

I feel I need to address the big claim in the title. It’s actually way more than £300,000 but I can’t truly say how much it is. Every deal we’ve won, the decision maker has read the book so it’s difficult to know if we would have won the deal anyway.

A quick note on conversion rates. We were always 50%+ on the landing page. At one point it was performing at nearly 80% which was insane. This is of nearly no relevance to you because you don’t sell what we sold at the time but we were making roughly 1 sale every time we sent out 50 books. That worked really well for us.

Book – £3.50
Stamps – £1.60
Envelope – 30p
Thank you card – £1
Traffic to get book request – £8

Total – £14.40

Times that by the 50 books we needed to get a sale is £720. When your cost per acquiring an £8,000 – £20,000 customer is £720, that’s pretty good going.

Wrapping up

Please do this. Honestly, it’s a crime not to. There’s so much more I could share with you about it so if you are vaguely inspired by this post and this one on how to write a book in 30 days then please drop me an email and I’ll offer more advice where needed.

Thanks for reading and best of luck with it.