In the fifth episode of Business Banter by SkillsLab’s Jack Kosakowski, we speak with Jim Keenan where he shares his experience and actionable advice on self-publishing a book.
Also listen on:
It’s not every day you get the chance to meet a genuine expert.
A renowned professional who’s shaping the world of sales for over 20 years.
A talent powerhouse who is also a two-time best-selling author.
With such an impeccable record, Jim Keenan is one of the most proficient sales experts on the circuit.
He is also the CEO of A Sales Guy Inc, plus the author of “Gap Selling” and “Not Taught.”
Along with Jack Kosakowski, Jim is going to walk us through the art of self-publishing.
So if you’ve ever wanted to write a book, you’re in for a world of actionable advice.
Plus, you’re also going to learn a lot about leadership, sales, and business in general. Here’s your golden chance to get into the mind of an actual sales genius.
What a remarkable journey!
It all started when Keenan was let go from his job.
This was the time when he decided to pursue a new chapter in his life and started building his consulting practice.
That turned out to be the best decision he ever made in his career, and he never had to look back.
What worked in his favor was that Keenan always knew what he was talking about, and he was open to learning new stuff. Being an obsessive reader also helped a lot.
So in a way, Keenan knew what the real objective of a sales professional is, and he was experienced enough to run his own successful sales team.
Another significant milestone in the journey was when Keenan decided to start blogging.
This was the time when nobody knew who Jim Keenan was. But the hard work eventually paid off, and more people started knowing Jim through his blogs.
The word was out. In no time, Keenan got listed among the top sales influencers in the world.
… and he kept on talking, writing, and documenting about everything. Once the content got out and people gave their feedback, it was easy for Keenan to know whether he is on the right track or not.
.. and that’s how he built a name for himself. All the stuff Keenan wrote on the blog was clear-cut evidence that he knew what he’s talking about. He became a “proven expert.”
The entire process became enjoyable simply because people were reading the blog posts, and everything was growing fast.
One thing led to another, and Keenan successfully repurposed his thoughts in form of new content. Eventually, he was able to publish two bestsellers, while supporting a successful career as a consultant.
How to leverage your skills and experience to fill a gap in the market?
A few years back, Keenan was invited to speak in front of a graduating class.
He wrote a draft of the presentation, and that eventually lead to a blog series… and it just hit him that he could very well publish a book about the same topic.
It’s like producing 12 long-form blog posts, which was pretty easy to execute for him partly because it seemed like familiar territory.
Keenan was quick to realize that no one was talking about these topics at that time. It struck him that he can quickly fill in the gap.
- No one was telling people about the importance of sales skills.
- No one was telling people the importance of creating content.
- No one was telling people that the world is changing ten times faster than it’s ever changed.
Even if there was some advice available, it was not in the form of a simple, easy to consume volume.
Since no one was talking about these topics, it became clear to Jim that this was a great book in making, so he latched on to the opportunity and filled the space.
Here’s the real lesson. If you have specific expertise, try and come out of your comfort zone and fill in a gap in the market.
That is the path to hyper-growth!
Now some publishing advice for first time authors
Every first book is mostly about exposure and NOT money.
If you sold 1000 copies of your very first book, and no one knew who you are, it’s generally considered that you did pretty well.
It might lead you to a few speaking gigs. Maybe some extra consulting jobs and more exposure.
You should look at it as a golden opportunity to spread your wings and create more content on social media.
… and you need not go through a well-known publisher. As Keenan puts it, all established publishers do is they pay for the editors, and they do the artwork. That’s it.
There could be times when an established publisher might change some of your writing and the way it’s structured. Eventually, they’ll help you design the cover and print the book.
With the help of their existing relationships, these publishers would help you get your book into the bookstores. They don’t really market your book.
Almost each one of the tasks mentioned can be done without an established publisher. So you need to understand whether you are getting enough value out of the relationship.
Once you go with an established publisher, they also own the rights to the book, and your percentage of profits gets significantly reduced.
According to Keenan, self-publishing works really well, especially for the beginners. There are many options to publish your books. So you might have to make more decisions. But it’s all worth it in the end.
Thinking about self-publishing a book! (this is how you start)
Not many are going to self-publish a book, and the people who do it will be successful. So latch on to the opportunity.
First thing first, stop thinking about writing a book right from day one.
To begin with, decide on a topic and start writing a regular blog. If possible, blog every day or every three days a week for one year on that topic. Try and build a following.
If you’ve been able to grow an audience, leverage the content, and restructure the blog posts to create a first draft of the book.
Now you can hire an editor/copyeditor, and when the manuscript is ready, you can self publish the book.
When the book finally launches, you already have a built-in audience from your blog. The next step wherein you try to market the book becomes far easier.
In today’s world, you should not start anything significant without building a foundation of followers. That’s the best way to validate your ideas.
… and even though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to build an audience, if you’re focused on creating solid content that promises a transformation, you’re on the right track.
It’s all about offering value and raising the bar with each piece of content. With the increased competition, the chance of becoming a fake influencer is meager.
So you have to know your space. The reason that 99% of people “come and go” is they don’t have the depth that’s needed to stay in the game. You’re going to get hammered if you don’t articulate things the right way.
The content of your book should always come out of your own experience. It has to be excellent. It has to be something that you have observed over the years, and you have some unique insights to offer.
The best way to create your first book is to build an audience and then move forward.
Start with something that you feel comfortable with (so you can offer your best.) If you enjoy writing, you should start a blog. You can even choose to make professional videos either on YouTube or Facebook Live.
If you are looking to start with a B2B audience, LinkedIn should be the preferred platform. You can also start a podcast if you’re confident about your speaking and interaction skills.
Choose your medium based on what you do best.. and that’s the bottom line.
Now we’d love to hear from you…
Have you tried self-publishing yet?
Or is there something that’s holding you back?
Either way, let us know in the comment section below.