17 Jun June 17, 2020 – Super Brand Juliet Clark and EcSell Bill Eckstrom
Many publishers mark up the books. The book cost $2 to produce.
They will sell it back to you for $6!
Juliet Dillon Clark, the Founder of Super Brand Publishing, is a dynamic and sought-after speaker and podcaster who has spent the last twenty years helping authors. Their expertise-first approach to publishing stems directly from Juliet’s disillusioning personal experience with her first book back in 2008. Being a veteran of traditional publishing and corporate advertising, Juliet thought she would have no problem self- publishing her first book. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The existing process did nothing but take advantage of unsuspecting authors, who didn’t know that there was a better way. She decided to make that better way available, through the creation of Super Brand Publishing. Over the years Juliet brought her expertise to corporate clients like Mattel, Nissan, Price Stern Sloan Publishing, and HP Books. Before long, she realized that what she really wanted to do was help individuals, not corporations, further their success and find fulfillment. Since then, she has helped more than 600 entrepreneurs and authors share their work with the world and has published more than 60 books, turning more than 190 authors/entrepreneurs into best-selling experts! Juliet also hosts a podcast Promote, Profit, Publish, where she helps the listeners learn the ins and outs of how to build a platform that serves them and their audience while making the world a better place!
Bill Eckstrom – CEO and Founder of the EcSell Institute and Author of The Coaching Effect : What Great Leaders Do to Increase Sales, Enhance Performance, and Sustain Growth – Read interview highlights here
The most critical component of personal growth is one’s boss,
leader, or coach.
Bill Eckstrom is CEO and founder of the EcSell Institute, a research-based organization that coaches company leaders on growth and performance. Bill’s vast experience of turning subpar leaders into elite coaches will help you understand why measuring performance at the leadership level is critical to growth at the individual, team, and organizational level. Bill is known as the world’s foremost authority in metric-based performance coaching and growth. Utilizing both entertainment and poignant research in his talks, Bill will leave your audience ready to take action. Bill was invited to the TEDx stage in 2017, and his talk entitled “Why Comfort Will Ruin Your Life” was the fastest growing TEDx Talk in the history of the event receiving 100,00 views in just one week. Bill’s latest book, The Coaching Effect, is based on the research of over 100,000 workplace coaching interactions and helps leaders at all levels understand the necessity of challenging people out of their comfort zone to create a high-growth organization. Growth is what inspires Bill’s philanthropic life, especially his involvement in therapy dog work.
Highlights from Juliet’s Interview
Let’s start with talking about my self-publishing journey, and how I realized that there was a problem. So when I got right out of college, I worked for a traditional publishing company. When I went to publish my first book in 2007, I decided to self-publish because I thought I had it rocked. But what I found was a really disturbing business model that the self-publishing companies made it all about them, the things they sold were really marketing pieces for them, and they have these tremendous markups on the back end. So imagine that you came to me and you said, “Hey Juliet, I’d like you to design my business card.” I designed it, I printed your box, I charged you for it. Then I turned around and when I handed you the box, I said, “Oh, and by the way, I get 50% of all the business that you make from those cards you’re handing out.” That’s what the self-publishing world looks like. So with my second book, I set out to change that and I started my own publishing company. We’ve been serving authors ever since.
So when you come to our company, we will charge you for production; so the formatting, the cover design, the publishing piece. But where the other self-publishing companies really get into the extra money that I don’t think is truly ethical, is they start marking up the books on the backend. So let’s say we format your book, we send it to the printer, it costs $2 to produce. They will actually sell it back to you for $6, so they’re taking a huge cut. Because once the book goes retail, the formula is the retail price minus the distribution fees that Amazon gets minus the cost to print the book is your royalty. So if they’re marking up every copy, they’re getting a piece of your royalties as well.
What we really encourage our people to do is to put together a Kindle and run their best seller campaigns off of that. Taking a piece of your profit with our company is a little bit different, because we set up your Kindle in your name, attached to your bank account. We don’t get a piece of it, if that all makes sense. So we highly encourage our authors to have a Kindle conversion, as well as that softcover, and really rely on selling those directly from Kindle because you get 70% of that retail price with Kindle. Although, that’s for certain price points. I believe your Kindle copy has to cost over $2.99 retail; that has to be the pricing to get that 70%. But if you haven’t noticed over the last couple of years, the price of books has gone up tremendously. So it’s not unusual to have a book now, we have one we just published that’s going to be available on June 1st for one of our clients, it’s going to be $9.99 for the Kindle copy. So we’ve been keeping up with the market as it’s been rising as well. Books used to be really cheap, not so much anymore.
I would say it’s still worth doing a softback version for non-Amazon distribution if you are an entrepreneur who has products, programs, and services you sell. The reason is, you can run that ‘free book funnel’ with it and actually have people get that book for what we call free shipping, and have it sent out to you with some extra goodies. So for that kind of situation, it’s absolutely worth it. To give you an example, my friend, Merrill Chandler, we’re in the process of publishing his book, “Are you F-able”, he hasn’t put it on Amazon yet. But he’s on his second thousand printing, because that’s what he’s done. So you can click in, you can buy his book, it ships to you for free, and then you can upgrade into his workshop that he does once a month as well. So if you are someone who is an entrepreneur, who can upsell and get people more interested in some of your other products and services, a soft cover is absolutely the way to go. Inside of these free campaigns where you get the book free, you’re actually paying for shipping and the cost of the book, just not the retail cost to the book. My book is coming out this summer, so I think $8.77 is what we called the shipping cost. That’s really $2 and something for the book and then the rest of that is shipping. So those are not actual free giveaways.
So early planning stages of the book have a really tight outline that is in service of your clients. Make it a conversation, not just a teaching. Have some exercises, get feedback from people, use real-life case studies; put all those together. My really big recommendation in this area is hire yourself a writing coach, because our tendency without that structure and the help of that writing coach is to write what I call a ‘barf a book’, where we just throw everything we know plus our life story on paper and it’s not interesting. So a writing coach can really help you clean that up and get it into something that is a marketable product. After that, positioning is what we actually use our assessment marketing audience building tool for, is understanding what it is your audience needs; writing the book around that, and then positioning that as a gateway product into your bigger products and services. So first of all, having an audience, talking to your audience, and knowing exactly what they want, so you write the right book for them. That is all part of the positioning, is knowing exactly who your audience is and what they need.
Let’s now discuss the two routes, which are going pure Kindle and letting Amazon print everything, or the self-publishing route where Kindle and their publishing is only a piece. One of the things that people do with Kindle and Amazon is they want to do this really inexpensively. As an entrepreneur, I get that. Kindle is a great way to be able to pre-launch your book and have people go over and buy it in pre-sale, they don’t get to read it until the release date, but then follow-up with them with reviews. So I would absolutely recommend that printing your book through Amazon, I don’t feel is a great idea, even though they make it super easy with that click here and all these pay things. The reason is that Amazon doesn’t have a true worldwide distribution. What I mean by that is regular self-publishing companies actually have the ability that if someone in, let’s say New Zealand orders my book, instead of it being printed in the United States and shipped out there at additional costs, they actually print and ship out of the closest distribution location, so it would be printed and shipped out of Australia. So what that means is when you sign up with Amazon, they actually have an extra that they called worldwide distribution, and they take more of your royalty when you sign up for it. Regular self-publishing companies don’t have that, we have contracts all over the world so we don’t need to take an extra piece of your royalty to do that.
Secondly, the quality is another concern. People sell me all the time, “Well, it doesn’t really matter, the quality of my pages and the thickness and if the cover rolls.” It absolutely does for a business book. There are tendencies with those cheaper companies, for them to use an inferior product. If you are using this to promote your business, you want something with a good cover that’s not going to roll, you want nice pages, good quality paper weight; you want all of that because it’s your business card. So I think it’s really important to be able to differentiate between the two and decide which you’re going to use. If you’re going to go inexpensive, great, understand their pitfalls. If you’re going to spend more money, like you would with most self-publishing companies, you’re also going to get launch protocols with that; a lot of them will sell you a best-seller program as well. I highly recommend you use that because it’s going to teach you a lot, not only about a book launch, but product launches as well. So there’s a lot of good stuff in doing a book launch. Everything I just described is the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and it also has programs within it. When you’re publishing your book and you put it in a KDP program, there is small print there that says you may not publish that anyplace else. So there are feeders that go out from Amazon, and if you sell it there, you can’t sell it on your website, you can’t sell it on Barnes and Noble, you can’t sell it in another location. That’s not always a good thing, because you want to have the ability to be able to sell your own book.
The alternative to that is to use your list and run your own bestseller campaign and get the word out that way. If you are a sophisticated enough entrepreneur, you probably have a joint venture network; a network of people that you work with very frequently. I’m going through mine right now and so far I’ve asked four people, would they be willing to send my book launch out to their list, and they’ve said yes. So now I have the power of those people that have said yes, they probably have a combined list of 50,000 people. So now my book is going out in pre-marketing to 50,000 people, versus running ads for the book, versus putting it on KDP and having random people hopefully view it and purchase it. I just joined together with my joint venture partners who have similar audiences, who they know would enjoy my book, so I have a higher chance of making that bestseller list.
You can’t do this for fiction because fiction is really difficult. Instead of having people invested into your entrepreneurial ventures, you have to find a way to get people invested in your characters and your stories. I’ll be honest, I made bestseller lists back in 2008, 2009, and 2010 when I wrote my fiction novels. I used to write mystery novels, and that’s what I’m sort of famous for is I killed my ex-husband in my first book. Back then, I would say it was a lot easier because Kindle was brand new and people were really excited about all the new different genres that were popping up. Now, I think it’s much harder because it’s a much more crowded marketplace. But there are a couple of different things you can do. You can start a Facebook group and maybe make it something about sci-fi, a sci-fi mystery group or a sci-fi group of some sort, and have a lot of sci-fi fans in there. Start talking about your character, start talking about your books. I see a lot of people on YouTube over talking about sci-fi and things like that, there are different genres. It’s really much more difficult these days. You can run ads, but ads mean that you have to invest in a funnel because you have to be able to lead people to more things than your book. So it’s pretty complicated and I am no longer an expert on that. I would say if I released a fiction novel today, I probably wouldn’t have had the same results I had 10 years ago.
There are a few things you can do to attract attention to a newly-published book. So first of all, I would recommend going out to those JV partners. That’s the way to get that. If you are an entrepreneur, have a book, have a group over on Facebook, talk about that book, include them along the line. Show them, “Oh look, we’ve got this cover ready. What do you think?” Give them a couple covers to look for. I love what Merrill Chandler is doing right now, he actually reads out of his book on Facebook every day and he does it on Facebook Live. So there are different things that you can do. Take tips out of your book and share them, do Facebook Lives on those tips and invite people into your book, tell them about your launch. What you don’t do is go out and spam, you need to have that audience first. Because I can always tell when someone hasn’t cultivated an audience because it’s a post every day, “Read my book, read my book, read my book.” If you have that audience built-in, you don’t have to ask, you don’t have to beg people to read your book. They’re going to want to read your book.
So I would recommend an $8.99 book for Kindle, and anything higher than that price point for print. So if you haven’t noticed lately, I buy business books all the time, business books are running anywhere between $17.99 and $19.99 for that softcover. Part of that is because Amazon has tightened up on the distribution fees. We used to be able to use lower distribution fees over on Amazon and they’ve cut that out now that they’re competing with the small publishers. So between that and the price of the actual book printing going up, absolutely you need to be between $17.99 and $19.99. Then for Kindle, I would recommend anywhere between $7.99 and $12.99. Here’s what I wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t price your book more than the leading experts in your field. Because sometimes I hear that from my authors. I have a personal development person and he’ll say, “Well, Jack Canfield is selling it for this.” Jack Canfield has quite an audience. So you don’t want to make your book the same amount of money as someone out there who’s really big in the field, especially if it’s the first book. So price it competitively. Books are sort of like houses; if they cost too much, people won’t buy them. Somebody recommended a book to me yesterday and the Kindle was $18.99. I ended up buying it, but I have to tell you, I looked at it and then I went and did some other work and I came back. I had to really gauge how bad I wanted that book because I thought it was really high-priced for Kindle.
Another important thing is your why for writing a book and when it’s the right time to write a book. One of the things that got me into this business was that I had entrepreneurs coming to me who were going to workshops, and they were telling the guru in the room that their products and services weren’t selling. That guru said, “Oh here, let’s write a book. Allow me to make some money off of your pain.” So they were writing books too soon. They were writing books before they had real feedback and an audience, which meant that they weren’t necessarily writing good books. So really look at the timing on your book. Do you have a plan for what’s next in your sales funnel? Is the book a low barrier product that will allow people to get to know you and bring you into those products? We’ve been going around for the last eight or nine years talking about the book as a business card. The one thing I hear over and over is, wouldn’t it be great to go to a job interview and hand the decision-maker a book and go, “Oh look, I wrote a book on this.” When I hear that, I think, that is so arrogant, I’d probably throw your book in the garbage can and tell you to get out of my office. So have a plan for the book, don’t just write a book to write a book.
To find out more about me online, you can email me at Juliet@SuperBrandPublishing.com. I’m over on Facebook, I’m on LinkedIn; both places, Juliet Dillon Clark. You can go over and check one of our assessments as well and find out where your skillset is at with all of this, you can find a quiz at www.promoteprofitpublishquiz.com. I also have a podcast called “Promote, Profit, and Publish”, so go over and take a listen.
Highlights from Bill’s Interview
Most people have their whole lives based on becoming more comfortable. I think everybody looks at their life and a lot of times unknowingly, as human beings, we just seek comfort. We want predictability in our lives that brings us to that comfort. But the reason it’s ruining so many things is that growth only occurs in a state of discomfort. I’m talking about growth, whether it’s biological, psychological, physiological, all those components, it marketplaces. All growth is dictated by a form of what we refer to as complexity. What that means is there’s changed inputs leading to unknown outcomes, and unknown outcomes is what creates discomfort. So whether I’m a salesperson being challenged to get out of my comfort zone, whether I am working out and physiologically I am creating discomfort. When you lift weights for example, you tear muscle fiber, you disrupt it, you create discomfort physiologically, which creates growth. So it applies really to everything, certainly to our markets, to our organizations, and to us personally. Especially given now where we’re at with this stupid pandemic, the order is what brings comfort, we call it order. It’s not evil or bad, it’s just that too much of it doesn’t allow for growth. But one of the things we see in research, for example, when we look at high-performing teams, they have what we refer to as healthy order in place. That’s what allows us the moments and times of being in these states of discomfort, because you can’t live there all the time. So every evening I relax, I sit down, I’ve a cocktail or glass of wine and watch a little TV. That’s my comfort, but that allows me to charge hard the next day.
So let’s talk about the book, The Coaching Effect. Our research has shown that the most critical component of growth is one’s boss, their leader, their manager, or what we refer to as a coach, that nothing impacts the growth or performance of individuals and teams like a great coach does. So what we’ve done is we’ve studied, as you’ve seen, we’ve done thousands and thousands and thousands of surveys and businesses across the globe and we’ve measured over 100,000 coaching interactions in the workplace. So what we were able to do is really identify what the highest-performing coaches or leaders are doing in the workplace to get the most from the people on their teams. We share that in the book, of course.
By the way, when we study this in sales departments, it’s always fun to study in sales because everybody tracks everything and you can always tie it back to revenue. When we study the top 20% of leaders, those that lead salespeople, they do 19% more coaching, they do it with 30% better quality, and their teams average $4.3 million more revenue. When we say more coaching, here’s what we mean. We’ve identified four critical coaching activities that drive the most motivation or what we refer to as discretionary effort. Those are things like one-on-one meetings. They do those consistently, they do them well, they do them at least every other week. They hold consistent and constructive team meetings, they give written objective feedback at least quarterly, and they go through career developmental plans with the people on their team. There are obviously other things they do, but when we look at the research, those four activities have the highest and strongest correlation to discretionary effort then anything else that leaders do.
Here’s the funny part. When we tell people those things, if we are having conversations, whether I’m leading IT department or an operations team or a marketing team or a sales team, nobody really argues with them. Nobody says “Oh gee, Bill, that’s rocket science! Hey, thanks so much for sharing the obvious.” A lot of them will say that we’re doing a lot of these, but they never know how often they’re doing them. They can’t tell you if they’re spending 70% of the time with the bottom 20% or 30% of their producers. They just don’t know the quality at which they’re doing these. It’s interesting. We see all the time, people will say things like, “Well, if you’re having trouble with your people, you got to coach them up, spend more time with them. You gotta be a better coach.” One of the things we’ve learned is, if you’re telling somebody to spend more time with their people and they suck at the role; meaning that I stink as a coach and now you’re saying spend more time with your people, now you’re making matters worse for me.
Most people hate to sit down to do one-on-one meetings. We hear this a lot, people say, “Well, I meet with my people all the time. I’m with them all the time, I see them all the time.” But it doesn’t take the place of a one-on-one meeting. Once you start doing them and doing them well, the people on your team notice that. As a matter of fact, when you look of those four activities that I mentioned, the two that have the strongest correlation to improve discretionary effort are one-on-one meetings and providing them written objective feedback once a quarter.
So how to do a one-on-one meeting well? For example, you just sit down in a very relaxed environment, and you just start talking with the person about what’s going on in their life. How’s that new puppy? How’s your wife’s new job? Whatever that may be. How was Jimmy’s soccer game this weekend? Then that evolves into things like, “Let’s talk about what challenges you had over the last two weeks. You mentioned two weeks ago, you wanted to do A and B. Tell me the progress with A and B, how are those things working out?” So it’s comprised of a lot of small things, the most common being personal updates, which believe it or not, sometimes you have to tell people to hold personal updates. Because the biggest complaint people have about doing one-on-one meetings with their boss is this: all my boss wants to talk about is numbers. Well, we’ve been able to show, if you do one-on-one meetings and all your boss wants to talk about are the numbers, those are actually demotivating. You are preventing people from selling more by doing that. So I’m not saying they’re not important, I’m not saying they don’t need to be discussed. They just need to be discussed in the proper format, in the proper way.
But the most difficult conversations for a lot people are the ones where you’ve to tell that person that they’re screwing up. Keep in mind, anytime you have to have a challenging conversation with a person, and this is where most people get confused, the better you know that person, the better you know perhaps what’s causing the problem. If I know that person and I understand what’s going on in their life, it allows me to be more authentic in my conversation. To help someone realize a shortcoming, you owe it to that person. You have to change your mindset to think, everybody on my team wants to grow, they want to improve, they want to get better. To put it in an athletic sense, if you’re a quarterbacks coach and you never help your quarterback understand their shortcomings and how to improve, what kind of coach are you? You would suck as a coach! Same thing applies to any role in business. Everybody has shortcomings, everybody has strengths. It’s your ability to do it and do it effectively. So if I create a trust-based relationship with the people on my team, they know that I have their best interests at heart. So when I sit down with somebody and I say, “Hey, we’ve talked in the past about one of your challenges. One of those challenges is the fact that your activity in terms of sales, using that as an example, is a little lower. So share with me, in your mind, why you believe this is lower and some of the things that you’re working on to make that better?”
We believe everything is a leadership issue; people hitting numbers or not hitting. You own that if you’re their coach, my team wins, my team loses. Players don’t get fired, coaches get fired; and for all the right reasons. Same way now, we know that roughly two-thirds of employees are saying I’m not going to hit my targets, whether it’s in sales or whether it’s in operations, it doesn’t matter. They believe they’re not going to be hitting their goals. So what’s the management going to do, what is the leadership of the organization going to do? Because if you look at this and say we’re going to mess up as a company, but you don’t alter the goals, you don’t communicate and empathize with your people, those people are going to be looking for different roles down the road. So I think leaders have a responsibility to bring great clarity of communication as to where the organization is at, and, using sales as an example, what should our salespeople be doing and what should their objectives now be, given this situation? Because we know, almost two-thirds of employees right now are unclear as to what their objectives are over the next 90 days, and that’s a leadership issue.
But if you’re in the dark as much as the employees, well, then I think what you do is you communicate that. That’s one of the things we’ve done with our team, is we have laid out basically a plan saying, “Hey, here’s where we’re at. We don’t know where this is going to end up.” Everything from our government, our political leaders, all the way down the line, nobody really knows what’s going to happen. So what we’ve done with our people is we’ve said, “Hey, here’s how much cash we have. If we make no more sales, if we have no other revenue coming in, here’s how long we’re able to last. But here’s our plan to overcome that. Here’s our pipeline, here’s our funnel, here’s the case of what we’re working on now.” So we were able to map out a future plan. If we bring X amount of revenue between now and the end of the year, we’re good for the next 18 months, for example. That’s what we’re communicating. So we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we know what we can control and what we don’t control, and that is money that we have now and how long it will last us.
The Coaching Effect, you can get on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all the great retailers that have books. You can go to our website to learn more about our company, “EcSellInstitute.com”. There are all kinds of resources on there. As a matter of fact, what we’re doing right now and we will still be in June, I’m sure, we’re doing free research for organizations that want to learn how this COVID-19 is impacting their employees, their teams, their people. So we’re offering that to organizations right now. If they want to sign up, we’ll do a survey on all their employees and report back to the leaders on some of this data that I’ve been sharing with you. That’s all for free, they can get that on our website as well.