Writing your book is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Some people have had a hard time finishing a book or couldn’t even finish one. In this episode, Chandler Bolt, CEO of Self-Publishing School and SelfPublishing.com, shares some steps to guide you in writing your book. He also gives strategies to help you in book-writing and publishing. Listen to this inspiring episode and get some ideas to help you write and publish your book.
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Ready To Write Your Book? Tips On Book Writing And Self-Publishing With Chandler Bolt
I’m super motivated, excited and inspired to bring you some of the best people to talk about how you can work smarter, not harder. We’ve all done it. We’ve been there. We’ve worked harder and it’s painful. We have to learn from best practices and people who have gone through challenges and difficulties. They have found great solutions that are going to help us in our day-to-day and also in our future to reach the goals that we want to reach and reach them faster.
This episode is no exception. I’m super excited to be talking to Chandler bolt. He is an investor, the CEO of Self-Publishing School and SelfPublishing.com, a Forbes 30 under 30 and the author of seven bestselling books including his book titled Published. He’s got something for you if you hang on until the end. Self-Publishing School is an Inc. 5,000 company for years in a row as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US. He has done lots of amazing things through his books, podcast, YouTube channel and Self-Publishing School. He has helped thousands of people to write books that grow their income and impact their business. Who doesn’t want that? Welcome to the show, Chandler.
Penny, thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.
As an author myself who has self-published, I wish that I knew you back then because you’ve got some incredible strategies and knowledge in this area. That’s why you’ve helped so many people in publishing. Before we get to some of those strategies, I want to know what your story is. Why is this important to you? Why have you spent so much of your time and energy helping these authors to bring their books to the market?
It’s important to me because I believe that books change lives. Books changed my life. I’m a C-level English student and a college dropout with ADHD. I’m the last person you would ever think to write and publish a book much less be running a self-publishing school. When I dropped out of school, I said, “There are all these things I’m going to miss out on by not continuing with my business degree. I need to treat my education like I’m still in school but change the way that I’m learning.” I turned that focus to books and it changed my life.
I didn’t like books necessarily. I didn’t like reading or writing but I started to realize all of the smartest, most successful people on the planet have written and published books on the best things that they know. For $15, in a few hours, I can read and learn from them. I started reading a lot. I wrote and published a couple of books. People started asking, “How are you doing this?” That led to the birth of the Self-Publishing School and SelfPublishing.com. We’ve published almost 7,000 books since we started.
You said something important. Most successful people have written books. I also want to say and you know this to be true as well, that the most successful people read a lot of books. Even if you don’t like to read, people are listening to the book. It has opened up publishing in a different way that people can also hear books out if they’re not great readers or they don’t like to sit and read. A huge clue to look at is that the most successful people are reading, learning and never getting enough.
It’s one of the only commonalities. There have been a lot of studies. When I was early on in my journey, I looked at all of these. I was like, “What do successful and rich people do?” There were 1 or 2 things and reading is one of the biggest commonalities amongst all of that. Readers are leaders and leaders read. It’s a small thing. If you do that one thing, it makes you better as a person, leader and entrepreneur.
I want to pose something to the audience. How much do you read? What do you read? How do you see reading? How do you best take it in? Is it through audio, Kindle or paperback? Whatever it is, we need to look at ourselves and see what we’re learning from what we’re reading. Maybe we need to re-evaluate that. Bill Gates takes a couple of key books and goes away once a month for a reading retreat. Have you heard of other specific leaders and how they have integrated that into their daily, weekly or monthly routine?
He is probably an exception because he takes a week. He calls it his think week. He goes for a week and reads books. Probably for other people, what’s practical is integrating it into your daily habits. For me, that’s my morning routine. First off, it is creating a morning routine but then secondly, reading a book is part of it. I started reading about four books a month by doing that one thing. That’s the recommendation that I would have. I’d be like, “Read 10 pages for 10 to 15 minutes a day. You’ll be amazed how many more books you read.”
What would you recommend? Is it 15 minutes a day for 10 pages?
For me, it’s a little bit more than that. That’s not a good place to start for most people because the best place to start is what you can consistently do. If I say, “Read for 30 minutes or maybe even 40 minutes every day,” most people are probably not going to do that. The largest amount that you can do but consistently do and make it a habit would be my recommendation. Once it becomes a habit, you start to fall in love with it and see the changes in your life.The best place to start is what you can consistently do. Read the largest amount you can read, but consistently do it and make it a habit. Click To Tweet
People always ask me how I’ve been so successful with Self-Publishing School and how we’ve grown so quickly. I feel like it’s not the answer that they want to hear because it’s not this sexy, flashy answer. I figured out the biggest problems in my business and then find a book that solves those problems. I read that book and then implement that book. I’ve been doing that for years, repeating it over and over again. It’s worked well, for me at least.
For everybody who’s reading, step number one is to put your reading into your daily routine. That could be in the morning or lunchtime. That’s a great time to create. Take that transition. Stop working through lunch and start reading through lunch. You could also do it to end the day as a transition from your work life to your private life. Whatever it is, that’s the first thing for you who are reading. Secondly, let’s go to the side of writing a book. A lot of people feel, “That’s a huge step. I like to read and I want to make an impact on people but writing a book is super hard. That takes a lot of time.” What do you say to that?
I agree that it is hard and it does take time but it’s very worth it. Our goal at Self-Publishing School and SelfPublishing.com is to save people hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in the process and help them write and publish a better book that sells more copies. I look at it as this short-term sacrifice to create this asset that will then go on to impact thousands, tens of thousands or maybe even millions of people. Long after you’re off this earth, it’s going to be here. It’s also probably going to be one of the best things you do to grow your business if you have one. It’s a short-term sacrifice but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. You’re going to have to get started before you’re ready.
To get super practical, I break down the steps into eight milestones. There are these eight milestones to go from idea or no idea to publishing a book. My recommendation for people will be to start at the beginning. It doesn’t take as long as you think it will if you follow some of these steps that I teach. It’s not like I’m going to tell you to write a book in a few hours and publish something that’s crap. It takes time to create a good book. If you do it right, it will be very much worth it.
As a self-published author, I would 100% agree that it is an asset for your business. You get exposure to so many more people than you would get to if you’re trying to reach them one-on-one. Some people read and some people listen. You can capture them in different ways. I’m so glad that I did because I also learned so much in my self-development by writing it. Having a resource like yours, I would have loved that to save hours and thousands of dollars. You learn a lot in the process and learn a lot about yourself. You can use that to catapult your business. I agree with that.
I wanted to ask you. Maybe some people are a little bit further along in their journey and they’re like, “I see it as an asset in a way that I can become and seen as the thought leader in my space.” There are so many resources out there but not all these things are like the other ones. What do you think about these ideas that you can go away for a weekend and have your book written? How do you feel about that type of shortcut where we’re going to get it done quickly?
There are a lot of people that have glamorized the idea of being a bestselling author that they’ve watered down the true meaning of it. With that being said, I’m a big fan of quick progress. If you choose to, you can get a rough draft done in as little as a weekend. We teach that. People can do it. On the flip side, comparing Bill Gates’ think week to consistent reading, some people would take what I call the 30-Day Rough Draft Challenge. I talked about this in my new book. It’s possible but that is a rough draft and then you’ll make that better.
I’m a big fan of making quick progress on your book. The reality is whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, most progress on a book happens in a handful of months. It’s Parkinson’s Law. An object will swell to fill the container that you give it. That’s where you can make quick progress. I’m not a big fan of publishing crappy books. I recommend being diligent with it, making the book better and hiring a good editor. All these things will take it from a rough draft to a polished manuscript that will make for a much better book.
I’m all about the shortcuts too when those shortcuts make sense. Most people that want to write a book want to make an impact. Talking out for a weekend, you can get a good rough draft but there’s very little likelihood that what you’re going to talk in is going to be publishable directly from that. It’s important that we set realistic expectations. For somebody who’s diligent and is willing to follow the program, what timeframe could they expect to go through these eight steps that you talked about in your book?
I would say as little as 90 days and that’s moving pretty quick. For my new book Published, I went from picking up the pen to publishing this book in 105 days. I had off-sites and weddings. We’ve got 30 or 40 employees. We’re scaling the company. I did that while all this stuff is happening. I wanted to prove that it can be done at the highest level. It’s possible but otherwise, plan on working on the book and going from zero to published in about a year. The great news is even if you’re on that timeframe, you’re still typically a year faster than many traditionally published authors and maybe even decades faster than doing it on your own. You need someone to hold you accountable to show you the process that’s going to save a meaningful amount of time along the way.
105 days or 90 days, that’s probably for someone who’s written a book before. When you’re beginning something new, it always feels a little harder and takes a little bit longer as you’re learning the ropes. As you learn it and you see, “This is the way I can do it easier and faster,” it gets quickly into that.
I felt like I wrote it in a quick timeframe and that was six months. It is possible in shorter periods. It’s getting the right team in place and then also having the time commitment. I like what you said about consistency. The best place to start is with consistency. What would you say is a consistent amount of time that people should spend on a daily or weekly basis to make the best progress in writing their book if they were going to schedule it out?It takes time to create a good book. If you do it right, it will be very much worth it. Click To Tweet
In the new book, I lay out this 30-Day Rough Draft Challenge. What I recommend is two 30-minute sessions per day over those 30 days. Before you start that 30-day challenge, you need to mind map and outline what you’re going to write about. This is so important. This is going to make all of your writing go faster. I call this the MORE writing method. MORE is an acronym. It stands for Mind map, Outline, Rough draft and Editing. These are the first 4 steps in those 8 milestones that I talked about in publishing a book.
Before the 30-Day Rough Draft Challenge, you mind map and outline the book, then create your goals for the 30 days. Maybe you’ve got to goal of, “I want to write 15 chapters or 30,000 words.” That’s going to be 1,000 words a day and 30,000 words are a short-length book. Daily over the 30 days, what I recommend is two 30-minute sessions per day and then screenshotting your word count every day and posting that for some public accountability. You then got people following along. The bonus of that is not only is it public accountability but you’re also building interest in this book.
You’re getting some marketing in. People like to feel a part of the creation. That’s a smart way to get more people engaged. Take a piece of it or some quotes and maybe build some more around it. That’s a smart way to build your audience.
Maybe one of the most important pieces of this challenge is there’s this book called Power of Habit. Charles Duhigg talks about habit loops. The habit loop is a cue, routine and reward. The good news is that when you discover any habit, it can be a bad habit and you want to change it, you recognize the cue, change the habit and then reward that change in habit.
That’s why as part of this 30-Day Rough Draft challenge, I encourage people to have their cues and routines. The most important thing is the reward. Daily, when you hit those two 30-minute writing blocks, have a reward for it. For me, it’s chocolate or ice cream. It’s something that says, “Congratulations. You did it.” You have something to look forward to on the other side of that daily habit that you’re trying to build.
It sounds like this book is packed with great information. Somebody could buy that for $15 or $20 and right there, have the map for success. They have the possibility to use all the resources that you have online, which is immense.
That’s the goal.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that people face? What’s the fall down point that most people don’t stay consistent with or don’t continue on their process and get lost?
There are three big challenges. Number one is never starting. Many people write a book on the maybe someday list or next year’s list. Maybe next year becomes never and they never even start. That’s one of the biggest ones. When they get started, the biggest challenge is getting their rough draft finished. We’ve worked with thousands of authors over the years so we’ve got very meaningful data. We see it over and over again. The commonplace, because we track this very well, is the rough draft.
If someone finishes their rough draft, they start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They start believing this is possible. Those folks are exponentially more likely to be successful. If they don’t and they’re like, “This is a bad idea. Why did I even think about doing this? I’m never going to finish,” they spiral into this doom loop. That’s the second big challenge that stops people.
The third is the hardest part but it can’t be the hardest part because most people don’t make it there. It is the editing process. It’s reading the draft that you wrote for the first time and you think it sucks. You’re like, “I’m an idiot. This book sucks. I suck. This is horrible. What was I thinking? No one’s going to like this. Everyone’s going to laugh at me. This is a dumb idea.” You spiral for 1 week or 2 and then it starts getting better. You start clawing your way out of that hole. In every book I write, that happens. To me, that is the hardest part but most people don’t make it through those first two challenges.
There’s the part where you’ve edited 100 times already and feel like you can’t read it another time.As you grow and become more successful, leverage is the most important thing that you have. Click To Tweet
You have to stop the madness and publish. That’s every author’s experience. Editing is never finished. It’s finished when you say it’s finished.
That’s an important point that I learned. When you say, “Did I make the point? Are people enjoying this? I could edit this forever and constantly rewrite this,” you have to say, “This is good enough. Let’s get it out there.” Let’s not get caught up in a perfection loop where we’re constantly analyzing. You do need that outside feedback to get people to say, “We like this. This is what we take away.” Don’t get caught in your head.” We’re coming to the end. You’ve provided some great elements. This is a show about productivity and working smarter. The question I ask every guest pretty much is, how do you define productivity and why?
I wrote a couple of books on productivity. This is a topic that I’m very passionate about. It’s effective, not efficient. When I was first getting started, I thought productivity is efficiency. Efficiency is doing things fast and efficiently. For me, it’s effectiveness over efficiency. It’s slowing down to say, “Is this the most important thing that I can be doing? Am I doing it in the best way possible?” I can be more efficient at that but it’s about effectiveness.
In my book, I talk about finding that balance. You don’t want to chase the speed and do speed but also, you don’t want to lose the efficiency. You’re over-analyzing and overdoing it. It’s effective but it takes you twice as long to get it done. There’s somewhere where you have to find that happy medium both. I didn’t know that this was a topic that’s more near and dear to your heart so maybe I’ll have to have you on again to share some other tips and tricks. The other question is to dive a little deeper. To somebody writing a book that has a business or even an executive, why is this productive for them in their business and life?
It’s productive because it brings you leverage on your time. As you grow and become more successful, leverage is the most important thing that you have. Leverage is so important. I look at a book about how you go from 1 to 1 to 1 to many. If you find yourself repeating yourself, having broken record conversations and saying the same thing over and over again, the best way to stop talking about that thing is to write a book on it and then point to that book. That book brings you leverage, customers for your business and income. It’s an asset that years from now on a random month could bring in hundreds of dollars in royalties. That’s true passive income. You’re not going to get rich off of this book but it’s an asset that keeps bringing things back.
It comes in in other ways. At least that has been my experience. I’m not chicken soup for the soul but people read the book and then hire me as their executive coach or come and speak in their organization. Those are big projects. It creates that leverage. A big ROI might not be in the sales themselves and it might be depending on how you market and get your book out there. Is there anything else that you wanted to share before we sign off?
If you’re serious about this book and you’re interested in writing and publishing a book yourself, I’ve got two resources that will be helpful. The first one is I’d love for you to grab a copy of my new book. It’s called Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page to 10,000 Copies Sold. I’d love to give away 50 copies of this book. You can get it on Amazon. The audiobook is on Audible. I narrate it. If you listen to podcasts and audiobooks, you can grab it there.
If you want a free physical copy, for this audience, we created a link. It’s PublishedBook.com/Penny. For the first 50 people that go to that link, we’ll give you a free physical copy. There are no strings attached. You don’t have to pay anything. Tell me where to ship it. If you’re interested in learning more about working with us and how we can help with your book, go to SelfPublishing.com/Apply. You can book a call with our team and we can chat about how we can help with your book.
Chandler, thank you for being here. There were a lot of great nuggets and insights for people who are thinking or already writing their books.
Thank you so much for having me.
Thank you all for being here. You’re the greatest asset to yourself. I want you to realize that writing a book can be super powerful for you and your business. You’ve known it here from Chandler. Without further ado, we will see you in the next episode.
- Self-Publishing School
- Podcast – Self Publishing School
- YouTube Channel – Chandler Bolt – The 7-Figure Principles Show
- Power of Habit
- Amazon – Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page to 10,000 Copies Sold
- Audible – Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page to 10,000 Copies Sold
About Chandler Bolt
Chandler Bolt is an investor, the CEO of Self-Publishing School & SelfPublishing.com, Forbes 30 Under 30, and the author of 7 bestselling books including his most recent book titled “Published.”. Self-Publishing School is an INC 5000 company the last 3 years in a row as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US.
Chandler is also the host of the 7 Figure Principles Podcast and the Self-Publishing School Podcast. Through his books, podcasts, YouTube channels, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people write a book that grows their income, impact, and business.