“It really is as simple as deciding and then doing,” an interview with bestselling authors Sara Connell & Julie Broad

Once I’ve made a decision that I am going to do something, I don’t wait for a better day or the timing to be right, I just start taking steps toward my goal. It really is as simple as deciding and then doing. Aspart of my series on the “5 Things You Need To Know […]

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Once I’ve made a decision that I am going to do something, I don’t wait for a better day or the timing to be right, I just start taking steps toward my goal. It really is as simple as deciding and then doing.

Aspart of my series on the “5 Things You Need To Know To Write A Bestselling Book” I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Broad.

Julie Broad is an Amazon Overall #1 Best Selling Author, an International Book Award Winner, and recipient of the Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Sales book. As an entrepreneur and successful real estate investor she was also awarded the Top 20 under 40 Award. Her latest venture, Book Launchers, helps entrepreneurs and professionals build their brand and boost their business by writing, publishing, and selling an attention getting book. Follow her at https://booklaunchers.com/.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

After reading just about every real estate book on the market, I felt there weren’t enough stories explaining the challenges of being a real estate investor. The books were all about getting rich and making passive income. I wanted to write a book sharing a more realistic picture so would-be investors could make better decisions for their life. A couple of major publishers showed some interest in working with me, but neither liked my idea. They felt ‘general real estate books’ had already been done. I ended up going back and forth developing an extensive book proposal with Wiley for three months on a real estate book idea they gave me. Since it was their idea and they coached me through the proposal, I was sure I was going to get a book deal. I didn’t. Their marketing department decided I would not be able to sell enough books to warrant a deal. I realized the only way I was going to be able to publish the book I really wanted to write was to do it on my own. I spent hundreds of hours researching book writing, self-publishing, and book marketing, and two years later published my first book myself.

What was (so far) the most exhilarating or fulfilling experience you’ve had as an author?

A few days into my book launch I received a text message from a friend saying ‘Your book is #1 on Amazon!’. I thought they were just realizing I was #1 in a bunch of the big categories on Amazon and were excited for me. I never really thought it would be possible to be at the top of all the print books selling on Amazon as a self-published niche non-fiction book. Seeing my book ahead of Dan Brown and The Game of Thrones series, especially when I was told I wouldn’t be able to sell enough books for a book deal, was even better than the five figure check I got for selling all those books. Although, the check was pretty nice too. A few years later the publisher contacted me saying he’d heard I was working on a new book. Needless to say I wasn’t interested in a book deal.

What was the craziest, weirdest, wildest experience you’ve had as a bestselling author?

With how well my book did, I kind of thought Oprah or Ellen would call to talk with me, but I’m still waiting for that to happen (the book came out in 2013, so I should stop waiting). Even though they didn’t call, a lot of media did. And that was the part that surprised me the most! Suddenly, news TV shows all across Canada wanted me on their show to talk about real estate. The producers and anchors never read my book, but being an author was all they needed to call me an expert. Even though people told me that would happen, it was still pretty wild to almost instantly be seen as the ‘go to expert’ on a subject.

What is the greatest part about being a successful, bestselling author? What is the worst (if anything) part?

The greatest part for me is that it led to an entirely new business helping authors create their own bestselling books. I never intended real estate to become my full time gig. I liked it, but never loved it. As an avid reader and someone who has loved writing since she was a kid, books have always been way more exciting and interesting to me than toilets and tenants. Even as a real estate investor I was taking copywriting courses and writing newsletters for fun. Thanks to the success of my book, I found myself helping friends and acquaintances with their books. I would coach them through writing, assist with the editing, and give them tons of marketing tips. That’s how I eventually realized there was a need for a company with an entire power team of publishing professionals to help these busy people create a really high quality professional book that will stand out and make money.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer?

Once I’ve made a decision that I am going to do something, I don’t wait for a better day or the timing to be right, I just start taking steps toward my goal. It really is as simple as deciding and then doing.

Which writer or leader has had the biggest impact on you as a writer?

Mark Ford who wrote under the pen name Michael Masterson taught me the most about writing and building businesses around your writing. By 2008, when I left my job to start my first business, I’d read every business book he’d written and had even attended an event his company, Early to Rise hosted. A few years later, I had the privilege of writing for that newsletter, and learning even more about writing and copywriting from his team of exceptional editors. While I have learned from so many leaders and writers, Mark definitely had the most prolific impact on my writing and the businesses I’ve built around writing.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it?

After being rejected so harshly by the marketing department of Wiley, I kept thinking I would not be able to sell enough books to matter. I was scared of wasting money on a dud of a book, but I was more terrified that people would think I didn’t have enough real estate experience to write the book, or that people would think my husband and I were pretty stupid for the mistakes we’d made. Sometimes I am not really sure how I pushed through because I had so much self-doubt, but I had made the decision to write the book, and I just pushed forward pulling my fears along with me. If anything, the fear helped me make a better book. I invested more than ten thousand dollars hiring professionals to help me edit, design, and promote the book. If I was more confident I may not have put as much money or time into it, and it likely would not have done as well.

What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career?

When I was rejected by traditional publishers I learned that there is always a silver lining to every cloud. Without that rejection I never would have self-published and discovered that there is actually a much faster and more profitable way to bring books to market. Today, I’m actually grateful for that rejection because I own all the rights to my books, make about $5.50 per copy sold from retailers, instead of 75 cents, and fully control everything about the brand I build around the books.

What are the 5 things a writer needs to know if he/she wants to become a bestselling author?

1. Your book might be about you, but it’s not for you. Before you start writing get clear on who your ideal reader is, how you are going to make their life better with your book, and what stories you’ll tell to do that. What is the promise you’re going to make to that reader before they start reading? Will you help them get fitter, more popular, feel less pain, make more money, or make them famous (or, something else)? Once you are clear on the promise, only share stories, tips, and tools that fit with that promise. We call it the hook of the book.

When you share a personal story, always ask yourself, ‘what do I want my reader to take away from that story?’ Is it obvious for them? The story can be told for a laugh, a lesson, or to lead them to see their life in a new way. But, it must be for the reader and fit with the purpose and promise of the book.

2.You don’t have to do your own typing. If you hate writing or don’t have the time, you can still write a book. Once you have a great outline for a book just about anything is possible. You can hire someone to interview you and extract the content from you, get it transcribed, and then write the book from there. With the right writer, this can work incredibly well. You can speak the book out using dictation software like Dragon Dictation or even on Voice Note and use a service like Rev.com or Temi.com to get it transcribed and edit it from there. If you have existing content in the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts or presentations, you can take that material and weave it into the outline. Or, you can hire someone else to do all the heavy lifting for you. The options are endless, but the most important thing you need to know is that you don’t have to be the one that does your typing unless you like it.

3.Build your author platform early. Your author platform is any way you have of reaching readers. This includes social media, but the most powerful piece of an author platform is a newsletter list. The stronger the relationship you have with your audience, the more successful you’ll be at selling books. We have a client with only 1,000 readers on her newsletter list, but it’s a dedicated group of fans. When her book launched, their support took her book, The Elephant in the Gym, to #1 in Women’s Health on Amazon, and helped her sell enough copies to get into 21 book stores with prominent unpaid display space! She’s now striking partnerships with organizations with tens of thousands of potential readers.

4.Marketing a book is as much work as writing the book. A lot of authors think they just have to get a book deal or get their book onto Amazon, and then they have done the hard part. The reality is that books need a lot of pushing in order to find their readers. You need to actively pursue opportunities to tell others about your book. Whether you find partners who promote your book, you invest in Ads, you pitch yourself for speaking engagements or podcast interviews, or you hire a PR firm to get media. You still have to do all the hard work of getting the opportunity, preparing for it, and then following up to hopefully open the door to more opportunities. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. A successful launch day helps you get off the starting line with momentum, but you still have a lot of ground to cover so pace yourself but keep going.

5.Being a bestselling author will not happen on your own. No one person possesses all the skills required to successfully write, polish, design, publish, and promote a book. Even if you have the time and energy to do it all, you need help. If your budget is tight, hire an experienced copy editor and cover designer and do the rest yourself. Professional editing is not optional. Your book will evolve in a dramatic and important way as it goes through the editing process and skipping that means your work is not going to be as good as it should be. Your cover can determine the success of your book. If it doesn’t stand out as a thumbnail and look amazing in print, it will not sell no matter how many people you put it in front of. Would you buy an ugly car or a poorly packaged product? People will judge the inside by the outside, so you must invest in making the outside stand out and look great.

What are you most excited to work on next? Most excited to read next?

We have so many incredible book projects that the team at Book Launchers is working on and I’m really excited to read so many of our author’s books it’s hard to name just one or two. Deb Cole who wrote the first book on Twitter, is now writing about the next media revolution, and I’m really excited to read what she sees coming next. Marc Megna was an overweight kid who was told he’d never play football (he played in the NFL and now co-owns three gyms in Miami). His book is all about pushing hard and never giving up, and my team is raving about how inspiring it is, so I can’t wait to sit down and read that one too.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

When I used to tell my Grandma Broad to ‘have a good day’ she would always respond by saying, ‘it’s my own fault if it’s not’. You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react. Choose to find the good in more situations, and live a life worth looking up to.

Anything else you’d like to add?

You don’t need to write a book to have an impact or make more money, but it sure can help! If writing a book is something you’ve always felt compelled to do, but you don’t think it’s the right time or you’re worried about what people say, think about the person who will be better off if they just had your book to read. By letting your own worry and fear hold your back, you’re not helping them, or having the impact you could be having.

Thank you so much for these great insights!

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