AskPat 112 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 112 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you for all the questions, all the support, all the ratings and reviews on iTunes.
They mean so much to me, seriously. Thank you so much for taking time today. Now, I want to thank today's sponsor which is a new one that I've had on board, that a lot of people are loving actually. Because this solves a major pain for people. A major pain that people have is design. A lot of times we have a lot of small little design jobs and tweaks we want to do, but we don't know how to do them.
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Now let's get to today's question from Thomas, all the way over in Austria.
Thomas: Hi Pat. This is Thomas from Europe in Austria. I have a question regarding ebook publishing. First of all, I made a small ebook with approximately 30,000 words, yeah? Now, I'm not sure if I should give it away for free to build more subscribers or to have more subscribers in the future on my list. That the people subscribing on my list, and I give it to them for free. Or should I sell it? And if I sell it, I don't want to get, let's say $15 US or something like this. I only want to give it out for a small amount of money. So that it gets the content for them as cheap as possible, but still I want to earn a little bit. If I sell it should I sell it via Amazon or should I sell it via affiliate system so that if you sell my book, you still get $1 and $1 is for me. Thanks for your answer, and you really rock the podcast universe. Greetings from Austria. Cheers.
Pat Flynn: Thomas, thank you so much for your question. And first of all, I just needed to say that my assistant, Mindy, she left a note here on this particular question. She said, “Love this guy's Austrian accent.” And I think that everybody else listening to this would agree. Again, and just, this is so cool, Thomas, that you can call in from Austria and secondly, your audio quality is great. We are here in like a worldwide arena. You're calling in from Austria and there's people who call in from all different countries and we are, together, able to help anybody who wants to listen to this. This is so cool, and I think a lot of people are going to listen and appreciate this one because this is a very great question.
Thomas, you just wrote a book that is 30,000, not pages, but 30,000 words in length, which is great. That's a sizable book. It is a little bit smaller than your typical-sized business book, but it's a great book. You're trying to determine whether or not you should give it away for free or sell it. Now, of course a lot of it has to do with your goals, and you even mentioned what those were. Should you give it away for free and build your email list or sell it and make a little bit of money, but also get it in the hands of as many people as possible? Now, there's a lot of levels here and a lot of things that I'm going to mention so stick with me and hopefully we can just brainstorm this together. I'm not going to tell you what you should do, although I will give you recommendations and by the end of this you'll probably have a good idea of what you should be doing.
Now, there is a lot of benefit in giving things away for free. Of course. There's no paywall, people can get something of value without having to worry about parting with some money which allows them to get access to you and what you have to offer, and if what you have to offer in this book is amazing, people are going to become fans, they're going to share it. It's going to touch many other people in this world and perhaps people will become fans and see everything else that you have to sell and offer.
Now, I don't know what else you have to sell and offer. You might not have anything right now in which case this would be used, as some people say, “brownie points.” You're giving away so much value just like I did on SmartPassiveIncome.com. Eventually you'll come to a point where either your audience will tell you what it is that you can create that you can then sell or charge for. That is very common. Especially when you've given and given and given just like Gary Vaynerchuk. Jab, jab, jab, and then finally you come in with that right hook and then you can ask and you have permission to ask because you've already given so much. That's one thing you could do with this book.
I love the free route. I have been doing that for so long—and blog posts and podcast episodes, of course, with books like that; books that people can instantly download in exchange for an email address. It's a great way to incentivize people to subscribe. But there is something to be said with selling it. By selling something, there's a number of things you're doing here. You are gathering a list of customers, of buyers, people who you know have said, “Yes, I would like your stuff and I'll exchange money for it.” In which case there's a saying, “Your easiest customer are your existing customers.” So you would be able to sell them more things down the road.
Now, you also mentioned selling your book on Amazon, which I think is a great strategy to get more people in front of your brand as well because Amazon has 300 million-plus people on it. Probably way more than that now, but that was the last number I heard and plus they all have their credit cards stored in there so depending on what the topic of your book is, you might be able to be found by search engines in not just Google, but Amazon. Amazon is a search engine and it's the only search engine that is all buyers, right? People are on Amazon searching to buy stuff.
If you can show that your book and your description for what this book does provides a solution for them for a pain that they have, likely they are to pay for it, and then you'd be able to make money. But also, get this in front of many people, and of course and if you get this book ranking really high, things start to take off on their own and you can get in front of a lot of people.
There's a lot of sites out there that automatically share the newest top “X” number of books in different categories. You'd be able to have a little bit more authority as a result of having it on Amazon as well. It's not just a book that Thomas is giving away, it's a book that's being sold on Amazon, so there's more higher perceived value there for this book. Now there is something to be said for self-publishing a book as well. You didn't mention that option but there is the idea of not just selling it on Amazon, but the other option is to sell it on your own. It's still on your website but you could sell it on your own using a tool like Gumroad.com, which will help you digitally deliver that but also except payment for it up front.
Now, there's a really great site out there: NathanBarry.com. He makes six figures a year selling ebooks like this. The cool thing about this is verses doing it the Amazon way, yes, he's not getting the exposure on Amazon. There's no rankings for self-published books for people who just published their own books on their own sites, but you can have a lot more control on what is entailed in these packages or books that you sell.
You can just sell the book by itself for a set number and price. You can sell the book plus some audio files for a higher price. You can sell the book with some audios and videos and checklists and worksheets and other things like free consultation call or whatever—access to a free webinar. You can create all these different packages, which from a marketing point of view gives you a lot more leeway and a lot more control over the buying experience and the experience that you have with your customers as well. Now the thing to know, going back to Amazon, is when you sell to a customer on Amazon, you don't get that email address. You can't know who is buying your books until somewhere in your book you tell people to come back to your website and then subscribe. You're actually adding an extra step there in that case.
Now, you mentioned affiliates earlier as well, Thomas, and I think it's a smart idea to have affiliates come on board to help you sell. I think that's a great way to expand your audience. It's also a great way to grow you're list. And this is whether your selling it on Amazon or self publishing it and selling it on your own site as well. You can set up an affiliate program if your selling it yourself. E-Junkie has one, or you could set up something like AffiliateRoyale.com, which is a WordPress plug in that allows you to produce an affiliate program for whatever it is your selling digital or physical goods. Or if your selling on Amazon, you can simply have you're people you know or people you have relationships with who want to sell your book for you sign up as an Amazon associate, and then they'd be able to sell your book.
Now, there's more control when you're self publishing and you have your own affiliate programs. You can offer different commissions. On Amazon, it's always going to be a set commission based off of the volume that the people who are selling your book and other products on Amazon. It depends on their volume. Typically, it's going to be between six and eight percent, which isn't very much at all. And you were talking about selling your book. If you were selling your book, you would sell it for a very low price.
Now, let me go off on this tangent for a little bit, and again Thomas, I'm sorry I'm sort of all over the place. But I have a lot of feelings toward this, and ebooks and giving things away for free. But if your book is worth something, if there's a value there and people will see that and they'll experience it when they read it. If you know that that's the case, then you are going to sell yourself short if you price it cheaper.
You're going to almost say, “Hey, this book isn't worth this much. It's only worth this much.” They're not going to read it as, “Oh, well you want them to get it in their hands.” If that was the case, then you would give it away for free. I say if you are going to sell this book, you charge more. That will give a higher perceived value for what this book is about and of course, if you go the self-publisher route on your blog instead of Amazon you'd be able to even charge them even more for different bonuses and packages and things like that. But you don't want to sell yourself short.
Here's a quick story. On my site at GreenExamAcademy.com, I sold a study guide and at first, I sold that study guide for $19.99. The other study guides in this industry were being sold for between $80 and $240 and I just wanted to give the lowest price possible, to, just like you, want to get it in the most hands possible, while at the same time making a little bit of money. Well, it did really well the first month. I made about $7,000 or actually around $8,000 that month. But, mind you, I had been building momentum toward this for over a year and a half. I had been building authority and I had been getting a lot of people requesting a book. So it was fairly easy when this book came out to finally launch it. It wasn't just like I wrote the book and all of the sudden I just had this audience come out of nowhere. No.
But I had one person, one customer email me who is a business major and he owned his own architectural firm and he said, “Pat, this book is worth way more than you are charging for. If I were you I would charge a lot more. Trust me, you might even sell more.” And I didn't understand what this guy meant because why would I sell more if it was more expensive? That didn't make sense to me, but I took his advice. I actually went to some people in my mastermind group and shared that with them. They were just like, “Yeah you should just give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen?” And I think that's the cool part about online business. You can test things, you can experiment, so I did that. I charged fifty percent more. I sold way more products at the higher price, and it blew me away, and I didn't understand it at first, but I do now.
When you mark the price of your product very low, there is a perceived value there that it's not worth very much. It's like, for instance, if you go to a luxury furniture store, you walk around, there's all this beautiful furniture. They all look great, and you go up to this table, it looks amazing, it looks great, and you see it is worth $10, and everything else is worth thousands. You're going to question, what is wrong with this table? Something is wrong with this table, right? That's how they're going to think about something if you price it super low.
I wouldn't even get in that game. I would, if I were you, either give the thing away for free completely or charge a good amount for it. Now, what is that good amount? Well, it's more than $2.99. That's what I'm going to say, but I'm not going to give you an exact price, because I don't know exactly what the content of your book is and I don't know who your audience is exactly and that plays a major role in what you price, as well as what your competitors are pricing as well.
The last thing I'm going to leave you with is, if you're going to give this away for free, I mean, you might be able to actually do a hybrid of this. You can give away your first or second chapter, or first and second chapter for free. And you could use that as incentive to get into your email list. “Hey, if you get it on this email list, I will give you the first two chapters of my book for free.” Or, “Hey, if you'd like to check out this new book that I'm writing, I'm going to sell it, but you can check out the first two chapters for free. All you have to do is put in your name and email.”
And then that way, if they like it, you already have their name and email and you can sell them the book, whether you self-publish it yourself or put it on Amazon. I would self-publish it on my own site personally, especially if you have that audience already. But again, you’re building that email list and you could give away just the first two chapters. I think that's a great way to give people a preview and if it's great, then they're going to want the rest of it, and if it's not then you don't want them buying your book anyway. So, Thomas, I hope that answers your question, or at least guides you in a little bit of direction. There's a lot to that question, so you have your options. The last thing I want to say is, you can experiment, you could split test, you could see what works, and then do more of what works and less of what doesn't.
So, Thomas, again, thank you for your question and an AsPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way. I would love to see a picture of you in it when it arrives over there in Austria, if you’re ever around some cool landmark or something. That'd be cool. Anyway, no, I'm being too selfish here. Just, again, just thank you so much for the question, you don't have to do any of that. And of course, thank you for all of you for listening to this show, and if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on AskPat, just head on over to AskPat.com. Thank you so much, and of course, I'm going to always end with a quote.
Today's quote is from the late Zig Ziglar. Rest in peace my friend. He says, “Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.” I love that. Gosh, every Zig Ziglar quote is awesome and I especially love this one, “When a customer complains that's a great opportunity for you.” So don't get angry. Get excited. Cheers, thank you so much, and I'll see you on the next episode of AskPat.
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