Let's talk about books—specifically, writing and publishing them. Creating a book and getting it out into the world is one of the hardest things you can do, and one of the most fulfilling. Of course, many things that are worthwhile are challenging, and vice versa.
I'm currently working on my next book, titled The Lean Learner. And I'm doing something different with it, something that goes back to my desire to experiment and learn new things. After self-publishing three books, I want to try to get this one in the hands of a traditional publisher. If it works out, it could be an amazing way of expanding my reach into areas I haven't explored yet.
And if it doesn't work out? There will still be a lot to learn from having tried.
In today's episode, I want to talk a little about why I'm doing this, and give some nods to the people who have been instrumental in my journey as a book author.
SPI 584: Book Writing: The Truth
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, if DeLorean actually comes out with a new electric vehicle, his head may actually explode, Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: I want to talk about books and specifically writing a book because I just need to get this out. It's one of the hardest things you can do, but also one of the most fulfilling things you can do. Of course, many things are like that. Things that are worthwhile, things that are very rewarding are often some of the hardest things to do. It's not always the case, but in many cases it is. And in the case of a book, it definitely is. We'll call this a book case, if you will.
Pat Flynn: But this was just prompted because our guest from the previous Episode 583, Maria, she is coming out with a book Maria from Bloom & Grow Radio. She's also a member of SPI Pro. I mean, all the members are amazing, but she is definitely a superstar in there. And we talked about plants and how they can help with productivity and how her book is more than just about like a how to choose plants for your home or office book. It's more of a self-help guide, a productivity book. And I love that angle, but I also want to take this time to commend her for spending the time to write the book and going through that mess, because it definitely is a mess.
Pat Flynn: I've published three books in the past and each of them seems to get harder and harder. With Let Go, that was maybe the easiest one. This was published in 2013. It was a little bit shorter. It was more of an account of all the things leading up to the point at which I had gotten laid off and then found myself in the world of entrepreneurship. That was just my story. So more of a memoir and that was fairly easy to write because it was a story that I've told many times before and this time just in greater detail. So that was Let Go.
Pat Flynn: Will It Fly? was my first, I would say business book, if you want to call it that or real book. Not that Let Go wasn't real, but it definitely was more on the likes of books that you would see at Barnes & Noble, for example, or on Amazon for business and productivity and entrepreneurship purposes. And wow, I needed a book coach for that one. So big shout-out to Azul from Authors Who Lead.
Pat Flynn: Azul coached me through the process. And I remember specifically during that process, I actually hated getting coached and I hated it because Azul never told me what to do. Good coaches don't do that. And I think without Azul's help, I wouldn't have gotten to where or the book wouldn't have gotten to where it's at today. It became a Wall Street Journal bestseller. It still continues to sell thousands of copies. And it is over a thousand reviews on Amazon. And to go back to coaching and what Azul did, he questioned me all the time. He asked me what I wanted to do and what I thought the audience wanted. And just asked a lot of questions like any good coach does, because what that allowed me to do was it forced me to find the right answers as opposed to thinking about what I thought was right, which often on the surface not isn't right, but also it's just not validated yet.
Pat Flynn: It really forced me to go and find the answers as far as what the audience really, really needed help with. And it really fine-tuned the book to a point where it is a step by step process. Now that tens of thousands of people have gone through to start their own businesses and I'm grateful. It's still creating new opportunities today. And so Azul, if you're listening to this, thank you so much. You can check him out at Authors Who Lead.
Pat Flynn: My next book, Superfans. A quick story on that one is I actually tried to outsource that book, not in the sense of, "Hey, I have this idea for a book, find a person to go and write the whole thing." More so find a legitimate company that could work with me so that I could be interviewed several times and they would find my voice, and then put that into a book so that I could do not as much sort of heavy lifting as far as the actual words of the book is concerned.
Pat Flynn: And it was a tough process that just didn't work. We went through two rounds, it was a five-figure deal for me to pay them to do this for me and yet it still didn't work out, even though that was what they were experts at. It just didn't feel right. And it didn't feel like me in the end. So we scrapped that. And then I ended up writing it myself and challenging myself in November of 2018 to write the whole thing in a month and a half and I did. Actually, scratch that. I tried to write it in all of November for NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writers Month.
Pat Flynn: And I wasn't able to get it done until December. So I didn't hit the mark of 30 days, but I was close. And Superfans has continued to even more than Will It Fly? make some noise and provide opportunities. I just had a company reach out to buy several hundred copies for their VIPs at an event recently. And I think the messages within Superfans still continues to hold true even more now than ever, the idea of community, the idea of user experience and creating experiences that get people to market your brand for you. And having that ability to just kind of grow from within the brand instead of always looking to seek how to grow it from the outside.
Pat Flynn: But the book writing process is really, really hard. So first of all, I want to commend and congratulate Maria for her book. And you can listen to Episode 583 if you want to listen to more on what that's about and a little bit of her process. Super proud of Maria, but I'm in the middle of my next book, and a little status update on that is I wanted to because the first three books were self-published. Meaning I had total control and I have the audience and there is really no huge need to have a traditional publisher behind my book for distribution.
Pat Flynn: Because in many cases, a traditional publisher will rely on a creator like myself with a larger audience to do the marketing. So I might as well keep more of the revenue and have more of the creative say on things and have more control overall. However, there are still some advantages going traditional or so I hear and I wanted to test that. I wanted to see what it was like. So I am prepping this book, which I've spoken about before tentatively titled The Lean Learner about productivity, learning the end of the know-it-all, for example. And learning how to choose and prioritize what it is to focus on while you're learning to do something so that you're not wasting time.
Pat Flynn: And oh man, it's been a process because in order to go traditional, we need a book proposal and I'm working with an agent. I love her and everything that she's doing, but in order to, because the process is this, we work on a proposal. I haven't even started "writing the book" yet, but I have very much detailed the outline and the synopsis, and what it's about and who's it for and all that kind of stuff. And my buddy Jeff and I put together a proposal.
Pat Flynn: This is Jeff Goins who's been on the show before. A big shout-out to Jeff for helping me with this proposal. Something he's had a lot of experience with. He's traditionally published several books in his past and has helped many other clients do the same. And this proposal has probably gone through over a dozen back and forths, a dozen editions of the proposal. The idea being that the agent wants it to be a certain way so that they can go out and start selling it on my behalf and hopefully getting a good deal.
Pat Flynn: So what are we hoping for? We're hoping for a deal that's definitely over six figures. I would be very, very happy if we were to get a deal that's over a quarter million dollars for the book and the rights to it. But this is such a new world to me that I don't know what's going to happen. I don't even know if it's going to sell. I hope it does. I think it's a worthwhile title to get behind and a worthwhile position on a particular topic. And I think it can make a lot of noise, but at the same time I'm always questioning, "Is this the right move, right? Is this the right move?"
Pat Flynn: And I think for the sake of learning and for the sake of understanding how this part of the publishing world works, I think it's totally worth it. I've self-published three books. I have not traditionally published any books and I like to go through these processes so that I can just understand how they work. And sometimes they do, sometimes they don't work out in the end, but either way it's always a lesson. And what I love about this is I can take these lessons and share them with you.
Pat Flynn: So if I go through this process and it doesn't work very well or there's a lot of things I don't like about it, then I can report on that and I can share and give you warning if you choose to go down one route or another. And maybe if it does work, I can share with you the things that I did to ensure that that would be the case and to stack things in my favor so that you can do the same. But it is definitely a different process. I mean, with a self-published book it was just myself and my team. And we came up with a date for launch and we produced the thing. And we did work with a company on Superfans to help with the distribution of the book on its launch.
Pat Flynn: There were some initiatives with the people over at NEWTYPE Publishing, they have connections to bookstores. And so for a short period of time when the book launched Superfans, it did get into Barnes & Noble and some bookstores. I remember finding it in the store and my son was there and he saw it. That was a really fun moment. And then there were opportunities to purchase additional distribution routes, i.e., airports and other bookstores and things like that.
Pat Flynn: And so I remember I was on travel, stopped into an airport bookstore to see if my book was there and it was. I ended up buying it. And the cashier made an interesting comment because I had the same name on my credit card as the author of the book. And of course, it was my book and it was just a funny moment. Anyway, that was really cool and surreal. But did that pay off? Did the buying of books being distributed into airports actually pay off as a return? Not directly. We ended up losing money on that, but of course the book introduces people to my ecosystem and my courses and all the things we have to offer, SPI Pro.
Pat Flynn: So in that regard, long-term it's not necessarily trackable, but I would hope that the book went in people's hands, get the people introduced to the environment and the education that I have to offer at SPI. So again, this is just a process and I'm a little bit curious mixed with a little bit of nervousness mixed with a little bit of, "Well, if the other three books did so well as a self-published book, why would I change it?" And again, I'm trying to decide whether or not the excuse of educating myself is actually true.
Pat Flynn: I mean, I know that I'll be educating myself and educating others on the route of traditional publishing once this is through. And I don't know if the book's even going to sell, so I might end up self-publishing it anyway because we either don't get any buyers or the deals just aren't great. I do have a minimum number in mind. Like I said, a quarter million would be sort of the floor. Although that being said, if a traditional publisher said, "Hey Pat, we can't do a quarter million, but we could do 200,000."
Pat Flynn: Maybe, but honestly I think we can go much, much higher because you know I do come with a very big reputation in this space and a lot of people who follow my work and that is worth something. And if it's not the case for a particular publisher or publishers who are interested, then hey, you know what? I'm just going to do this on my own once again and help people in the way I know how to help. But it is definitely new territory for me and I just wanted to give you an update and have you sort of maybe wish me the best.
Pat Flynn: And again, I'll keep you updated on whichever direction I go, but I'm itching to get back behind the keyboard and start typing away again and going through that process, although it's very hard. I am looking forward to it. After you do it for a few times, you realize that the pain is worth it. So many great things have come out as a result of the small amount of time that I spent heads down on a keyboard every single day writing getting into that habit. And what I love about that is forcing myself to do that. Brought out some amazing stories, brought out some amazing lessons that I wouldn't have taught otherwise, that I would've never discovered because of myself trying to create a framework for something that would fit in a book.
Pat Flynn: It's allowed me to discover new ways to teach things that I've always known and always taught, just not in this way. So just a quick update for you. And I hope I can continue to keep you updated both on social and here on the podcast, but I'm just having a great time. Opening up the doors and working in public is something that I love. And this is like one of the many projects I'm working on. I talked about not too long ago, the Pokemon project and that's going pretty well. The book I'm really excited about and the book itself, the goal behind it is to expand my reach into a space that's a little bit different than the one I'm in.
Pat Flynn: I mean, it's sort of like the next concentric circle out. It's not just entrepreneurship, it's education and entrepreneurship and learning and productivity. So that's a much larger circle, which should allow me to reach more people if done correctly. And ultimately I'd love to get to the point where I'm writing books for a much, much more general audience. One that is Oprah status. Whether or not I end up on Oprah's book recommendation list ever, that doesn't really matter to me, but that kind of book that a person like that could recommend to a general audience is ultimately what I want to get into, especially with a tone of education, where I think education should go.
Pat Flynn: And some of the problems that we're having right now with education at least in America. So that's all on top of mind for me. But anyway, I ramble on, but I just want to say thank you again because this is sort of just a diary for myself and you get to listen in on the progress of Pat and his publishing. That's a lot of P words. Anyway, thank you so much. I appreciate you. And again, big, big shout-out to Maria who is a publisher of a brand new book with relation to plants that you can use for productivity. And go ahead and listen to Episode 583 if you haven't already right now.
Pat Flynn: Thank you so much for listening in. I appreciate you. And I hope that you subscribe if you haven't already, because we've got a lot of great stuff coming your way. And I look forward to serving you in the next episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. I'm looking at the next episode and oh yeah, yeah, this is going to be a good one. We're going to bring back somebody on the show, a good friend of mine whose life got turned kind of upside down and he didn't move to Bel Air to solve this problem. So make sure you subscribe because you're not going to want to miss it. It's a great story, and I look forward to serving you as always. Cheers, take care and as always, team Flynn for the win. Have a great weekend.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at smartpassiveincome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.