What marketing trends are working today for authors? In this session, Jonathan Milligan shares five steps to selling more books through podcast guesting. You’ll discover: Why you should create a free book funnel. How Jonathan earns $165.00 for every free book he gives away on podcasts. Why a “buyer” list is more important than an email list. If you’re an author (or future author), this session explains how to sell more books through podcasting!
Read The Blog Post: 5 Unconventional Steps To Selling More Books With Podcast Guesting
“Dad, we need to talk.” Those are words no father wants to hear.
I had just sat down for the second inning of a New York Yankees baseball game when my daughter came up to me. Immediately I paused the game, and I said, “Yeah, sure, what do you got?”
Then she asked, “What should I do next to build my online platform?” First of all, I was very relieved. That conversation could have easily taken a different direction.
That aside, why was she asking me this specific question? Well, I just happened to be the right person to ask.
For one, I’ve been blogging full-time online since 2011 and podcasting since 2012. I’m also an author, speaker, and coach.
In 2020, I published a book called Your Message Matters.
When the book came out, my daughter was away at college. Little did I know that she bought and read the entire book. After she was done, she contacted me and said, “Dad, I now understand what you do!”
She went on to share how she and her cousin (who had also read the book) wanted to do the same thing.
The book teaches you how to take a passion and turn it into a platform online.
It turns out they had gotten inspired and wanted to launch a blog, a podcast, and a YouTube channel.
A couple of months down the line, she asked me that question, “What should I do next to build my online platform?”
I took a moment to think through my answer. When you’re offering advice to your own kids, you want it to be the right advice. You don’t wish just to answer their question flippantly, and they end up wasting their time.
My response was, “You need to build your authority.” Immediately, she asked me, “What is the fastest way a 19-year-old can do that.”
After a little bit more thought, I knew exactly what she needed to do. Write and publish her own book!
This post is a transcription of one of the talks from our PodPros Quarterly Virtual Event.
Why You Need To Publish A Book
Nothing will build your authority faster than having a book. If you’ve published a book, most people will see you as a recognized expert, influencer, and thought leader.
It’s also a very intimate way of getting people to understand what you’re all about. As they go through the journey of reading your book, they become more connected to you and trust you more. There are just so many benefits a book can bring.
That’s why I want to share how authors can sell more books through podcast guesting. It’s the exact steps that I’ve shared with my daughter, who’s in the middle of writing her book.
Now I’ve to warn you that some of these ideas are not going to be conventional. What I recommend will be different from what 90 to 95% of authors are doing out there with their books. But it produces fantastic results!
Let’s jump in.
Step One: Self-publish a Compact Book
Now, if you have a book already, you’re good to go. You can move on to step two. But if you don’t have a book yet, I want you to read on because writing a book can be very daunting for most people.
That’s why we teach the concept of a compact book. If you self-publish, you can make your book as long or short as you want it to be. When I did my last book, it was a traditionally published book. According to the agreement, I had to deliver a 60,000-word manuscript.
But there’s a trend going on right now of people consuming shorter books. I like to call them compact books, like a compact car.
A compact book is going to be somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 words (half the size of the paperback format). Before you think that that can never offer value or sell, let me give you some examples.
Michael Hyatt, a New York Times best-selling author, has been using this strategy for the last couple of years. Some of his books are about 30,000 words, 150 pages long.
Another example is John Maxwell, another New York Times bestselling author. He’s been taking the main concepts from his books and creating smaller versions of the books.
These compact books can work really well.
Step Two: Set Up a Free Book Funnel
Once you have your book, the next step is to set up a free book funnel.
The typical advice is at the end of a podcast interview, you should tell listeners to go to the bookstore or Amazon to buy your book.
But here’s the problem with this approach: no ongoing relationship is formed.
You see, if somebody walks into the bookstore and grabs a copy of your book, they may get value from the book, but they don’t know how to go deeper. They don’t know how to implement what they’ve read.
Getting my readers to take these steps was very important for me when I launched my book. Instead of shooting for a bestselling book, I chose to do the opposite and set up a free book funnel.
I bought several thousand copies of my book using the author discount. Then I set up a free book funnel, where people would just pay for shipping. The shipping fee catered for what I paid for the book plus the cost of delivering it to them. So essentially, I was breaking even on the book.
Why did I do this? Because I’m more interested in building a buyer’s list than an email list. For a long time, I focused solely on building my email list. That was until I realized that 80% of the people on my email list were never going to buy anything from me.
If somebody purchases your book for $6 and 95 cents, they’ve already proven that they’re willing to invest in getting better at that specific topic. Those buyers are so much more valuable than the freebie seekers on an email list.
In fact, there was a study done that showed that one buyer is worth sixteen email subscribers. So instead of a 16,000 email list, you could have just a good of a financial result with a 1000 book buyers list.
From our own numbers from last year, we found that about 10% of the people who got a copy of our free book and went through our automated email sequence booked a consultation call.
BTW that’s our call to action; “Hey, if you want help implementing what you’ve learned in our book, then book a call.” One out of every four people who booked a call with our team purchased our high ticket offer.
To put this into perspective, for every free book we give away, we earn $165 on average.
Do you see the power in that? This can be a bigger needle mover for your business than people buying your book on Amazon and earning you a $3 commission.
From my own experience, if you can get a thousand free book buyers, you can turn that into a six or seven-figure business. That brings me to step number three.
Step Three: Book 100 Podcast Interviews
Now that you have your book and you’ve got a free book funnel, I want you to book 100 podcasts interviews as a guest.
However, it’s not about getting on any podcast. Ideally, you want to choose podcasts that cater to your target audience. The first 20 are kind of easy to come up with if you’re a podcast listener, but the other eighty might be much more difficult.
That’s why I am a big proponent of PodMatch and happily recommend it to every one of our clients. PodMatch has helped us identify smaller niche audiences that are very specific to our audience. The platform also allows us to book and get on those podcasts easily.
So why a hundred interviews? Well, a hundred 30-minutes long guest appearances equate to 3000 minutes of you being interviewed about your book. Once you’ve reached that threshold, you’re terrific at communicating your book to your audience, which actually leads me to step four.
Step Four: Share Your Best Stuff on the Interview.
It’s crucial that you don’t forget that you are on that podcast to sell your book. That will be a natural by-product if you do two things really well.
Number one, make that podcast host look good. Be prepared, answer their questions, and don’t over-talk them. Be succinct in your answers, and don’t ramble on forever.
Number two, take some time to look at who the audience is. Again, another reason I love PodMatch. I can easily view who the ideal audiences are for the different podcasts within the platform.
This information helps me tailor my presentation more towards that audience. It’s so vital that you nail this down. It’s not about just selling your book. It’s about adding value.
Step Five: Offer a Free Book as Your Call to Action.
Whenever you get to the end of a podcast interview, we all know what that final question is. It’s either one of these two questions: How can people better connect with you? or Where can people get your book?
Personally, I’ve set up a domain name that tells people exactly where to go and get their free copy of the book. This is what I generally say, “You know, this is in bookstores at $16.99, but you can actually get a free copy. All we ask is that you pay for the shipping and handling. I have purchased a few thousand copies and am happy to give them away to the audience as long as supplies last.”
That simple call to action has resulted in us giving away thousands of books on podcasts. Here are a couple of examples.
- We were on the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, and in the first 10 days from that episode going live, we gave away over 350 books. Several of those listeners became clients of ours.
- We were on the Dan Miller podcast, and we gave away another 200 books when that podcast dropped.
Now one some podcasts, it might be 10 books on others 20. Remember, this is an accumulated effect over time. If you have one to two podcast interviews lined up every single week, you’ll notice more book buyers.
Among those book buyers who get in your funnel, some will eventually book a call with you, work with you or do whatever it is you want them to do.
Maybe you sell a high ticket coaching, a membership site, or an online course or provide a service; whatever it is, you can do that with a free book funnel.
To Wrap Up
So there you go. Those are the five steps that should help you to grow your business this next year by selling more books on podcasts.
Again, step one, self publish a compact book. Don’t worry about making it a full 60,000-word book; let’s go with 30,000 words.
Step two, set up that free book funnel so that you’re ready to go when you start getting out on podcasts. Then I want you to book 100 podcasts.
I recommend PodMatch as a resource to help you, especially if you don’t have many connections in the podcast space. Share your best stuff on the podcast interview. Then when it’s your turn to answer the final question, send them to the domain name you’ve set up for your free book funnel.
About the speaker: Jonathan Milligan
Jonathan Milligan is an author, blogger, speaker, and online business coach. He has spent the last decade guiding and directing creative professionals on how to pursue meaningful work. Since 2009, Jonathan has run his own portable lifestyle business online. Today he teaches others how to build a business with their passion, story, or message. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with his wife, Charity, and their two kids.