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SNM059: 4 Deadly Mistakes New Authors Must Avoid

There are certain key mistakes that nearly every new author makes without even realizing it.  It can be so hard to be objective when looking at your books and books and campaigns.  Today we have special guest Derek Doepker to share with us some of the biggest mistakes that new authors simply MUST avoid…

On Today's show Derek covers some of the biggest questions that plague independent authors.

Derek's First Book was Not a Success

Like many new authors, Derek didn't hit a home run the first time he released a book.  When learning any new venture it's critical to expect to hit some walls.  Nobody succeeds without making any mistakes.  That's the pipe dream that everyone has.

My first book was an abysmal failure too.  But I learned from my mistakes, adapted and now that book is one of my best sellers.  It's very tempting to give up when we hit those frustrating moments where we really aren't sure just what we did wrong.

Listen to today's episode as Derek walks us through the key steps he uses to analyze a new book and ensure that it's a massive success.

As a special treat, he is giving away a FREE copy of his book “Why Authors Fail” to all of my listeners!

I don't know how long the link will stay live, so grab it while ou can!

Key Points:

  1. Why are so many book covers terrible?
  2. How can you avoid writer's block?
  3. What should you do when you feel overwhelmed?

Resources Mentioned:

SPECIAL GIFT – Why Authors Fail

Breaking Orbit

Serve No Master on Amazon

Send in your questions to podcast [at] servenomaster [dot] com

Sponsor:

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Read Full Transcript

The four mistakes new authors absolutely must avoid they want to achieve amazing success with today's special guests Derek Decker on today's episode episode brought you by convert To find out how convert can help you grow your business save money and increase the relationship with your email list head over to Servicemaster.com\convert kit right now are you tired of dealing with your boss you feel underpaid and underappreciated if you want to make it online to start living your retirement dreams now you come to the right place welcome to serve no master five how to open new revenue streams and make money while you sleep presented life from a tropical island in the South Pacific by best-selling author Jonathan Greene now your post yet so I'm really excited to finally connect with you actually will that Jesse that will connect us it had been friends for almost 10 years now so love to really hear how you transitioned from doing a lot of direct marketing stuff I know you did a lot of stuff I think in the fitness space if I memorize it and then you move really into teaching a lot about how people can become successful Amazon how did you cut up with that transition so for me means health and fitness started out more as ultimately comes to the big picture thing was a way to create financial freedom for myself to do music which was originally my intention was to become a rockstar so this man is been a number of steppingstones to ultimately get to the authorship so the health and fitness was to create the online business and what ended up just working well for me after allotted failed attempts at different things affiliate marketing blogging YouTube videos even my first couple books I didn't really go anywhere my Kindle book 50 fitness tips you wish you knew it took off become a number one bestseller and the success of that I looked at it and I was like I really wish someone had taught me certain things that I didn't learn in the different courses and things that I had studied for Kindle publishing and self-publishing and so I think it was my own desire to sort of teach others what what I wish I knew just like the book 50 fitness tips you wish you knew was teaching people the fitness information I wish I knew so that's how I started transition into also doing authorship trainings several months after that book became a number one bestseller and as for the next year or so over 2013 I kinda straddled both health and fitness and authorship and now more and more I'm doing authorship and I'd say more just general personal development and success type of training okay will you don't think I'm a big fan of your training I went there couple of your courses before getting on this phone can't have to seven very impressed what would you say is the biggest mistake that new people on Amazon make that new independent authors and people moving to that space make you nice is hard to say the biggest mistake I had to really go big picture and say that it's not treating it like a business that you do like a hobby and then they wonder why they're not successful and I can appreciate where my background being a musician I can see certain things I can relate to of what I call the say the creative types which is I just want to do what I love I want to do I think looks cool or sounds good or you know people are like an idiot if they don't get how good this this book is or whatever even though it's got a crappy cover even though the title is in captivating all these different things so really understanding the business side of things in marketing and so I'm grateful that I had a background in you know studying online marketing and in the marketing world I gave me an appreciation for where I was able to come by and that also with my creative sensibilities and it is not either be creative and do something cool and no valuable or just be a total ripoff in and knock off you actually have this this balance of of both were you model what works any sort imitate what works and at the same time you had your own creativity to it so that's ultimately about understanding business and in the role of business is to go and provide value deliver to people what they want give people what they also are looking for and at the same time be able to stand out and be creative in that process so it's not just a carbon copy or another me to book that's out there which is this delicate in young type of balance and dance that takes place which is actually a business principle so creativity and the creative expression that I have a great appreciation for us as a music composer actually goes hand-in-hand with business I used to think they were kind of at odds and and it's not the case at all mention something that I find fascinating is that so many independent authors have we just I always see these terrible covers and I wonder especially creative people like people can identify a back cover unless it's their own why do so many authors come up with just brutal covers well there could be there can be a number reasons that I guess one is maybe looking at it from a purely functional standpoint and maybe you should mentality will people shouldn't judge a book by its cover they should judge it by its value and you know we could play the should game all day long at the end of the day is what do people actually do people actually judge a book by its cover so I know for myself I get kind of frustrated like I did it matter whatever but I learned you know results speak for themselves so one thing is just a mentality that it it shouldn't matter another thing is and you mentioned it been able to identify and others and not you know oneself and that is that is really the big thing that we all deal with as human beings and that we have our blind spots and it's why I have coaches or mentors where I get feedback whether it's on covers I run surveys whether some book titles it on book descriptions I mean it's it's just something about human nature is that when were so in just something it's kind it can be harder to be objective about it and is much as I can train my mind and take a step back and distance myself from my own work is typically in a be a lot easier for someone else to give me honest outside feedback and that's just the way it is you know is that there's nothing wrong at the doctor can't operate on themselves this just kind of the whole the way it is so we we need other people outsiders to do certain types of jobs and functions for us which is why I in a big fan of getting outside feedback and a lot of different forms some people really struggle with the thought of writing their first book or with the daunting task to get caught up into the middle of the book and they can't find a way out what you recommend or how do you help authors to become stuck in the writing phase well I'm an egg could depend on what their particular let's say issue or challenge is some it could be structural summary could be more of a psychological block or barrier a number things so one general principle here is that it's typically better to prevent it than to try to fix something you know that's true with health and that's certainly true with business and book writing challenges so it was actually just last night talking to woman who had a traditional publishing deal she wrote her own book and she had a traditional publishing deal and I was asking her about the difference she mentioned that with a traditional publisher she would have to basically give them all of the chapter titles in advance all of that this is what the heading is get to be the paragraph the first paragraph second paragraph break everything down and then go fill that in and if she wanted to change any of it Jeff to run it back by them for approval and on one hand she felt a little bit kinda restricted by that it should start to get into it and then have to the only, and I want to change this or whatever however she was also freed up because by the time that was all set and approved all it was then at that point was basically like fill in the blanks in the whole book came together much quicker could she set up the structure ahead of time had it planned out ahead of time compared to her own book where is she said it took like a couple years because you get in the middle of it and she's like not want to change this or I don't like this anymore and all that and so there is an element of having the discipline to structure something I can be useful while also having some freedom and flexibility to make some some adjustments and once again it's a balancing act so the more an author can do to get something structured ahead of time great if it's too structured it doesn't allow for the natural organic flow if there's no structure though that's when it's just like this never ending always changing work that never seems to get done so finding what the author needs in that case do they need more freedom to they needed, maybe break out of some of the boxes that they put on themselves to move forward or do they need to put on some more constraints and actually discipline themselves to work more within a structure and for some authors that's going to help them move forward so all I can come back to you know physical fitness analogies is, like sometimes what people need is rest and recovery in some stretching in order to move forward some people might need more resistance training and strengthening and contraction to move forward and ultimately we kinda want this balance of both so there's not going to be a one-size-fits-all answer is understanding that there is head of a balancing act between these two different components of of structure as well as flexibility in figuring out what's in the best serve an author in that moment how can people transition how can someone who's a new author transition from just being someone who wrote a book someone who starting or building a business so this is one thing is if a person has written a book I would say they've already created their business and so getting in the in the mentality that is Kallick even with the book read once writing a book you're an author or you're an aspiring author your writer once you have a book you you have your business your book is your business office talking about building a bigger business on the backend one thing that I would say is that something to really consider some of these things ahead of time and what do I want my book to accomplish for me to I wanted to give me more exposure to want to sell something on the back and I want to sell other books in a series these are all things to start considering ideally before even write the book because the book is set up and positioned then support those other things and at the same time for some it's going to be a learning process of figuring out I'm in a put out books and see what resonates with people and then I might want to have enough readers see what they want and then build a business or a product or more you know give my readers just basically more what they want or what they asked for that's build the audience first and then create the product or service for that audience that's built these are kinda big picture answers because it's definitely going to be something that an individual approach for what a person's goals are and I've seen so many different things work that that's the beautiful thing/overwhelming thing is that there's there's a lot of different ways to do it and part of it is modeling what works in the part of us also realizing that which is because it's another person's path that might not be my path what advice do you have for people that are trying to find the topic they should write about or they know they want to write something but they have no idea what type of audience they can find what topic they should write about so there is traditionally to schools of thought were approaches to this one is you do research on what is what is popular and you go right for that or what is popular in less competition in any right for that and there's ways through various keyword research and doing category research and software and lots and lots of tools on on that so that is one approach I know some people are successful that this is not the approach that I have personally taken or taught as much is something that I would say you know that's an option if you want to know more the know how you know find the people that that are doing that and there's certainly a number of trainers out there my approach is another way of going about doing and that is really ask yourself what am I personally passionate about what do I have knowledge on what I'm what I'm I an expert on and it comes more from within and for that number of others and myself included take the basic approach of you know what what I teach myself unit myself that was five years younger than where I'm at right now or even a year younger or 10 years younger so I think about Derek five years ago what to what I've taught myself about book publishing or Derek when I first started out or about health and fitness were about no whatever for some people would be in all and a relationship after number of broken relationships and they finally keynote figured out what what I've told my younger self that would save me a lot of a lot of headache a lot of struggle or would've really help me out and so that's that's another approach which is really looking at your own knowledge and expertise or another variation of that is looking at the people who may be already come to you are there people who come to you and this is speaking more for the advice how to type of of books for advice know what are they asking advice on and that's when I learned that even though I was aspiring musician and a broke valet Parker when I first got started I still had people coming to me for health and fitness advice and at first I was like were there so many other people who are like actually established like big native people like yeah I know a lot about health and fitness this is just a hobby for me what I realizes that people aren't buying you know the knowledge of the information which they could've found anywhere they were buying my perspective and they were buying the trust that they they were buying into the idea that that trust in me they knew me they saw my results they trusted me as a friend and that's why they came to me for advice and so when I started seeing how many people came to me for advice on that topic that's when it empowered being in give me the confidence to say that you know what people are coming to me they want to hear from you so I'm in a start to share what I know about this topic so that's that's the other overall approaches looking at your own knowledge your own background your own passions for whatever you like to talk about whatever gets you fired up and whatever will to sort of come out of you naturally what you see as the future of the book market there been a lot of big changes of the last 1020 years from all paperback to these digital platforms kindles the notes all these devices how do you see things moving forward over the next 35 10 years well for me personally one area that I've seen growing in my own business and for a number of other authors is the audiobook market so I believe asking to continue to grow and get bigger and bigger like podcast for instance right is audio and in just the fact that you're listening to listen to this listening to other podcasts goes to show you that even though they been around for a number of years the continuing to grow in popularity so that's one trend that I see increasing which is why I've gotten almost all of my books now in audiobook format so I believe that's gonna be a big thing as far as the the other marketplaces it seems like Amazon is really starting to dominate the e-book market place with Kindle and also the brick-and-mortar stores do not seem to be doing as well that being said you and I really don't I really don't have too many predictions of the future things can change so rapidly with technology I believe though that the audio market will continue to grow what happens for someone they write the first book they spent two or three years writing a blood sweat and tears they find a release on Amazon and nobody's buying it nobody's leaving reviews are not getting any traction what advice Jeff or someone is in that situation there just feeling like they put all this work for nothing start to feel really down well is something that I can I can definitely relate to when I first wrote a my first book was about 350 pages and it was a was originally on Amazon it was a good PDF and it was a video training course in audio training and I spent months and months and months putting this together and hours you came in keep track of how many hours of work and that's not even counting in almost 10 years of my life even accumulate the knowledge to put into it and that's just the time it took to put it together and so when I launch that I actually had a name your own price and where friends and family they could pay as little as a dollar to get access to this this book into these audios and videos and you know I sold only a small handful of copies to basically like my mom and I like my sister and have few close friends like that was it and so it was so frustrating and then I launched my first Kindle book and so probably about three copies of that in the first few months and it felt like ides wasted so much time and money and I know that when that happened for me it could also be discouraging thinking what's the point know why even keep going forward or this was all such a waste what I found though is that when I kept going and when I took that experience and learn the lessons from it I was eventually able to take what I needed to learn from that and grow to the point where my second and ultimately my third book 1/3 became a number one bestseller and a lot of the information in that third book was drawing upon content that I put in that original book and some of the books that have failed launches of eventually with more knowledge took off and became successful in so even though it felt like a failure at the time you know what felt like a setback was really a set up for a breakthrough that came down the road and so if I take the context and change it to college there many people who will spend four years to get a college degree the spent tens of thousands of dollars to get this degree and there's not even a guarantee when they get out of college that they can have a job or make any money and yet will do it because it's like I'm investing in the future making income what I wrote a lot of papers in college that never made me any money I wasn't worried about it because it wasn't about making money with that paper it was about getting the education so I would I would be successful later well those early books the failed launches the books that didn't sell that was the investment in my education that allow me to later become a best-selling author and release multiple best-selling books ultimately what's a couple months and even a few thousand dollars invested in order to have financial freedom in order to be able to publish best-selling book after best-selling book in order to establish myself as an author unlike that's ultimately a relatively small price to pay in the grand scheme of things so for the author who is gone through that that frustration it is frustrating like it's just straight up its socks is not fun and when you take a step back and go now what is this book if it doesn't do well now the beautiful thing is that doesn't mean Going to a relaunch in three months doesn't mean that with a little bit more learning you know two weeks from now you can learn something or put some pieces together that all of us on the book takes all some books is just like you put a new cover on it and that takes offer you you retitle it or for other authors it might be okay I just build up my fan base over the next couple months and then I go back and promote that book again and then it takes off so think about the long-term think about the next year or two or several years realize that that's just like like oh okay I figured out something that didn't work let me adjust and continue and go on in that very same book could become a huge seller and that in the near future when you get the lessons from the experience that's amazing I think that so many people they write that first book and have put so much hope in it they think I want to release his book on Amazon I'll be rich forever I can retire yet and so they they set themselves up like they're putting it all on this book or this one outcome and really it's like for me it's the thing that helped me a lot was when I wrote my first book and published it on so much the very first book of the first Kindle book that I did I had someone of the mentality that was a little bit of an experiment now the downside of that is maybe I didn't put in as much effort to it was kinda testing the waters the upside though is that I wasn't attached to the outcome I was just going what do I learn from this okay the next book everything has almost a bit of a feel of an experiment to enter a case study of how to figure out what works what doesn't work and what I'm into do differently next time or do differently going forward and with that mentality always learning so the failed book you know clinical failed books to learn from but here's the thing even a successful book can the success can be dangerous when it leads to complacency so the author who launches a book that's really successful if they don't ask themselves why it was successful or how they could be even more successful going forward that is possible that the just oh okay will that work I can keep doing that and then you know a year or two later it's not working so well anymore they don't continuously stay on top of their learning in and continue to grow some authors that I talked or some like new riders there on the other end of the spectrum were all they want to do is write 20 different books on 20 different topics they wanted a children's book a romance novel a book about motorhomes and then a book about spinning time with their grandparents what kind of advice you have for people that want to write on so many disparate topics so first of all like I said there is no one-size-fits-all approach so for the person who does this and realizes that it's an experiment and doesn't put in the expectations that that is in itself can lead to huge results than than okay you know if it's like I'm in a right on a bunch of different topics to see what does well and then when I see something that's doing well day nominee go all in there or underwrite on these different topics because it's just kind of fun for me or whatever just understand manage the expectations accordingly and that spreading oneself out into all these different topics limits the momentum that can be generated compared to really going in a diving deep into one particular area so as not right or wrong it's just a certain approach with a certain outcome and I would really ask for what purpose is this person doing it what are their goals what is this a short-term thing to come to figure out what they want to do and then they can go in deeper work is out there overall business strategy what you know how was I gonna work for them you know so there's ways to make it work and what I would say is that ultimately you can if you launch a rocket if you try to launch 20 different rockets and you only put you know a small amount of fuel into each one so each one goes up you know hundred feet and then it comes crashing back to the ground was that is effective is putting all the fuel into one rocket and getting it actually out of the atmosphere to you know break the Earth's gravity so you actually cannot accomplish something with it so book launch is in a business a lot of times it kind of is an all or nothing thing if it doesn't hit a certain threshold or certain amount of momentum just knocking to see the kind of results that you can expect and so that's on a book by book basis with a launch is also on an overall business basis so that doesn't have to be done right away the with the first book so once again if it's testing out different things are up is just what a person enjoys doing or certain genres lend themselves to sort of like the the one off type of book then okay great but if the person is going why am I not seeing much momentum why my not getting a lot of traction why is nothing really building upper going anywhere that I would say will obviously is because it's that it might be because it spread out so thin thank you so much for spending some your precious time with us I know that your time is so valuable I know my audience is good I love hearing about this now we have a special gift for everyone that they can grab it serve the master.com\Derek which is DER EK tell people a little bit about your special book I believe it's called why authors fail yeah so this book is what I wrote after not only my own experiences but working I've had well over a thousand students by the time I wrote this book gone through my original training course and so I looked at what a lot of authors and self published authors in particular were doing that were keeping them from from being successful and it was partly born out of frustration you would see self published authors doing so many things right but they'd have one or two little like missing links in their plan and I look at MBI okay there's no way the book is is going to sell and all I gotta do is it streak you may be just a couple different things and so they were frustrated because they didn't know why they were successful and I was frustrated because I I didn't want to see other authors failing or struggling needlessly sorrow the book why authors fail and it's the 17 biggest mistakes I see so published authors make that sabotage their success so I cover the mistakes and of course I cover how to fix them in the book which you can get for free at that link awesome thank you so much of nothing to put a link to that in the show notes as well thank you so much for, to spend time with us Derek it's awesome to have you on this episode yeah thank you so much Jonathan is been a pleasure thank you for listening to this week's episode of serve no master make sure you subscribe so you never miss another episode will be back tomorrow with more tips and tactics on how to escape that rat race it over to serve no master.com/podcasts now for your chance to win a free copy of Jonathan's bestseller serve no master all you have to do is leave a five star review of this podcast see you tomorrow you just listen to another amazing episode of the serve no master podcast make sure to subscribe we back tomorrow with another amazing episode

Jonathan Green
 

Living the dream on a tropical island, Jonathan is the author of Serve No Master and the host of the Serve No Master Podcast.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Penny - October 24, 2016

I met Derek years ago at a seminar in LA and we became friends! Small world and great podcast. So cool to see how much he’s accomplished in the 5 years since we met.

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