How To Become A Bestselling Author – Lindsey Smith
How To Become A Bestselling Author
Have you ever wondered how to become a bestselling author? A lot of people hesitate to start writing a book because they think they couldn’t do it well. They’re afraid no one will buy it or understand it.
Lindsey Smith, a holistic practitioner and an author of seven books suggests that getting community support is essential and being clear on what your goal is beyond the book because just getting it published is already enough. It’s an accomplishment.
She also shares a step-by-step process on how to become a bestselling author and leverage it to get more speaking events.
If you’re just starting to write a book, get some community support, or some leverage.
Getting the accountability and whatever way works for you is a great place to start.
If you have a rough draft, seek out an editor or someone that can help you refine it.
Stay a little bit unattached to the editing process and release the perfectionism.
Think of what your goal is beyond the book.
There are so many different options with self-publishing.
Search local or someone whom you know to do the design.
If you want to do an eBook first, you can simply do it on Amazon or The Nook to become a bestselling author.
Giving away free books
- It shows passion in their community.
- It helps with overall rankings.
- Higher upsell
Page count should be the last of our concerns.
Constantly reach out and pitch places that you want to speak at.
TRANSCRIPTION: HOW TO BECOME A BESTSELLING AUTHOR- LINDSEY SMITH
Do you want to share a message with the world? Well, it might be time for you to publish a book.
In today’s episode, we’re going to explore how to become a bestselling author and get your book published from the very beginning, the concept to the end, to even booking speaking engagements to get your book launched in even bigger way.
Today we have a very special guest. This is Lindsey Smith. She’s a holistic practitioner. She’s the author of seven books now. She is also a publisher. She’s my publisher and an amazing public speaker. This woman has it all.
We’re excited to have you on the show to talk about how to become a bestselling author. Lindsey Smith, are you ready to launch?
Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to chat with you.
Why People Don’t Know How To Become A Bestselling Author
So Lindsey, I know that a lot of people want to write a book but something stops them. Do you know what deters people from writing a book? If you want to know, we’re here to reveal how to become a bestselling author.
I see many of these cases and work with authors on a daily basis. It’s challenging to turn your ideas into words.
My advice would be to get support i.e. community support or some leverage. Be sure to tell your community that you’re writing a book.
I know I did this for my first book because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I need the support that I couldn’t give myself.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Get Community Support
So I simply wrote in Facebook “Hey guys! I’m writing a book. This is what the topic is going to be about. I’m hoping to launch it in February.” And it actually helped me accountable to that goal. Now I had people in my community that were expecting me to write and publish this book. So I kind of had to do it. Facebook is the best platform if you are looking into how to become a bestselling author.
I absolutely agree with that. Just with this last process that I went through, writing Road To Love. I had that book in me for 15 years and it changed and evolved overtime but it wasn’t until I joined the course that you thought with Joshua Rosenthal on how to become a bestselling author in 6 months. It wasn’t until I had that deadline that I made that commitment that I actually got the book written in 4 months.
I love your book Road To Love. It’s amazing and surely going to help somebody. I appreciate that you wrote it.
Accountability and the support that you offered were amazing. That’s a great tip to have the people holding you accountable as you’re getting your book done.
Say that you’re at the more towards the end of the process and you have this bulky rough draft. What’s next?
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Release Any Perfectionism
If you have a rough draft then I definitely recommend seeking out an editor or someone that can help you refine it. Even a book coach or someone that can just work with you to finalize so you can move in to the next stages of your book. A big part of that is releasing any perfectionism in a sense to what you have.
Many times, I notice authors are often attached to these ideals when in reality it just may not fit with that specific book. I see this many times with self-help authors. We write about our past experiences to help people and are still learning along the way, so we want to include some of those newer learnings but it may not fit with where you were at and where you want to help during that specific time in that book. And it is the big answer to question “How to become a bestselling author”.
I think you just have stay a little bit unattached to the part of the editing process and releasing the perfectionism because there are a lot of things that you’re going to want to change.
It’s like a deep secret of mine but I have never re-read my first book after it published. I fixed a few things just based off of what people would write in but I never re-read it because I know that I’m evolved now that I would look back on that and want to change many things.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Let Your Book As It Is And Continue Writing
I just have to let it be what it is and continue writing in the new fresh way, rather than focusing on making everything perfect.
I think those 2 things are crucial in the process when you have that book manuscript because there can be a lot of fear that comes up around that.
Here’s my question on how to become a bestselling author, and I think a lot of people are probably thinking about it is, “Okay, writing a book. It sounds like a great idea. It’s a heck of a lot of work. Maybe I’ve written something already and I’m ready to publish it but then I don’t want to be one of those people who write a book and nobody buys it, nobody ever hear about it.”
What do you suggest for people who may already have a pretty decent amount of content and all they need to do is to hire an editor or consider self-publishing? They can go on Amazon and just create an eBook. What do you suggest them to get over that fear of “How to become a bestselling author?”
I see this comes up a lot too. It’s the fear of failure, fear of success paradigm.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Get Clear With Yourself
You have to think of what your goal is beyond the book. By getting clear with that right off the beginning can help because for some people, simply writing a book and having it published is enough.
You have to get clear with yourself because people don’t understand your accomplishment with just getting a book published.
There’re a lot of tears that go into it. There’s a lot of emotional baggage that goes into it. There’re a lot of beliefs just around writing, publishing, what you think, and how you feel about that process. Additionally, if you’re doing it yourself, you have to think about every single step of the way; cover design, layout, fonts, and photos.
So in a way, I think it’s a huge accomplishment just to get a book published and to take it a step further. You have to ask yourself “Okay, what if no one does?” “Is the accomplishment of getting it published is going to be good enough?” All these questions are co-related to your main goal i.e. “How to become a bestselling author”.
The great thing about self-publishing is that there are many different options. You can give up your book away for free and thousands of people can download it for reading.
There’re tons of different ways to get your book out there. It just may not be that romanticized feeling that we have been taught about the publishing world. And it’s all in perspective of how to become a bestselling author.
The Process of Getting Published And How To Become A Best Selling Author
I absolutely agree that self-publishing is much easier than I thought it was going to be. The process of writing the book and getting it to that place seems to be long and painful but the publishing process is way easier than I imagined.
Just to go back to the editing piece for a moment, one of the things I did with Road to Love was just shared chapters before reading to my community. I just wrote in my roughest draft and sent out chapters to people. Put out on Facebook, “Hey! Who’s willing to read a chapter of my book and give me feedback?” I had a couple of people read each chapter, gave me feedback that i forward to editors to read and edit.
That was a great process and I learned a lot but I’m curious, now that we’ve gone through the editing process, what’s now on how to become a bestselling author by getting your best book published?
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Get Creative With The Design Process
Once you go through the editing process, then you would go into the design process. You can start your cover and layout design. You just need to find a designer to get it printed.
Yeah! Absolutely! It’s just promotingnaturalhealth.com. We have some templates and things available for people that want to take a more DIY approach as well. There are all kinds of fun stuff happening there.
I also suggest people to search local. They may find someone that they know. I mean, I’ve seen people get really creative with this step and get to know how to become a bestselling author.
When I launched my first book I had no money to invest in anything at all and I ended up finding someone. Actually, it’s my business partner now in the publishing company but she ended up helping me with my layouts and the cover design. She had invested in the project and contributed.
I always encourage people to get creative as it can work with no matter what budget you have.
That’s great. So, now that people have their cover and layout design, what’s after that? I love the step-by-step process overview that helped me to learn how to become a bestselling author.
Different Self-Publishers That Can Help You On How To Become A Bestselling Author
Then I would say you’re ready to upload to some sort of self-publisher. There are many different self-publishers out there you can go with. There is CreateSpace, IngramSpark, Indie Publishing, and like my company.
If you want to do an eBook first, you can simply do it on Amazon or The Nook. There’s a ton of different resources out about getting your book on eBook, which is pretty fast. I think you may able to get an eBook up within 24 hours if you do with Amazon. And then from there, you can order a proof copy and can go back through. It is the best way to learn how to become a bestselling author on amazon.
Sometimes, it’s nice to go through again whenever it’s in printed form to make those tweaks and re-upload! A published book!
Ways To Sell Your Book And How To Become A Bestselling Author
I love that. They even highlighted spelling errors that I had in my book.
I’m amazed at how the industry has changed a lot. We used to publish a book and then you had to order 2,000 copies and keep them in your garage and sell them to friends or to bookstores but now everything’s print on demand, which is amazing. I use CreateSpace that you recommended, and now if I need to order a book, I just order one at a time and they just ship it to me.
Yeah. I love that. My husband is also an author and a musician. He’s on tour right now and he sells a ton of books on tour. He texted me this morning and said “Hey, can you order me 200 copies so I’d have them when I get home for the next run?”
And it’s just simple. I was able to go order 200 copies and it will be at our home next week. It’s just great, simple and highly effective. In that way, we don’t have thousands of books taking up a ton of space in our house.
That’s cool to hear you guys talk about how to become a bestselling author by getting your book published successfully.
Writing a book is such a big process and I’m glad you addressed that as well Lindsey because if you are thinking about writing a book, just know that writing a book and itself is a huge accomplishment.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Adapt With The Changes
I think just the thought of wanting to write a book says a lot about a person and says that they probably have a lot to share. It’s exciting to think about that. Just that you could write a book and you could have it published and you could have some copies for yourself, for your class and it doesn’t have to be this huge thing where you try to get it into bookstores. That’s not the road for everybody and with the industry having changed so much, you can do it however you want to know.
That’s one thing that I love about the industry changing is it made it so much easier for people that have important messages to get their message out in a big way.
I look at my husband whose goal is not to be on Amazon or in bookstores. His goal is to write music, express himself creatively, and be able to share with people in an intimate way through travelling and being on tour. He’s able to take his book and that’s how he sells it. I think that’s incredible.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Find What Works For You
I knew I wanted to do speaking and wanted to be a speaker. So, I was using my book as leverage on how to become a bestselling author.
Now, when I go to conferences and do speaking engagements, I not only charge a speaking fee but also sell additional books for each of the attendees. As you can see, those are 2 very different goals.
Some people are just having a book for their friends and family. That’s great too. Other people may want to hustle and get into bookstores. Some people are only digital. They only want to do eBooks and want nothing to do printed books. You just have to find what works for you.
I’ve seen a number of people utilizing different strategies to achieve how to become a bestselling author.
I’ve got on some fantastic books given away for free. Authors like Dr. John Gray. You can go to his website and get his books for free. [Robert Corrie], another awesome marketer, I just got his book for free from his website with a lot of freebies and then you got some big names Arianna Huffington or Anthony Robbins. They’re only charging shipping and handling. I know their books are in books stores and people can buy them but at the release they were giving away the book for what they said was free.
If you know “how to become a bestselling author”, more people will read your published books.
How To Be A Bestselling Author – How Much To Charge For Your Book
I’m curious about the benefits for people to give away their book free or to sell it themselves and only charge the shipping price.
Do you know how much was the shipping price of Tony Robbins’ by chance?
I think it was like $6.95
Okay. So they’re still making a few dollars off of it because they’re buying their book in bulk. Their cost is probably a dollar or less and shipping.
If you do media mail it’s about probably I would say $3 to ship the book. So they’re still making a couple of dollars. You’ll learn how to become a bestselling author and build relationships with people.
Giving away free books
- It shows passion in their community.
It shows that he is willing to give his book away for free because he cares about the message and wants more people to have it.
- It helps with overall rankings.
The more books that he can sell and get out there, the higher his rankings will be not only Amazon and Barnes & Noble but on different lists; The New York Times list, The USA Today list, The Wall Street list.
- End goal of higher upsell.
It’s his end goal to learn how to become a bestselling author and make more dollars. Maybe the book is kind of the gateway or the introduction to other services. So if no one has ever heard about him before, this is a great intro. Or if you have heard about him before, you feel connected like “Wow. He’s giving me this book. Let me see what else he is going on. Maybe there’s a newer program that I can take that he’s offering.” And then there’s usually a higher up sell.
How To Become A Bestselling Author And Use It To Leverage Your Services
It’s a way for him to get his name into your house too because if you buy that book, even you don’t read it and you have it laying around and then you think “Oh, you know, I’ve been wanting to go to one of his programs.” Or with Kamala’s book, you look at it and you’re like “Oh, you know, I keep seeing that book. I’ve seen people have it and going to Google her.” Next thing you know, you’re signing up for a class that Kamala’s teaching to know “how to become a bestselling author.”
I read Robert’s book and I had never heard of Robert but I was excited. I read it and just thought “Man! This guy was amazing.” I googled him after that and read more about him. I wanted to get him on the podcast and after that I was like “Hey, let’s talk about your business a little bit.”
He utilized that book in my opinion as a fantastic way to leverage services without saying “Hey, hire me.” Rather he just said, “Here’s what I know. I want to share it with you and want to give it to you for free” and then you start thinking if this person knows this much and he’s giving it away for free, I’d love to have their help.
Unexpected Opportunities On How To Become A Bestselling Author
I will teach you how to become a bestselling author.
This just happened to me a couple months ago. My husband’s on tour for months. I just got off of a big speaking hoorah that I was doing all of the fall. I got back and was like decompressing. When I decompress, I like to be creative because I felt like I had no time to be creative during the several months while travelling.
So, I decided that I was going to write some free eBooks and give them away to my community just to do because I was just feeling extra giving and I was like I really want to do this. I started writing this free eBooks and I did end up giving one away to my list and to my website and it’s on Amazon now actually. I think it’s still free. So then, I also decided to write this other book that I was going to give away for free as well.
As I was writing it, I literally sat down and said “I want to write like tips on how to love your body and yourself more.” So I started writing tips until I stopped. I ended up stopping at 52. I looked at them and I refine them a little bit and then I said “I’m going to call this eBook 52 Ways to Love Your Body More.” And I figured it’s going to be like a simple PDF, two pages with the tips written.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Create Something Passionately
But then I got the idea “Why don’t I take each tip and put them on just a different color background. That way it would serve 2 purposes. I give this eBook away for free but then people can Instagram these quotes and images and share them with people. And it works if you want to learn how to become a bestselling author.
That literally took me 30 minutes to write and do. Then, I sent it to an editor, which took her like an hour. She had it back to me and then I had it off to a designer. When I got the designs back, it ended up being way cuter than I thought. It just looked so good that I said “I have to print this and make it a coffee table book and if for anything just my friends for the holidays.”
I had this book turned around in 2 weeks. From the time I wrote it to the time I had copies at my house, it was 2 weeks. I had them just sitting on my coffee table and my friend came over and she saw them. She was like “Oh my goodness! These are so cute!” So I said “Here, take one. That’s why I printed them and learnt how to become a bestselling author. I had no intention of selling or doing anything with them.”
And before you know it, it got into the hands of someone else and then I had ModCloth reached out to me about featuring it on their website. ModCloth is a huge indie fashion retail company. They reached out to me and said “Hey, we want to feature this on our site. We want to buy copies and feature it.” And I had no intention of even selling it.
It just goes to show the opportunities that could come when you create something passionately. When you put it on paper just like you said so that someone can read it. For my example there, that’s exactly what happened to me. It is also one of the great step to learn how to become a bestselling author.
Amazing story. How many pages was the book?
It’s only 52 pages. It’s probably less than that because they’re each page behind the page. It’s a very short book but it’s just done cute.
Is that available on your website too?
Yeah. It’s only available right now on ModCloth but there’s a link to it on my website.
How To Become A Bestselling Author With Shorter Books
That’s fantastic. How many pages does it need to be to get called as an eBook?
It can be anything. I would say 5 to 10 pages. If you’re giving away something for free on your site, you can make it very short.
People do enjoy the shorter reads.
I think we have this romantic idea in our mind of what a book should look and feel like and it has to be a certain width and height. But don’t forget that there are plenty of books that are shorter yet effective.
That’s powerful. I love it and I have all these PDF downloads that are 5 pages long, some are 40 pages long. So I guess those are like little eBooks.
Yeah! Little mini books can help if you look to learn how get it out there on how to become a bestselling author.
I think this one thing that trips people up.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read books that are New York Times best sellers. There was this book I was reading and was so annoyed because I specifically got the book because I wanted help with this one specific issue. I was like “Oh my goodness!” like when I read the description I was like “Yes!
I totally am dealing with this! I want to overcome it.”
And I’m reading the book and it was just you could tell that the author was trying to just fill pages because everything was repeating itself. I was just “Give me what I need to hear. I’m ready for change,” and it literally did not come until the last chapter. I could have read the first and the last chapter and being good.
It was frustrating and I see that happen a lot because people are trying to fill pages.
If you have the content and the message which is concise and clear, then page count doesn’t matter at all to have an effective book. It was top secret on how to become a bestselling author.
How To Become A Bestselling Author And Get Ranked
I love that. That just inspires people to get it out now. It can be quick. You can do it in 2 weeks like Lindsey did.
I have a question about how to become a bestselling author and get ranked.
So you’re talking about your husband, he ordered 200 copies of his own book. Does that count towards his ranking? Where does he order the copies of his own book? How does that affect his overall sales?
Rankings are funny and I’m glad you ask this question because for my next book that launches in May, I went with a publishing company. This is interesting to me.
There’re tons of different rank systems. There’s Amazon rankings, which they have their own algorithm. It’s their own category that actually changes hour by hour.
If you can sell 100 copies in an hour, then your chances of moving up on their scaling system are pretty high. For Amazon, it’s all about hour by hour clustered selling.
So if I could sell 100 right now, it would probably boost my rankings to be in some sort of category because on Amazon, it’s broken down into a category system. There are different categories. So you can rank high in that specific category. That’s how to become a bestselling author on Amazon and more people can find out about you if you are in those specific categories because people can search within those categories.
Now, if you buy books as a self-published author, if you buy 200 books and that you’re buying them at cost that does not count in any way, shape or form with your own rankings on Amazon.
Now, the list i.e. the New York Times bestseller, The USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, they all have completely different algorithms and rankings.
The USA Today is just based on sales. I would say it is the most accurate one as it is based strictly on sales. So if you’re selling 10,000 copies and that’s the most sold that week, that’s what it’s going to show.
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are different because they have strict, crazy algorithms.
For the New York Times, I know that you can’t have concentrated sales in a certain city.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Distribute Your Book
For example, I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If all of a sudden I had 5,000 sales from Pittsburgh and I had maybe a thousand elsewhere in the country. Well, The New York Times, they don’t like that. That wouldn’t count because they want to see that your book is distributed among all of the different channels.
They want to see that you’re not just selling in your own community but that you’re selling elsewhere. Honestly, after that algorithm, it becomes easy to know “how to become a bestselling author” and get your book published.
It’s interesting. It’s fascinating to learn about because this is something that we hold a lot of prestige too, including me. I used to until I found out all of this stuff and then I decided that I wanted to do my personal best and I wanted to focus more on serving as opposed to trying to make some list. But that’s just my own personal take on it because it changes by each one and there’s all kind of different algorithms and yes, it’s prestigious and it would be nice.
I’m not going to lie. If I got on one of those lists, I would be excited but it may not define the quality of your book.
How To Land Speaking Gigs As An Author
Wow. That’s a great tutorial on how to become a bestselling author. Thank you so much for breaking that down. It’s a complicated system so that’s for our more advanced listeners.
My last question has to do with public speaking. One of the things that we worked with as published authors is we have to get ourselves out there. I know you’re a keynote speaker. You’re a genius at booking gigs and getting paid for it.
Can you talk a little bit about that process and getting yourself out there and how do you get big speaking engagements for your book?
It comes down to time and effort which is something where people get frustrated. They think that once they have a book, people would just want them to come and speak.
While people do view you differently when you’re an author and teach all about how to become a bestselling author and it’s not just like you’re Joe Schmo coming off the street and say, “I want to speak here” or you’re saying, “Hey, I’m an author. I have an authority on this topic.” I think that definitely adds value. It’s just as important to constantly reach out and pitch places that you want to speak at.
- Target the places that you want to speak. Figure out the HR person, the Director to get in touch with and send them an email pitch about a workshop or seminar that you would like to teach.
On a good month, I send out about 50-200 pitches a month. My return on investment is probably booking. If I’m sending out 50, I’m at least booking 1 or 2. That’s good because that just like cold calling. It’s just cold emailing and those are good writes.
My goal is to get two gigs a month that keeps me sustained in for what I charge. If you’re just getting started and learning how to become a bestselling author, you can do things for a lower cost or can continuously pitch out to people.
- One of the first things that I ask right off the bat is “What’s your speaker budget for this event?”
I always throw that in there because I hate to get to a place where maybe they wanted something for free, which is totally fine. It’s good to ask how to become a bestselling author because you can easily then lead and shift the conversation.
If someone says, “Our budget for speakers is $5,000” then you’re like “Okay.” There you go. You know what it is. Some people will say “You know what, we don’t have a budget.” And so they’ll be wishy-washy, which is a great time for you to say “Oh, I understand. Well, how about we work out something like this. How about I can come speak to, how many people do you think will be there? 40? Okay, great. I can come and speak to 40 people and rather doing a speaker fee, how about you just pre-buy 40 copies of my book and so each person gets a copy of my book and I’ll even give you a discount.”
You can essentially turn in a free speaking event to a paid speaking event. If you sell your book for $10, you just made $400 as opposed to doing it for free which I think it’s important to ask that question of what’s your budget is. Budget is important to consider if you know how to become a bestselling author.
I’ve changed many speaking offers because of that single question of” what’s your budget?”
- The last thing is that if you don’t want to do it or don’t want to turn it down or may think it would be a good opportunity. You just need to assess what that looks like.
If you’re speaking to a group, I will still do pro bono talks to leverage and get more talks out of it.
If I go to a nutrition conference and they asked me to speak, I may speak for free because I know that in the crowd, the people at the conference are the same people that would hire me to come back to their organization.
One of the conferences I spoke out for free was the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association. I spoke there for free but out of that conference, I booked 5 paid gigs. I looked at that as an opportunity as it helped me to learn how to become a bestselling author.
If you don’t feel that it’s going to be an opportunity, I say no by saying, “Unfortunately, I don’t offer pro bono speaking but I do have a list that I can put people on. And once I get time on my schedule, I can let you know. Right now, I can’t but in the future I may so I can add you to the list if you want to have a pro bono talk. I do X amount a year then will make sure to let you know.” A lot of people are happy with that. They say that they can’t pay but they wanted to be put on the list.
For me as a speaker, I can assess how many pro bono talks I want to do out of the year. I have a list of places that I can easily go to if I have the time to. It is good to do free talks from time to time in just 3 steps.
Wow. Thank you so much. That’s helpful in the light of how to become a bestselling author.
One thing that I have a problem with is I hate rejection. That’s kind of my sticking point. Luis has taken over as my PR manager. He doesn’t tell me when I’m getting rejected. He just tells me when I’m getting booked on a show.
If anyone out there is having trouble with reaching out to someone, I recommend hiring an assistant or having someone that is close to you to help you reach out. Let them know the people that you want to get on their show or want to get booked at certain speaking gigs.
For me, having that buffer of having Luis do it is incredibly helpful. Then I’m just feeding the positivity instead of perceived rejection.
I think that’s great in regards if you want to learn how to become a bestselling author.
I do suggest that people try it themselves first just so they could get a feel for what they’re doing as it’s good to have that skill set for the future.
How To Become A Bestselling Author – Take “No” Positively
I have this happened numerous times where someone tells me No and then a couple of months later, they’ll see something and invite me.
I always think maybe I wasn’t ready yet. Maybe I wasn’t ready to it at that specific time but now I’ve built up to this place where I can do it. Even booking PR and doing TV shows, I get excited when people tell me “No” because I feel like at least I got a response.
That’s the same way Luis is. You can build up the tolerance for it.
It’s been amazing to have you here. You’ve given us from point A to point Z on how to become a bestselling author from writing to getting ratings and rankings to public speaking and getting it out there.
I just feel grateful that you’ve been here with Lindsey Smith, the food mood girl.