What Jeff Walker Didn’t Tell You About How His Book Became a Bestseller

There’s a little, well maybe bigger than little, insider secret to landing a book on the bestsellers list. It’s something Jeff Walker utilized but that I don’t think he’s told you yet. I’ll explain below…

Some of you know who Jeff Walker is. Some might not.

Jeff is a marketing guru and creator of the Product Launch Formula. Forbes magazine called him the 400 million dollar man. He has literally transformed the way stuff is sold online. Along the way he’s become one of the top entrepreneurial and marketing trainers in the world.

Jeff recently released his very first traditionally published, physical book:

Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams

It debuted as a #1 New York Times bestseller and has stayed on the list (at the time of this post) for at least a 2nd week (at #2).

There’s been a lot of hoopla around Jeff’s book release with a lot of influencers talking about it… such as Michael Hyatt, Amy Porterfield, Entrepreneur on Fire (John Lee Dumas), etc.

Inevitably when someone with a larger platform, like Jeff, releases a book as a bestseller, there are some followers who say “Yeah, that’s great but I could never release my book as a bestseller like him… I mean he has a huge platform, connections and resources.” Basically, in not so many words, making statements like that is the equivalent to giving up or making excuses for their own success (or lack thereof). Jeff gave a great response to that very remark here (Seriously, go watch it. It’s only 6 minutes but holds a powerful truth).

What Jeff Hasn’t Shared…

There is something though that I don’t think Jeff has shared with people yet about his book making it on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s the little secret of HOW.

Now, let me clarify something first. I don’t work with Jeff nor do I know him personally. I respect him, I follow his advice and I find the knowledge he offers to be quite valuable. Regardless of whether you are launching a product or idea, online or off, Jeff’s insight and principles found in his teachings (and new book) are very applicable and useful.

What I do know is that I have been in the author platform building and book marketing business for over 13 years. I’ve worked with some amazing authors, helped create many powerful brands and have helped launch dozens of bestsellers including books for Jon Gordon, Michael Hyatt, Crystal Paine, Ryan Blair, Allison Pataki and more.

So what I am about to tell you about Jeff’s launch (and, in part, how he made the list) isn’t

My GINORMOUS Book Giveaway

Updated 2/18/12: Thanks to the 1036 people who entered to win! The giveaway is now over.

What do over 130 books from several leading, bestselling authors have in common? Your chance to win copies of them… for FREE.

I’m cleaning off the book shelves and giving away copies of extra books that I have around my office. Over 130 copies to be exact. These are hot titles from several bestselling authors who you have heard of and some high quality writers who you might not know (yet). The list of titles is primarily made up of two categories:

“Faith-Based / Christian Living” = Around 35 Books
Authors such as Max Lucado, Craig Groeschell, Mark Batterson, Tim Keller, and more.

“Business / Professional” = Around 95 Books
Authors such as Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump, Ken Blanchard, Malcom Gladwell, Jon Gordon, Chris Brogan and more. These business / professional books range in topics from business strategy, team building, leadership, social media, etc.

You can view the complete list as a PDF here.

Rather than just donate these extra books to the local library (which is what I normally do), I thought I’d try something different and give you a chance to snag them instead.

So, I’ve created the “GINORMOUS Book Giveaway” online.

Now through the end of the day on Friday, February 17, 2012 you can enter to win via this special form. (Updated 2/18/12: Thanks to the 1036 people who entered to win! The giveaway is now over.) There is no cost and I even cover the shipping for winners but it is limited to residence of the United States (simply because it would cost me too much to ship outside of the USA).

What’s the catch? No catch. For those who don’t know me, I’m in the publishing and book marketing business so I have lots of books. Some are sent to me, others are books I have personally read, etc. From time to time it’s good to purge and share the “book love” with others.

If you’re interested, I just ask you to do three things…

1. Sign Up. Fill out the form here (giveaway is now over) to enter. Make sure you read the instructions on the form itself, at the top of the form.

2. Share This with Others. Don’t be stingy, there are a lot of books to go around. Click the SHARE links below this post. I’ll be monitoring Social Media and those who share will get added weight when it comes down to winners that we pick. : )

3. Go Do Something Nice for Someone Else Today. This has nothing to do with the “GINORMOUS Book Giveaway” but everything to do with being a great human and helping to bring out the best in others. That should be worth it alone. Go and encourage someone else, do something intentionally nice for someone, etc.


5 Resources to Build a Better Blog

Whether you have a blog now or are thinking of starting one, here are links to several resources I’ve found useful in helping to build a better blog. They are proven tips and tricks to help you succeed and to draw in more readers.

1. The Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog
If you are new to blogging, start with @tentblogger‘s Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog. Actually, even if you are a seasoned blogger you need to check out this guide. It’s packed with tons of great insight from, in my opinion, one of the best minds in blogging out there (John Saddington). He’s the guy who leads the team that created Standard Theme and many other cool things.

2. 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic from SEOmoz
Great advice for bloggers who want not just more traffic but better, more targeted traffic.

3. A ‘Secret’ of Growing the Readership of a Blog from ProBlogger
Darren Rowse of Problogger, one of the top sites on the net, shares what he would do to promote his blog if he were starting out all over again.

4. How to Get 6,312 Subscribers to Your Blog in One Day via CopyBlogger
This resource is geared more around launching a blog with a big bang but the tips are useful regardless of where you are in the life cycle of your blog.

5. 20 Must Know Websites For Latest WordPress Hacks, and Tips via SaveDelete
A listing of great sites that offer tips to enhance your WordPress blog even further.

Bonus… beyond the traffic building tips for your blog, nothing matters more than content. You can have all the right tools but if the content or the headlines stink… you won’t get much traction. Here is a post by Michael Hyatt on 4 Strategies for Creating Titles that Jump Off the Page. You should also read this post on How to Write Great Blog Content.

If you have run across any good tips, share them.

Why I’m Excited to be a Part of Seth Godin’s Domino Project Street Team

The world is changing and we have a choice.

We can hold tight to what used to work then but perhaps isn’t working so well now… or we can proactively pursue the future by reinventing, trying something new and stepping out on the leading edge of change.

It’s a risk either way.

One will eventually lead to a demise, even if its slow in its coming…
The other presents the chance of failure but also offers the potential of new rewards.

Change is scary.

We like to walk down the same path that we’re used to walking. It’s familiar and we perceive it as safe. But the path to the future won’t be found on the path of yesterday. The path of the future isn’t paved until someone has the willingness to step out and blaze a trail. At first others might think the trail blazer is crazy (and perhaps he/she is) but if/when that new path creates a better way… everyone else will be quick to follow. And then that brave trail blazer will have paved a new way.

It’s how the future gets created and it happens around us every day. Someone gets tired of the status quo. They’re sick of playing by the old rules and seeing results diminish. They believe there is an alternative so they rise up and start changing the game.

And that’s exactly where Seth Godin comes in. He’s a bestselling author of 12 books, has one of the top ranked blogs in the entire universe, created a number of successful companies, and he’s a nice guy who is blazing a trail.

Seth has recently stepped away from traditional publishing and started something new. It’s called The Domino Project. It represents a fundamental shift in the way books (and digital media based on books) have always been published. You can read more about Seth’s decision to move to this sort of publishing here, here and here.

Since I work with authors and professional speakers, and have done so for almost 10 years, I’m on the forefront of understanding the changes that the publishing industry is facing. I see it from the publishers side and from from the authors. It impacts me and my clients on a daily basis. That’s why I was excited when I heard that I was selected as one of only 60 or so people to be a part of The Domino Project’s Street Team. It’s sort of an elite group of talented individuals who bring together a collective of different skills and abilities that I’m quite honestly looking forward to seeing in action.

Being a part of the team means that I’ll have the ability to interact with a dynamic group of pioneers who aren’t afraid to dream, try something new and learn along the way.

Will it work? I think so. Is it signally the end of traditional publishing? Maybe, maybe not… that depends on how traditional publishers respond to change. Will it challenge the norm and potentially help create new ideas that make things better across the board? Most definitely and that’s what I like to be a part of.

I have no doubt that what I learn will help me to continue to excel in what I do and in how I help my clients succeed.

I’m sure I’ll be posting more about The Domino Project as activity picks up but for now you can read more about it here. Oh, and the first book that is being published through this new model is called Poke the Box (by Seth Godin).

Top Posts for 2010: Top Books for Influencers, 25 Free eBooks for Business and Productivity, Perfection, Hard Work and more.

With today being the last day of the year I thought it would be appropriate to list the Top 10 Posts for 2010 from my blog (based on overall traffic). I hope you’ll find a post that is of interest to you and perhaps something you can use as you kick-start 2011!

Top Books Every Young Influencer / Leader Should Read

25 Free eBooks & Manifestos for Business, Marketing, Blogging, Ideas, Productivity and More.

14 Ways to Expand Your Influence

Stop Waiting for Perfection

Prepare to Win

Why Belief Matters

Hard Work, Silver Bullets and The Path of Least Resistance

The Slingshot Principle: How to Conquer Being Overwhelmed and Too Busy

The Ability to Anticipate: A Secret Weapon for Strategic Thinking and Influence

14 Platform Building Tips for Authors

If you are a blogger, what is one or two of your top posts for all of 2010? Feel free to share a link.

How to Create a Platform: It’s All About the Distribution Channel

Ben Arment wrote a post the other day that inspired this one. As a matter of fact I ripped off his title (and modified it a little) but I only did so because he’s 100% right.

It you want to create a platform, regardless of whether you are an author, professional speaker, widget peddler, or service provider… it’s all about the distribution channel.

You can have the best product or idea in the world but if you can’t get it in front of potential buyers (i.e. generate awareness to an audience) then you might as well pack it up and go home.

Every day there are millions of ideas and new products that launch and die far before they really even have a chance to live. It’s not because they were bad, it’s just because they had poor distribution which led to the inability for enough potential to catch on (think Tipping Point).

What does a Distribution Channel look like?

Well, let’s take an author for example. An author can write a jammin’ book, top notch with excellent content but simply putting words to the page won’t make it sell or create an audience. You must have buyers and ways to connect with them. For the author, this is where the publisher comes in (at least in the traditional model). Publishers have distribution that most authors don’t. They can get books into stores and into the other sales channels usually far easier than an author can on their own.  Access to these stores and other retail outlets provides a scale that many authors can’t create, at least not easily. And… even though we know the traditional model is rapidly changing, for now the example still fits.

Sure, you could self-publish or make a digital ebook but you still need distribution. You might not need a bookstore but you do need a way to get your message in front of the people who can consume it and that’s what distribution is really all about… the vehicle to get the product/idea to as many potential buyers as possible. That’s where a lot of people get confused too. They think simply having a blog and being on Twitter or Facebook is the answer but those are just tools that are a part of the mix, not the end all because guess what… you still need access to an audience.

Oh, and even if you do get access it doesn’t guarantee that you will have success. That’s the trick pony that there is no special formula for. People have to actually want what you have to offer once they see it.

To Rent or Own? That is the question.

There are two ways to access a channel. You can rent someone else’s or create one yourself, one that you own.

Depending on what it is you are trying to sell or share, renting could take on the form of advertising to someone else’s network (think placing ads on Facebook or getting your ___ promoted in the newsletter of another author or maybe a guest blog post on the blog of someone with more traffic than you, etc).

Then there’s the option of owning it. Owning takes more work (and time) because you often need to build it. You can invest and grow and sometimes even “Rent to Own” in strategic ways where you tap the power of someone else’ distribution channel with the purpose of building your own. This happens when you move beyond haphazard promotion onto strategic marketing geared towards long-term results. To own it, you must have a plan.

Owning it is best. It’s harder and takes longer (in the beginning especially) but you have far more control in the end… and one day when what you’ve built is big enough… you won’t really need to rely on the channels of others nearly as much as before (think Seth Godin moving from the traditional publishing model… which BTW works for him but doesn’t mean it will work for you. Seth has spent years building his platfoorm and most authors can’t just pick up and abandon the traditional system or a hybrid thereof just yet until they build channels of their own or at least better understand how to tap some of the alternative channels that are available).

Platform only Exists with Distribution

People talk a lot about “platform” these days, especially the “author platform,” but really platform is just a way to elevate your voice, a way to be seen (or heard) and rise above the crowd. There are many tools to build one. The problem is that it’s a big crowd with a lot of others fighting for a platform too. It can get noisy and the stage changes daily so you must be smart and proactive if you want your voice to get heard.