How to Become an Author with Chandler Bolt

George Grombacher August 5, 2022

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How to Become an Author with Chander Bolt

LifeBlood: We talked about how to become an author, how book publishing has changed, why you should consider writing a book, realistic expectations for book sales, and how to get started, with Chandler Bolt, CEO of Self Publishing School and author. 

Listen to learn how to get your book idea moving and completed!

You can learn more about Chandler at, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Click HERE for a free copy of his newest book!

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Chandler Bolt

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on well Blippo This is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong, a powerful Chandler bolt. Chandler. Are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:18
Let’s do it. George, great to be here. Thanks for having me.

george grombacher 0:20
I’m excited to have you on let’s go. Chandler is the CEO of self publishing school. He’s a member of Forbes 30, under 30. He’s a sixth time author and investor and advisor is the author of his newest book published from a blank page to 10,000 copies sold gently tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:41
Yeah, so I’m a sea level English student and a college dropout with ADHD. So kind of the last person that you would ever think would write books, but I went from someone who hated reading and hated writing, to someone who kind of really fell in love with books, and I believe that books changed lives. That’s why we do what we do at self And, and self publishing school. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s why we do what we do so and we’re in the I think we’re in the, we’re in the business of changing lives. Through books, we’ve published about 6000 books over the last seven years. So a lot of books published, a lot of books to go, our mission is 100,000 books by 2035. So we’ve we’ve made a lot of progress, we got a long way to go. But that’s a little bit about me in in big picture on the business moorhen. That sort of thing.

george grombacher 1:29
I love it. So from C student to 6000 books in seven years. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 1:35
For the interview.

george grombacher 1:40
Making my job easy. So what what, what did you like, hit your head on something? And you’re like, oh, my gosh, was it an epiphany? How did this switch happen?

Unknown Speaker 1:50
Yeah, you know, I have hit my head a few times in my life. But that wasn’t it. It was it was kind of, you know, I wrote and published a couple of books, they did decently well, I did it as kind of a fun side project as I was dropping out of school. And then people said, Hey, how are you doing this? And it’s one of those things where, you know, I just get on the phone with people for an hour for free just to be a nice person and say, Hey, you’re launching a book, do this, this, this and this. And then finally, that happens so often that I just kind of said, hey, you know, you can only get smacked in the face so many times where you turn and look, and he turned around looking, there’s this whole line of people that want help with that thing. So that ultimately led me to create what, what became self publishing school. And we started helping other people publish their books. And then that was when I realized, oh, wow, this is really powerful, like kind of what we’ve discovered here, and then just started doubling down. And it’s just been, you know, a lot of growth since then.

george grombacher 2:46
Yeah, yeah. I think it’s super exciting. And so the growth of the self publishing industry, I don’t know how far back that goes. Feels like it hasn’t been long been around for that long. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Unknown Speaker 2:59
Yeah, I’d say it’s been around for maybe a couple of decades, really more than that, but then it was just so hard and so difficult that no one did it. And you know, it was kind of the backup plan. It was like, Oh, if you didn’t meet your self publish, you couldn’t get a publishing deal. It was the thing that you did, if you couldn’t get a publishing deal, right. And so now we it really has become the preferred option for a lot of authors. And that’s, you know, with the rise of Amazon, we feel like we’ve been on kind of the cutting edge of that, as well as just making self publishing more mainstream, putting the power back in the hands of authors, so that they can keep their royalties, they can keep their IP, they can publish faster, they can publish better books. And, you know, it used to be that you had to publish, to sell books, you had to be in bookstores, right? To be in bookstores, you had to have a publisher to have to have published, you have to have an agent. So it’s kind of like all these gatekeepers that are deciding what gets published. And then with the rise of Amazon, you know, over 70% of all books are sold on Amazon and other online book retailers. And you don’t need a publisher to sell or distribute there. Right. So that’s really kind of democratized the publishing industry, and made opportunities for people like me, who want to publish and who have something valuable to say. And so that’s really been the driving force behind our mission and what we’re doing and so we’re just trying to enable that for more people, so that they can choose the alternate path, kind of like Uber to the taxi industry, if you will.

george grombacher 4:30
Yeah, I think it’s a super powerful thing. I’m, I’m a lover of books and consuming books. I don’t know that I love reading. I love listening to books, but I guess I like reading anyway. What support I haven’t read? Yeah. So it’s, it strikes me of those books that are that are self published on Amazon. I feel like you got a lot of people that are doing it, just because they want to say they have a book published. So when I read the title of your book, 10,000 copies sold that’s strikes me as maybe that’s sort of the sweet spot in between just self publishing for the sake of doing it, having a literary agent and all the gatekeepers, and then self publishing schools in the middle, or somewhere,

Unknown Speaker 5:12
I like to think so I mean, I think it’s, you know, I always say your self published book shouldn’t look self published. So don’t just put out a crappy book and slap it together and put it on Amazon, just because you want to have a book, I think the world doesn’t need more of that. But if you’re intentional about it, it can be one of the best things you do to grow your business. And, and you know, a lot of people say a book is a new business card, I think it’s better than a business card. Because if you give someone a business card, let’s be honest, they’re probably gonna throw it away within 24 hours. If you give them a book, though, they keep that book, they just might read that book. And every time they see that book, they think of you your business, and how you can help them. And so I look at how do you use the book to get more leads sales and referrals for your business? Kind of specifically, those three buckets? And then how do you publish a quality book that will sell more copies sell 10,000 copies? And and that’s this genuinely adding value, and solving a problem for your target audience?

george grombacher 6:12
Love it. And I think that that’s a good idea that the book is the new business card, I think is a clever idea. But what you just talked about, I think, is 100% true that it’s 100% gonna stick with them. And they might actually read it and it’s nothing but a positive thing. What is, do you have a sense of, like, it strikes me that 10,000 copies sold, that’s, that’s a successful book.

Unknown Speaker 6:37
Yeah, it’s very successful. But I mean, the average self published book sells, I want to say it’s 100 or less copies, I believe that it’s just I mean, that’s great. And, and now granted that, you know, traditionally published books, a lot of them don’t sell well, either, you’ve got kind of very similar to the venture capital investing, where you’ve got kind of your big bucket, eight out of 10 are gonna lose, and not not earn back their advance even, then you’ve got one or two, you know, maybe one or two, which will be, you know, base hits, singles and doubles. And then you’ve got maybe one out of 10, as unicorns and not always even even that much, and that’s the model right is so investor as, as publishers, they’re placing bets. And then if your book doesn’t do well, or if you don’t have a massive audience, they’re not either not going to accept you, they’re not going to give you an advance. And so there’s this weird thing where eight out of 10 are like, man, that sucks, and no publisher doesn’t care about me or my book, and the books not selling well. And then there’s that one out in the unicorn, which is like, man, that’s suck, I probably shouldn’t do that much work. It’s selling like crazy, and they’re making all the money. So it’s kind of a, I feel like it doesn’t really create happy customers. It’s this thing that people know has been broken for a long time, again, similar to the taxi industry, when when Uber came along, or Lyft came along. And, and so it’s, our goal is to help people you know, and so 10,000 is an aspirational goal for a lot of people. And in maybe you’ll get there over two, three years, or maybe you’ll hit it within the first few months, first couple of weeks, if you’ve got a real big audience and that sort of thing. And you can get behind it and have a strategic marketing plan to sell more books.

george grombacher 8:19
A lot. Love it. So what, what should I expect? Or who should come talk to you at self publishing school? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 8:29
So I’d say we typically help people in one of three buckets. Bucket one is someone who’s dreamed about writing a book for a long time, it’s part of their legacy. And they’re like, I’ve got to do it. Bucket two, is someone who wants to make an impact with their book. And so someone who they feel like, Hey, this is part of this is part of my legacy. And I just want to write this book, and maybe it leads to something, maybe it doesn’t. And then bucket number three, we should I think this is probably a lot of people listening here is people who want to strategically use a book to grow their business. And that’s, that’s where I think it’s one of the most powerful things that you can do and think we’re the best in the world that figuring out how to write a great book that gets more leads sales and referrals for your business. And so those are the people that that where it makes sense to contact us or read my new book or that sort of thing. And then we can see how we can help. So

george grombacher 9:25
how are you better better than others? How are you the best in the world?

Unknown Speaker 9:28
Yeah, I think there’s a few different ways. So I mean, first and foremost, we help people get books done. So we save people hundreds of hours in the process, we save them 1000s of dollars in the process, and we help them publish a better book that sells more copies. And it’s the really the part of publishing that no one wants to touch which is getting your manuscript finished. Everyone else says hey, like come to me when you when you’ve got it done. And we’ll publish it or will it come to me when you’ve got it done? Or you got a massive audience and we can you can sign up contracts. There. You have to get it down. And so we help people like we hold them accountable. We have coaches that work with them one on one throughout the process that’s very rare. They’re all best selling authors. We have curriculum, we have templates, we have tools, everything that’s just built to save people time to save people money and to help people write a better book. And so we’re really good at that piece. And then secondly, I think we’re just great at marketing. That’s, that’s the, you know, we’ve got a a proven process that helps people sell more books. Now, it’s not a silver bullet, or, you know, get rich quick or any of that stuff. But it helps increase people’s odds of being successful, and it helps them sell more books. And so that’s the piece we’re really good at. And then I guess maybe thirdly, it’s, I practice what I preach, and we practice what we preach. So if you want to use a book to grow your business like that, specifically, and getting really tactical, and this is exactly how you do it. I mean, I talk about this in my new book, and there’s a whole chapter on this is the how to use the book to your book to get more leads sales and referrals. And so that’s where I think we helped people strategically position that in a way that can lead to 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of dollars a year in revenue. For me, it’s millions of dollars a year in revenue from people who find my book, read my book and end up doing business with self publishing school. Nice.

george grombacher 11:25
So what kind of an investment are we talking about? From from a time perspective? Does it depend? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 11:32
it depends to what is the least favorite answer, it depends. But it’s, you know, I typically say if you can give it a half an hour to an hour a day, you can get a draft done in 90 days to six months. Now, that’s every day. And suddenly, you know, that’s no small time commitment. But it’s a short term investment for a long term asset that you will literally have for the rest of your life and, and after your office or so that’s how I look at it. And I did this last year to prove that it can be done at the highest level. With my newest book, I went from picking up the pen to launching in 105 days. And that was now I spent a lot more time than a half hour a day. But that was, you know, running a company with 30 for 40 employees, having a bunch of live stuff going on company stuff going on and still did it just because I wanted to prove that, hey, this can be done. Because that’s everyone’s biggest excuse, right? It’s either I don’t have time or the timing isn’t right. And so I wanted to show Hey, this, this is possible. And it’s not a crappy book. It’s I think it’s a really great book, and quality content. But it was a short, it was definitely a short term sacrifice. That was a tough 105 days. But it’s, I think it’s worth it.

george grombacher 12:48
Yeah, like that. That’s great. And that’s really makes sense. Do you have a target length for books? Is there a sweet spot?

Unknown Speaker 12:56
Yeah, so there’s kind of it depends on the type of book. And so you know, there’s kind of if you’re nonfiction, you’re going to be somewhere between 30 to 60,000. Words, if you’re doing kind of like a lead magnet type book that might even be as low as 15 to 30,000 words. But that’s the typical kind of target length that I recommend. I was trying to flip through pages, there’s a look a little fancy graphic, oh, there, nobody will be able to see this, I guess, since this is audio. But it’s page 57. In the new book, there’s kind of like this little graphic thing that says all that, you know, children’s books are shorter. novellas are fiction books are longer, obviously. So that’s kind of the target range.

george grombacher 13:40
Got it. That makes sense. 30 to 60,000 words, or just 15 to 30,000. If it’s some kind of a lead magnet. Yeah, I can see where you could definitely get that done in, I think, 90 days, no problem. So long as you do commit to that 30 to 60 minutes a day. And once you get in the rhythm, I mean, I bet I bet fewer words get written over the past or the first three months and the most of it probably even if you’re doing an hour a day towards the end. You really it really kind of in the flow that? Yeah, no doubt. Nice. All right. And so you’ve got the templates and coaches. And do I have to have an idea? Or is that something that you coach me through?

Unknown Speaker 14:23
Yeah, we count people through that. So you know, some people come to us with no ideas. Some people come to us with very specific ideas. Some people come to us for like five ideas. And we’ve got to wrangle their focus on one because we only have two rules we’re working on people. Rule number one is you can’t edit While You Write. We all know someone who has five perfectly written chapters in their unfinished book, right? And so you can’t edit while you write. And then Rule number two is you can’t write more than one book at a time. And so our goal is to help people focus on one idea. Now whether they have that when they come with us or not, or come to us or not. Our goal is to help them focus on that one idea and then Write that one idea and get that draft done.

george grombacher 15:05
For those people who are listening, stop trying to write two or three or four bucks the same time

Unknown Speaker 15:12
as everybody thinks they’re the exception to that rule. But spoiler alert, you’re not. You got to focus on one book and write that book first. And then you know, that’s the cool thing about learning how to write a book is like, it’s kind of like learning how to ride a bike. Once you do it, you can keep doing it over and over and over again. But you won’t know the process if you don’t fully do it once.

george grombacher 15:33
Yeah. All right. And so I get it done. And then y’all help me from then I don’t want from soup obviously, from from idea iterations, I actually write the thing, you’re going to then package it up, and you’re going to work with me on my strategy for actually distributing the thing.

Unknown Speaker 15:52
Yeah, so our goal is that we walk people through, and we break it down in eight milestones. But the final few are the production piece. And we actually do a lot of that for people. So we’ll format their book, we’ll create a best selling book cover, we’ll upload it to Amazon, we’ll buy an ISBN like all the kind of like that final mile of the publishing journey, that’s a big pain, and just all these logistics, we do all that for people. So they can focus their time on writing a better book, and then marketing and launching that book. And so we walk people through that process as well and help them teach them to market and sell more copies of the book, use it to grow the business, all

george grombacher 16:31
that good stuff. Nice. Love it. Beautiful. What have I forgotten to ask here, what is what is another maybe a key or two that that people overlook or don’t don’t think enough about?

Unknown Speaker 16:45
I mean, I think the biggest, the hardest part is getting your rough draft. And most people are either they don’t start or they stall out before getting their rough draft done. So so many people listening, they’re probably in that bucket, they’re not sure whether or not they should get started. Or maybe they’ve started a book a few times and just weren’t able to get it finished. And so really, that’s that’s where we focus a lot of our energy with people, because we know if we can just get them past that rough draft finish line, you start to see the light in the tunnel, you start to believe this is possible. It’s a lot, it’s a lot downhill from there. And so that would be my maybe, you know, additional advice for people or maybe even parting piece of advice would be you know, is, there’s never a perfect time to start writing your book, you’re gonna have to get started before you’re ready, what I would encourage you to do is as soon as you finish listening this podcast, grab a blank sheet of paper, draw a circle in the middle of the page, and write your book idea. And that in this middle of that circle, set a timer for 15 minutes and write out everything that you can think of on that topic. So what are the life lessons that you’ve learned? What are their ideas you have? What are stories that you have, again, everything that you can think of around that topic, and you’re going to be on your way to writing your book. And so and so that’s where you know that that’s milestone one. And eight milestones. I call this the more writing method, more is an acronym. It’s mind map, outline, rough draft editing. And so that mind map that’s the first step. That’s where I recommend that people get started and you’ll realize you got a whole lot more that you can say in this book, than you probably think.

george grombacher 18:26
Well, I think that is great stuff that definitely gets Come on. It’s gonna ask you for another difference making tip Chandler but I realized that that was really the one right there. So watch out. John, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with self publishing school? Where can they get a copy of published? Yeah, so

Unknown Speaker 18:46
two to probably two best paths forward. Number one is if you’d like to check out my new book, it’s called published the proven path from blank page to 10,000 copies sold. Um, you can find this on Amazon, you’re listening this podcast, you’re probably an audiobook person or audio content consumer, I read the audiobook, you can find it on Audible. It’s kind of a fun conversation. But if you’d like to get a free physical copy of the book, for the first 50 listeners of this podcast that go to this link, I created a link specifically for you. So it’s, it’s published, forward slash George. So published book, like I published the, forward slash George, go there, no strings attached. Just tell me where to send it. You don’t have to pay for anything. I’m covering all the costs. So I’ll print it, pack it, ship it, that’s where you can get a copy of the book. And then if you’re interested in working with us at self publishing school, you can book a call with my team at self dash publishing forward slash apply, go to that page and book a call with the team. We’d be happy to chat with you about your book, your goals, your next steps, and how we might be able to help

george grombacher 19:57
love it. If you enjoyed this video They did. So tell me your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas get a free copy of Chandler’s book published at published And he will print it and ship it, send it to you. I’ll put that in the notes of the show. And if you are one of those many people out there with that book idea, trying to get out of you, but it just can’t go to self dash publishing and have a conversation and see if it’s a good fit for you. Thanks. Good Jana. Thanks, George. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by

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