This is WHY I’ve taken so long to write my book. This is also the process gurus use to PROVE their books before they’re written…
A book will either make or break you. Write a good one…
WRITING A BOOK IS EASY
Writing a book isn’t that hard, but writing a good book… now that’s a different matter.
If I was desperate to get a book out there I could literally just Vox something, have it transcribed, put it in a Word doc, print it, bind it, bam, done.
However, as Ryan Holiday says in his book, Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts:
In the way that a good wine must be aged, or that we let meat marinate for hours in spices and sauce, an idea must be given space to develop. Rushing into things eliminates that space.
If you ask, “Why do you take so long to write a book, Stephen? Why does Russell take so long? The answer is that we want them to be amazing. That’s the only reason.
So when somebody says, “Hey, I wrote my book in like a week,” I get nervous. I can’t help thinking, “Errrm, is it any good? Have you tested your content? Have you tested your materials?” That’s freaky. I would never do that – it scares the crap out of me.
A book will either make or break you. I don’t want to write something that’s average. I wanna write a book that’s incredible. I plan on writing a groundbreaking book.
The process of writing the book is not hard. It’s the process of coming up with the content that’s challenging.
MY WRITING PROCESS
The best books are out there have been heavily researched.
A few weeks ago, I talked about how I rely on the science of marketing rather than the art. About how formulas are what’ll save you from making endless cash hemorrhaging mistakes, well it’s the same with writing a book…
If you want a gourmet read instead of a drive-through burger, then there are certain ingredients and ways of preparing that need to be put into place. I’m slow cooking my book to release all those flavors…
I am not writing a book for the sake of writing a book. It’s not about speed for me. Books are very final.
I can go in and just switch out the URL in a members area, but a book is there – printed and shipped. It’s more permanent.
So I’ve been working hard at writing my book. This is my contribution to the marketing world. This is not an easy thing to go through.
WRITE BOOKS SLOWLY
Shortly after I started at ClickFunnels, Russell began to draft Expert Secrets…
(If you haven’t had a chance to read that book, go to expertsecrets.com, pay for the shipping, and just get the book. That book changed my life.)
I was sat three feet away building funnels and thinking, “Holy crap, history is being made right next to me.” As time went on, we started going back and forth on different concepts.
I had a lot of fun being involved in the creation of some of the ideas. Russell would come up with some concepts, then be like, “Is that cool?” – then we’d go back and forth over the different concepts.
It was an amazing opportunity to see the process that Russell went through to make sure that what he was writing was prolific and incredible. It was cool to watch how a genius writes a book.
The more I’ve looked at other gurus who’ve written fantastic books, the more I’ve noticed that they PROVE their content in a similar way.
AVOID THE NERD ZONE!
One of my favorite quotes is:
The purposeful destruction of information is the essence of intelligent work – Ray Kurzweil
For the last eight months or nine months, I’ve been teaching specific content with the intent to figure out if it’s good material for my book. I’ve been testing and seeing how people react, all the time, adjusting based on feedback.
I teach a little bit of this in one episode and a bit of something else in another. All the time I’m spot checking and trying to see if the content’s sexy enough? Does it attract enough? Does it create a reaction?
If I look at my podcast stats, I can see which episodes got the best reactions
For my recent episodes: Branding Comes Second, Five Phases of a Funnel, My Latest Free Lead Source, after a month or six weeks, I will check out the stats and work out, “What was the story I told there? Hmm, I wonder if I should use that over there?” I’m letting the market vote.
I’m not asking the audience to vote on the core concepts, (it’s my job to come up with these), but I am letting them vote on stories I use to convey those concepts.
I have four or five legal pads worth of paper full of ideas and notes. My aim is to find the best way to teach the core concepts.
Understanding a subject and being able to teach it are two entirely different things.
I’m trying to simplify and avoid complexity. Complexity to make you sound smart does nothing for the person hearing the content.
Most experts overcomplicate their content way past the point that the audience needs. They go into the Nerd Zone… You don’t need to go there!
As the guru, there’s a tendency to deep dive and go way past the level people want… and that stresses the crap out of your audience.
MY FOUR STEP SYSTEM
- Start with the framework that represents every single thing that’s going to be in the book.
- Break up the main topics – things that you could riff on for three or four hours.
- Add the macro concepts in descending order of the concepts you need to pull off whatever the book is about.
- Explain each stage and concept in a doodle.
If I can explain each concept in a doodle, then it’s simple enough to be re-teachable. It needs to be able to be transferable.
The purpose is not for me to appear smart, the purpose is for me to be able to teach each concept clearly.
Now, I have one major framework and all the major sessions that I’ll be teaching at OfferMind.
OFFERMIND – MY SECRET PURPOSE
OfferMind was the perfect opportunity for me to teach the concepts I’ve been creating in front of a live audience.
Once I’m on stage, I brain dump for each doodle and watch for reactions.
If I can teach and then collect all the questions people ask – that’s a huge deal. Now I know my book will be amazing.
We film the whole event – because here’s what happens:
- The recording and the doodles get sent off to a ghostwriter.
- The ghostwriter takes the first pass at organizing the content into written chapter form with the images driving the content.
- Suddenly we have a sweet chapter, then another.
- I rewrite the entire thing personally.
- The recordings of the event will be an upsell in the book funnel that sells the book, along with audiobook and all that stuff. That’s how this stuff works.
Having somebody go through and write the first initial draft, is the best way to get the brain dump everything out of my head.
TESTING YOUR MATERIAL
I think it’s Dean Graziosi who teaches a cool concept…
He talks about stage comedians who have a cool show – you know, the one who get all the laughs. We tend to think that these comedians are just naturally funny people…
However, the truth is, the planning started a year before they hit the big stage.
They write ten jokes, and they go out to a small club to test those jokes. Two jokes may get a laugh, while the other eight suck.
The next night they keep the two jokes that got a reaction and test eight new ones. Each night the audience votes on whether or not the joke is funny – so when they finally get to Jimmy Kimmel they’re hitting hard.
Fantastic lesson right there… and it’s the same process that I use to write books.
There’s not an aggressive timeline for me on this. Perfection and obsession are my goals – which is why it’s taken me a while, and I’m cool with that.
Yet far too many people set out to produce something that, if they were really honest with themselves, is only marginally better or different from what already exists. Instead of being bold, brash, or brave, they are derivative, complementary, imitative, banal, or trivial. The problem with this is not only that it’s boring, but that it subjects them to endless amounts of competition. – Ryan Holiday
I’m tired of seeing people write books in three weeks and then complain, “I’ve only had this many purchases,” or “No one’s talking about my book.”
*Cough* “Did you test any of the content? Did you teach your material in front of a crapload of people to see what worked?” Ermm, probably not!
THE FASTEST DOESN’T ALWAYS WIN
Some people have reached out to me saying, ” Hey, Steve, I’ll ghostwrite your book in three days.” I don’t want that. That scares the crap out of me. Instead, I’ve taken eight months to go through and deep dive on all the tiny little pieces.
If you teach material in a book for the first time, I’m scared for you… because it’s hard to unpublish a book.
It’s easy to unpublish an episode. It’s easy to unpublish a blog. Those are the low-impact places to publish and test your material. Books are permanent. Please write books slowly.
You need to test your Core Offer material; I have case studies, testimonials, personal clients, success stories. It’s not something that just popped out of my head. It is something that I have been working on slowly, for months.
I believe in so what’s? “Okay, I’m doing this sweet thing.” So what? Who cares? Check out my whiteboard:
- Blue – those are the ‘so what’s?’- You should be able to create results based on everything in that column.
- Green – that’s a story.
- Red – that’s a principle.
- Blue line – an image or doodle that’s been created just for that concept.
The process is a massive brain jog, but it’s amazing how many epiphanies you have just organizing the material.
HOW GURUS WRITE BOOKS
If you watch Russell or Dean Graziosi, you’ll notice that a lot of big gurus use their content platforms to test material for future programs – and that’s what I’ve been doing.
That’s how I write and create stuff that’s awesome… I publish and test.
This is my move to becoming a Category King in Offer Creation.
Right now, I have three books in the hopper:
- One of them is nearly done – it’s gonna be called Your Core Offer.
- Another is about all the lessons I learned while sitting next to Russell.
- One is going to be pretty disruptive in MLM space – because I have a backend business there.
I’m so psyched about it all.
There’s gonna be a way for you to watch me build the funnel that’s gonna sell the book. You can join the waiting list at yourcoreoffer.com.
You’ll see me think through all the upsells, craft and create the offer, the headlines, and the sales message I’m gonna use to sell the book. It’s a big process, especially for book funnels.
There’s a lot of moving pieces. I don’t want to rush for the sake of a timeline. This is a big move. Tremendous credibility comes when you publish a fantastic book – I don’t want to jack it up just because I want to get it out tomorrow. You know what I mean?
Russell taught me that a book is something that you earn the right to write. It’s a stamp that lives for a long time, so if it’s not prolific… if it’s not blue ocean…
Then that’s some scary crap!
Until Next Time – Write Books Slowly!
The biggest question I struggled with for years, and easily the biggest question I’m asked, by the thousands of people I’ve coached in this process is, “Stephen, what should I sell?”
And if you’ve been listening to my podcast, you’d have probably had that question, right?
After thousands of coaching students and sheer obsession in the game, I started noticing that there was a strong but untaught pattern of how I was selling successfully, and over and over again.
It honestly took me about 17 business tries, or failures honestly, to figure this out – to get one right. Since then, though, they’ve pretty much all been winners. So what changed?
What changed? I learned the pattern, I learned the framework.
Secretly, for the last nine months, I’ve been working to document my process and refine it even further, and it’s worked, very well.
My book will teach you how to design the core offer of your business, and a winning sales message that sells it.
Did you hear what I just said? That’s a huge claim, and I totally get it, but this will help you actually figure out what you sell and how to sell it. It’s a process I’ve been using now for about three years for myself and my students.