#85: Book Publishing Guide for Entrepreneurs with Morgan Gist MacDonald

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

In today's episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Morgan Gist MacDonald, the founder of Paper Raven Books.

Morgan is an experienced publishing expert who helps authors navigate the writing and publishing process, and build a loyal readership.

Today, we'll be diving deep into the world of book publishing as we discuss whether authors should go the traditional route, self-publish, or opt for a hybrid approach.

We'll also explore how authors can ensure that their books provide value for their business.

Morgan believes that even an unknown debut author with no connections, platform, or following truly can sell tens of thousands of copies of a book, gather thousands of reviews, and attract fans of their work that will come back for more, year over year.

Learn more about Morgan: https://paperravenbooks.com/


Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:00:00]:

So you can put a freebie, a lead magnet, the same type of lead magnet that we would use on any other traffic platform. You can use for Amazon as well. Have a dedicated page right at the front of that book.

Bryan McAnulty [00:00:13]:

Welcome to the creator's adventure where we interview Creators from around the world hearing their stories about growing a business. If you've decided to publish a book and you're wondering should you go the traditional route, Self publish or maybe have some kind of hybrid publisher, today's guest has the answer for you. As well as when you're writing that book, How can you ensure that it's going to provide value for your business? Hey, everyone. I'm Brian McAnulty, the founder of Heights Platform. Let's get into it. Hey, everyone. We're here today with Morgan Gist McDonald. She is an author, speaker, and the founder of Paper Raven Books, an innovative publishing company designed to help 1st time and experienced authors alike through the writing, publishing, and marketing process so they can get their books published and build a loyal readership And long term career as an author.

Bryan McAnulty [00:01:11]:

Morgan believes that even an unknown debut author with no connections, platform, or following Can truly sell tens of thousands of copies of a book, gather thousands of reviews, and attract fans of their work that will come back for more year over year. Morgan, welcome to the

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:01:27]:

show. Thanks, Brian. Super excited to be here.

Bryan McAnulty [00:01:30]:

Yeah. Glad to have you. So my first question is, What would you say is the biggest thing either that you did or you are doing that has helped you to achieve the freedom to do what you enjoy?

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:01:42]:

Well, this is gonna come as no shocker, but I do think that me writing my own book was a huge turning point in my own journey. Because prior to that, I was a freelancer, you know, solopreneur. I was editing books and coaching writers. And we had little kids at the time too, so it was very side hustle. You know? And I I I'm sure many of us, you know, would would, empathize with the situation of kind of feast or famine. I'll take whatever I can get. You know? You want me to Edit your blog post? Sure. You want me to edit your email? Sure.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:02:19]:

You want me to do some random, you know, ghostwriting, whatever. You know, I basically said yes to all of it, which really diluted not only my sort of quote unquote brand, although as a solo freelancer, it's really tricky to to build your own brand. But it it also diluted what I felt like I could charge per hour or for a project because I knew I was willing to do all these grab bag sort of projects. And, when I decided to write the book, which is straightforwardly called start writing your book today. It was really me drawing a line in the sand and saying, you know what? I prefer books, editing books, helping people write books. Books are more valuable in the mind of my client. They're willing to pay more for book editing than, say, blog post editing. And then thirdly, it fills up my time in a much more efficient way.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:03:18]:

Because if I can get 1 book client, that's much better than trying to get, you know, 20 blog posts to edit or something like that. And so when I published that book, not only was it, you know, an a new source of income and revenue for me in the business, but it was also my way of really saying, and now this is the work that I do. I edit books. It's high value. I only need a few high paying clients, and that's the business model that I'm gonna go after. And that made a huge difference in kind of those early years of my career.

Bryan McAnulty [00:03:52]:

Yeah. Yeah. That's an excellent point. I think one of the things that is really cool about creating online courses is that You may have this specific thing that you enjoy. Like, maybe you enjoy coaching more than, like, online courses, and you wanna work with somebody 1 on 1 and, Like, provide that that full capacity of value of what you can do. But what's cool about, like, creating a course or even a book in this case is that It's helping to guide everybody to, like, that first certain point. So you don't have to do that yourself, and you can do that at a greater scale. And then when they say, like, okay.

Bryan McAnulty [00:04:27]:

Well, now I I want you to help me all the way and, like, in your case, like, writing a book, publishing a book, all of that, like, now You can do that and focus on the point that you enjoy the

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:04:39]:

most. Yeah. And, honestly, that's why I was so glad to come speak to your community, Brian, because Books and courses go so hand in hand, and you're exactly right. The the mentality is even similar. Why you would write a book and why you would create a course. It's like, Well, I am positioning myself as an expert or a guide in this niche, you know, in this in this segment of the market. I'm creating, you know, a title and a scope of what you're gonna learn with me in the course or in the book. They're kinda the same.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:05:10]:

And then if you wanna go further with me, if you want to work with me 1 on 1 or come to a live event or something like that, Segwaying people from a book or a course into the higher paid work is a natural progression. It's a natural from our journey. So, yeah, books and courses, we speak the same language.

Bryan McAnulty [00:05:33]:

Yeah. Definitely. So I think it's really interesting now that, like, You're you're helping people, in, like, creating this this publishing company. And, Like, we've talked on here before a little bit of, like, the process of actually, like, writing a book, like, what that would look like, how you can get it done. But, like, publishing it and then, like, choosing the self publish or work with a publishing company, like, that's one thing. But then, like, what actually goes into everything and what you have To prepare, I think there's a lot of, like, a lot that's hidden about that that the creators and entrepreneurs would wanna know about. And I've gotten to see, like, some of the behind the scenes. My wife has a book that was published, so I got to see from that.

Bryan McAnulty [00:06:16]:

She worked with a publisher, smaller publisher, but, like, I got to understand a little bit of how it works from that. And also seeing, like, other entrepreneurs, like, preparing these big book launches and, like, realizing that, like, When they wanna get on the best seller list, like, they're figuring out, like, well, who can I sell, like, all these copies to my books to in, like, bulk and, like, The months going into planning, like, before the book actually launches where all of that is happening? And so there there's so many things that happen, And it's not like, oh, I'm finished the book. Now I hit send and it's done. Like, there's a lot that goes into all that. So I would definitely like to kinda, like, demystify some of that With you here today. So with that said, I guess, like, what are some of the main challenges that you see authors facing When they wanna publish their book, and, like, either self publishing or with, traditional or hybrid publishers. And how does your company, Paper Raven Books, address these

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:07:11]:

challenges? Yeah. Well, the I mean, you already sort of alluded to it, Brian. It's like our 1st major decision is, how am I even going to get this book published? You know? And that that is a decision that I recommend that we approach with some intentionality because who we publish with will dictate, or at least very much influence the type of book launch that we start to put together. So when you're working with a traditional publisher, you will often, That's really the only way that you have access to even get on a best sellers list in a lot of ways like the New York Times, especially people always ask about the New York Times. And, traditional publishers have access to distribution and, mainstream bookstores, and there's an agreement between all of these establishments that they will take preorders of the book 6 months in advance, but they won't truly run the order on that day. They will actually hold the preorders until launch day. That's the secret behind getting on, for instance, the New York Times bestseller list is you're working with a traditional publisher. You have sort of this built in way of getting preorders.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:08:25]:

So every month for 6 months, you can sell a 1000 books, 2,000 books, you wanna get something like 6 to 15,000 books sort of sold in a preorder, time frame because all of those stack up and then that order is released on launch day. So 6 months of work all comes to fruition on one day. That's your launch day. And if you get enough books sold, you know, then you get to hit a list. There's a couple other, you know, gotchas with a list. New York Times requires an editor an editor to, to sort of sign off and and vouch for your book. And it has to be across sort of, all, Culturally relevant points of the US has to be West Coast and East Coast, North and South. Right? So there's some different, little bits and pieces there.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:09:17]:

Paperback versus hard Back is important, things like that. But the the main strategy is still the same for many traditionally published books. Let's set that preorder campaign. Let's Stack up a bunch of bonuses and let's go out there and get 1,000, if not more than 10,000 people to preorder the book. When you see I mean, who knows? Yeah. The the Richard Branson's and the Marie Forleo's and all those folks, that's the strategy that they're doing. When we start talking about self publishing or even a lot of the hybrid publishers, that strategy doesn't work the same way because many of us will be selling our books through Amazon. Amazon does not play the preorder game.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:09:57]:

Amazon's like, it sold on the day it sold. Someone put in a credit card, that's the day it's sold. So instead of being able to stack up 6 months worth of preorders to release on one day, what you accidentally end up doing is have 6 months of preorders that are, like, diluting your entire launch. So it's like, Oh, I got a couple 100 here and a few 100 there and a few 100 there. And then launch day came and I sold a few 100 more, but, like, Not enough to, like, move the needle in the same way. So when we start talking about, what to do prelaunch For our authors, what we love to recommend is to build your book launch team. And for you guys who have courses and communities, this is golden for you because you've got fans built in. So we love to take people to a landing page.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:10:44]:

You get an Exclusive preview of the book, maybe stack some cool bonuses on it and say, be a part of my book launch team. Get Hundreds I mean, heck, however many you want. Thousands of people on a book launch team, get them to download your ebook or buy your book on a launch day, leave a review, and now we're really climbing the Amazon charts. And so it's really it it boils down to, am I gonna use bookstores like your brick and mortar bookstores, or am I gonna use Amazon? On because they are 2 pretty different strategies. Does this does this pop up any questions or thoughts for you, Brian?

Bryan McAnulty [00:11:26]:

Yeah. I mean well, I think it's it's kind of like, as you were saying, you have to decide, like, what is your goal with the book, almost before you you choose how you wanna publish it. Like, are you do you have to be, like, a New York Times bestseller? Like, is that the only purpose of why you're doing this? Or, like, is it another reason? And, like, do you wanna sell on Amazon? Like, is that your goal? So, well, what if somebody's struggling with that, what's a reason that they would, like, choose? Like, why would I wanna be on the New York Times bestseller list versus Selling on

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:12:01]:

Amazon. New York Times is helpful for, for positioning and for, like big media. So if you want to, you know, get interviewed on Good Morning America and, you know, the Today Show and those sorts of like, you really want to make a much bigger brand play, and, like, get that big media exposure, you're gonna have a lot better Chance if you have the New York Times kind of seal of approval behind you. For many of us, though, I would suggest if we just want more customers or more clients, there are some major advantages to self publishing that people are starting to talk about more than they ever have before. I mean, one of the advantages to self publishing is you just get to keep a higher percentage of the royalties. You know, on an ebook, on Amazon, you keep 70% of that retail price, if it's priced between 2.99 and 9.99. So we can get into details if you want, but, you know, you get to keep 70% of that retail price. With With a traditionally published book, you typically are keeping something like 10% of the retail price.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:13:10]:

And so, you know, that's just an easy one. But also when we self publish, we get to have the files. So if we wanted to, let's say, include a copy of the book with a course purchase, we could print the book at cost, which might be like $3. If you go with a traditional publisher, you have to buy it from them, and it might be 50% of retail might might be $10 per book. If you're gonna run a book funnel and you're gonna, you know, send the book directly to people. Like, take them to a checkout page, they pay you for the book, and then you mail it to them. That's way easier to do if you self publish because you're getting the the book at cost and, you're getting to mail it directly to them. Now you have their mailing address, their phone number, their, email address.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:13:56]:

And so all these sorts of things are, becoming more, I guess, talked about, as as benefits for self publishing. The main drawback to self publishing is it is more difficult to get into your brick and mortar bookstores, and it's more difficult almost impossible to get unlike the New York Times. Does that kinda help offer some pro con delineations?

Bryan McAnulty [00:14:18]:

Yeah. Definitely. So, like, if someone wanted to Work with you then and, like, go through the process of distributing their book. How would that work as far as, like, for Amazon, that's really clear, like, I can publish an ebook, But what about, like, if I wanted to have, like, a paperback or a hardback

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:14:35]:

format? Yeah. Yeah. All of that, it's it's almost just as easy to publish a physical book as an ebook. Like, you have to get the same files together. Right? You still need to write the book, get it edited. You need a title and a subtitle and a description and a description and a cover. Like, you need all the same things. It's just that when you go to actually upload files to the printer, which could be for many of us, it's Amazon, KDP.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:15:02]:

IngramSpark is the other option. IngramSpark does, allow bookstores to order from from from that printer. But most of us are gonna use Amazon KDP. It's just uploading files. There's like an ebook file, and there's a paperback file, and there's a hardback file, but they're almost identical. Right? And there's a ebook interior and a paperback interior and a hardback interior, but they're almost identical. So all the prep work, like 99% of the work is done, and then it's it's just, getting those files together. So we typically recommend publishing both ebook and physical book.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:15:39]:

And you're right. I mean, it's it's actually free to do on Amazon KDP. And for many of us, like, if we are technically savvy enough to do, like, courses, we could click around, you know, the Amazon KDP interface and and figure that out. The the main challenge is the the reason why someone would work with our team. Paper Raven Books is our team. We're self publishing services. They come to us because they want editors. Right? And they wanna make sure they're getting good editors who, who have, like, demonstrated their especially book editing expertise.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:16:14]:

You can find a lot of editors. Have they ever worked with books? You know, that's kind of a question mark. And then, design. So, like, getting a cover design, getting an interior design, and, you know, the back and forth on finalizing all those files. And then the other thing that our team does, I think, is, somewhat unique is, keywords and categories on Amazon and helping to make sure that your book is very visible on Amazon so that, like, the keywords, they work essentially the same as as a Google search. You know, how you go to Google and you type in a keyword and Google populates the results as we call it SEO. Right? Search engine optimization. It's the same thing on Amazon.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:16:54]:

It just has its own algorithm. So you just need to know which keywords people are typing into the search bar that have very little competition. But same idea. You want high search volume, low competition. You know, we do that research. One of the tools that we like that folks, anyone could use is called Publisher Rocket. Publisher Rocket by, Dave Chesson over at Kindlepreneur. We love that software.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:17:20]:

It's really easy to use. It can be a little difficult to, like, find the best keywords, but you'll probably find some some decent ones. And then the other strategy is categories. You know, how do we make sure that we're hitting number 1 in categories? And, you don't wanna hit number 1 in categories just so that you can have the Amazon bestseller badge. I mean, I guess, sure, that's fine. But, really, what it's doing algorithmically when you hit number 1 in a category, is it showing the book more widely in those, like, browsing bars. You know, when you're on an Amazon sales page and it has, like, other products related to this item, and you can, like, click through horizontally to see the little I'm I'm Brian's getting all my hand movements. I'm illustrating it out with with all my gestures, but The little bitty, you know, rectangular, product images for books, and you can scan those horizontally, Amazon populates those with categories.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:18:15]:

So if you're hitting number ones in these categories, it's gonna get populated in those browsing bars. Now people are seeing your book in search. They're seeing your book when they're browsing through these, browsing bars is what they're called. And, and so that kind of strategy and, like, How do we make sure that we're hitting the number ones? Those kinds of things are what our team end up helping out with, with most of our

Bryan McAnulty [00:18:38]:

clients. Got it. So I'm curious, like, what does it look like as far as, like, what has to be optimized there? Like, is it just the, like, The Amazon listing, like the name, like the description, or is it actually also like the book itself? Because, like, unlike I know unlike a blog post, you can't, like, Optimize your your book keywords after you wrote

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:18:58]:

it. It's, it's usually the sales page itself And then the metadata, which is like the the data that's kinda behind the scenes, in the product listing. So, you know, Fairly obvious things for any of us who do sales pages online. You know, the cover's gotta be good. The title, the subtitle, the author name. You wanna think about if you have, I don't know, an MBA or something, and it's a business book. Do you wanna put that in your author name? Maybe. The description of the book, of course, you want it to be very easy for the reader to say, this book will be helpful for me.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:19:33]:

I even see bullet points on how helpful it's gonna be. The same way we would write almost like a mini sales page for a for a course. And also the price, you know, you want your ebook to be probably somewhere in that 2.99 to 9.99. Your paperback's gonna be somewhere around 1999. Just, You know, kinda be thinking about those, all the things that a reader would see when they're looking at your book. There is a section that you can pull out for, like, editorial reviews. If you get any praise blurbs, any endorsements, So, you know, you can add those to your page that would that would certainly, optimize it. That will make it higher converting, we could say.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:20:17]:

The reviews themselves, the user reviews. You know? Can you get 20, 50, a 100 reviews in, a few weeks for a few months after your book launches. And all of those things will help, guess, Amazon will show your page more frequently with those keywords and those categories plugged in. And when people click on your page, they are also more likely to buy. They're more likely to convert if they see a lot of these, you know, what they would expect in social proof and and, and what they want in in a book. So we think about optimizing the sales page itself a lot, as well as those keywords and categories that are in the kinda hanging out in the background. Got

Bryan McAnulty [00:21:01]:

it. So yeah. I mean, many authors or, like, people dreaming of being authors would wanna have this Loyal readership. And what strategies do you recommend for somebody who's an aspiring author to kinda build that dedicated fan base? And, like, how would they go about that even before they start writing their

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:21:23]:

book? Yeah. So there's there's a couple things that I wanna mention for kind of gathering your readership. And I think people who are interested in course creator, creating courses are prime position to use your book in this way. So I like to think of once your book is published on Amazon, you actually have access to an entire source of traffic that you did not have access to before. Because Amazon has a tremendous volume of search. Right? People just go to Amazon and search, and you don't get populated in that search unless you have a book. As soon as you have a book, you your, you know, your book cover can be shown to all these folks who are searching. They can click in and then many most people will click look inside the book.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:22:13]:

And when they look inside the book, they're actually shown the first 10% of the book. So you can put a freebie, a lead magnet, the same type of lead magnet that we would use on any other traffic platform, you can use for Amazon as well. Offer a free guide, a free mini course, a free companion course, a free printable, a free checklist, a Free audiobook, a free meditation, you know, whatever it is. Offer a free thing. Have a have a dedicated page right at the front of that book. You know? Thanks for buying my book. Free thing. They might get the free thing even if they haven't bought your book.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:22:50]:

That's fine. You know? Because it's a lead magnet. It's to get the email address. And so once you have this in your book, everything else that you do, every other book promotion you ever do, you're also getting leads into your email service provider just like any other advertising. So That's kind of I I I like to seed that idea so that, to to help people get on board with the idea of, like, long term book marketing. That it's not just about all the marketing you do before you launch the book. Because don't worry. Everything you do once you launch your book is going to bring leads into your ecosystem.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:23:32]:

And so then, really, your your question, Brian, was like, what do they do? What do we do before? You know? How do we gather the readership before especially to support the launch? And, and for those of us to writing anything that's nonfiction, we really do have an advantage because we can do the social media, you know, following building like, all the folks who offer the best practices. It's the same it's all the same strategies. Right? I'm writing a book about how to play guitar. I'm looking at your guitars back there, Brian. Yeah. My new book about how to master, you know, The the first 12 chords of playing guitar so you can play a 1,000 songs or whatever. Well, that's what my book is gonna be about. So I if I'm building my community, which is also gonna be folks who might buy my course, I'm gonna be posting about guitar chords and, you know, songs and I'm out of my depth already, but, like, you know, different types of the guitars or which ones might be best for different players or, you know, just information around guitars so that a few months leading up to your book launch, when you go out to this Facebook group or this Instagram audience or this TikTok audience, and you tell them, hey.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:24:52]:

Guess what? I have a book around mastering the 12 most essential chords of guitars that'll let you play your 1,000 first songs. And you're gonna get an exclusive preview when you join my book launch team, well, now everything is supporting and building each other. Right? Like, You're gathering the community around the topic. You're giving them the exclusive preview in exchange for being a part of the book launch team and everyone who is a part of your community and buying, you know, buying your book or supporting your book might also, get into your course, it all builds. Right? So, so that was a long answer, but hopefully, that provides

Bryan McAnulty [00:25:34]:

some I like that. I think That many people who would approach something like this, like, they wanna see, like, okay. Well, I know this can be good for me in some way, But when you have a path that you see that by promoting it, it helps grow something else, and there there's these multiple ways why you would wanna promote it, It really makes the whole thing a lot easier, and and it makes it click more in your head of, like, why you wanna do this instead of, I think many people get, like, kinda scatterbrained and thinking there's all these ways for me to promote myself or grow my brand. And you try all of them, but It it just doesn't feel like it's connecting kind of. And, I know for myself at least, like, whenever we think of some kind of marketing idea where, like, well, if we do this, It will not only promote this, but it promotes this part too. It just feels like, okay. I definitely wanna do this now because there's it it all like, I can't lose from it of promoting that.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:26:31]:

Yeah. And, I mean, I'm sure y'all talk about this on the podcast, and and I'm sure you talk about it inside of your communities and everything too. It's like you just wanna be the go to person for your topic. Right? And so when people see your name, they wanna associate it with the thing that you wanna be famous for that you wanna be the go to person for. And so whether it's free content or a book or a course, you know, as long as it's all around that same topic that you're the go to person for, it's all gonna

Bryan McAnulty [00:27:01]:

build. Yeah. So do you have any maybe example stories you could share of, Like a successfully published book in like, how did it serve as a marketing tool for either, like, someone's personal brand, their course, Anything they had in their

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:27:18]:

business? Yes. Oh my gosh. So, I will say that our so if you go to paper ravenbooks.com, we have a page called our books that kinda shows all of our books. And, I mean, you would notice that some of them are nonfiction, some of them are fiction, some of them are memoir. So we do help people with different types of book marketing strategies. And so what we're gonna be focusing on here is kind of the the nonfiction strategies for the most part. But, for instance, like, Andrea Grayson just published a book called the sweet tooth dilemma, and she helps people quit sugar. So she has courses and co and coaching all around quitting sugar.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:27:55]:

And so what we did was put at the very beginning of her book, The Sweet Tooth Dilemma. We put a freebies all around how to, like, quit sugar, right, in different recipes and things like that. And you get on her email list And she follows up. We recommend asking your new lead to leave a review for your book, that helps people to come back and leave a review for your book. But then after that, you can give them information about your course. Right? And so she's actually bringing people directly from her book and then emailing them, you know, information about her evergreen course. Or sometimes she'll mix it up and say, hey. I'm doing a live workshop.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:28:36]:

Come, you know, come check out my free live workshop, which, of course, is a webinar to sell the course. Right? And so, all of you have all of these different, opportunities. I think she even is I don't know if she's done it yet, but we just recently talked about why don't you reach out to your email list and suggest that they catch the YouTube video that you just posted. Right? And so cross pollinate a little bit from your email list to your social media, offer them webinars, offer them information about your evergreen courses, that sort of thing. So you can see how, like, it it it, Yes. It could be overwhelming in that I can do these things in in in different orders or or something like that. But the good news is that you're not gonna do anything wrong because you're gathering the audience around this topic. And so as long as you're getting them from your book onto your email list, you'll be able to follow-up with them and help them to find the right, the right product or service for them.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:29:36]:

And just a couple of other quick examples for different, genres and, and topics. So there's also a doctor Terry Pease has a book on love love, dignity, and Parkinson's. And she helps people who have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's to figure out their care for their partner. Colleen Conlan has the kettlebell catalyst, and she has a whole free guide on getting started with kettlebells. And She's a coach for kettlebell. She's a course, and she coaches, you know, 1 on 1. Beverly Asante Pushman has a book called Ace the Half. It's all about training for a half marathon.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:30:14]:

Training for your first half marathon. Dave Stoltz has women divorce and money, And it's all about, you know, if you're going through a divorce, how do you, protect your assets, basically, which becomes a really painful, you know, point for for many folks. Tom Emison is a strategic, retreat planner, and he has a book called Chunk. Every, unthink everything you thought you knew about strategic planning retreats, and he's much more of a consultant. But they're all using these exact same principles. Right? Put a lead magnet at the beginning of that book, get people onto your email address, onto your email list, and then you can help them figure out the best way to continue their work with you. Does that help to have those kinds of

Bryan McAnulty [00:30:59]:

examples? Yeah. Definitely. Yeah. I think, like, just looking at it from the perspective of saying, like, okay. Well, By being on Amazon, there's all these people searching on Amazon for, like, this kind of thing, and it's like the equivalent of being present in, like, Another search engine, another social network, or something like this. Like, there's there's an audience there that now you get to potentially capture them And and not only sell them something, but get them, becoming a member of your audience on your email list. One one thing that I heard, I'm not I don't remember who it was that I heard this idea from, but is also an interesting way I thought to think about it that when somebody goes and reads your book, Now, like, they've just learned all of this stuff. They're, like, in the prime position to go and buy that course from you, that coaching program, Because they just learned all of this, and you demonstrated now, like, how you're an expert in this.

Bryan McAnulty [00:31:54]:

And you built up a lot of probably, like, trust and desire in that process Where you can often go, like, right from there and and probably mention something, like, in the book. Like, you mentioned about, like, a webinar. It could be, like, right to, like, here's where you can go buy it if you if you want to. And, like, you're not trying to just, like, You're not trying to rip anybody off and, like, sell them this thing just to to make them buy something else. But in in providing all that value to somebody, you're Showing them that you can take them to that next step in a journey.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:32:26]:

Yeah. And I will say, Ryan, I get asked a lot, especially by course creators. They're like, why already have this course? Course. In fact, I had this conversation with Andrea Grayson about the quitting sugar. She's like, well, it's not that complicated to quit sugar. Right? Like, I have a course, and I wanna have a book, but, like, should I write everything in the book? Should I include everything in the book, or should I, like, withhold some pieces? And I was like, put everything in. This is this is my, you know, suggestion for especially for folks who are content creators, course creators is like, don't hold anything back. Very likely it won't all fit.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:33:02]:

Right? You'll get you'll get 40,000 or 60,000 words in deep and you'll be like, oh, you know, there's other stuff they're gonna need. They're gonna need this video demonstration. They're gonna need this, you know, worksheet or this other deep dive or this tutorial or whatever. So but write everything out that you think that they would need to know to succeed in this topic because as soon as they finish the that book, exactly as you're saying, Brian, now they trust you. Now they're like, oh, I wanna do this. I just read it, but I haven't done anything. Now I'm ready to do something. And Sure.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:33:39]:

At the end of that book, offer a link where they can go and get more information, and I and that's the one of the best places to get a hot lead because they've finished your book. You can even drop them in, you know, throughout the book if you want. I've seen this done with, like, companion courses. You have a an you know, let's say you have 12 modules. They could be small, 10 minute modules, right, of of, of a companion course that corresponds to 12 chapters in a book. At the end of each chapter, it's like, scan this QR code. Go check out the free companion course. Watch the 10 minute video where I, you know, provide an example about how to do this.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:34:22]:

And, so you can sprinkle those throughout as well if you want. But certainly also at the end. If you want the full, you know, free companion course guide more information, Go to this link, scan this QR code, and, and that takes them to a place where at the very least, they could provide their email address. I would say capturing their email address is really important because if you take them straight to the sales page, there's a decent chance they're gonna bounce. Right? We know conversion rates. It's what? Like, 5% of people are gonna actually convert. I wouldn't wanna lose those 95%. I guess if you're pixeling them, that's a different question.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:35:02]:

But pixels, cookies, tracking, I mean, that's a that's a deep dive in a whole other area.

Bryan McAnulty [00:35:07]:

Email is most important. And, yeah. That was really the most interesting thing to me, I think, is hearing the idea of putting that lead magnet there so when somebody goes to look inside the book, They see it there even if they don't buy the book yet. I really like that. And, like, that's how we always think about it is, like, the email address, that's what we care about. We never expect anybody to buy from us, like, just going to our website. We never expect, like, anyone to buy from us just being a social media follower. And, like, we have way more email addresses than we do on social media following.

Bryan McAnulty [00:35:40]:

And I'm proud of that because, like, people on the email, when we send emails, that's when people buy from us. And for course creators, coaches, community builders, it's gonna be the same for you. So

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:35:51]:

I totally agree. And that has been, interesting just because I've been trying to reach out to, like, bigger media sources like, you know, your Yahoo's and MSN's and Fox and whatever. And they always wanna know, like, what's your media following? Like, how many do you have on Facebook or Instagram? And I'm like, Well, I mean, I think I've got, like, 10,000 on Facebook, but I've got 70,000 on email. Do you care about that? Like, I'll just email everyone if that's what you really want. But It's interesting because we we've lost

Bryan McAnulty [00:36:19]:

I was surprised myself, like, seeing how often, yeah, they ask the social following instead of, like, the email list because, Like, mark online marketers and everyone knows, like, the email list. That's where that's the important thing. That's what you want. Like, the social media impression, like, a lot of people Posting about on social media, people may not even see it even if the following was equal, but, like, the email is so much bigger thing. So

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:36:41]:

Yeah. And just to, like, reiterate that for all of us, I think some of us, but, like, me too. Like, we get caught in the cycle and we lose sight. And it's like, yeah. The social media is good for discussion and visibility and and catching people who you might not otherwise have exposure to. But the goal is to get them on the email list. Right? Like, that's where to your point, Brian, you'll actually sell people, is is through the email

Bryan McAnulty [00:37:07]:

itself. Yeah. Definitely. Alright. Cool. Well, I've got 1 more question for you, Morgan, and that is On the show, we like to ask every guest to ask a question to our audience. So if you could ask our audience anything, something you're curious about, something you kinda wanna get everybody thinking about, What would that be?

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:37:24]:

Yeah. This is a question, that I like to give writers who are on the journey to essentially writing their 1st book. And when we're trying to figure out what's the scope of this book gonna be? What's what what's this book gonna cover? And I would encourage everyone to think about, okay. If I were gonna write a book, what would it be about? And put yourself, like, 5 or 10 years into the future. Not next year, not 2 years from now, but really try to push yourself further and further into the future. What do I still wanna be talking about 5 years from now. Maybe even 10 years from now. Because I found that when I go through this thought exercise with writers, sometimes we actually kind of broaden up just a little bit, you know, what type of book that we're gonna be writing.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:38:13]:

And I think, when we are very focused, especially digital marketing, things like that, we tend to get very focused on, like, the the next sale. And, and even my example is like, you know, learn the 12 chords for guitar. And sometimes we broaden up and we're like, Actually, I wanna talk about what it takes to be, you know, a musician, to bring music into your life. And that can help you think about your business in the long term because we wanna write a book that's going to open up possibilities for you over the long term. A type of book that you're gonna be excited to keep talking about, yes, this year and next year and the year after that and the year after that. So that would be my question for everybody. If you're thinking about writing a book or another book, you know, what book would you be excited to still be talking about 5 and maybe even 10 years from now?

Bryan McAnulty [00:39:05]:

Oh, yeah. That's a that's a really good way to think of it. I like that. Alright. Well, Morgan, thanks so much for coming on the show. Before we get going, where else can people find you online?

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:39:15]:

Sure. Yeah. Head over to paper ravenbooks.com for information about us. And if you don't mind, Brian, I do have a gift for everyone. Yeah. If you you know, when we were talking about uploading files to KDP and keywords and categories and you want, like, The overview of, like, what is this process? Give me the checklist. Give me the road map. I have that for you.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:39:38]:

It's a 14 page checklist, and it is a 1 sheet overview of the whole process writing and producing those files and getting ready to launch your book, and you can have access to that for free just because you are listening to Brian's podcast. And you get access to that by going to paper ravenbooks .com/ready, r e a d y, ready. So paperhavenbooks.com/ ready. I will ask for your email address just, you know, to be upfront, but then it will plug you directly into

Bryan McAnulty [00:40:14]:

understands why, I think, Now,

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:40:16]:

yes. Directly into our community. We have a circle community. And so there, you'll have a Companion video, me walking you through it, giving you the checklist, giving you the the road map, and then you can also pop in and ask questions there too.

Bryan McAnulty [00:40:30]:

Awesome. Alright. Well, thanks so much, Morgan.

Morgan Gist MacDonald [00:40:32]:

Cool. Thank you, Brian. Have a good rest of your day.

Bryan McAnulty [00:40:35]:

Thanks. I'd like to take a moment to invite you to join our free community of over 5,000 creators at creatorclimb.com. If you enjoyed this episode and wanna hear more, Check out the Heights Platform YouTube channel every Tuesday at 9 AM US central. To get notified when new episodes release, join our newsletter at the creator's adventure Tom, until then, keep learning, and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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