Everyone has a book they can write, and there are a ton of reasons why you should write a book! Listen to the full episode and learn from the experiences of Hannah and Ryan on how being a self-published author helped their lives and businesses!
Welcome to Degree Free, where we explain what you can do instead of going to college, and how to teach yourself, get work, and make good money.
In this episode, we talk about:
Ryan talks about how writing and publishing a book is a great opportunity to improve your sales skills.
Hannah also shares how writing a book on their field helped her secure more clients for her business.
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Want to learn how to be a self-published author? Check the previous episode!
Ryan: Aloha guys. And welcome back to degree free. We are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. On this podcast, we share the fundamentals we've discovered and the mistakes we've made while self-educating getting work, building businesses and making money. We'll tell you how to make it happen. No degree needed.
Hannah: Welcome back everybody. We're happy to have you as always. And if you want to get the latest in degree free news, career ideas and resources that can help you upscale or pivot your career, you are gonna want to get our newsletter. We send that out on a weekly basis and you can sign up for it for free on degreefreenetwork.com.
Ryan: Yeah. And if you haven't already please like and subscribe, we'd love to have you as a weekly listener. We post a new podcast every a week, and we'd love to see you here. And without further ado, let's get into today's topic. Today, we are going to be talking about, Why you should write a book.
Hannah: Yeah. This is a fun one too, because a few years ago we went down this path and realized that self-publishing now especially is really accessible to a lot of people. And it enables people to write books pretty easily.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. There's a few factors of the why' and a lot of people might think like, ah, I don't have anything to talk about or I don't have anything to say, so why should I write a book? And we hear that a lot. And so we kind of wanted to go over a few of the rather basic reasons of why you would.
Hannah: Yeah. And I think too just a side note before we start, I think a lot of people, if you, if you say, Hey, you should write a book, they sort of rack their brains for what they would, you know, it's, it's one of those things where, when someone asks you your favorite movie, you forget every movie you've ever seen ever.
And when when, when we say, Hey, you can write a book. People's response usually is, oh, I don't really have anything interesting to write about, but that's not true. I think most people have a book that they could write and this isn't some long great American novel but this is you know, something that's 30 pages about specific information or experience that you have that can really help somebody else. Who's going through that exact thing. There's a lot of people in the world and they read a lot to try to get information, to help them learn about a situation they're about to be in or already in. And that's, that's just something I wanted to say before we start, cause I think everybody's got, everybody's got a book.
Ryan: Yeah, that'd be exciting. It also doesn't have to be about anything that you've ever done or will do. It can just be that you research topic and you read a book on it. It doesn't even have to be as involved as what you just said.
Hannah: Yeah you're right, it could just be something that you're kind of interested in or you think is useful and you read a book.
Ryan: Or you want to make money.
Hannah: Or you want to make money. Cause that's a good reason, that's a good reason as any.
Ryan: Yeah, because that's our first reason.
Ryan: So, the number one reason, or at least the first reason that we're going to be talking about rather, is if you want to make money,
Ryan: It's not going to make you a lot of money necessarily. At least not at the beginning. Right. You are going to have to do a lot of marketing and sales and everything like that. If you don't know any of that, you know, don't expect to make a lot of money upfront. But if you put in the work with selling a book is a great way to make passive income because you front load the work, you front load the work, and then atleast of creating it. And then, you just let it sit there and all you have to do after that is kind of promoted. Right? You have to promote it. And depending on the platforms or the type of marketing that you do, you might not even have to promote it. Either.
Hannah: Yeah. If, if you're, if you're publishing on Amazon, then you might just do paid promotions via Amazon, and they're gonna promote it for you.
Ryan: Yeah might, you might not even need to do it. What I'm saying is if you do like a search engine optimization or something.
Hannah: Yeah and you pick your topic well.
Ryan: Right, exactly. Which is the hardest part to do. That's one of the hardest things to do is picking the right topic, especially if your goal is making money. If your goal is making money, the number one thing that you want to focus on is the topic that you pick and that's going to have to do with a lot of keyword research, a lot of search engine optimization. It's kind of self outside of the scope of this video, but we have a previous episode of how to become a author and it goes a little bit more in depth on how, on, how to do that stuff.
I think at a later date, if there is interest, we might consider doing a third series, their part in this series. But as far as the making money aspect of it, there's a lot of ways that you can make money with a book as well, because a lot of people think that it's written and that's the only way that you can do it, but you could also do an audio book. Right. And a lot of people think that you can, you only have to do it on Amazon, but you could sell it on a website of your, of your own. If you want it to keep more money, the benefit of publishing on a place like Amazon is that they have customers already.
Hannah: Right. You don't have to, you don't have to point people. You don't have to get people to find your site they're already on Amazon.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. As far as making money goes, you know, we had a friend that did this, very successfully. What I mean by this is, they wrote a book strictly to make money. So, they did the keyword research. They figured out a market and they wrote a book about a specific subject and only with the goal of making money and they didn't want to attach their name to it. So they authored it under a pen name, a pseudonym. And at the time, and this was like four years ago, you know, they were making good money a month. I mean, it wasn't a lot. It was like 600 bucks. I think it was or
Hannah: The thing is I need that, I mean, that's half, you know, half a rent for some people or your car payment, your grocery bill, your phone payment, you know, stuff that you stuff you gotta pay.
Ryan: Yeah, I mean, it wasn't a lot of money. You're not retiring on that. But it was just kind of a good proof of concept for, for him. I think he went on to author a couple of more books as well. And so that kind of brings us to, if you get the first one down and you kind of learn the recipe for it, you might be able to create an author more books and
Hannah: And you're just building on that initial one. So each one makes more money and slowly that snowball gets bigger and bigger. And you know, you're having more recurring monthly income to you.
Ryan: And what happened a lot of times with these types of like content or products, is it might not be that everyone is a success, right. Not everyone is going to make whatever. Let's just call it a thousand dollars a month. You're gonna have the one that makes a thousand and then you're going to have like three that make like $2 a month.
Ryan: Right. But you're never gonna know, if you've hit the thousand dollar one, or if that's the max that you're going to get out of it. If you don't just keep creating.
Hannah: Right, and just keep writing books.
Ryan: Right. And I'm not saying to create for creation sake, you know,
Hannah: You can, if you want to.
Ryan: Right. Exactly.
Ryan: One of the things about once you kind of get the formula down and say, you've did a one or two books, you can start thinking about possibly starting a publishing company. Which is kind of silly in that we're talking about self publishing right now. We're not really talking about traditional publishing, but you could bring that type of traditional publishing to very micro and small time people. What I mean by that is like, if your friend or somebody, you know, with a small audience on the internet is thinking about writing a book or using that they have an interesting topic that you think that should be a book.
You could reach out to them and tell them, Hey, I know how to get hire an editor, I know how to hire book cover design, I know how to format it. I have a studio and a voice actor that can record it, or I'll record it myself for an audio book. And you know, hopefully that person signs on with you and you can create a contract where you make some commissions off of every sale.
Hannah: And that, that is how that is how publishing companies work. That's what they do. It's just on a much larger scale. So people don't realize that's, it's essentially the same thing.
Ryan: Exactly. And it's gonna be tough. It's probably not going to pay for the bills overnight, but eventually if you get enough people to use your services and you get good at marketing books and you get good at selling. It could be a living for you.
Hannah: Yeah. And a decent one. There, it's pretty cool but if, if you're interested in it too, you can look up people who have successfully done this and just kind of see what their story say too. But there are people who post about their own journeys of just becoming, you know, ebook authors. And that is how they make their living. It's kind of cool.
Ryan: Yeah. And I think the next thing that I wanted to talk about as far as, Why you should write a book is going to be kind of increasing your domain authority or like expertise in a field.
Hannah: Yeah. And this is a good way to, if you're, if you're especially, if you have a business where your job is to sell a product or service that's associated with you, knowing what you're doing. Writing a book is, is a great way to establish the fact that you know what you're talking about.
Ryan: Not necessarily a business necessarily. It can be if you're a sales man or something too, if you're in sales of a specified field, writing a book could be a way to tell potential clients and customers that you are a expert in it and they should come to you.
Hannah: Right. Like if you're, if your job is to set prices for corn or something, you could write a book about how that works. And all of a sudden, now you're an expert on pricing corn.
Ryan: Right. This is one of those things that is definitely not new. They people have been doing this for a really long time.
Hannah: No, this is how you get those talking head people on the news that are, and their only credential is that they're, they they're an author. Right? That's how they become experts. Subject matter experts is they read a book.
Ryan: Exactly. A lot of times in the past, they would try to go to traditional publishing houses. What's difficult with that is that you'd have to have a formed piece of prose to give to them. You'd have to have your writing already to them, unless you already have a name for yourself, which you're not listening to this podcast, if you do.
Ryan: Which I mean, or unless you are, I'm not just here.
Hannah: In there.
Ryan: Well, you can do now is just self publish it yourself. There isn't that stigma anymore, either with writing. And self-publishing on your own.
Hannah: Anyone that tells you that there is, is somebody who either has like a vested interest in making sure that traditional publishing is, is held superior. Either they're trying to make money off of it, or they themselves are a traditional published author and they're threatened by the fact that people can self publish books now and, and get, and have not only the same amount of success, but possibly more too than traditional published books.
Ryan: Well, all I meant also with that was just that I'm talking about this, there's no stigma in publishing a book in order to increase your domain authority.
Hannah: Oh, no. For sure not.
Ryan: Because most people won't care.
Hannah: No, you might get a few people that do, but who cares?
Ryan: Yeah. And so we did this for our business, right. We established a services business in a very esoteric field. It required a lot of customer education. It required a lot of knowledge to be passed between what we knew and what we wanted the customer to know. Right. Or the client or the prospective client. And so you authored, I say we, because
Hannah: We brought them together.
Ryan: Right. Because we did a lot of the work together.
So you authored the book and we publish it on Amazon. And we were able to order some print copies for our studio. So when perspective clients would come in, when they would do a consultation, we were able to hand it out. Or what happened a lot of the times was that before people even contacted us, they had already read the book.
Hannah: Yup and that was pretty wild. The first time that happened when someone had come in for a consultation and said, oh yeah, I saw in the book and they read something that are out. And that was pretty crazy.
Ryan: And it's not only that is the, the fact that they read it about the subject that you do and that you are now an expert on, they spent however many minutes, however many hours reading that book on that subject, authored by you.
They're not going to go anywhere else to get that service.
Ryan: Especially if it's feasible to do so. Right. So for us, it's a little bit, it's a little bit different because we operated a brick and mortar services business. Right. But, if you are doing something like,
Hannah: Like marriage counseling is a good example. And somebody read your book about marriage counseling and your you offer online services, the likelihood that they are going to contact you is high, because they just read your entire book about how to solve a problem that they have. That's a good example.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. Or video editing or something like that. So talking more, even more like completely digitally native.
Ryan: But marriage counseling could work. We're not making a lot of money on these sales. Right. But okay. Maybe a couple of dollars a month. I think the best months that we've had, we've made a few hundred. I'm not exactly sure how much, but never more than a thousand.
Hannah: We don't do anything,
Ryan: But not, it's not that what I was saying is that the book made us way more money than that. Because people would read it and people would come into our studio and then we charge them thousands of dollars in order to do our service.
Hannah: Right. Right. That's true. That's true.
Hannah: I was just thinking about book sale.
Ryan: Right. So the book helped our marketing funnel. It helped create another step in it, a much stickier step, and it helped, you know, kind of create a, a larger marketing machine that helped us get leads.
Hannah: Well, in a way, too, it helps. It helps your potential clients too. Especially if they're in a research phase and they're finding information confusing and you can clarify information and help them make a decision about whether or not they're going to do something that that's huge and you can win loyalty by because writing a book is basically providing a service for them where you're consolidating information and clarifying things for them. And that's really helpful. And a lot of people are really grateful for you doing that.
Ryan: It also is a good qualifier. Because after they read it, they're like, oh yeah, this is for me. I'd like to learn more or after they read it, they're like, you know what? This is not really for me. This is not my style. And it's not necessarily just our business. It's every business. See if you're a financial advisor and you have a certain way that you look at. You know, managing money and you look at you like, okay, so you, you go in insurance forward approach instead of, you know, maximizing upside right? You're minimizing downside or whatever your approach is. And they're like, yeah, I really like that approach. I'm going to go and talk to this guy.
Hannah: Or they're like, I do, I disagree with that entirely. I don't like that at all.
Ryan: Exactly. And so they're not going to talk to you, right.
Hannah: So you've helped them either way
Ryan: And you've helped yourself.
Ryan: So, you're creating more qualified people because by the time they hit you, if they have read your book, they're like, yeah, they're pretty deep and they just kind of want to ask a few questions before they sign up with you. And then all the phone calls that you used to receive about oh, you know, I'm thinking about, I'm thinking about doing this. Can you tell me a little bit more about it? Those calls drop off dramatically, as long as you're able to market and get your book in front of these people before they call you.
Right? And like I said, we didn't price ours to make us a lot of money. We wanted to make a couple of cents here and there, but we really want it to make it affordable for people to buy because we're not, we want them to have the information for cheap. And then, if you decide to come to come to us, you hopefully pay our prices because we're the experts in it.
Ryan: I think the last reason, why you should write a book is just going to be because you want to.
Hannah: Which is a great reason, honestly. Especially too, if it's something you've always wanted to do in that, you've always wanted to write a book or be an author or be a writer, you know, and it's a really good way to just sort of dip your toes and what that's actually like, even in a small way. And it's really cool that that's so accessible to people now and that you can accomplish that goal in your life. And it doesn't have to be, like I said, the great American novel, you know, you can write a 40 page book and you're still an author and you're still a writer. It's super cool.
Ryan: Yeah. And if you didn't want to attach your name to it, either which a lot of people don't, right? We know a couple of people that write books and they only published under pen names.
Hannah: Yeah. That might be topic or they just, it doesn't make sense for them to attach it to themselves in real life, for whatever reason.
Ryan: Exactly. And so I'm not saying that you have to do this, but I'm saying it's an option for you because a lot of people, especially when they're first starting out, they're like, I don't want my name attached to this and whatever the topic is, exactly what you said.
And maybe you're writing about something that maybe you feel like you don't have the expertise to write about or exactly what you said or like your brighter up something explicit. I don't know, drugs or
Hannah: Something, something that you just don't want attach to your name when people Google you or something like that.
Ryan: Yeah, and then, but you want, but you want to experiment with writing a book. Okay. Well, you can author it under a pen name. You can set up some dummy business and say that your name, your name is John Smith. And just get to writing. You know, which is awesome.
Hannah: Yeah, it's really cool. I mean, historically the pen names have been used to protect you know author's identity so that they can write more freely and it still works that way now.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. I think it's
Hannah: Even more so, now
Ryan: It comes with its ups and downs because it does protect you as far as, you know, anonymity or pseudonymity.
Hannah: But then if you, if you want to use it and say, look what I did, you can't really because it's not your name.
Hannah: So it depends on what you're doing with it. If you're just doing it for kicks then.
Ryan: Which makes the marketing of it a lot harder too.
Ryan: Right, because you're posting it. Now, you're sharing it. If you're sharing it on like social media and stuff, you're like, look at this great book that I found by this awesome author that you can't find a picture on the internet of.
Ryan: Don't worry about that.
Hannah: Don't worry about it.
Ryan: Yeah. But the other reason why I think like if you wanted to try to get your feet wet on selling products, a book is a perfect way to do it because. You don't really have to spend a lot of money on the manufacturing of it. Right. So, but you still have all of the skills that you'd have to learn about selling a product. So you still have, you know, testing whether that's titles, whether that's book covers, whether that's book formatting, Right? Design, whatever, right? Or even like structure, book structure. You can test all of those things, just like how you would any other product. And it kind of gives you a good glimpse into what owning a business or what creating a product is like.
Hannah: So that you can go through all those steps and just, and just understand how much work is involved with doing those things.
Ryan: And it can be as, expensive or as cheap as you'd like.
Hannah: There's really, it's really amazing actually in this, one of the things that as we got deeper into this, it was really cool to see all of the resources that exist now for people to get work done and get help creating these types of things. You know? So you could, you can hire somebody to design a book cover for $20. It's not going to be the greatest book cover on the world. But you can hire them to design an ebook cover for 20, 30 bucks or you know, there are services that you can hire that design IBA covers for you know, a minimum of $300 and they look obviously way better, but you know, there's different levels of service that you can, that you can get depending on what outcome you're looking for.
Ryan: And for those people that have never hired anybody that I've never outsourced anything. This is a really good way. Really, like I said, low stakes environment in order to do so, because you can go on Upwork or Fiverr and you can, I suggest when you're first starting out, you stick to low cost providers. I mean, I really mean that.
Hannah: Well, cause you can kind of, if one, if you get a bad result, it's not as bad because you didn't spend as much money, but also you can kind of experiment with keeping a lower budget and trying to work with them to get a better result.
Ryan: No, but you don't know what you like. You don't,
Hannah: Yeah, that's true.
Ryan: You don't know what you like. You don't know how to manage people at this point. You don't know how to communicate what you want or what you need and okay. I, I think a counter argument to that would be or a well, why don't you buy an inexpensive book cover, an expensive book formatter, because if they did their job right, they would be able to ask all of those questions and be able to help guide you through that. Which I absolutely agree, but I'm just assuming that we don't have a lot of money right now.
If we, even if we did have like a lot, a lot of money, I would probably still go this route because it teaches you a lot more about the
Hannah: Hiring, managing.
Ryan: Right. The meta skills that you need to know in order to get any business done. Right.
Ryan: And so even if you did have $500, to throw at this book. I mean, you could spend all the 500 and you could get a finished book. You don't even have to write anything. You don't have to research anything. You could hire a researcher, you could hire a writer, you could hire an editor, you can hire a book cover design, or book formatter, and you can hire somebody to post it on KDP for you.
Hannah: And you're basically just a book producer at that point.
Ryan: Right. I think that it is a worthwhile experiment for a lot of people to go through that haven't been through it before.
Hannah: I agree.
Ryan: Right? One of the things that I did want to talk about too, is just that if you just kind of want to do it because you want to do it and you're not kind of, you're not really worried about making too much money, or you're not really worried about commission here, commission there, I would at least suggest going with something like Amazon. The reason why is because we've already talked about it before they have customers already that are looking to buy things.
Hannah: Yeah and their payment details are already hooked up in a trustworthy way. And all they gotta do is click buy and they can buy your book.
Ryan: Because it is a headache to create a website, to create a digital product to figure out payment and then to figure out taxes based off of where that person is. It it's a headache to, to do all of that. And right now, if you want to learn that, I definitely suggest you do that too. But if you have no idea where to start, I suggest not biting off more than we can chew. Right. Which I mean, we've done both, right. And we, we still do both. And it is a lot.
Hannah: It's. Yeah. It's a lot of work.
Ryan: It's a lot. I mean, cause you have to learn how to, like I said, you have to learn how to do all that stuff. Building websites and making e-commerce capable and you know, making it compliant.
Hannah: And if you're just starting from, if you're just starting from zero and your only goal is to write a book and not to make an entire business out of it, then just, yeah. Just pick, just do Amazon or some other service that has it set up an easy for you to just upload a thing and then push it to customers.
Ryan: Yeah. And then you can focus on after you've pushed it to customers. And after you're not worried about fulfillment after, you're not worried about taxes. And all that stuff, you just link your bank account and then the money starts to stream there. You can worry about the things that matter and that's promoting the book.
Ryan: Right. That's the most important part after the book is written after creation, honestly, it's the most important part, period.
Ryan: Because if you don't market it, you can't get any sales.
Hannah: Right. If you're not marketing, nobody knows it exists. And if nobody knows it exists, they can't buy it.
Ryan: Right. And so, by using a platform that's already set up for your success. You can worry about promoting it and making sales. And there's a lot, a lot, a lot to learn in that field.
Ryan: Right, cause now we're talking search engine optimization. We're, we're talking about copywriting. We're talking about paid ads. We're talking about influencer,
Hannah: A lot of stuff that's really complicated.
Ryan: Yeah. Getting reviews. All of that is very difficult. Right? And maybe if it's a book that you are proud of and you do want to get it out there and it is in your field, maybe you want to start like going on the podcast tours and stuff like that. Kind of the new age book tours. And it's like a lot.
Hannah: Yeah. yeah. It's a lot to
Ryan: And you don't want to have to deal with your e-commerce site or your Shopify site breaking,
Hannah: Especially, if you don't really know how to build those things.
Ryan: Right. Yeah. But yeah, I think that's pretty much it, this is one of those things that if you don't know where to start, with, you know, side hustles or whatever.
Ryan: Side hustles.
Hannah: I know it's a, I hate using the word hustle, but honestly it's the best. It's also still the best descriptor that we have at this time. So there, there it is.
Ryan: Right. So if you
Hannah: They hit the though you just picture some bro getting up at four in the morning, and drink a protein shake,
Ryan: Yeah a picture
Hannah: It's like a $45 shampoo or something like that. I don't know. I don't know.
Ryan: No, I just got picture, I picture like Kerry V just like yelling at me in my bed.
Hannah: Oh man.
Ryan: Let's get up and get it
Hannah: Time to, time to work.
Hannah: Time to work. But yeah, so it's a good way. It's a good way to make money. It's a good way to establish authority. And it's honestly, if, if you're just doing it to write a book, it's really fun. It's cool. It's a really cool experience to, to just go home. Look at that. I wrote that and I published it. It's very it gives you a lot of confidence.
Ryan: Yeah. And it's going to take you out of your comfort zone if you've never done these types of things before, too. If you're not used to putting ideas out there in the world, which when we first wrote articles or books or even did anything on camera
Ryan: Or behind the mic
Hannah: Super uncomfortable.
Ryan: Or in front of a mic. Yeah. It's a daunting. And so it's just a good way to kind of test the waters. Very low stakes environment. You can do it for free with a bunch of different resources. You know, we'll put a bunch of links in the show notes and everything like that for everybody. And then we also did another episode about how to be an author, like how to actually do it.
Hannah: Yeah, it's a big episode folks.
Ryan: Listen to that as well.
Hannah: And like I said before, if you wanna get more degree free news, more degree free job opportunities, career ideas and resources that will help you learn how to get those jobs. You're going to want to get the newsletter it's @degreefree.co. You can just run on over there and sign up for free. We're pretty excited about the newsletter.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. And if you haven't already please like and subscribe guys, like I said, we'd love to have you as a weekly listener. We post a podcast every week and we would just like to see here, if you guys want to get into contact with us, you can leave us an email contact @degreefree.co.
You know, we'd love to hear from you guys. Even if it's just a comment, but a lot of times the questions help us kind of come up with these ideas for at new episodes on the socials I'm @ryankmaruyama she's @hannahmaruyama. The podcast is @degreefreepod. And until next time guys, Aloha.
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