A few guitars later and a lot of practice, and surpassing his teacher, and gigging at bands every single week out there in pubs, he’s now got published tracks and he’s got his own T-shirts of which I’m sending you one this week.
And I have every, every sort of feeling that they could take it somewhere special even when they play up against six other bands, they really lift their game but that’s the difference between playing, which is the equivalent of someone just mucking around on Facebook versus going pro and getting the real gear and stepping it up a notch. And that’s like recording your best stuff into a format that’s in front of eyeballs like Amazon.
John: And also, just to play off that, I would caution anybody who thinks, well, all I got to do is get a little better and I’ll be ready. Most of the great guitarist that I knew while I was growing up, the kids my age who really were great guitarists, never got in bands.
They had some kind of perfectionist thing going on or they were just too scared and the guys who got in the band were the guys who just say, “OK I’m good enough to not embarrass myself,” and then you feel a little more comfortable and you start moving on. There’s a process you go through. You trust the process and you’re able to weather a few failures along the way.
This goes for writing, this goes for podcast, this goes for music, this goes for anything. Gary Halbert used to say the big ingredient in any kind of success is movement and that’s something that’s stuck with me for a long time because I believe that I just never been really able to understand it. And it was like, I was that guy when I was a kid who just said, “Hey! Let’s go do this!” and as I recall my childhood, it was, we were a democracy.
My little gang you know, we go do stuff and I never thought I was the one doing the leading. It’s just that I had the desire to go do something. I’m talking to those kids who are now grown men and they say, “Nah, It was all you.” You know we all get together and wait around for Carlton to say “Let’s go do this!”
And that all came from just the love of movement and a fearlessness because once you’ve tried something and you failed or you realize that there are no consequences for failure, that you were not near as great as you thought they were and there’s no embarrassment when you’re up playing in front of 30 people or one person or a hundred thousand people.
If you make a mistake, they’re on your side at a certain point and they’re there for a reason and the movement accomplishes so much and being willing to take a few mistakes in the beginning and you know, starting as soon as you’re ready rather than waiting for some imaginary perfect time where everything is going to come together.
You know your son is playing with different bands. He’s probably sitting in with people who you know, he’s just getting the experience. He’s not necessarily sitting there with people he wants to play with later. And by the way, to get better, you would want to sit in with people who are better than you so as you said, you got to raise your game.
You’re going up, you know, you’re in situations where the other bands are better than you but that may not be the case next week. If you pay attention, if you learn your lessons and start applying as you go, that’s movement.
James: Well here’s what they’ve…they’re so savvy with this. When they play on a draw card with six bands where the feature band goes last but they will watch every other band and then they’ll compare notes in the car on the way back. But the interesting for me is the change in the distribution in the music industry. It’s the same as the book industry.
Now these kids, they hire a recording studio, they record their tracks and they release them and get them out there and they get awareness. They sell their merchandise just above cost because they put out the music so they can play gigs because if they’re popular and the gig owner knows about them then they’ll book them and then they can earn income whereas probably in the old days, bands used to do gigs so they can sell records but that’s probably flip flop these days.
John: Yeah, It’s gone back and forth both ways. Bands in the 40’s and even the 50’s made their living on the road. Then as records started to eclipse, you know around mid-60’s or so when the Beatles started to actually say, “We’re not going to tour anymore. We’re just going to do recorded music.” And a lot of bands realize that was a better way to make money.
Old school bands like the Grateful Dead continue to make their money selling so when the record company big collapse happened because of iTunes and because of piracy and all these things, you know it’s turned back now so it’s kind of the old thing. There’s nothing new, you know, under the sun.
There’s nothing new in marketing. There’s just forgotten tactics or tactics that had to morph or go through a different kind of stage before they got back to the fundamentals. So you know bands that you know, it’s interesting that you mentioned Justin Bieber, the guy who really can perform.
For every guy like that who can perform, even as a kid or as an adult or you can go on America’s Got Talent. You probably have Australia Has Talent, those kinds of shows. For every person that can pull that off, there’s the artist who is a package. Who can’t really sing, is using what’s called the Auto-Tune.
So they correct their voice during the recording and they can’t sing live. They can only sing the pre-recorded stuff and they’re all about the dancing and the fashion and looking good and having an attitude and doing all those stuff… and that’s a viable marketing technique for some artists but then you get back to, you know, that’s why a lot of the artists who I know who wants to get published who want to go with the traditional publisher because for them, that is their image of having the most integrity and doing it in the most quality style of way and that’s not really true.
Now things have changed and you’ve got to look at other ways to do it. What difference does it make if you become successful because you didn’t do it. What was the right way 10 years ago? Why would that matter? What difference does it make? And so with movement has to be adaptability.
So movement has that inherent in the definition but you need to be adaptable and you need to move and you need to be able to move quick and you need to be able to understand what’s going on in ways that aren’t polluted by your previous thinking. You know there’s a lot of old school marketers who are getting shell shocked still by the Web.
And it’s like, really?! You know it’s been around for a long time and it’s worked for a lot of people and there’s no barrier because of age to understanding marketing to getting in with this.
The publishing book, self-published on Kindle. In fact a good number of the publishers are older marketers who realize that their content was easily adaptable that could be easily become an eBook or an audio book, but everything we’re talking about goes for audio books, too which is a different game.
You can read what you wrote or you can make an audio. You can record a series of your talks if you lean on TED-style talks. Do 10-minute talks and record 10 of them. Put them in an audio book and you’re just as good, it’ll sell in the same format in the same way.
James: Right. So, that’s really interesting, bringing this back into play. I mean if you wanted to get a book advance these days like in the old days, you would’ve got from a publisher. Now you can just put up a kickstarter and get people to pay you before you put pen to paper. I guess everything is…
John: Except why do we even need to think in that model. You can write a book in a weekend, you really can, because the thing about books and I use books in quotes now; Amazon or Kindle books.
My first book was a mistake. It was 17 chapters, 401 pages and I didn’t write it, I didn’t get it assembled until Amazon made this jump by buying CreateSpace and making it easy for Kindle books and the Kindle-reviewing public you know in the stratosphere.
After I put this book together now if I go to do a book, it will be much less than 400 pages but I want to have a real book in my mind so I created this book and it’s very thick and we encountered problems.
Lawton Chiles helped me with this. He’s a guy who’s in our group who understood Kindle, and helped me get the first one out because we kept running into problems because at 400 pages, to get that printed, it affected the software that CreateSpace adds to print these books and put us into different categories.
They’ve never encountered apparently somebody who had 400 pages. It’s not bigger than the average marketing book out there in Barnes and Noble but the reason I’m bringing this is up is that a lot of books now being sold as books on Kindle are as few as 10 pages long, 20, 30, 50 pages long. A hundred pages is I think about average right now and there’s nothing wrong with that. It depends on the content.
A lot of people prefer having smaller books and in Kindle, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a scroll. There’s no page count, you just scroll in through. So that’s kind of important to take away that sense that it has to look like a book because it doesn’t when it’s on Kindle. The cover matters.
The way you approach the table of contents, the way you approach each chapter, how you set things up and the content that you present is very, very important but the way it looks printed is not, even after you get into the printed side of it with CreateSpace. Does that make sense?
James: Yeah it does. And I want to get into the techie because I’m sure someone by now is saying, yeah, I got it. I got it. I don’t have to do my last work. I know that it’s a lead to something else. I know that I can get started now. I know that’s easy, John. What do I do? So I’m here with my computer. What next?
John: One of the things that I’ve been telling people is right now, just make a list and get as many subjects down with that list that could be a chapter. And how you define a subject that you have is going to be a chapter, is can you do 10 minutes talking on it or write 10 pages on it. So you get 10 chapters of 10 pages each, you got a 100-page book, you’re there. So try to think of an overarching subject that you want to talk about.
For you, it might be SuperFast publishing, it might be SuperFast podcast, it might be SuperFast marketing, it might be anything. Then you start making a list of all the sub-categories that you can go on for 10 minutes about and you make them up with 30, 50 or 4 subjects.
I mean how big that list is matters so you got to come up with 10, so you have to stretch to make it to a 10, then you really got a much smaller book or maybe your subject should really be a chapter within a book. If you’ve got a hundred subjects and they’re all good, then maybe you’ve got a series of 10 books there as opposed to one big book. So you let the subject matter kind of dictate where you’re going to be.
So again, Ted Talks are around 10 minutes, I think that’s wrong but they’re around there. A 10-minute talk is approximately 10 pages in writing a double spaced regular 8”x10” or 8”x11.5” piece of paper. That equals it in writing one page of dialogue equals one minute of film time. It’s pretty much that way.
I’ve done a lot of converting my writing into audio by reading what I’m writing and putting it in recording and having it in audio format so one page of doubled space equals one minute of talking so in your head, either do the talk or think about having a conversation with somebody about some subject and it can be 8 minutes or 5 minutes and some can be 15, and around 10 minutes, that would be 10 pages and that’s it.
That’s what you want. There’s a subject that’s a sub-category of an overall subject which would be the title of your book. You know, “Confessions of an Australian Internet Marketer Who Accidentally Scored His First Million When He Wasn’t Trying,” something like that.
That’s your title, then the 10 supporting things would be the number 1. Just how clueless was I; you kind of set up things. Then chapter 5 may be the details of finding partners and to say if you really want to work with them or not.
Chapter 8 may be venture capital, like all of these things might come in and the more subject you have to choose from, that you can go off for 10 minutes on, the better your book is going to be because you’ll start calling. Get it down to a hundred. You might be forced to have a 400-page book. Don’t worry about it but just right now try to get that solid 10 minutes of each chapter and make them riveting.
And with each chapter, this was advice that was just given by someone, is position the chapter formats at as I call it horror story engagement and resolution. In other words, you can start to use chapter. In other words, I like to write newsletters and blog posts and all kinds of stuff. Start off with a little bit of horror story.
Here’s what happened to me when I didn’t know what I was doing.. you know. Chapter 5, here’s what happened to me when I tried to use AdWords and I didn’t know what I was doing. I lost all… bla bla bla and then I started learning how to do it right.
I started listening to experts, I started following stuff, I started breaking down my mistakes, I started changing and then I began to find out what to do and here’s how I resolved that problem and if every one of your chapters is like then they’re also stand alone, if you ever want to reuse it from your books.
Somebody wants to publish a sample chapter of your book or you want to put a sample chapter up in Amazon to bring people in. It’s going to follow a format that brings them in that creates a little bit of drama and you’re telling a story.
It’s very hard to read a book chapter by chapter, page by page when it’s just cold facts and its talking myself and especially when you are being lectured at. If a book is just, here’s what you need to do… bla bla bla… There’s no background, there’s no context, there’s no drama, there’s no theater going on.
So the more you can do that.. you know James you and I have hang out in multiple different cities and we’ve hang out for evenings, for whole days, for weekends and you know how the stories go. You tell a good story, I tell a good story. Sometimes we swap stories, we’re doing stuff.
Think about how those stories are and why we’re still listening to the story even though we’re imparting information, I may say, James how did you figure out how to do this podcast thing and you hold up a finger and you go, well you know, let me tell you the short version of that story and if you want a longer version, I’ll tell you that.
You know, I tried this and this happened… and if you can write in that manner, then you’re really engaging the reader, does that make sense?
James: It totally makes sense. So tell me about…we’ve got the structure of the book. So we’ve got all the way to we want to do it. We’re doing it. We’re writing it. We’ve structured it. We’ve now got a document. I guess it’s probably a word document or something at this point.
John: In fact, they recommend that you write in Word.
James: Ok. So what do we do next?
John: Well, then you want to, first of all I recommend three proofreaders. So, it should be you, your partner, your assistant, your wife, anybody who regularly reads. And read for editing purposes and others may say this subject doesn’t make sense or this but more for the nonsense little things. You know, the misspellings, the left out words, the sentences that don’t make sense.
Have another pair of eyeballs and hopefully three other pair of eyeballs look at this, so you’re editing as you’re going along. Then, you want to package this thing. You want to sandwich it. So you got your content, you want to figure out a format. Easiest way to figure out a format – grab three books off of Amazon that you like the authors, maybe they’re in the same niche you’re in and just look how they did it.
Probably they have a center, top, bold, Times Roman font for the chapter heading. Sometimes they don’t have a title to the chapter. They’d say chapter three and then they start off. And see how they positioned it and how they do this and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, in fact, you shouldn’t.
If you kind of base your format on existing formats of combination of existing formats, that’s a good way to go because those books got through the grinder at Amazon and were accepted and sold well and made it. So, no sense to try and reinvent the wheel there.
So start setting up the format of the content then you got to start collecting other stuff. You should get a foreword by someone else. It can be a colleague. It can be your mother. It can be a pal. Or, if you’re in the business like you for example would come to me and ask me to write the foreword to your book. There’s no reason not to ask. All I could do is say “No” if I don’t want to do it.
But start thinking about guys that you would want to write a foreword. And the foreword is the third party endorsement of the book different than the testimonials because you should get testimonials too.
You should have, the back page of my book for example, is all testimonials so I got some heavy hitter guys too and they gave me long testimonials, I pulled out little blurbs, made sure it was okay with them and printed that on the back, so it’s third party endorsement. Just a string of testimonials. I’ve also got testimonials for the first four or five pages of the book so open it up, the first thing you’re seeing is people’s testimonials.
Then you get to the table of contents, then you get to the foreword which mine is by Joe Polish our mutual colleague, and I actually helped, I got involved with him writing it. But some writers understand how to write forewords and what you’re doing is introducing the writer and making it okay for the reader to say “Yeah, I want to get started. Let’s get going” so it’s professional support. It can be a page.
Usually there are three or four pages and they’ll tell a story. It’s a longer testimonial but it’s also meant to help the reader get the context of the book.
Then you want to have an introduction which would be by you which you’re explaining everything. The attitude and the receptive nature of the reader. You want to say “Here’s why I want you to read this book. I wrote it because….I wanted to teach or I wanted to share all this stuff or I want to do this” but here’s how we should do it. In my book, I said start at any chapter. You don’t need to start at chapter one.
And if yours for example, you need to start at chapter one then you would say that. You know, “Start at chapter one. Don’t read chapter three first, read chapter one first”. Well, for mine it was like “Pick a chapter, read half of it. Go and read another chapter. You don’t need to read this literally. I want you to be really relaxed about it.
There are lessons and stuff but you can go back and read it again” and I just kind of introduced and set up the context so that the reader who is juiced up and ready to go from these testimonials and this foreword is now feeling like all of his questions are answered. You know, how he should approach this book because books exist in different categories.
Some books are thrillers. Some are meant to be read linearly. Some are definite educational stuff that will ask you to do homework. Some are dependent on you reading chapter one then go doing something going back and reading chapter two or section two or whatever and others are not.
So, you’re in a position to tell the reader exactly what he should do and how to approach this and to feel real good. So it’s kind of like taking them by the hand and say, “You don’t have to figure this out. All you have to do is be in a receptive state. Read this thing and if it clicks with you, you’re off to a really wonderful adventure where you’re going to read this thing”.
And then, I put in, as I said, at the end of each chapter I just added a page that was separate. So the chapter would end, and then on the next page, the next free page, whether it was a left hand or a right hand page would be, and I wrote it in the third person, so it’s a “Would you like to see more of what John Carlton has? Just go over to his blog and bla bla bla”.
So, I had one page that had the blog, one page that talked about my coaching programs, one page that talked about my mastermind and another page that talked about I think at my other book that I’ve written and I traded those off so I had with five different pages and I put one of those behind every single chapter.
So, some of them repeated because I only had five things to offer and I think I may have even skipped one and just let one chapter go straight to the next chapter without any page explaining what else I have or whatever because I think we did that we’re trying to get it under four hundred pages to be able to avoid the formatting problems we were having. So, that’s how a marketer thinks.
He wants to package this thing so it looks like a sizzling bomb ready to go off and change your life and help the reader make this thing become a priority. So he has testimonials he’s got all these stuff even leading up to the book. For me, the chapter titles are like headlines and they should be treated like headlines even if you don’t write like an ad.