How to Write, Promote and Monetize a Bestselling Book with Allan Dib

Episode Notes

In this solo episode, Allan Dib, the author of the world-famous The 1-Page Marketing Plan, guides you through writing, promoting, and monetizing a bestselling nonfiction book.

Allan is an author who has written two bestselling marketing books—the ones he wishes he had when he was first learning marketing.

His book, The 1-Page Marketing Plan, was called one of the "10 Best Marketing Books" by Huffington Post. Translated into over 30 languages, it has transformed the marketing strategies of over a million businesses globally.

Now, Allan is excited to share insights on writing a nonfiction book that could transform your career:

Pros and Cons of Writing a Nonfiction Book: Is it worth the journey?

Developing a Strong Book Concept: What makes a concept irresistible?

Writing Process and Structure: How can you elevate your writing to the next level?

Effective Promotion Strategies: How can you maximize your book's reach and impact?

Gain actionable insights on how to make your nonfiction book a success from an expert who has been there and done it twice!

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Allan Dib: Hey, it's Alan Dibb, and welcome to this episode where I'm gonna talk about writing promoting and monetizing a bestselling nonfiction book.

Now, I'm best known for my book

, the One Page Marketing Plan, -which is sold almost a million copies worldwide and. In nonfiction terms, that's generally classed as a real smash hit.

Allan Dib: And so I'm very often asked about my advice for writing a bestselling book, for promoting it, for monetizing it. How did I get so many sales? And so I'm gonna answer some of those questions in this episode.

I'm not gonna discuss the pros and cons of traditional publishing with a publisher.

Versus self-publishing yourself on Amazon and so on. There plenty of tutorials and videos and articles on all of those.

The Pros and Cons of Writing a Nonfiction Book


Allan Dib: Okay, so first question we want to ask is, should you write a book even?

And so that's a very good question to ask because there are some downsides of writing a book. While I'm gonna talk about a lot of the upsides and how to capitalize on those, there are a lot downsides of writing a book.

The first downside is It's a huge project. [00:01:00] There are so many people who want to write book but very few people who actually deliver on that. And so all the effort is front loaded. For example, for my latest book, lean Marketing. I spent nearly two years writing that book and then plus time promoting and all the logistics involved and getting it printed and type set and all of that sort of thing.

So you might spend years of time without getting very much feedback from the marketplace. It just takes. All of your effort, you're thinking about this big project all the time, that's if you do it properly, there are ways to kind of get a ghost writer or somebody to do for you.

And I'm not saying those things are bad, so that works for a lot people. I'm talking about you writing a, book that you're really proud of, and a book that you want to get out into the marketplace and put your name too.

The next downside is it can be very expensive if done properly. So there are course, people on Fiverr freelancers and things like that'll help you type, set and put together a cover and all of those sorts of things.

And I'm sure many of them are good, but if you're going to do it at very [00:02:00] high level, meaning you're going to do it in a way that. Will be equivalent to what's produced in traditional publishing. It can get very expensive because there's type setting there's cover design there's editing and often there's multiple rounds and multiple types of editing.

For example, in my book we did a couple of rounds of what's called substantive editing. Then we did a couple of rounds of copy editing. There's also another type of editing, line editing, so that can get quite expensive. you've got a lot of people To help you do that. Then if you've got a lot diagrams or things like that, you'll need help with graphic design, cover design very important.

People say, don't judge a book by its cover. That's literally what a book cover is there for. We judge a book by its cover. So all of those things are not necessarily expensive in themselves, but altogether it's not unusual to spend maybe 20 to $50,000 us in getting all the book production done.

And then there's things like the audiobook. You'll want to have a narrator [00:03:00] narrated. Sometimes you can narrate it yourself, but still there'll be editing expenses and things like that. So they're probably two biggest downsides of writing a nonfiction book. The effort, the time involved, and the expense involved. So there are things you want think about carefully. Now, hopefully, I haven't dissuaded you from writing a nonfiction book because there are many upsides. There are many reasons to write a nonfiction book, but

I heard a quote, I. A few years ago, I think it was Seth Godin who said, the book that will most change your life is the book that you write.

And I wholeheartedly agree with that. Every single day I get emails from readers, I get opportunities in my inbox I get people asking me to speak, to go on their podcast, all of those sorts of things. So it's a massive. Opportunity creator.

And so I think of it as the nuclear weapon of business cards. It's a business card that people actually pay for and that they really want, what happens with those business cards? They get thrown in the trash. It's very [00:04:00] unusual for someone to throw a book in the trash.

We've kind of been conditioned to respect books and by extension authors, and so. Even if someone never reads your book, they'll probably keep it. They'll probably give it away. They'll probably put it in the bookshelf. Very rarely will they just throw it in the trash. It's an amazing giveaway as well, it's an amazing front end to your world.

Whether you do consulting, coaching, or have another product or whatever else, and it's a great introduction to your world.

And the next. Point I wanna make is gives you instant authority. Like I said, we've been conditioned from childhood to respect books and by extension authors.

Now, for a lot of people, another pro, while they why they wanna write a book is to leave a legacy. Look, to me, that's not a massive driver, but to a lot of people it is. Books have last a very long time. I mean, we still read and respect books from authors from hundreds, even thousands of years ago.

The next reason to write a book is it actually provides value people's lives. So you can [00:05:00] create a change in someone's life, give them an idea or a concept or something that you've been working on for a very low cost.

And, I've had ideas and my life changed by many different. Books as well. So I think it's a really powerful way to convey information. It's an incredible marketing asset. I often talk to clients about creating marketing assets.

What's a marketing asset? A marketing asset is something that will attract new leads, new customers, new prospects to you.

So it's a great form of inbound marketing. So someone who's read your book is now at least warm or understanding of your idea, and you don't have to. Go cold and start convincing them why what you do is a good idea or your method of doing things and things like that. So it really provides a warm audience and like I said, it can bring a lot of opportunities.

It's an amazing way to package information. It's a very durable package. There are many ways package information. You can package it in video form as a [00:06:00] blog post, as a tweet, as short form video, long form video, all of those sorts things.

But. As I mentioned earlier, we read books from hundreds, even thousands of years ago. I highly doubt that in a hundred or in a thousand years from now, that someone will be watching your TikTok video or your YouTube video, or your tweet or whatever. So it's a very durable form to package information.

It's also very self-contained. For example, if you've got five great blog posts, it makes very hard to share. Sure, someone could email five links, but if you want to get it out to a large audience, a book is a real self-contained piece of information where all of your ideas, all of your concepts, all of your frameworks can be packaged in a nice, neat package and sold all in one piece. It's really stood the test of time as a way of passing on and packaging ideas.

The other thing that I really love about books, it gives the reader [00:07:00] time and focus to think about your message, your ideas, your frameworks, your concepts.

So much distraction is happening right now with social media and all of that sort of stuff. With emails, with blog posts, tweets, with whatever, it's like one of 50 tabs someone has open and they're getting constant distractions all the time, and even if they're reading your content,

they're probably not giving an exclusive focus, whereas with books, I really love that it, the reader takes the time to really focus and think about your message. And that's true even when it's in audio form. They may be doing other things, but you're kind of in their ear and they're, they've got. There are other things blocked out, which I really like.

Alright, so there's some of the pros of writing a book. Hopefully the pros outweighed the cons.

And we wanna get into the first thing when comes to writing a bestseller. So

The Importance of a Strong Book Concept


Allan Dib: first of all I'll say is you can't write a best seller.

You can only write a book. It's really the market that decides if it's a best seller. But I'm gonna give you [00:08:00] some tips in this episode designed to really help you stack the odds in your favor. There are a couple of things when it comes to creating a bestseller, there are a whole bunch of intrinsic things.

So things inside the book that are going to make the book sell really well. And then there are external things, how you market it. And we're gonna talk about both of those things.

The Nonfiction Book Writing Process: From Structure to Editing


Allan Dib: So first, let's talk about the writing, the intrinsic part of creating a book that sells really well.

So it's my belief that a book is one of the hardest products to market. And the reason that is a book's a high effort on the consuming side things. So, for example, to read a tweet or a LinkedIn post or watch a YouTube. Video, it's a lot less effort than it is to read a whole book. And so because of that, it's a much harder product to market.

Now, if the book isn't any good, you're gonna have very limited success.

So what makes a good nonfiction book?

I'm gonna outline seven things. The first is, and this is really in my view, the most important of [00:09:00] all.

It's the concept or the big idea. I say concept is king when comes to a book, and what I mean by the concept is someone sees an idea or framework and they say.

I want that. And so you wanna write the book that you wish you had? When I wrote the one page marketing plan, I'd read many marketing books, I'd attended many marketing conferences, I'd had many marketing mentors and I got great ideas from each, but I wished I had that guide that took me from zero.

To Marketing Hero. And so that's the book I wrote. I wrote the book that I really wish that I had, and I think that's a large reason why it's been successful. So if you've solved problem in your life or your business or whatever else, and you've got formula that you could help somebody with, that's often a great concept for book.

Now. The concept needs to be packaged up as a big idea. So you want an idea that's really gonna connect with your audience. I'm gonna give you some examples from the nonfiction world. For example, atomic Habits, the [00:10:00] smash hit, bestselling nonfiction book of probably all time. It's got a great big idea, meaning, hey, you can get.

Big results by getting 1% better every day. your habits are based on systems and not necessarily on goals. Uh, Another example is the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I wanna know what the seven habits of more effective people are. Book by David Allen.

Getting things done. Hey, I want that. I wanna figure out how do I get things done? The Miracle Morning. I wanna have a Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

that's the first place I would start is what's the big overarching idea that's gonna make people say, Hey, I want that.

The next thing that will help you write and sell bestseller is the title and the subtitle. Now, the number one thing that I will tell you here is be clear. Not clever. Often people will try to create some clever little title or some one word title that's kind of difficult to [00:11:00] understand or difficult to communicate.

And so what you want is your big idea to be communicated clearly in the title, make it really, really clear. and like some of the examples that I just read out, for example, the four Hour Work Week. It's pretty clear this book is about telling me how to get a four hour work week.

The one page marketing plan is about creating a marketing planning one page, so all of these books clear rather than being clever with their title. Now, I'm not saying clever title will never work, but generally they work better for authors that are already well known where you've already got an audience and people will just buy whatever you release because you've already got that reputation.

For most of us, we don't have that luxury, and you want to be. Absolutely crystal clear because if you think about it,


Amazon a search engine. For books obviously other products. And so when somebody searches something and your book comes up and if your title is confusing, they're not really sure what it's about or whatever.

It's [00:12:00] unlikely that they're gonna click on and try to figure out what is this about? Or whatever. They'll just keep scrolling to the next thing that makes sense.

Tip number three is the cover design. As I said earlier, a book is judged by its cover.

That's literally what cover exists for. So you want that. Professionally designed, and you want it be something that supports big idea or the title, not distracting, not overly crazy design or whatever. We don't wanna take away from what we want people to focus on, which is actually the big idea.

We don't wanna turn this into an art project. The other tip I'll give you in terms cover design is to look at it not only just in full size. Look at it in thumbnail form. So when somebody searches on Amazon or other online bookstores or whatever, they see just a tiny little thumbnail. And what I want to make sure is that the title is still very clear, even when it's in a small thumbnail form.

And sometimes can even make the subtitle clear in thumbnail form, although that's a little bit harder.

Okay, next is [00:13:00] the description and the introduction to the book. I've sort of lumped these into one category, so tip number four is all about getting the description and intro.

Right now you need to start off book really strong. And the reason I say that is because the first, maybe 5% of the book. Also the back cover and the description of the book that you have in the book listing. They're essentially the sales letter for the book. That's what's gonna convince somebody to buy or not to buy.

So they're gonna skim through that. They might read through some of the preview on most online bookstores. You can hit preview and can see the first little bit of the book. And. Some of the questions that you want to answer is, who is this book for? What problem does it solve?

Again, same as the title. Starting off really strong, we wanna say who this is for, what problem does it solve, and how does it solve that?

So number five, and I've kind of got a bit of an asterisk around this, but this can be important. Is the author and there's not much you can do about the [00:14:00] author, right?

But if a famous person writes a book or a well-known person or someone who's got some notoriety the book will sell just because of that. It's not much you can do if you're not a well-known author or whatever. When I wrote the One-page marketing plan, nobody knew that I existed.

I couldn't do anything about that. One thing that I've seen some people do is they'll get a famous person to write a like an endorsement or an intro or forward for them, and they'll list them as a co-author. Generally speaking, I've not seen that work really well, and I wouldn't.

Allan Dib: Kind of share the co-author title with someone who just wrote, the foreword to, my book. I don't think that's worthwhile doing.

Tip number six is the writing, and this is where you'll spend most of your time and effort. Now, there's a few things that I recommend when it comes to the actual writing of the book.

Number one the structure. You want have a very definitive structure to your book, meaning it's easy follow, like you'll look at the table contents and it makes sense, you [00:15:00] know where we are headed.

You want to take people on a journey. Give them a definitive structure or framework to plug into so that they're not kind of left wondering, where is this book going? What's happening with all of this?

Great concept, but where are we headed? So you want to have that structure laid out and so that it's really easy and obvious for them to know where is this going? So often you'll read a book where it's got good material. Even good writing and you're still unsure. Where is this headed? Where am I going?

All of that sort of stuff. And I think that detracts from the readability. People love structure and they love something that helps make them feel that they're on a journey to something that's kind of a complete.


The next is what I call dual readership path. You'll notice that in all of my books, I have subheadings all throughout every maybe five or 600 words, sometimes less, sometimes more, just depending on what I'm writing to make sure it makes sense.

But I've got big sub headlines all throughout because [00:16:00] some people readers, some people are skims, and most people are a combination of both. So we wanna make sure that we hit both and. That those sub-headlines give you an opportunity to suck people back into the text where they might read a sub-headline and they're like, wow that's interesting.

Let me, what's he saying here? So that's an important part of making your book really readable. Next is story. As human beings, we've been designed to pass information communication over thousands of years through story form. Story is so powerful, particularly in a, for a nonfiction book. In a fiction book, obviously the whole thing story, right?

But in a nonfiction book, you don't want to be just information because you can't be Google or w Wikipedia or search engines for information. What you want your book be is not textbook. You want it to be in story form or include stories and characters and things like that, because that's what's gonna make it readable.

Next is to make your [00:17:00] writing simple and accessible. So I always think about my writing in a conversational, easy to understand style. So I assume. When I'm writing that the other person knows absolutely nothing about topic I'm talking about, and I pretend me and my buddy talking over a coffee and me explaining a concept or framework or whatever it is that I'm actually explaining.

Allan Dib: That creates writing that's so much more conversational, easy to understand. One of the big mistakes that people make is going into overly academic or business or professional mode in their writing. I avoid that at all costs because you want writing that's got personality and attitude in it. There's nothing worse than writing that's so overly academic or boring.

And it just makes so hard to read. So many times I've read a book that's got super cool concepts, but the writing is just horrific and it just makes it so hard to get through. It's just like. Like a slog. What you want is your writing to be [00:18:00] easy to read and often easy to read.

Writing is conversational.

The last tip that I'll give you is in terms of editing. Now, you would think when you finished writing that most the work that you've done is done very far from the truth. So what you'll find is when you're finished writing your first draft at least, is you've got a lot garbage in there, and editing is where you turn crap.

Into gold. So a big part what you do in editing is cut. You want to cut the number of words that you use communicate your concepts, your ideas, your frameworks. Now I spent a lot of time in my last book, when I'd finished writing the first draft was well over 120,000 words. That is way, way too long for a nonfiction book.

And ideally you want to be somewhere around maybe 50, 60,000 words. Now, ended up being at about 75,000 words because it's a very comprehensive book, but I [00:19:00] was happy with that. So what you want to do is cut, cut, cut. Remove anything that's unnecessary. Remove anything that is repetitive. Remove anything that just doesn't make any kind of sense or has potential to confuse someone.

So that is how you will turn.

turn. Terrible writing into awesome writing by cutting. You want to use the minimum number of words to communicate your concepts. Now, another thing that I did, it's a little pro hack when it comes to writing, is I got the computer read back the book to me. Now when computer reads the book back to me.

I hear all the weird sentences, the things that don't quite make sense because the computer reads back exactly what's on the screen rather than what you think is on the screen. Or you think you wrote a good sentence, but you hear it back and you think, that sounds really weird. That's not exactly what I meant, or not the way I meant to say it, or there's a missing word or something like that.

So that's another pro hack. So I hope that's been helpful. So that's all about the writing process.

Next, let's get [00:20:00] into promotion.

Promoting and Monetizing Your Book


Allan Dib: So you've written your book, how do We Get the World to know about Now, there are a few key ways to get your book out the world there.

Number one is your own platform. So do you have an email list?

Do you have a social following? Do you have a YouTube channel? Do you have a podcast? Now, you're a first time author, you may already have those things or you may not. There's other ways that I'm going to show you how to. Promote your book and get it out the world, but you want to be building up your email list as you're writing the book, before you're writing the book, you wanna build up some of your author platform because those become very important for promoting your book out the world.

Next is. Other people's platforms. Other people's email lists, other people's social networks, other people's YouTube channels, and appearing as a guest on other people's podcasts. Now, who are other people? Other people are bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, and I have a special group of people I call cousin authors.

So Authors [00:21:00] who have. A similar audience to myself, So our messages don't conflict with each other. We have similar philosophies, and so we will get together and we will help promote each other's books. Sometimes we'll get on a webinar together. Sometimes I'll appear as a guest on their podcast, or they may appear as a guest on my podcast.

It's great to put together your group of cousin authors where you can help each other because we know that if someone buys one book, they're probably buying other books. You're not really competitors as authors, you're really very complimentary. And so you can have a very similar message, very similar audience, and you can help each other a lot.

Another thing that we've done to promote our books is get into relevant Facebook groups. Sometimes we'll offer the. Administrator of Facebook group, a free giveaway. We'll, we might give one or two books away and say, Hey give those away to your audience. Creates a lot of excitement and things like that.

The third way is with reviews. Reviews are an important social proof signal. They're kind of a self-fulfilling [00:22:00] prophecy because people go to your Amazon book listing or whatever and they see tons of reviews or whatever, so they think, Hey, that's a great signal that the book is really good.

And then they go buy. Now goes without saying, don't do. anything unethical Do not pay for reviews. Do not incentivize reviews, don't get fake reviews or anything like that. You'll either get caught out and it's really karma. Just get. Real reviews. It's not that hard to get real reviews. Now, how do I do that? I basically ask, one of the best ways get anything you want in life is to ask. And so part of our email opt-in sequence, when someone opts into our email list, I say, Hey, thank you so much for reading. Really appreciate it. If you'd left a review. When someone emails me and says, Hey, I read your book, really loved it or or that sort thing, I say, thank you so much.

Thank you for kind words. I'd massively appreciate it if you left me a review on Amazon. Asking for reviews is best way to get reviews. So The fourth way is with paid ads. Now, I've experimented with [00:23:00] paid ads in many different forms, but the one that I've found most effective for selling books is Amazon ads because people are already on Amazon. They see the ad for your book, and you can target other books that are similar as well, and people click on and buy now.

Other authors have had success with Facebook and Instagram ads, YouTube ads, Google ads. I found best return from Amazon ads, but again, test and measure like anything

next is pr. So there's traditional media. There's local media. I've experimented with this and I've been mentioned on traditional media and in local media, and it's definitely generated something.

I wouldn't say been a smash hit, so I think traditional PR is kind of on the decline, and so I'd rather appear on a high profile podcast than on a high profile traditional media publication.

Now, the last way promote is with endorsements, so endorsements from other authors. You'll often see authors including endorsements from other similar authors or [00:24:00] celebrities or whatever.

That can be useful. I don't think that really moves a lot of books, but it's a nice thing to have. So if you can build that group of cousin authors you can endorse each other's stuff and it provides some nice social proof element. And people overestimate the impact that has. So that's promoting your book.

Monetizing Your NonfictionBook: From Royalties to Consulting


Allan Dib: Finally, let's talk about monetizing your book now. The key to monetizing your book is building an audience from your book.

So many authors put a book out there and they have no way building an audience because when someone buys book, Amazon or wherever they bought it from, don't report to you the user's details. You don't have their name, you don't have their email address. It's just someone on anonymous is bought book.

So what wanna do is you want a way build your audience from your book. One of the ways that I do it and many other authors do it,

is by putting in resources in the book that help people go beyond the book. Now that's great two reasons. First all, it's helpful to the reader because they can go beyond [00:25:00] the book and get more help, additional resources, all of those sort of things. So it adds a lot of value to them. But it also now connects you to your audience. Now you can build your email list. So in all of my books, I have a URL peppered throughout . Where I offer additional resources. For example, in the one page marketing plan, you can download the one page. Marketing plan canvas other resources and things like that, and you opt in, put in your email address.

And so now I've got their email address and I communicate with them directly and they have additional value over and above the book. So this means I can reach out to them far beyond someone, just some anonymous reader that I've got no connection to. And you can monetize this in multiple ways.

So I think of the book as the front end. Offer to additional products, additional services, all of those sorts of

So one of the obvious ways of monetizing a book is with royalties. So you might, if you've got a traditional book deal, that might include an advance and then royalties. If you don't have a traditional book deal, if you [00:26:00] just self-published that'll be royalties that you get from the self-publishing platforms.

Another way that I've gotten, is from selling foreign rights. My books have been published in well over 30 languages, and so you license the foreign rights to a foreign publisher. So they'll do the translation, they'll do the production, they'll do all of those sorts of things, and they will pay you royalties.

They will pay you in advance, and so you can get those foreign rights.

Another way with bulk orders or customized copies. If your book is. Perfect for particular corporation or some sort of co-op or group or whatever else. They'll often ask to order bulk copies, and you can sell your books in bulk.

You can also sell customized copies. You might have a cover with their branding on it or whatever else. I've seen that done very successfully. Now with a nonfiction book, you're usually conveying some kind of idea or framework or some kind big concept. And so a lot of the time the book will [00:27:00] outline the concept or the framework or the idea, but It's quite different to implementing Right? A lot of your consulting, your coaching can be high ticket coaching and consulting that's off the back of that book. So for example, in the case of my I talk about how to together a marketing plan, how to implement marketing, all of that sort of stuff.

But very often people are like, Hey, is a great idea. I'd love more help with it. I want someone to hold my hand and show me how to do it. I kind of liken it to. Going to a concert, right? So you may love a particular artist and you stream their album and you stream their songs and things like that, and you get those for free or very cheap.

But when they're town and you wanna attend a concert, that's a very different experience. And so you may pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to see that artist live, even though they're playing the same content same songs. All of those sorts things. a completely different experience.

So a book is one type of experience, but coaching and consulting and delivering what you do is a completely different [00:28:00] experience. And a lot of people will want help implementing the concept that they've really connected with in your book. And finally, products like courses or other stuff. So A book can be a really great front end for all those sorts of things. So that's it.

Today's episode, hope that's really been helpful you. We're talking about how to write a bestseller. How to promote bestseller, and finally, how to monetize a bestseller. I wish you well on journey as bestselling author and, bye for