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Michelle Vandepas joins the “P is for Profit” Podcast for a special episode to chat abouther journey to publishing and all of the lessons she’s learned. In case you’re new on our page, as a reminder, Michelle is an expert in helping those who want to share what they’ve learned with the world by publishing a book. She is the Co-Founder of GracePoint Matrix and GracePoint Publishing. She is also an esteemed TEDx speaker and TEDx Speaker Coach.

An Inside Look

“In the process of publishing and marketing my first book, I started talking to other people about the mistakes that they made and what I do differently. Before you know it, I was merging my marketing consulting with book consulting. Over 20 years, that morphed into specializing in publishing books. Eventually, I became Co-Founder and owner of a book publishing company. So I really understand the whole process, how you use it to market a business, how you go about writing a book when you’re not a writer, and all the way through to publishing and marketing. And that just comes from being years in the industry,” Michelle shares this and further insight on how she came to be the Co-Founder of a publishing company, as well as applicable advice such as:

Who You’ll Hear

Listen to the full conversation here, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts! P is for Profit is hosted by Adam Lean. Adam Lean, a small business veteran and founder of TheCFOProject.com interviews top small business experts to uncover the secrets to building a profit-focused company. Along the way, he’ll break down all the complex finance stuff and make it simple and easy to understand so you can be a better business owner and own a more profitable business. 

Don’t forget to follow both GracePoint Publishing and P is for Profit on their social media linked below!

 

journey to publishing

 

Full Transcript

Adam 

In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to generate sales. By becoming a published author. We’re going to talk to a book coach and publisher about why you should write a book, and what your next steps to take should be. This is P is for Profit.

You’re listening to the P is for Profit podcast with Adam Lean, where it’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you keep and how much freedom you enjoy.

Adam 

Welcome to PS for profit. My name is Adam Lean, and I along with the rest of the team at the CFO project, are passionate about helping business owners improve the profitability of their business. My guest today is Michelle Vandepas. She’s a book coach and publisher who has worked with thousands of business owners over the past 20 years to help them bring their message to the world. Michelle, welcome to the show.

Michelle 

Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Adam 

I’m really excited to talk about you know, writing a book and publishing. So I know that a lot of a lot of people have questions about that. And, you know, wonder if they could write a book themselves. So I guess tell us tell us a little bit about yourself and who you are, and how you got to, to owning a book publishing company.

Michelle 

So 21 years ago, I published my first book about marketing, because I been a business owner, and helped other business owners market themselves. 21 years ago, this book was about what color flyer paper to choose, and how to appropriately hand out flyers at networking events. So we’ve come a long way since then. And in the process of publishing, marketing, that book, I started talking to other people about mistakes I had made what I do differently. And before you know it, I was merging my marketing consulting now with book consulting. And just over the 20 years, that morphed into specializing in publishing books, and then eventually I became co founder and owner of a book publishing company. So I really understand the whole process, how you use it to market a business, how you go about writing a book, when you’re not a writer, and all the way through to publishing and marketing and that that just comes from being years in the industry.

Adam 

So first question, Why does anybody need a book a business owner when they need to write a book?

Michelle 

Yeah, great question. So there’s really two things. One is, many people really want to write a book, they say, It’s on my bucket list. Someday I’m gonna write a book, I’m sure I’ve got at least one book in me. And so there’s a yearning, there’s a desire, there’s a passion to want to write your book. And that’s a really good reason. So we’re going to talk about all the money reasons and the business reasons. But the first thing is entrepreneurs, business owners tend to be pretty passionate people or hopefully love what they do. And this is just another way to express yourself. It’s another way to talk about what you love in a creative way and get your message out in the world. So I always like to start with the heart, because I think entrepreneurs and business owners are full of heart. The second piece, though, which is what we’re all interested in, is the financial piece, how’s it going to help my business. And when you write a book, it said to a part, it shows that you have experience and expertise and whatever it is, you’ve written your book about, that you have something different to say or that you have some words of wisdom for somebody else. And it gives you a new way, not a replacement way but a new way to connect with your potential clients that might not otherwise find you. So it let’s say you’re already doing some online marketing, you’re advertising, old school, maybe a newspapers or print media, maybe you’re on radio, or podcasts, you know, the old school and new school, all of that a book is just a different way to reach your potential audience.

Adam 

Okay, so if the if the book has to have, you know, you have to be passionate about something, so you have to have that heart factor. But then the book is also a way to generate, you know, marketing. Let’s first talk about the heart factor or the why you should write a book. So let’s say that somebody owns a heating and air company out there, and they want to use them. They like the idea of writing a book. They’re passionate about heating and air, but who’s going to read a heating a book on heating and air so I guess talk to us about that.

Michelle 

Yeah, so let’s pretend I decided I want to put air conditioning in my house, Colorado. Not everybody has air conditioning. It’s not always needed. But let’s just say I decide to put air conditioning in my house that is all different years old because it’s been remodeled and added on to. I have no idea where to start. What are the questions I should ask? What are the pitfalls I need to know about? What are the upsides what are the different types of air I should be looking at? You know, what happens if I decide just to use Box fans in my windows? I mean, I have so many questions, I don’t even know where to start, I see these big units outside. But I also see other units in a window. I’m not in a place where I’m used to having air conditioning, so different than the part of the country you’re in. But I wouldn’t even know where to start, how to shop for that. Especially right now when we’re all in shelter at home, I might love to pick up a book and start researching and getting these questions answered. How do you start shopping for air conditioning? How do you choose a good Heating and Air company? What are the maintenance fees I should be expecting? So that’s just one that’s a very pragmatic way to write a book that you can either give away to potential customers send out to people who are looking use it in your advertising. You know, there’s not a lot of heart in that kind of book. But that’s definitely a book that will bring you clients. And I have no idea if there’s something like that out there yet. Yeah,

Adam 

I mean, I could definitely see how that would that would make that person more credible. I mean, if there’s, you know, in my town, I think there’s over 1000 different I mean, literally different heating and air companies. Wow. And somebody that wrote a book on it, it’s it would be seen as the authority.

Michelle 

Absolutely. Yeah, totally. And then, you know, if I make a call, and you ask for my address and say, Well, we’re just gonna send you some information, and I get a book in the mail as opposed to a brochure. That’s pretty impressive. And then maybe if they ever read it, it’s impressive. Yeah, totally. And then, you know, what, if there’s an intro chapter about, you know, why my grandfather started this business. And, you know, who knows what it would be a little bit of story in there, it makes it more interesting read, maybe some stories about people who didn’t do their due diligence and had a disaster, installing air conditioning, right? It’s like that movie, The Money Pit, right, or somebody’s remodeling their house, and it just gets worse and worse and worse. You know, we all like disaster stories when it doesn’t happen to us. And so that would be great to put in this book, too. So one of your 1000 Air Conditioning and Heating people out there, give me a call. All right.

Adam 

Yeah, and I think, let’s, let’s speak to a little bit on the sort of the overall concept of somebody’s bog, so we’ll stay on the heating and air as an example. Because I think this, I think this is so important. I want I want to get your take on this, in my opinion. And I see, you know, a lot of people because I live in the online world, and you know, just the nature of my business. I see a lot of people who write their own book, but they write a book about themselves.

Michelle 

Oh, I love this question. You haven’t even asked it? Yeah.

Adam 

I don’t think anybody cares. Yeah.

Michelle 

So we got to go to some old school marketing, right? What’s the benefit? What are the features? And what are the benefits? What’s in it for me? So me, I’m the consumer. I’m the one that needs air conditioning. So why am I writing this book? I want a short story about why your grandfather started the business. But I really want to know what’s in it for me, I don’t want to hear about your life. Unless it helps me. It’s all about me, me, me, me. Me, right. So if you own a business, you know about sales, you’ve had to learn some sales skills to stay alive. And one of the things that we know is you have to listen intently, and then answer the question that’s being asked, not what you think they need to know. And in a book, it’s the same thing, you really need to listen to your customer. And answer those questions in the book. So I don’t really care about whatever ball bearings are in there. That’s not a question I would ever ask. So what are really the questions that your customers come asking you and that’s what goes in the book. So yeah, you’re not writing your life story unless somehow it helps me read and understand what my next step is supposed to be.

Adam 

Now that makes sense. I heard sort of a cheesy saying a few years ago that that was actually stuck with me so it made some impact. that everybody is tuned into one station has wi I fm? What’s in it for me? Yeah,

Michelle 

that’s it exactly. And that’s true. And we write sales copy for a web page. It’s true if we’re out in public buying something or selling something. And when you’re in the position of sales, it’s a very powerful place to be super empathetic, rather than trying to be the powerful salesperson. They are.

Adam 

I mean, you’re, you’re essentially delivering a sales message. without, without you physically being there, somebody in the comfort of their own home can read your book, and they’re getting your sales spiel, but without the high pressure of you physically delivering it, right?

Michelle 

And do you have time, which we don’t always have in a sales call, to take people through all the objections, to answer the elephants in the room to show people what their benefits are going to be, to, to give testimonials you have that you have the time of going through that. So especially for any high ticket items, it’s fabulous, right to write a book, having said that, there’s lots of people who’ve written books that lead to $9 items online, too. But I like to think of a book, especially in this genre that we’re talking about. There’s lots of other kinds of books, personal development, and self help and fiction, all other but in this particular niche that we’re talking about, it’s an opportunity to write your long form sales letter, your love letter directly to your potential client and take them through the whole sales process. Yeah,

Adam 

so just to just to, to make sure we understand it, assuming that the book itself is is written just like you said, for the customer, for the for the end user. And it’s in the the title and everything about the book speaks to your target audience. How does the process of of actually writing the book work?

Michelle 

So if you come to someone like me, there’s there’s so you know, there’s so many ways to write a book, right? There’s a million ways to write a book. But let’s pretend you’re working with me. And I’ll tell you how I take you through the process. Okay, it would start by doing a 90 minute concept developmental call, where we would go through something like, what is it that you want the potential client to do at the end, pick up the phone and call you press something on a web page and sign up for an email? Order something like, what’s the result? What’s the goal here? Book, you for speaking invite you to come to their quanis club, you know, what is the goal? And then we work backwards? What do they need to know to be able to take that step? Do they need to have faith in you? Do they need to know you’re an expert? Do they need to believe that you have something no one else has? Are you giving them an irresistible offer? What is it and so we start working backwards, and then we give them maybe it’s your FAQ in the book, and maybe it’s some stories and we start developing out the whole book and how it will lead them through the process of why you are the expert in the field. We don’t want it to just be a sales letter, right. But I’m sort of doing the outline for you here. This is this will be the outline of how we get this book written, we’re going to punch it up with with feel good stories and disaster stories and other things to make it an interesting read. But we do want to get the meat in there as well. And so we would lay all that out. And then number of different ways I might interview a business owner, spend some time myself or one of my book coaches actually on the phone, interviewing and transcribing that. So a lot of business owners don’t have time to sit down and write or maybe they just, they want the book but they’re not writers. So that’s one way. Another way is they may take a bullet point that we’ve worked on and voice texted into their phone and then get that transcribed. other business owners actually are going to sit down and write for 20 minutes every single day on one of the bullet points we created. And then we start flushing out the book, Getting some meat in there. And then it goes to an editor really good developmental editor that will start moving things around in the manuscript, putting it in the right order, and telling you the author Are where it needs to be flushed out a little bit. So you’re working with somebody like myself and an editor all through the process to help you get this book written. It’s a different process than somebody who wants to write a self help book who’s digging deep into their own process of how they moved from trauma to healed or something like that. That’s a different process. And I just want to be clear that I don’t use this particular process with every author. But for business owners who are busy, have a lot on their plate, want to get a book out to help them build business? This is a process that works for the majority of people.

 

Adam 

I like how you said at the beginning, you know, before anybody even puts pen to paper, let’s figure out the goal. What is the next step? When you have when somebody reads your book? Or has your book? What do you want them to do? Is it to get book to the Carolinas? Or, you know, chamber meeting? Or is it for networking? Is it to build just trust? Is it to give away on on Facebook? You know? Yep, yeah. And we can, we can address many of those things. But we, we want to talk it through and think it through, because if you want them to pick up the phone and order high ticket item, we want to make sure we’re building lots of credibility in there.

Adam 

Yeah, right, absolutely. Trust, all the things that you would have an opportunity to do if you were meeting face to face. We want to get those same, the trust factor, like you said, and just as comfortability out on the paper, so the person will pick up the phone in order.

Adam 

Yeah, that makes sense. So I mean, obviously, you’ve you’ve helped several authors over the, over the years write books, what are some of the common mistakes that authors make when they you know, write their book and publish it?

Michelle 

Who there’s so many, just like with, in starting any business, right, or being a business owner, we all make tons of mistakes. You know, some of the mistakes are not really understanding who your audience is, and thinking you can write a book for the general public. That doesn’t usually work. So even if you have a great story, I’m not a big fan of Avatar marketing and niche marketing. And a lot of people teach that stuff. But I do think you need to know who your audiences and write your book for your audience. Because otherwise, your book tends to be too diluted, and you’re not speaking directly to the person that needs to read it. Then there are mistakes like, not the right kind of editing, not enough editing, a really bad book cover. So you can look at it and go, Oh, I’d never read that book. And then things like ISBN ends, and how when you buy an ISBN, you really need to understand who owns the book project. So if you work with a publisher, you would not own your ISBN, the publisher would, if you’re self publishing, then you get your own ISBN. And this is a piece that any reputable consultant book publisher, self publishing company will explain to you and take you through it. But I have seen authors come to me after they’ve published with somebody else that may have been a self publishing company, but that company owns the ISBN. And then they cannot take that work and republish it elsewhere. So there’s not a right or wrong, it’s just understanding what you’re doing. It’s like any decision, just knowing the facts, so you can make an educated decision about what’s best for you. I’m not saying buy your ISBN or don’t buy your ISBN, I think each each author and each business owner is going to have to make that decision based on what’s best for them after they get some facts.

 

Adam 

Yeah, that makes sense. Just for clarification, what does it can you explain the ISBN concept? Yeah, why why would want to own it or, versus letting the publisher on it?

 

Michelle 

Yeah. So if you open up, so anybody who’s listening you, I’m sure you have a book on your desk, pick up the book and on the back cover, by the barcode, there should be an ISBN. And when you open the book, on the copyright page, there’s an ISBN and that’s a little bit like a social security number for the book, explains where the book was born, who, where the book came from, all those kinds of things. Whoever owns the ISBN, owns the package of the book. So, get a little bit technical here. If you write the book, you own your words, you own the copyright to your words, but whoever owns the ISBN owns the package of the book. I put together in that package with the cover the book, the editing, and so forth. And so it’s a little bit like if you write a song, and then you have a producer, a producer and publish the song, that producer might own the rights to that song under that packaging. So I don’t know if that’s a good example. So in other words, when the contract is over with your publisher, you can take your words and go republish it a different way. But while the book is under contract, it has to have that particular cover, it has to have that particular layout and design, it has to have that ISBN attached with those words, because there’s now a package that is all together under that, ISBN, that makes sense.

Adam 

No, it does.

Michelle 

Okay, yeah, good.

Adam 

How long does it typically take for somebody to write a book from start to finish working with you?

Michelle 

Yeah. So in this particular way of writing a book, so if someone comes to me and says, you know, I’ve got all this stuff in my head, I want to use a book to get business specifically to get more clients to make myself known as an expert in the industry to build my credibility, because I want to be an author, right, so I’m gonna write down my stories. And we do something like this process that I just talked about, maybe I interview you, whatever, we can get a book done in 90 days, really 90 days, who can somebody who has a self development self improvement kind of book and it’s more process oriented, and you have to dig deep through some more feelings in the process that takes longer, usually, it’s a different type of writing, it’s not business writing. And so that may take longer the editing, however, we may go back and edit. And then if you’re working with a good editor, good editor can get your changes within a few days. But this is where most authors get stuck, and they need some help, we go into our self doubt we go into is this really what I want to do? It triggers all of our middle school red X’s across the paper, English. So no matter how self confident we are about our subject, there’s something about when you go into editing, everybody freaks out, and so goes into self doubt. And so my job is to continue to push people through that time, so that you don’t get stuck so that you can continue publishing the book or, you know, editing the book and get it into publishing, and not get stalled out in that process. So that’s a, that’s just a place that I’m aware of. And then I always talk to authors, don’t worry, if you get stalled out, I’m here to help you push you through. And then the actual publishing process can take anywhere from three weeks to three months, depending on how much testing we do on book covers, how much we go back and forth on layout and design. I mean, we can get it up and done really quickly, in a week, or we may take a lot of time to do some pre book launch things and, and like I said, book covers and so forth, and it might take three months. So the fastest is is like three months from beginning to end. I have worked with authors that have taken years to get books out. But the average book is probably a business book is six months.

Adam 

Okay. Well, Michelle, this is all been fascinating. Thanks. Yeah. So I guess one last question, Where can people find you if they’re interested in learning more? Or just even starting the process? And where can people find you?

Michelle  

So I’m at Grace point publishing.com. And you can set an appointment to talk with myself or one of our coaches just by clicking on the link. There’s also free download of, you know, things to know before you hit that publish button. I’m all over social media. I’m not hiding out. And you know, I love to do this. So if you think you have an idea for a book, give me a call. And we’ll we’ll talk talk it through and see if you do.

Adam 

Excellent. Yeah, so Grace point. publishing.com. We’ll put that in the show notes. Michelle, thank you so much for being here. Thank you, Adam. It was a pleasure. So if you would like to see if Michelle and her team can help you write a book and help promote your business, feel free to reach out I’ll put her website again in the show notes at Grace point. publishing.com. Thank you so much for listening. And remember, the goal of your business should be to make more profit than last year, and to turn that profit into cash that you get to keep thanks for listening.

 

 

The P is for Profit podcast is sponsored by the CFO project. We help small business owners and entrepreneurs pocket bigger profits. If you’re ready to discover the five changes required to boost your profits this quarter. You’ll want to attend our latest presentation, why your small business might not be as profitable as it should be. Register at the CFO project.com/video

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