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The Published Author Podcast

NO AGENT, NO FOLLOWERS, BUT SHE STILL LANDED A BOOK DEAL

Author and marketer Nikki Nash freely admits she didn’t follow any advice she was given on how to get an agent and write a book.

A marketing consultant, Nikki tells the Published Author Podcast: “I literally tell people that I manifested my book, because everything people told me about getting a book deal, I did not do any of that!

“I didn't have an agent. I didn't have 50,000 people on my Instagram following me, or on my email list. 

“I had a firm belief that this book would be amazing, and that Hay House was going to publish this book. I just went for it.”

Regardless of what you think about how Nikki’s book came to be, there’s no doubt that determination and hard work played a huge role!

Nikki competed with 100 people to win a Hay House publishing deal. A few months later, she competed with a smaller group of authors and won months of mentoring with Hay House CEO Tracy Reid!

Her book, Market Your Genius, finally comes out in August, 2021. Market Your Genius helps entrepreneurs generate leads and build a community.

CAN’T FIND TIME TO WRITE YOUR BOOK? PUT IT IN YOUR CALENDAR

Nikki knew as a child that she’d write a book. However, as an adult and founder of the busy marketing consultancy Nikki Nash, she wasn’t sure how she would find time to write. 

“It wasn't until I saw this video by Brendon Burchard, a motivational speaker. He said if he looked at your calendar and couldn't tell what your big goals were, then they weren't gonna happen,” Nikki tells show host Josh Steimle.

“I started right then. I just started putting time on my calendar to figure out how I was going to write a book and bring it into the world.”

GETTING A PUBLISHING DEAL

First, Nikki focused on getting a book deal. After searching online she discovered an article about how to get a publishing deal with Hay House.

“If you attend their Writer’s Workshop, they will allow you to submit a book proposal on a specific date and then they choose somebody, one person out of the submissions.”

Nikkie and 99 other writers attended the Hay House event. Out of that 100, only Nikki’s proposal was selected by Hay House.

HOW TO CREATE A BOOK PROPOSAL

Nikki explains that the first step to getting a book deal is having a decent book proposal, which is essentially a business plan for a book. 

A book proposal must include:

  1. That there’s no other book like it in your industry
  2. Why your book needs to exist
  3. Why you’re the person to write your book
  4. Sample chapters
  5. How you will help market your book. 

Nikki bought a book proposal course from Bookmama.com and then began writing, completing her proposal non-stop in 48 hours! It can actually It can take months to write a book proposal, and costs up to $20,000 if someone writes your proposal. 

After submitting her proposal to Hay House and waiting for months for their decision, Nikki attended another, smaller Hay House event. Here, she competed to win one-on-one mentoring with Tracy Reid. 

HOW TO DEAL WITH WRITING CHALLENGES

Writing the book outline

Nikki’s first challenge was completing her book’s outline. Her mind was so full of ideas and information she began to feel overwhelmed. 

“To push past that, I reached out to people on my email list and posted in Facebook groups. I announced I would write and publish a chapter every week for 90 days. I asked if people were interested in reading an early copy of the book.”

The response was positive, because people really wanted to learn about how to get more clients and more leads. 

Writing accountability

Nikki explains: “What I needed was accountability. So what I did was I set up my email system to automatically send out a new email to everybody every week. The email had a link to a Google Doc. 

“I made a new Google Doc for every single chapter. Because that Google Doc was going to be emailed to them whether I wrote something in it or not, I knew I didn't want the embarrassment of having a blank document!”

The genius in this idea is that Nikki learned that her book resonated with people, and that the followers formed a group who will help promote the book.

The book writing process

Nikki’s Hay House editor wanted to see one chapter at a time, but Nikki couldn’t write like this and instead just wanted to get the whole book down into a document. Her editor agreed to this change. Then followed an extended period of editing, with drafts moving back and forth, lasting around May 2021. 

HOW TO USE YOUR BOOK TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

Nikki says her book will reach many more people than she’ll be able to work with in her career. Those readers could sign up for her newsletter or courses, and some will even become clients.

The book launch itself is another business opportunity, bringing about a new discussion point for newsletters, podcasts, and even client updates. 

Next, Hay House will pitch Nikki and her book to various forms of media. She’ll focus on adding value to her audience, but of course will have an opportunity to mention her book, which gives her credibility in her industry. 

If you liked this episode and show notes you’ll find these episodes useful:

Scott Schrober Publicized His Books With Local Speaking Gigs and Won New Business

Michelle Tillis Lederman On The Personalized Approach To PR For Book Marketing 

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ABOUT THE HOST

The Published Author Podcast is hosted by Josh Steimle, founder of Published Author. Josh is a book author himself and his article writing has been featured in over two dozen publications including Time, Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, and TechCrunch. He's a TEDx speaker, the founder of the global marketing agency MWI, a skater, father, and husband, and lives on a horse farm in Boston. Learn more at JoshSteimle.com.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Today my guest is Nikki Nash. Nikki is a marketer, business advisor and founder of Market Your Genius. Nikki had a 10-year career of marketing fortune 100 brands and tech startups before she decided she wanted to help women build profitable online businesses. And she's now the author of the book Market Your Genius set to be released by Hay House Publishing in August of 2021. So, you might be listening to this, it might already be out, or it might be coming out very soon. Either way, Nikki, welcome to the show.

Nikki Nash:

Thank you so much for having me.

Josh Steimle:

So, I'm excited to get into your book and the process you've gone through to create that. But first, give us a little background, who are you beyond what I introduced you as, tell us a little bit about where you come from, what you've done, how you got to where you are today?

Nikki Nash:

Yep, I am a Jersey girl. So, shout out to anybody listening, who is from the great state of New Jersey, that often gets a really bad rap. But I am born and raised in New Jersey. And I always knew that I wanted to be in some sort of industry that created content. And I initially wanted to be an actress. I did theater in high school. And honestly, mindset stuff knocks me out of the game. I had all these fears. Am I good enough? Could I actually do this? Who makes a living doing this? There's like a million people who want to be actors. And so I ended up deciding I wanted to be a journalist, and then talked to myself out of that, and somehow ended up in marketing. And I really fell in love with people who worked at the marketing department of In Style magazine. So that was my first job out of college. And honestly, I just kept searching for the job, the thing that was going to leave me super fulfilled. So, I'd leave a job kind of every year and a half, two years, on average until I net out on the reality that I didn't want to work for somebody else. I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and mindset almost knocked me out of that game. But I came back with a vengeance and started my own business and haven't looked back since. And I just help people who I would consider expertpreneurs, they have an area of expertise, they have something they're really passionate about a lot of authors, speakers, coaches, consultants, you know, the creative crew, and I help them build profitable brands.

Josh Steimle:

Awesome. So at what point did you say, you know, I need to have a book?

Nikki Nash:

Well, I actually wanted to have a book before I even knew that being an entrepreneur was the thing for me. I've loved writing as a kid. I used to write poetry and like submit them to little contests. And I had writing a book on my list for years, and I'm talking before I got to college, and then it was write the book before you graduate. And then it was write the book, you know, before you turn 21. And before you turned 23, and before you turned 25, and before you turned 35. It was like every year for that period of time.

Josh Steimle:

Now, did you want to write like a nonfiction book or a fiction book? Like, do you know what kind of book? Or was it more just like, I want to write a book?

Nikki Nash:

I was, I knew I wanted to write a book. And I just saw myself living this life where I wrote books. And you know, writing books is very glamorous in my mind at that time. And I was like, I'm going to write books and maybe live by a lake or on the beach, or like, buy a body of water and just write and make a bajillion dollars. And who knows, maybe my books would become a TV show, or who knows what, I don't know. But I just thought that writing was such a cool way to create and bring a message to the world. But I didn't know what I was going to write about. So every year I'm like, oh, I don't know what I'm going to write about, or I have nothing to say, or who's going to read a book for me. And I had all of these thoughts. And so it wasn't until I saw this video by Brendon Burchard who is like a motivational speaker, you know, high performance sky. And it was a video that essentially said, if he looked at your calendar, and couldn't tell what your big goals and essentially your dreams were, then they weren't going to happen. I mean, he said it in a much nicer way, and not entirely like that. But that's how I heard it. I was like, oh, crap, I'm never going to write a book because it's not on my calendar, or it's never going to happen. And so I started right then. And I just started putting time on my calendar to figure out how I was going to write a book and bring it into the worlds and, and that kind of led me down this path.

Josh Steimle:

Cool. So when did you get the idea for Market Your Genius? And this is your first book, right?

Nikki Nash:

It is. It's my first book. And I came up with the idea, really, by the time I saw this video by Brendon Burchard, I already had a business. And I had a lot of entrepreneurs that I worked with, and they had similar questions or challenges, you know, how do I get leads? How do I get clients and customers? How do I build my brand? How do I, you know, profit from my genius, essentially, or my magic? And I had this idea for this book. It just kind of came to me. I'm like Market Your Genius. That's going to be the name of my book. And I really felt like that's what I was going to write. And so I started researching how the heck does somebody get a book deal? And I wasn't even sure. I decided, because having a book was on my bucket list for so long, I said, it would be cool if I can get a book deal. But if it doesn't happen, it's not the end of I'm not going to not publish a book, 100% self-publish. And to be honest, I'm at this point where I'm going to self-publish books anyway, like I've seen myself, self-publishing, and who knows, traditionally publishing more books, hopefully, both because I love creating content. But the book really came to me based off of my experience of helping people really grow their businesses and seeing a lot of common questions. And I thought it would be really great if I could support people in this way, something that they could take home, they could touch, they could feel, they could look at all the time.

Josh Steimle:

So what were some of the other dreams you had, as you're thinking about publishing this book and writing it? I mean, you want people to read it. You want people to benefit. Did you have any specific goals in mind in terms of like, I'm going to sell this many books, or I want people writing letters to me talking about the results they got, like, what was going through your head as you thought about the outcome that you were looking for, for the book?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, so I do this exercise. And I did it for this book. But I honestly do it for anything that I create, where I wrote out, it's kind of like a dream testimonial type of exercise. And I wrote out what I wanted people to be saying about my book when they read it. And so I had pages of just, you know, I wanted people to say x. And then I would read what I wrote on the piece of paper over and over again, to the point where I thought it was probably easier to just record myself saying it, and then listening to it. So I had that sort of initial vision in terms of I want people to walk away being like, oh, my gosh, this book was a game changer for me. And I had specific things I wanted to help people with. In terms of book sales and things like that, I said strategically for myself, you know, watching a book, it would, and having a business, it would help if I could put that I was some sort of bestseller, right? So I put Amazon bestseller on the list is like my must hit like just you have to do that. Right. And then I said, you know, my stretch goal would be Wall Street Journal, and stretch stretches New York Times, but to be honest, I call it, I don't know what you want to call it. But I believe I'm going to be a New York Times bestselling author. I just don't need it to be through this book. I just see myself writing books. And I don't even know if it's going to be in this genre to be honest. But I just know that's happening for me. So I'm less concerned about that. And so for me, it was just strategically for this book, can I make something that becomes an Amazon and maybe even a Wall Street Journal bestselling book. And to do that, that kind of dictates your book goals, sales goals, because you have to hit certain numbers in order to even sort of be considered. And so, yeah, that's kind of what got me down that path.

Josh Steimle:

Cool. So how did you get started then, as you were putting this on the calendar? Like, what was day one, like, for you?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, you know, you would think day one would be start writing said book. But that was the last thing I did. I started going, you know, how the heck does somebody need a or get a book deal was the first thing I did. And so I booked time, and I just started Googling and trying to find things online, which shockingly, there it felt like I couldn't find answers that were clear. But what I did find, and I don't know how I found it. And to be honest, I've tried to search for this article, again, and I have yet to find it. But there's this woman who wrote how she got a Hay House book deal, and how they do this thing where if you attend their Writers Workshop, they will allow you to submit a book proposal on a specific date, and then they choose somebody, one person out of the submissions. And I was like, okay. So then I just put and I bought a ticket to Hay House’s Writers Workshop at that time. And I went to one of those. And then from there, I just kept meeting people. And anytime I met somebody who was an author, I asked them a bajillion questions. And if they had a book deal, I asked them a bajillion and one questions just to understand, you know, what do people look for? What do you need to have happen and things along those lines?

Josh Steimle:

So that's interesting. So do you have a literary agent?

Nikki Nash:

I do not. I don't have an agent. I literally had, I tell people, if they believe in manifestation, I manifested this because everything that people told me about getting a book deal, I did not do any of them. I didn't have an agent. I didn't have, you know, 50,000 people on my Instagram following me on Instagram and on my email list and all this other stuff. I had none of that stuff. I had a firm belief that this book would be amazing. I had a firm belief that Hay House was going to write, I mean, publish this book. And I just went for it. Similar to earlier where I said, you know, I have no doubt that I'm going to be a New York Times bestselling author. Sometimes at some point, people may think I'm crazy. But that's literally what I said. I said, I have no doubt Hay House is going to take this book and just believing it and saying it, and then doing the work. But that's, I did a lot of work for it. But I just kind of went in with the mindset that they were going to take it.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, that's great. So tell us more about the work. What was the work to get the book deal then? What were some of the steps you took that made the difference?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah. So the first thing you have to do is you have to have a book proposal. And the good thing about book proposals is that they're essentially business plans for your book. And because I'm in the business of marketing, I just believed I'm like, okay, how can I best market myself and market this book, as I'm writing this proposal, and I think I have this interesting mix, because I was an English major, I love writing, and I love books and business. And I got my MBA and all this interesting, not so interesting stuff. But I said, okay, it's a book proposal. So the first thing I did was I researched the heck out of how do you write a great book proposal? I believe it's, who is it? Oh, my goodness, I am blanking. But there is, I can't remember her name. But she's called if you go to bookmama.com, that's her website. But bookmama, my friend had gone to a retreat of hers. And I noticed that she co-created your big, beautiful, or by, yeah, your big, beautiful book plan, which is, of course, she co-created that. And I bought that course and looked at other people's book proposals. I met somebody who also had a Hay House book deal, who submitted a book proposal, and she gave me her book proposal to look at. So I just kind of reverse engineered, what made a good book proposal down to, you know, what was a solid marketing plan? How is this different than anything else in the industry, really looking at what other books were there, writing sample chapters, really knowing my target audience well, and why this book needed to be in the marketplace. And at the end of the day, a book proposal is just saying, hey, this is why this book needs to exist. This is why I'm the person to write it. And this is how I'm going to help market it. And as long as you have those things solidly in place, you have a pretty good book proposal.

Josh Steimle:

And then how did you submit this? Was this through the workshop that you attended?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah. So, you have to, and they've changed things a little bit, because now I think they allow people to submit if they do something else with them, but the main at that time, the only way to submit without an agent was you had to go to this event. It was the one that I went to was in Las Vegas. It was like two or three days. And they walk you through how do you write a book, a book proposal, all this stuff, like it's just days of training almost in content, so that when you submit a book proposal, you're submitting it the way that they want you to submit it. They give you sample book proposals, things along those lines. So I had to attend this event first. And then at the event, they tell you hey, on, you have to submit your book proposal by this deadline, because we're going to have people in the editorial department go through the proposals, and it's an opportunity for you to get a book deal. And I wrote my entire book proposal in 48 hours. I do not recommend anybody do that. I did not sleep. I didn't eat. I was a hot mess. But it was because I was as confident as I was that they were going to publish this book and choose me, while I was at the event, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions between then and the deadline. And I was like, ah, they're not going to take it. Ah, what's the point, blah, blah, blah, no, do it. And then I convinced myself and had 48 hours to get it together.

Josh Steimle:

That's amazing. Because if you go and you hire somebody to do a book proposal for you, you can easily spend 15, 20 grand on it.

Nikki Nash:

Easily. And they don't let you do it in 48 hours. It takes like months, or definitely like maybe six to eight weeks minimally. And I remember speaking to someone who could help with book proposals, and you know, they kind of you write it, but they'll coach you through the process. And I just wasn't ready. I was like, I'm not ready. I'll get back to you. And then time happened. Life happened. And the next thing I knew the deadline was in 48 hours. And then there's me not sleeping, looking at book proposals going through, you know, your big, beautiful book plan that I had just bought, like the day before. Listening while reading book proposals while trying to write, I was nuts. It was not recommended for other people.

Josh Steimle:

So then you went to the Hay House retreat. You've got your book proposal. You're there. How many people were there with you?

Nikki Nash:

Oh, my goodness. I can't remember but I think easily 100 plus people.

Josh Steimle:

Okay, so, you know, you're competing against all these people, right? Because you're all going to put your proposal in the hat and then they're going to draw one out essentially, or maybe review it and choose the best one, but still, you're competing against 100 other people for that one spot.

Nikki Nash:

Yeah.

Josh Steimle:

And so you submitted it, and you got it.

Nikki Nash:

Yes.

Josh Steimle:

So what was that process like? I mean, you submitted it and then like, did they do this like on the spot? Or was It like they took a couple of weeks to review all of them? And then they--

Nikki Nash:

Months, like you submit, and then you don't hear for months. And it was interesting for me because I had the universe works in mysterious magical ways, the world. And I went to because I knew that you could submit going to this event, but then I went to another Hay House event that was ended up being a couple months later. So Reid Tracy, who's the CEO of Hay House was speaking at both of those events. And so they were me and like a smaller group of people that went to both events. And the second event was significantly smaller. So if the first one had like, 100 plus, like, who knows how many people this one maybe had, like, probably still close, but maybe like 80, or like, you know, it was fewer people. And at that event, what they do is they, you can submit and enter, and they choose three people to get mentored by Reid Tracy, and Cheryl Richardson, who's one of their authors, right. And I ended up from attending that event I submitted for that. And there were people who were like, oh, well, you know, they probably nobody's going to get the book deal and get this mentorship, right. Except for me, because I was like, I'm getting both, tell you this mindset and manifestation or something. And so I submitted. You had to, for that, submit a video of view, it was speaking, it was called Speak Write Promote was the name of that event. I don't know if they still do it. But it was to win six months of mentoring by the CEO of Hay House. And so the months after I submitted the book proposal, Reid called me. It was our last mentoring day, from this other opportunity that I had. We had a group call. We got off the phone. I literally get off that phone. I'm talking to my sister. My phone rings. And it was Reid saying, hey, I just found out that you were publishing your book, because the editorial department was in charge of that. So he found out and then he called me and I was like, what? And at that point, I actually thought I didn't get it because it had been so long. And they tell you when they're going to announce it to everyone. And I'm like, well, the person who won has to know by now. So I didn't think it was me.

Josh Steimle:

Wow, that was amazing. I mean, how did that feel?

Nikki Nash:

Oh, my goodness, it was great. It was right before my birthday, too. So I was just running around screaming like a crazy person outside, like this is the best day ever.

Josh Steimle:

So what did that look like that when they said, okay, we're giving you a book deal? What's the deal? How did that, how did they explain it to you?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah. So you get -- it's like a traditional book deal that somebody would get if they were a first time author. So there was book advance. You have, you get an editor, internally, like first you have to go through like the legal department. They give you a contract. You review it, all that jazz. You get your book advanced. Typically, book advances are split in either three or four payments. So it's like you get paid, I think when you sign like 30, like within 30 days of when you sign and then I think it's 30 days from a submitted manuscript. And then I think it's 30 days from when the book comes out, if I remember correctly. But you get a book advance, you get a contract, you get an editor. I had my first call with my editor. And then there, you just work through writing the book, and you have a deadline to submit an initial manuscript, and then you go through rounds and rounds of editing. And I would, I know, I'm probably not the normal case with my editor. But usually, I think she, you typically, especially for first time authors, they probably want to see, like, sample, I think my editor initially had asked for a sample chapter or two first so that she could give feedback. And then I could keep writing, but I don't work well like that. So I was like, I sent it to her. But then I was like, she was like, oh, can we talk through this? And I was like, actually, that's no, but I love you. And I had to I'm like, I have to write the whole book, know what's going in the book, then I'm going to edit the book and put it in the right order. And then I'm going to structure it and then I can send it to you. And so I said she didn't get to really look at the book until it was completely first draft done when I think normally probably wanted to see a chapter.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, normally, I mean, they want to see a chapter or they want to see an outline, then they want to see a chapter, then they want a developmental editor to go through you, through the outline with you. And then you actually start writing kind of that.

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, I was like, I don't work well like that. Because like even I didn't, I had a loose outline. But even then I was like, I am going to change it. So we did try a couple of rounds of can you submit an outline? The only thing I did know is that because with the book proposal you submit, you know, the outline, essentially you submit a couple of sample chapters and you submit what's going in this book. And the feedback that I got from my book proposal was this is great, but this is five bucks, like you have way too much content in here. And so I took that. I choose, I chose a direction. I said okay, which of these five bucks am I going to write about? And then once I knew that I just, I'm very much, I describe it as my brain works in organized chaos where the chaos has to come out, like I have to get everything on the page, and then I can organize it. But the organization process doesn't take me long. I think I organized the book and restructured it in a weekend before I sent it over, but I had to write it first.

Josh Steimle:

Well, now you've got me curious. So the book that you chose was Market Your Genius? What are the other four books that now you're going to write in the future?

Nikki Nash:

Yes. So interestingly enough, Market Your Genius, there were two, two directions, I could have gone with that book alone. One was the book that we have now, which is about how to, you know, get leads, get dream clients and customers and create a community of like loyal followers, you know, repeat buyers, that sort of thing. The other kind of section of a book that could have been Market Your Genius, and it of itself was about how do you position yourself as the go to expert in your industry, and it was really more on, like brand positioning and that sort of thing? Another book was on how do you perform like a performance? It was much more about how do you actually get stuff done that you say you want to do? Because that's part of what I really believe is possible that accountability and that mindset piece. Another book, let's say, if I can remember all five pillars, it was about profitability. And how do you like going deep into how do you create products or services? And I think the other book was, how do you figure out what your purpose in life is in the first place? Like, what do you figure out like, what book your content piece or product you're meant to create? So there were a bunch of different ways I could have gone. But this particular book is about how you essentially like get leads, get clients that keep buying from you. And the other books are probably shifts. But I have an idea for a book that's around content, marketing, I have a book idea around like limitless thinking, and how do you go beyond the limits that you put on yourself and stuff like that? So tons of book ideas in my, in my repertoire or in my back pocket, but started with this one.

Josh Steimle:

Cool. So during the writing process, was there any point at which you got stuck on something when you felt like ah, I don't know how to get around this? Or I just don't feel like writing today or this month? What were some of the challenges you faced? And how did you overcome those?

Nikki Nash:

Oh, my goodness, I had so many. So I wrote, I ended up writing the first draft of this book in 90 days. And I'll tell you how I did that in a second. But the reason why that's important is because I procrastinated for like a year, like I think it took me a year to write, you know, three chapters that I don't even think I ended up using.

Josh Steimle:

Now is this a year after you got the book deal?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, so luckily, luckily, but not so luckily, the pandemic happened. So it pushed like book publishers were trying to figure out, you know, what are we doing? Because typically people like the whole point of or not the whole point, but a big point of having a publisher is that they help easily get you into retail stores and retail stores are all closed, what the heck is happening. So, one of my deadlines meant that I had to finish this book really kind of at the start of the pandemic, but because of the pandemic, things got like other people's books got pushed back, which meant mine was going to get pushed back in terms of we didn't have an official release date yet, but there was a general timing and like that was going to get pushed back. So because things were getting pushed back, I had more time.

Josh Steimle:

Your publisher was kind of okay with it. They were probably kind of relieved, like, okay, one less author we have to work with I this pandemic environment.

Nikki Nash:

Oh, yeah, right. Well, they kind of said, hey, we're going to push it back. Is that okay? And I was like, yes, because I haven't, I'm not meeting this first deadline. So it worked out. And I remember my first deadline, I was actually, I was in Mexico. And it was early March of 2020, like first week. I'm talking early March. I was in Mexico. We go every year for my mom, or we skipped a year 2021. But we typically go every year for my mom's birthday. And I was in Mexico going, oh, my goodness, when I return, I have a book deadline. I have to essentially write this book while I'm in Mexico. And then while I was in Mexico, I got an email from my editor who said, you know, we think things are going to have to be pushed back. We're just hearing rumblings and stuff. And when I came back from Mexico a couple of days later and landed in New Jersey, everything shut down. Like we luckily had all signed up for fresh or I got fresh, direct. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had groceries because like nothing was open for a quick period of time. So yeah, I luckily had more time than anticipated, but initially, the biggest struggle was getting started was writing. Writing that outline was a big challenge for me, because like, I don't know what it is, but I could not write the outline because again, my organized chaos brain wanted to look at everything and then figure out oh, this is the logical structure for this book. So to push past that, what I did was I reached out to, I know, first thing I will say everybody's different, know yourself. I know a lot of authors say, you know, I write every day. And that's how I go. And I have a schedule that for some reason was not working for me. So what I did was I reached out to people on my email list to friends. I posted in Facebook groups, and I said, hey, guys, I'm writing this book. This is what the book’s about. I am going to release a chapter of the book every week for 90 days. And I would like you, if you are interested in reading an early, early copy of this book, I would love your feedback, right? And so people are like, oh, yeah, I want to learn how to get more clients. I want to learn how to get more leads. I'm going to sign up for this. And really, what I needed was accountability, like feedbacks, great, but I'm like, I need the accountability. And so what I did was I set up my email, you know, system, to automatically send out. I made a workflow of a new email that was going out to everybody who signed up every week. And it was just going to be an email, like, here's the next chapter. And it had a link to a Google Doc. I made a new Google Doc for every single chapter. And I roughly knew that I was going to have 12 chapters based off of the outline that I made that I wasn't sure if I was sticking to. And then I wrote every, every email went out on a Sunday, and every Saturday night, I was writing a chapter of the book in a Google Doc, because that Google Doc was going to be emailed to them whether I wrote something in it or not. And I didn't want the embarrassment of having a blank document.

Josh Steimle:

Cool. So how many people were following this journey with you?

Nikki Nash:

I had, I think about 80, if not a little more than 80 people sign up.

Josh Steimle:

So that is some great accountability there. It's also great audience. I mean, people think, oh, well, only 80 people. That's not going to take you to New York Times bestseller status. But when you have a core group of people who are on that journey with you, and feel invested in you and your book, those are the people who are really going to spread the book later. Are these people all that you knew? Or were some of these people that you didn't even know before?

Nikki Nash:

There were strangers. Like there were definitely people I knew. There were strangers. There are people who joined who said, oh, my goodness, I think my friend would really love to be a part of this too. Can I send them this information so they can sign up before the first chapter comes out? I said, yeah. And I literally got this idea from listening to a podcast. I can't remember the podcast episode. But this guy said that he wrote, had a focus group, essentially, he had a focus group for his books. And he said, he got a small group of people, maybe like 50, to 100. And he would have them read the book early. And he would send them a chapter a week, and then get the feedback and make edits. So that he knew that by the time he mass marketed this book, that it resonated with his target audience. And so he's like, you don't need a huge group of people. In fact, you wouldn't really want to, because if you get like 10,000 people to read the book for free before you come out, then how are you going to get those people, hopefully, to buy the book? But I did that, and that's where the idea came from. And I needed it for accountability more than anything else.

Josh Steimle:

So how did you actually get it done then in the end? Was there a wrap up process? Was there any struggle there? I mean, a lot of authors will say that the hardest part for them was last 5% or something, but how was it for you getting to the tail end of the project?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, the hardest part for me was honestly, or has honestly been the editing. I wrote the book. And then when I finished that last chapter, you know, every week I was sending it out, I didn't look at anything. So I didn't even edit what I said to people. I said, hey, this is going to be unedited. I just wrote, and it's submitted. Sometimes I'm like, I don't even know what I just wrote. I just wrote a chapter. I felt good about it, and I sent it out. And then what I did is I reread everything and said, ooh, this chapter should actually go here. I move stuff around a little bit. I looked for quotes, you know, the quotes I've been putting in there before were quotes. They were placeholder quotes for me. I found them on the Internet. And my big concern was, how do I know that this person actually said this, as opposed to which is somewhere on the Internet? So I bought quote books and did all of that to make a good first draft of the book. And then I felt this book is good. And I sent it to my editor. And I was like, great. She may have like a small change here. They're hoping and then I'm done. And I can focus on marketing this book, which is my zone of genius and what makes me happy. And then it was just editing and I'm like, oh my gosh, I have to keep reading this book over and over and over again and look for tweaks and make edits. And what like comments would say this is good. But what if you had a story here? Or can you expand upon this more. And I don't know what it is, but I, it's probably my personality, I like doing things and then crossing it off my to do lists and editing, like the book was just never crossed off my to do list. In fact, as we're recording this, I'm on the final round of editing and like, I just want to be done with this book. And every time you read it, you probably have a new idea or something you want to change, but I can’t. I'm at the point where I can't rewrite something. I can only look for grammatical errors, or big typos. And that's what's hard for me is I’m like, well, I would probably say that differently today. But, you know, I just keep saying you'll write another book, it'll be okay.

Josh Steimle:

So some people listening to this would think, well, wait a second, I thought you write it and then you send it off to the editor, and they do all this work. Tell us a little bit more about the back and forth relationship between you and your editor and what they do versus what you do and how you collaborate?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, so first thing I will say is that there are so many different types of editing, which I still don't know the technical terms of, but you mentioned earlier, you know, developmental editor. And so my editor, my main editor, she does development, developmental editing, which is essentially like content editing. It's looking at the big picture of the book and going, how could we make the content or what you're delivering even more powerful, more impactful or clearer, like, you know, more clear. And so she, I worked in a Google Doc, which works for me, but I think publishers prefer Microsoft Word and stuff like that. But I'm a big fan of Google Docs. It makes my life easier. But she would put comments in the document and track changes, like, hey, I think what do you think about, you know, putting a story here? Or what do you think about expanding upon this or including more questions to give clarity? Hey, you did something like this earlier in the book? Could you do that here, too? I think it would make it stronger. And so they're really just looking at how can I make this book even better than it already is. And then you have to go back and do the work. Like, it's not like they just write for you. Unfortunately, sometimes I'm like, alright, I'm done. If you have any, like typos, or you want to change a word go in, but it's very much they have this philosophy, which I love that it's your book. And so they give suggestions, and it was a dialog. It was, what do you think about doing this? And there were changes where I said, no, I did that on purpose, like that was for a reason. And she's like, okay, cool. Well, and then I would ask, why did you want that change? And then we'd maybe come up with another solution for it. So, for example, at the beginning of each section, the book is broken out into three sections. At the beginning of each section, I have here are the… and each section has four chapters, which makes it really easy. It's, you know, almost like quarters. So it's like each section has here are the four chapters in this book, or in this section. And here are the big takeaways. And so it was just bullet points, like a sentence and bullet points. And she said, what about just summing up what the point of this section is and getting rid of all the bullet points? And I said, no, I did that on purpose. Because when I read books, I love that reference of, oh, I read this chapter. Which chapter was it? I, like a table of contents won't help you. It's sometimes, sometimes you need to look and go, what were the big takeaways from this chapter? Oh, that's the chapter I want to read again. And so the workaround we did was at the beginning of that, I have a little paragraph of here's the point of this section of the book. And then it goes into, here's what each chapter is, and, you know, three bullet points or so on the takeaways. And so it was that I wouldn't have done that on my own. But I was talking back and forth, got us there. And there are new stories that I added. I completely rewrote the introduction. And after editing, I actually took something from another chapter and then had to rewrite that chapter. But it helps to have somebody that's constantly looking at it from that standpoint.

Josh Steimle:

Now, you could have self-published this. I mean, you're an entrepreneur. You know how to get things done. You could have ran through this entire process yourself. Why did you want to get a book deal? And do you feel like you made the right choice going with a traditional publisher?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah. So I wanted to get a book deal honestly, because it had been on my list since I was a kid. It was get book deal was on my bucket list since I was little. So it was literally a I would like to make the little Mickey, you know, was who knows? Eight, nine, ten years old, the one in high school and in college that said, I don't know how to get a book deal. I'm never going to have a book deal to say yes, you can. Yes, you did, right. So there was that piece of it. I think for most entrepreneurs, self-publishing the book is just smart because you have control over how you use the book a lot, especially if you're an entrepreneur. There's a lot of opportunities to, you know, work really -- you worked really hard on the book, but you can give it away for free or you can do things. Adjust the price. And do you think or package it and bundle it with other things that you have going on. Because you may know that, hey, the book is a marketing tool, and I'm going to make money on the back end in a different way. Now, for my first book, especially, I'm really grateful for me that I had a publisher, because I would have published the first version of this book that was just like, alright, I wrote it ta-da. And I would have published it right. And I would have had editing, like, make sure there's no typos. But I don't think I would have had that dialog or the push to really rethink the book to really do other things. And I think the first version of the book was good. I think the book I have now is better. I really do. And I going through this with someone and having that support, I think is really helpful. The other thing is that when you self-publish, I actually looked at this as if I was self-publishing the book, but I just had a benefactor or like an investor. That's how I looked at it. Because you are still one of the myths about book publishing with a publisher is that, you know, they're doing all this work. It's I went through all the steps that somebody self publishing would do. I just had somebody who's an expert in the industry of bringing books into the world, really challenged some of the thoughts or decisions I was making and having that dialog so that I could do this stronger and do it in a new way. So I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to work with a publisher. I love Hay House. I love my editor Lisa, is magic. Shout out to Lisa. But yeah, so I have no regrets. And I fully believe for me, the smart thing to do as a business owner is to continue to publish books. I want to self publish books. And I also would love to traditionally publish some more books. Heck, I want to write like children's books and fiction books and poetry books, too. So I think I'm just in the business of creating at this point.

Josh Steimle:

You sound like a true visionary. A lot of ideas. The only challenge is finding the time to do it all, right?

Nikki Nash:

Exactly. Exactly.

Josh Steimle:

So you mentioned earlier, like the book itself, of course, you want it to be successful. You want to sell a bunch of copies. You wanted to become a New York Times bestseller. But this is also a marketing tool for your business. Talk a little bit more about what you do in your business, and how the book is going to be leveraged to grow your business.

Nikki Nash:

Absolutely. So today, most like the majority of people who work with me will either be somebody who's in a membership with me, or buying an online course. That's just like the vast majority of people. Very few people end up working with me privately or going to events just by pure like, size, right, of people. And so for me, having a book was another way to reach a ton of people, and give them a taste of what it's like to work with me. And so in terms of how I use it as a marketing tool, is that I'm looking at especially the launch of this book, as another discussion piece to talk to someone about something that's not my course or my membership, it's about something new. It's exciting. There's an opportunity. And having a publisher helps like to have somebody else who will pitch me to media or pitch me to other places where I can go out and talk about things that are very relevant to building a business, but then say, and by the way, I have this book. And it's a way to get inside people's houses to have them start connecting with you. And the reality is whether you are traditionally publishing, or you're self publishing, if you're selling somewhere other than your website, it's also a way to get in front of other people that may not come to your site initially. But also if you're strategic about it, and we can talk about this if you'd like, you can get people who have purchased your book back into your seat, like into your ecosystem and having them, you know, sign up to be on your list and other things like that to get people back. But it's just like another distribution channel, another thing for me to talk about that is more accessible to people than, you know, a course or an event or a membership for some folks.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, so tell us a little bit more about that. What are some of the tactics you're using to get people from the book into your ecosystem or get them back into the ecosystem?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, so, shout out to Pat Flynn, because this is where I was inspired. But when he did the book, “Will It Fly?” he created what he calls a companion course, which is essentially like an online portal on whatever tool he uses. I can't remember if it's teachable, or Thinkific or something, but it's just if you are reading the book, it's like alright, chapter one. Here's the exercises. Here's, you know, maybe a video that is relevant, or I mentioned this podcast episode or something like that. And so as you're reading, it's an interactive experience. He mentioned something and then you can go listen to it or download the exercise or something along those lines, but you have to sign up for the companion course. And well, by signing up for that free companion course, which, honestly on its own isn't really helpful unless you have the book. It allows you to get on his list. So that's something that I did. I am in one of… I was in one of his programs at that time, and he did Q&A call. So I asked him about it just to make sure that when I did it, it made sense. So every time I mentioned an exercise in the book, I say, hey, to get a digital copy of this exercise head here. If I mention, if I'm teaching something, and I know I did podcast episodes on it, like, hey, if you would like to, you know, dive deeper on this topic with me, you can listen to the podcast episodes. The podcast episodes are here, right? I do a lot of videos. And I've created some videos that could go if somebody is reading the book that'll help them even understand the concept even more deeply. Or maybe they get behind the scenes of why, like, why I even did this exercise or where it came from, things that really help people get a well-rounded view and understanding of what we talk about in the book. And so I, for me, I believe it not only, you know, strategically it gets people from the book onto my list, because it's stuff that I made sure was compelling enough that they would actually want to sign up for this companion course, or digital portal, or whatever anybody wants to call it. But I also did it so that if somebody is reading the book, they're getting an experience that's even deep, more deep and impactful, and will allow them to implement the things that are from the book, and ideally would have them get better results, which is only better for my brand, and for them as well, because they're getting results. And then they're saying, Hey, I read this book. I got these results. I ended up signing up for Nikki’s next thing or things along those lines. And then I have their email address. And hopefully they follow me in other places, and we can keep that dialog going.

Josh Steimle:

This has been so great, Nikki. As we're wrapping things up, if you can imagine there's an entrepreneur out there who's thinking about writing a book that they can leverage to grow their business, but they're full of all sorts of doubts. Will anybody care? Can I really get this done? Am I just going to get too busy? What's the number one piece of advice that you would give to that entrepreneur who's having doubts about whether or not they should write a book?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, I mean, if you believe that your book could impact one person, like one person will get value from your book, which, if you are in a business, then the answer is yes, because you're impacting people every day, then do it. And it doesn't need to be complicated. You know, I like writing. So I wanted to write every word. But there are so many ways that you could get a book out into the world. And you can author a in creative ways down to, you know, transcribing things you've already done, and then having that really edited, working with a collaborative writer. There are tons of ways to get a book into the world, whether you love writing, like me, or you don't. And it's really about getting your idea and your message in front of more people. And if you believe you can help at least one person, then I truly believe it's worth it.

Josh Steimle:

Thanks so much, Nikki. This has been so great. Where can people reach out to learn more about you and connect with you?

Nikki Nash:

Yeah, so I have Market Your Genius just became a brand of its own. So I have a podcast called Market Your Genius. So you can always listen to me more there. But I figured for your audience, since I know so many people are going, hey, I want to bring a book into the world. And if you'd love to hear more about how you can leverage a book to grow a business or to grow your brand, I have some free resources for you guys, on a site that I created called bookmarketingforentrepreneurs.com. So if you head there, I will put up some special bonuses for you guys to really help you along your journey, and to really think about how you can use a book to grow, build your brand, grow your business, all of that magic.

Josh Steimle:

That's awesome. That is 100% relevant to the audience of this podcast. So hope everybody runs over there and grabs that. Nikki, this has been so great. Thank you so much for spending time with us here today on the Published Author Podcast.

Nikki Nash:

Thank you so much for having me.

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