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The Published Author Podcast

A HOOK POINT FOR YOUR BOOK WILL WIN YOU MORE CLIENTS: BRENDAN KANE

Your book is a business. And if you’re not designing your entire business around your book, it will fail.

These are the frank words from Brendan Kane, author of the bestsellers Hook Point and One Million Followers

The globally recognized author learned this lesson after writing his first book, One Million Followers. 

Brendan tells show host Josh Steimle: “You need a strategy for your book so that readers know what action you want them to take in terms of working with you.

“I didn't really have that mapped out (with One Million Followers). I kind of had a vision of building a brand where I get paid to consult and speak. But I quickly realized most people just wanted me to build followers for them, which is not a business I'm interested in.”

A THREE-PART STRATEGY FOR PENETRATING A MARKET SATURATED WITH BOOKS AND CONTENT

Every single author needs a hook point for their book to stand out. “Without it, you can't stop somebody in the first three seconds and hear them say ‘I'm interested, I want to learn more’."

There are three core areas Brendan focuses on with clients. The first is determining the hook point, so that a book stands out above the 1.7 million books published every year. 

Of course, an author isn’t just competing against other books. There are 100 billion messages sent out on digital platforms each day, he notes. 

Next, he determines how to create a sustainable and predictable marketing engine to drive people to buy a book. 

Number three, once someone has the book, what are the steps you want them to take to engage with you as an individual, as a company, as a brand, or as a product?

EVEN IF YOU WRITE A BOOK TO GIVE TO OTHERS, YOU MUST STILL MARKET IT

Brendan says this applies even if your motivation to write a book is to give to others, and not to grow your venture. 

He says: “When people talk about impact and wanting to help people and give back, I love it, I want to support that. But in order to do that, we need to have a sustainable engine to make that happen. And that's where most people are failing. 

“When it comes to books, some people have this aspiration that there’s value that they want to offer the world. And that value can come in many ways, shapes or forms.

But without a foundation . . .  a real marketing strategy that is sustainable, you are most likely going to fail!”

Brendan says that he doesn’t invest his energy in book launches, but instead in a marketing engine that is predictable and can be scaled so that he can constantly sell books every single month 

A PREDICTABLE MARKETING ENGINE

In fact, Brendan’s been so successful at developing this kind of marketing engine that he knows exactly how many copies of a book will sell each month. 

“My One Million Followers book, we are selling more books today than when we first launched. And we have a predictable engine where we can scale and know exactly how many copies we sell every single month. 

From talking to a lot of people in this industry, 99 percent of authors do not have something like that. That's why most of them are failing to get their message heard.”

THE HOOK POINT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS: IDENTIFY PATTERNS AND BREAK THEM

Brendan’s first step with a client is to look at existing patterns around a subject matter.

“For example, we were working with a client in meditation. They have a meditation book, they have a meditation retreat, business, and courses. Meditation is difficult, because it's been around for 1000s of years. So if you type “meditation” into the Google search, you're going to get over a billion results,” he explains.

A high number of results like that doesn’t worry Brenday. In fact, he loves oversaturated markets because they tell him a market actually exists.

“What we have to do is identify the patterns of what other people are saying, and how they're showing up in the world to make sure that we are not falling into the trap with a pattern that everybody follows.”

Once the pattern has been identified, Brendan finds a way of breaking it and replacing it with a different pattern. It sounds straightforward, but it takes research to see patterns and the issues, or pain points, the consumer is experiencing. 

A hook point will often focus on what people want, now a ‘how to’ or what’s required on a journey - no-one would buy that book. But a book with the hook point built around what people want means that the consumer will connect with it and follow the journey the author lays out for them.

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

Chris Ducker On Writing And Marketing His Books

Kiri Masters On Using Networking and Content To Generate Book Sales 

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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 Brendan Kane. Brendan is the author of the International Bestselling Book, One Million Followers, and the newly released Hook Point, How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World. And he's also the founder and CEO of Hook Point agency. Brendan has worked with hundreds of individuals in brands providing business and digital strategy for more than 15 years. And when I say individuals and brands, everybody says that, but he's worked with people like and companies like MTV, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and many others. So a little bit different league than some of us, Brendan, welcome to the show.

Brendan Kane:

Thanks for having me. It's true pleasure.

Josh Steimle:

So I'm super excited to talk a little bit about your background and about your books, One Million Followers and Hook Points and everything, Hook Point. But what I really want to get to is how do authors use Hook Point to benefit their book, when they're coming up with titles and as they're marketing their book and talking to PR people and all that, but let's get some of that background in first. So tell us a little bit about yourself, your history, and how you became this bestselling author?

Brendan Kane:

So I would say it starts all the way back to college. So I wanted to be a film producer. And being a film producer, I wanted to learn the business side of the entertainment industry, and just business in general. And when I showed up to film school, I quickly realized they don't teach you anything about business there, so I had to figure out well, how do I actually learn about business while I’m studying, and the most cost efficient way that time and it still holds true today is to create internet companies, so I created a few internet companies while I was going to college, really just to learn and experiment.
And then when I showed up to LA in 2005 to pursue a career in film, I started like everybody else. I started making coffee, copies, deliveries, things of that nature, and when people ask me, well, why did you move to LA? What do you want to do? I would say, well, I want to be a film producer. And I would just see everybody's eyes glaze over or just roll, because I was one of a million plus people with the same aspirations. So I needed to find my Hook Point, I needed to find a way to stand out to grab the attention of studio executives, producers, actors, directors, and so I took a step back, and I just started listening to the stories and the things that were happening around the office, and I just realized that when we finished a movie, something that we spent tens of millions, in some cases over $100 million, producing a single piece of content, there was a sense of anxiety, stress, that would come over the office, so I was like, okay, so I started going and inserting myself into this conversations and saying, hey listen, I started a few internet companies when I was going to college, I know what to tap into these traffic sources, blogs, websites, and social media was just coming on the scene, because this was back in 2005. I would love to help craft a strategy of how to tap in to reach tens of millions plus possibly hundreds of millions of people for free, or for a fraction of the cost that we're paying on these other traffic sources, so quickly using that hook, I went from making coffee to starting a digital division for the first studio I worked for. And that afforded me the opportunity to work with these studio executives, directors, celebrities, and so on.
And then from there I just realized that working in the film industry was not really the right fit for me, because it was just another corporation, everybody thinks it's his grand, sexy, creative process, but it's a real corporate environment. So I left and I started building technology platforms and licensing them back to these big media companies, so I built platforms and partnered with Viacom, which led me to MTV, Vice Magazine, Paramount, Lionsgate, to name a few, and, you know, one of them was the first ever influencer marketing platform that was built on top of Myspace, and the other one was a website building application that could dynamically code for you.
So again I was using Hook Points of building these technologies and bringing them into these media companies to form these partnerships. And the MTV partnerships then made the open the doors to work with Taylor Swift or Rihanna and some of these other people.
And then I started getting into the paid advertising space of helping advise and build one of the largest social paid optimization firms in the world, where we were managing, when I first started with them, they're three guys around a table managing about $300,000 a year in paid spent, and then I worked with them to develop Hook Points to secure financing, to get key hires, and then also to get key clients, so I tested Hook Points to close Xbox, Fox, Disney through just called outreach, using these Hook Points, and we quickly went from managing $300,000 a year to over $100 million a year in less than 3 years.
And then through that, I just learned the inefficiencies that was going on with content, because these companies would spend 100s of 1000s of millions of dollars producing a piece of content, and they would come to us wanting to spend millions of dollars to promote that piece of content to a specific audience, and I'd ask them, well, how do you know this content is going to resonate with this audience to the tune of investing all this money, essentially risking all this money, and 9 times out of 10 they just didn't have that data, they didn't have that knowledge, so…

Josh Steimle:

Just the way they'd always done it. Right?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, it's just kind of, they didn't know another way of doing it, so I laughed, and I started building a set of testing methodologies on top of Facebook and Instagram, really to test content at scale, content formats, themes, trends, stories, so that we could get some data before we invest too much in any direction, so I created that and then went back to these big corporations, and started implementing it. And typically, their key KPIs or key performance indicators was impressions, like driving CPMs down, engagement, share ability, click through, and I was seeing success there, but then I started taking meetings with journalists like a Katie Couric and then some professional athletes, and they were like, well, can we use this to generate followers, and generate followers at scale, so I started testing, and it was working, and I saw data coming in from different parts of the world to generate followers for brands that people didn't know about. And then I exceeded the idea for my first book of a million followers in 30 days.
Now I knew I could do it, it wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of why, you know, and I had always been inspired what Tim Ferriss did with a 4-hour workweek, but I knew that if I was going to do a book, I needed a strong hook, because the blessing and the curse of starting in the film industry is you are forced to think big, you cannot walk into a meeting talking about how you're going to reach 10,000 or 100,000, or even a million people, it just doesn't work, you'll get fired for it, or people will just ignore you, so my brain always starts with what is the hook, if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it at the highest level, I'm not just going to create a book to create a book and say it I created one, or I'm not going to create a book and just hope for luck that it's going to go viral on its own. So I had the idea of like creating a book for a few years, and then as I was running these tests with these professional athletes and journalists and celebrities, I was like, well, I've been doing this process for three and a half years, I know I can do it for a no name brand, so what would it look like if I generated a million followers in 30 days starting from scratch, starting from zero, and that became the hook, the hypothesis I had, and then I called a literary agent that I knew, this represented over $5 billion with a book sales, he brought 4 dummies books to market, he represents Ekor, totally, and I just said, listen, I'm thinking about doing this experiment as the premise of a book, if I do it, will you sign me as a client represent me and get me a publishing deal, and he's like, yeah, so I think it's a great idea.
But I didn't just stop there, I talked to people that I really respected in the business world, and then said, you know, what do you think about this concept of generating million followers in 30 days? And the response was positive, they thought it was really interesting, so that was really the core of how I developed the Hook Point for the first book. And I can get more into kind of the marketing angle of it, because marketing is the most important thing of publishing books.
And then from there, you know, I was having a lot of success with the book, because we're selling it all over the world, it has been translated into multiple languages, we've sold a tremendous amount of copies of the book, but then I just took a step back, and I was like, I'm getting kind of pigeonholed as a social media person, but looking back on my career, I wanted to really understand what makes me successful, because social media doesn't get me Viacom as a client, doesn't get me MTV or Taylor Swift, there's something else there, and that's where this framework of a Hook Point came in, as I looked at my career over the past 16 years of what caused me to be successful in all disciplines, social media included, and it was really this concept or framework that we developed called the Hook Point, and that's what led to the second book Hook Point, How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World is really diversifying my brand and my brand message, and we've built a consulting firm around it, because this is what we are truly best at, as really overcoming the noise in this oversaturated world, so that's a long winded answer to your very simple question.

Josh Steimle:

That's great. So when you wrote One Million Followers, was the plan to start a consulting firm around that if it worked out, was that the idea, or what was the vision, what was the why between behind, I want to write this book because it allowed me to do what?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, it was, I was seeing it as serving as a brand foundational piece, but other than that, it wasn't flushed out. So that was one of the biggest lessons that I learned, and the first book is, you need to have a real strategy of, if people are reading it, what is the action that you want them to take in terms of working with you. And I didn't really have that mapped out, I kind of had a vision of building a brand where I get paid to consult and speak, but I just quickly realized most people just want me to build followers for them, which is not a business I'm interested in doing. I have partners that refer out, we create strategies for follower growth, but we do not want to be a follower and growth consulting firm or agency. So again, that was an important lesson that I learned, and the first book that we've really applied to the second book, I built an entire business around the second book Hook Point, and you know, it's in intertwined in all the content, and how we set the content up.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, because I noticed that as I was going through a Hook Point, you're constantly saying, hey, you can download this form, you can hire my agency, we can help you with this problem, there are lots of little sales pitches throughout the book that lead you to your consultancy.

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, because it's like, listen, to make a book successful, it takes a lot of marketing, energy, resources, and investment, so if you just look at the numbers, there's 1.7 million books put into the marketplace every year, the average self-published book is selling less than 500 copies, the average published book is selling less than 3500, the average book from the biggest publishing company in the world is selling less than 15,000 copies, and what my literary agent has expressed to DNA, and I also have a friend, Steven Kotler who's written 14 New York Times bestselling lists, they both say you've got to get at least 25 to 30,000 copies into the market, in order for to have any chance of really taking off. So if you look at the numbers 99.9% of books never get there, so we've built marketing engines around these books, because publishers aren't going to do anything for you, you just know that going in unless they're cutting you a seven figure advance, they're not going to do anything. And even if they're doing something, they don't know how to market in today's world, so we created our own marketing engines to push as many copies into the market as possible, so we have a systematic blueprint to do it, but it takes time, energy and resources to pull that off, so you need to make sure that when you're putting that book into people's hands, that you're getting some return on investment out of it, so people are spending 10 plus hours, 20 plus hours ingrained in your brand, they're in a high state of motivation if your book is good, so that's the prime opportunity to put a call to action in front of them on how you can better assist them.
Now, it's not about just selling, it's about providing value, so in ours, we say, hey, if you're looking for more help with this, schedule a call with us. If you're looking for more help with this, we have a course, we have a free download, things of that nature.

Josh Steimle:

So now you're working with brands, or you're working with any authors by chance?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, we've worked with several authors, yeah.

Josh Steimle:

Can you walk us through any case studies for results you've gotten and how, what the process has been for them?

Brendan Kane:

So each one is unique and different, so typically, well, let me just take a step back. Again, each one is unique and different, and some people that we work with like a Keith Ferrazzi, who wrote Never Eat Alone. We worked with him on a slight tweak to his new book Leading Without Authority. So he's like, Brendan here's my book design, can you take a look at it to make sure that it's really standing out? And if you look at the book Leading Without Authority you'll see an underline, under without that was our suggestion, now it's a very slight tweak, but those are the type of nuanced details that we look at to stand out.
We've worked with Vishen Lakhiani from Mindvalley, I’m creating Hook Points around his books as well. And there's another beautiful woman that's out of Australia, Melissa Ambrosini amazing transformational coach. We worked with her on her latest book, Title and Subtitle.
And there's other authors that we work with designing the entire business around it, and I believe that books are a business. And if you're not approaching the book as a business, it is going to fail. It's going to, because there's so much noise out there, so we work with clients to develop the Hook Point, all the way through to the marketing engine, to all the way how you maximize the revenue off the back end of it, so you know, we've had clients that have published over 10 books, and they couldn't sell more than a few 100 copies, and then we build a Hook Point for them, and we build a marketing engine, and all of a sudden they're selling 1000s of copies a month, so each client's a little bit unique and different, it just depends on kind of where they're at, and where they need to go.

Josh Steimle:

So you've brought up something interesting here that you feel like a book won't succeed unless there's a business built around it, so for example, I've got one client, he's got several businesses, they're kicking off 115 million a year, 10 million maybe of that as profit, he wants to write a book, but for him, he is saying, I don't want to write just to grow my business, I want to do this, because I really want to help other entrepreneurs, and I feel like I have a recipe, a formula that can help them, so he's coming from the standpoint of, I don't need more money, I'm not looking for any more money. I don't want to build a business around this book, necessarily. However, if you went to him and said, you need to build a business around this for the book to be successful, he'd say, okay, well, you know, tell me more there, but would you say that even in that circumstance, he needs to build a book around that business for it to be successful, or are there possible exceptions to that rule?

Brendan Kane:

Well, there's two options, either you're going to bleed cash, putting into the market, and some people are just super wealthy that they don't care about it, you know, those are, I think, you are few and far between, but there are people that, and I know this by talking to my connections in the publishing industry, that literally will go and buy 200,000 copies of their own book, and give it away, so that they can, you know, spark that by reality, sparking the bestseller list. So if somebody is willing to drop 100s of 1000s or millions of dollars into something and they really don't care on return on investment of that, and they're fine losing that money, then cool, you can go that route. But for most of us, that does not work, and again, like your client, for example, could tie it to his preexisting business, but it's, there's an interesting TED talk that I think everybody should watch, it's a guy named Dan Pallotta, and he talks about why charities nonprofits are broken, and I see this all the time, is yes, we want you to have an impact, and that's beautiful, and that's great. But if there's not a sustainable business behind it, how the hell are you going to have impact? And that's where he talks about like charities is, we see charities, everybody focuses on, well, what's the percentage of the donation that goes to the actual charity versus paying the people to run it, and he's like, that's just completely backwards, because what happens is, then you are capped at how much you can spend to hire top people, so you know, the top people that are graduating Harvard, Yale, Stanford, are the top entrepreneurs, they're just going to go work for Google, or Apple, or Facebook, or these companies, and yeah, sure, they may donate to those charities, but what if we flipped it on its head? What if we said, we're going to take a bigger percentage of those donations to hire and pay the people 3, 4, $500,000 a year, and that's exactly what he did, as he went into a charity that was really struggling, I don't know what the exact numbers were, maybe it was like 10 million or something, and he took it to like a few 100 million, and in donations, because he invested.
But the real question was, well, do you want to, you know, get a million dollars of donations a year and 90% of that go to the charity? Or would you rather have, you know, $100 million in donations and 50% of that going to the charity, and the other 50% going to staff, resources, and marketing. Obviously, the ladder is as much better, so when people talk about impact, and wanting to help people and give back, I love it, I want to support that, but in order to do that, we need to have a sustainable engine to make that happen, and that's where most people are failing when it comes to books, they have this grand aspiration, that there's value that they want to offer the world, and that value can come in many ways, shapes, or forms, but without a foundation a real business plan, a real marketing strategy that is sustainable, you are most likely going to fail, and it's interesting like for us, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't look at it this way, but we don't focus on book launches, and I know a lot of people do and they have success, but I rather invest my energy in building a sustainable marketing engine, where I can constantly sell books every single month, like my One Million Followers first book, we are selling more books today than when we first launched, and we have a predictable engine where we can scale and know exactly how many copies we sell every single month, and I can tell you from talking to a lot of people in this industry, 99% of authors do not have something like that, and that's why most of them are failing to get their message heard.

Josh Steimle:

Reminds me of Richard Cialdini, Robert Cialdini, Richard Cialdini?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, the author of Influence.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, author of Influence, he wrote his book over 20 years ago, but he said the first 4 years he hardly sold any copies, and today, every single year since those first 4 years, it's sold more copies than in the previous year, and now 20 years out, he's still selling more copies than the previous year.

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, now with him, he kind of lucked into it, which is amazing. But for the rest of us, we need a system because honestly, I love his books, he's brilliant. But I don't want to rely on luck, I don't know about you, but like, luck is a crapshoot. To me, I'm only interested if we can reproduce it, if it's systematic, and it can work for anybody, that's what my core specialty is, and that's the only thing that I'm interested in. If you've read my books, everything is a systematic and duplicatable process, now, is it easy? No, it's not easy, but it is simple to follow, and it's reproducible, we've reproduced it many times.

Josh Steimle:

So let's talk about that process for the entrepreneur who's out there working on their first book saying, I want to get this book out there, it's going to help me grow my business, what would be the process that you would take them through to get the book out there, and have it turned into business success?

Brendan Kane:

Number one is you need to have a Hook Point, like I don't start developing anything until I know what the Hook Point is, because without it, if you can't stop somebody in the first 3 seconds to be like, oh, I'm interested, I want to learn more, it doesn't matter how good your material is, so that's the first thing is like, how are you? How are you going to stand out, first and foremost from the 1.7 million books that are put into the market. But then beyond that, there's 3.96 billion content creators on the planet today, every single one of them is creating content for the people that they truly care about the most, so that equates to 100 billion messages sent out on digital platforms each day, so you're no longer just competing against those 1.7 million books, you're competing against 100 billion messages every day. So we've got to first see how are we going to stand out? How are we going to, you know, break the pattern of all the other content out there, to get somebody to stop, to get somebody to click, to get somebody to go to a landing page or go to Amazon or wherever they're at, because without it, everything else, doesn't really matter, so that's number one.
Then number two is, how do we create a sustainable and predictable marketing engine to drive people buying that book. And then number three is once somebody buys that book, what are the steps that we want them to take to engage with us as an individual, as a company, as a brand, as a product or whatever that may be, so those are the two or the three core areas that I focus with on our clients, when we're you know, developing a strategy for a book.

Josh Steimle:

So let's dive into that first one a little bit more, coming up for a Hook Point for your book, what's, is there a process is there a series of steps that you take your people through to do that?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, there's a lot of different factors that we look at, number one is, what is the subject matter you're covering? And what are the patterns around that subject matter? So for example, we were just looking, we were just working with a client in meditation, so they have a meditation book, they have a meditation retreat business, courses, and meditation is difficult, because it's been around for 1000s of years, you type meditation into the Google search, you're going to get over a billion results, does that worry me? No, I actually love it, I love oversaturated markets because it tells me there's a market for it, but what we have to do is we have to identify the patterns of what other people are saying, and whatever, you know how they're showing up in the world, other books, other classes, apps, retreats, whatever, to make sure that we are not falling into the trap with a pattern that everybody follows, so we identify the pattern first, so that we can then break the pattern and do something completely different, so that's step number one is like research, we have to research to identify the patterns to ensure, a, we don't fall into it, and b, that we can break out of it, so that's step number one.
Step two is we look at what is really the greatest pain that we are solving for the core consumer. So what consciously keeps them up at night, and what causes them stress, anxiety, fear, because oftentimes, what happens with authors is they know what the consumer needs, because they know it works for them, they know it works for their business, they've seen success, but that doesn't mean that the consumers are there just yet, so we have to start with the hook of what the consumers want.
So to give you an example with One Million Followers, I know what people need to be good at social media, understand the psychology of messaging and content, both consciously and subconsciously, how to tap into strategic alliances, how to AB test content, how to create viral content through storytelling. But if I started with a title of the Art of AB testing on social media platforms, I know they need it, but that's not what people want, nobody would buy that book. So what do I do is I start with people want, One Million Followers, how I built a massive social audience in 30 days. And then I dive into the book and I say, okay, if this is what you want, then these are the things you need to learn, and that's what brings people in with the hook, and then once you hook them in with what they want, they will follow you on the journey that you say that you need to master in order to do it, so that's another element of that.
Now, the third element is deeply rooted in psychology of the way that people perceive and connect with the world, so often times with brands we find that they're speaking to less than 30% of their core target audience based on the way that they're contextualizing their message and content, so we have broken down communication into an algorithm, so with that algorithm that's backed by over 40 years of research, there's over a million people that have been pulled around the world to develop this communication algorithm. There's six different ways that people perceive the world, the largest segment of the population is feelings based, it's 30%, they perceive the world and make decisions about what they buy, and what they connect with based on how it makes them feel, 25% is facts and logic based, they want to know who, what, when, where, why, does it make sense to me? What is the data to support this decision? Then 20% is fun and humor, so they want to know, is this going to be book going to be fun? Is it going to be exciting to engage with? So these people you'll hear them say, this sucks, this is awesome, they're like just bouncing around the world, that's how they react to things.
Then there's 10%, that's values and opinions based, so they want to know, can I trust this information? Are you committed to me as an author, or committed to me as a consumer that your material is going to help me? Are you dedicated to my success? 10% is reflection base, so they're waiting for you to give them direction on what to do, and they will follow it.
And then 5% is action based, they want to know bottom line, is this the best, they want to move fast, they want to be the best in the world, so is your book is your information going to do that? So when we're working with clients, we assess their communication, strengths and weaknesses, so that we can ensure that when they're showing up in the world, it just doesn't connect with how they perceive the world. For example, I perceive the world through thoughts and logic, if I just speak thoughts in logic, I'm alienating 75% of the population. My book is not going to have as much as success, my marketing material is not, so what we do is we help authors, not changing who they are, not changing their material, the way it shows up, how it's contextualized all the way down to just specific word changes, phrases, tones, facial expressions, so that it can reach the widest audience possible. So that's kind of the different aspects that we're looking at and focusing on, as we are developing the strategy and the Hook Point for this specific individual.

Josh Steimle:

Alright, so that's step number one, right? That's the Hook Point. Now, what was the second part of the three steps you talked about earlier?

Brendan Kane:

Then we're looking at just the whole business, you know, the marketing engine that we're creating like, how do we actually get somebody to opt in to buy this book? You know, what are the traffic sources? What are the landing pages? What is the way that messaging is going to take somebody from an advertisement to purchasing the book? So that's where and all those sellers thinks in step one will correlate to, okay we have that mapped out, now what is the marketing engine behind that to take somebody from awareness to purchase. So we use a few different things, we have a viral content engineering process that we apply to every piece of content that we produce, we also use a persuasive technology model birth out of Stanford University, that really breaks down motivation into transaction, into consumer action, so we're looking at those things in terms of how we construct the ads to the landing pages, so that's the second part.
And the third part is okay, now we're getting the transactions, we're getting people to buy the book, now, how do we take that initial action and extend the lifetime value of that consumer interaction, because typically what we find is you're going to lose money on just getting somebody to buy the book, so we need to build a profitable and sustainable engine off the backend to take those book buyers into long term clients, whether it's consulting, coaching, or buying more of our products, buying our services, so that again, it turns into an actual business, it turns into a marketing engine for the business, so there's two marketing engines, there's a marketing engine for the book, which is our first step, so we can get the book into as many hands as possible, and then off the backend there is this marketing engine for your business, extending that lifetime value mining those book buyers for your high ticket purchasers.

Josh Steimle:

Got it? And then step three.

Brendan Kane:

That is step three is.

Josh Steimle:

Oh, that was step three.

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, off the back, yeah.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, of the backend. Alright. So when you work with, well, let’s go into some of these case studies end, so who are some of the people, or if you can talk about names, can you walk us through a case study of somebody that you've helped from kind of beginning to end? And can you give us some of the real details, the nitty gritty of how you helped them through this process, and the results that you saw from it, that they saw from it?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, there's some confidentiality there that I can't really reveal the clients, I mean, I can break down from our perspective of what we've done with our books.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah.

Brendan Kane:

So, you know, just going back to One Million Followers, you know, I established the Hook Point, you got the literary agent, the publishing deal because of the Hook Point, and then we had to develop that marketing engine, and again, that was my first book, I had no idea what I was doing, never promoted a book, didn't know what went into it, and I was told that the publishers wouldn't do anything, but I didn't really know what that meant, so I had to create a self-liquidating marketing engine, so I could reach that saturation point of at least getting 25 to 30,000 copies in the market to have any chance of that taking off, so we really are good at social media advertising, and it's really one of the best tools that we have at our fingertips, because there's a direct attribution to a dollar in, a dollar out, so we created, you know, book funnels and tested many different variations of it for that book. And what we did is, we know through the data, and we tested you know, a free book shipping and handling offer, we tested it out $4.99 cent E-book, and we found that the E-book strategy was better, because free book shipping and handling you've got physical cost involved, and then you've got customer service and shipping issues, and all of that, so I'm kind of condensing things like this is a two year process that took us to learn all of this, so we really dialed in the E-book, but again, as I mentioned with a $4.99 e-booking cost us anywhere from $15 to $40 to get somebody to purchase that. So then we had to add a progression of like add ons to the book, so it's like, okay, you've got the book, what do you need next? Okay, you need a workbook, you need a course to supplement it, so it becomes a financial model of, okay, we know it costs us between $15 to $40, and that number is fluctuating month by month, quarter by quarter, you know, time of year, but we know that, hey, if this month it cost is $25 to get somebody to buy something for $5, at least on the front end we need our average cart order value to offset that lead cost, so once that math adds up, essentially, where you're at is you're creating this self-liquidating model, where you can essentially create leads for your business for free, or for a nominal cost.
On top of the fact that you're not just creating leads for your business, but you're able to advertise your business and brand for little to no cost, so we've gotten up to a point where we can spend $90 to $100,000 a month on social ads promoting our books, because we know we get $90 to $100,000 back, but with that, we're not just getting the book sales, we're getting awareness, that's $90 to $100,000 of free or low cost awareness for our brand and for our company.
And then off the backend of that now we've got all these leads of people buying these books every month that we can now funnel into our consulting firm, or to get them to buy courses or whatever else we want to push out to them, summit, retreats, things of that nature. So that self-liquidating model has allowed us to spend millions in advertising against our brand, put upwards, and I don't even know what the exact figure is, because we especially from an international level, we don't get clean data back, but we're at least in 125 to 150,000 copies into the market, we've hit a saturation point where the viral nature of the book has taken off, and that has also set us up to sell more books for the second book, because now we have this awareness, we've had all these people buy the first book, and marketing the second book easier, and again, we're building our entire business around that. So again, we have this systematic process, and, you know, the other big part of it is, I would say about 80% of our books being sold to direct consumer, so we own the data of that consumer, we can remark it to them, but also for our book publishing partners, you know, the first publisher, and I warn people this to sign deals with book publishers, because they make it harder to market this way, which is kind of baffling to me, but we had to fight with our first publisher around this to show them that it worked.
Now we're one of the top 10 bestselling books, because what we find is a lot of people will not buy just from the funnel, they'll go to Amazon, they'll go to retail stores to buy, but also people will get the book, talk about an Instagram, tell their friends about it, but they don't say hey, I bought it from this funnel, they're just like, hey, I'm reading this book, you should check it out, which increases that the overall sales across all channels to, again just amplify that awareness and revenue generated by the book and people you know, coming in, to want to specifically work with us.

Josh Steimle:

Are you're working with any authors who are self-publishing?

Brendan Kane:

Yes, I think it's better and easier, it's totally true. I will, if people want to be published, I do it through my literary agents publishing arm, so I've passed up on 6 figure advances from the big publishers on both books, because I just, you know, the royalty split is not in our favor, and the they make it harder to market the books, because they just put a lot of restrictions on you.
Now, the royalty split for me is not about me making money off the book, it gives me the opportunity to invest more in the book. So I oftentimes cringe, sometimes when I work with author that's working with the publisher, and I give them you know, specific language to go back to either renegotiate the deal, or just get permission to use this marketing engine, so if you're working with a publisher, it's not the end of the world, but you've got to set a clear expectation with them about how you're going to market and make this book successful, or if you're in the process of negotiating with a publisher, you need to make sure you know, certain stipulations are put into the contract, in order to make it successful, or if you're on the fence, I would either self-publish, or do it through my literary agents publishing arm, which gives the flexibility because they know kind of our model, how it works and how successful it can be.

Josh Steimle:

Now your literary agent they have a publishing arm, do they deal with international and everything as well?

Brendan Kane:

Yes.

Josh Steimle:

So now some of our, some of the listeners, people listening to this, they're listening to all of this and they're saying, well, I'm getting blown away here, that sounds really big, it's probably too much for me, you know, I'm just hoping to get 500 books out there, but get them into the right hands of the people who are going to make a difference for my business. And if I can just go land 20 of the right clients, that's all I need, and that will change my life. For the people who are not looking to become a bestseller, not looking to move 50,000 copies of their book, do you have any different tips for them as to what they should focus on, if this does feel overwhelming to them? Where should they be focusing their attention from the Hook Point perspective?

Brendan Kane:

My honest opinion, why do you need a book? If you're going after 20 people, if you're going after 500 people, why not just craft a really compelling email? To get them on the phone. Why do you have to have a book in order to do that? Because, listen, if you want to be a successful author, it's going to take work like it is this, if you want to just write a book because you want to just get it out there and you don't really care how many people see it, it's just a creative endeavor for you then do it. But to me like I don't work with people, and I don't think about things in incremental steps, I'm not the person to work with, if you just want incremental growth, if you want to sell 500 copies of book, go and do it, that's not me, but to me it's like if you're pinpointing, and I've done a lot of this, if you're trying to just get in front of like 20 people that are going to transform your business, why in the world do you need to spend time, months, maybe years crafting a piece of content, when you can spend a day crafting an email or a cold outreach and determine that, because you're getting the book into somebody's hands is a task in and of itself, but that doesn't mean they're going to read the book, I mean, the percentage of people that buy books and don't read them, I'm one of them, you should see my house and my desk, I buys books all the time from Amazon, I never read them. And so it's like, to me it's like is it the right decision for you to do it, that's just my opinion on it, but again, I may be the wrong person to ask that question, because I don't think small, that's just not why people hire me.
Now when people hire me to say, I want to target 20 people, 100% I'll help you with it, but I'm not going to tell you to craft the book, we're going to craft other ways of doing that, and getting in front of those people and closing that business.

Josh Steimle:

No, I love that take on things. So now for the people who are listening to this and saying, hey, I've got the money, I can do anything that needs to be done. What would they be looking at to engage with you what's, or is there a range of costs, I know it's going to depend on the details, but if somebody says, hey, I want to turn my book into a bestseller, I want to get into the hands of 100,000 people, what kind of engagement, timeline, costs might they be looking at with that?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, so we treat every business differently, we work with companies that are pre-revenue all the way up to 25 billion, and we customize how we work with them depending upon what their needs are, and if they're interested in working with us, they can either email me directly at B Kane, B as in boy, KANE, [email protected] or just go to hookpoint.com, and there's a little button that you can click to schedule a call with our team, and then we can just figure out the best fit for you. But I just want to say that, yes, there is an investment to do it, but we are always looking at what is the way that it's going to have maximum impact, maximum ROI for the business. So there are obviously cheaper and more cost efficient ways other than doing a book to really hit marketing goals and challenges, I'm a huge believer in books, if you have the right strategy, I've built my entire brand and entire business off of the two books, so I'm a huge proponent of it, but that's not to say that there's no other ways to help clients with Hook Points to really drive growth for their business.

Josh Steimle:

Alright, there are other methods, do you have a minimum though, that you start with in terms of cash investment?

Brendan Kane:

I mean to work with us, the minimum starts at about 15,000 to engage us.

Josh Steimle:

Alright, that gives people at least an idea of where they're starting from. And now you have other offerings too, you said you have a course, of course there's the book, what are some other offerings for the people who say, well, I don't have 15 grand where do I go from here, they get the book, what else?

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, I would start with a book. Like if you're struggling for cash, right now just start with the book, there's so much information, it's not like I hold anything back, we break down everything in the book, the thing that we just tell people is listen we've been doing this for 16 years, so it’s not easy, but it's simple, and it's simple in that we break down all the steps in the book, again I'm not hiding stuff back to get you to hire me, people hire me because that we've been doing it for so long, and we can move much quicker, and we see the path like we worked with the client yesterday in an hour, we solve the challenges that they've been facing the past 10 years, so that's typically you know, why people engage us and how we have success. So I would start with a book, if you're interested in the course, you know, it's a much lower investment, they can again book a call, we don't sell it, just buy it to anybody, you can book a call with our team at hookpoint.com and just ask them about the Hook Point course.

Josh Steimle:

Awesome. Anything that we've missed, Brendan, as we wrap things up here that entrepreneur, aspiring authors might need to know that we didn't cover.

Brendan Kane:

I think one thing that we didn't cover is mindset. Mindset is everything and this is, you can become a successful author, you can sell a lot of books, there's a clear path to do it, but it takes effort, it takes time, it takes resources, and just know that going in, and if you're not prepared to put in the hard work, there's nothing wrong with that, there's probably better solutions or strategies for you. But again, if you're trying to beat out 1.7 million books every year, and the average self-published book is only selling 300 copies, and the average published book is selling less than 3500, you just got to know that going in, it's a solvable problem, we've solved it multiple times, and I'm confident we can solve that for anybody or if they pick up the Hook Point book and just put the time, energy, and effort into it, they will be successful if they put in the work and have the right mindset.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. Well, thanks Brendan, for being with us here today on The Published Author Podcast, appreciate it. Everybody go to hookpoint.com, check it out and buy the book, Hook Point. Thanks so much for being with us here today, Brendan.

Brendan Kane:

Yeah, thanks for having me, I really appreciate it. And it's great to connect with everybody that was listening to this.

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