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The Published Author Podcast
 
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AUTHOR CHARLIE GILKEY WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO START FINISHING

Drawing from his military service to a PhD in Philosophy, Charlie Gilkey teaches entrepreneurs, small business owners, and professional creatives how to get stuff done. In this episode Charlie talks about how his first book, The Small Business Lifecycle: Taking the Right Steps at the Right Time to Grow Your Small Business, wasn’t the first book he set out to write, but it ended up being a growth engine for his business anyway. His second and latest book, Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, was delayed for years because Charlie thought someone else had already written it, but an epiphany pushed him to write his book anyway, which went on to become a bestseller and drive his business to new heights.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Welcome to the published author podcast, where we help entrepreneurs learn how to write a book and leverage it to grow their business and make an impact. I'm your host, Josh Steimle. Today, my guest is Charlie Gilkey. Charlie is the founder of Productive Flourishing through which he consults with professional creatives, entrepreneur, and small business owners on planning and productivity. He's also the author of Start Finishing, how to go from my idea to done and the Small Business Life Cycle, taking the right steps at the right time to grow your small business. Charlie, welcome to the show.

Charlie Gilkey:

Josh, thanks so much for having me. I love books. I love the book ecosystem and I love helping author figure out what book pathway is great for them.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. So give us a little bit more background on you, Charlie, what do you do? Who do you do it for? What are the results that you get for people and how did you get to this stage in your life of doing these things?

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah. So, you know, past this prologue, right. But I'll start with where I currently so simply put I help people finish what matters most. That could be, you know, a project like writing a book that really matters to them and figuring out how to make that happen could be a leader who's really going through a change strategy in her organization is trying to figure out how to keep people on point with that change strategy. Sometimes as entrepreneurs going their business. But that's the one over the many, right? Or the one -- the one through line through everything that I do. I got into this back in 2007 when I was simultaneously completing my PhD in philosophy, but I was also an army joint forces military logistics coordinator, which is a mouthful, but it made sure the army, navy and air force were talking to each other.

Josh Steimle:

That's also an interesting combination, military career, PhD and philosophy.

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah, it's an interesting background feels familiar to me because it's the body I live in. But I get that one a lot. Like those seem to be two things that don't go along when I'm like, actually they're the same thing anyways, conversation that maybe we'll get into. And I found like, as I was doing both of those, I ran into that very common problem of too many ideas and not enough time. And Josh, I found this really frustrating tension point for me was like on the one hand I could move thousands of people in equipment, across a theater of operations in Iraq, but I could not finish this 5,000 word essay in philosophy. And I'm like, this seems to be out of alignment. What is going on? I figured it out in time. But what I really discovered earlier on in the life of Productive Flourishing was our challenge is in this messy middle of the projects, right.
We live in a project world, but so much of the literature was focused like in productivity, around hacking things and getting things done and to-do list. And we became better to-do list ninjas with better in with cleaner inboxes, but our best work wasn't done or over on the personal development side, it was, you know, visions, values, goals, and living our like, dreaming of what our best life was. But tomorrow the day was the same as yesterday, right? We were no further along turns out this messy in between of projects is what most people needed to get more support on. And so that's essentially the revisionist history version of how Productive Flourishing started and where I am now as an executive coach and business coach.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So did you start your business first or write a book first, which came first?

Charlie Gilkey:

The business came first. The business was the accident. The book was the goal, and so-

Josh Steimle:

Tell us more about that.

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah, well I, when I originally started Productive Flourishing, it was for, you know, two audiences in a topic that was not gonna go anywhere, right. But really people started come to me is like, hey, you know, a lot about getting things done and focusing and, and really getting projects done. Can you help me with my business? Or can you help me with my team? And I was like, nah, I'm not really doing it. I'm trying to do the philosophy thing. And I'm in the military and I'm like, nah, but enough people came then I was like, okay, let's give it a shot. Let's see. Right. And so the coaching and consulting happened before the business, because I knew as I started writing about this is like I do so much work to synthesize all this stuff. I should just write the book versus telling people like read this book, but not those two chapters, but pull these three chapters from this book in, but then you need to have this other book that has this other piece that you need. I was like, this is madness, right. Let’s write the book. So yeah, the coaching and consulting wasn't on the map, but I love it as much as I love the writing, so things kind of weave together.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So you started the business, how long was it after you started the business before you had the book?

Charlie Gilkey:

So let's talk about the book. There's a whole journey when it comes to Small Business Life Cycle because the Small Business Life Cycle was not the book that I thought I was going to write. I thought I was going to write something closer to what I ended up writing and Start Finishing. But at the time, or there was another book concept, but at the time it was hard to explain to the publishers why a book like that was needed. And so I didn't -- which means I didn't have my positioning, right. And I didn't have the audience, right. So as you go into commercial publishing, basically there's this over simplistic, Josh, but you know this, but maybe our listeners don't. You get two sort of gates, two sort of easy keys into Traditional Publishing. You've either got a book concept so great, so original, so clear that people like, oh, I gotta buy that or you have a platform so big that frankly they don't care what you write.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah.

Charlie Gilkey:

Right. I had neither at the time, right. and so I was going, we -- my agent and I, we were doing a lot of shopping for it and he just wasn't going anywhere. And finally, I got frustrated with that project, but I noticed on my website, I was like, wait a second. Why am I getting all this traffic for the Small Business Life Cycle? And then I had a bunch of people asking me about that body of work. I was like, where's this coming from? And clients, and I was like, oh, that's some content that I have, that's really useful that I need to go ahead and turn into a book. And so rather than writing the other book, I was like, well, since I'm already in a book writing mindset and I have this one that's right in front of me that meets those, those polls of is our market interest?
Like are people clearly are enough of your true fans actually asking you about it? And do you wanna write it? Those three things came in alignment. So I was like, I'll just write that one and get it out there. So I did, that's where the Small Business Life Cycle came from. I had to really get clear about sort of it because I had written -- what had happened with that one is I had, I was given that talk in so many different circles and my marketing assistant transcribed it, split it into different blog posts and put it on the website. And she had told me in passing like, two years previously, she was like, oh yeah, I'm doing this. And I was like, that sounds great, run with it. And then it started generating all this traffic, right. And it was challenging to do that book because it was challenging to do all of the rewriting and do sort of the gap writing that I needed to make it happen.
But I thought about it Josh and I realized like where I'm stuck is in the literal typing, sitting down and typing this, like that's what writers do. Then I thought about Aristotle. And most of his work was actually transcribed by his students. Thought about Thomas Milton and who wrote Paradise Lost. And his daughter actually transcribed that for him, right. And so I was like, why am I so hung up that I have to be, I have to sit down and write this when I can use my natural current affinity of talking to get the book out. So once I really leaned into that and structured it and had a copy editor, little bit of ghost writing help, that is what turned, what helped me create Small Business Life Cycle and we’re not for understanding that that was a way I could do it. That book would not exist.

Josh Steimle:

Gotcha. Interesting. And that is instructive for a lot of our listeners, because we have a lot of people who are tuning into this who are saying, gee, I want to be an author, but I'm not a writer and I don't want to be a writer, but I want to be an author. I want to have a book out there. There are a lot of ways to get that job done.

Charlie Gilkey:

There’s a lot of ways to get that job done. Like yo, at this point in time, I know I sounded like a dinosaur. I've been doing this since 2007 part of that older guard, but it's like, the technology is so easy now. Like you can transcribe, you can talk to otter.ai while you're commuting to going to work and just know what you're talking about and then it will transcribe it for free, right? And then you can edit that yourself or you can have someone else edit it. That technology did not exist back in 2011, 12 when I was writing or 13, whenever I published Small Business Life Cycles, it’s been a long time. So yeah, there are stupid easy ways to get this done, if you give yourself permission to create in a way that's works for you, that may not be “efficient.”

Josh Steimle:

So now with this Small Business Life Cycle, like you said, it wasn’t the book you set out to write at first, but you had it in you, you were able to get it out quickly. Did that mean that it generated attention that you weren't necessarily looking for where people were coming to you and saying, hey, help me with this or did it still fit the goals that you had for your business?

Charlie Gilkey:

It was one of those, it already fit the goals. I think as I've worked with many entrepreneurs and authors throughout the last decade and change, the thing we do Josh is we think that we need to write a book that's about something different than what we're working on. Small Business Life Cycle was the book that was very immersed in work I was already working on. Helping people focus on the stage of business they needed to grow. So as a quick primer, the Small Business Life Cycle is the what to expect when you're expecting for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Right? What are you getting into? What do you need to focus on? What do you not need to focus on right now so that you can grow in those different stages. I've been doing that work the whole time I was doing that work previously.
I love that work. I especially love telling entrepreneurs and authors like maybe you don't worry about that right now. Like you're trying to solve a problem. You don't actually have, I know you think you have it, but you don't actually have it right now. The real problem you have is this. So it was just, wasn't the book that I had set out to write in 2009 or 10, but it was the book I had right in front of me-

Josh Steimle:

Right.

Charlie Gilkey:

And it did, you know, you know, hit the Amazon best seller list. It did great. It's had a bunch of sales since then. I still get hired off of this book. I still love that book, right. And it's been almost a decade since it's been out.

Josh Steimle:

So what was the gap between that, and then Start Finishing? Start Finishing was really your baby, right?

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah. Start Finishing was the clear and obvious thing that most people knew me more for, because of a lot of my work on productivity planning and making it happen when you're a creative person. So Start Finishing definitely fit. So the gap was about four years. No. Well there's a whole journey there. Yeah, we're gonna tell the story. We have time. We have time.

Josh Steimle:

Yep, we got, we got time.

Charlie Gilkey:

So wrote Small Business Life Cycle a good [inaudible] [0:11:51] and then I had the kernel of what I wanted to write about with Start Finishing. And then this wonderful book came out called Deep Work.

Josh Steimle:

Cal Newport, great book.

Charlie Gilkey:

I love Cal, I love Deep Work, but when the book Deep Work came out, I was like, well, there went a deep core of the, of what I was saying is that we entrepreneurs and creative folks need to anchor our productivity to what I call focus blocks of really what I can use that language, because it's mass enough. Like the Deep Work time, we did not give ourselves enough Deep Work time. And that was the limiting factor to everything else that was going on. That was essentially the core of the book that I was writing. And then I got deep worked, right. So I was mad. I was like, I nothing need to say, I'm not even going to read the book. And like, you know, you went through that whole in the, you know, thrashing cycle myself for a few years and then started coming back up around 2017. So there's like a four year gap there. because I'm like deep works out. Who cares? Like it's done. And then there was another book that came out as I was going to market with Start Finishing, and the book was Finished by Jon Acuff. Right.

Josh Steimle:

Even took the name,

Charlie Gilkey:

Even took the name, right. but this time around, I was like, you know what I, well, pause. I had finally read Deep Work a few years prior. And I was like that ain't my book. That's not what I was going to write. It has one of the ideas, but that wasn't what I was going to write. Okay. So I went back to the market. So then Jon Acuff came out with Finished again, no shade against Jon or Cal or their books, but in this moment I was like, nope, not again. This is my lawn, right. Whatever you write is not going to be close to what I write. So you saw the promise or you got the promise and, you know, you've got that going on but, you know, Jon, your book is not going to be my book. My book is my book and people keep coming into me for this content.
Right. And so it's just another layer of both confidence, but also knowing what happens when you don't ship your work and you don't get it out there. And I was like, it's been the rest of my career being mad about books. Other people that are writing that have a kernel of the idea that I had, or I could just join the conversation and sing my song the way I sing it. And there are going to be people who resonate with that and need that, that are different than what's already out there. Or even if it doubles down on the same message, we need to hear that message from different people for it's to finally get it.

Josh Steimle:

Exactly, because there are people out there. I mean, even if you wrote the same book that somebody else wrote, the way that you say it is going to be different. And there are people who are going to connect with that. I love telling the story about my wife when we got married, we weren't very disciplined with our finances and about five, six, seven years into our marriage, she gave me a copy of Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover, and I read it and then I go to my wife and I'm like, we gotta do all this stuff. We need to set up a budget and do this and save and all this. And she's like, I've been telling you this for years. And I was like, well, yeah, but you say it differently than Dave Ramsey when he says it, I don't know. There's just something different about it. And that's how we all are, right. We just, we all tune into a certain voice, a certain tone and what somebody else writes is not going to be what you write. Even if it seems like the same book.

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah, well it sounds cocky, but it's just true. Like, no one sounds like Charlie Gilkey except for Charlie Gilkey, right. And my job is to see the world a certain way and explain it the way that I'm going to explain it that helps people who understand the way that I explain it, right. But I'll say there's no one that sounds like Josh, like aspiring author, this listen to there's no one that will sound like you, when you work on producing your work your way for people who need to hear it from you.

Josh Steimle:

Exactly. There's somebody out there who needs you to write your book, the way that your are going to write it. Even if you feel like 10,000 other people have already done it, still, your voice is needed.

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah, and that's where coming to this from having a philosophy background was humbling, but also really helpful, right. Because I'm like, we've been doing footnotes to Plato for like 3000 years. Right. There's nothing that I'm going to come up with that is not already out in literature somewhere in some way or something close to it. So how cocky is it for me to believe that we have this rich history of thousands of recorded, thousands of recorded words, but I'm going to be the guy that says something that no one else has ever said before. Okay. That's a pretty tall order. But also we live in an age of so much information that we actually don't need novelty as much as we think we do, as much as the publishers think we do sometimes, we need utility. How do we take that information we have and make it coherent? How do we make meaning out of it? How do we apply it? In my view, that's what we need way more of now because most problems that you would think of already have some solutions somewhere, right. But the solution may not exactly fit your scenario or the solution may not be something that really clicks with you in a way that makes it make any sense to you.

Josh Steimle:

Quick break here, are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to write a book that will help you grow your business? Visit publishedauthor.com where we have programs to fit every budget. Programs that will help you write and publish your book in as little as 90 days, starting at just $39 per month, or if you're too busy to write your book, we'll interview you and then write and publish your book for you. Don't let the valuable knowledge and experience you have go to waste, head on over to publishedauthor.com to get the help you need to become a published author. You've already waited long enough. Do it today. Now back to the show. Yeah. Another good example is, I mean, Dave Ramsey's popular with gen X, but gen Y, gen Z they're reading Ramit Sethi and his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich, same stuff, different voice, different tone, different examples.

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah.

Josh Steimle:

And Ramit's made a great career out of it.

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah, Ramit, he's done great on that. You know, you look at Your Money Or Your Life, right Vicki Robin's been doing that work for a long time. You look at Mr. Money Mustache, it has his own take on money and things like that, right. There are all these people in the same area. And obviously as Josh and I are talking about it is like, well, that makes sense for them, but not for me. It's true for you too, right. Whatever you write about like, here's the thing you want to have a really wide pool of readers to publish your book too. Like if you're writing about something like the, you know, Ancestry Of Evox On Tattooing [ph] there's like eight people who are going to like that book, right. They're gonna love that book, but there's eight people. If you're writing about the big three, you know, money, sex, diet there's a big audience of people that are going to want things around those. And most books are one or two clicks away from money, sex and diet. They really are, right nonfiction books are, and you're like, oh, I write about business. No, it's money sex and diet bro, like it really is.

Josh Steimle:

Yep, yep so true. So let's get back to your book, Start Finishing great title by the way.

Charlie Gilkey:

Thank you.

Josh Steimle:

So start finishing that comes out, what impact did that have on your business?

Charlie Gilkey:

I'm going to tell you about the impact I know, but here's the thing about great books that are that, and I'm really proud of Start Finishing I'm finished -- I'm proud of both my books. I'm far away enough to know from start -- from small business lifecycle to know that Start Finishing is still doing some work that I can't see yet, right. I have never worked with a client or with an author that did not handsomely get a return half of their book if they stick with it. Right, so what it did immediately was it solved the book shape hole that was in my business. So imagine writing Josh for 10 years and I'm a writer first more so well, I'm a talker, but I'm also a writer, imagine writing for 10 years, but not having a book that really makes a coherent journey for people in your body of work like PF at this point is like 2000 some odd post and, you know, three or 400 pages that contain information. It's a lot of content.
And so I knew when I went into writing Start Finishing in 2017, it published in 2019, but I knew going into it in 2017 that there was a book shaped hole in my business. So Start Finishing immediately plugged that. And it was the book that people were looking for like, I didn't mean for it to be well, I did, but I didn't want it to be on the label. I didn't want it to be as subversive and radical as it is in some ways, but the right people picked up on that, right because it's very much an anti bro hustle, anti-push harder, faster, better, cheaper book, it's not that. Even though it's name makes it seem like that because that's what we sort of have to Trojan horse sometimes in the marketplace, it's really about arranging your life so that you make more time for the things that matter most to you.
And a lot of times that means choosing to do less and slowing down and, you know, managing your expectations about what you can you in this world right, coming up against your limitations and it's really applied philosophy as much as it is productivity right in that sort of label. So it -- people got that out of the book. The other thing is I -- well, it's tricky. Start Finishing came out September 24th, 2019. First three months doing great. Second, three months as happens sometimes starts to slow down a little bit. Then Friday, 13th, 2020 COVID hit, I will tell you not a good time to have a business book out, not a good time to have a productivity book out, unless it was about remote work, unless it was about those types of things. So like the base camp crew cleaned it up when it came to that, because all of a sudden the world was super curious about remote and had to go, and they had a book called Rework or no, like Remote.

Josh Steimle:

Remote, yeah. It's called Remote. Yeah.

Charlie Gilkey:

It’s called Remote.

Josh Steimle:

All of a sudden that 10 year old book was highly relevant.

Charlie Gilkey:

All of a sudden it was the bestseller everywhere and everybody talking about it, I'm like first off, 15 years old, second off, no shine, no shade against base camp, but it's not as practical as people think it is. Right. It's a manifesto more than it is anything else. Right. I can tell you at the time with a lot of my clients, they were not needing a manifesto. They were needing like a, how do we actually make this damn thing go?

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. They had already been forced into doing it. The question-

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah.

Josh Steimle:

Was how?

Charlie Gilkey:

They didn't need to be sold anymore. So but the book clean, cleaned up. Start Finishing, not so much it plummeted, it went from selling, I think like 80 to 120 a week to six.

Josh Steimle:

Ouch.

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah. So that was a hard period. And yet Start Finishing with still doing a lot of work, you know, it, you know, I'm really honored it picked up some great awards. It won the Eric Hoffer grand prize, which is why that's -- why that means something to me is it's a cross category, a prize so it's one book wins it every year. It's really stinking hard for a productivity book to win a cross category award right out of, you know, 25,000 other books, right. Super hard to do. Publishers weekly, put it up and so really gave that sense of like this work has something behind it. It's, you know again, no shade on anyone else, but it's like this body of work is important or it's saying something that should be paid attention to.
So that felt really great. The other thing is just clients. Clients and product sales happen. So we are currently in the middle of developing an app based upon some of the IP that's in the book that where it not for the brand lift that the book created would not have nearly the space and sort of the brand exposure to be able to launch an app off the back of it, right. So it's still, it's only been out two years, it's still doing a lot of work. The paperback comes out in January, we're producing a workbook for that'll come out sometime in October, right. And so this is where Josh, I think maybe we slide into it is that I think most authors really underplay or under, underestimate how much time it takes after launch for the book to really do its full work.
If you think the book does its work in the first 90 days, I'm going to tell you you're wrong. It does it most 15, 20% of the work that it's going to do over the next three to five years. So the question we end up having to ask, I end up having to ask myself is what are the campaigns that I'm going to do roughly every quarter right, to keeps the light on that book because it's working for me, the question is how am I working with it and partnering with it so it can do its job.

Josh Steimle:

So before we dive into the leveraging, the marketing, the promotion for the book, tell us a little, little bit more about your writing habit or your writing routine. I'm especially curious because that's kind of what your book is about, right? It's about finishing stuff. So I'm curious, how did you finish your book? What did you use from the book to actually get the book done and what can other first time authors take away from that?

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah. So that's a great question. I think the -- I don't have any super advice on this one. Like there's no secret bullet here. It's a lot of time of walking down to the coffee shop at, you know, 07:00 in the morning and writing until I was done or until, you know, I would, I would use two focus blocks getting referenced in earlier. Those are 90 to 120 minute blocks of time where you just focus on one sort of deep thinking thing, right, you don't switch context. So for me it just became, how do I get, you know, 10 focus blocks in a week, right. How am I gonna divide that up and everything else took care of itself, right. I know how much I write. This is the stupid thing when you use things like -- I need to stop saying stupid today apparently that's in the mood.
It's a really crazy thing. Like if you use a tool like 750words.com consistently, you'll figure out how long it takes you to write 750 words. For me it's 14 minutes, right. If I sit down for a focus block and I'm really in that mood, I typically write between 800 and 1500 words during that period, it became a numbers game. Right. Am I sitting down? Do I have an outline? I usually Ulisses because it just works for me. It's a tool that is really a repository for all of my writing and I can just push it different ways. And so I had my book broken down in its table of contents in Ulisses. You'll like this Josh, as much as I say, the tool doesn't matter. I wrote it on an Alphasmart Neo-

Josh Steimle:

Interesting.

Charlie Gilkey:

Alphasmart Neo is you all is like a, when was this thing produced? I'll find the patent on it. Give a sec. Late 1990s, it's a keyboard that has like a six inch by inch and a half LCD screen on it. Right. You can get it for $25 from eBay, right. The battery on it lasts forever, right and it holds like 50,000 words. That's what I wrote the book on. And why I did it that way is because I knew at the time I did not feel like messing with distractions. I did not feel like hacking against distractions. Dumb Tech was the easiest thing for me. So when I started writing the book, Josh, I was like, what, what have been my best writing experiences where I've done my deepest thinking and I've been the most prolific and it always went back to pre -- it went back to the days where, and I'm 41.
So this will date me. It went back to the days to where you long hand wrote your paper, then went to the computer lab to type it up. You saved it, you printed it and then you got the hell away from that computer, right? You went back and you did something else. It was like, what could I do to recreate that environment? Because I know that environment worked for me. That's where the Alphasmart Neo came in. I've since evolved, but it's still that simple like what can I do just to focus entirely on writing? So when I use my -- when I use either a laptop now or my iPad I'll have distraction blockers on and it's just me and writing for two to four hours. And then I'll walk home and do interviews and, you know, coach and do everything else I'm going to do.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So let's jump into talking about that marketing promotion for the book. What were you some of the things that you did between your two, two books to get the word out there and get your book in the hands of the right people?

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah. So podcast tours were really what – well, let me back it up Small Business Life Cycle that was heavily email marketing to the list of people that I had at the time. Right. So it was, you know, I self-published that one through Amazon. So it was wow, feels like a law long ago, but email marketing, social media marketing and doing that for six to nine months, you know, also it's helpful to have a platform like Productive Flourishing, because it was placed on the website. And I just know how to put books in a place where people see it a lot and buy it a lot and creating a continual marketing engine using my website. Not rocket science here, as much as it's just like, if you write two, three posts a week and people are actually coming to your blog how is the product you wanna sell, no more than three clicks away from what they're reading now. Right. So it's in navbar so and so forth. This may be entirely too high level Josh, feel free to pull me down into specifically what I did, if that's helpful. But those were the three things I did placement on the website email marketing and social media marketing for a Small Business Life Cycle.

Josh Steimle:

Now when you say let's dive into email marketing, for example. Exactly, what were you doing with email marketing? How did you do it? How could a first time author out there who maybe doesn't have a platform doesn't have a big email list? What can they do to get the same success that you had?

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah. So I'm not going to lie here, if you don't already have a platform it's hard to sell books, right. It's easier with Amazon and the world of self-publishing is so much easier a decade later than it was then because you can build up an entire sort of marketing channel on Amazon. At the time that's not what I did, right. So it really was the not so much like the big massive launch, but I knew when I wanted the book to publish and so four weeks before it published, I was like, the book is coming. Here's what it's about. Here's how it's going to help you the next week. It was like, the book is coming right. You can sign up to get, you know, notifications about it when it's out. You know, basically my way of marketing is not just to be the OxiClean guy all the time, nothing wrong with the OxiClean guy recipes, right.
But to use like a teaching sales perspective, right. I'm going to give you great content, tell you how it's important and then tell you like, if you want to take the next steps, what that looks like? That's where it gets super tricky being an author because it's like, how many times can you say something different about your book, right? How can you frame it differently? How can it not be the same message over and over again in. And this is where having advanced readers comes out really helpful, right? Because I send the book to Josh, he reads it, he's loving it, but he asks a question and I'm like, all right, Josh, well, Josh asked this question, I end up emailing him with the answer, but I thought I'll share it with you too, right. And so that's how you generate content for it.
And just, you know, here's Josh’s question. Here's what I answered. I hope that helped you. If you -- if this is helpful and you want to get a bigger view of it buy the Small Business Life Cycle, you could get it from Amazon, right or you can check out the resources for this book that are on the website. So it's really doing that. The book came out. It hit some of the lists. So the net next week it was like, hey, the book came out super excited. Like it, you know, the noteworthy thing about it is it became number one in its category and it's, you know, selling super well. Here's what people are asking me about. Doing that same playbook over and over again, right. Again, not really rocket science in the sense of, it's not, this is 2013, man.
Like digital marketing still was not as sophisticated as it is now, right but that continual message. And I think Oliver Burke whose latest book came out 40,000 hours, I think. I'm going to screw up the title of it. You know, he's been asked about the success of it, because he's done really well and it's still these same basics, right. How are you creating content that either educates inspires or entertains people? And then how are you as the book sales person now that this is something I want to switch real quick. We talk a lot about book marketing, but I actually think we should be talking about book sales more. What are you doing to sell this book? Because so much of the marketing and PR and social media and all that jazz, nothing wrong with marketing, but it's still not really answering that question of what is this doing to move sales, right. And so the more sophisticated version of Charlie, this launching books, these days, I've got a new one that's in to work. So really focused on sales campaigns, it’s not marketing campaigns. Was that helpful or was that at the degree of granularity that was helpful there, Josh?

Josh Steimle:

No, that's good. But tell us a little bit more about how you see the diff -- what you see as the difference between sales and marketing, when it comes to being an author and getting the books out there? How do you sell a book versus how do you market a book?

Charlie Gilkey:

So a few things. One is when you think about sales, we typically design sales campaigns, as opposed to the thinking about marketing is just a bunch of things that you're doing to get a visibility for the book. So one specific thing is how do you make a -- trying not to use marketing language on this one. How do you create a moment in time to build people or to push people's attention around or to channel people's attention around? Right, so it could be launch date. Great. That's a moment and time. It could be that three week, three months later, you're having a webinar that helps people answer Q&A. So then you can drive attention to that as opposed to just the book and by the book, because at a certain point buy the book, buy the book, buy the book, people are going get blind to that and you get tired of saying it, right. So you build these three month campaign. It's like, oh, now we're going to push it on book bub. If you want the book, like you need to get it by Thursday because that's when book bub, you know, expires and you push people.
I say, push, that sounds over marketing. You invite people to take you up on whatever you're offering around the book at that time. But if you don't have any of those moments, then the only thing you can invite them do is to buy the book over and over and over again. And at a certain point, just like anyone who's been chased by someone who wants to date them and you don't want to date the person like it's like, I don't want to go on this date, stop asking me, right. But I might wanna play field hockey with you. Okay. Right. So how are you always generating those points and times where there's a specific message that you're inviting people to take you up on related to your book? Also, the point of a sales campaign is to get sales. It's not to get visibility.
It's not to get it additional followers on whatever platform that you're on. It's not to get additional subscribers, it's to move book sales. And it makes you figure out what moves your book versus what doesn't, right. Because there are plenty of things you could do on the marketing side that might get you some of those, top of the funnel metrics or sometimes called vanity metrics that don't actually move books. You might find that the best thing to move your book is to pay for a sponsorship in an association's, you know, newsletter, that's a sales campaign, right. That works, but it may not be, you know, something else. So that's what you -- that mindset I think is helpful for a lot of the authors I've been working with of like, we tried a thing, did it get the sales or not? And if it didn't get the sales, let's not keep doing that because the point of this is to move books right, not just to be having fun on Twitter for the day. Does that help Josh?

Josh Steimle:

Yep. Perfect. Charlie, thanks so much for being with us here today on the Published Author Podcast, any last tips or anything that I feel like you're a reservoir of a lot of ideas that authors could benefit from. Is there anything that we didn't cover that you feel like you want to get out there?

Charlie Gilkey:

Yeah. So two things. I know I've talked a lot about strategy and a lot about like those types of things. Remember to fall in love with your book and to do your best, you can to write a great book because nothing markets and sell a book like, it's quality in caliber, right. Now that doesn't mean you have to do something completely different than what you're currently doing, but just remember your first and primary job is to write a great book. Then it's to start thinking about how you're going to get this great work that you're creating into the hands of people that you need it, which is a sales conversation. So yeah. I want to keep people on that one because if you're really on this journey to write a book, understand that there's probably two or three mother -- two or three other books in you that you can't see at the time. Focus on that, and a lot of the rest will come when it's time to start talking about marketing and sales.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Charlie for being with us here today. If people want to connect with you, find you where's the best place for them to do it?

Charlie Gilkey:

All right. I give two easy touch points. One is productiveflourishing.com. All roads end up going to Productive Flourishing one way or the other. So if you want to learn about the books, they're all there. As you might guess, they're pretty easy to find. The second place would be if you're hanging out on Twitter, I'm Charlie Gilkey on Twitter. Say hi really appreciate seeing you.

Josh Steimle:

Awesome. Thanks again for being with us here today on the Published Author Podcast.

Charlie Gilkey:

Josh has been a blast. Thanks for having me.

Josh Steimle:

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