Worth Every Penny – Erin Verbeck and Sarah Petty,
Many small business owners feel pressure to discount their products and services, especially when times are tough. After all, how else will they keep up with the low prices offered by their discounting competitors? What they don t realize is that discounting is the last thing they should be doing if they want to win big.
It’s every author’s dream to hit the most popular best selling lists. You must have heard a lot of dos and don’ts concerning the topic. Wouldn’t you rather learn the secrets right from the horse’s mouth? This week, Bestseller Confessions squeezes the truth out of one of the world’s most elite New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors – Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck, the authors of Worth Every Penny.
The Background Story
The success of Sarah and Erin’s book cannot be understood without telling the story behind how and why they wrote the book and what the book talks about. According to the pair, they were not really passionate about writing a book. They simply happened upon a message that they needed to get out there. The two unconventional authors have Marketing degrees and we were working at an ad agency. After her pregnancy, Sarah decided to start a photography business, something she had been doing as a hobby for years. She began to help top photographers in the country with their marketing while she acquired photography skills.
The beginning stage of the book was born as Sarah began to figure out how she could compete in an industry where customers owned cameras too and could take photos for free. Why would they pay for her services? Soon Sarah started speaking in the photography space and began creating products, and that’s when Erin joined the band. Together, they realized that there’s a huge need out there.
The duo started defining what boutique was in the photography industry and put out an eBook. Taking advantage of digital marketing, which was just starting to take off at that time, they grew an email list of 3000 people and ended up having 10000 people download the eBook. They then had the idea to turn the simple 35-40 page eBook into a comprehensive book. Their goal was to position themselves ahead of everyone who was out there teaching business to photographers. A book would help to distinguish them from the crowd.
Settling on a Publisher
Wary of pouring too much attention on the book and forgetting their business, Sarah and Erin decided to explore their writing path gradually. They were only going to continue if they felt comfortable with the progress. They were set on their desire for a hard cover book and being on business shelves with the likes of Seth Godi n. After discarding several publishers, they finally met Clint Greenleaf, the founder of Greenleaf Book Group, and found a model that met all of their needs. Meeting the Greenleaf team sold them on actually creating the book in the first place.
There are few of the reasons they decided on Greenleaf, which is a hybrid publisher:
• They needed beautiful visuals for their book to pair with their boutique business.
• They wanted to own the content and not give it up to the publisher.
• They need a publisher that wasn’t going to make them do things that they didn’t want to do to promote the book such as going on an extensive book tour. Their love for family and their business wouldn’t let them.
Greenleaf checked all those boxes. Additionally, the publisher got them national distribution for their book, which was excellent because Sarah and Erin didn’t want the hassle of doing that.
You have to Make a Financial Investment
The duo had to pay for the printing of the book. Fortunately, their company was doing well. It goes to show that self-published authors, the most successful ones, are investing in their books, financially! Ultimately, it helps to propel independent authors to the bestseller lists. Worth Every Penny is great example of that, because Greenleaf is technically a self-publisher. By definition, that means you, the author, control the rights.
The Secret to Getting Killer Endorsements
One of the most convincing aspects of Worth Every Penny is the endorsements. They include Seth Godin, Michael Gerber, Anita Campbell, Brian Tracey, and Pamela Bruner.
• Don’t sell yourself short!
First off, anybody can do it! Neither Sarah nor Erin had any fancy connections to earn the endorsements. The pair built these relationships one at a time. If you assumed that the publisher worked for Worth Every Penny’s endorsements, sorry to disappoint.
• Give before you can receive/ask.
Sarah and Erin created relationship by giving first. Writing articles and helping before they asked for anything. Sarah confesses that they still send holiday cards every year thanking them for everything they’re doing, and reads their blogs regularly.
One of their biggest advantage was Sarah being featured in a national professional photographer magazine. She pitched to the editor, about interviewing some of these cool people like Michael Gerber, who wrote the e-Myth, and Seth Godi n. With Michael Gerber, for example, his wife – Luzdelia, personally called Sarah and suggested to have Michael write the forward. This was after Sarah and Erin took photos of the couple while creating an article on Michael. The call came after they sent Mr. and Mrs. Gerber some of the photos as a gift, plus an advance copy of Worth Every Penny.
Executing a Bestselling Book Launch
Hitting bestseller lists was another one top priority for the duo. They wanted more than just Amazon. They wanted an independent list to hit and so they asked around and found out that you HAVE to sell the books.
• Capitalize on your Email List
Being marketers, they leveraged their huge email list. They approached every single person that they had worked with asked them to buy the book. These include sponsors in the photography industry, partners, and vendors. Some of these people bought their books in bulks of hundreds or thousands, which really boosted their sales.
• Create a Package
Erin and Sarah had an audience of photographers that probably preferred visuals to reading. So they bundled the book with something this audience wanted – education. They bundled their online courses with the book and it helped to sell hundreds of copies.
• Sell! Sell! Sell!
The New York Times list gets information from the reporting agencies. There are hundreds of retailers across America that are confidential reporting agencies. In order for a book to hit that list, in the first four weeks, that book has to sell more copies than everybody else, and the reporting has to come from at least four different retailers, none of which can be Amazon.
Advice for the Independent Author
Are you wondering about the next step after you’ve written that book? Sarah and Erin have some advice for you.
• You have to build an audience of followers.
For these two co-authors, that was an email list built from years of giving. The pair were emailing their list a couple times a week and inviting them to webinars, teaching them, and updating their blog. They spent so much time giving that when it came time to ask it didn’t feel weird.
• Don’t sit with the book and wonder, what next?
Erin and Sarah believe that you start figuring out how you’re going to sell that book at least two years before even writing. The brand should be built! If you want to be a best-selling author, you don’t want to start your business from a position of weakness. Begin by aggressively seeking out the reach and the ability to sell thousands of books.
• Have clear goals.
Know why you’re writing the book because that’s going to inform a lot of decisions down the road.
Whether you’re a non-fiction author like Erin and Sarah, or a fiction author, the advice that they’ve shared is priceless. In case you have questions or comments, you can find them at JoyofMarketing.com.
You can also grab a copy of Worth Every Penny on GoRead.com, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.
Feel free to write them a review, you never know where that might lead!