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john jantsch

Catapult Your Speaking Career With a Book With John Jantsch

Whether you are beginning your speaking career or are a veteran, writing a book on your subject may be one of the most advantageous tings you can do to showcase your expertise.

 

In this episode, John Jantsch and I discuss how writing a book could affect your speaking career. As you’ll discover, it’s a daunting undertaking, but can be well worth your time and effort.

 

John is a veteran marketing speaker and workshop leader with over 200 successful events under his belt. Event organizers and attendees frequently comment on the nature of the practical, actionable “takeaway” value of his presentations. He is also the bestselling author of “Duct Tape Marketing” and other books, including his soon-to-be-released “The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.”

 

Takeaways

  • how a book helps establish you as an expert in your field
  • know your objective for your book
  • understand how you are going to leverage your book
  • how speaking and writing are entirely different disciplines
  • meeting organizers often look first to those who have written a book
  • how writing a book can increase both your speaking fee and the number of gigs you get each year
  • the need for professionalism, including design and editing

 

Resources

 

Podcast transcript

 

Peter
My guest this week is John Jantsch. John’s a veteran marketing speaker and workshop leader with over 200 successful events under his belt. Event organizers and attendees frequently comment on the nature of the practical, actionable takeaway value of his presentations. John is also the author of the best-selling book, duct tape marketing. In this show, John and I are going to discuss how writing a book can launch your speaking career. Or if you already have a speaking career catapulted to new heights. If you’re thinking about writing a book, you definitely want to listen to John’s advice. John, welcome to the speaker station. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today.

 

John
Thanks. It’s exciting to be here.

 

Peter
We’re going to discuss how writing, publishing, and marketing a book can benefit a speaker. But first, can you tell us about your new book that you’re working on?

 

John
I have written five books on my own business for coming up on 30 years. And during that whole time, it’s all been about marketing. All my books are essentially about marketing. For my next book, I wanted to do something a little different. And so I’m kind of mining sort of, I don’t know, maybe we’ll call the wisdom of being in business being an entrepreneur for many years. And so the title of the book is the self-reliant entrepreneur, and it’s set up as a daily kind of meditation. So every 366 pages and every day you open it up, and it says July 1 or July 2, you read that day’s. There’s no how-to necessarily. It’s more kind of inspirational point of view about, you know what it takes to be a self-reliant entrepreneur, and some of your listeners may pick up on that title self-reliance. And remember that Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the mid 19th century, wrote an essay that is really very popular with a lot of entrepreneurs because it essentially talked about the idea of thinking for yourself and not worrying about what the world does or what others say and you know, kind of doing your thing based on what you need to do, you know, for your unique way of doing things. And so, I went back in mind for every page, the literature of that time, because that was a very sort of the first countercultural period in the United States. You know, you think about the 1850s, we were on the edge of the Civil War, that’s when the women’s movement started interest. There was a lot of religious upheaval, you know, kind of fighting back again. You know, sort of the European Puritan way of thinking, and so a lot of the writing kind of reflects that. And I think there’s a lot of sort of that revolutionary spirit and a lot of entrepreneurs and so every day you’ll find a reading from Thoreau or Louisa May Alcott or Margaret fuller or will a catheter. Obviously, Emerson, Melville poem me just a lot of the stuff that we, we were many of us were asked to read in high school is still I think, today some of the best literature in kind of throughout American literature. So there’s a reading from some of the things that I think applies to entrepreneurs, and then I can riff on it for about 100 words, 200 words, applying it to what I think the modern entrepreneur goes through, and then every day ends with a question that hopefully kind of challenges you on the theme of that day’s reading, to give you a little reflection, so very, very hard book to read. Right, I would imagine, very satisfying because it allowed me to really kind of go back and revisit a lot of that literature. And so you can look at it as almost a cliff notes to tell that literature but it’s just kind of meant to be a light, you know, easy to read, you know, pick it up a day at a time. And so I’m looking forward to that. That’ll be added in October of 2019.

 

Peter
And a lot different from many of the books you read on business.

 

John
Yeah, I think so. I mean, this daily format, proven some people might be familiar with a very popular one right now called the daily stoic, written by Ryan Holiday. Peter Drucker, I think had a, I’m not sure he wrote it, but somebody collected all his works, and you can find a book called The Daily Drucker so so the format’s somewhat proven, but it’s certainly a very different book for me.

 

Peter
That’ll be out in October, you said?

 

John
October of 2019. That’s right. Yeah, just in time for Christmas. These books make good Christmas gifts just because, you know, you start off the year of January again.

 

Peter
That’s great. I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

John
Well, thank you. Yeah, hopefully, people will … it’ll make sense to people I know just in the circles I run in my network you know that just that you know, self-reliance that you know, Ralph Waldo Emerson, essays when that gets bantered around a lot, you know, there’s so much quotable material in there that applies to that are doing your own thing and being your own person that I think a lot of entrepreneurs have kind of gravitated towards it.

 

Peter
So let’s talk about your experience as a speaker. Were you speaking professionally before you wrote the books, or did writing the books help launch your career?

 

John
I was speaking professionally and truthfully, it’s because I saw it is the best way to get consulting clients. So I really started off, you know, speaking at the junior college, you know, on marketing for, you know, the program that they had, for adults who had had businesses and And kind of worked my way from doing you know, that type of thing to then, you know, associations locally and whatnot. And so I was, in some cases, being paid some cases I just thought is a great degeneration opportunity. But that you know, once I started blogging and writing online, and people started using online resources to find people, I did start branching out of outside of my local community as a paid speaker, but there’s no question that when my book first book did come out, which was in 2006, I’d been speaking for three or four years. But you know, there really wasn’t huge demand. It was just people that would find me because I was easy to find. Once the book not only came out but sold well, hit a couple of the bestseller lists, then all of a sudden, you know, people started seeking me out, and I quadrupled my speaking fees, just because, you know, that’s what they expected to pay a bestselling author?

 

Peter
That was the first duct tape book, correct?

 

John
That’s right. Yeah. So duct tape marketing. That’s right. So that came out in about 2006 2007. And it really, you know, ever since then, you know, I do about 20- to 25-page speaking gigs here.

 

Peter
Hey, I got to tell you when that book came out, that’s when I first learned about you and your consulting and all and when I saw the name of the book with duct tape, I went, Oh my God, that’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

 

John
Well, fortunately, a few people had that reaction. And so that’s certainly, you know, got a lot of attention and had, you know, even media outlets, you know, kind of when they started going out and trying to interview people who were doing online marketing or blogging, you know, that name to kind of help helped kind of propel me to the front of the list in some cases.

 

Peter
Did you find writing your book to be a daunting task, or did it come fairly easy to you?

 

John
I always tell people that it took me about 20 years to write my first book, and I think that’s, you know, basically what I wrote about was what I’ve been doing. I had developed a systematic approach to marketing with small businesses. Because I didn’t want to do it in a very traditional way. I wanted to be able to walk and say, here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what you’re going to do. Here are the results we hope to get and here’s what it costs. Do you want it or not? And essentially, that was the genesis, quite frankly, of the name duct tape marketing. That was prior to the book. That that was really the name of my, you know, marketing approach. And I wanted to start, you know, making your course and documenting it. And so the name actually came about is as a way to kind of have much more of a brand name then, you know, John’s great system. So, so, so a lot of ways the first book was the easiest to write because it really was stuff that I had been reading writing about talking about speaking about, and I just needed to get it down subsequent books, you know, then the publisher says, okay, we want you to write another book, you know, what do you want to write about it? And so now I’ll say your, your sophomore book, if you will, a lot of times, you know, becomes, in my particular case, you know, it became something that I had to really focus on. Okay, what, you know, what’s the structure that’s going to be? What am I going to talk about? What’s my big idea? Where duct tape marketing kind of just felt like be collecting what I’ve been teaching and preaching for a number of years.

 

Peter
Well, writing a book is such a large undertaking, and in to go through that process. It’s certainly got to be worth it. What do you see is the greatest benefit to a speaker once they’ve written a book?

 

John
Well, I think it’s to anyone I mean to, you know, if today’s task as a marketer, you know, as a speaker is to build authority and be seen as an expert and, you know, get some, you know, some level of notoriety. I mean, I always used to joke that after I had a bestseller, nobody cared if I was any good anymore, they just assumed that you could come do the deal. And even if you’re the local accountant and you’re, you know, all you’re trying to do is is, you know, be seen as an expert, you know, having a book on a topic that people care about can certainly do a lot for you.

 

Peter
So it adds to your credibility. Lead generation must increase.

 

John
Yeah, and, you know, frankly, it’s not, it doesn’t have the cachet that it wants to, because it used to be very hard to write a book or publish a book. The only avenue was that, you know, you got a mainstream publisher to you know, to think you had a great idea and you know, somehow got a book deal and so, you know, that you know, back when that was really the only avenue you know, the publisher sort of controlled lot of the ability for somebody even has a book But as the digital world came along, as printing became easier as you started having distribution resources, like Amazon’s of the world, really. And this is not to belittle the process at all. But really, anybody now can have a book. And so in a lot of ways, you have to have a very strong objective about what you’re going to try to do with the book. Just having the book is not enough to stand out almost anymore. I mean, if you don’t have a book, and you’re a marketing consultant, you probably, you know, that’s almost become like having a website, it feels like. But having an objective of what you’re going to do with that book is really, I think, what makes it valuable.

 

Peter
In either case, whether it was the traditional publishing or self-publishing today that a lot of people are doing. One of the major aspects of it, of course, is marketing that book that doesn’t market itself.

 

John
That’s right. Yeah. And I think you’re actually right. I mean, one of the fallacies of you know, a lot of authors from first-time authors particularly who say get a, you know, a traditional publishing deal is they feel like great, you know, the publisher is going to gonna sell my book for me and you know, the publisher, basically, the publisher’s customer is the bookstore. And they, you know, they go out and sell potentially some bookstores. So you have some, some distribution, you know, right out of the box, but, you know, let’s face it, the bookstores are carrying very little inventory anymore. And if that book doesn’t sell, they’re sending it back to the publisher. So they, you know, the author of the book today certainly has to, you know, spend a year or more, you know, building an audience building a platform, getting out there and telling everybody about, you know, the book if they really want to sell it, but again, going back to what I said about the objectives if you are a somebody who wants to grow your expertise, and your community wants to make Do speaking in your community, you don’t have to sell thousands and thousands of bucks. The book just has to be well received. People have to find value in it. You have to definitely go out there and push it. You know, but a lot of people feel like the payoff of being seen as kind of the chosen expert in a certain topic is worth the investment in publishing the book and maybe giving, even because you get it in enough people’s hands, who are then going to help you meet your other objectives.

 

Peter
I’ve noticed a lot of people, the meeting planners, if you will organizations putting on events, they’ll go to people who’ve written books, to have them come in and speak, but they might not even know if they’re a good speaker or not. They’re equating writing and speaking as being one and the same. That’s right from your personal experience. Do you see them going hand in hand, or are they really entirely different disciplines?

 

John
They’re really entirely different disciplines. Very much. So, obviously having a good idea of being able to simplify that idea and articulate it is is key to both of them, frankly, being successful. But half of speaking is the information half of it is what you might call the performance, the ability to live in a completely different environment. Get your idea across with your, your body, your voice, your emotions, your movement is is a part of what the most effective speakers are able to do.

 

Peter
Timings involved … there are a lot of things, and you can’t just go back and delete it.

 

John
Well, there is an aspect to editing now. I mean, I there’s certainly over the years I’ve given a talk that is that that has very, you know, a very similar feel to it that I’m constantly updating and editing because you know, something didn’t work or because I found a better way to say something.

 

Peter
What’s the advice that you have for our listeners who are thinking about writing a book?

 

John
Well, you know, the hardest thing for most people, I mean, I 90% of the people out there that have said they’re going to write a book, you know, never get started. So, you know, think about, you just got to find a way to simplify the process. What’s your big idea? What, you know, does the world need another book? Like, XYZ? You know, what’s your, your need, your unique take, what’s your unique point of view? How can you summarize that in, you know, in a way, that’s going to be a value? And again, we’re talking, you know, mostly about nonfiction, I assume here, but, so kind of having, having a story to tell but then also having something that’s going to be a value to somebody that let’s face it today, you know, has to be different. I mean, I, because I’ve written books because I have a podcast, and I get five books a week sent to me, by publishers. And I got to tell you, it particularly in the marketing category, very few of them were saying anything new or revolutionary. So, you know, how do you you know, how do you find kind of that unique point of view that that’s going to be an essential part of what is the thread that runs through your, your book if it’s going to be successful or useful. For me, it was literally the idea that marketing is a system in your business. And, you know, still today, I find that that’s a unique point of view for marketers, or certainly for small business owners. And that’s, I think, to a large degree, that’s been the success of both my books and just the duct tape marketing approach. I now have a network of about 150 consultants around the world that license that duct tape marketing methodology and system and work now with small business owners all over the world and that going from an idea to documenting an idea to a book, you know, to a course to a consulting practice and then to an entire network is because there’s a thread that runs through that entire, that entire idea. And I think that that’s another element that a lot of people underestimate. I really didn’t set out to write a book so that it would be a best-selling book. I wrote a book because it would help me get speaking because it would help me get attention because, you know, there were so many other objectives in writing a book that that kind of all goes together. And that’s it, I think, is another key unless you’ve, unless you’ve got, you know, the next best selling idea of a book, you know, your book is only going to be as good as you find ways to leverage that you have it.

Peter
Once they get started, what are some of the pitfalls they’re going to run into?

John
I think the biggest one is, you know, overthinking it. There’s a book that I quote all the time about writing called Bird by Bird, and a woman named Anne Lamott. And it is you know, she is a very successful author, and it’s her kind of book on advice she does a lot of teaching of creative writing courses and things, and it’s her book on advice on how to how to do writing, and I won’t ruin your PG rating because she uses a curse word in the title of that chapter. But basically, it, you know, the essence of it is just get it down, you know, don’t it though your first effort your first draft is not going to be good necessarily. It’s not going to be the finished thing. But you know, just kind of get it all down start writing start outlining, start, you know, refining, start testing it, start talking to people about it, and it’ll come around, but if you never do that part of it, you’ll never get to the part where you actually make it better. Where do you think they should get help editors? Design? Yeah, any particular areas or all these areas that true additional process, of course, involves those things that you said a lot of times having an editor who is going to look at your book globally, like what’s your big idea? Does it run through here, do the chapters, you know, relate, and hang together. It’s kind of that structural editing. You know, I think that can be extremely valuable, especially for somebody who doesn’t have a lot of experience in writing. It’s pretty easy to get. Just combine over 70,000 words. And so that’s a part, but then I’ll tell you, if you’ve only got X dollars, you know, spend it on a copy editor too because you’re making silly mistakes, being wordy, leaving out commas having typos. I mean that that is just for a lot of people, not for everybody. Some people can get passed up. For a lot of readers will shut the book immediately once they find three of those because it just kind of cuts your credibility with them. So a good copy editor can edit a book in a week. I’m just looking for the stupid mistakes, you know, that they that we all make, you know when we’re just writing, and you no longer can see because you know what the book is supposed to say. So I would definitely spend money there. And then, as you said, design can make a big difference if you’ve got a physical printed book. There’s no question sitting on a bookshelf, you know, there are certain things that make a book pop.

 

Peter
Just like any other type of marketing work that you have to do. And I’ve noticed books that you can look at them, and you just know they were self-published, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. But they didn’t take time to have a professional book designer design the cover. Yeah, it just doesn’t measure up, and I think you lose credibility talking about judging a book by its cover, right, where you lose credibility

 

John
instantly. Well, particularly when you’re, you know, you’re going to be placed amongst the, you know, the competition. Let’s face it, that’s kind of way to you know, the thing about the marketing is, you know, what are you going to do to stay it out because, you know, people are going to scan that bookshelf, they’re going to scan the online bookstore, and they’re going to make decisions without diving too deeply into the book. So that is kind of your, your front door, if you will, to, you know, hey, this is why you ought to buy me.

 

Peter
Right? And it’s great to get on that shelf. But if you’re competing with people like you and Seth Godin and the like, and you can’t compete, you’re that far out of the ballpark. Well, it’s, it’s unfortunate. All right, our listeners are revved up and raring to go. What’s that first step? Do you think they should do that first minor one?

 

John
Well, I mean, the very first thing is, what’s the big idea? I think a book needs to have a big idea that that somehow differentiates it or that you at least think who is you know, who is my target audience for this book? What problem do they have that I can promise to solve with this, but I think if you don’t get that down, and you just start writing About your profession or about how you go to work or, you know, how you solve, you know, this issue and that issue. You know, it’s going to be very difficult for somebody to get interested in another book along those lines, because I mean, I hate to say it, but you know, every industry every how-to, you know, kind of thing is out there right now. I mean, it’s either in a book already, or it’s, you know, it’s on one of the millions of blogs, it’s out there. So, you’ve got to have. You’ve got to come up with, I think, a promise to solve a problem for a specific audience that that really allows your book to be different than the scores of books that they can probably find or writings that they could probably find that are just telling them how to do something that others are trying to matter do.

 

Peter
Well, great. I think this is great advice, and I hope some of our listeners take it and actually take the ideas. They have to get it down on paper and distribute it to others so they can learn from it as well. I’m sure they have some fresh ideas somewhere back there that they can hopefully share. Hey, John, where can our listeners go to learn more about you your services and your podcast as well?

 

John
You bet. So you can find pretty much everything that I do at DuctTapeMarketing.com, and that’s DuctTapeMarketing.com.

 

Peter
How often does your podcast come out?

John
So we do at least two and then every now and then three shows a week. So we’ve been I’ve been podcasting now for since 2005, whatever, to 14 years, wow. And have been weeks without any shows in that period of time.

 

Peter
That’s something to be proud of. Hey, I listened to it all the time. I’ve been listening to it for quite a while. I don’t know if it’s back to the beginning. But for many years now. Yeah, I find it brings a lot to light and some great ideas that you share in your guest share with the listeners. And I appreciate it. And I know my listeners will appreciate listening as well. Well, John, thanks for being with us here today. I really appreciate it. And I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming book.

 

John
I appreciate it.

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