Welcome to the Real Fast Results podcast! Today you’re in for a real treat. The expert that will be sharing a bit of his knowledge with us in this edition of the broadcast is Jay Boyer, who is an incredible expert in publishing and a thought leader in his industry. One of his major accomplishments is his ability to produce bestsellers in an incredible fashion. Not only that, but Jay has taught thousands of people how to write, publish, and market children’s books so that they would be able to create bestselling children’s books of their very own.
Jay is going to teach people how to write and publish a children’s book in the next 7 days, publish it to Amazon and drive it all the way to becoming a #1 bestseller.
I’m constantly amazed at how this really seems to strike a chord with people.
- This seems to be a bucket list item for lots of people. Something that they’ve always wanted to do. Write a book, a children’s book, and get it published. Get it out there, share it with the world, and share it with their grand-kids, share it with their own children. Honestly, this is something that I didn’t know, until I did it myself and started showing students how to do this same thing.
- Writing children’s books continues to be a fantastic source of passive and recurring income. For me, personally, I did mid six-figures just with my children’s book royalties on Amazon last year. I’m on target to make even more sales this year. Actually, I have to qualify that, mid six-figures total sales, and mid five-figures in royalties.
5 Step Overview on How to Write and Publish Children’s Books
- Research – The first step is the exact same process that I did with my son Joe when we published our first children’s book 3 or 4 years ago. We headed over to Amazon, and we did about 3 minutes worth of research inside of the Kindle marketplace. We saw what was selling, and we took some ideas from certain books and combined them and added our own secret sauce. That’s the formula of the bestselling book.
- Illustrations – We filled that book with amazing illustrations. I’m no illustrator and my son’s no illustrator. Fill it up with amazing illustrations that are going to make kids go, “Wow,” and purchase your books over, and over again.
- Promote – Promote it on Amazon. You can do that for free.
- Repeat – Repeat the process over and over again. I have currently almost a dozen books on my number one children’s book series. That’s what makes it a sustainable business.
- How to keep your books showing up in the bestsellers list.
Step 1 – Research
The first step is research. This is where lots of my students go wrong, or don’t do this as completely as they should. They have an idea in their brain. Maybe it’s a story that they’ve already thought about writing, and whether or not it’s qualified as something that’s already selling well in Amazon Kindle, is not something that crosses their mind. But it’s absolutely essential if you want to stand the best possible chance of actually publishing this and having it go to a number one bestseller.
So, what I do is I head over to Amazon. I’m specifically in the children’s book marketplace, and I start browsing through the categories. When I wrote my first book with Joe, I said, “Joe, what kind of book do you want to write?” He said, “Papa, I just want it to be funny.” He wanted a book that he could share with his friends, share a laugh with me, and read on the edge of his bed. This was when he was young enough to want to read books on the edge of his bed.
I said, “So, let’s go look at funny books on Kindle.” We headed over to the Kindle marketplace, we clicked into the humor niche. Because I’ve been doing this for a certain amount of time, I had a marketer’s eyeball, which is what I recommend that you do when you’re looking at these books inside of Kindle. Look at them, not necessarily as a consumer, but what is trending, what sort of characters show up over and over again, what topics.
If you have an animal for your main character, what are the most popular animal characters? There’s dogs, and cats, and horses, and unicorns, and all that stuff. This is what you want to do. You head over there and take some notes and get some ideas for your own book. We’re not talking about ripping off a bestselling book. We’re talking about just getting some ideas and then adding your own “secret sauce.” Adding your own amazing illustrations, adding what you know, and love, and have to offer the world in combination with items that are already trending.
Part of step one is to qualify what’s already trending and selling like gangbusters over in the Kindle marketplace. Whatever it is, and whatever category appeals to you, there’s a #1 bestseller in that category right now. G over and find it. Try connecting some other books and seeing what commonalities you find in these different titles that are already selling well over in Kindle. So that’s step one. Do some basic research, and you can do that in 3-5 minutes. I guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun. If you’ve got a child, do it with them. You may end up buying a bunch of books and reading them at a later date, but in any case, that’s step one. Do that research.
It’s important that you understand that you’re using this to springboard off of other people’s success. You are trying to get an idea of what’s selling so that you know your book will sell, and you’re not just guessing at it. You’re looking at characters, and topics, and demographics. I publish to the reluctant reader niche, which is 8-10 or 11-year-old boys, not exclusively though, of course. Those sell very well. You’re going to find those books inside that big bestseller list, before you even drill down into the smaller categories. That’s how you get some sense of how well, and chunk up the demographics, and try to think of the age group that that particular book is appealing to.
What are people doing with their book covers?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, for example. I modeled my book cover off of what Jeff Kinney was already doing with his Diary of a Wimpy Kid book cover. They’re really easy to do. It’s a really easy format, and you can do that for any type of children’s book out there. Again, you don’t copy it verbatim, obviously. In the case of images, you just take note of the elements that you see in one successful book and use those same elements in your own.
By the way, you’re not going to be the only one over there doing that either. There are lots of people doing the exact same thing, heading over to Kindle and approaching it with a marketer’s eyeball, and saying, “Holy cow, that’s selling really well. This is interesting. Maybe I can expand upon that idea. Look at this book cover design. Wow. Okay. Well, I see a dozen book cover designs that look almost the exact same.” Obviously, people know what they’re doing when they are publishing bestsellers over there, and these are some of the strategies that they’re using as well.
Step 2 – Illustrations
The second step is to populate your book with amazing illustrations that kids are going to love, that their parents are going to love, that’s going to get them to purchase book after book after book in your series. That’s the endgame. You want to publish as many possible books as you can. You want to create a book series. Someone buys book one, then they’re going to buy book two. They’re going to buy the 3rd one, the 6th one, the 8th one, and it’s probably all going to happen in the span of a Saturday afternoon. You know, that’s just how this works. Kids love these books, and they eat them up like Halloween Candy.
How do you get illustrations?
That seems to be a stumbling block for lots of my students, and for me as well. I mean I am no artist. Believe me, I couldn’t design my way out of a wet paper bag. I hope I never have to. I’m terrible, and if it were up to me, it would be the worst-looking children’s book ever. Thankfully, I don’t have to be the illustrator of these books, nor my son or whoever else you’re writing these books with. You can get world-class children’s book illustrations by amazingly talented designers over at Fiverr.com.
Yes, there are lots of different outsourcing sites out there. However, I prefer to use Fiverr to find the illustrators of all my children’s books. Basically, you get a sample every time you go shopping over there on Fiverr. There’s a thumbnail image of whatever they wanted to put up from there to represent their gig (that’s what they’re called over there on Fiverr). You can tell at a glance, “Hey, is this going to be high-quality enough? Is this going to be funny enough? Is this going to appeal to appeal to, you know, 3 or 4-year-old girls who love princess books? Or, is this going to get into maybe the Captain Underpants genre?”
You can tell at a glance, heading over to Fiverr, whether these are going to be appropriate. You can check their ratings. Of course, lots of people leave ratings, and that’s golden information. You’re going to know if these contractors deliver on time, whether they’re nice to work with, whether the quality is actually there, etc. All of these factors are the reasons why I go to Fiverr to find all of my children’s book illustrators. You can get an entire book illustrated for under $100 and have all of the rights moving forward, to use them in any which way that you want.
A common question I get is “How do I know I have the rights to the illustrations.” Actually, Fiverr’s terms of service state that you have rights to all output that you’re purchasing, all the content that you’re buying, whatever gigs that the contractors are creating for you. Fiverr’s terms of service say that you have rights to all of that, unless it’s stated otherwise in the gig description. And, you’ll see that. It’ll say, “If you want to use this for an eBook, it’s going to cost another $5,” etc.
Most illustrators don’t do that. Either they don’t know that they can or should be doing that, or maybe they’re just like, “Okay. This is yours and I don’t care.” Unless it’s stated in that gig description, unless there are any intends, or any other language stating otherwise, you own those illustrations and the rights to those illustrations. You can do whatever you want with them, in terms of commercial rights moving forward.
It might be a good idea to double check with whoever you decide on, and make sure that they know this is “work for hire”. These are sort of magical legal words in this game, and if you use those words in an agreement, then it shows that whatever work is done for you is something that you own. Then, you also have the terms of service in addition to that to back you up. However, in most cases this isn’t an issue. Honestly, it’s never been an issue for me at all with any of the illustrators that I use.
I actually don’t tell Fiverr. I pull them off of Fiverr, and let them know, “Hey, if we’re going to be doing some work on several books…” yeah, it absolutely makes sense to send them a little contract. Send it via email, and all they need to do is reply and say, “Yes, I understand…” or “I agree”. That’s… contractually, that’s all that you need. If you’re doing any sort of work out of Fiverr, I recommend it, and it’s also a good idea if you’re doing work inside of Fiverr.
Step 3 – Publish
The next step is to publish the darn thing. Usually, my students want to know, “So, how does this come together in manuscript format?” The answer to that is it’s super-easy. I just use MS Word. You can use any sort of word-processing document that you want. Add the images that you got from your Fiverr illustrator as JPG images inside. It’s just a running Word document.
Separate it by chapters. Chapter one–just put some page breaks in between the chapters. Keep your chapter short. Even if you’re writing for an older audience, even if you are writing for an older child. All of my books are for 8-10-year-old boys. Keep those chapters short.
I used to write them myself, and now I just outsource all of the writing. I tell my writers, “Hey, anywhere between 100 and 200 words per chapter, followed by an illustration.” So, I end up having maybe a dozen and a half short, bite-sized mini chapters, followed by an illustration, and another 150 words, followed by an illustration. Usually they end up being anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 words total, for my demographic, which is, again, older kids. But, keep those chapters short. Keep them bite-sized. It keeps the pages turning, and they are a lot easier to write that way as well.
That’s it. Simply format the book, submit it to Kindle. You can do that in 30 minutes, even if you’ve never done it before, and you are in business. One secret weapon that I do recommend is to put a free offer in your book.
This is what I call my secret weapon. That free offer leads to an audiobook. Here’s what I do. On the second or third page, right before the table of contents, I say, “Hey, if you want an audio version of this book, click this link.” The cool thing about a Kindle reading device is that you can actually click on a live link and it will open up in a browser anywhere. People can leave you their name and address in exchange for a 20 to 25-minute audiobook. An audiobook can simply comprise of you reading the book. You can use a simple word-processing program like Audacity. All you need to do is render it into an MP3, and you can save it to DropBox.
You just deliver a Dropbox link to your customers for the free audiobook version and:
- that adds a ton of value to your book,
- it sets you apart from everyone else who are publishing the same types of books out there, and
- you are creating your number one asset in the world, which is an email list of subscribers. People who know you, who love you, who buy every book and can’t wait for you to publish the next one. And, when you do end up publishing the next book, all you need to do is send a single email to your list.
I have, at this point, 5,000 or 6,000 subscribers. These are people who have bought the book and wanted the audiobook as well. I just send a single email out, and I get hundreds of people buying my brand new book, which pushes it to a number one bestseller.
That’s the secret sauce, and that’s what I recommend everybody do if they’re publishing to children’s books, or any sort of book to the Kindle marketplace. Just try to find something of value that’s relevant to the book itself, that people would be willing to give you their name and email address for. You can start building your own list in any niche under the sun in the same way.
If you’re not publishing for the children’s book niche, if you’re publishing to a non-fiction, how-to niche, that’s how you build your tribe so you can sell to them. Once they are on your email list you can develop a relationship with them. You can sell them other cool stuff and content. You can jump on a Google Hangout. You can put other offers in front of them. This is how they ascend up your value ladder. They come in at a free offer, and maybe they buy a $27 information product from you after that, or a $97, or maybe a webinar product, or who knows? A live event, or some high-ticket coaching. That’s how it works, and that’s the power of building a list of any kind. That’s why I consider it to be my number one asset.
You’ve got your #1 bestselling book with your free offer (don’t forget the secret sauce). Take a little seal or sticker that says “# 1 Bestselling” and put it on your book cover image. Moving forward, that’s tremendous social proof. That’s one more reason for people to buy your book, as opposed to someone else’s book, by putting a #1 bestselling book sticker on the book cover. It’s a graphic that you can find anywhere. Maybe other people are browsing on Amazon, and they see all of these covers, but they see your cover with this bestselling book sticker on the front of it, and they’re like, “Oh, it says it’s bestselling. It must be good.”
Step 4 – Repeat
That’s the strategy. Then, after that you’ve got some social proof, you’ve got previous customers, you’ve got people on your subscriber base, and you’re generating recurring passive income through the sales of that same book. It would make a lot of sense to publish a similar book to the very same book series. So, you have not just one book for people to read, but you can be linking out and cross-promoting these books in the back of your book like I do. I put all of them in the back of my books. Every time I publish a book I add another link to that list of books in the back. So, when people finish that book, I say “Hey, do you like this crazy, funny kids book? I have seven or eight more that you can purchase.”
They can click on those links and actually head on over to the Amazon marketplace purchase the next one right off the bat. That’s how you turn this from a hobby into a business. That’s why I have all of these cross-promoting books out there in the marketplace. They’re all #1 bestsellers, and I have raving fans.
I have people that write me letters. Kids write me letters, parents write me letters, teachers write me letters because, for whatever reason, they enjoy these books. If kids don’t even want to read any other books, these are books that they want to read because they’re fun, they’re kind of gross-out, they’re madcap, they have crazy illustrations, etc. In any case, I get emails all of the time from people responding to that free offer. They say, “I loved your book. This is fantastic. When are you going to write the next one?” And then, it’s just like, “Well, I’ve got the next one coming out in the next three weeks. I’ll send you a link.” That’s it. Just rinse and repeat.
Step 5 – How to Keep Your Children’s Books Showing Up on the Bestsellers List
Of course I have seasonal books. I have the one that I promote in December, when I pull Santa Clause into the story. I have one that I start promoting when football season ends, and it has to do with my main character joining the football team. I have one that I promote during Halloween, in October, because it’s about some spooky, scary monsters.
So, that’s another, sort of, overlay of the very same strategy, and what I like to do. I suppose this is step 5. How do you continue to have your books showing up over and over again on the bestsellers list? I have several books that have been #1 best sellers in their categories for years and years and years. Here’s one reason why. A great way to actually get brand new visitors, brand new book buyers to these books, outside of the Amazon marketplace, is to go to a website called BookBub.com. For, I think it’s $120, you can have them send out an email to all of their children’s book subscribers. I think, at this point, there’s over half a million emails going out every time I purchase a promotion like this, for $120.
They send an email out to over half a million children’s book buyers that are looking for daily deals. Sometimes I generate 800 or 900 new sales in a single day for these books. Of course, that increases the visibility of not just that book, but all of the other books, by virtue of the fact that I’m promoting them all together, cross-promoting all of them inside of the book. So, every time I do that, I get a spike of not just those book sales in the Amazon marketplace, I get not only more visibility, and I’m showing up on the bestseller list. Last time I did this, I ended up as the #2 bestselling book of all children’s books inside of Kindle. It’s very amazing, and of course, I see a spike of all of my other books as a result of that.
I have a training program, and you can learn more about it at RealFastResults.com/CBF. The “CBF” stands for Children’s Book Formula, which is a very successful program that has helped many people get published and even become bestsellers. This is a course that I had created on the heels of my #1 children’s book bestseller. I had people contacting me like, “Jay, can you please just show me how to… I want to write a #1 best selling children’s book.” I had no idea that this was such a bucket list item, but it’s absolutely the case.
I have had thousands of students come through this program, most of which have never published a children’s book before. Some of which have gone on to be even more successful than I have been. I have one student who last year was in the KDP newsletter. That’s the Kindle Direct Publishing newsletter. They send it out to all Kindle publishers. She was featured as one of the bestselling authors in the entire marketplace.
I was totally blown away when she sent me that. She said, “It’s all because of you, and it’s all because of the course. This would never have been available to me otherwise.” I just feel super grateful, if that’s the case, that I have been able to make a difference in other people’s lives with this training. It continues to be, for that and other reasons, my best selling program that I have ever created and launched.
The best way to get in touch with me is to go to my JJ Fast Webinars Facebook page. There you can get information about CBF and other training programs that I offer.
Daniel’s Real Fast Results Tips: Children’s Books
Jay’s Children’s Book Formula Training (Special Affiliate Pricing Deal)
Book Illustrations – Fiverr.com
Free Audio Editor and Recorder – Audacity
Online File Storage – https://www.dropbox.com/