Change your words. Change your world.

Exactly How To Sell 1 Million Books

As a personal brand it’s often quoted that “you cannot make money from books” and that their purpose lies more in the area of credibility, to help win speaking gigs or to create a tool to help open new opportunities…

It’s true that the market is really tough and it’s hard to do it successfully.

But it can be done.

If you launch the right book in the right way, then you can absolutely go on to sell over a million copies and create a significant long-term royalty income in the process.

I’m living proof of this and this blog is here to share with you the operating system I have used (and still use) to create sustainable, long-term success with a book. 

Follow The Clues 

This industry is full of people who love to share their opinions. Opinions on why your book might fail, opinions on what you’re doing right and wrong. They have opinions on what they view as successful, and what they view as a failure.

You tell someone you’re writing a book and you’ll be inundated with opinions whether you asked for them or not.

Opinions can be deadly, they stifle creativity and drive. They can knock confidence and make you feel like you’re destined to fail.

Don’t be overly influenced by other people’s opinions. They really don’t matter.

What I do by alternative is follow clues from the people who’ve actually done it. Not the people who have an opinion on how they think you should do it.

With that said – I’m sharing with you my way. It doesn’t mean that it’s the way, it’s just a way but it has worked incredibly well for me. 

So What’s The Secret Formula?

My book, Exactly What to Say, has to date sold over 1.3 million copies

If I could bottle the secret formula of success and pass it on to aspiring authors, then I would. 

But the thing I can do is share my thoughts about my journey and show how you can do more with books than you might realize.

Now my book is not like your average book. It has a lot fewer words and to some, it isn’t even big enough to be a “proper” book.

It’s also a book about spoken word and as such, the format of audiobook is highly likely to be its priority medium. 

Crafting a book is about ensuring its form follows its function and the lightweight, light listen, light read decisions were very, very intentional.

Are you catching any clues yet?

Two Types Of Books

There are two types of books. The big idea books and the proven method books:


Big Idea Book

This is when you get a big idea and you bring that book to market to see if it’s actually a big idea. Lots of people try to produce these kinds of books. But it’s a waiting game to see if the market decides if it’s a good idea or not. 


Proven Method Book

This is when you get a big idea and you bring that book to market to see if it’s actually a big idea. Lots of people try to produce these kinds of books. But it’s a waiting game to see if the market decides if it’s a good idea or not. 

This is what my book is to me, and the proven method is what I’ll be referring to throughout this blog. The beauty of writing a book of this nature is that you have already done the bulk of the organizing and editing through the refinement of the message over your own growth with the material, plus your commitment to have already shared the method and keep sharing the method is sure to heighten the viable audience for the book. 

I’ve lived with my methodology for a very long time. It’s my baby, something I want to live with forever.

Three Important Questions 

Whether you’re preparing to write a book, writing a book, or have already written a book, you need to ask yourself three questions before you take your baby to market.

question 1

Who Are The People You Are Looking To Help? 

Note that I say people not, person. You need to narrow down all the people that can be helped by your book and the message that lives inside of it. 

If you’re offering a message that’s fit for the many, then get clear on who the ‘many’ are.

There isn’t a giant group of a million people. There are several groups of people within that million. Find out who they are and think about who you want to help.

question 2

What Are The Challenges You’re Helping To Overcome?

Your book needs to help people overcome certain challenges. The greater clarity that you get on this, the better book you’ll write and take to market. 

There’s a hell of a lot of things that you can do with a Swiss army knife if you know what all the functions are. But no one’s looking for a Swiss army knife. 

What they’re looking for is a can opener, a screwdriver, or a pair of scissors.

Understand that your book can become a Swiss army knife if you identify the people and the challenges that it helps to overcome.

question 3

How Are You Measuring Success For the Book? 

10-Step Plan To Selling 1 Million Books

Before we go any further I need to tell you something really important:

The fact is, no one actually wants to buy another book.

It’s true, but what people love are moments. We remember our moments, we tell stories about our moments.

Deliver a reason, a reason like needing to know more about something, or understanding a methodology. When you deliver this, it’s giving a reason to read your book.

By simply following these 10 steps, you’ll provide all the reasons for someone to read your book. 


Write Wide & Edit Narrow

One massive mistake is that an author will write a book for a narrow audience. Sometimes they write it just for themselves and then wonder why no one is buying it.

My book started as a simple pamphlet to accompany my talks.

Over the years it has been re-written and re-packaged, considering every single audience member I’ve ever worked with. I wanted it to accompany every bit of business I’ve ever done.

After I wrote wide, I began editing narrow.

Who was I looking to help? Who would benefit from this methodology?

I edited through every lens imaginable.

How will this book empower a sales team? How will it help the individual looking to take a product to market for the first time? How will it help a health care worker? How will it help a parent?

I had my primary person in mind, but the way to write successfully is to add all of those secondary people.

I’ve ended up with a book that is aimed at everyone. People can see themselves in my book. If you can do the same, then this is when your book can travel.


Craft The User Experience 

Your book is a product. Never forget that. And with a product, form follows function, so try to craft the whole experience. 

How I did this was to:

  • Make my book a paperback – a lightweight accompaniment that travels easier and is cheaper to produce and buy
  • To keep the conversation going – readers are aware of what’s available from me: talks, book customizations, etc. I also ask them to keep the conversation going by tweeting me, emailing me, and sharing the experience, which they do, every single day.
  • To enable small minimum bulk orders – the minimum bulk order for EWTS is 10. This is the perfect amount for an organization that wants to teach my methodology. It makes my book way more accessible.


Never Leave Launch Mode

Exactly What to Say was first published in 2017. Last week, in 2022, I did 3 interviews about my ‘new’ book.

It’s quite difficult to build a reputation if you’ve got too many ideas out in the marketplace. And a book needs to be new to somebody.

For me, EWTS is an album. I’m Rick Astley and this is ‘never gonna give you up’. I am with this for a long time.

I’m so happy that I can re-launch, re-package, and find new angles for my book. 

The customizations alone can sell up to 10,000 copies and can be used for any marketplace imaginable.


Chase Consumers Not Purchasers

People are great at buying books. What they’re not so good at is taking action on what sits inside those books.

Your aim should be to create readers of books, and when you launch it’s easy to get carried away giving stuff away. Free stuff like webinars and bonuses when you buy a copy. 

It might work for a while, but what if they’re only buying because they want the free stuff? 

They never wanted the book, but now they’ve got it what do you think happens next?

It gets chucked.

The only real thing that’s going to sell a book is when someone says that they’ve read it and recommend that you should read it too.

The sheer number of actions that you can create from ‘I read this, you should too’ is endless.


Market The Message Over The Modality

I can confidently market my message forever. People love my message.

You need to make your readers fall in love with the message. Do this and they’ll want to learn the method.

Think of yourself as a musician, your singles can be released everywhere, available on streaming platforms, being played on the radio, etc. 

But it’s when people fall in love with it that they go on to buy the album and follow the tour.

Ask yourself what are the singles in your catalog? How can you market your message? 


Be The Special Sauce, Not The Entreé

Everyone wants to be the entreé in this business, but this seriously stifles your reach.

Me, I want to be Tabasco sauce. I want to be everywhere.

Who needs to know exactly what to say? I can find an angle on that for everybody.

Being hot sauce means that I’m on every table, and you can decide to take it if you want it.

I don’t want to be on my podcast, I want to be on someone else’s podcast. I don’t want to write articles citing my work, I want to see articles written about this on other people’s platforms.

This way my message and my methodology get shared, talked about, and shared again. 


Tell The Never-Ending Story

This is going to be really tough if you don’t love the book.

Make sure to collect all the assets as you go. Get photos of everything like you’re documenting your kids, keep telling the story, and share your journey.

I love getting photos of my book in the wild, being used and read because it shows the useability and reach of my methodology. I never tire of seeing this or of sharing it.


Go Bigger Than The Book

Remember, it’s not just a book you’re creating, it’s a movement.

I care so much about EWTS I want to share it with everyone. I want my methodology to be taken on by as many different people as possible.

I’ve been lucky to create merchandise from my words. Businesses have used my slogans as their conference themes. I license my slogans like: ‘If you change your words, then you change your world’ for conferences to use and to refer to. 

During the pandemic, I even put my message into a kid’s book because the fact is, I can put my message into a thousand different things and everything leads back to my original book.

When the message is bigger than the modality it will take you places that you didn’t think possible.


Keep Going

Make this your never-ending story, keep it going.

Every time I write a blurb, it says: “Phil M Jones, Author of Exactly What To Say.” 

By the end of next year, I will have over 100 guides being messengers of my book. They’re consultants, trainers, and business owners all of whom love the message of EWTS and want to teach its methodology. 

I’m invested in helping them to carry that message forward for at least the next 10 years.


It’s Not A Book, It’s A Business

This is the final thought that I want to share with you. And it’s possibly the most important thing you need to hear.

I’m not in the business of selling books, I’m in the business of Exactly What to Say.

Remember what I said earlier: stopping trying to sell books? 

Remind yourself of that thought throughout your journey.

Instead, work relentlessly to create moments that deliver reasons for people to want to read your book.

Your job description if you want to sell books is: interrupt someone’s day for just long enough for them to become aware of a problem that they didn’t know existed. 

Amplify that problem, then give them the solution.

Easy right?

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