Launching Brand Identity, with Gregory Diehl.
This is one of my favorite authors and one of my FAVORITE books. Holding true to the "Digital Nomad" existance, I interview Gregory Diehl in Morrocco.With the evening prayer blaring in the background from some UNKNOWN source in the highest (the Atlas mountains) mountains of North Africa, you can't help but imagine Humphry and Bacall, or Tim Ferris on the wing in some exotic land!
Enjoy this podcast, enjoy the LESSONS LEARNED:
Now that the dust has settled, what are the SUMS for your first month?
How big was your existing audience?
On a professional level, very small. I had a lot of clients I had worked with a lot of clients before in various aspects of sales and branding, so I reached out to them to help me refine the book and spread the word. They are the ones who ended up as case studies in the book. I also had a fairly large network of personal connections who didn’t necessarily care about the business subject matter of the book, but liked way of thinking and my take on things. They became some of my beta readers and early reviewers.
How did you build your audience before launch?
My strength has always been cold outreach and direct conversation. I spent a lot of time on forums and in book groups on Facebook just reaching out to let people know what I was planning on doing with the book, which contributed to a lot of 99-cent presales and initial buzz when it launched. It was really encouraging to see the early readers start chiming in of their own accord to say glowing things about the book to back up my own claims.
What are the steps you used to launch?
I understood two very important things:
- The book needed to be good
- I needed to generate immediate social proof that it was good.
I tried to accomplish both of these things at the same time by working with as many beta readers as possible to help me refine the rough draft, and most of them agreed to download the book on the day of launch when it was free and leave a “verified purchase” review. In addition, I used some services that allow you to reach out to potential reviewers and send them advance copies of your book in exchange for an honest review. As of now, about 2.5 months after launch. I have 84 reviews, with an average 4.8-star rating.
You used the pre-sale method - did that hurt or help you on launch day?
It’s hard to say, since I have not tried the alternative, but my book did hit the #1 spot in Public Relations even in the preorder stage. I think having it up there for months before actual launch probably helped gain a lot of exposure from Amazon’s regular browsers. I plan to do the same again, but maybe only a month of preorder this time with the travel book.
What is your process/steps now?
I still watch the sales numbers and Amazon ranking now, which have slowed a bit, but my price point is also higher. Brand Identity Breakthrough is still generally ranking around #10,000 on all of paid Kindle. I put a little attention into some ongoing promotion methods like Amazon PPC and reaching out to influencers just to keep adding fuel to the fire from time to time.
What was the biggest thing you learned?
The biggest improvement for me was understanding how to translate what I have to say into the format of a real book. I already knew how to put complex ideas down in words. The editing took longer than the actual writing, and my approach with my next book is definitely different because of it. I’m also better at naturally attracting a following, because now I have some brand recognition to work with and I know how to pitch my upcoming book projects to people. I can easily see myself doing this 10 times over.
What would you do different, knowing what you know now?
Like I mentioned to you before, I made the mistake of hiring a woman named Shola Abidoye who pretended to be an expert on book publishing and marketing, who ran away with $5,000 of my money. That, oddly enough, is what set me off on the path of figuring out how to do this all on my own, and now I am helping other people do the same.
It’s unfortunate that I had to have such a terrible experience with her company Convertport and such a rude awakening to the fact that many of the so-called “professionals” who claim expertise are just making things up as they go along. I’m much more cautious now about the people I collaborate with professionally, and that level of scrutiny has really bled through to my own brand personality. Bigger ticket clients are much more eager to work with me now because it is clear to them how high my standards are, and how willing I am to publicly call out those who lie and underperform.
So how about those Udemy courses?
It was only natural for me to want to turn the message of my book into a course, especially given my long history in education. I also worked with a company to help create the course, but was ultimately disappointed by the mediocre result they produced. I realized that, just like with the creation of the book, I should have just handled the whole thing myself from the beginning.
Now I am helping other people make their own courses with what I learned from making mine. I am getting some really good feedback on the content and production quality of the course, and I am sure I will produce courses for each book I write. The tone and medium are just very different, so you have to be able to adjust the same message to reach out in different ways. If people want to see the Brand Identity Breakthrough course, they can go to brandidentitybreakthrough.com/course
Why Udemy and not Teachable.com?
I am actually selling the course on both. Udemy takes a large cut, but they are useful because they can get me in front of new students I otherwise wouldn’t have. Teachable allows me to host it on my own site, and drive my own traffic there. It’s cheaper to take the course directly from my site than from Udemy.
Are you going all video now or are there more books in the works?
The relative success of Brand Identity Breakthrough has really got me thinking more about content production than I ever did before. I don’t think I ever really cared enough to put the effort into building a following. Fame doesn’t interest me. Ideas and their promulgation interest me. I want to be a conduit for good ideas to people. The fact that at least some people are responding so well to the potentially controversial ideas in Brand Identity Breakthrough is very encouraging to me.
The next book is still untitled, but should be released by November 2016 at the latest. The topic is using international travel as a means of rapid personal development and identity expansion. This isn’t something I would have had the guts to write about if I didn’t already have such positive feedback as an author. My next books will be about increasingly deep subjects, and hopefully there is an audience out there for that who appreciates my take on these things.
I know I need to start producing other types of content, and I think that will probably consist of podcasts, videos, and webinars. I really loathe the idea of maintaining a blog, and I want something more distinct from the books. I love to talk. I can talk all day, and apparently some people like to listen. The tentative title for the podcast is Uncomfortable Conversations with Gregory. I’d love to have you on sometime to talk about your uncomfortable topic of choice.
How do you (plan to) sustain sales?
I think at this point it is more about building the brand of Gregory Diehl the author than just promoting the specific book. I’ve got a personal author website (www.gregorydiehl.net) under construction where people will be able to keep up with me and my various projects. I figure each new book should complement the sales of each previous one. Interested readers can get the first chapter of my next book free by going there, or request to become a beta reader in exchange for a free signed paperback copy.
What future projects (besides books) are you working on?
I’m very interested in continuing to diversify my life internationally. I like helping people get set up overseas with what they need in regard to lifestyle, residency, new citizenships, and business solutions. Although I’m still a bit obsessed with seeing as much of the world as possible right now, I do plan to continue my quest to build a home in Ecuador, and god-willing have kids there someday.
But really my biggest concern right now is helping others improve, self-realize, and develop. I need to explore as many ways as possible that I can do that, including mentorship of the youthful, as I really feel like that is highly neglected in societies around the world. I’m working with a few teens and young adults now to help them get the guidance they aren’t likely to find anywhere else, and that my personal path has given me. I think that’s the single best thing a person could do to improve the world.
I’m also making a conscious effort to influence the people I meet on my travels to start feeding and taking care of stray cats. Morocco, where I am right now, is overrun with cats. They are like an integrated part of the society. It’s marvelous if they are healthy and happy, but some are neglected and malnourished.
Gregory’s offer for Zbooks fans!
You can now buy the print and audio versions of Brand Identity Breakthrough directly from my website,
which comes with a $20 discount off the price
of the course: https://brandidentitybreakthrough.com/buy-the-book/
Or if you prefer, you can also purchase the Kindle, print, or audio versions on Amazon (please leave an honest review when you are done!): http://amzn.to/29VfheZ <<achtung, only the best associate links here!
I would encourage anyone who likes my style and is eager to read the first chapter of my upcoming book on travel and personal development to go to http://gregorydiehl.net/
And if you just want to get in touch with me about how we can work together on business, travel, books, courses, or more,
go ahead and send me an email at: