Friday, August 7, 2015

Zbooks Star Author and Success Story, Jean-Yves Ponce

Zbooks Star Author and Success Story, Jean-Yves Ponce.

Interview #1-1

Hello my friends,
I’m proud to introduce to you Jean-Yves Ponce, a best selling author from France.
I was flabbergasted when he told me he used a Zbooks template and made a bestseller on the first try!

Jean-Yves' book made 800+ euros already, BUT…what is even more interesting is that his NOT Amazon published books make even more money.

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(That is by the way the KDSpy tool which I will be reviewing very soon in another post…please standby…)

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Jean-Yves succes story also answers a question I see often in the forums:
Q: “Should I write in my own language?”
A: “YES!”

As you can see Jean-Yves is in a smoking-HOT-HIGH-competitive category, the self-help, habits, lifestyle and how-to category. This is nigh impossible to break into as a newbie in Amazon.COM, however in Amazon.FR, .DE, .ES??? There’s obviously still competition, but it’s not as saturated as

At the same time this also answers the question:
Q: “Should I translate my books into other languages?”
A: “A resounding YES!”
I suggest the big two: German and French, they are huge markets that aren’t fully saturated yet.

So I had to do an interview,
this a FIRST my friends (!) and I hope we will be doing this more often.
If your book is successful, let me know, I will share it with the group.
Without further ado, the interview:

Hi Jean-Yves, how/what got you started in writing?

I always wrote stuff.
When i was a kid, I was creating stories for our role playing games. When I was playing video games, I wrote “how-to” guides as a blog to help people level faster. In my 20’s, I created a blog as a journal, which had 8 readers per day (including my best friends) ! … but writing a book was very intimidating, so I’ve never considered it.
In 2011 I’ve created my self help blog (potiondevie, means “potion of life”) about memory improvement. I did write long articles, and people enjoyed it.
They kept telling me, i was fun, entertaining, really original.

They said i should write a book.
I wrote my first book.
They were right.

How do you make your covers?

I work also as a librarian in a design school. My first cover (the book which isn’t on kindle yet !) was made by a graphic designer.
After that, I usually use fiverr.
I found a very talented girl there, but she has throng of orders, so, have to wait ! (or to pay).
I don’t design my covers myself. I’m not good at that.

What Zbooks materials helped you?

Your “ready to publish” template for kindle books helped me a lot !
I didn’t know how to publish a kindle book. I was afraid to forget something, to put the wrong line at the wrong place…
So when I saw your template, and the advices you provide, I thought “yes !” I just use it for every book I write and I don’t have to think about it anymore. You don’t imagine how much time you lose just because you forget something at the beginning or you don’t know if you can use many fonts, images...

Are there any tweaks or modifications or tricks you used?
I’m not a big photo user, and I think it saves me time and energy.
You can have so many copyright issues with pictures.
Except for the cover, I don’t use images anymore, except drawings or pictures I’ve done myself.
Another thing I’m doing at the moment is to put less links on my own stuff.
When you put too many links to your blog posts, your offers, etc. People tend to think that you wrote that book only for self promotion and that is not what I want.

So I put a big link at the beginning, maybe one link in the content, and every single books I write on kindle leads to my main book (out of kindle) that’s it.

What are your books about?

My main book is called “Napoleon plays bagpipe in a bus”.
I would define it as how to improve your memory with crazy stories.
It’s working very well, but only for sale on my blog.

My kindle books are about “how to win against procrastination” and “how to become creative”. My creative book is well ranked in “business and business creation”, it’s because you could totally use the techniques to create your own business with it !

How do you get reviews?

Old method.
I get people on my list.
I email the people, talk to them. I give them the books as a preview in exchange for a review for those who are interested.

The “closest” I can get to the reader, the more chances i’ll get a review from him. Don’t expect people to review your book just because they said “yes” in their email, 2 weeks ago when you asked them.
You basically have to market yourself, create a relationship if you want your review.

Did you do Free day promotions with KDP select?

But no strategy here. It’s because i don’t know how to do it, and i don’t feel the need.

What is your book launch method/sequence?
I search for a good topic (the one that will sell).
Then I create a very long and inspiring article about that topic on my blog (author platform).
At the end of the article I put an optin form for a dedicated email list.
I promote the article, on the social networks, around me, in my newsletter, sometimes I write guest posts.
Basically, I polarize all my communication around that topic and its article.
It has to be an “event”.
After the optin, I promote the main idea of the book, give some free (killer) content, and tell reader they can have my next book free if they put an honest review on Amazon.

Who inspires you, favorite writers?

I love Stephen King’s approach to writing.
By the way in his book “on writing”, you’ll get tons of gold advices.
It was one of my eye openers.
MJ DeMarco (from Millionaire Fastlane) was another one.
His book is like my bible. There is everything you need to know about how to create a successful company. I like the way he slaps people in his book. It really is a slap in the face !
And for the quality and the creativity of the writer, i love James Altucher. He’s smart and very inspiring too.

Do you get writers’ block? How do you unblock it?

Yes I have it, but it doesn’t last long.
I do 2 things :
1- Before ending my writing session, I decide what I will write about next. I even write a few words, the beginning of a sentence. Even if I erase it the day after, it’s important to know where you are going. That way I never wonder what I will write about. I already know the direction. That’s tremendous amount of time saved.

2- When I have writer’s block, I just do something else, not related to writing. Something that gives oxygen to the brain : go for a walk, go running outside, go take my car and wander a road in countryside...Seriously that works. Sometimes you just need to change air to overcome writer’s block. You have to change habits.

And the BURNING question – tell us please about your NOT Amazon books! How do you make money with them? What format are they?

My bestseller is my memory improvement book:
“Napoleon plays Bagpipe in a Bus”.
It’s in PDF and audio version.
No epub, no mobi.
At least not yet. It’s sold 27€. I sell at least 1 per day, since 2012.
I remember when I’ve finished writing it, I sent it to a big publishing firm. They didn’t even care to read it. They said it wasn’t really interesting.
Fortunately, I was listening to my blog readers and not “professionals” !
This book is a story on itself, that’s why I advocate for building a community of readers as fast as possible.
You can create the book in the same time you gain new readers.
They give their advices, what they want to read, what they want to find in your book… this is precious.
It’s more than “just hit publish”.
Your book is an experience.
For this book (about memory techniques) I just prove in videos that they were working :
In this playlist, I show people that you can memorize anything with my techniques. I prove it works.
So people knew me because of my videos, they went to the blog, they enjoyed reading my articles, so when the book came out, it was a no-brainer for them.
One managed to buy it before it was actually for sale ! Somehow he found the internet sales page before it was public and just bought it!
I sold my first book before it was public!

Then I wrote a guide on psychology profiles, not on Amazon either.
It gives something like 100 € per month, with no promotion. It’s not a lot, but unlike my first book, this one doesn’t solve a strong painful problem.
It was just a book I wanted to write for myself. See the difference ?
Offer more than a book, offer an experience in your world.After that, you’ll get tons of customers. --Jean-Yves Ponce

What’s next for you?

More books !
“How to succeed in the driving test” for example. “how to learn french when you’re a foreigner” , “how to pass your exams”, “how to succeed your Design studies”...
Plenty of ideas !
But the most important one is the new edition of my Not-Amazon Best-seller.
I start to do seminars around the book too (live and webinars)
I also want to write fiction. Under a pen name. See if people like my writing fiction skills.
Then I want to write children’s books, but I find it terribly difficult. More than an adult book.

What is your advice for beginning authors?

Build more than a book. Build an experience. -- Jean-Yves Ponce
Follow Bruce Lee’s philosophy : “take everything that you like, discard what you don’t, and add your own”
You need to get discipline to write books. You can’t just count on “inspiration”. Set a word counter. At least 500 per day.

*wildcard question*
If you could meet any person from the past, who would it be?

Donald Trump !
Oh wait…
Seriously, I would like to meet Napoleon, Einstein, and Leonardo Da Vinci.

I would talk about selfpublishing and authorship for hours if i could, so if you want me to answer your specific questions, feel free to email me directly at:
I’ll be glad to to answer you, because I love my job, the self publishing world and helping people.
There is nothing more rewarding in the world than being paid for your grey matter.

Thanks Jean-Yves,
see you at the top!

Thank you Eric, keep going on your amazing work !


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