Matthew Chan, author of The Turnkey Publisher, Talks About Publishing Home Runs & Stumbling Blocks with Debbie Jenkins
Matthew Chan talks to Debbie Jenkins of AuthorShock on why being authentic, getting educated, delegating to experts and not being a perfectionist can help you birth your first book. This interview contains Matthew’s, sometimes controversial, views on the publishing industry as well as an explanation of his triad approach to marketing.Matthew S. Chan is the CEO of Ascend Beyond Publishing and the author of several business books, manuals, and audio programs. They include “The TurnKey Publisher” Series, “The TurnKey Investor” Series, and The Intrepid Way.
Through his direct “tell it like it is” approach, Matthew teaches CEOs, entrepreneurs, and high-achievers how to supercharge their business credentials, increase their stature, and leapfrog competitors using the independent publisher platform.
Your books are brilliant, direct and sensible. Do you think it’s important to “be yourself” when you write? Why?
I absolutely believe that every author should find “their writing voice”. One way to do that is to write as you might speak. Another way to do that is to allow your feelings and opinions to be known instead of being overly cautious and trying always to be politically correct. Being neutral is boring and doesn’t command respect or attention. Whether people agree with you or not, they want to know where you stand.
With the explosive growth of the Internet and published titles, it is extremely difficult to be “totally original”. The only thing we truly can call original is ourselves and the essence of who we are. Sharing that essence is absolutely necessary to earn credibility and respect especially if you are an unknown author.
Another important part of being yourself has to do with authenticity. People are too smart and savvy today to listen to canned and highly-scripted messages. In this age of political correctness, mistrust, and scripted messages, people are starving for authenticity. They want “real information” from “real people”.
Your book focuses on helping people self-publish. What do you think is the biggest stumbling block on the way to becoming a self-published author?
It is very difficult for me to pin it down to on stumbling block so I am going to cheat the question and offer two big stumbling blocks.
- The first one is sheer ignorance. I don’t mean that in an insulting or derogatory way to people who have not yet learned to become educated about the truths and myths about today’s publishing. I am more angered by the elitist attitudes and monopolistic tendencies of the traditional publishing industry. The traditional publishing industry have and continue to generate propaganda that discourages people from entering into self-publishing or independent publishing. The reason for that is the traditional publishing conglomerates are desperately trying to keep control of the industry from “upstarts” like you, me, and thousands of other independent publishers and self-publishers. They do not like the changes that will essentially put about 80% of them out of business within the next 10 years.
- The other major stumbling block is they don’t focus on the “big picture”. They focus so much on the mechanics of the “how do I self-publish”, they get lost and discouraged in the quagmire of technical information. They think they have to have every technical skill to create a book when they really need to have a good, broad understanding of what needs to happen to get the end result you want. Let the experts be the experts. Unless they already have specific technical skills, self-published authors should simply focus on being a good project leader and manager and find good people to work with.
When I started out in publishing, I had very few of the technical or publishing skills I now have today. However, what I had going for me was I had a clear objective on what I wanted to create at the end. I first educated myself on what the overall process was, broke it down into logical chunks I could digest, and then took each step as it came. As problems and challenges came up, I would solve or workaround the issues.
What are the 3 most important things a new author needs to understand about the business?
- You have to be willing to take responsibility for your work and your message. It does not matter even if you hire a ghostwriter or editor to write and editor for you. Ultimately, you have to be clear on what your message is and what impact you want to have on your readers and, of course, what you want the work to do for you.
- You have to be willing to be actively engaged in promoting yourself and your work. This can mean learning more about social media, publicity, media relations, speaking, internet marketing, TV, radio, and any number of other skills. No one person can know all of this. But every author has to choose one or two venues they are attracted to and start there. Even traditional publishers have moved into that model where they are pushing those responsibilities to the authors.
- Every author needs to know that it is incredibly difficult to hit a home-run on the first attempt at publishing. And yet so many beginning authors pour their entire soul, finances, energy, and self-worth into that first publishing project. That first publishing project, whatever it is, is only a warm-up for a much better publishing project down the road. Love your first project passionately because it is your first one. But just understand, your best works will likely be future ones as you get better.
You have lots of videos on your websites. Why?
Using videos is a relatively new part of my internet marketing. However, the videos serve multiple purposes. First, I want the practice of being in front of a video camera. It can open doors to additional publicity such as traditional TV. Second, I can more directly reach, speak, and impact my audience in a way no written article or audio recording can. Third, I view videos as the third leg of my media publishing triad. That triad being: books/ebooks (text), audio publishing, and now videos which will lead to full-blown video courses, seminars, and the like. Essentially, with the growing availability of high-speed broadband connections, video is becoming more important in so many ways.
What one thing do you wish you knew when you started out in publishing?
This is a great question and one that truly stumped me. I had to think about it for a few minutes. Believe it or not, what I wish I knew has little to do with publishing than knowing myself better and where I wanted to go in life. The reason I say that is that publishing is simply an extension of myself. Publishing is a message and communication platform for me. Hence, the more clarity I have of myself and my goals, the more powerful my publishing efforts will be. I love the publishing business (book, audio, video) and understand how powerful it can be in changing the world but also myself. I should have phased into the publishing business quicker and sooner instead of treating it like a “part-time” business.
What’s next for you?
Another great question. During these challenging economic times, I have had to make major adjustments in my business. However, going forward, I see myself pushing the envelope of what publishing is all about. I will share and spread my media publishing triad model (book, audio, video). I intend to live what I teach and write about. I will likely find another niche that I want to pursue then build another publishing brand around it. I view my life as an ongoing journey. As my interests and goals changes and evolves, you will see that reflected in my publishing projects.
Is there anything else you want to tell people?
I would tell people to Get Started and finish that first book, audio, or video project, then release it. Too many people are stuck in the wishing, creation, and production process. They take years when it only takes months to complete. People have to get committed and move their projects to completion not get caught up in this perfectionist attitude that is so prevalent in the publishing industry.
There is no question that these early stages are important but you have to eventually move past that and not have projects be in gestation for so long. Every baby must eventually be birthed and be allowed to grow. This is where the action, learning, and excitement happens.
Contact Details & Discounts
Matthew is generously offering all readers a 30% discount for direct orders. Just use the Coupon Code: wealthyauthor at checkout.
- Websites: http://www.ascendbeyond.com/ & http://turnkeypublisher.com/ & http://ceopublishinguniversity.com
- Book(s): TurnKey Publishing: How to Create a Profitable Self-Publishing Business Without Any Help From Publishers, Bookstores, or Literary Agents!
- The Turnkey Publisher’s Audio Publishing Handbook: How to Create & Self-Publish Profitable Audio Books & Audio Programs Without Any Help From Publishers or Recording Studios!
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