How to Find Peace of Mind Writing, Publishing and Promoting Your Book

Another great podcast with the transcription! This episode is great for book writers, self-publishers, and universal – good for all.

Here comes my Cliffs Notes:

Snow Globe

I wrote a whole book about changing your self-talk, but even the best advice on this topic is worthless, when people cannot grasp what self-talk is. I think the below parable explains it perfectly:

I mean, think the snow that’s flying all over the place, we think that’s our thoughts. We think that’s our truth, but that’s not our truth. That’s just a bunch of conditioned responses and thinking that changes, and shifts, and creates different emotions, but there’s something deeper inside.”

-Bella Mahaya Carter

You Are Enough

Remember, and this is something that maybe you don’t hear often, but I just want to say to all of your listeners out there, remember this, you are enough. Whenever you have the thought that you’re not enough for whatever reasons because I have dealt with that thought in my whole life, I’m here to say that that is a thought, and it’s not the truth of who you are, or what have to offer. You don’t have to listen to that thought.”

-Bella Mahaya Carter

My heart just melted when I heard that. How aptly said. Bella is a really great communicator, and she has a gift of words. That wasn’t the first time I was like:

“Heck, I already knew this, but she said it so well!”

Four Golden Nuggets

Just know who you are, know yourself, slow down enough so that that is possible.” (knowing yourself)

I wouldn’t be myself, if I didn’t recommend some books at this point:

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Comer – a very good book to teach you how to slow down. Just remember it’s written by a pastor for Christians.

Know Yourself like Your Success Depends on It by some Polish guy *wink* – how to approach self-discovery systematically and create relevant habits serving that objective.

Your Personal Truth by Issac Robledo – in 50% this is a self-discovery workbook and the best I’ve ever read on this topic.

Surrender what you can’t control and work with what shows up with an open heart, and know that you’re enough.”

Seems a bit New Age or just common sense (who would fight with something outside of their control?). And maybe it is. But still, so many of us (including yours truly) struggle with each part of the above quote.

Spending your energy on something you cannot control is pointless. Being open-minded is harder than you think. Especially nowadays, when you are hit with ‘amazing offers’ from left and right, all the time.

In the last several years, I had plenty of unexpected offers I said “yes” to. Some I regretted; others, like signing up the contract with a small publisher, saved my sanity and were the help from Providence I needed at those exact moments.

Know that what you’re doing is an act of generosity of spirit.”

Speaking of “aptly said,” I’d have never thought to articulate it this way. That’s why this sentence really hit me. This is actually beautifully said truth about every single creator. Whatever we do – whether it’s a handcraft, a piece of art, or a piece of content – it comes from our spirit first. And it IS an act of generosity. We could’ve kept those creative results contained within our souls. Yet, we decided to create them and share them with the world.

This is also the truth about entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs create. They take action and something emerges out of nothing. In some lines of business, it’s more visible than in others – when you decorate an interior or a landscape, it’s pretty obvious you created something unique. However, the majority of small businesses are the creative expression of their owners.

I’m not better than anyone and I’m not less than anyone. I’m just showing up, doing the work that I love to do, and sharing it.”

What a great lesson about humbleness. As a writer, I always struggle to find the balance between the pride when my articles are praised and promoted, and the despair when they are exposed and criticized. For me, it’s so ridiculously easy to act like an arrogant prick… or like a weeping mess.

However, if I approach my craft from this point of view, everything is fine. I discovered long ago that I’m immune to most of my books’ criticism. Why? Because they are written from my experience. You can insult me the whole day long, and I will just shrug it off. No one in the whole world can tell me how my experience was. I was in that fight. I was in the arena.

It also cures one of excessive pride. I was just me. Whatever I’ve done, I cannot compare myself to others. They are them. Our internal experiences are incomparable.

The important thing is not to be better than others; it is to be better than myself from the past. Nothing else matters.

Book Marketing Basics

Photo by George Milton from Pexels

Have your email list (called ‘newsletter’ in the episode).
Have your own website.
Don’t produce botches — each book should be proofread and edited.

My two cents to the above list missing in the episode:

Have at least a decent cover.
Craft your book description.

All the above are just basics, so why are book marketing experts talking about those fundamental things and not about advanced tactics? Simple – not enough people are doing even the basics.

No one will do your marketing for you as well as you will do it yourself.

Explore different marketing avenues and pay attention to what you like to do (writing posts, interacting on social media, doing podcast interviews?). It will be more sustainable than any other tactics and you should focus on that. The same goes with different platforms. Don’t chase shiny objects, focus on the platforms where your audience is and which you enjoy.

I sincerely recommend this episode, and this whole podcast. It’s one of the seven podcasts I listen to regularly.

Originally published at Medium.

How to Never Pay for a Nonfiction Book Ever Again

Photo by Yevhen Liashchevskyi from Pexels

It’s childishly easy, but like with most of the “free” things, you will need to pay for those free books with your time.

As a reader you can give to an author one very precious thing they desire like nothing else in the world — your review.

How not to pay for a book ever again? Reach out to the author, ask politely for a copy and promise to write a review. End of story.

Of course, if the author is traditionally published and a household name in their own right, I don’t guarantee you can use this method. James Clear sold a few million copies of Atomic Habits and this book has over 52,000 reviews on Amazon. For him, a single review has a different value than for folks like me — I sold over 100,000 copies of my books and have about 1,000 reviews on Amazon.

I doubt Brené Brown will jump from joy at the opportunity to give away a copy of her book to get a single review. She has easily over 50,000 reviews on Amazon.

So, I cannot vote for those few authors with gargantuan sales, but an average — and sane — author will jump from joy at the very thought of getting a review. You see, for us, authors, our books are cheap. We can send you a digital version, usually in any possible format, with just a few clicks. Fast and free. Paperbacks are more of a hassle, but if you have a book in a print-on-demand Amazon system, you can send a copy to most of the first world countries for something like 10 bucks. No-brainer.

Self-Publishing Gold

A free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Why would any sane author jump at such an offer? Because reviews make or break the book. Yes, there are some aberrations — books with poor reviews which sell like hot cakes — but they are rare. And usually, they are about some controversial topic, hot political debate. So negative reviews of the one side of the conflict actually sound like great reviews for the other side.

But normally the success of the book is the function of its reviews and vice versa — reviews are the function of the book’s success. Statistically speaking, Atomic Habits shouldn’t have 52,670 ratings. Only about 1 in 100 readers even bother to give a book star ranking, not to mention writing a full out review. So, James would have needed to sell almost 5.2 million copies on Amazon to get such a high number.

But this book is really good, so people are more likely to evaluate it.

Amazon: Ratings & Reviews

Recently, Amazon modified their book review system quite significantly. What we see on Amazon as the rows of golden stars next to the book title are readers’ evaluations in the form of a simple 1–5 star evaluation aggregated together with the actual reviews and evaluations given to a book when posting a review.

Sticking to the Atomic Habits example, here is how we see it and what it means:

52673 ratings of the book

(Only 6,126 actual reviews)

BTW, only about 6.1 thousand people actually wrote a review on Amazon for Atomic Habits; the other 46,000 readers just clicked on the star rating on their Kindle or on Amazon. Which gives you the idea how valuable reviews really are.

If we extrapolate Atomic Habits’ results, it means that only 3–5 readers in 1,000 write a review, no matter positive or negative. And getting the first thousand readers, especially if you have little to no reviews, is difficult for most self-publishers.

Reviews are gold for authors. What would you do if someone told you they will give you gold for something, which doesn’t cost you much (or nothing)? Jump with joy seems like the right reaction. 😉

How to Get a Book for Free?

Step #1: Get on Their Email List.

First of all, if you aren’t on the author’s email list, you are missing out. By far, the easiest way to obtain a free copy of the book is to become a part of the launch team. And how do you become a member of this exclusive circle? You volunteer!

That’s assuming an author has an email list and assembles the book launch team. However, if they don’t they are not much of self-publishers. I wouldn’t even bother with connecting with an author who doesn’t have an email list.

Also, if you haven’t been following an author for some time, but you want to cold-email them, signing up to their list is the best first step you can make. It’s the easiest way to obtain an author’s email.

I know authors who value their privacy a lot, but there is no workaround here — if you have an email list, you need to email them and reveal your email address.

Step #2: Send Your Pitch.

Be concise and clear. I think, the subject line: “I Want to Review [book title]” will make the author take notice and open the email.

Then keep the pitch short and simple:

Hi James,

I’m a habit nerd and read almost all the books on this subject. I’m very interested in reading “Atomic Habits”.

If you provide me a free Kindle copy of the book, I can guarantee I’ll post an honest review of “Atomic Habits” on Amazon within 2–3 weeks.



The above message is stripped to the bone from non-essentials. Here is the breakdown of necessary elements:

a) make a relevant connection (“I’m a habit nerd”).

The author needs to know that you aren’t a completely random person, but you have interest in reading their very book.

You can work different angles here; you can mention for how long you have been following the author, how you loved his/her other books and how they impacted your life, or how someone recommended the book for you.

b) state the offer (“a free Kindle copy of the book (…) an honest review”)

There are three important things in this short passage:

-free copy; set the expectations from the start;

-Kindle copy; tell your preference, it will be a hurdle for the author if you don’t state it. For example, I read digital books only on Kindle. If someone sends me the PDF version, I’d have needed to ask for the Kindle file. That’s another message and wasting time of the author.

-an honest review; you cannot promise a favorable review, it’s actually against Amazon’s Code of Conduct.

c) timeline; (“within 2–3 weeks”)

It’s another carrot for the author. State the exact time (realistic though!), and your offer will be even more tempting. Of course, the sooner you can review the book, the more tempting it will be for the author.

Step #3: Follow up.

If you don’t get a reply within a week, send the follow-up to the first email. ONE follow-up. Believe me, it’s easy to miss an email in the crowded author’s inbox. But if you spam multiple times, you are not likely to get any answer.

Step #4: Do the Work and Swagger

You get your free copy, read the book and write a (hopefully) stellar review.

Do it in the promised timeline. If you cannot keep the deadline, send a message to the author and tell them how life got in your way. Publish the review, wait till it appears on Amazon (Goodreads, or anywhere else you promised to publish it) and send the email with the link to your review to the author. Let them know you kept your promise.

Bonus: Sharing is Caring.

Share your review on social media and tag the author. You will get bonus karma points (and find extra favor with the author).

Image by Pixelkult from Pixabay

Step #5: Happily Ever After

If you follow the above process, you will not only get on the radar of the author. They will remember you. They will feel they owe you.

Now you can rule the world. 😀

Or simply cultivate the relationship with the author. It may result in some very unexpected benefits. When two people connect, magic happens.

Inspiring Story to Drive the Point Home

Allan Dib, the author of 1-Page Marketing Plan, actually reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reading his book. I was interested. I got the Kindle version, read the book and wrote a review.

About two years later, Allan referred me to another author. I got two free paperbacks from David Jenyns! The read was excellent and right down my alley. I connected with David. He got interested in my book advertising service. We jumped on the call, and he hired me to teach his team how to run Amazon ads. I got a great read AND earned several hundred bucks. Plus, I thoroughly enjoyed the consulting gig.

The above story is not an aberration. Having goodwill and trust begets win-win deals. I hired a couple of my readers as proofreaders. I promoted books of other authors who reviewed my books. A free copy of the book and a free review is just the beginning of a relationship and possibilities that can arise.

You can hand out gold to self-published authors. Use this power, and authors will flock to you ready to give away their books.


Fame, Money, and Other Surprising Benefits of Being an Author

Fame, Money, and Other Surprising Benefits of Being an AuthorEight years ago, exactly at the 26th of May 2013, I published my first book.

When I had hit the ‘publish’ button, I secretly hoped for things every first-time writing greenhorn dreams about: fame and money. And maybe a little bit of the writer’s lifestyle – working as much as I wanted, when I wanted, and doing only the things I enjoyed doing.

You know, the type of fame, money, and writer’s lifestyle which is portrayed in dumb Hollywood productions and even dumber TV series: an author is someone who does nothing, all the time, and cashes in checks every month.

The harsh reality is much different. A few years ago, Author Earnings portal made an extensive research and they concluded only about 10,000 authors on Amazon made more than $10,000 a year. It makes an economic sense. Writing is one of the most competitive occupations in the world. I published my first book paying just $5 for a cover. Anybody can write and publish nowadays.

Thus, the payoff is democratized. You need to work your ass off to make a living as a writer. And it’s hard to do, when you already work your ass off in your day job.

However, within eight years as an author I got my share of money, fame and lifestyle. And many other things I didn’t even imagine. Here goes the list of the surprising benefits of being an author.

1. Time Flexibility.

I was able to downsize my day job to 10 hours a week, and my royalties had something to do with that. Also, writing itself is a very flexible occupation.

My first books were written almost entirely during my commute to and from work. The railroad I had been using was in reconstruction, and travelling 30 miles to the capital took me almost two hours. In one direction!

Being self-published contributed immensely to my time flexibility. I was the one who determined the timelines and deadlines. I wrote and published my first booklet in 49 days. It’s a crazy speed for the traditional publishing. When I was overwhelmed, I could slow down. I published only four books since September 2016. When I started my own business, I scaled down my writing from 1,000 to 600 words a day.

2. Business.

Back in 2012, I realized I needed to own a business to achieve the lifestyle I yearned for my family. The problem was, I had no clue what kind of business nor how to operate any business. That’s why I started writing. What a dumb idea – to write for money! (see the statistics above).

In 2019, I officially started a business, and I was providing this service to authors since 2017. I run Amazon ads for self-published authors. I learned advertising in 2016, and it saved my author career. It quadrupled my sales.

Nowadays, the main bulk of my income is writing-related. Royalties provide about 15-20% of my income. Advertising books provides an additional 40% or so. Even the income streams that have very little to do with writing – coaching and speaking gigs – are mostly book-induced. I have a few faithful coaching clients who found me through my books. I got paid by Bellevue University for a webinar because they found my book on Amazon. I get some affiliate income from pimping Publisher Rocket – the best Amazon keyword research tool in the world – to authors.

3. Financial Stability.

I make only about 30% of my original day job salary working quarter-time. And it’s a good thing.

In 2009, I was laid off from my IT day job. It was the only source of income my family had. Overnight, we lost 100% of our income. That was a scary time.

Now, I have a day job (which I keep for my wife’s peace of mind and social security benefits), my business, book royalties, audiobook royalties, three coaching clients are paying me every month. I have multiple tiny income streams, like that affiliate income I mentioned, or royalties from Medium, and numerous 1-time gigs – webinars, consulting, book description writing, translation deals, etc.

I can lose any stream of income and my lifestyle would be only slightly affected. I had never had such security being an employee.

4. Connections.

I haven’t been overly focused on my publishing activities lately. Writing took a back seat in my life. It’s still there, but it consumes only about 10% of my time and brainpower.

Yet, when I published my latest book in December 2020, I sold almost 1,000 copies in the first month. How come? My connections.

A few of my author friends shared my book with their audiences. It was enough to generate over 50% of the sales volume.

Also, my connections helped me to produce the book. My friend made a cover for me and did the formatting.

Right now, I’m in the midst of the next book launch, The Remarkable Power of Consistency. Again, everything was done “in the spare time.” I needed just one phone call and a couple of emails to have a professional cover designed. I contacted my favorite editor and all I needed to do was to accommodate to her schedule. I wrote an email to my previous proofreader and she happily agreed to check out the whole thing. I sent an email broadcast to my list, and dozens of people agreed to become members of my launch team.

But it illustrates only my book-world connections. I built many others. In December, I reached out to my millionaire mentor. He immediately jumped on the call with me.

My former customer introduced me to his friend in March. It turned into a $350 gig, and it’s just the beginning.

The possibilities I have access to now, are vastly greater than at the beginning of my journey.

5. Experience.

I’m a very bad role model of the successful author. I do very little marketing and I do it half-haphazardly. Seriously, it’s not a recipe for success. Yet, I still sold over 2,300 copies on Amazon in the last 90 days; and I gave away another free 1,700 copies.

As the story of publishing The Remarkable Power of Consistency shows, I can get decent results with minimal effort because I leverage my experience.

I know who to contact and what to do. I know all the steps. I know the best promotional and marketing venues. I don’t need to wonder and ponder, I just execute.

6. Fame.

I still got my share of author fame. Millions of people read my stuff online. Over 100,000 people read my books. The online fame is easier to stand than what celebrities experience. I was never recognized on the street. 😉 When some troll wants to make me a target, I simply block them out.

The best thing about my modest “fame” is that it increases my reach. I can help more people. At the beginning of 2020, I was interviewed on the biggest Polish podcast. Over 10,000 people watched it on YouTube, and God only knows how many listened to the audio version. I gave away an hour of my time, and I reached thousands of people.

The more I’m ‘out there,’ the more I can help, sometimes in totally unexpected ways. Look at this comment I got on Quora:
Fame, Money, and Other Surprising Benefits of Being an Author
Isn’t it amazing? I help Steve to get back his hope for life. This is priceless.

7. Money.

Financial stability is one thing. But I also earn about 100% more than eight years ago. As I explained above, a relatively small part of my income comes directly from writing, but about 80% of my income has been created in the last eight years. Book royalties, publishing deals, webinars, coaching, affiliate sales – I earned money from those sources for the first time in my life.

Doubling our household income made some dreams come true. We bought a home! Book royalties from my first bestseller – Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day – were instrumental in that purchase. If not for that money, we couldn’t afford our contribution.

I travelled to the States a few times and met folks who I knew only online – friends and mentors. I was a couple of times on vacation with my wife – in Bulgaria and on Crete.

Do you know what else I could do? Hire people. My sons gained some hands-on experience and learned how it is to work for money in their teens. I helped a sister from my church community to pay off some consumer loans which were weighing very heavily on her.
I hired a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines, and the meager $400 I pay her for half-time hours is the only income she has. I was never able to tithe as much as I wanted to, but thanks to my writing and business activities, I could pay thousands of dollars to people in need.

8. The Real Reward.

The truly surprising – and overarching – reward for being an author is exactly this: being. I’ve become a better version of myself. The practice of putting my thoughts on paper every single day for years has a lot to do with my growth.

And indeed, I grew. It’s not just a subjective feeling. The host of the biggest Polish business podcast Mała Wielka Firma (Small Big Company) said during the introduction of my interview: “I got to know his story and thought: Wow, what a man!”

Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from Phillip Morris Poland: “Would you be interested in providing a webinar about productivity for our company?” Last week I received an email from Scribd; they offered to create an audio course from my content.

How come I’m getting such inquiries? I did the work. I grew. Now, I can provide value to others.

Well, I have been doing it for the last eight years for my readers and that’s the real reward. Money is just the byproduct.

Writing is a lonely occupation. You need to fight a lot of dark thoughts born out of isolation. But I collected plenty of proof to remind myself that my work helps others improve their lives. The number of my books’ reviews on Amazon is approaching 1,000. My answers on Quora got over 10 million views, 54,000 upvotes and thousands of comments.

And every so often, I get an especially cherished feedback: “Your writing changed my life!”

That’s priceless.

A manager of my department in PwC during the feedback process got a lot of requests from the team to train their soft skills. The emotional tsunami COVID brought turned a lot of us into a hot mess.
So, she decided to implement a training program within the department instead of waiting for the behemoth company to make decisions and cook up something useful. She approached me and asked: “Michal, would you be interested in leading such a training?”

Bonus: The Lifestyle

I work from home! Well, now, after the Great Lockdown it is not so impressive anymore, huh? But eight years ago it was my huge dream.

I’m liberated from the shackles of day job. I still work 10 hours a week for my employer, but it is much more flexible than any of my “real” jobs. Not only can I work from home, I also have a say in when I work and which projects I take.

I work in my authorpreneur business 30-40 hours a week (and I doubled my income!). I top that with another 20-30 hours of personal development, but it’s a pure pleasure for me.

Time and income flexibility allow me to enjoy luxuries hardly accessible to workers imprisoned in their 9-to-5 jobs.

I don’t think I missed a single singing recital of my daughter in the last few years.

When I scrapped my wife’s car, we had to travel to the location of the scrapping company to sign the papers. There is a lovely 18th century palace there. So, we spent half of the day sightseeing, in the middle of the day. It was a weekday, and we were the only visitors in the whole complex.

I mentioned my travels. I’m not a tourist type, but my wife is. It was nice to go to Crete, Prague, or Bulgaria and enjoy other cultures. It was even nicer we could easily afford this.

I love meeting my online friends. A face to face with Hynek Palatin, Dave Chesson, Aaron Walker, Rebecca Patrick-Howard, and so many others were experiences which I will always cherish in my memory. All those travels and meetings were possible as the result of my new lifestyle; for the first time in my life, I can decide when I work and when I rest.

It doesn’t mean that sometimes moving my author career forward wasn’t a struggle. It was sweat, blood and tears. Long hours. Self-doubts. Disappointments. Failures.

And it’s not “happily ever after.” The struggles continue. New challenges loom on the horizon.

But it was all worth it. Life is good.

Making Business Connections That Count

I’m a very unlikely networker

Making Business Connections That CountMy qualifications, with respect to networking, are questionable at best. And that’s good news for you.

Four years ago I had no business contacts. The reason is simple—I had neither business background nor experience. I’d only been an employee. Utilizing the methods I will show you in this book, I’ve been able to start and grow my first business to a profitable level. And I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people, build rapport with them, do business with them, and get their help.
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Authority Pub Academy: THE Resource for Self-publishers

Even with my moderate level of success, I’ve been approached by people who wanted to start their writing career quite often.
Up to quite recently I had no resource to send them to. There was nothing really valuable on the market, only some half-scammy courses created for Kindle Gold Rushers that taught more about gaming a system than writing and publishing.

This year I finally can refer people to a great resource. This is Authority Pub Academy by Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport. Continue reading

Book Review: You Are a Writer

You Are a Writer review
I don’t have the words to properly describe awesomeness of this book. I don’t read much about writing. As a proper published author I think I’m perfect and nobody will tell me how should I write. Or do my business. It’s not their business to poke their noses into my business.

I’m so glad I decided to read You Are a Writer I was drawn straight into it from the Why Listen To Me? section at the beginning of the book. Once Jeff stopped covering theoretic pitiful creatures (wannabe writers) and started talking about himself, the book suddenly become deadly serious and deep.

Writers don’t write for the money.

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61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books

61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle BooksTo me, this book is worth a thousand times more than its price

It’s not some figurative price. For every dollar I spent on “61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books,” I earned at least $1,000 back.

I bought this book on the 4th of May 2013. On 4th, I had been polishing the final version and had wondered how the heck I should proceed from that point on. 22 more days passed before I published my first book on Kindle.

This purchase was the best thing that happened to me in 2013.

A few details about me, so you get the full picture:
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Elusive Success

A few days ago I’ve received another message from my publisher, that the launch of my latest book will be further postponed; maybe even as long as 4 more weeks.
I know that some of you are waiting for it, so today I reveal the first chapter of the “Trickle Down Mindset”:

“There are no stereotypes for success.” ― Jim Rohn

The philosopher’s stone is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals such as lead into gold, and to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and achievement of immortality. For centuries, it was the most sought after goal in alchemy, symbolizing perfection, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss.

And I found it.
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Cooperation with Archangel Ink

Cooperation with Archangel Ink

Since I signed the contract with Archangel Ink quite a lot of indie authors approached me asking if it is worthwhile.

I answered them here and there, but I intend this post to be an ultimate answer for all such questions.

I’m very satisfied with our cooperation, however there are some drawbacks and I’ll start with them.


1. Deposit.

Publishing a high quality book costs money. Editing services, a cover, proper formatting… The list goes on.

On the other hand, there is quite a time lag between publishing a book and reaping the benefits. Archangel Ink will get their investment back no sooner than two months after the launch. Here’s a real life case to illustrate this point:

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