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Some of the most popular print products and merchandise are not books filled with the words of the author, but journals waiting to be filled.
In today's interview, I find out how John Lee Dumas made $400k by self-publishing a premium print notebook, including the print and distribution services he used. John also shares how his next product, The Mastery Journal, will be even better.
This episode also ties in nicely to the discussion on Merchandising for Authors with Melissa Addey.
In the introduction, I talk about the latest Author Earnings report, presented at Digital Book World (DBW), and how the real growth in print is online. 69% of ALL US book purchases were online in 2016, so worry less about getting print into bookstores and use Print-on-demand. Print vs. ebook is not the question. It’s brick & mortar vs. online sales. I also share some of the most interesting tweets, you can check them all out at #dbw17.
In publishing news, Apple and Amazon end decade-long audiobook exclusivity deal, which should enable more audiobook distribution through iTunes. Another exciting development in audiobooks, which was also a trend noted at DBW. Microsoft will be selling ebooks as part of Windows 10. And big news, Pearson is to sell its stake in Penguin Random House (PRH), the world’s biggest publisher and home to some of the most successful brands in books, among them Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Oliver and The Girl on the Train.
This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
John Lee Dumas is the founder & host of EOFire (Entrepreneur On Fire), an award-winning Podcast where he interviews today’s most inspiring Entrepreneurs 7-days a week.
EOFire was awarded Best Of iTunes because of its commitment to serve Entrepreneurs, and with over 1500 episodes to date, they've shared a LOT of great content. EOFire has featured incredible Entrepreneurs such as Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Barbara Corcoran, Tim Ferriss, Brian Tracy, Joanna Penn (episode 448) and over 1500 others.
You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- John's tips for getting things done
- Why John elected to make the Mastery Journal a physical product
- How the journal was written and designed, and how John used his community to find the designer
- How John is dealing with shipping and warehousing of the journals, including using Shopify and Fulfillment by Amazon
- How John's podcast has helped sell books
You can find John at www.EOFire.com and on Twitter @johnleedumas. Check out the journal at www.TheMasteryJournal.com
Transcription of interview with John Lee Dumas
Joanna: Hi everyone, I'm Joanna Penn from TheCreativePenn.com, and today, I'm here today with John Lee Dumas. Hi, John.
John: I'm excited to be here, Joanna. Thanks for having me. Let's rock the mic.
Joanna: Oh yes, absolutely. And just a little introduction, in case people don't know John.
John is the host of EntrepreneurOnFire where he interviews successful entrepreneurs seven days a week. He's grown EOFire into a multi-million-dollar a year business with over 1500 interviews and 1.5 million monthly listeners. And his latest project, which we're excited about today, is “The Mastery Journal: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus in 100 Days!” And I think you've got it there, haven't you, John?
John: I got it right here, hot off the presses, literally. Silver-embossed, yes, it's a masterpiece.
Joanna: That is awesome, and we are going to get into that because we're very excited in merchandising on the show as authors. Now I actually have your “Freedom” one here, so I'm going to wave for that too, as a fan.
But this “Mastery Journal,” before we get into the publishing side, it's about productivity, discipline, focus, and I know you were in the military, originally. This is something authors really struggle with; we want to write, but it's hard to get in the chair.
Give us some of your tips for getting things done because you are pretty much a master at this.
John: Yes, absolutely. I wasn't always a master at this. it came through work, it came through time, it came through research, and you are very kind to wave “The Freedom Journal” very quickly in front of the camera, so thank you for that, because that, to me, was my first dipping of my toe into the merchandising world, like into creating an actual physical product.
It was a great experience, because the idea came from people like yourself, Joanna, because all of my listeners are saying, “John, what do your past guests on EOFire all have in common?” And I realized every one of my guest of EOFire, who are successful entrepreneurs, they know how to set and accomplish goals, period. They have that down. They knock it out of the park.
And my audience, that was struggling, was struggling with that very same thing, so I came up with the idea to create a journal to guide people through accomplishing their number one goal in 100 days. So very specific one goal, 100 days, knock it out, crush it, get on with your life, do that next thing. And so that was a huge success.
It became the sixth most funded publishing campaign of all time on Kickstarter. Did over $453,000 in just 33 days in revenue, so talking about merchandising, there is real money when you find the right product to serve to your audience that knows, likes, and trust you. So those are some key things that we have to keep in mind when we do that.
But moving forward, I realized that there's something really special about “The Freedom Journal” because it's about what my guests had in common, but what are my greatest strengths? What’s brought me from nothing four years ago, when I launched EOFire with no audience, no skillsets, no real knowledge about entrepreneurship too? Now here we are, four years later, a multimillion-dollar a year business, having generated over $10 million actually to date since we launched. How did I create that? What are my strengths?
And those three strengths, Joanna, as you mentioned, were productivity, they were discipline, they were focus. We can get into all three of those specific traits as you get deeper in this interview, but I want to answer your specific question before I stop talking here, and that is what's one thing that I see as writers really being able to use, maybe “The Mastery Journal” or just their own their own heads to start that writing process, because we love to procrastinate.
I love the phrase, “Win tomorrow today,” and it's actually the last thing you do every single night with “The Mastery Journal,” you win tomorrow today. Because the reason why people lose, they wake up in the morning, they don't have any specific plan. They know they had things to do, but they’re not quite sure what those things are or what order they should accomplish them.
So your brain, it just goes quickly to like the escape route of “Let's just check our email real quick. Let's just check one Facebook real quick.” That's other people's agenda, or OPA, you’re putting out other people's fires. You're not doing something meaningful for yourself or your business.
If you win tomorrow today by sitting down the end of the night, writing down a task list I call The Morning Routine, you write your morning routine, guess what happens? You wake up in the morning, you no longer have this empty void in your head about what you're going to do.
You know from the night before exactly what the next nine steps of your life are, including exercise, if that's part of it. The whole routine, whatever that might be, and you can just jump right into it, and that procrastination disappears, because now you're just following your preordained today.
Joanna: Yeah, and I totally get that. And I'm someone who plans a lot and does that, and but I know a lot of creative people struggle with this, with discipline, as well, and what you’re saying is quite structured. And the word “discipline” often sounds quite painful. I think people think it's painful, but you clearly love what you do. You're very passionate about what you do. This is not just about money. You're helping people and these journals are part of that too.
How do people keep the joy in discipline and focus?
John: It's interesting you say that, because I will say now that I’ve done a few of these interviews about “The Mastery Journal,” a common theme has started the bubble to the surface. I actually had no idea it was going to, but now you've said it.
A couple of my past guests have talked about it. I was on Andrew Warner's Mixergy, I was talking with Dan Miller from “48 Days to the Work You Love,” and they both just kind of attached an interesting thing around the word “discipline.”
Maybe it’s because I'm military, discipline to me has always been important and a great thing. If you have discipline, you're a winner. It’s been coming from other areas as well, it's like discipline doesn't always sound fun. That’s something that kind of people are, in some ways, may be repelled by and it just seems scary, like I don't want to live a life that’s disciplined, or whatever that might be, in any way, shape, or form.
How I like to rephrase that is by saying, “Listen, by being disciplined, you're actually giving yourself so much more freedom than you would ever have.”
It's people who aren’t disciplined, they just get pulled, tugged, and just screamed at from every direction, and they don't even know how to deal with this. Your life is not your own when you don't have a disciplined plan of attack.
Going back to that morning routine, if you are willing to be disciplined… And by the word, I love the roots of the word “discipline,” it’s a “disciple.” So that's something to think about. Maybe if you don't like the word “discipline,’ think about the root of the word, which is “disciple.” That was something that Andrew Warner pulled out that I just love. I was like, “I'm stealing that,” because that's amazing.
Maybe think about that way, say, “Hey, I'm actually going to sit down, craft a plan of action, that I am then going to execute.” When do you do something like that, that's a discipline plan. You’re then opening up the rest of your day to do other things to give yourself freedom, because you've already done what needs to happen to move your business forward, to write that chapter, to do that editing, to do whatever it might be that is so important to your business that usually people just push it back to the end of the day and we have no more energy left. Or just like, “Okay, now, I'm going to edit that chapter.” “Really? After you just spent all of your brain cells doing other people's agenda?” That's why you need discipline. That's why you need that plan and that's what you need to execute on that plan.
Joanna: You're an entrepreneur, I'm an entrepreneur, and I think business is inherently creative, because we are creating new physical things in the world. We’re creating wealth, we’re creating jobs, we’re creating all these things.
Do you feel that everything you do is about creativity?
John: So creativity is actually a really important word in my life. In fact, I'm going to be writing my first traditional book, coming up in 2017, and I'm using the word “creative” or actually “create” in the actual taglines, because I just believe so much in that word, because I think it's exciting to create. I think, as humans, when we hear the word “create” or “creative,” it's like it gives a little warm spot in our hearts because it's just like, “Wow, this is something that I get to choose to make.” We just love making things, whether it be physical or whether it be the written word or whether it be music, whatever it might be. We just love to create, so I think creativity is a huge part of people's lives. So you have to give yourself the structure to create something meaningful. Again, otherwise, you’re just like a pinball in a pinball machine. You're getting bapped arounds, you're not creating everything, you're just reacting.
So by giving yourself a disciplined schedule that you're goinna execute on, you are actually giving yourself space for creativity of the best brain cells that you have for the day. And I keep going back to that, because after you hopefully have gone through your nice eight hours of sleep, I'm a big believer…
Joanna: Me, too.
John: …in getting a least eight hours of sleep. I mean, people that say they get four, five, six, they're headed for burnout. It's happening. It's just reality. But you know, it's a lot to do, that nice eight hours of sleep, and you get up and you have that nice morning routine, whatever that might be, Now you're ready, like that's the best time of your day when you haven't yet just weighed down your brain yet with all these other things that are going on. And I'm not sure, Joanna, if you read the book, “Deep Work.”
Jonna: “Deep Work,” yes, Cal Newport. Yes, it’s excellent.
John: By Cal Newport, but he uses in that book, he talks about the word “residue”. I think that was a really important word to kind of hone in on. If you just jump into Facebook at the beginning of the day, before you do anything else, and then you move onto your creative tasks, you're taking residue with you from that social kind of nonsense time that you are on, even you if you don't want, even if it’s a little bit subconscious. So just think about that, the residue that’s there, and just realize, the best time to do your creative work is when there's no residue.
Joanna: I totally agree. Okay, so I want to get into the multiple streams of income idea, because you do income reports on your site, which I'll link to in the show notes which are amazing multiple streams of income.
What I'm interested in is, why did you decide to do a physical product when you make a really good living from online digital things?
John: Joanna, this is why your podcast is greatest, this is why you're great, because you ask the right questions. These are the right questions that I wish everybody would ask, because they’re so important.
I launched my business and I was bootstrapping. I wasn't making money for a significant amount of time, like nine months, post-launch, not a dollar came in. Then we started to slowly make some more money, and start to generate some revenue.
That's when Kate and I looked at each other and said, “Hey, why not share exactly how we’re making money so that other people can emulate our successes, and why not share with people how we’re losing money and making mistakes and failures so people can avoid those failures?”
39 months ago, it's been a while now, we've been doing these monthly income reports, so there's 39 of them. I know you're going to link them up, but it’s over an eofire.com/income. They're all listed out right there. We've been doing these income reports to show people that you can deliver free viable consistent content, which, for me, is my podcast, on a daily basis, and you can generate revenue off of that. You can create a business off of that, which is so important.
So we were bootstrapping. We weren't making, just so you know, a ton of money at the beginning, so it made sense to create virtual products and to do things in the cloud and apps, because it's just a lower cost to get in on that thing.
With physical products, this stuff costs money to make. There is full leather, there are silver leaf edges, there’s book markers, bands, there’s written pages in here. I hired designers to do this. There's the whole nine yards.
And so when you first start, I don't think you need to say, “Okay, I need to go and do something that costs a lot of money,” because you might not yet be there with your audience that’s going to be there that knows, likes, and trusts you enough yet, that’s going to support you enough on that venture to make it worth your while. You may have to grow there. So doing something like an e-book or self-publishing a book or a podcast or a course that people can access online, that's a great way to start and that's how we started generating revenue, for sure.
But then, fast forward three years later, we have been generating a lot of revenue, and the income was becoming very steady, and we could depend on it. So I said, “Okay, when everybody's zigging, everybody’s doing this thing, which is creating e-books or online or apps or SaaS products or virtual whatever, which is amazing, by the way, and we still do all that because it's great, but how can I zag with something else? How can I do something different?”
And that when I said, “Well, listen. I can afford to write a check for $150,000 to have 30,000 of this premade,” and I did. That was huge. And I knew that that kind of barrier was hard for people. I could've just done this as a PDF, and then the next thing you know, like anybody could've just come back up in and done the very similar, same thing as a PDF, and now, how am I differentiating? Now, it’s a price bidding war, and stuff like that.
By me raising the bar, making that physical product that is super hard to replicate, because you're going to invest. Again, I wrote a check for 150K. I had to find the manufacturer, I had to find a way to logistically get it over to my distributor in the United States. I got to pay for the warehouse cost while it's waiting to be sold, all of these things.
The fact that I knew that this is going to be a differentiator for me, that this is going to be something that I could do that wasn't easily replicated, that made it to me huge. And so that's why I went the physical route. Happy to talk more about that because I think it's a really good question and a fair question.
And by the way, you don't have to start like I did, by writing a check for 150K. I knew that I had a very large audience that was going to support this. In fact, I just wrote another check for 150K because we already need 30,000 more “Freedom Journals.” We just ordered them to come in tomorrow. So I knew I had that audience that was there.
But you can start at a lower price point, knowing, by the way, that it's going to be hard for people to replicate that, because it's laying down those railroad tracks. The logistics are difficult, but because it's difficult, that puts you above the rest.
Joanna: Yes, and we're going to come back to the publishing. Obviously, most of my listeners do print, though print on demand, so we're going to come back to distribution.
I want to just wind it back to the design, the writing process and the design process, because I see this actually… You call it a journal, which is interesting. To me, a journal is more plain, whereas this is more like a workbook, as in you're meant to do some work, aren’t you?
I've got the “Freedom” one, but the “Mastery” one is the same. It's like your thoughts are in there, there’s quotes and then there’s exercises for people to do.
How did you write and design it? How much did you do? What did you implement the second time around, that you learned the first time around with that process?
John: Yes, that's interesting. I should have probably consulted with you before going as far as I did with “The Freedom Journal” because you're right. I don’t necessarily come from the literal world, so to me the word… “The Freedom Journal” just sounded great, whereas frankly, “The Freedom Workbook…”
Joanna: Workbook, yeah, no one wants to do any work.
John: Well, it's probably…but it’s much more accurate, like you said, like accuracy level, it's much more “The Freedom Workbook,” but I don’t think that would have sold as well as “The Freedom Journal.” I could have got into a deep story there, but I won't, but maybe we’ll get to it later.
Heck and all, I’ll do it right now, so real quick story. Do you know a kiwifruit used to be called Chinese gooseberries? They rebranded it to kiwifruits, and sales went through the roof. No one wants a Chinese gooseberry. Everybody wanted a kiwifruit though. So long story short, “The Freedom Journal” was because, you know, I felt good about the name and there is a lot of journaling aspect of it, but there's definitely a lot of workbook aspect to it.
Back to your core question which was how much of it was mine, I will say that both “The Freedom Journal” and “The Mastery Journal,” everything, and I actually am looking for my other notebook that I have here, everything was written and designed by me.
I'm not the designer, like finishing touches, I can't draw. But I would draw what I wanted, like two people climbing a mountain, I would like send, take a picture of it, send it to my actual designer, and she would make it amazing. But everything in there is me.
From how the days are structured to the different portions of it which are the daily tasks, the nightly recaps, the 10-day sprints, the quarterly reviews, all of that came from right here. It was just me, over the course of the year, researching, studying about goals and how people succeed with them and why people failed with them. And I just slowly came together into what it is now.
And I've actually just published “The Freedom Journal 2.0,” which, you know, I mentioned I just ordered another 30,000. It’s the same thing as “The Freedom Journal”,” except there are some very decent tweaks within from some great feedback, from the first round of “The Freedom Journal.” So I'm really excited about that, because everything in “The Freedom Journal” came from here and it wasn't 100%. It wasn't the best that it could be and it never will be.
All you can do is just keep improving a little bit, because the feedback that I got from the current 16,000 plus people who have purchased “The Freedom Journal” is just out of this world. So we took that. It was in one of those things in “The Freedom Journal 2.0” and went forward, so it's always a work in process.
Joanna: There were so many ways to find a designer. And in fact, I think people now are overwhelmed by the choices of how to find a designer or an editor or whatever.
Did you use your community or did you use anything specific to find your team?
John: I actually used my community. I think that’s a great way to do it. We had a woman that reached out and said, “John, I love your stuff. I'm a designer. This is what I do.”
She's like, “Frankly, I think your logo is pretty average. Here's what I would do if I was your designer.” And our logo was pretty average. We had used 99designs, which is great, but we'd used it a couple years ago. It was kind of getting a little dated.
And what she came back with, as you can see right now, for the new updated logo was just amazing. We’re like, “That's it.” And we asked her, “What else do you do?” And so we started giving her one-off tasks. She just kept getting better and better and better.
Now we have her on retainer for 40 hours per month. So she is our designer for 40 hours a month, and sometimes we go over that, when we have big pushes like the current thing, “The Mastery Journal.” So that's how we found her.
But I think 99designs is a great place. I have a lot of people who have done that and who ended up picking the winner of their logo, and then ended hiring that person individually going forward. So there's a lot of great ways to do it. And I think that 99designs, Elance, Virtual Staff Finder, those are all great place to find great designers.
Joanna: Okay, cool.
And then you printed this in China?
Joanna: So this whole production process, and again, everyone's like, “Oh my goodness, I could get ripped off.” That's probably the biggest thing. Everyone thinks, “Oh no, if I send money to China, it’d disappear and never come…”
How did you investigate that actual production process?
John: So scary, because Alibaba, you hear people rave about that, but man, it's like a pyramid scheme. It's like the worst. You go there and like people are being like, “Yes, here's my manufacturing plant,” but there are seven middlemen between that person and it's unbelievable what's going on with there. So if people have had experiences with Alibaba, good for you, but I was just like, “I give up. I'm never going to do a physical product.”
But I actually ended up going through this great company, because he was a past guest at my show, so again, building relationships. His name is Richie Norton. He has a company called PROUDuct, as combining the word proud and product, so PROUDuct. So prouduct.com is his website and that's what they do.
They have a team that's a couple of them are based in China, and they actually fly people over to China all the time. They speak Mandarin, and they go out, hoofs on the ground, feet on the ground, and they are knocking on doors and making relationships and building and actually vetting out the manufacturing plant, to making sure everything’s legit, that the workers are of age and everything looks good and great in there. So it was an amazing experience. They negotiated everything for me.
Now I have such a great relationship with this manufacturing plant, that they actually sent me a happy birthday video, which was hysterical. The workers lined up and all sang happy birthday to me. And actually, this is last year. Random side note, today's my birthday, Joanna.
Joanna: Oh, happy birthday.
John: I'm 37.
Joanne: Wow. I'm thrilled you're on the show.
John: Yey! And yes, there's no place I'd rather be on my birthday. And so they sent me a birthday video. So I just had this relationship with them. It was so cool. It was great. And so I knew that when I went with “The Mastery Journal,” that there is no even second-guessing where I was going. This is a proven commodity. So going through a company like PROUDuct was really key and I loved it.
Joanna: Yes, I think that's so important. And then, of course, the next thing is, so they've been produced and you're happy, and presumably, they did like a test one and you signed it off and everything.
And then, I was having a look at how you're selling it. So first of all, you did a Kickstarter, so you had the preorders, but then you also have… It looks like Amazon Fulfillment, so you have warehousing, and you're also using Shopify. You're not sitting there in a warehouse, shipping stuff. That is not your job.
How are you doing that distribution?
John: Thank goodness, no. Especially, becaue I'm doing a little birthday sale right now for “The Freedom Journal,” today only. So we’re just doing a ton of sale, so luckily, I'm not the person having… or we wouldn’t be able to talk to right now. But I'm here in Puerto Rico, it's happening.
I’ll kind of maybe complete the dots right here. After that 30,000 were printed in China, you throw them on a boat, and it's not that expensive to ship them over. It’s not super cheap, but we’re talking 30,000 books. That’s like over 30 million pages of paper. It’s insane.
They would show me pictures of the room, it was just full of paper. It was crazy to look at how much quantity 30,000 300-page journals are. It’s crazy. It's amazing what they can do. And so they shipped over the 30,000. It cost about like $6000 to do that shipment. Because again, you go on the slow boats, they’re just like in a container, so it’s pretty reasonable to ship 30,000 “Freedom” journals. It’s $6000.
Joanna: Not much.
John: It’s like you’re basically paying a dollar, no, sorry, not even close to that. You’re paying like 20 cents per book to get it shipped over here, which is pretty amazing, considering now that the books are in the United States, to get them anywhere in the U.S., I’m paying something like seven bucks to get one, but I was paying 20 cents to get one from China to the U.S. in that kind of bulk, of course.
The ship lands in the port of LA. And there's a distribution company called Shipwire, and that's who I use. So it’s called shipwire.com. They’re the company that I use to hold all of the books. I pay them as a warehouse and as a pick and packer.
All my books are there, every single one. And then when somebody orders, like there’s an actual person that will go, grab the book, and it then go goes through the process and get shipped out. It’s all automatic. It's a fully functioning, 24/7 warehouse that’s pretty reasonable cost for all that. I think it’s like $2.25 that I pay that guy to go pick the book and put it on. So it's a pretty reasonable like pick and pack cost, and then it’s like $5 per book for Media Mail, because Media Mail is pretty reasonable, which is where you get to about like $7.25 to get a book to anywhere in the U.S.
And then I also just signed up on Amazon, FBA, so Fulfillment By Amazon, and then whenever my inventory’s getting low there, I’ll literally just ship like 500 “Freedom” journals from Shipwire to Amazon, and Amazon will take them in, process them, and then they sell them. And that’s how that works
Joanna: So Shipwire does your Shopify?
John: Yes, connected to Shopify.
Joanna: Right, and that’s the sale through your website is well, goes to them. And then you have some with Amazon, for Amazon Fulfillment.
What’s so crazy with this, and I mean, obviously, the way you're doing it is you've got a low-cost per book and a high price.
Joanna: But you know it, the profit margin on physical product, especially books, is pretty shocking compared to an online course. But you've done this again. Like if you have just done this once, I would've gone, “Yeah, okay, that was just… you made some money, but hey, it was a nightmare.”
John: But it might not be worth it, right.
Joanna: Yeah. But you’ve done it again. So I guess now, you’re leveraging the knowledge, but you're now leaving to traditional publishing?
Does it make you enough profit to bother with or are you looking now to kind of move into that traditional level, because they are good at that stuff?
John: Yes. At my level right now, because I'm able to get the books printed for $6 per book, so it’s not cheap to print one of these things. I mean, $6 is a lot of money to pay for a journal to be created. But the fact that I'm able to pay $6 and then add on the other costs, which would be the 20 cents per book to ship it over to here, add on maybe another 25 cents to actually get it into the warehouse, etc., I’m at somewhere around $7 per book, and I sell it for $39 per book.
That $32 is a net profit for me, on every single sale of a journal. So it’s significant. We typically do over $20,000 of net profit per month of “Freedom Journal” sales. So that’s net profit.
Joanna: Yes. It’s pretty good.
John: Yeah, so it makes sense. Again, we do $60,000 to $70,000 per month on sponsorships for EOFire, which is frankly a lot less work, a lot… I get the arguments on both sides, but at the same time, just like… I also just love it.
Joanna: Yes, I was gonna say you just love it.
John: I love the fact that I am a believer, that because it's physical and beautiful and people actually have to invest $39 to get this into their home, that they're going to actually have a much higher chance of succeeding, because they’ve already made that commitment to themselves financially, now it’s time to follow through on that.
So that is something that I feel like it works. I’m proud of what it, and like the excitement that people get when it arrives. I just like all of that. So to me, that’s cool. It just makes it, everything feel real
Joanna: Yes. The people listening, we all know that. That's why we do what we do. We’re authors because we love that stuff.
Have you even bothered with physical bookstores across the U.S.? Because presumably, you could get distribution.
John: I'd like to still consider that at some point. I haven’t gone down that road, just because frankly I've been focusing on other things. I will say that when I went to do my initial research on journals, I went to the local Barnes and Noble, and I bought all the journals that were there, and they were just, frankly, crappy, and they weren’t high quality and they didn't really have any kind of a flow. I’m just talking about the journals, like the actual leather, faux leather journals that were there.
I really feel like if “The Freedom Journal” was on a shelf at one of those stores, that it would do really well, because it would look beautiful compared to the other ones. You open it up, the first thing we have is the top three reasons why you’ll love “The Freedom Journal,” which, to me, will just draw people in. So that it is something that I might explore down the road. But again, I just kind of haven’t got around to it yet.
Joanna: And what about print on demand?
Print on demand had got a lot better now, and you can do hardback, and you can do edging, and you can do embossing. Is that something you’ll consider down the line?
John: I think I'm definitely going to do print on demand for my traditional book. What is your favorite right now of the print on demands?
Joanna. Well, it’s interesting, you were talking about standing out. I'm actually now moving into more of a publishing company, so I'm working with Ingram. I think you're right. I think digital is pretty full, and if you have more physical product, more hardback, and that type of thing, it's really interesting.
I'm developing stuff with Ingram, and there’s some interesting technology coming out. I’ll have to e-mail you next year when it's ready, but where you can actually do this kind of print on demand a bit like Shopify, but directly from your site directly to the printer. So it might even kind of help with that.
John: Is 3D printing having any have a play in that?
Joanna: I'm looking at doing some 3D printing with patterns and things with books, but more for fiction. But 3D printing is not really for books.
John: Not for books.
Joanna: No, more like the products that would go with it.
John: Got it.
Joanna: But anyway, just coming back to the publishing side, so you talked about iterations. You’re a guy who likes control. You like creative stuff.
How is this traditional publishing deal going to work when you're so used to being in control?
John: I think it will be a challenge, but that’s one of those things where I do believe that all the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. I've been in my comfort zone with a lot of things. I make sure that with other things I'm getting out of it, and this would be an example, like this to be getting me out of my comfort zone. I’d be trying new things.
I think it will be a challenge. But I think at the same time, that getting out of my comfort zone, being challenged and trying new things, and it’s just giving me more stuff to talk about and do my rants on.
Joanna: Absolutely. Well, we’re almost out of time. But I want to ask you about book marketing, before we finish up because all the listeners have books. We all have books, lots of them, in some cases, and book marketing is probably the hardest part. You, obviously, you sell through the podcast, and your podcast is something I recommend people listen to, but don’t try it at home. Doing a daily show is hardcore, like you’re so hardcore.
How has the podcast become the method of book sales, basically?
John: It’s really interesting. Some of that I point to a lot was a really good example that it didn’t go the route that I went, but went a different route. He was an author first, Michael Port. He wrote some great New York Times Bestselling books. He did this, he did that.
And then like about a year ago, he actually shot me a email. He was like, “Hey, I’m releasing this new book, “Steal the Show,” what do you think I should do to market it?” I’m like, “Well, how many chapters is the book?” “About 20.” I’m like, “Well, let’s a 20-episode season called “Steal the Show” and then launch the podcast, and every single episode, Episode one will be just a little summation of Chapter one. And then same thing with Chapter two and Chapter three and Episode four or five and so on and so forth,” and he liked the idea.
He actually sat down one weekend, and scripted out or recorded out all 20 of the of the episodes, launched the season, and the podcast ended up doing so well that he just called me, he was like, “John, I gotta keep this up. What do I do?” He’s like, “I don't want the season to end.” I’m like, “No, end the season. And then after like a week, open up season two, and season two could be something else.”
And so I think that that's a great strategy for a lot of people, that we know that there’s a lot of good, traditional book marketing channels, but now what you want to do is do those at work, but now, how can you market your book in ways that not every other author is marking the book as well?
You’re not screaming into like this room that’s already full of people screaming, and the podcast is a great way for Michael Port to do that, which was really cool. That was one thing that I was really impressed with, that he did for book marketing.
Something that I do is in the intros and outros of my podcast, I give calls to action, for “The Freedom Journal,” for “The Mastery Journal,” I definitely do those things I actually sponsor other podcasts, so I pay Pat Flynn real money, like it's not cheap, like real money to be a sponsor of his podcast.
January 25th, February 1st, February 7th, and February 15th, those four episodes of his podcasts, while I’m launching “The Mastery Journal,” I sponsored his episodes. That is going to be amazing. What I love about that as it’s gonna actually be evergreen as well, because my call to action is “Go to themasteryjournal.com, which, during those days will take people to the Kickstarter campaign. But afterwards, it will just take people to a webpage where they can just buy. “The Freedom Journal” webpage is now, they can just purchase a book through Shopify.
Joanna: That fantastic. And I think that evergreen marketing is a really good point, because most authors and most publishers make their money from the back lists. You know, stuff you might have done years ago, you’re still making money on, so that is really so important.
To finish up, tell people what they can expect in “The Mastery Journal” and also, you said it once, but say it again, where can they get it and what can they expect?
John: I want to thank you for the opportunity. It was great chatting today. And this is my passion project, it's “The Mastery Journal.” “The Freedom Journal” was definitely a passion project, but like “The Mastery Journal” is a little different, for me because these are my three greatest strengths that I worked really hard to master.
“The Mastery Journal” is a step-by-step guide, that will teach you how to master productivity, how to master discipline, and how to master focus in 100 days. I believe in Parkinson's Law, tasks will expand to the time allotted, so that's why we have 100 days for you to master these three skills.
Real quick on productivity; what are you producing of quality on a day-to-day basis that's critical? The “Mastery Journal” is going to guide you on how to actually start producing quality work, and you actually self-evaluate yourself with a score, every day on how you did.
Same thing with discipline, you are forced, whether you want to or not, against your will, to develop a plan every single day and execute that plan, so that you can be a disciple to yourself, to your business, to your life. You deserve it. “The Mastery Journal” will guide you there.
And then, of course, focus. Follow One Course Until Success is my favorite acronym. I will teach you how to put those blinders on, how to drown out to the weapons of mass distraction, and how to get stuff done. It’s not easy to get stuff done this world. “The Mastery Journal” will ensure that you do.
We are doing a Kickstarter campaign from January 23rd to February 24th of 2017. I partnered up with Pencils of Promise. And we did the same thing with “Freedom Journal” last year. I ended up writing a check for $75,000 to Promise of Promise on behalf of “The Freedom Journal” supporters. We’re continuing to do the same thing with “The Mastery Journal.” So if you give yourself the gift of mastering these three skills, you’re also giving the gift of education to those less fortunate, and everything happens at themasteryjournal.com.
Joanne: That’s fantastic. And also, just tell people where they can find your show and everything else you do online.
John: We have a cool website, at eofire.com, and what's cool is we have a ton of resources for entrepreneurs that are free. We love creating free courses. We have a free course on how to podcast, do webinars, funnels, how to accomplish goals, all for free on our eofire.com website.
Joanna: That's fantastic. Personally, I really recommend your site to anyone who wants to know about podcasting because you're the man.
John: Thank you
Joanne: No worries, right. Well, you have a lovely birthday and it was lovely to talk to you. Thanks so much for your time, John.
John: Thanks, Joanna. Bye.
John Lee Dumas says
Really enjoyed being a guest on your show Joanna! Thanks for the great opportunity!!
Kate Erickson says
AWESOME chat! Thank you so much for sharing such valuable info here and for supporting The Mastery Journal! 🙂
Rachel Morgan says
I’m very interested to hear that you’re doing a sweet romance series! I write both sweet romance and YA fantasy, and I’ve always found the romance much harder to sell. It seems that a lot of authors who do well with sweet romance are in KDP Select, but I’m a fan of being wide, so I’m hesitant to go that route (especially since my romance does better on iBooks than Amazon. I kinda feel like I owe it to that platform to stick around there!). I’m very curious to hear more and find out how it goes for you 🙂
Thanks for sharing such an awesome show with John Lee Dumas! You should also check The Art of Charm Podcast where he’s recently been invited.