With Robin Colucci, who has been helping world class experts write world-changing books since 2003. Before that she built, grew, and sold a personal fitness business. She also was a journalist and worked as an acquisitions editor for an independent publishing house. Robin brings her deep, hands-on knowledge of publishing and entrepreneurship to her clients whose books cover a range of topics including: business, personal development, memoir, health and fitness, science and technology, politics, women’s issues, and the environment. Join us for this conversation to learn what a successful book strategy does for you, and how to create a book that sells. You’ll also hear why you can’t rely on your book to sell itself, and what the best in the business do to create book sales in service to their bigger picture and mission.
We also discuss how certain businesses and publishers profit on authors’ false hopes, how hybrid publishing models work, and what to watch out for if you want to write and publish your own book. Robin is book-writing expert, coach, journalist, ghost-writer, and publishing consultant. Her clients have been published by “Big 5” and other top publishing houses and others have self-published. Many have won awards, received outstanding book reviews, and/or become bestsellers on Amazon, USA Today, and The New York Times bestsellers lists. Clients come to her for help to write a substantive book that supports their aims. Whether professionals, top scientists, CEOs, astronauts, Nobel laureates, or non-profit founders, Robin’s clients see that to write a book and get it published can help open doors to new opportunities, expand brand awareness, deepen brand loyalty, gain greater recognition and influence, and enhance credibility.
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- “Don’t write a book if you can’t use it to elevate your big picture.”
- The importance of knowing what success looks like for you.
Check out these highlights:
4:38 How Robin got into the world of publishing.
19:58 How a lot of businesses are the same, it’s just about scale.
22:00 The false idea that if you have a book that everything will come.
26:00 What does success look like as an end result for you?
38:00 How you can use a book to accomplish other things in your business.
46:00 The benefits of working with a book coach.
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Robin Colucci has been helping world class experts write world changing books since 2003. Before that she built, grew, and sold a personal fitness business. She also was a journalist and worked as an acquisitions editor for an independent publishing house. Robin brings her deep, hands-on knowledge of publishing and entrepreneurship to her clients whose books cover a range of topics including: business, personal development, memoir, health and fitness, science and technology, politics, women’s issues, and the environment.
You can find more information about Robin here.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.
GGGB Intro 0:00
Coming up today on Guts, Grit and Great Business.
Robin Colucci 0:04
One analogy I like to use is your best ideas or shrink wrapped to your consciousness, like, you walk around the world and you see it a certain way. You have a perspective, you have a unique perspective that’s based on who you are your history, your all your experiences, like you know, we talked about before all of your experiences are creating that filter. And you probably have some very valuable, insightful points of view that could benefit literally millions of people. You think it’s obvious because you see the world through it.
GGGB Intro 0:44
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:16
All righty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I am an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit, and Great Business. I’m so excited to have my friend Robin Colucci. On today. Welcome, Robin.
Robin Colucci 1:41
Thank you, Heather. I’m so happy to be here.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:43
Thank you. Well, you know, we connected once before and I just knew that you were going to have some important stuff to share. And so I’m really looking forward to the ways that your information can assist my audience. And for folks who don’t know Robin, Robin helps world class experts write world changing books, and I love your languaging because I tell people all the time, I support world changing entrepreneurs, right? That’s what we do, and it’s who we serve. Whether professionals top scientists, CEOs, astronauts, Nobel laureates or nonprofit founders, Robins clients see that to write a book and get it published can help open doors to new opportunities, expand brand awareness, deepen brand loyalty, gain greater recognition and influence and enhance credibility. yes to all of those things now, Robin you live in New York City’s that right?
Robin Colucci 2:40
Well, not far from New York. Philly live in in a town called Old line Connecticut. I I live just a little few steps away from the Long Island Sound so I get to walk on the beach was most days if I don’t have a back to back scheduled booked.
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:03
Yes, I love it. I love it.
Robin Colucci 3:06
Not. optimal but yeah, for beach walking anyway, Pearl about 90 miles from New York.
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:12
Okay got it. So close to New York. She is also an official member of the Forbes Business Council. She mentors at the mentor project. And I love this her first job out of college was working with a New York Times bestselling author who mentored her for three years on what it takes to develop pitch, write, publish and promote a book. She helped research write and edit three books in three genres during her tenure, one fiction, one academic text and one mass market nonfiction. So that was your first job. We were just talking about the big JOB’s. Right.
Robin Colucci 3:47
Yeah. And well, that was even I would that was contract work. So
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:51
OK, got it. So that’s not even that.
Robin Colucci 3:54
Yeah, it wasn’t like the W two job, you know, the the corporate cubicle job. Yes. But but it was it was a phenomenal experience. And really, even though that was back in the 80s, like I worked with him from 86 to 89. Everything I learned from him I still am able to use today. And I would say the main difference is that there was no internet.
Heather Pearce Campbell 4:21
Right? Yeah, the internet changes things.
Robin Colucci 4:25
So being his research assistant actually meant research and going into the library, or going calling calling government offices and interviewing people.
Heather Pearce Campbell 4:37
Yea, yes. actually having to physically go do research. That’s amazing. How did you get into the world of publishing, talk to me about your roots and like, how did that become an interest for you?
Robin Colucci 4:53
Well, I’ve always had an interest in writing and I come there’s a lot of writers in my family. So Very strong genetic component there. And so I’ve always loved writing. And when I was growing up, I believe it was my mother who suggested that I pursue journalism, so that I could get paid to write, which I think is hysterical right now. But journalism is not the way to aid to write anymore. It was never a well paying job anyway. So and I also was interested in politics and things like that. And so I majored in journalism at George Washington University, and I thought I was going to become a journalist. I actually had admired many journalists growing up. Barbara Walters, you might remember, I don’t know she used to be on the Today Show. And she was like, the first woman to ever interview people like Richard Nixon and I did not and, and what she really got the credit with me when she interviewed john lennon. Yes. And so I really looked up to her and then, and really, the first thing that ever interested me in politics was the whole Watergate story. And I was young, then I was only like seven years old. But Woodward and Bernstein, they still stuck out. And while I was in college, I worked for The Washington Post as a news eight. And I actually got to work with Bob Woodward, which was pretty wild.
Heather Pearce Campbell 6:22
Robin Colucci 6:23
I was a news aide, and he was a top reporter, obviously. So I didn’t work with him on a project. But I did get to work with him and at the post. Yeah. And it was it was fascinating work. And it was a great experience. And the washington post is a premier news organization, and they were fantastic. And, and then when I got close to graduating, it was the chairman of my department at GW, you called me into his office and said, hey, there’s this New York Times bestselling author, he needs a research assistant, and I recommended you. And if he if he offers you the job, you should leave the post to take it. I thought, well, that’s crazy. I was I was doing a little freelance or, you know, reporting for the post. I was like, that’s, that doesn’t make any sense to me. You’re the journalism, you know, chair. Right. And trust me just go with an open mind. So I did. And it turned out to be David wise, who was one of the world’s premier experts on espionage. Oh, wow. I guess, you know, between Russia and the US mainly. And so I did work with him on those three books over the three year period. And, and I loved it, and it was so much fun. I loved being able to deep dive into these topics and, you know, really unpack things and, and I got to work with his agent, I got to work with his editors at you know, at Random House and double day and, and so I, I really saw on the inside of like how all this works. And then he helped me get a job as a newspaper reporter when I was done after those, you know, after we did this three projects, and that’s what I thought I was going to do. And about 18 months into being a newspaper reporter I realized I didn’t want to do that. Hmm. And I think here’s where, you know, your your bigger picture of the journey of entrepreneurship, where I might have something to add here, because so I was so turned off by my experience as a reporter in Florida, that I quit journalism, and I quit publishing, like, I went and moved to Colorado, and I got a job waiting tables. Wow, bachelor’s degree from GW. And while I was there, I met someone who was who wanted to start a personal training, business, personal fitness training. And I was like, Oh, that sounds really cool like that I could help you market that. And so I started this personal fitness training business, which I ended up growing to have a commercial location, a staff of eight people, and very successful business. And then I realized, after 10 years of doing that, that it wasn’t my calling, like it was fun. But it wasn’t what I was here to do. And so I informed my partner, who actually ended up being my husband, that I would, I wanted to leave the business. And he his, and, you know, turn it over to him because I was basically full time training and running the backend of the business at the same time because you know, I’m a woman.
Heather Pearce Campbell 9:42
You don’t have to do all the things. All the things.
Robin Colucci 9:45
And still cooking and raising our two children. You know, who were who were, you’ll relate to this, like, you know, three and two and two and five are really young. And so he didn’t want that. That wasn’t his vision. So we split up and I sold my share of the business to him. And then I didn’t know what I was gonna do. But I thought, well, you know, maybe I could be a business coach for wellness professionals. And so I started to do that. And they got good results. And it was fun. And I liked I actually helped one woman avoid bankruptcy. I helped her turn her Anytime Fitness franchise around from she was gonna file bankruptcy to she sold it for $60,000.03 months later after nice. So that worked out pretty well. And it was fun. But then some of my clients started to say, you know, what I really want to do is write a book. Yeah. And then I found myself making this full circle, like the river that I thought was carrying me away from publishing, made a very 180 bend, and there was, and then I remembered how much I loved doing books.
Heather Pearce Campbell 11:06
That’s the short version of the story. What I’m curious about the job that drove you away, right, the the job that drove you away from it, tell us what happened there, like what made you think like, not for me?
Robin Colucci 11:26
Well, I don’t want to name the paper, because that’s, that’s not going to be good. But we’ll say it was in Central Florida, because it was. And so I think there were several factors. One is that I had come from the Washington Post. Yeah. And I know that paper, you know, I know that these days, the news gets a lot of flack. And the immediate news media is getting a lot of criticism, but I have to tell you, like I’ve seen this from the inside. And then the people at the post are consummate professionals, who are really about the truth. That’s right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:00
Whether people believe it or not, there are certain organizations that actually have editorial standards.
Robin Colucci 12:06
Yes, they do. And they take it very seriously. Yes, my heart is broken for for these people, you know, for the vilification that they’ve had to endure over the past recent years. And, and the other thing is, and I also have friends, who is still working in the news media, I have a very close friend who’s been a reporter with Reuters for decades. And I just, you know, I just, these are, these are outstanding people who really care and really care about the truth. And, and, and then there I was in Central Florida. And it was a different standard. And it wasn’t the standard that we were going to print something false. But there was this pressure to, like, try to focus on like it, like, for example, if I was covering, I covered a city council meeting, and I reported about the issue. Mm hmm. And like, something happened there. That was, it was just like a blip. And it wasn’t important, and it wasn’t relevant to the issue. And it was just like a blip. But the other paper that was there, like made it the lead, and then my editor chewed me out for missing the story. And I’m like, No, he missed the story. Because his readers still don’t know what the issue is that’s relevant to their neighborhood. Yeah. You know, and it wasn’t even like a big exciting thing. Of course, I would have, you know, it was like a nothing thing. And so the standard was more like, we’re just we’re not, we’re not, we don’t have like a compass. You know, we’re just gonna look at like, what the other competitive paper did and compare ourselves, you know, but it wasn’t like they weren’t operating from the post has a had a standard of like, this is what’s news. This is what isn’t news. Right? I mean, in the New York Times said that, you know, all the news that fit that’s fit to print was and that’s how I was trained. You know, David was good friends with the executive editor at the New York Times at the time, so I got to know a lot of journalists in my time. And then the big thing and you’ll get a kick out of this was the massage Annie. And the racism, because there I was in 1990 in this town, and realizing that I felt like I was in the 50s. with Jim Crow kind of set up, you know, literally the west side of the town was where the beach was, the west side of the town was where all the black people lived. And a lot of the town didn’t even have running water and electricity yet. Yeah. And and the Utilities Commission, like people would come from that side of town saying when are we going to get electricity and they just keep blowing them off. And I mean, it was it was so messed up because, again, I came from DC Very diverse, very progressive. And so that was that was a trip, but the massage. So good example my direct supervisor. I came to him and I said, because I was I was covering business and city government. And then I was doing features. And I even did a little investigative, but they caught me off that because that took too much time. So, but I said, You know, I was driving to work today, and I saw a woman on a construction on the bridge construction project. And I thought that’s interesting. Maybe we could do a story about women and non traditional jobs. And I could probably find, like some women, police officers or firefighters, like a cool feature out of it, he goes, That’s not a story. He’s like, women have been working construction in this state for 10 years. Y’all are equal now.
Heather Pearce Campbell 15:57
You’ve arrived and it’s, you know, it.
Robin Colucci 16:00
You know, y’all are equal. And so I was like, well, that’s okay. You know, that’s your prerogative, you’re the chief. And the next day, the business section. So like I was in a bureau set, you know, reporting like on a local, you know, a couple of local towns, but the main section of the city, the main city that this paper was connected to, ran a wire story from the New York Times about women and non traditional job.
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:39
Ori, right there it was.
Robin Colucci 16:42
And so I was so happy..
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:47
To put a copy on his desk.
Robin Colucci 16:48
Yeah, well, I didn’t have to, it was right on the front page of the business section, like a hole above the fold spread about women and non traditional jobs. And I just, I didn’t even say anything to him, because I knew he would have been the hero. If we had had a local angle on that. He he would have been, they would have been like, Oh my god, you’re a mate, you know, right. But, um, and then, but it was really the day that I said something to tick them off. And he reminded me that he he had a gun in his drawer. Oh, my gosh.
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:22
And I thought, Okay, that was it. This seems like a hostile work environment. Uh huh. Probably before whiskey bottle that he had at work, too. Right. This would have been beef probably before the laws that actually protected against hostile work and fire.
Robin Colucci 17:36
Yeah. So it really turned me off to journalism, because, and by the way, I was putting up with all that crap for $333 a week. Which isn’t. It’s terrible now. But it’s it wasn’t a lot in the 80s, either.
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:51
Robin Colucci 17:52
And I was like, This isn’t worth it. You know, it’s just not worth it. Right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:57
So Well, yeah. So unfortunate. And the number of women who can relate to you know, if not all of it, but some aspect of that kind of a story is just, you know, yeah, we we still just for anybody listening still have not arrived?
Robin Colucci 18:13
Because I mean, it’s one thing to get hostility from sources, which all journalists have to put up with, including males. Right. But you know, it’s when you when you know, when you don’t feel like when you know that the people who are supposed to be on your team and have your back. Don’t have your back, because they don’t, they don’t know who they are. It’s just it’s just, it just takes all the motivation out of it for me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:36
Got it. So that turned you off for a while the river came back around, right? And then there you were realizing like, Oh, my gosh, I’m here again, talk to us a little bit about that. And, obviously, what you’ve been doing sense sounds like it’s been in that vein.
Robin Colucci 18:56
Well, what’s interesting to me is that I, those 10 years that I spent growing a fitness business, and also the 10 years I spent preparing to be nbqx. And being a journalist, taught me some very valuable things that have helped me succeed in this business. And I think this is where it’s so important for entrepreneurs to realize like, nothing’s wasted. Yeah. And, and what I’ve, what going into publishing but doing it on my own terms. You know, I didn’t go get a job as an editor at Random House, and I recently had someone say, Oh, is that your ambition is to eventually get a job as an editor, and I’m like, I can’t afford the pay cut. Are you kidding? That’s terrible, right? So um, but I learned business, you know, business even though it was a small business. There’s so many, a lot of businesses the same. It’s just a matter of scale. and so I learned about strategy and marketing and we a little bit about leadership. And so it enabled me to have a way to begin the conversation with, you know, people who are reading Business, Business Leadership and those kinds of books. It also, um, you know, being a journalist, like, I’m able to coach my clients on, you know, and I can hear the lead, I can hear, you know, so I’m really good at helping people come up with a saleable concept that the agents and publishers and the public are going to get excited about, because I know how to listen for that. And that was all the journalism training, and practice. And, and really, so I just, I just feel very blessed because I would not have and I’ve also attracted a lot of people in the health fitness medical, now interesting. So when I’m helping someone write a fitness book, they don’t have to explain to me what the trapezoid muscle is, or you know, or what vo two Max is or what, you know, the and then I can help them translate those ideas to their, their reader. And so everything just turned out to be really key to my ability to do this. And I think that one of the things I bring to my clients that other book coaches don’t do when they’re just when they’re just editorial experts, is I’m looking at their small business, and I’m saying how can we use this book to help you grow. And since I know a lot about what that takes, because I’ve done it, I’m looking at there, I’m like, don’t write a book, if you can’t use it, to elevate your big picture, your big missions. It’s not it’s too much work, just to write a book to write a book. It’s just not worth it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 21:50
Well, and I love that part. That’s right. And that part is so key, especially for people who are in business for themselves the number of times I’ve had somebody cross my path and say, Well, I wrote this book, and I’m like, Okay, and what else do you do? Right? How does this fit into the picture? You know, and this went on was like, Oh, well, we’re just gonna put up a website for the book. And I’m like, okay, but do you do consulting, or coaching or deliver other ways of delivering, like, all this brilliance that’s also inside, you know, and I think some people like, talk to us a little bit about that this false idea that, like, if you have a book, you know, you’re there. And it’s, it’s, it’s made for you. Because I think that people still can fall into that trap a little.
Robin Colucci 22:36
Absolutely. And the biggest, the closest equivalent to thinking if you have a book that everything’s gonna come, and you’re going to have a business and money and everything else, and recognition is the equivalent of thinking, if you have a lottery ticket, you’re going to be a millionaire. Yeah. It’s that it’s that bad. And, and it’s, you know, it’s built on I mean, there’s there’s been some there’s been some programming and you know, you see movies, right of, like, carry, carry the writer in Sex in the City. No writer who writes a column for a New York City rag can afford product, anything, right? Can’t afford a product key chain. Okay, so whatever.
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:23
But just those some false advertising happening in the marketplace.
Robin Colucci 23:28
Okay. Right. So and, and you don’t get discovered, because you put your book on Amazon with the 6 million other books that are there. And that you self published and probably wrote without help?
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:42
Well, and for people who are transparent about this, like, we need more of those discussions about like, how does a book strategy fit for you? What does that strategy look like? How you know, because even now, and I’m sure you can shed insights on this, like, publishers are not publishing a book or a transcript, just because it’s good, right? They’re saying yes, to people who show up with pre built audiences, and other essentially assets that they can leverage to help market that book.
Robin Colucci 24:16
Absolutely. Absolutely. And especially it when we’re, I mean, really, in the nonfiction realm, especially, I mean, in fiction, but you really have to be an outstanding, you have to have something outstanding for them to pick you up in even an infection, you know, without a platform. But yes, and and really, it’s, it’s, you know, they stay in business, they can’t just, they have to know that they’re at least going to make back what what they paid you and what it costs them to launch your book. Right. And it’s just, you know, it’s just most books lose money. So if they, they can’t afford all of the books to lose money.
Heather Pearce Campbell 24:57
And they’re interesting that I think that bear Isn’t that bears repeating most books lose money.
Robin Colucci 25:05
And if it weren’t for that, that upper 1% of the the john Grisham and the Stephen King’s and the, you know,
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:13
it’s it’s like the startup investors, right? They might invest in 20 startups and one of them actually makes it and that’s part of the risk calculation. Exactly, exactly. And
Robin Colucci 25:23
So when I, when I’m helping people with book proposals, first of all, I won’t even take on a client who I don’t think has a shot. Because there is a minimum bar that you have, and you do, you have to have some kind of audience and sometimes kind of growing concern. And really, I look at it this way, too. It’s like, book, sales is a terrible way to make money. It will be the lowest paying hardest working job you’ve ever had. Yes, yeah. You need to sell books, for people to know you have a book, right? So that’s fair. But I always tell people, you’ve got to think about what makes sense for your business. What makes sense for the big picture? What does success look like as an end result? So success as an end result? Looks like getting a lot of consulting gigs, then figure out a way to sell your book to people who might one day hire you for a consulting gig. Even you could sell them in bulk, right? And have them distributed to your teams, maybe you could offer a lunch and learn along with the book purchase. So you give them a taste. But do not. Here’s one, it’s worth repeating, do not take out Facebook ads just to sell your book.
Heather Pearce Campbell 26:40
Right? Well, and all you have to do I think for the most part is observe somebody in the marketplace who is already an authority in their profession or in their industry. And watch what they do in regards to publishing a book. It’s never like they just sit back and publish a book like, you take Marie Forleo I just love her. Right. I know, I think this had to be the start of last year before COVID hit was probably one of the final events I went to, right went on, like multi city book tour where you’re purchasing a ticket to the event. And it includes the book purchase, right? People come up with these strategies for distributing and selling their books, but it’s in combination with a much bigger strategy.
Robin Colucci 27:28
Exactly, exactly. And whatever that strategy is, needs to make sense for you. And that means it needs to involve activities that you enjoy doing. Because if it if it involves activities you don’t enjoy, you will stop doing them too soon. Right. You know, it needs to involve activities that if you don’t enjoy doing them, then they’re essential to your business. So you’re going to do them anyway.
Heather Pearce Campbell 27:54
Right, you’re not going to get out of them.
Robin Colucci 27:56
Yeah. And I really encourage people like it needs to involve, you got to have something in mind, where there’s a bigger game that you’re playing than the book. So whether that’s bringing people into your business, or it’s elevating your nonprofit, and you know, making it making it more visible. So ultimately, you’re going to attract more donors, but like you got to be thinking about a bigger picture than just the book. I think one thing most people don’t realize is, you know, a book takes you have to market a book, if you really want it to get its legs. Two to three years for a book to fully get its legs. Wow, most people quit after three months or less. Right, Mark? It’s a more term play.
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:41
Right? You think well, and let’s let’s pretend there’s some people in the marketplace that know this, that understand the reality of the publishing world. And I think there were a lot of people, especially with Amazon that thought like, Oh, you know, great, this gives us an idea. You know, a lot of people know the games that are played across the publishing industry. Do you think this keeps people from writing their books?
Robin Colucci 29:06
Um, honestly, I wish people were a little bit more educated, actually. Because I don’t think it keeps people from writing their books. Okay. And I do think it keeps them from from being successful though. Because they’re not often they’re not always getting good information. And they’re, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there who are profiting off of people’s dreams. Yeah. where, you know, they’re implying things that create false hope.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:42
Are you talking just so I can label this are you talking specifically about some of those like, Here, come pay us this fee and we’re gonna make sure you become an Amazon bestseller and you’re gonna have the badge.
Robin Colucci 29:53
Yeah, the Amazon I mean, Amazon bestsellers. there’s kind of two kinds of Amazon bestseller campaigns and One an unfortunate because people can’t tell the difference, because everybody gets the badge, right, but only one involves actually getting your book in front of people who don’t already know you. And so we do we actually have some, you know, some, somebody we partner with to help our self published clients do a bestseller launch through Amazon, but they’re getting there, they’re actually moving books, getting them to people who wouldn’t otherwise have known who they were. And we’re helping people get number one new release in an average of 10 categories, and not not puny, like made up categories, I mean, legitimate categories. And so that kind of Amazon bestseller, you can still, it’s not like a New York Times bestseller, it never will. But at least it really does. On average, we’re seeing like 2500 to 5000, you know, downloads of the Kindle version, so people are getting the book. Right. That’s, that’s something. Now, I think that, that what I’m referring to is a lot of these hybrid publishing models, where they’ll say, we’ll, we will produce your book, you pay us to produce the book. And then we will also take a royalty on all your bills that we will pay. So basically, what they’re doing is, it’s it’s like the worst possible combination. And by the way, I did this disclosure, and even knowing better, because I just was like, Oh, I just this is before Amazon had print on demand. And I was like, I just don’t want to deal with it, I don’t want to have to keep sending Amazon five copies of my book every time they sell five copies of my book. So I didn’t want to deal with the fulfillment. So I’ve just like, fine, I don’t care because I’m not doing it for the royalty. But now that Amazon has printed demand, doing these hybrid models, is just completely your name, and it’s not helping you at all, and they’ll tell you things like oh, we’re gonna get you in, we’re going to give you distribution, which basically means, you know, to bookstores, but what they’re really saying is we’re going to fill out a form with with Ingram, which is one or you know, another distribution company, there’s only a couple, and we’re going to, and then your book will be on the in the in on a list of all the possible books that could possibly be ordered by a bookstore. And that and that, and that’s it, they’re filling out a form and then and then they’re going to charge the author like several $1,000 extra to get them distribution. They also upcharge, all the other, you know, production and copy editing, proofreading. And so their authors are paying on average, like $25,000, just to get their book printed and laid out, which is like, more than double what they should ever consider paying for that. And then even when they sell their book, they don’t even get to keep the profits because they’re gonna send them like a measly you know, $2 a book like as if they had a publishing deal. And that’s the thing that makes me mad about it is because you can do one or the other ethically, go with a book packager, who’s just gonna charge you for the service, and then you get to keep everything you sell, or go with a publisher who took the risk on you, by the way in front of the money. And yes, they should make more off the book than you because they took all the risk, right? But these hybrid models, the only one who’s benefiting from a hybrid model is the hybrid company. So just be buyer beware, I really have an issue with that.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:38
Well, thank you for that little peek behind the curtain because I think can be hard from the outside looking in for people to distinguish what they’re getting or what they should be getting in a marketplace where, you know, there’s there’s strategies being played across the board. And, and it’s so hard to know, because you don’t know. And as you know,
Robin Colucci 33:59
And I people and these salespeople are good because I literally have had friends who’ve come to me for advice and I’ve explicitly said don’t do that you’re going to pay $15,000 more than you need to call my friend I’ve been working with for 10 years. I don’t get a kickback by the way when I send her people right I’m just just go you know, you’ll get you’ll get super quality and you’ll pay like less you know, less than halfway and then they go do it anyway and then they come back to me like I was so disappointed with and I’m like..
Heather Pearce Campbell 34:31
Well in its you know the your point being made about getting help with the the production part, like get the book put together, get it complete, get it edited. Once you’re in the marketplace, though, it sounds like people really have access to a lot more control and distribution than they ever did before. He will never get in bookstores, right? If they’re self published.
Robin Colucci 34:54
And anybody who’s telling them that they might and building that false hope is full of crap. They have to know it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:02
Yes. So that that he’s I appreciate because yeah, I think a lot of people can hang false hopes on something. And then, you know, and I had a client who came through and it was a publisher that does a very specific genre of books. It’s all based on some numerical database that they have going in the background about what topics are hot right now. And then they find somebody to write it up book, right? But, but it is not at all beneficial to the author of the book, from the standpoint of, you know, actually being paid for your time, or even the sale of the book, like literally all they get would be the ability to put their name on the book. Yeah. And people buy into, like, I think people are so desperate to have a book in the marketplace, it can be really challenging for them to hang on to their wits and make good business decisions for themselves. And, you know, and knowing this, this other part about like having a more complete vision of knowing like, it is challenging to get a publisher that’s going to especially front any costs, I mean, I one of my clients, he got paid advance fees around like 2.52 point 8 million. Phenomenal. And of course, his book became a New York Times bestseller as soon as he got it published. But he literally had a cult following.
Robin Colucci 36:34
Of course he did. That advanced, you know, he did.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:37
Yeah, yes, around the world. And you know, 10s and 10s. And 10s of 1000s of people were lined up for his book before it even came out. Right. But even some of my other really top dog clients, I haven’t seen advance fees given like that for a book, even when they already have a big name. And so I think, yeah, I think but I, I still see in the marketplace, people having a lot of false hopes about about, you know, putting a book into the marketplace, what it takes what the chances are, and so I so appreciate the stream.
Robin Colucci 37:11
And listen, it doesn’t have to be about book sales. And you know, if you think about it, if you have your own business, you can use your book to really grow your business. But you got to get out. You got to remember, what’s the main thing the main thing is my business. So how can I instead of making the main theme of the book, it’s like, how can I use the book as a tool? I can hear the screeching puppy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:40
I know, I’m just saying she hit a new high is so cute. You’ve got the COVID puppy in the background, right? So many households around US..
Robin Colucci 37:49
I had a I had a pug for 15 years. Almost 15 years he he died five weeks before his 15th birthday. And I just couldn’t live without a pug. So we just picked her up last week. So and she’s really cute, but she’s losing her mind.
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:13
A little squeaker. Now, you know real life happens. I tell people my children are also in the background. Sometimes they’re thundering like elephants upstairs and I’m like, Oh, man. No idea. This is making its way into the recording, but we’re just keeping it real over here. Yeah. No, I love it. Um, well, and I just think that the you know, the big takeaway is what you just said, How can you use the book to accomplish other things in your business? So, you know, I had a gentleman on not too long ago who does a lot of things in his business. And he wrote a book and he said the difference for him is that book got him paid speaking like paid speaking engagements where before he wasn’t getting paid for those like it up leveled his ability to actually do these other things through his work.
Robin Colucci 39:07
Yes, it up levels, it up levels, everything and it up levels, how much you can charge for your services, it up levels, the contacts that you can make the partnerships you can form. And if you write a good book, then when people read your book, they’ll actually want to work with you.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:33
I think that’s the key is I think knowing what it is that you want to express in a book and not having it be about the dollars and cents. Like I think that it be it can become part of a larger picture around dollars and cents, but it can’t be the thing. It just you know based on my limited experience of supporting my clients who have written books and published books and gone through A variety of publishing processes, it’s, you know it, you really have to have the strategy behind it. So, absolutely. Share with people because you work with a variety of folks in doing this work, right. And all of your people are experts at whatever it is they’re doing. It sounds like they’re kind of top of field. What are the ways that you see your clients using their books, like, share some a couple of little firsthand experiences about what they’ve done for your clients?
Robin Colucci 40:31
I guess, you know, one of my clients that popped into my mind is Vince Del Monte, who’s who I think is really an interesting story, because he was already a very successful online fitness expert. And he had been coaching people on transforming their bodies for 10 years. And he was starting to feel like he wanted to work with people in a deeper or more meaningful way than just their physique. And he wanted to start coaching people on being successful in their business or their family life, or, you know, just more broad spectrum. And so we formulated a book concept for him where it was, it was like two thirds, fitness. But like the, the front section, and the ending section were more about mindset and like performance, and how you could apply those things in the gym. But what he ended up doing was right after that book came out, he started forming an online business mastermind, which is, so so he was before he was like selling fitness programs for like $147 each. Now, he’s got this massive, you know, business mastermind program, where he’s helping to create internet millionaires by teaching them how to how to grow their own businesses. And the book was like, a, a way to get his audience to see him in a little bit different way. And also help him see himself differently. And he, like, literally, like, right after that book came out, he started offering these, and now he’s, you know, selling these for, like, you know, this to be in the mastermind. It’s like, $20,000 a year. And he’s got, like, over 100 people in it. I mean, just do the math. Um, you know, he’s probably put like, 350 people through it, right. So I mean, it’s, it’s, yeah, and his book came out in 2016. So we’re not talking like the end of 2016. So it’s just been a few years. And he’s any sell, and he’s fulfilled, you know, he’s, he’s, he feels like he’s really living his purpose. You know, I’ve just had I mean, I, one of my other early clients, I just interviewed her for my podcast, which we haven’t posted it yet, but for the author’s corner, but she, you know, I interviewed her because it was 10 years after her book came out. And it was just so cool to hear, like how her career had evolved. And, you know, when she started working with me, she was just a no name, private private practice hypnotherapist who wanted to focus on helping people find love. And by the way, had never had a relationship that lasted longer than a year and did not have a boyfriend. And 10 years later, and she said that, like, what she what she’s done since that book came out, as she’s made $10 million. And she’s married to the love of her life. And all of that happened in conjunction with the book. So it’s interesting. I think that something that people don’t often realize is, having being becoming an author of a book is not about the book. It’s not about saying, I’m an author, it’s not about like, holding up the book, I should have my book handy when I do this, shouldn’t I see I feel much better marketer.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:52
For people listening, right? We’re all gonna visualize my book.
Robin Colucci 43:59
How to write a book that sells you. It’s right here in my hand, pretend we’re gonna play pretend I’m an actress, too, right. So, uh, but, you know, holding up that book and saying, Look at me, I’m an author. That is not what it’s about. And I think a lot of people miss the point when they do these, like write a book in a weekend. And they rush the process, because they just want to get that book in their hand. What they fail to recognize is what makes you an author, and what changes you would transform your what actually elevates your expertise is the process. It’s the process that of the inquiry that you go through to actually write a substantive, meaningful value loaded book. I love that. Yeah. And, and what what you have to recognize is the book isn’t the thing. It’s the edit the book, is that the evidence that you went through a process, it’s like a diploma right? You get a diploma at the end of your education, but it’s not. It’s not the expertise. It’s not the knowledge. It’s evidence. that you received that. That’s what a book is. Becoming an author is the process. And what I can really say for every one of my clients is it’s transformed them in some powerful way, where they can do more good in the world because of who they became in the process.
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:21
So when you’re helping people through that process, are you coaching them on something that they’re writing? Are you pulling it out and writing it for them? Talk to us about like, how does that balance out?
Robin Colucci 45:36
We do both. We do book coaching, and we do book ghost writing. And, and so and we, and either way, we’re pulling it out of them now, because people often don’t recognize that their best material is the stuff that they think is obvious. And so part of our job is to listen for, you know, what are those things? That, you know, you’ll see it like, they’ll write some throwaway sentence, and I’ll be like, what’s that? And that’s where that journalism, by the way, journalism training comes in, it’s like, dig in.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:20
Little bit longer. Yes.
Robin Colucci 46:22
And on that a little, and then you find out they have some, like, revolutionary idea that they don’t, missionary.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:28
Yes. And it sounds like, I mean, one of the tremendous benefits of working with a book coach is this piece that you’re talking about right here, the ability for you, as somebody with experience to really reflect back to them. Like the pieces that are the glimmering, you know, the glimmering pieces, the stuff that should not be passed over so quickly or discarded, and they just wouldn’t know that if they’re not deeply embedded into an industry of writing and distilling information down into this form of writing.
Robin Colucci 47:02
I think it’s also that we just can’t, it’s hard to see our own greatness, it’s hard to, it’s hard to get, I think that just having somebody who’s not you, who knows what to listen for, and look for, because it’s, you know, if you think about it, it’s settled thing about the fish in the water, like the water we swim in, or, you know, one analogy I like to use is, your best ideas are shrinkwrapped to your consciousness, like, you walk around the world, and you see it a certain way. You have a perspective, you have a unique perspective, that’s based on who you are your history, your all your experiences, like, you know, we talked about before, all of your experiences are creating that filter. And you probably have some very valuable, insightful points of view that could benefit literally millions of people. You think it’s obvious, because you see the world through it? Right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:01
You think other people must see it that way, too, of course, because this is
Robin Colucci 48:05
Everyone knows this, because this is how the world is? No, this is how you see it. Hmm. And so I and this is actually one of the more exciting things about the work that we do, because to have to be able to help. So I literally had one client where he was sharing something with me. And I was asking him just like more and more questions, and I’m like, I don’t I don’t understand this distinction. Now, pull this apart for me, like it helped me understand this. And I said, Well, I think it’s, it was like something like these sort of like different areas of influence that says, I think you’re describing six, not five or seven, not six, I don’t remember. And he’s like, and I kept asking him questions. And finally we pinpointed what it was. And he’s and he’s, and then he like stopped all of a sudden, he’s just like, writing this scribbling on his Notepad. And I’m like, What are you doing? And he goes, he looks up and he goes, I have to rewrite my entire workbook. To get this into my course now, you know? Yeah. And so that that’s what it’s, you know, that’s what it’s about is it makes you a better expert. Because you understand yourself, you understand your own work. And really, you understand the value that you’re bringing in a way that you just can’t get access to, because just by writing articles, right, because the book makes you go deeper. And it’s powerful. And it’s so it’s such a joy for me to be able to participate in that with somebody. Yeah,
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:36
I love that. What do you think stops people from making that? Because I what I suspect is that there’s a lot of people walking around being like, someday I’ll write a book or I know I should write a book or I’ve been told I should write a book right, other people who know that person, what keeps people from digging in and doing it?
Robin Colucci 49:55
Well, I think there’s an illusion that they don’t have time. Yeah, that I can do. tell you, all of my clients don’t have time. I mean, you know, I write, I work with people who have incredibly busy schedules and family lives and everything else. I think that there’s sometimes sometimes the question is like, Is it the right time? And that that can be a legitimate question. I actually think it’s a pretty good indicator. If people are telling you, you should write a book about your expertise, they’re probably right. People are telling you that you should write a book about some crazy experience you had, they’re probably wrong.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:35
I love that. Some crazy experience, if you
Robin Colucci 50:39
You want to think about how do you want to be known as you will be known by your book? So just because you’ve had a wacky life or something awful happened that you overcame does not mean that we need to have a book on it? Yeah, right. I think some people feel pressured to write a book when they maybe don’t need to write a book. I think that it’s an individual decision. I don’t think every I don’t think there’s a book in everybody.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:04
Interesting, you’re like, ah, let me tell you so. So how do you distinguish between like, is this a bad idea? Or is this a good idea?
Robin Colucci 51:12
Yeah, I think it’s more about AI. First of all, I think if you really have that desire, and it just doesn’t go away, I think that’s something to trust. Mm hmm. And, and again, I think it’s about really asking yourself some questions. What, who’s the book for? Why would they read it? Yeah. What do you want them to do with you? Once they have your book? Mm hmm.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:39
What comes next?
Robin Colucci 51:40
Right, let’s get back in. How? What, what do you want to do with your book? What do you what are the activities that you see? How do you intend to use the book? Is this a topic and idea that you would be excited to talk about for the next five years? And if you can have satisfactory answers to those questions, then the answer is that you should stop procrastinating and write your damn book.
Heather Pearce Campbell 52:14
I love that. Um, and so when people stop the procrastination, right, and especially for folks, like I think about the people that I serve them, right, a lot of them are experts at a certain thing in life, and they’ve built a business around it. How How do you have the time conversation with them?
Robin Colucci 52:32
Yeah, you just have to carve it out, you have to make it a priority. I have one client, for example, who runs a very big nonprofit and has a family and this before COVID was literally like, I would be flying all over the world. Like I never know where we were talking next. And I just said to him, I said, Listen, you have to get stuff off your plate, because this is never going to get done. And and so sometimes just carving out time in the beginning of the day can be a really good strategy. But before anything else has a chance to encroach. But you just have to make the time.
Heather Pearce Campbell 53:16
Yeah, that’s right. It doesn’t show up. Yeah, it doesn’t show up.
Robin Colucci 53:21
And and you can you can rest assured that it will, it will be inconvenient. I promise.
Heather Pearce Campbell 53:29
The incumbent everything is having, you know, right and worth it. That’s the trade off. What talk to us about timelines, when somebody chooses to work with you, what kind of a timeline are they typically signing up for understanding that it’s probably always looks a little different,
Robin Colucci 53:46
I’d say the fastest way that we can, that we can responsibly help them with develop a clear saleable concept. And help them write the book would be four months. Less than that, and you’re probably going to miss some quality. And we’ve had people do that, and produce excellent books. So I’m speaking from experience, I’d say more average is six to eight months is a more average expectation. And it can it can go longer also. I really, it doesn’t, it shouldn’t have to take a year. But it can.
Heather Pearce Campbell 54:29
It can take longer if you’re on your own. And you know, I’m in support. I’ve worked with clients who are working against, you know, hardcore publishing deadlines, and it will take right up until that deadline.
Robin Colucci 54:42
Yeah, we when we work with cars about I’d say most of our clients are at least 70 80% of our clients are going traditional, you know, when publishing houses,
Heather Pearce Campbell 54:52
Real publishing, okay, and the majority of your clients
Robin Colucci 54:54
Yeah, yeah, that pay advances. And, and I’m, I’m a real stickler We’re about turning things in on time. It but it, you know it. And you know it does help when you have a contract. And when you don’t get your third, you don’t get your second check till you turn in the manuscript and you don’t get your third Check, check to lose, right before they go to press So, right, right. It definitely helps.
Heather Pearce Campbell 55:21
So first of all, let me ask you, where do you like to connect with people, for folks that are listening and going, Hmm, maybe it’s time I actually do this or think about it. Right? Where do you like to connect with people online?
Robin Colucci 55:37
Yes, well, I have. I’m on LinkedIn that you know, Robin Colucci, or my my business page is our Colucci LLC. We have those on LinkedIn, and Facebook. And those are kind of fun, because we also post articles and not just the ones that we write. But we also post other articles that we find out about, like what’s going on in publishing or something that’s interesting. So those are good places to join us. And also, we do have a mailing list. And we’re I hate getting emails, like I hate it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 56:15
Says the writer. I know,
Robin Colucci 56:18
I know. So. So what I’ve done is we so you can you can opt in and subscribe to our list. But what’s cool about it is, the only thing we send on a regular basis is every Friday, we send an email called the bottom line. And it’s it’s like one line ish, maybe, you know, just like one sentence maybe to have just a takeaway on an important point about publishing, like this week’s was why your self published book will never be in bookstores. And then we give them the bottom line. And then there’s a link to the blog where they can read the full article if they want. Or they can just take the takeaway. And that’s it because I hate getting inundated with stuff. And so every now and then we might have an offer, but it’s rare. And so if you like I have a free report, that some the five reasons you might need a book deal. And if you go get the free report, or I have other stuff, free stuff, but if you get any of that you’ll be you’ll be added to the bottom line. List. Yeah. And that’s a good way to just know what we’re up to. And you can of course, always if you’re really sure you’re ready, we have an application form on my website at Robin coochie. Calm, you can fill out an application and then you’ll get to meet with us and we can talk about your goals and see if it would be appropriate for you to proceed with a book
Heather Pearce Campbell 57:47
So if you’re listening you can grab those links and any others that Robin wants to share with me. You can go to legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Robin I need to take, I need to take some notes from me. I love your idea of the bottom line. I have something that’s called the weekly brief. But my joke is that for anybody that actually knows about legal briefs, they’re not brief, like everything in one place. So yeah, I’m the reverse of you. It’s all in there, but it’s only once a week like that’s the way
Robin Colucci 58:25
I know. Like I am that person I’m like just give me the bottom like just bottom line and for me please I please do not I do not do the whole setup. Just what is it? And so of course.
Heather Pearce Campbell 58:35
Hilarious I love that.
Robin Colucci 58:37
it’s the only way I’ve been able to get myself to send send out emails to my list basis because inside me it was like an allergy I’m like I don’t want to write a long email.
Heather Pearce Campbell 58:54
See, I’ve never been an inbox to zero person I that feels like a waste of time to me. I’m not going to do it. I’m not even going to think about doing it. I have my own system but and so it’s more like this repository that kind of you know, goes nowhere floats off into space, but I’m not gonna worry too much about deleting it.
Robin Colucci 59:14
So we we’ve done better like I had my old inbox got so out of hand. I had like 17,000 unread emails and I just had to shut it down and start over and I just I mean it’s still there. Oh, I
Heather Pearce Campbell 59:31
I get it I’m looking at mine right now. I got a curiosity something.
Robin Colucci 59:34
And when I buy something online I use that email so they know all the marketing emails I get anytime I make a political donation I use that email because I know that it’s just gonna get flooded with all and then I just keep my other email just for business and yes, personal and that’s that’s kept it way and my and I and I hired an assistant so that combination things kept it under control.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:00:00
Yep, well, you heard it here, folks, you get a one liner from a right or which to me is phenomenal. So if you want to hear from Robin in one line or less than you, you know, sign up get her bottom line get updates on the publishing industry, the publishing world. Robin, what Final Thoughts? Would you like to leave people with?
Robin Colucci 1:00:20
Oh, I? Oh, that’s a great question. Um, I just Okay, I’ll just say the first thing that came to my mind was Yeah, dream big and go for your dreams.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:00:33
Hmm. I love that I do you think this tends to be one that hangs out there for a lot of people and often really doesn’t get prioritized like it? Should it? I think it’s an easy one to think like someday I’ll have the time someday. I’ll do it. And yeah, put it in the forefront, especially if you’ve been thinking for a while about it. And I love your five questions. So thank you for sharing those.
Robin Colucci 1:00:57
My pleasure. Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun.
GGGB Outro 1:01:04
Thank you for joining us today on the guts, grit and great business podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. four key takeaways links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more see the show notes which can be found at legal website warrior.com slash podcast, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on iTunes. Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts so others will find us to keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.