Episode 38: Marketing Expert Reveals How To Sell Books ( And More!) By Thinking Outside the Box! with Stephen Chatterton

March 9, 2020

In this episode, Stephen shares how he uses his book to market a completely different business by thinking outside the box and combining tried-and-true marketing principles, with ingenuity and action! He’ll also share some great tax tips for how to write off your book marketing! If you want to market offline, don’t miss this interview!

Resources mentioned


Central time: 936 230-4676

Discover how to get a free 15-minute consult on tax advice related to their book marketing with Stephen personally in this podcast!
(This has been going so well, I talked Stephen into making this offer evergreen!)

To continue the conversation, be sure to join us in our private Facebook group.

3 Key Points

Potential buyers want three things; 1. To meet the author 2. To get it at the right price 3. To get it right away.

Prelaunch your book and building your email list for your launch.

Invite potential customers to a free talk, invite experts in related fields to give a free live presentation at your event to cross-promote, sell books in the ticket price, then sell your upsell after the event.


Hi everybody and welcome to episode 39. Today my guest is Steven Chatterton. As a kid, Steven developed his love of public relationships in the food industry and music, holding lead-guitar positions in four rock and roll bands. It’s amazing how I’m always getting rock and roll people like me. And he started in the hotel- and motel-management area and found out it was not his passion. And so, he then entered sales and marketing. And from there he did find his passion, talking and helping the common everyday person become an independent self-employed individual.

[1:28] And Stephen is amazing. He does his great income-tax workshops, and I was honored to get to edit and publish his book for him, and I was struck by how outside the box he is in marketing his books. And so, that was why I wanted to have him on this call. So Steven, welcome to the call.

([1:51]) Stephen: Well thank you so much. It’s exciting to finally put the face and the publisher together when we work so well together.

([2:00]) Ellen: Yes, it is. So why don’t you tell people a little bit of how you got into… how you decided to write your book. And you can tell a little bit more about your background if you’d like.

([2:10]) Stephen: Well, I didn’t start out wanting to write a book.

([2:14]) Ellen: Okay.

([2:15]) Stephen: My obsession called ride-sharing. Everyone knows it as Uber, but there are over 1000 ride-sharing companies. And I heard on a one of the local radio stations how you can make $60,000 a year working four to five hours a day. And my wife and I looked at each other and said, “Yeah, right.” And she said, “So Steve, you love to drive, you love to talk, and you love to make money. This would be perfect.”

([2:48]) So, I started that. In doing that, and doing that within one month it became so dangerous and so, well the word is dangerous, that I contacted my best friend. And my best friend said, “There’s a book here. I want you to make notes every day, and let’s talk six months from now.” Well, it didn’t take six months. I had over four boxes of a three-feet-tall, combined with over 487 written documents against the company called Uber.

([3:26]): Now I rode for Lyft and Via and so on. But Uber just absolutely defied the driver and made wonderful accusations of positive nature for the riders. And yet, we were getting beaten up. In many cases people lost their lives, put into dangerous situations that I decided that I wasn’t going do a tell-all book; I want to tell the positives because I had some great positives and some great stories. People always asked me… it’s like a candid camera or I did many times Cash Cab. And so, that’s what brought me into writing this book. And it took a year and a half, as you probably remember me telling you, a year and a half to document everything, and then a year and a half to sort it all out, so I didn’t have redundancy. And then, it was a year to find you.

([4:25]): And I think it’s important to tell people because of you how I feel about you as a publisher who I’d never met, how I met you.

([4:34]) Ellen: Oh, how did we, how did we meet?

([4:36]) Stephen: I met you because I was having coffee in a local coffee shop, and my server, back in my age, I’m seventy, we called them waitresses. I looked up, and it was Barb.

([4:48]) Ellen: Oh, my God!

([4:51]) Stephen: Barb lives in Cortland, Illinois, and I was telling her how excited I was that I was getting my book ready for publishing. And I said, “I can’t find a publisher.” And she said, “Well, you know, Steve, you are my mentor in one of the businesses, well, I have a life coach like you. She’s out in California. She’s a publisher. Do you think you might be interested in talk with her? I said, “Well, yeah, what the heck?”

([5:14]): And I just gave her my business card and brushed it aside. It was about a week later, Ellen, when you contacted me, and you listened to me, and you said, (here’s a quote guys) she said, “Well, you send me the manuscript, I’ll let you know in a day-and-a-half if it’s doable.” and so I sent it to you immediately and less than a day-and-a-half you called me and said, “Well Steve, it’s doable. It’s about seventy, ah, a hundred pages. I don’t think we’ll wind up with a hundred pages, probably a little less. It’s doable. This is my price, and I take credit cards.”

([5:50]): Remember what I did Ellen?

([5:52]) Ellen: You signed up.

([5:53]) I gave you a credit card. I didn’t even know who you were. That’s part of the story of the book writing is that you work with people that you trust. I trust Barb impeccably, so if Barb wants to recommend me, and I knew I was being recommended to a reputable person, and there was no question about pulling out my credit card. And the audience needs to know that the minute the credit card was processed, which was right away, Ellen went to work right away. In less than five minutes, she called me up and said, “This is what I’m going to be working on today.” So she turned me on, like why does it take a year and a half to find a publisher? Okay? Well, it was meant to be.

([6:38]) Ellen: Wow. You’re going to make me cry. (Laugh)

([6:42]) Stephen: Well, it’s true. I mean, I think everybody needs to know how you work. We’re going to get onto how I sell the books.

([6:50]) Ellen: Yeah.

([6:51]) Stephen:  But I want people to understand if you’re looking at this video, this is right off the cuff on me talking to you.

([6:58]) Ellen: Or audio depending on how they’re hearing it. Yeah.

([7:00]) Stephen: In what Ellen does is important, she will come back to you and say, “You know what Steve? I had this concern, I don’t know if I’m interpreting it right. Could you explain?”

([7:14]) Stephen: And I said to you many times, and you’ll remember what I’m about to say to you. I said, “I talked to hundreds of people on stage and you are the professional. If you think something needs to be changed, I give you permission to do it.” And then, you said to me, which now I’m going to cry. “You’re are joy to work with, Steve.”

([7:33]) Ellen: Huh. Yeah. Cause that’s a coach’s dream is for somebody to trust you so much that they respect your opinion and listen to you. Cause a lot of times, people will come and they want you to help them, but they get too attached to their own ideas, and they’re not able to let them go into what’s really best for the project. So, it was a joy. Yeah.

([7:59]) Stephen: That’s exactly..and what  Warren Buffet has trained us to do is let your ego go down the toilet. You’ve got to swallow that ego because you just said it. We take this as pride; it’s our birth (this book). And yet, how many babies are born that are pretty ugly, you know, so I was just open. That’s the word I’m looking for. I was open and trusting and boy, the product came out great. Ellen. It came out great!

([8:29]) Ellen: I’m so happy that you’re happy with it, but I want to get onto how you did this; it is just amazing to me. So, once you had the book, then how did you start marketing it? Oh, why don’t you tell people what you do is and how that connects to the book too.

([8:44]) Stephen: Well, obviously people are realizing that I am a motivational speaker, so what I did to market the book is I pre, the word they use today is pre-launching. I like to be real. I just talk to people. And I told them, “I’m in the process of writing the book.” So, one of the things that you as an author out there needs to understand, you have to think positive that this book is going to be published shortly. And so, you’ve got to sell promoted by letting people know right away that it’s going to come out.

([9:18]) And what happened at that point,  1.I got pre-orders. Now  I didn’t ask for money upfront because I was a little timid to know when it was going to be released. And, of course, I had not found a publisher, but I got their email, I’ve got their name, and many times, I got their personal phone number.

([9:36]) So now, I had a prelaunch. And in a prelaunch is really talking about my writing to strangers, family, members, anybody, saying,” I’m in the process of writing this book. I’m excited about it and it soon will be published.” And they immediately asked you, “Well, what is it about?” And then, I’d becoming a comedian. I said, “Oh well, that’s eight dollars.” And they immediately laughed. “Oh, come on Steve, what is it about?”

([10:06]) “Well, I’m doing ride-sharing and it’s going to be the story of the good, the bad and the ugly of this crazy popped–up industry. (And they’d say), “That sounds interesting.” And I said, “Well, I’ll tell you what, if you’d like a prelaunch book, copy of this- no cost! Let me have your email and your name, and I’ll get in contact with you.”

([10:29]) Ellen:  So, you gave him a PDF of it then?

([10:32]) Stephen: Exactly, before it was published. And I told them there in their email this is pre-launch; there are spelling errors, paragraphic errors, so please, just look at the content. And it’s my pleasure to have it. I look forward to your wholesale cost of the book. And you do a follow-up approximately four weeks to eight weeks. And you’re building your list, your list in other marketing on the Internet, they talk about the funnel.

([11:00]): I just keep it simple. Get that out there that you’re going to do it. It does one very, very important thing, and that is it keeps you honest that it’s going to get published, and it keeps you focused.

([11:16]) Ellen: Yes.

([11:17]) No distractions.

([11:18]) Ellen: Yeah. Urgent urgency, creating urgency.

([11:23]) Stephen: Then there are so many books and short stories written about how to publish a book, how to do this, how to do that, and every one of them I’ve read said the number-one problem that people have writing books is they don’t write books. They give up.

([11:41]) Ellen: Yeah, yeah.

([11:42]) Stephen: Here’s a little tip, a sidebar on it. The average person that publishes their own book without a professional like yourself, they just do it themselves. They sell on an average seven to nine books. That’s it.

([11:58]) Ellen: Yep.

([11:59]) Stephen: Okay? I’ve sold over 1200 books in less than six months. We’re going to tell you how I did it. Do they have a video to see this or do I just….

([12:09]) Ellen: Oh yeah. Some people will see it on video and some will be listening to the podcast. Yeah.

([12:13]) Stephen: Yeah, I have the book here that Ellen did a great job on, and I photocopied the book cover. And then, on that I have on the bottom of it “available on (in my case) it’s to Amazon for $5.99 plus shipping, handling, and tax or Kindle for $2.99.” On the back is a review. I give a little background on it, and then in the bottom, I’ll have my author’s name, my personal phone number. That’s a personal preference because I’m totally transparent, and my email. And I had these flyers in the backseat of my ride-sharing. So, when they got into the vehicle, they immediately saw this and they say “Steve Chatterton,” and they look at their phone and say, “Stephen, Oh, did you publish a book?”

“ Absolutely. I’m so excited.” And then, you zip it.

([13:05]): “Well, what is it about?” I said, “Read the title.” (They say, “So it’s about me?”  I said, “No, no, you’re not that important yet.” And they started, and so I have ten or twelve copies stapled cardboard, and I tell them, “Why don’t you go ahead and take one of those available, and read up on it? You can contact me, but wait, there’s more. If you want a copy of the book right now autographed instead of $5.99 plus shipping and handling and tax, about eight bucks, you can get it for the same eight bucks. Now, I realize most people don’t carry cash but guess what? I have Square today. I could take your credit card right now.”

([13:48]) Ellen: That’s amazing.

([13:51]) Stephen:  It is amazing because I said eight dollars to you, but in actuality, if you remember, I was selling it for $5 and I was getting $5 for it, and I’d take a  credit card or they said, “Can you leave it as a tip on the VO or Uber app? I said, “Absolutely.” So that cut the time factor of delaying the exiting of the deal. They just put it as a tip on the app. Then times when you do that, okay, I get it ten times. When I first started two bought the book on sight unseen, I’m up to now, in my other professional I’m doing, nine out of ten are buying the book and it’s going for $8; I crept it up to $1 at a time.

([14:36]) Ellen: I was going to say, you should charge more.

([14:40]) You’ve got to figure out what’s the market and so it was exciting.

([14:45]) Stephen: So now, my market is $8 and if you belong to Amazon, you have the right to buy so many books back at a wholesale price where they’ve already gotten their commission for use at my seminars; they’re used as a seminar or a giveaway. I autograph them.  People like free things, folks. Three things. Number one, they like to meet the author in person, number one. Number two, they want the price to be right, and they met the author, they want a copy of the book right away. And in my case, three, they wanted the dirt on Uber immediately. And so, we sold instantly.

([15:28]) The other thing is I kept it short. Ellen was the only one that accepted the book. I’m not going to lie to anybody. But I met three other publishers, met them in person; they were all wonderful people, but they said it’s too short. And I said, “People don’t have time to read 200-300 pages on ride-sharing and particularly Uber,” just give it to me right now.

([15:50]) Ellen: Exactly

([15:51]) Stephen:  Now I stuck to my guns with seventy pages. Actually, you, Ellen, you got it at 101 (pages). We found redundancies and so on and so forth, and so within six weeks folks, the book was on Amazon because of Ellen, so it’s exciting on that. So, I sold the books that way.

([16:12]) The other way folks is, and I strongly recommend that you get extra copies. Instead of leaving a tip, 20% tip on your eating out, leave a book, and call the server for over and say, “By the way, Julie, I want to tell you something. I’m going to give you something today more important than dollars, more important than anything else. You have met the author of my brand new book. And it is my honor to autograph it for you. And you want to grab it for her right away. And now you’ve got the book out, and then what happens to that book?

([16:45]) Stephen: The average book paperback particularly will change hands three times within eighteen months according to the studies on the Internet. So you sold, you gave away one book but three people read it. Also how I sold the book, which is big, and that’s what Ellen wanted me to talk to you about. I own three other companies. One of them is I am a highly tax-preparer consultant, and this business evolved about fifty years ago. And I don’t do taxes anymore, I consult people on taxes.

([17:17]) In my book, there are four places that that book is advertised where you can get my services, STC Income Tax Workshops, Stephen T. Chatterton, my personal phone number and my email, four times in that. Folks, you are now marketing two different ways of marketing. So if the book costs you three bucks, it really only costs you a buck and a half because you can charge off on your taxes. The cost of that advertising to one company, and the actual cost of the book to the other company. It’s just a phenomenal way of marketing.

([17:55]) Ellen:  Right. But the thing that was so striking to me is the fact that they were two completely different things, and you somehow manage to make them work together. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Cause that’s perplexing.

([18:06]) Stephen:  Well absolutely. And that’s part of my ten ways of selling books, and then is that you want to contact people that have similar interests to you. And then you’re going to make a list of those on the left. And then on the right side, you’re going to draw an arrow from their name, but those people that are public speaking or, in my case, going to public libraries and so on. And then, I want you to go to the art section of your newspapers and look for books that are being published and so on. Make yourself available to be part of that book signing, or that book offering, or that bookstore, and go and talk to the author and say, “You know, I have a similar topic. Would you like to pair on it? And then, what I also do, excuse me folks, I do free lunches.

([18:53]) Stephen: I pick a nice restaurant and I’m able to pick out a menu where they have free things on the menu, tax, tip, food and beverage, less than $15. Okay? And I let people know this is available on this day to that day. Always have two alternate dates, and then you’ll have twenty people in a luncheon. Okay? In that price of that luncheon, you want to build in the cost to your book. So, my average luncheon is $21. When I use my Square, they charge me a fee, and I built in that fee into a round number. I also guarantee them in fifteen minutes of that seminar, if they felt they haven’t earned anything or learned anything in that seminar, full refund. Folks, I’ve never had to give a refund to anybody. Okay?

([19:44]) Stephen: Now here’s something you want to remember in marketing books or marketing anything. I’m going to say it’s slowly.

Bam, Fam, B, A, M, F, A, M. That stands for the following, book a meeting from a meeting. So when I get done with the luncheon, I tell them, “By the way, there’s some paper next to your fork there. If you’d like me to come speak to your group free, just simply leave you me your name, preferably your phone number, and your email, and the best time to contact you. And I’ll be glad to speak in front of your group.” Book a meeting from a meeting.

([20:26]) Ellen: So let me ask you a question. So when you’re doing that, so you’re selling books and you’re making some money off the books, but then you’re also marketing your Income Tax Workshops because you’re marketing them in the book, right?

([20:40]) Stephen: Yes. But I go a step further.

Ellen: Okay.  What’s next?

([20:43]) Stephen: I invited other guests who have their similar works or similar connections to taxes. A good friend of mine is a big wig in the legal shield. He’ll come and talk twenty minutes about how you should have ID protection and theft protection. And how it’s a tax write off related topic. And they spend twenty minutes; they have PowerPoints or whatever. So, I’ll have four people speaking over a luncheon of approximately one hour and forty minutes and out of twenty people, four to maybe five will linger on. And that’s when you really start selling what you have to sell.

([21:21]) Ellen: How much is the workshop that they’re going to go into?

([21:23]) Stephen: $21

([21:25]) Ellen: No, but what you’re selling in the book.

([21:28]) Stephen:  What I’m selling seminars…

([21:30]) Ellen: Right. Right.  So then, what’s the back end? What’s the back end?

Stephen: The back end is up to five people up to five $100 an hour. Twenty to 400, okay? It is $300 an hour, airfare and a modest hotel, and I give you another hour free over lunch. So, they’re getting two hours for $300 plus expenses. Now if it’s twenty people, we’ll go to iHop or Denny’s at two o’clock in the afternoon. And somebody says, “Why two o’clock in the afternoon?” Because there’s nobody there for a cup of coffee, and I can get in and out of Denny’s and about an hour and forty minutes. So, I’m selling on the backend.

([22:18]) Also, I don’t ask any of my guest speakers, unlike other people that I’ve seen in the industry, asking them for a percentage of their sales. They’re actually boosting my sales by having a multitude of topics. And I encourage everyone to look at that.

([22:34]) Stephen: Now, there are two advantages to this. Very important from a tax point of view. Number one, the luncheon is 100% tax write off. Number two, your books are 100% tax off. Write off. Number three, you get fifty-four-and-a-half cents a mile currently for going to the seminar and back.

([22:55]) We did seminars on a cruise ship. We got into Florida. We had three seminars set up, got on the cruise ship. Unannounced, people asked us to do a seminar for two people on the book and so on, and we get off the ship, we had three (additional) seminars the entire trip from the time we left DeKalb, Illinois, to Fort Lauderdale, the lodge and the hotels, the crews, everybody was 100% write-off.

([23:20]) Ellen: Amazing.

([23:21]) Stephen: It is amazing. But here’s the final statistic repeating when Warren buffet has trained us to say and believe it,  “You’re not bragging, you’re branding.” Folks, I’ve been doing this for fifty years, for fifty years as a tax preparer and consultant. I have always, always filed my taxes, always.

([23:40]) In fifty years I’ve never had to pay federal income taxes. And here’s the big one, folks. In fifty years I’ve never been audited.

([23:51]) Ellen:  Don’t tell everybody (laugh)

([23:53]) Stephen: Why not? Because I’ve got nothing to hide.

([23:56]) Ellen: I’m kidding.

Stephen: Legally, you do it legally. And in my case, I have a belief system; I believe in what I do; I follow the golden rule; there’s no way to be audited at all. And my wife says the same thing you said. And I said, “Honey, if I ever got audited, I’d tell him, “I’m going to order a chicken-salad sandwich on rye with chocolate milk. What do you want? And let’s go for the records. I am so documented, people can’t see it. This is an office of paperwork everywhere, but I know where it is.

([24:27]) Ellen:  that’s important. Well, I gotta say, I mean, I’m just so impressed with your knowledge and just the thinking outside the box and making things work together that people normally would not ever think to put together. And it just shows you that it just takes some creativity to do whatever it is you do and sell books.

([24:52]) Stephen: Well, the challenge that selling books is that most people rely on the Internet or they rely on an outsource like a bookstore or whatever. Let me tell you, just use common sense. A bookstore has over 50,000 titles. There isn’t a clerk in the world making $9 an hour that’s going to promote your book over 50,000 volumes or whatever. So, you have to learn to be an excellent promoter. And I happen to be gifted with the ability to talk. I’ve also been gifted to be surrounded by multimillionaires of training in my fifty years. And I learned all of my motivational training through my father and a great man called Zig Ziglar, actor Pat Boone. And what my wife calls me is a sponge. I go to these seminars and I just master it in my brain. I’m taking notes like crazy. They take two days off and then organize my notes. And it’s interesting that you can go from seminar to seminar to seminar, multimillionaires, and they all talk around the central theme: love yourself, understand yourself. Folks, if you don’t understand yourself, you’ve got to come and talk to Ellen. (Laugh)

([26:15]) Ellen: Well, I don’t know if I can help them understand themselves, but I can help them understand what they’re trying to communicate to their audience.

([26:23]) Stephen:  Well, you talk about communication. I use humor in everything, but not everybody’s going to be gifted with humor. Not everybody is going to be gifted with great punctuality. But I’ll tell you what, every single book, and I say this openly and truthfully if you open up a book today, whether it be off your library or go to a bookstore, there are going to be grammar errors.

([26:47]) Ellen: Uh-huh.

([26:48]) Stephen: Paragraphs that are out of alignment. As an author, get over yourself. Forget about it. As I’m from New York, forget about it. Let the book do it. It’s exciting. And also remember, the writers are the worst critics.

([27:06]) Ellen: Oh, definitely. Definitely. Yeah.

([27:08]) Stephen: It’s terrible. So, you know, I just tell people, align yourself with people that are willing to tell you the truth. Okay? The truth hurts. Now, I’ve been fortunate with you, Ellen, is that the truth that you talk to me about is done in such a gentle way, sincere way, that I never felt defensive.

([27:29]) Ellen: Well, that’s good.

([27:32]) Stephen: Never.

([27:33]) Ellen: Yeah. That’s good.

([27:35]) Stephen: No. But there are people out there that are so superglue onto this paragraph, on this page and so on that when it’s rewritten, it may not make sense to you, but you got to remember, it’s not important to you. It’s important to the 10,000-plus readers that are going to want to know about who you are.

([27:50]) Ellen: Oh, absolutely. I couldn’t have said it better. Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Sometimes, people get all caught up on what they think and they don’t realize it’s not, like you said, it’s not about them, it’s how their audience relates to them. Anyway, I want to thank you so much for coming on. This has been absolutely fantastic. Do you want to tell people how they can reach you?

([28:09]) Stephen: Well, yes, and I’m going to give you a freebie today.

([28:11]) Ellen: You are? Okay.

([28:14]) Stephen: Yes. For the next ten people that call me within a week cause we’re recording us so probably, it’ll be Monday, let’s see, so Monday would be the 9th. From the 9 to 14, The first ten people that call me. Okay? And I arranged for me to talk with them for fifteen minutes. They’re going to get fifteen minutes of free tax advice related to how to market their books.

([28:42]) Ellen: Fabulous.

([28:43]) Stephen: My name is Steven Chatterton. That’s a C. H. A. T. T. E. R. T. O. N. Before I give you the rest of it. Did I tell you I was going to do this, Ellen?

([28:55]) Ellen: No,

([28:56]) Stephen: No. It’s a surprise to you.

([28:57]) Ellen: Surprise, surprise.

([28:59]) Stephen: By the way. You can’t call me.

([29:01]) Ellen: I have a copy of the book.

([29:04]) Stephen: I know you do, yeah. The email is stchatt65@gmail.com.

My direct phone number, central time is (936) 230-4676. Now I may not get back with you right away, but I guarantee you, speak slowly because I have hearing aids, tell me who you are, how you heard about me, and then (ask) “How do I get my fifteen minutes free, no charge?” And by the way, it probably will wind up being a half an hour. I don’t charge.

([30:01])   It’s free. I’m going to coach you on how to market your book and how to make really good money. Remember in my close, the average person only sells seven or nine books. We want to teach you to sell at least a hundred, okay? So you’re, you feel better that it’s worthwhile and I can help you do that. Thank you so much for having me on board.

([30:26]) Ellen: Oh, you’re welcome.

For everybody watching or listening, this was, Steven told me this was his first podcast and you’re just an absolute natural, so again, thanks so much.

So, that’s it for today. Bye-bye.

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About the Author

Ellen Violette

Ellen is an 3X award-winning book, including being named one of the Top 20 Book Coaches of 2022 by Coach Foundation. She's also a multiple #1 bestselling author, a 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been helping entrepreneurs increase their credibility and expert status, become #1 bestselling authors, and make a bigger impact in the world since 2004. Her mission is to make the world a better place one author and one book at a time!



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