Training #9: Insider Book-Writing Hacks That Sell Books!

May 4, 2020

Resources mentioned

9 Insider Book-Writing Hacks, Tips on How to Find Your Ideal Readers and Write the Books They Want To Buy!

3 Key Points

If you don’t identify your ideal readers (i.e. potential customers & clients) and write your book for them, you won’t sell books.

Figure out what the problem is that they have that they want solved right now, and write about that.

Use the same language they use to describe their problem to create a message that sells!


In this episode, Ellen Violette, shares the 4 steps to writing books that sell, how to identify your ideal clients, whether you’re just starting out, rebranding, or scaling your business, and the key to crafting the perfect message, so they can’t wait to buy your books!

Hi Everybody welcome to Training #9. I’m Ellen Violette, your podcast host, I’m also a book coach and strategist. I’m the owner of Create a Splash Marketing, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter.

[0:19] And today I want to share the 4 critical keys to selling books that grow your business, and then go deep into the first two, because you can’t do the second two until you understand the first two.

So, the first one is know who your ideal client is.

And then, the second one is you want to solve a problem that they have, something that keeps them up at night. It’s something that they have a problem with right now that they need solved.

Then you want to choose a topic and an approach that is going to connect with them. And then, use that in all your copy to sell your books so in order to do that you need to know what the first two are so that you can do that. So, that’s why I want to go over the first two in detail.

[1:04] So, knowing who your ideal client is seems obvious but a lot of times people think they know who their ideal client is and they really don’t know who it is or they think anyone and everyone is their ideal client, in which case they’re setting themselves up for failure because you can’t do it; you can’t sell to everybody. You don’t have the budget to do that and you can’t compete with a Target and Walmart or Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins (for instance).

[1:30] You also can’t choose a topic and see how to position your book if you’re just starting out and you aren’t clear about who your ideal client is and what the problem is that they have that you should be writing about.

[1:43] And I understand; I get that it can be very frustrating because when I first started out, I was listening to Lorrie Morgan, who’s a top copywriter, and she was talking about how she had created this avatar (and if you don’t know what an avatar, it’s a  representation of your ideal client, technically a two or three-dimensional icon or form in games and the virtual worlds) and how she knew exactly who that person was. She gave them a name; they had a family, she described this person in great detail.

And I sat there thinking “OMG I have no idea who my person is; I have no idea how to figure it out!” I don’t even know what she’s talking about? So, I didn’t know where to start or what to do!

[2:25] So, I decided not to worry about it, and I just started working with people. I created an ebook, I gave a two-part free class, that today would be called a masterclass. (This was in 2004, and amazingly, it still works well today!)

But I worked with whoever signed up from my free giveaway, my free masterclass, to my first Books Open Doors 3 Day Bestseller Bootcamp, although it wasn’t called that in those days. (It was the Quick-Start 3-Day eBook Authoring Workshop, I was known as The eBook Coach, but over time, books and ebooks are now seen as the same. We just do a book and then we format it in the two formats.)

Anyway, then, I started to get individuals, people to work with and I worked with doctors, chiropractors, internet marketers, coaches, real estate people, psychologists, thought leaders, a lot of health professionals, a color specialist, a happyologist, an actress, and many, many more. And from doing that I figured out who I liked working with and who I wasn’t crazy about working with and also who could afford to pay me because that’s very important. You have to have a market that has the money to pay you and wants to pay you. And that’s why it’s so important to know what their problem is because it has to be urgent so they’ll be in a hurry to hire you (and be willing to pay you)

And then if you want to scale your business or rebrand, and I have done both of those, you have to go back and look at your target market, the new one, and look at what you could teach or consult on, at a higher level, with a higher level of expertise and who can afford to pay you that amount because like when I first started my highest offers, in the beginning, they were really low, but then once I started doing individual coaching, it was like $5,000. Then, it went to $10,000 and $15,000 and we have $20,000 and $30,000 offers. So, you can’t sell to the same people, and you can’t sell the same way (as you did in the past).

[4:27] So, you have to ask yourself, “Am I going to be able to market to them the same way that I marketed to my other target market? That’s the next question. And chances are that the answer is no. You’re going to have to change your marketing message, both for language differences and because they are probably going to have some different problems, not necessarily all different, but some different. I know in my business some of them are still the same and some of them are not the same.

[4:54] But here’s a perfect example, I created my Real Easy eBook Workbook which as I mentioned (all the books) work for book and ebooks because they are the same, but in the early days, they were not seen that way. But now, it’s a more sophisticated market, and they are most likely going to be looking up terms like “books” instead of “ebooks”. And I had actually planned to do a 3-part book series, Now I have a dilemma of what to do because I don’t want to use that title and I was also planning a third book, and I actually already have a second book.

[5:28] But now in my business, since increasing my coaching prices and changing my ideal client, as I said, some of the problems are still the same and some are different, so you definitely have to start thinking differently.

And when you’ve been doing this as long as I have, I had gotten in a rhythm of talking to people a certain way, knowing what those problems are, connecting with them that way and then when I went to rebrand and scale, I would fall into talking to them the way I always have the way that was comfortable, and it was easy to do. But you have to be careful about that because now you have a different audience, so you have to be intentional.

[6:02] But if you’re just starting out then what you’re going to want to do is research and reach out to people. Look for people who you think MIGHT be your ideal clients. You can use social media and do a survey or d a poll and basically ask people, “What’s your number-one challenge? What keeps you up at night? What’s the number-one problem that you want solved in your business and you want it now?” And let people tell you what that is.

[6:29] And you want to look at the language that they use because what you want to do in your marketing materials and in your book is you want to model what they are saying. In other words, you may have a different way of saying it that they may not be able to hear. You also don’t want to talk in technobabble, you don’t want to be focusing on the features. You always want to talk about what’s in it for them, because otherwise they are want to go to sleep, their eyes are going to glaze over, I mean, they’re not going to care. People don’t care until they know what’s in it for them.  So that’s what you want to do is figure that out and talk to them that way.

[7:05] So, by asking the right questions you not only start to understand what it is they want to learn from you, but also you get clues over how you should cover in your book. In the book, you want to be talking to your ideal clients’ needs and you want to talk to them in a way that the copy that you’re writing is going to connect with them and also in your marketing as well and in emails, sales pages, posts, tweets, articles, in everything, basically, in everything you do.

[7:35] I was really surprised when I started going for a different ideal client and I was charging a lot more and thought I knew what they would say and I kind of di know what they would say, but they said it in a completely different way a lot of times than what I thought was the language that they were going to use and that was important (for my copy to connect with them). And that’s why it’s important to talk to your ideal clients if you can rather than just letting them email you or some way where you can’t hear what they’re saying and record it.

[8:08] Knowing what they say and how they say it is going to help you write a better Kindle description; it’s going to help you write a better back cover. By speaking their language, you‘re going to get more book buyers. And more book buyers mean more book sales in the long run. So, that’s what you want!

[8:25] Now here are some other ways you can get to talk to them:

As a podcast host. I often have people on my podcast who are my ideal market. And that helps me understand them better and their issues. And while I’m getting to know them I’m building a relationship with them, and then, at that point, I can them ask if they are willing to do a marketing interview with me, and it’s easy because I have just given them a lot of free advertising by being on my podcast. So, it gives me the opportunity to do that without feeling like I’m asking for something without giving anything in return because I’ve already given.

[9:01] Another way is be a podcast guest, so going on other people’s podcasts and getting to know them that way, and then being able to ask. Or, Joint-Venture Partner. If you’re already doing joint ventures, or if you already have relationships, ask those people if they’re willing to do a marketing interview with you.

[9:19] Or, Past Client. Ask them how they felt before they started working with you or when they first started working with you and what their challenge were. Ask them “Do you remember what you were looking for? What kept you up at night that made you want to work with me?

[9:33] The bottom line is you want to find out who your ideal clients are and model that language, talking the way they would talk, so they feel like you “get” them and doing interviews is the best way for you to get that information, bar none; it’s really the best.

[9:49] Now, if you can’t get them on the phone, sometimes I’ll be reaching out to someone and they’re really busy and they’ll say, “Well, can’t I just email you?” Sometimes, I’ll say, “No.” And sometimes, I’ll try; I’ve let a couple of people do it but it’s just not great.

[10:05] Or, I’ll reach out to them in messenger and I’ll say, “I’m doing marketing research and you’re my ideal client, I’d love to talk to you to help me market better. This is not a sales call. I’m not going to try to sell you anything. And you want to be really clear about that because people think that you’re trying to sell them something they’re going to run in the other direction.

[10:22] And you definitely don’t want to do a bait and switch so you don’t want to tell them that you’re not going to offer anything and then you get on the call and make an offer. That is NOT cool. It’s the fastest way to make sure they never become a client and tell everybody else not to work with you. So, never do that.

[10:38] I would write this down: Don’t try to sell people on a marketing interview call. That’s like the most important thing. You’re just asking for help. And then, if you can give them something of value as a thank you, that’s always a really great thing to do. Or, ask them, “How can I help you? How can I serve you?” Or, “What can I do to thank you?”

[10:57] So, find out what it is they want or what is it they need that you can provide if at all possible. Sometimes, if they don’t have anything they want or need, that’s okay. Some will be willing to do it because they like helping people out, or they’re. paying it forward, they want to be of service,  or they already have a relationship with you, so they’re willing to do it just because they know you, like you and trust you.

[11:23] So, it’s harder as you’re scaling; people are busier and don’t have a lot of time so you want to put a cap on it. So, you’ve got to let them know if it’s 15 or 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops so it’s easy for them to say, “Yes.” And don’t go any longer than that unless they initiate it, unless they say, “Are we done,” or “Oh, this is fun, do you have any other questions?”

[11:48] Now, if you can’t get a phone interview, keep trying. Sometimes, it just takes time before they look at their messages, sometimes they’re just busy or they don’t have an opening in their schedule yet and they put you off for a while. Or, use other methods that I’ve mentioned.

[12:07] The other thing I want to say about one-on-one conversations is that when you are doing them, you’ll want to make sure you record them if they’ll let you. And I recently had a client, actually, who was paranoid about being recorded-and she would not let me interview her, but that was for a client call, not marketing research. But I don’t know, personally, at this point, having tried to do them other ways, I would just pass if you have enough people you can interview another way where you can get the recording.

[12:41] So, I would ask the people you are trying to get to if they are open to having you record the session when you ask them to do it and if they say, “No,” I would really try to pass on that and go on to somebody else.

But you’re just not going to remember everything that they say. And unless you’re a really good note-taker, it’s going to be really hard to get that down and have the language that they used. So, ultimately, it’s a decision you have to make. But the key is to be able to say it in the way that they said it.

[13:14] After then after the interview, have it transcribed and you want to study their answers. And sometimes, they’ll give you a really great quote. I had a past client say to me, and I didn’t remember this, it wasn’t even clear to me that this was an issue, but at the time that I was signing him up to do a #1 bestseller launch, he had said he was going to do certain parts of it on his own or get a team of his own or whatever, and I told him that he really shouldn’t do that because it works best when we do it, and now I won’t even do it that way; they have to use my team. But he said, (something like) “I wish that I had listened to you because I wanted the cake, but I only bought half the ingredients” and he was kicking himself for it.

[14:01] Now, there’s no way in hell I would have said it that way in a million years! But, it gave me a great, clear picture for why people should pay full price and get the whole package, and if I were, well I. probably wouldn’t use that in a book but in the marketing materials as I mentioned. So, do you think that will help me sell more people into my Books Open Doors Bestseller Coaching program? To be able to say that and be able to say, “Hey, this is how we do it and you’re really going to regret it if you don’t do it this way and the truth is I won’t work with you if you don’t want to do the whole thing because I don’t want half-baked results for you or for us.”

[14:43] But, anyway, to find out what people want you can look at books on your topic on Amazon or other sites that have book reviews and what you want to do is look for the ones.  Especially, that have bad reviews and tell you why the review is bad. So, in other words, if there was something they wanted in the book that they didn’t get, something they were unhappy with, something that you could improve upon or include that was not included in that book, that is going to help you sell more books because they want that book, and now you’re going to give it to them.

[15:17] And what you want to do is make sure that it’s a book that targets the same market, of course, that you’re going after. If it’s a book for beginners and you’re going for(high-end) $20,000 or $30,000 clients or more then it’s not necessarily going to be the same market (and what your market wants). So be careful about that. You always have to be comparing apples to apples. That’s reaching the people that you’re trying to reach.

[15:42]. You can also network online and go to virtual meetups, especially right now in Corona Virus time. A couple of groups I’ve associated with are Women’ Speaker Association and the Collaboration Circle, and they’re both really good. I’m also in a songwriting group here in San Diego that meets online. So, there are lots of different meetings on line depending on what your topic is, but it’s not hard to find. And now that it’s virtual, it doesn’t matter where you are to find a group, anywhere so go for it. But if you know that once this is over you want to do something that’s local then you’re going to want to find more local groups.

[16:23] So to recap, if you want to sell books, you have to make sure that you are writing your book to attract your ideal clients, you want to make sure you understand what their biggest pain points are,  what keeps them up at night, and you want to address them using the language that your ideal clients are using so that they feel understood, because only then are they going to want to start connecting with your message and want to buy from you.

[16:49] So, I hope that helps you and if you want more information on how to connect with your audience, you can grab a copy of 9 Tops to Finding Out What Your Customers Want (So you can give it to them), and now will be called,  9 Insider Book-Writing Hacks, Tips on How to Find Your Ideal Readers and Write the Books They Want To Buy! and you can get that, you can opt in for it at  

So, that’s it for today, until next time, 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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