A Step-by-Step Guide to Publish Your Own Book and Attract High Paying Clients

It’s cutthroat competition out there. An army of trainers are out there trying to rope in the same pool of potential clients. Plus, those clients are getting smarter and pickier. So just assume they want the best. And I’ll assume that you are the best (or could be).

What are you gonna do about it?

To attract these kinds of clients, you need to differentiate yourself from the pack.

There are lots of ways to do this. One of the most effective ways is, I’ve found, to write your own book. This strategy worked tremendously well for me, and it’s my hunch it’ll do the same for you.

I’ve gone to countless networking events and, if I felt like it (or remembered), handed out shnazzy business cards. Truth is, people rarely followed up.

I have a website. But 80% of visitors left my site without taking action. They didn’t leave contact details, which makes it 100% impossible to sell them anything.

In my town, there were 49 other gyms in the area, as well as 249 other personal trainers duking it out for the same clients.

I could have gone to more networking events, handed out more business cards, pumped more money into outbound marketing, or even moved to a less congested market. Those may or may not have worked.

The difference was meeting successful fitness professionals who got where they are because they decided to write a book. The book became the X factor that made all the rest possible. Lightbulb.

Why did this work for them? Because a book builds trust and establishes you as an expert in your field. By becoming an author, you instantly create author-ity.

You may not be a writer. If not, I’m assuming you’re thinking the same thing: how do I write a book?

And/or…

  • I’m an imposter… I don’t have the experience yet to qualify as an expert
  • Do I have to send manuscripts to publishers, and why would publishers even give me the time of day?
  • There’s so much out there. I don’t want to beat a dead horse. What would I write about that’s not already done?

Take a deep breath. First of all, you don’t need to have the skills of a creative writer, or any other so-called “qualification” to self-publish. In fact, if you’re anything like I was, you might even suck at writing altogether.  

Here’s the rub: to write this book, you don’t have to do any writing at all. With the exception of an odd email here and there, you won’t have to lift a finger on the keyboard!

Before explaining the step-by-step process, I’ll  assume that you already have a client base and that your clients are already achieving great results. Not only that, but they have become raving fans of yours.

To make this work, you’ll need at least 10 client success stories. Do you have that? If not, you need to work on your program design and make it happen before you attempt this book.

If you have 10 or more raving fans, awesome. Let’s crack on.

I learned things the hard way when I created my first book. My singular aim for this blog post is to help you avoid all the pitfalls and mistakes that I did, so that you can quickly pursue the opportunity (which I’ll outline below) to promote your book, and to aggressively set yourself apart and make the competition irrelevant.

So, what to write about?

Easy. You don’t write. Your clients do.

You simply send an email or letter to your clients telling them about the book you’d like to publish and that you’d like to feature them in it. Not only that, but you’d like to involve them in the creation process, such as choosing the book title or content topics.

With this approach, they feel instantly invested in the project, and since they are also raving fans, they are more likely to promote the book and recommend it to others. They love you and love their results, and they want the world to know about both.

This co-creation strategy also builds suspense and anticipation. Just imagine the excitement buzzing around this book due to the conversations your clients will be having. If they are truly raving fans, a viral effect occurs which is ultimately more effective and more lucrative than any conventional ad campaign.

Below is the exact letter I sent out. The letter also includes a competition for the most inspiring story. A book requires words. Lots of words. So you don’t want just 1-2 paragraphs. You want to incentivize your clients to go deep and emotional. That takes words.

You want the reader (your potential client) to be able to relate and connect with the stories, and in turn be confident that you can also help them.

So, ask your clients to share what their life was like before they came to you, why they came to you, what helped them take the leap of faith, and how long they were on the fence about joining. Ask them to describe their struggles and challenges, how you helped them, what results they achieved, and what their life is like now.

Some other tips with the letter:

  • Insist on a deadline for your clients submitting their story
  • Plan to follow up with them at least 1 or 2 times
  • Speak to your client in person about the project. This keeps keep it at the top of their mind and awareness
  • Naturally, there will be a few client reservations, mostly around confidentiality, privacy and stuff like that. Just explain precisely how you plan to use the book and how their story will inspire people just like them to make a change.
  • Follow up with every client that sends in a story with a sincere and memorable thank you email and also send them regular updates on the progress of the book

Your clients stories will create the main inserts (inside pages) to your book. Hence, the quality of your relationship with your “writers” is absolutely critical to the completion of the book, its success, and ultimately its capacity to bring new clients into your ecosystem.

Organising the different chapters

Once you’ve received your client stories, you’ll want to go through each one of them to make sure that you got exactly what you asked for (and what the book needs). As you are reading through the stories, you want to be paying attention to the words your clients use to describe their story. Why? Because some of the language they use can be reused — made into chapter titles, pull quotes, and anything else you’d like.

To illustrate, here are the titles we came up with for the chapters of our book. Plus, they also create your table of contents, as you can see below.

30 chapters, 30 client success stories…

I gained confidence in my ability to work out and lift weights

By Alpa Pandya

Beating stress helped me conquer my weight loss demons         

By Amanda Coombs

Corrective exercises and encouragement improved my game        

By Anne MacGregor

The support and help I’ve received at U Fit has improved my life     

By Becky Smith

I lost over two stone and now fit into my favourite jeans                      

By Chris Bott

Small changes made it easier for me to lose weight                                       

By Dave Nicholls

U Fit Studio has helped me to believe in myself                                 

By Debbie Neath

U Fit Studio helps me feel important, comfortable and motivated             

By Gemma Shepherdson

The U Fit team helped me through a difficult life experience                         

By Harriett Gilbert

Encouragement and motivation helped me fit into the dress of my dreams                         

By Helen Robbins

A journey of self-discovery that has helped me view life positively
                                       

By Jackie Dziewanowska

Caring attitudes and members’ happiness is Joe’s passion                  

By Jayshree Vyas

Unique programmes help me to focus and feel motivated                              

By Jimmy Chauhan

An enjoyable experience that’s now an important part of my day            

By Jo Cotton

Healthy eating and clear goals have helped us both look and feel great
                               

By Simon & Katie Baines

A friendly and encouraging atmosphere with extra support when I need it                            

By Katie Hollingsworth

I’d be in a dark place if it wasn’t for the focus and support U Fit gives me

By Kerrie Heath

I’m actively conquering my demons and feel amazing                         

By Lucy Matthews

My thought processes have improved and now I’m fitter, happier and healthier
                 

By Lynn Lewis

I feel physically stronger and I have control of my weight                  

By Lynne Griffiths

Plenty of variety and new challenges to keep you on your toes    

Nicola Lennard

Lifestyle and nutritional advice has played a key role in my wellbeing 

By Nikeen Patel

My diet and lifestyle has improved and I’m in control                

By Paula Dhiman

U Fit has helped me to re-evaluate my life and now I feel fantastic  

By Rachel Bettle

Attending U Fit Studio is a high point of my day; I have all the tools need to achieve my goals
                                                

By Sanjna Dhanjal

I’m in the best shape of my life thanks to U Fit                                

By Sheetal Kachhela

Being part of U Fit means a lot to me and is an important part of my life

By Tracy Flounders

U Fit Studio has given me a fitter, more toned body and increased my levels of confidence  

By Vimal Thakrar

U Fit Studio turned my life around in just 14 months after a 33 year battle                                  

By Sallyann Fowles

After reading these, can you identify the client I was targeting?

Before I begin sharing my insights on hiring an editor, I must mention the legal part. It’s important that I do. So please bare with me.

Legal Documents

Now that you have the main content, I would advise that you get some form of an agreement signed by yourself and your client. It basically states that you have the full rights and permission of the client to share their story in the book and you can choose what you wish to do with the book, such as promoting, marketing and advertising your services.

Here’s an example, though it’s probably best that you hire a professional lawyer to draw one up for you. It’ll be well worth it. Your clients are awesome, but they may not all be angels. For whatever reason, one of your clients may leave, become disgruntled, then get nasty.

Download the PDF version of the Sample Book Release Form by clicking here

Now, have your client sign it.  One copy for them and one for you.

Let’s recap: we’ve figured out the content of your book, we’ve got chapter titles, the legal bits are out of the way, and your clients are already creating suspense around the launch of your book. That leaves us with just one thing.

Do you have or know an editor?

You can hire one on elance (now called Upwork) or fivver. For the most part, both tend to be very reliable and produce quick results.

Do a Google search for Upwork.

Then complete the necessary fields

While an editor is not required to self-publish, editors can help clean up the copy, make the story flow better, as well as spot spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Even if you don’t have a professional editor to work with, a second opinion always helps.

Neuroscience tells us that we become “blind” to the errors in the material we’ve looked at for too long, especially material that we’ve written or have a vested interest in. We literally cannot see the mistakes.

The additional beauty of hiring someone else to do the editing and proofreading is that you can utilize this time for coming up with a killer design for the front and back cover.

Front and Back Cover Design

It doesn’t have to be too extravagant. It is, however, a representation of your brand, and so it should be on point. Has anyone ever told you that you have a second chance to make a good impression? That might work in other industries, but in the fitness industry, you need to ditch that. It’s lazy, and you can bet your ass someone out there is hustling faster and better than you to capture the attention of those smarter clients. So, as Mindtools suggests, get it done right the first time:  

“These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for all the relationships that follow. So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression.”

And Brian Tracey:

Everything counts in the first impression. Everything you do or don’t do either adds to or takes away from your credibility to influence someone as a leader.”

The first impression is what makes your prospect curious enough to raise their hand high and ask for help. If your impression is average, then they’ll go to your competitor. I talk about this at length in another blog: 3 Fatal mistakes that are standing between you and you beating your competition.

So, make sure you hire a good designer or at least someone who understands your brand strategy and standards so that they keep consistency across all your marketing channels and material.

The colours in the U Fit Studio branding were blue, white, and shades of grey. You will see this in the book design below.

A few more things. Do consider including a picture on the back cover of the clients featured in the book.

And do include a well-written and polished book description that will help convert window shoppers into clients. If you want potential clients to identify with someone, there is no better way than showing them people who are just like them.

Most people who want (or need) the help you provide have a fear of being judged. It’s human nature. By making sure they see people who are just like them, they quickly overcome this common hurdle, and in turn are “warmer” to working with you.

How to pick a book title

You may already have a title in your head, but, based upon experience, I recommend the following strategy.

Involve your clients…

Step 1: What results are your potential clients aspiring for?

Step 2: Brainstorm a bunch of titles based on the above.

Step 3: Pick your favourite titles. Make sure they are easy to remember and are catchy and exciting. Then run a poll on social media.

Step 4: Carefully read and listen to the results of the above poll.

Step 5: Compare the results against the overall goals of your book.

Here’s the title that I came up with:

What is an ISBN and Do I Need One?

You don’t need to buy an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), but I would strongly advise that you do. Basically, having an ISBN record stores important information like the author’s name, publisher, size, format, topic-related information, pricing, and other data needed by retailers, libraries, and book distribution systems.

Even though you may only want to publish an ebook, for now, an ISBN is required to print hard copies. It costs money, but totally worth the small investment.  The UK ISBN provider is http://www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk.

For International Agency try clicking here.

Just give them a call; it’s easy and they are very helpful. If I recall, it takes around 2 weeks to complete the process and register.

In a nutshell, an ISBN means that you can sell your book.

Also, going back to the notion of first impressions, it also gives the perception that your book is an authentic book. It’ll come with a barcode and a price tag. They’ll know it’s the real deal.

If you’re based in the U.K., and you prefer a direct contact then ask for Diana Dalasini at Ph: +44 (0) 1483 712215. She’s always been very helpful, professional and efficient whenever I needed a question answered.

That said, if for whatever reason you are on a tight budget or you’re not interested in producing a printed hard copy, then you won’t need an ISBN.

If you are collecting email addresses from your website, or soon might be, it’ll be worth a shot to collect postal addresses at the same time. If and when you have something physical to send (like a book!), you have what you need to get it where it needs to go.

As with any opt-in, you’ll need to give prospects visiting your website a really good reason to hand over their addresses. A compelling book is an example of a high-value item to prompt that handover.  

Format the book

At this point, you should have the inserts (table of contents + client stories), as well as the front and back cover design. Don’t forget the spine of the book, as this is valuable space where you can place the book title and display your branding.

It’ll be in your best interest to contact a printing service. Not just any old printing service. Use one like this. They won’t require you to commit to large orders or minimum amounts. You pay for what you order. In the beginning, this is all you need.

Moreover, it is worth reaching out to these now because they can help you format your book and get it print ready, usually at no extra charge.  They’ll ask you heaps of questions, and definitely around what size you’d like the book to be (I always suggest no larger than A5).

Explain to them that you are waiting for an ISBN and a barcode to be delivered. Once these arrive, the printing service will then position everything for you appropriately and professionally.

I’ve probably oversimplified this part but believe me, a good printing service will always streamline the process for you. If you don’t want to spend your time writing, I assume you don’t want to bog down your valuable time fussing with formatting.

Now, that your book is published…

It’s about getting the book in front of potential clients.

Step 1: While you are putting the book together, it makes total sense to build suspense around a book launch with your clients. Do this by keeping them in the loop at all times. Give them something exciting to talk about. Then they’ll talk about it.  

Step 2: Plan and prepare a book launch. We timed this with our annual client appreciation party. For that night, we encouraged our clients to bring guests. In addition, we invited the press. Everybody who was anybody came and it turned out to be a wildly successful night.

Step 3: Ensure that every single one of your clients gets a copy of the book. It will not only inspire them, but it’ll create another reason for them to stay with you.

Plus, they’ll feel more connected with your other clients. After reading the sometimes vulnerable stories of others at the gym, social walls will break down, more conversations will happen between members, and your community will grow even stronger. Like a family. Those who were not raving fans before will become so. Then those new raving fans can be part of the next book. And so on.

Step 4: It automatically becomes a referral tool. When your client takes it home and places it on the kitchen table, just think how many of their friends and family members will see it. Do you think they’ll read it? Of course! Because your client will insist that they do.

Step 5: Send a copy of the book to every media outlet in your local town. Ask them if they would be kind enough to read a copy and possibly share some of the stories with their audiences. There is no need to get anxious about asking for what you want from these outlets. Remember that they have a problem they need to be solved. They need content. You need your content out there. It’s a win-win.  

Generally speaking, I find that local radio stations are way more receptive to this idea than magazines and newspapers.

Step 6: Depending on your budget, it’s probably worth investing in an advertisement. More than likely, those media outlets have already tried to pitch this idea to you. If so, great! It means you’re hot. If they haven’t approached you, then approach them. Remind them why you’re hot and worth featuring. Negotiate for favourable rates, but don’t be a jerk about it.  

Here’s an example of a simple advert I took out in a local village magazine.

The key to successful weight loss doesn’t have to be a secret

FREE book, exclusively for The Beacon Magazine readers explains how to lose weight and keep it off for life

Have you ever wondered how people lose weight quickly and keep that weight off?

Despite spending hours at the gym or watching every bite you eat, do you never seem to be able to achieve your ideal shape?

Do you find that diet and exercise advice can be misleading and difficult to follow?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t worry, you’re not on your own. 99% of the population are dissatisfied with the results they get from their current diet, personal trainer or gym. These same people often feel they have no choice but to carry on doing the things they’re doing, even when they don’t see any results.

Fortunately, a new book is about to change the way you look at fitness and weight loss forever. “30 Weight Loss Success Stories” shares inspirational stories from people who’ve been where you are now and have turned their lives around for the better. It contains motivations, methods and techniques behind successful and lasting weight loss that anyone can follow.

Claim your FREE copy now. Visit [insert landing page] and claim your free copy.

-End-

Note: We didn’t send prospects to our main website; instead we wanted to track a number of leads we got so we sent them to a separate URL and landing page.

You can either ask your web team to organise this or go to leadpages or instapage and you can have a page set up in minutes.

Remember to register a URL. It makes the most sense for this to be the title of your book. If you’re as anal about tracking as I am, then you’ll want to keep tabs on which magazine uses your URL. This will help you ascertain which outlets are effective or not, and provide insight on what might work better next time.  

Step 7: Make sure you have the book available on your website home page. Make it look attractive, user-friendly and efficient … and bam! Prospects that visit your website will now have a reason to leave their contact details with you.

For some inspiration, check these sales stats out:

With these contact details, you’ll be able to market to them over and over again in your follow-up processes. As you may know, this is called permission marketing: the prospect has given you the green light to market to them. So make sure you market!

Step 8: It goes without saying: share the new book on ALL social media channels, and track and measure so that you can figure out what’s working and what isn’t.

Step 9: Whenever you go to networking events, instead of giving out business cards you now have a shiny book, full of raving clients, to handover. A book is more physically dominant than a business card and contains all the information the prospect needs to determine if you are the right person for them. This also saves you time later. By the time the prospect contacts you, they have more than likely made up their mind. You can avoid unnecessary “discovery calls” and instead sign them as a client in a flash.

Step 10: Have the book present and available for your clients to read before and after workouts in a common area. At U Fit, we called this the “Chill Out Area”. If they are new, they’ll feel validated that they have become a member at the right gym. If they are an established client, they’ll feel inspired to become part of the next book. If they are in the book, they’ll feel like a damn celebrity!

Step 11: Remember to hand the book to any new prospect that visits your gym. “Joe, will be with you in two minutes; in the meantime, feel free to flip through our new book, ‘30 weight loss success stories’…”

These tactics will absolutely help you differentiate yourself from the other trainers. Hands down, you’ll make yourself more attractive to your potential clients.

If you didn’t have any authority, you will now and you’ll immediately be positioned as an expert in your town. Authority is not earned. It’s created. So create it!

Conclusion

If you already have at least 10 successful clients, and want your own book one day, then this might be the perfect opportunity for you.

What’s your experience with using before-and-after pictures and client success stories in marketing? What methods have you found to be most successful at increasing your leads?

Comment below, and let’s start a conversation. I’d love to hear more about them and if you have any additional ideas. We’re a brotherhood, so we’re here to help each other out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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