chickbook

The Root Of Authority

In order for people to rally around you on the internet, or anywhere else, you need to be perceived as an authority. And being perceived as an authority is kind of right there in the word.

Author.

Basically, you have to write a book. It's never been easier to write a book; between CreateSpace and Lulu and Xlibris and Vervante, you can go from the same sort of PDF you might use to create your product to a physical published book - with just a few hours work and a couple dollars of investment.

Once you have about a hundred posts on your blog, chances are each of them could turn into about two pages of a book. Two hundred pages is a pretty decent book. Add a little connecting fibre between them, perhaps collecting all of the posts in a given category together, and it can rapidly become three hundred pages.

All you need is about 100,000 words. That's a book. Your blog software probably counts the words in posts; go through and add it up. You can turn fewer words than that into a book, if you add sufficient illustration. Here's a report from Brad Gosse:

bg1

And here's the same report with all the nifty shit like photos and layout pulled out of it:

brand101

Six pages turns into a single page. But nobody wants to read that big wall of text, so you have to space it out and arrange it nicely. That easily turns it into three pages. But then you can space it out further by adding photos and boxing it up nicely.

Brad wrote a book called The Chronic Marketer. It's a great book. You should read it. It's also 248 pages. And of those 248 pages, over a hundred are either blank or contain solely images. Which means he has less than 150 pages of text. They average about 300 words each. That's 45,000 words.

And let me repeat: this is a great book. It's got a list price of $14.95, and I happily paid that for it during the launch week. Right now, it's like $10 and change. Kindle edition is $9.99, too. If you are writing good shit, nobody is going to bitch about the length of your content.

See that report up there? That six-page report? I paid $10 for that. From Brad. It's along the same lines as the kind of product I tell you to make in the dog-brain section. And when you factor it down, that single page of text contains the same exact content and it's about 1,500 words.

Do I seem in any way upset by paying $10 for 1,500 words?

It seems like I should be, doesn't it? I mean, any two of my blog posts are 1,500 words. So you've had twice that much content from me so far this week, and you get three times that in the average week. For free. Why am I totally okay with paying $10 for that 1,500 words? Is it because of the pictures? The layout?

Partially. The production value of the report matters - pictures and cartoons and cute little headers will maintain interest - but the real kicker is what the words say.

When your blender doesn't work and you don't know why, the three words "push that button" are worth roughly the cost of a new blender.

Brad Gosse knows branding. He knows it extremely well. So when I get a report from him on building a personal brand, I know it's going to be worth thousands of dollars in the long run for me to know what he has to say.

One of the things he doesn't say in that report, however, is something he did in the early days of the book release: don't do a Kindle edition out of the gate. And don't do anything you've published in its entirety before.

You want everyone - everyone - in your audience to have exactly two choices. Buy your physical printed book, or just plain don't have what's in it.

It really is a key gateway from "some guy on the internet" to "he wrote the book on this." You have to get your stuff off the internet and into the real world or nobody will take you seriously.

Once you do get your stuff out into the real world, however, you've reached a whole new level of credibility. Just having a book out there makes you an expert, even if you have no damn clue what you're talking about. It's been that simple for years, and we're at this lovely little point in history where it's still terribly easy to publish... but people still feel like a book makes you special.

It doesn't. Don't get full of yourself. But if people want to believe it does (and they will), let them.