Publish & Prosper

Publishing for Growth: How a Book Can Level Up Your Brand

November 01, 2023 Matt Briel & Lauren Vassallo Season 1 Episode 1
Publishing for Growth: How a Book Can Level Up Your Brand
Publish & Prosper
More Info
Publish & Prosper
Publishing for Growth: How a Book Can Level Up Your Brand
Nov 01, 2023 Season 1 Episode 1
Matt Briel & Lauren Vassallo

In this episode, Matt and Lauren discuss how publishing a book can help you establish yourself as an expert or thought leader in your industry.

Your book can serve as a business card or lead magnet, as the foundation for a community of fans, and as a networking key to unlock doors to speaking engagements, guest appearances, collaborations, and more. Plus, a book will generate passive revenue for your business, supplement your existing products, courses, or services, and help you connect directly with your audience.

Dive Deeper:

Learn more about growing your brand or business with a book when you Publish for Growth.
💡Download our Publishing for Growth ebook.
💡Find out what creators like you are doing to grow their content business in our Creator Insights report

💡Read These Blog Posts

💡Watch These Videos

Sound Bites From This Episode:

[1:38] “When we talk to people about using a book to grow your business…it always starts with positioning yourself as somebody that others would want to look to as the expert.”

🎙️[9:38] “[Publishing a book] gives you a reason to talk to people, which I think is for those of us that are more introverted, or even just for those of us that aren't great at…just walking up to somebody cold turkey and going like, ‘Hi, let me tell you all about me, myself, and I and my business,’ this is your reason.

🎙️[30:25] “If you want to put your stuff on Amazon or or, you know, any other third-party retail platform or aggregator or distributor, do so, but do that in the sense that you're going to rely on them for discoverability…Don't ever direct the fans and followers and customers that you've already built up to some other third party when you could actually potentially sell that content directly to them, keep that customer data, keep those profit margins higher.

Send us a Text Message.

💀 Can’t wait for our next episode? Check out our Resources page for links to our blog,
our YouTube channel, and more.
💀 Find us on Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn at luludotcom!
💀 Email us at
💀 Sign up for our mailing list.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Matt and Lauren discuss how publishing a book can help you establish yourself as an expert or thought leader in your industry.

Your book can serve as a business card or lead magnet, as the foundation for a community of fans, and as a networking key to unlock doors to speaking engagements, guest appearances, collaborations, and more. Plus, a book will generate passive revenue for your business, supplement your existing products, courses, or services, and help you connect directly with your audience.

Dive Deeper:

Learn more about growing your brand or business with a book when you Publish for Growth.
💡Download our Publishing for Growth ebook.
💡Find out what creators like you are doing to grow their content business in our Creator Insights report

💡Read These Blog Posts

💡Watch These Videos

Sound Bites From This Episode:

[1:38] “When we talk to people about using a book to grow your business…it always starts with positioning yourself as somebody that others would want to look to as the expert.”

🎙️[9:38] “[Publishing a book] gives you a reason to talk to people, which I think is for those of us that are more introverted, or even just for those of us that aren't great at…just walking up to somebody cold turkey and going like, ‘Hi, let me tell you all about me, myself, and I and my business,’ this is your reason.

🎙️[30:25] “If you want to put your stuff on Amazon or or, you know, any other third-party retail platform or aggregator or distributor, do so, but do that in the sense that you're going to rely on them for discoverability…Don't ever direct the fans and followers and customers that you've already built up to some other third party when you could actually potentially sell that content directly to them, keep that customer data, keep those profit margins higher.

Send us a Text Message.

💀 Can’t wait for our next episode? Check out our Resources page for links to our blog,
our YouTube channel, and more.
💀 Find us on Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn at luludotcom!
💀 Email us at
💀 Sign up for our mailing list.

Matt: Thanks everybody for joining us today. I'm excited to talk about today's topic, which is one of my favorites, and that is ways that you can use a book to grow your brand or business. Obviously I'm joined by Lauren today. 

Lauren: Hi everyone. 

Matt: And she's a little under the weather, so please excuse her voice, but I think she's gonna push on through like a trooper. 

Lauren: I brought a couple extra souvenirs back from Disney. And one of them was this nice cold.

Matt: Totally worth it. 

Lauren: Absolutely every time. 

Matt: Awesome. Alright, well, we'll see how this goes. Again, today, the topic is using a book to grow your brand or business. We've had a lot of discussion about this over the last probably, I'd say six to twelve months, and the work that we do here at Lulu, and a lot of the events that we go to, and a lot of the, the marketing collateral that we create. It is a very popular topic. And how a book helps you grow your business is primarily through establishing yourself as an expert or a thought leader in your field. So when we talk to people about using a book to grow your business, it's not always about these ten tactical ways, necessarily. It always starts with, again, positioning yourself as somebody that others would want to look to as the expert in many cases – although a lot of us wouldn't always necessarily consider ourselves an expert – but having a book that you wrote on that topic or in that field, just like the old adage, literally positions you as the expert on the subject. 

Lauren: You did literally write the book on it. 

Matt: That's right. 

Lauren: And in fact, we did literally write the book on this, because we did write a book earlier this year. I would call it maybe a short book. But we did write a book, some members of our team – actually, I'm saying we, I did not write it. I edited it.

Matt: Well, that's almost as important. 

Lauren: That is true. An editor is a key element of writing a book and publishing a book. 

Matt: Yeah. Especially if I'm one of the writers, I need a good editor. 

Lauren: I was going to agree with that immediately, but then I worried about my job. 

Matt: No, you never worry about your job. That's terrible. 

Lauren: No, especially when you need an editor. 

Matt: Well, yeah, absolutely. 

Lauren: But yeah, we did, uh, write a whole book on the subject, on publishing for growth. Which I will link in the show notes, if anyone is interested in reading it. 

Matt: Yeah, we'll send it to you for free. That's how good it is. 

Lauren: It is. Guaranteed. 


Matt: Now some of the ways that a book kind of establishes you as a thought leader or an expert on a particular subject or in a field, again, the obvious there, but you know, when you look at somebody who wrote a book – most of us, especially even if you've not written a book, we understand that it takes a certain level of commitment and or time to write a book. And so, you know, in doing just that and recognizing the fact that somebody took the time to write a book, that alone should give them some credibility. And in my eyes, when I look at that, you know, as a determining factor of somebody that I might want to potentially give some business to or consult with or things like that, just the fact that they were committed enough to turn what their expertise or their area of expertise was into a book is the first step in me going, or thinking to myself ‘wow, okay, this person might actually know what they're talking about. They took the time, they were committed, to create a book.’ And, and that's, that's not always easy.

Lauren: No, it's definitely not, and that's – you know, we'll be very upfront about that, or at least I will be, right away. Like, you know, we're gonna talk a lot about the benefits of writing a book, and publishing a book, and why you should and, and we absolutely maintain that you should, but it's also not easy. We're not gonna lie to you and say ‘this is super easy.’ It takes a lot of work, and it takes a lot of effort, and that is immediately something then that signals to people right away. Like yeah, you were willing to put this work and effort into this project that you clearly care about and that clearly means something to you, and that you have a lot of knowledge on. You know, it's very easy to open up your phone and hop on TikTok or whip out a quick like 10 minute YouTube video or something like that or something that, you know, at the end of the day, probably didn't take you a whole lot of time, or energy, or thought process behind. And you just kind of, like, threw it out there and shouted it into the void and moved on. But writing a book and publishing a book, you've really put the time and the work and effort and proven it to everyone that sees that, like, end result. 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. And when you talk about, you know, again, establishing yourself as a thought leader or a subject matter expert, I know a lot of people are like, well, I don't have to write a book. Again, I can go out there and just do a couple of threads on Twitter X or, you know, LinkedIn and you can. That's absolutely true. But the difference is, is oftentimes a book is looked at as more as a reference object. Again, is something that carries a little more weight and validity and authority on a particular field or subject or tactic or strategy. So yeah, absolutely. You can go out on digital forums, LinkedIn, social media, you know, any of those types of things, email newsletters, those are all great and you should do those things too as well, especially to support your book. But a book is looked at differently than a string of tweets, or a couple of LinkedIn posts with some carousels that are, you know, all good vehicles and mediums to get your, your message and your point across. But again, a book is viewed slightly differently. So, you know, the start to this is that writing a book, creating this piece of content, putting that out there into the world that really establishes you as a thought leader in the particular field or area that you're hoping to establish yourself as an expert. And that's what's gonna get you to these next three things that we'll talk about, which are the actual ways that publishing a book, creating a book, helps you grow your brand or business. 

Lauren: Once you've published that book, and once you've established yourself as that thought leader, it opens up a whole bunch of new opportunities, different ways that you can use that to grow your brand. Also really quick, I do just want to point out, you know, we're, we're going to spend a lot of our episodes talking to both nonfiction and fiction publishing and nonfiction and fiction authors. But sometimes it's unavoidable that some episodes are going to skew more one way than the other. So, you know, just heads up in this case, a lot of what we're talking about today is going to be focused on nonfiction and nonfiction publishing and nonfiction books. Which is not to say that it's not also applicable to fiction writers. So, you know, if you're a fiction writer listening to this, don't immediately turn it off, please. But it's just definitely gonna be like a little bit more nonfiction focused than fiction focused. 

Matt: I think nonfiction focused in the examples we give and the data that we give, and some of the concepts, but absolutely fiction creators and fiction writers can find value here because again, even in the world of fiction, you are oftentimes competing against others to establish yourself as a top level writer in that particular genre. So wanting to be seen as more of a top level writer in epic fantasy than some of your counterparts, you can apply some of these things. The stuff still sort of can resonate with you. So yeah, you can find value in here. And in fact, in general, I think fiction writers and fiction creators these days are doing a great job of finding value in the world of nonfiction marketing and sales tactics and techniques. As well as both nonfiction and fiction writers really taking cues from a lot of people in the entrepreneurial world, in how to not only create but market, sell, and promote the work that they do. So that's a great point. You also notice that, you know, Lauren tends to side with the fiction crowd more, and I will tend to side with the nonfiction crowd more. 

Lauren: So that's definitely going to be true. That's fair. 


Matt: I'm not sure what that says about us, if anything. But anyways, so I referred to three things we'll talk about. As you get your book out into the world, as you're sort of pre-marketing and then marketing at launch, and then post-launch doing your marketing, having a book, establishing yourself will sort of open up a lot of doors and opportunities, like Lauren alluded to. The first one we want to talk about is just how much a book can help you expand your professional network. For a lot of people, that is hard to do without something like a book. If you're like me, you tend to skew introverted. 

Lauren: Same

Matt: On that spectrum, yes. And sometimes you're optimistically challenged. So, going out there and networking is not always an easy thing to do. But having a book, again, starting to build that authority and that credibility is a great way to start expanding your professional network.

Lauren: Yeah, it gives you a reason to talk to people, which I think is…for those of us that are more introverted, or even just for those of us that aren't great at improv, and aren't great at just walking up to somebody cold turkey and going like, ‘hi, let me tell you all about me, myself, and I, and my business.’ This is your reason. This is your excuse to approach somebody and say, like, ‘Hey, I just wrote this book that is on x, y, and z subject that is related to you, or your content, in some way. And I would love to connect with you and/or your audience and share my insights on this book that I just wrote. 

Matt: Yeah

Lauren: And like why I think it would be valuable to you, why I think you and your audience would find it interesting.’ Like, how can we connect? How can we get connected on this? 

Matt: Yeah, it does give you a reason to talk, but it also gives them a reason to listen. So the minute you said that, I hadn't thought about this, but it does give you a reason to go up and – it's a great icebreaker, right? But it also gives them a new reason to listen. So, in many cases when you're in some networking situations, regardless of what type of space or event you're at, you know, you somebody might walk up and start talking to you, and you might not always be fully focused on what they're saying. You may still be kind of focusing on what's going on around you or…at any rate, it gives them a new reason to listen. So again, you're talking about a book, you're talking about sort of how that book relates to what you do or you may already know a little bit about the person you're talking to and maybe some of the challenges they face with their business or what they're trying to do. 

Lauren: Sure. And I think that, again, the point about how you're establishing yourself as an expert or a thought leader… We as people, we do still fall into these traps or psychological cues of, oh yeah, there are things that make people an expert or things that signify that somebody knows what they're talking about. If I walked up to Matt and said, ‘hey, I'm a really big fan of the Haunted Mansion. You can tell because the t-shirt that I'm wearing has the Haunted Mansion logo on it. And I really want to talk to you for three hours about the Haunted Mansion.’ He'd be like, ‘okay, I don't know if any of that's true, other than the fact that you're wearing a t-shirt with the Haunted Mansion on it, but okay.’

Matt: Technically, I would talk to you about the Haunted Mansion for three hours. That's a bad example. 

Lauren: Well, I know my audience in this case, which is also a point that we'll bring up. But yeah, if I walked up to Matt and said, ‘I just finished writing a book on all of the differences between the Disney World Haunted Mansion and the Disneyland Haunted Mansion, and I would love to sit down with you on your podcast and talk to you and your audience about these differences. And we can debate maybe why one is better than the other.’

Matt: Yes. And take my money, please. 

Lauren: Absolutely. 

Matt: Because I need that book. 

Lauren: I will write it. In three to five years. 

Matt: But maybe incorporate the other Haunted Mansions too. 

Lauren: Well first I have to go ride all of them. I've only been on the two. 

Matt: Like Paris and Tokyo. 

Lauren: I haven't been to Tokyo. 

Matt: Well there you go. You've got research to do for your book. 

Lauren: Are you funding my trip to Tokyo? 

Matt: We'll take that offline. 

Lauren: Maybe if I crowdsource the book, and use a Kickstarter, and they can fund my research trip to Tokyo. 

Matt: Yeah. Please write in or send us an email if you're willing to fund Lauren's trips around the world to create this book on Haunted Mansions at the various different Disney World locations.

Lauren: Because there is one in every location. Although they're not always called the Haunted Mansion because it doesn't resonate in some cultures. See, I know so much already. But you would know that if I wrote the book on it. 

Matt: Very true. You alluded to this a few minutes ago; having that book, you know, expanding your professional network, gives you opportunities to speak to people that you might not otherwise have or take, gives them a reason to listen, you know, sometimes more than just a few minutes intro conversation. But then that, you know, again, often leads to things like Lauren said, you know, getting guest appearances on other people's podcasts or their blogs, you know, maybe doing some cross collaboration there with, with somebody's blog. You know, it also leads to things like potentially speaking at in-person conferences and events, even things in your local community. I think people overlook these, but you know, a lot of cities, most cities have community centers and libraries. Thankfully, they haven't shut all those down yet, and things like that. So you know, anything you can do to, to sort of further your agenda, your mission for your brand or your business, using that book as a way to parlay more opportunities. I think you will find it to be a lot easier when you do have that book in hand. 

Lauren: I also, we actually hosted Stephanie Chandler from the Nonfiction Authors Association earlier this year for a webinar. And I listened in – I hadn't really intended to listen to it, I just kind of was going to put it on in the background. And she was such a compelling speaker that I wound up actively listening to the entire thing. The subject that she was talking about was how you can use your book to open doors for speaking events. And this – she talked a lot about this, about how like, even if it isn't a topic necessarily like, obviously related to your book, there are all kinds of, like, local community centers or libraries or event spaces that are looking for, or organizations, that are looking for reasons to bring speakers in. All you have to do is say, ‘Hi, here I am and here's my book. And let me tell you why I should be able to talk to your community.’ It was a really great webinar, actually. I will make sure to link it in the show notes if anyone wants to check it out. Highly recommend. But yeah, that was, you know, the big point is that there are a lot of ways that your book can open that opportunity for you if you use it correctly. 

Matt: Yup, that's right. So a book is a big old business card for you, right? And who in their right mind throws a book out?

Lauren: Nobody sane. 

Matt: That's right. I throw a lot of business cards away though. 

Lauren: Can confirm. But I do remember the first time that you and I talked about this… 

Matt: I recycle them. 

Lauren: Of course you do. Are they recyclable? 

Matt: Well, most of them are. 

Lauren: I don't think ours are, because they've got that embossed… 

Matt: No, they're recyclable. 

Lauren: Oh, are they? 

Matt: Yeah. 

Lauren: Lulu B Corp strikes again. We use recyclable products. 

Matt: That's right. 

Lauren: Love that for us. But no, I agree. And we've talked about this a lot at different conferences and events that we've been to and stuff like that, where, you know, you walk in and you get handed a swag bag that has 15 business cards and half-sheeters and full-sheeters and – 

Matt: Pens that don't work

Lauren: Pens that never work. I don't know why. And then, you know, none of it really means anything to you. You wind up collecting a bunch of stuff from different vendors and people throughout the day, and then by the time you get back to your hotel room that night, you're looking at all of it and you're like, ‘I don't know who this, I don't remember who this person is. Nothing. Nothing about this stands out to me. I'm going to throw it all in the, in the trash.’

Matt: I usually leave mine for the housekeepers and hope that they use them. It just makes me feel better. 

Lauren: That they use the business cards? 

Matt: Well not the business cards, but the pens and the swag bags that are oftentimes just hideous and some of the other stuff. It makes me feel better leaving it thinking that somebody might use it. The business cards usually go in the garbage depending on what they are. 

Lauren: But have you ever left a book behind for housekeeping? 

Matt: No, never. I would never do that. That should be punishable by law in most countries. And in some countries I would assume it probably is. We could probably talk about that all day. Let's move on to number two. 

Lauren: Okay, that's fair.


Matt: Yeah, so the second thing that we'll talk about as a way to help grow your brand or business, stemming from writing this book and establishing yourself as an authority or a figure in your field, is you can begin, if you haven't already, to build and grow a community. Right now, one of the big things around the creator environment is building a community around your work and what you do, and building a fan base. And a book is very useful and helpful for that, again, it can act as a centerpiece or as a hub to sort of attract people, to start building a community around what you do. It can also lead to other community types of activities. And community, by the way, doesn't always mean digital community. It can often mean a very physical community. And so when we talk about things like we just did, local libraries or bookstores or venues, where you could potentially go and have a discussion about your book; a book club, a local book club, things like that, some business love to bring people in as speakers, they have budgets for those every year. So again, submitting your book to certain businesses and organizations that might benefit from the topic of your book, that's a great way to get your name and your brand out there. So I think it's great. It's a great start for building a community if you haven't started that already. But again, it's another nice way to start sort of adding more names to that list and more people into your circle.

Lauren: These also feed kind of directly into each other. If you haven't noticed that already, we're talking about things like, you know, you can use a book to expand your professional network because you're going to reach out to other creators, peers, people in your community, or in your industry and say, ‘hey, I would love to come on your podcast and talk about my book.’ Spoiler alert, the whole point of that is to get some of those people in that audience to become a part of your community and your audience. And so this is how you use your opportunities that the book has provided for you to help you grow your community. 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I agree with that 100% too. And I just wanna make another point here talking about community. Community can mean different things to different people, digital, physical. These are all great definitions and descriptions of community. You'll define it whatever way works best for you. But the point I think here is that, you know, a book, again, whether you're talking about physically in your hands or digitally, is a great sort of starter for that community. And we've seen lots of Discord groups started around a book that was just recently launched. It’s a great way to, again, reach out there in the digital world and say, ‘Hey, you know, I'd love to talk to some people about this book’ or, you know, for any of those followers that you might have on social media that have purchased or read your book, they’re probably going to be some of the first to jump into that community and want to talk about some of the things that are in that book. And then, you know, through word of mouth and so on and so forth, you just start building that community. So yeah, I love that one. 

Lauren: It's also a great way to support your existing community. If that's something that you already have, you know, we're talking a lot about building a community. But if you already have one, whether it's for your brand, your business, your personal community, whatever the case may be, if you're looking for ways to support that community already, a book is a great way to do that. It's something that if they’re a community of people that are connected to you because they find your content to be valuable, they find your insight to be…insightful. A book is something that you can provide them, that says, like, ‘hey, you know, like we've created a lot of Instagram reels that talk about how to do this, that and the other thing. But maybe you would like to find that in a different format. Maybe you would like a more referenceable format for the educational content that I've shared, or maybe you want a recipe book of all the recipes that I've shared, so that you don't have to watch the video every time, you just have that, like, easy recipe guide right in front of you.’ The book that you create from that is something that you can offer to the community that already exists. And also with that existing community, the process of writing and publishing your book is a great way to connect with them. It's a great way to strengthen your connection with your community. 

Matt: Yeah, that's a great point. 

Lauren: We've seen some really great examples of authors that get their community involved in the writing process, in the editing process. ‘Hey, help me pick a cover. Like here are, like, my top three cover designs, like help me vote on what it's gonna be.’

Matt: Yeah

Lauren: Or like, you know, ‘help me vote on the title’ or like, ‘I'm looking for beta readers, can I, like, the first five people that volunteer, I'll send you a free advanced copy of my book if you can beta read my book for me,’ or something like that. These are all great opportunities to strengthen your connection with your community as is, in addition to growing it. 

Matt: That was a great little side pro tip Lauren just gave you guys that, that ties right into the pre-marketing you should be doing for your book that a lot of people make the mistake of not doing. They think the marketing starts at book launch but pre-marketing is more important than any other marketing you'll do. And that's a really fun and easy way to get people involved in the pre-marketing of your book. Again, you know, once a week, go on your LinkedIn and talk about what you've done to further your book along for that week, whether it's you wrote three more chapters, or you just started working with a cover designer, and you're really excited or you know, again, maybe you just got five mockups back from the designer and you want to involve your community and helping you pick which of the mockups is better. We have seen really good examples of that lately from friends of ours like Austin Church, Annie Schiffman, you know, people out there basically publishing publicly. And you're right, people love that, they eat it up, and you can just literally watch their communities growing on the channels that they're doing this on. One note on that, and this is our mantra always – not only here in our office but in general it should be – is we talk about building community, we talk about communicating publicly with what you're doing to really involve your, your followers and friends and fans and family, but it is absolutely imperative that you make sure that you get those people off of that rented land. So make sure you set up an email newsletter list or some way where when that book is finally ready to go to market, to see the light of day, you can email them all directly and share the great news with them aside from just social media channels. 

Lauren: Yeah, because you never know when someday a billionaire is going to wake up and decide that he's going to buy an entire social media platform and then immediately run it into the ground. 

Matt: That is correct. 

Lauren: Not that that's ever happened before in the history of time or social media. 

Matt: No, of course not. 

Lauren: Or you never know when the flash in the pan burns out quickly. Clubhouse anyone? When was the last time you were on Clubhouse? 

Matt: Never. 

Lauren: Yeah, no, actually not. Also, I logged into it like twice. And then – 

Matt: That's more than I did. 

Lauren: I was a great Social Media Manager for Lulu 

Matt: Yeah, I was gonna say I have a feeling you did that for work, not personal.

Lauren: I did, and it was Jen that got me the invitation for that. So, I used it. 

Matt: That's a shout out to my wife, for everybody doesn't know who Jen is, but yeah. Well, yeah, let's move on to number three. We could also sit here and talk about some of these community things all day, and that's probably a whole ‘nother episode just on community. 

Lauren: Oh, yeah, spoiler alert. If any of the topics that we just talked about in this building and growing your community section sounded interesting to you, and you want more information about that, those episodes are coming. They are, I'm literally in the process of outlining some of them already right now. So if you liked any of that content, stay tuned. 

Matt: Yeah, we will drill into these more in future episodes.


Matt: Number three, let’s talk about the third one, cause this is a fun one. And whether anybody wants to admit it or not, you want to make money from your content, right? 

Lauren: That is kind of the point. 

Matt: That's right. So earning additional income through monetizing your content in the form of a book. So yes, a book can establish you, and in many cases will establish you, as some sort of an authority or, or thought leader in your subject or field or genre. But you know at the end of the day we have to pay our bills, right? And we can't pay our bills with Haunted Mansion t-shirts or things like that. Although that would be awesome. 

Lauren: No, I have to use the money that I make from selling my book to buy more Haunted Mansion t-shirts

Matt: and pay your rent. 

Lauren: Eh. 

Matt: No? 

Lauren: I could live in the Haunted Mansion for free. 

Matt: Well, yeah, that's a whole other episode too. But yeah, you know, monetizing your content, your books, is a great way to bring in some passive revenue while you're doing some of the other things you're doing. And in many cases, that revenue is not always so passive, depending on how much effort you put into marketing and selling your book. So, you know, yes, use that book to establish yourself. Yes, use that book to start growing your brand and your business through things like creating more opportunities, and networking, and building that community around your work. But again, ultimately, all roads should lead to some form of monetization and money in the bank. So let's talk a little bit about that. 

Lauren: Yeah, for sure. And you know, it is realistic. Like we all, you know, love to sit here and say like, yeah, of course, like I'm in this because I'm, I'm passionate about it and I'm, I'm interested in sharing this content with people. And I got into this as, like, a fun hobby and whatever. But it is also very realistic that people are creating content and turning their business, or their hobbies into businesses, because they want to make money. We've recently conducted a survey in partnership with The Tilt, where we reached out to a lot of different creators and kind of surveyed them on a whole bunch of information. If you're interested in learning more about that, check out the show notes for our Creator Insight reports. Among those creators, 59% of them said that they published a book to generate income. So the majority of the people that we interviewed said their primary motivation was to make money. And we understand that that's the reality. So how do you use your book to make money? 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, you put a lot of time and effort into creating all the things that you create to support your business, like your, your social media, your Tik Toks, your Reels, your YouTube videos, whatever that might be, all that content that you're creating, hopefully, to support your endeavors and what you're doing. But how do you monetize that content? How do you turn that into dollars in the bank, Lauren, to pay your rent and to maybe buy more Haunted Mansion or Taylor Swift t-shirts? 

Lauren: Might I suggest writing a book? 

Matt: Well, absolutely, that's a great idea. What else could I do? 

Lauren: Well, you could design a Haunted Mansion and Taylor Swift t-shirt together in one shirt, which I do own.

Matt: So I was looking more for something like consulting and coaching.

Lauren: Oh, I guess, that's fine. 

Matt: Yeah. We could do some consulting on Haunted Mansion or Taylor Swift or things like that. Lauren: Perfect. 

Matt: Yes. Consulting, coaching, online courses and workshops. Right. 

Lauren: Yes, absolutely. Which we also, you know, going back to that same survey and that same report that I was just referencing, we have found actually that the top three ways that creators have monetized their content was: number one, consulting and coaching, number two, publishing a book, and number three, online courses and workshops. 

Matt: That's right. I set you up for that and you went into it nicely. 

Lauren: Thank you. Thanks. I really appreciate that layup. 

Matt: Yeah. But again, you know, once you've got content created, which, you know, most people listening to this podcast – all five of you – I'm sure out there creating content one way or another, whether again, that's digitally, you know, in the form of a podcast or a video blog, or, you know, actual written content, blog articles, even printed content. You can take that content, you can that you've already created, and you can turn that into a book, and then from the book you create more streams of revenue. So yeah, it's a really easy way once you've turned that content into a book to just create more revenue and more opportunities for revenue through attaching that book to an online course or things like that. You know, we see people all the time that write a book. And then from the book, they create online courses tied to that book or some of those other types of opportunities like coaching and consulting. 

Lauren: Yeah. And vice versa, too. You know, these are things that all lend themselves to each other in different ways. If you are already hosting an online course or workshop and you're like, yeah, I've already, I've already done that. That's already my, like, primary monetization for my content. Do you have a book that goes along with your course? Do you have a workbook? It doesn't have to be a 300 page full-length written out book, which is also, I think, a point maybe we should have made sooner in this episode. That, when we're talking about writing and publishing a book, we're not talking about – 

Matt: War and Peace?

Lauren: War and Peace, or like that Alexander Hamilton bio that Hamilton is inspired by. It doesn't have to be a doorstop of a manuscript here. You can write a short book, you can compile some of your content to be something that's a bite-sized, digestible book. You know, I'm always looking for something that I can read on like a plane. 

Matt: That's right. 

Lauren: You know, like a one-hour, two-hour book that I can read really quickly on my way to or from a conference, something like that. 

Matt: Yeah

Lauren: You also don't have to write anything at all. The example of publishing an online course or teaching an online course, if you want a book to go along with that, make a workbook. It doesn't have to have any additional written content. You don't have to write anything new in there. Put together a book that is mostly prompts that are related to whatever your lessons are with a lot of blank space or lines for people to write their answers in, or to take notes while your class is in session, and add that as an extra incentive for people. They can sign up for your course for X amount of money, or for a little bit more money, they can sign up for your course and get this workbook to go along with it. Or perhaps they can get the workbook separately and that might inspire them to then turn around and be like, oh, this looks interesting. I'd like to learn more about this by signing up for the course, or something like that. And you can do that without writing a whole book. You've just written half of a book maybe.

Matt: Or less. Yeah, Lauren's giving you some deep cuts here. But here's a few other things you can do just like that. We've seen people creating something that would be considered more along the lines of a notebook or workbook for their online course. Once everybody's registered for that course, for that session, whether it's cohort based or not, you take that list, that CSV file, you can upload it into someone like Lulu. And then every one of those registrants can receive the notebook slash workbook that you created. So that by the time you get around to starting your online course, they've all got the same book that they're going through and taking notes in like Lauren said, but you also use that as an opportunity in that book, workbook, notebook, to put obviously plenty of branding around what you're doing and who you are. And that book will always remain there on their desk or on their, you know, table or wherever it is that they do work at home or in the office. So again, creating a more lasting sort of marketing impression and always tying back to you and your course or your consulting or what you do.

Lauren: And perhaps establishing you as an expert or authority in your particular industry? Because when people are thinking about the subject of that course and they see your notebook or workbook sitting right there with your name on the cover, you're the name that comes to mind when they're thinking about that. 

Matt: Yep. Yeah. So that was a great point. When we say books, we're not always talking about that doorstop or that three, four five-hundred page War and Peace-size. And in fact, the trend these days for nonfiction business books, marketing books, they are getting smaller, they are getting easier to digest on plane rides, you know, things like that. And I think that should be the goal when creating a book for these purposes – 

Lauren: I agree

Matt: As a lead magnet, or to build your brand, or even yourself. Keep it a little shorter and make sure you're adding value and you don't need all that fluff that we used to see in business books that were three, four, five-hundred pages, like. Save all that for somebody who doesn't know those super high level basics that you feel like you need to jam the first four chapters full of. Yeah.

Lauren: Also, then you have room to write more books. 

Matt: That’s true. 

Lauren: You know, if you give all of your information out in the first book, then what are you going to write in the rest of them? 


Matt: Yeah, no, that's a very good point. Yeah. So we would be doing a disservice if we didn't talk about how to sell your books to a degree, when we talk about monetization of content in books and so uh...very briefly I think we should point out or, or note that when we talk about selling content, in most cases we're talking about selling that content directly to your readers fans followers, however you choose to refer to your your customer base. For all intents and purposes it's typically referred to as direct-to-consumer. So we talk about growing your brand and selling this content to help fund other activities or things like that, we are talking about selling direct in most cases. And just as a little bit of a spoiler alert, we will be talking about that a lot more in the future. Um, we do wholeheartedly believe that selling direct, right to your fans, just like Lauren's favorite Taylor Swift, is the way of the future. It is the way of publishing in the future. It is the way of doing a lot of things in the future, selling direct. 

Lauren: Yes, it is, and it should be. It should be. It's actually surprising to me that more authors and creators aren't already jumping on this bandwagon of selling direct. 

Matt: Well, maybe after Taylor Swift's movie opening in the last week and a half, they'll finally get the picture. Maybe she's gonna set the precedent. 

Lauren: Maybe she will. She can do anything. 

Matt: Okay, well just in case you're not a Swiftie, or you're not following what's going on with what she's been doing with her content, and her little publishing empire, we did a lot of obviously surveying in this area as well too, but a lot of the different things that we talk about, again, will revolve around selling direct to your fans, your followers. Some of the different statistics that we find when we talk about this; during some of those surveys that, that Lauren has talked about, 70% of the creators that we surveyed found more profitable opportunities for consulting, speaking, online courses, out of the communities they were building by selling direct. And again that means oftentimes cutting out one of the, the third party aggregators or retailers that would be there to intercept a lot of your profits, and intercept your customer data which is really important. So by selling direct not only are you going to net the highest profit of any other sales channels or options. If your primary objective is to grow your business by growing your revenue and these other things, you really need to be selling direct when you need that money to inject it back into what you're doing, business activities, and marketing yourself, and growing, it's really important that you're capitalizing and maximizing the profit margin on what you're doing.

Lauren: And these things also, as I've been saying throughout this whole episode, they all connect to each other, they all feed into each other. Selling direct is also a great way for you to work on building that community and growing that community. Because when you're selling direct, one of the things that you have access to is your customer data in a way that you don't if you're selling from Amazon or through retail distribution, which are all options that are realistic and should be considered. But you don't get the same benefits out of them. 

Matt: Yeah, let's be clear. We're not saying don't necessarily use other third party retail solutions. We're saying don't market that to the fan customer base you've already built. If you want to put your stuff on Amazon or or any other third-party retail platform or aggregator or distributor, do so, but do that in the sense that you're going to rely on them for discoverability. Like, whatever they're saying they're bringing to the table for discoverability, that's fine. Use them for that but don't ever direct the fans and followers and customers that you've already built up to some other third-party when you could actually potentially sell that content directly to them. Keep that customer data, keep those profit margins higher. So yeah, we're not saying don't necessarily use those other third-party retailer platforms, although the benefits are definitely shrinking, you know, year by year, if not month by month, but really make a strong go at selling direct. You will definitely reap more benefits that way and you will grow your business and you're following a lot faster that way.

Lauren: And it really is…you know, I was actually thinking about this in a real-world sense a couple of weeks ago, an author that is like an instant-buy author for me. Like I don't care. I don't even need to read the summaries on her books anymore, I just, like, as soon as I hear she has a new book out, I'm, I'm buying it. I don't care what it's about. She posted on Instagram the other day that she surprise-dropped a novella for, um, just for fun out of nowhere. And I was like, great, sold. I don't need to know anything else about it. This author has a new novella out, I know what I'm doing after work today. 

Matt: Take my money. 

Lauren: Yep, absolutely. And she posted about it on Instagram. So I went to her Instagram bio and it wasn't linked there. And I went to her Story and it wasn't linked there. And I searched for her website on my phone and it wasn't listed on her website yet. 

Matt: Womp womp womp. 

Lauren: And the absolute last place that I ever look for a book is Amazon, because I hate buying books on Amazon, whether they're ebook, audiobook, or physical – I actually refuse to buy physical books from Amazon – but ebook or audiobook, that's always the last place I look if I have to, and that is the only place that I found her book. And if it was probably any other author on the planet I might not have gone through that effort. 

Matt: Yeah

Lauren: I might not have bought the book at all because I was annoyed that I was giving Amazon four whole dollars for this ebook. And she missed an opportunity to get me on her mailing list because, that's one thing I'm not actively on this author's mailing list. And if she had had on her Instagram a link to her website and, ‘buy the book directly from my website, I will email you the ebook, and now your email is on my mailing list,’ I would have done it. I would have done it happily and I would have been subscribed to her mailing list. She would have had my information. She would have been able to market all of her future books to me, and I would have given that $4 to her directly instead of $3.50 of it to Amazon and 50 cents to her. 

Matt: That's a huge missed opportunity for her. 

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. 

Matt: That's a great example. I can't stand when there's no option to buy from a creator and it's not just books by the way. Like I get so hooked. I mean, I'll surf through my Instagram feed like in between meetings or something and Instagram –

Lauren: ‘In between meetings,’ in meetings. 

Matt: Sometimes during meetings. I'm not sure what you're implying here, but it's getting close to lunch, you should be careful, I start to get hangry.

Lauren: Fair enough

Matt: But my point is that, you know, on Instagram, people are getting a lot more creative with the way that they're selling their content, and basically how they're advertising and marketing that content. I find myself buying a lot more things from what I see on Instagram these days than I ever did. 

Lauren: Same. 

Matt: And I love when I know that I'm buying it directly from that creator. So whether it's, you know, again, my latest Haunted Mansion t-shirt, or, you know, a book, or anything else between there, you know, you name it, records or anything. If I, if I know I have the opportunity to support that creator directly, I'm jumping at that chance. I don't care if it's a dollar more than I might find it somewhere else. Like, I definitely want to support the creator, especially those that I'm that I would consider myself a super fan of, so. 

Lauren: I completely agree. You know, running with the Haunted Mansion t-shirts, all of the ones that I am referencing throughout this episode were bought from small businesses and independent creators. I absolutely love supporting small businesses. And I think that is a trend that we're seeing a lot in general in consumers these days. Is that people are much more conscientious about the businesses they're supporting, the brands they’re supporting, the individual creators that they're supporting, and will go that extra mile to support somebody that they have a personal connection with, a brand that they feel like they've connected with, or are a part of their community in some way. Someone that they feel there, that you know, they are supporting something worth their time and money And you know, you don't want to waste those opportunities. You don't want to miss those opportunities to have customers or fans supporting you directly. 

Matt: That’s right. 

Lauren: So, that's so that is the very long-winded way of explaining why you should be selling direct, which was not the initial point. 

Matt: No, now, well, but it's important. It's important to understand that when you talk about things like monetizing your content and earning additional money from that content, whether it is a book or online course, always trying to find the most direct path to your customer, that's the way to go. So it was relevant. It was obviously something we'll probably do an entire episode on in the future, but. 

Lauren: Oh, undoubtedly.

Matt: I think it was important. So to sort of run it back, I think that when we talk about using a book to grow a brand or a business. Or again, even an individual creator sort of image in the field or vertical that they like to write in or the genre. A book is probably one of the best ways to quickly establish yourself as an expert, as a thought leader, as an authority in that field. And once you have that, it's very easy to do those three things that we just talked about. Start expanding your professional network. You have now, again, this reason to talk to people and they have a reason to listen. The second thing we talked about was building and growing a community, you know. Whether you have an existing community you've started working on, or whether you haven't started yet because the idea is very daunting, a book is a great way to do that as well.

Lauren: And a great way to get that community off of rented land like social media and into your own website or email marketing list or whatever the case may be. 

Matt: That's right. Perfect. And then lastly, we talked about again, earning additional income, monetizing that content, whether that is monetizing the book itself, or even if you keep using the book as strictly more of a lead magnet business card type of thing, driving, you know, ancillary revenue from that book, whether it's through courses or coaching, consulting, and things like that. And then we did throw in that little pro tip for you guys around selling direct. So I think all in all there's a pretty good case for using a book to help grow your brand or business. 

Lauren: I agree. Hopefully the listeners do too. 

Matt: Well, I'm glad you agree. If anybody disagrees, they should email us and let us know or, you know, send Lauren a real snarky tweet, X, Z, whatever you call them. 

Lauren: I don't check our Twitter anymore. That's not my job anymore. 

Matt: Okay. Don't do that. 

Lauren: I'd be happy to give you Matt's email address if you want. Send all of your complaints to...

Matt: Yeah, well, we're not going to do that. We'll edit that in post. Alright. 

Lauren: Well, go ahead. 

Matt: I was just going to say thanks for joining me today, Lauren. I know you're not feeling well.

Lauren: Aw, it's worth it. And thanks for joining both of us today. Anybody that is listening to this, we really appreciate you.

Matt: All five people.

Lauren: Especially any of you that are not related to us, because four of the five probably are.

Matt: Lauren's family, for sure. Mine won't care.

Lauren: I might bully some of my coworkers into listening to this too. 

Matt: Oh, that's true. I could make them listen. 

Lauren: That's so true. 

Matt: Alright. Thank you. 

Lauren: Thanks everyone.