Matt Briel is the VP of Marketing at Lulu.com. After more than 15 years leading Sales and Marketing teams in the Media & Publishing space, he’s developed a unique passion for helping creators and solopreneurs become more successful by leveraging books as a catalyst for opportunities and sustainable revenue.
Matt’s LinkedIn – Connect with Matt on LinkedIn!
Lulu.com – Publish, print, and sell your books globally with our Print-On-Demand network while eliminating the risk and hassle of inventory and fulfillment.
3 Value Bombs
1) Get out there and do it. And if you’ve been inhibited in the past by fear there are tools out there that can help you do this quickly and easily.
2) One thing that that entrepreneurs and creators these days really need, especially early on, is attention. You have to draw attention to what you’re doing, who you are, what your goals are, what your business might be.
3) Most people these days are having the most success connecting with their communities by selling directly and creating those exclusive one-on-one relationships; it just feels more personable and relatable.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How Today’s Creators & Entrepreneurs Are Leveraging Books For Growth
[1:15] – Matt shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- You don’t need to be perfect to create perfection. You just need to create value. Audiences crave authenticity and connection and value.
[3:01] – In what ways can books spark new opportunities?
- One thing that that entrepreneurs and creators these days really need, especially early on, is attention. You have to draw attention to what you’re doing, who you are, what your goals are, what your business might be.
- Building credibility and trust is the first step, and books are a perfect tool to do this.
- Books are great for generating leads and awareness for your brand, for your business, for your online courses – whatever it is that you are creating and want the world to see and recognize.
- Being able to call yourself a published author on a particular subject is an amazing way to add credibility to your name.
[6:07] – What is needed to create a book?
- What stops people up front is they aren’t capable of understanding just how easy it can be to publish a book.
- What you need is content, and that content can exist already.
- For traditional publishing, secure an agent to make life easier for you.
[9:53] – A timeout to thank our sponsor!
[13:13] – The best method for selling books – specifically for audience connection.
- The best method right now is selling direct, and that’s really solely for the purpose of creating those connections.
- Selling direct really gives you the ability to connect one-on-one without an intermediary or platform dictating the terms of that relationship.
[16:59] – The benefits of selling books directly.
- You get to retain and keep all of your customer data.
- When you sell direct, you’re taking another step towards breaking platform dependencies.
- Selling books directly will allow you to keep all the profits from your book.
[22:46] – Matt’s key take away and call to action.
- Get out there and do it. And if you’ve been inhibited in the past by fear there are tools out there that will help you do this quickly and easily.
- Matt’s LinkedIn – Connect with Matt on LinkedIn!
- Lulu.com – Publish, print, and sell your books globally with our Print-On-Demand network while eliminating the risk and hassle of inventory and fulfillment.
[25:59] – Thank you to our Sponsor!
Boom. Shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs on Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like Success Story Podcast. Today, we'll be breaking down how today's craters and entrepreneurs are leveraging books for growth. To drop these value bombs, I are brought Matt Briel into EOFire Studios. Matt is the VP of Marketing Lulu.com. After more than 15 years leading sales and marketing teams in the media and publishing space, he's developed a unique passion for helping creators and solopreneurs become more successful by leveraging books as a catalyst for opportunities and sustainable revenue. In Today, Fire Nation we’ll talk about in what ways books can spark new opportunities, what exactly is needed to create a book, the best method for selling books, and the benefits of selling books directly and so much more.
Fire Nation, when we get back from thanking our sponsors. Speakeasy will allow you to create content for your audience. Live, earn recurring revenue from monthly subscribers, stream private shows for select attendees and more. I am loving creating daily content on speakeasy, and I think you will too. Visit getspeakeasy.com to download the app and start rolling. Success story hosted by Scott D. Clarey is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals success story features, Q and A, keynote presentations and convos on sales marketing and more. A recent episode on how to protect your business in times of crisis is a must.
0 (1m 32s):
Listen, listen to success story wherever you get your podcasts. Matt, say What's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
1 (1m 47s):
Yeah. What's up by nation Hope everybody's doing well. I think one of the things that, and hopefully I don't get any hate mail for this, but I think one of the things that is really important to being successful that a lot of people disagree with, especially right now, is you don't need to present perfect or be perfect or create perfection. You, you just need to create value. Audiences crave authenticity and connection and value. So I see a lot of people, we all probably do, who are making such a hard effort to present as perfect for, to present their products as perfect, or their service as perfect, and, and I think that's a, a losing strategy these
0 (2m 26s):
Days. I'm actually surprised that you would think that that would cause any hate mail because the reality is, man, perfectionism is a losing game. Fire Nation knows that. I mean, I actually call perfectionists cowards. I literally use that word because when you are like, oh my God, I can't release this because it's not perfect yet and I'm just a perfectionist, it's like, no, you're hiding behind the word of perfectionism because you're afraid you are a coward of releasing real value to the world. So get over yourself and realize nothing's ever gonna be perfect. Get it out there, adjust, pivot, improve. I'll never be a perfect podcast host and I've done 3,768 podcast interviews, but guess what?
0 (3m 9s):
I'm getting a little bit better every single time cause I keep doing that thing. And Fire Nation. Today we're talking about how today's creators and entrepreneurs are leveraging books for growth. So Matt, in what ways can books spark new opportunities?
1 (3m 27s):
Yeah, I mean, I love this topic. Sparking new opportunities is not necessarily a new concept, especially when it comes to books, right? But the one thing that, that entrepreneurs and creators these days really need, especially early on as attention, you have to draw attention to what you're doing, who you are, what your goals are, what your business might be. And books are a great way to do that. And a lot of people have learned that over the years, including yourself, including HubSpot, for example. So many people use books as vehicles for growth, building credibility and trust is the first step. And books are one of the perfect tools to do this. Books are great for generating leads and awareness for your brand, for your business, for your online courses, whatever it is that you are creating and want the world to, to see and recognize.
1 (4m 13s):
It's a great lead generation tool using a book as, as a, an intro to gain speaking opportunities on, on a conference circuit, right? So if you're in the world of marketing content or something like that and you wanna get into some of these great conferences as a speaker, having a book, being able to call yourself a published author on a particular subject or niche topic is an amazing way to add that credibility to your name and, and try to get on those speaking circuits podcast interviews. You know, having a book really helps with your credibility there and reaching out to podcasts and pitching yourself as a guest. You know, obviously a book produce passive streams of sustainable revenue, sometimes more aggressive streams.
1 (4m 53s):
And and that's also important for, for early entrepreneurs and creators and people who are trying to get the, get the word out there. It's a great recruiting tool. I mean, the list goes on and on and, and you're certainly no stranger to that with your books and things.
0 (5m 6s):
Absolutely. I found that all to be true and to be the case, Fire Nation, I mean, think about a book. A book gives you these networking opportunities. You're gonna meet people you never would've met before. It gives you these speaking opportunities actually a reason to get up on stage and share the content within your book and the podcasting that, you know, matches talked about. Like I love when authors come to me and they wanna talk about a topic surrounding their book because guess what? I know they spent months and in some case years researching diving deep, becoming experts on that topic, becoming one of the best solutions to a real problem that's out there. And that's what I want from my show. I want people that are coming on here and giving the best content to you.
0 (5m 47s):
Fire Nation, to my listeners, I don't want somebody that's coming on saying something they think is this. They think is that when they haven't done the, you know, barest amount of research, I want people that have dived deep. You, you might not always agree with what they say, but I wanna bring people on that at least have spent the time to research the topics and at least know a good deal about what they're talking about. And it can really be that calling card that you use to say, listen, I have a book, it's published, you know, whether traditionally published, so published, it is a calling card that lets people know that, hey, I care enough about this topic to have sat down and spent a big chunk of my time, my money, my effort creating this thing. But let's get down to the actual mechanics, mats, what is needed to create a book
1 (6m 33s):
Today? I mean, more than ever, it's, it's actually easier than, than you would think to create a book. And a lot of people, I think that's, that's what stops them up front is they're, they're not really comprehending or, or capable of understanding just how easy it can be to publish a book. So the, the mechanics, the logistics of creating the book these days, I mean, to simplify it, what you need is content, like you said. And that content can exist already. You might be somebody who's been blogging for the last five years around a particular niche topic. You've got a book, you've probably got three books right there. You could be somebody who's been podcasting only for the last year, but if you've got show transcripts, if you've got great interviews or great topics that you've talked about, you have content right there.
1 (7m 15s):
So what you need is content and internet connection. It's literally that easy to, to start working on a book and potentially publish it. And especially if you go the self-publishing route, clearly you need to do some research and homework on who you're using. But today, with e-commerce, self-publishing and print on demand and, and the tools that you have at your disposal, creating a book is literally coming up with the content, putting it into a pdf, literally picking a platform, uploading that content, clicking the publish button. From that point, it, it infinitely spiders out into the possibilities of what you can do with that book. Whether it's selling it, ordering it yourself, and taking it to conferences to give it away any number of things.
1 (7m 55s):
So really what's needed to create a book, it's that simple content and an internet connection. You choose the right platform and you're off to the races. If you wanna go the traditional publishing route, you're gonna need a few more things, obviously. And again, John, you're, you're no stranger to this. You're gonna need to look for things like who you might want to publish that book. Are you going to secure an agent to make life easier for you? And the answer to that is, yes you should, but honestly, you know, almost every entrepreneur I've ever met and creator these days, they, they really want to explore that DIY route. There's so many benefits to doing it that way, if for no other reason, the ease and flexibility and control that you have with your content and the speed with which you can get it to market, nothing wrong with traditional at all and there are a lot of pros to going that route, but it is a lot harder.
1 (8m 46s):
It can take a lot longer and ultimately in the long run, profits and things like that will be much less.
0 (8m 53s):
So Fire Nation. One thing I will say is that I share this exact same piece of advice with people that are looking to start a podcast. It applies to books as well. And it's all based around what Matt was saying. If you can sit down and say there's a problem that's not being solved, there's a void in the marketplace, there's something that I can create, there's a void that I can fill with my knowledge, with my expertise, with my passion, with my enthusiasm. And if you can become the number one solution to a real problem in this world and create a book around that content and creates a podcast around that content, fill in the blank. Whatever platform you wanna use, you're off to the races because people will beat a path to the doorstep of the number one solution to their problem and they will ignore the second best solution through eternity.
0 (9m 42s):
So you think you have a big idea, you think you have a niche within that big idea that's not being exposed, it's not being served properly. Go on Amazon, see what books are around that topic. And if there's nothing, well that's an awesome opportunity if there's some books there but they're all crappy and you can tell with the content cause you've done your research and you've read them and you've looked through them that they're not that great, we'll create the great one, create the best solution to a real problem around that topic and we're gonna be moving into selling books when we get back. Fire Nation from thanking our sponsors. If you're a creator looking for new ways to connect and interact with your audience live, then I'm excited to tell you about Speakeasy.
0 (10m 23s):
A new app made by creators for creators that is uniquely built to help you monetize your audience. All you have to do is download the Speakeasy app, go live and you'll be connecting with an interactive audience who can comment, give live reactions, join you as a guest, share with their friends and followers and more. You can use speakeasy in so many ways, live podcasting, show recordings to upload pictures and videos you wanna share with your audience or to host premium content. People can subscribe to Speakeasy doesn't censor content based on political, religious, or personal views. As long as you're not instigating violence, you can speak your minds. I'm going live on Speakeasy Daily Fire Nation and I know you're gonna love this platform. So what are you waiting for?
0 (11m 4s):
Come join me for my next live show visit getspeakeasy.com to download the app. Follow me at John Lee Dumas and I look forward to chatting with you live. That's getspeakeasy.com. Are you looking for a place where you can exchange ideas, shared knowledge, and find invaluable mentors, co-founders and investors? Sounds too good to be true, right? Thanks to HubSpot, it exists and right now you can get instant access to a community of 16,000 plus business builders at trends.co/mfm. Trends is a HubSpot community for founders and entrepreneurs that tells you what the next big thing is gonna be months before everyone else and delivers access to analyst, vetted business ideas and market signals straight to your inbox every single week.
0 (11m 47s):
Inside trends, you also have access to live virtual business training and Q and A sessions that feel like MBA lectures where you can learn everything from advanced marketing techniques to how to get fundraising from venture capitalists. A seven day trial of trends is yours for only $1 in a yearly subscription plus access to the community is $299 per year. Get a seven day trial of trends for only $1 at trends.co/mfm. That's trends.co/mfm. Now we're back and we talked about what ways books can spark opportunities, what's needed to create a book so much less than people think. And I wanna move into the best method for selling books specifically for audience connection.
0 (12m 33s):
Break that down.
1 (12m 34s):
Yeah, absolutely. And this is really where I start to have some fun and, and and, and love to keep talking. So you may have to cut me off, but again, as I talked about earlier, you know, the the, the evolution of the technology that we have right now, the tools that are available for creators and entrepreneurs to go out there and create content regardless of medium or format, like you said, it's just amazing. And so, you know, there really is no reason to try the direct method, selling direct to your customers, to your followers, to your fans, to your readers, whatever you wanna call them. Fire Nation, you know, if you have a name for your fans or followers, even better, right? But the, the best method right now is, is selling direct.
1 (13m 16s):
And that's, that's really solely for the purpose of creating those connections. Right now you have all these creators and entrepreneurs and, and that's one of the things that they've struggled with for years, is creating some real connection there to really help spark that growth for whatever that might be. Whether it's their brand or particular concept or a product or service. And so selling direct really gives you that ability to connect one on one without an intermediary sort of third party retailer or platform dictating the terms of that relationship, right? It gives you that open, personal and exclusive way to sort of reach out and communicate with your fans and followers and potential fans and followers. And most importantly, it really helps you sort of consolidate your true fans and, and and followers and customers onto whatever platform you want, hopefully your own.
1 (14m 5s):
And you, you can own that experience 100%. So what we're seeing right now is this, this mass sort of adoption of selling direct, primarily due again to the, the evolution of, of eCommerce tools that have come to light in the last three to five years. You know, print on demand possibilities, whether that's books or anything else and the platforms that are supporting all of these types of creators and entrepreneurs who are making this content. So hands down, 100% selling direct, it doesn't mean you shouldn't go wide and also include your content and other channels. You know, Amazon obviously that's a great way to add bestseller to your name, you know, putting that book out there on Amazon first with a few other strategies in place, you can hit bestseller status and game that system very quickly and also bring in some extra sales.
1 (14m 55s):
Obviously there are drawbacks to to global distribution channels, but you should absolutely try everything and see what sticks best. But we're finding that most people these days are having the most success connecting with their communities by selling direct and creating those exclusive one-on-one relationships and it just feels more personable and it feels more relatable.
0 (15m 14s):
Fire Nation, there's so much greatness within here for the best me for selling books with a key phrase of the audience connection part. And like Matt did mention, there's a reason why I turned to you during these audio interviews. You can't see me turning to you Fire Nation, but you can hopefully hear me turning to you and saying, you Fire Nation, I wanna directly connect with my audience cuz yes, Matt and I are having a one-on-one conversation, but I don't like the thought of always having you, my listeners, as just flies on a wall just observing a conversation of two people. Like that's cool, I listen to a lot of podcasts, that's the case, but I love bringing you my audience and having that audience connection.
0 (15m 55s):
And when it comes to selling books, you can really make sure that you're focusing on that engagement piece. Now let's talk about the benefits of selling books directly. I'm really curious on what you found to be the case here, Matt.
1 (16m 10s):
And this is where you get into the details of, of the results and truths of your labor and the, the, there's three main benefits. I mean, again, I could give you a list of, of 50 to 60 and we'd be here all day, but I'll touch on the three main ones that we are, we're definitely seeing, and this, this is a platform agnostic, right? So whether you're using the platform I work for, whether you're using, you know, any other platform, if you're selling direct, these are three main benefits that you're gonna expect to gain and they're probably three of the, the most important benefits of selling direct and, and of, of sort of putting your brand out there front and center and trying to create those connections. So the first one is you were going to to retain and keep all of your customer data.
1 (16m 52s):
So as of right now, when you sell a product, whether it's a book or anything else on a third party retailer platform, the only data you're really gonna get for the most part is the actual sales data. Most often you do not get any customer data and in some cases maybe they give you some high level customer audience metrics, but it's nothing that's really helpful for you to, to foster those connections and that communication with your purchasers and customers. And that's really important as we move forward in a world where you really need to make sure that you're owning that journey a hundred percent and that you're owning those relationships as best as possible for long-term growth. So keeping that customer data is so important and that doesn't even take into consideration a lot of the things that we're gonna be dealing with here very soon with the loss of third party cookies and things.
1 (17m 40s):
So, you know, creating that first party data and owning those relationships cannot be overstated enough. So that's number one. Number two, and I just touched on this a little bit, when you sell direct, you're, you're, you're taking another step in sort of breaking platform dependencies and, and what that means is for anybody out there that's already selling, communicating, trying to create these relationships with their followers and their fans on the platforms where they built those audiences, like social media, which is obviously the most popular right now. So you're out there, you're cultivating fans and followers, maybe you've got 10,000 people following you, maybe you've only got 5,000.
1 (18m 21s):
But the reality of it is those aren't even your fans or followers. Those aren't your, your, that's not your data. The minute there's an algorithm change like everybody has been, been dealing with, you could potentially lose all of that. It's, it's not yours, you don't take it with you to a degree. However, the more that you can migrate true fans and followers over to a platform where you do have ownership, where you do control kind of what happens and that experience and the way that you connect with your customers, the more that you can do that and the more of those other platforms that you can become independent from them and not rely on them so much, you have a much better shot at growing your community and sustaining long term growth.
1 (19m 3s):
It doesn't mean those other platforms aren't good for something, of course they are. That's where we go to farm for new followers, new fans, people we want to bring over to our platform, whether it be our own website or some other tool or software you're using, you know, newsletter, service, whatever that might be. But again, you know, even in the world of podcasting, everybody understands the, the importance of not being 100 dependent, 100% dependent on a specific platform. So number two is it puts you one step closer to breaking platform dependencies. And, and again, super important, number three, some people may rank these differently. I'm not necessarily ranking them in order of importance per se, but these are the three most popular.
1 (19m 44s):
And the third one would be, obviously you are keeping all the profits from your book. When you sell through a third party retailer, you're not keeping all of the profits and not only are you not keeping that customer data, but they, the third party retailers, they're keeping the majority of the profits from your book. And so, you know, as you said, in many cases it might take you months to put together a book, it might take you years, but either way, that's your book, that's your content, that's your connection to your audience and to, to give away your customer data, that's bad enough. But then to give away 75, 80% sometimes of your profits, royalties from those book sales, that really just puts you at a disadvantage.
1 (20m 26s):
So when you're selling direct, I've not seen a case yet where you're not keeping almost all if not all of your profits. And that's really important, especially as you're trying early stages to build a business or a brand, a service or a community. So I would say those are the top three main benefits, but the list is definitely much longer.
0 (20m 45s):
Love all those topics and love all those those points. Fire Nation, I hope you're taking some great notes here. And the one that I wanna circle back to that's I'm such a believer in is own your Sandbox. Like you've heard that phrase before, likely, but it's so key. It's so true. I mean so many who have been so reliant on different things over the years, whether it be Facebook advertising, Instagram, TikTok, other platforms that also they wake up one morning Google search is a great one and boom and updates happen. Boom, an algorithm has changed and boom, their business went from awesome to horrible, literally overnight. And if you can own as much as you can of your platform, whether it be your podcast, your email list, your book, your blog, whatever that is, that's is your protection.
0 (21m 27s):
So again, you go, you play another sandboxes cuz that's a great place to farm, like Matt was saying. But at the end of the day, you know where home is, you know that you have a base foundation that if everything else crumbles around you, you have this as your own to start to build upon again. And by the way, you're building from a great foundation because you've built this great sandbox yourself. So Matt, you've dropped tons of value bombs, brother, give us the one key takeaway that you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from our entire conversation about how today's creators and entrepreneurs are leveraging books for growth.
1 (22m 3s):
I think the one key takeaway is that this is within your reach. You know, again, I spoke about those technologies that have been evolving and what we're seeing right now is that definition of entrepreneur is widening. And, and as those technologies continue to evolve and all these new opportunities open up, we are going to see people identifying as entrepreneurs much more than we ever have in the past. And so the key takeaway here is, is to get out there and do it. And if you've been inhibited in the past by fear of handling that business side of monetizing your content or building that business or of building, you know, whatever that small endeavor might be to into something bigger, there are tools out there that will help you do this quickly and easily.
1 (22m 45s):
There are tools that will help you get over some of those speed bumps and those fears that you have of, of just getting out there and doing it. So I would say the key takeaway is, is don't be afraid. Get out there and do it. Use a book to really build that credibility and, and, and start growing your brand.
0 (22m 60s):
I love all these topics. Fire Nation, I love this content. I love what we're talking about here, about owning your sandbox, about creating amazing solutions for your audience. Those opportunities, those methods, those structures, those platforms. Matt, if Fire Nation wants to connect with you, if they wanna learn more, give us a call to action and then we'll say goodbye.
1 (23m 21s):
Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate it. You can find me on LinkedIn, that's where I'm at the most. And again, my name is Matt Briel, B R I E L. I also work for an organization called Lulu.com. Very easy. L U l U.com. No, we don't make leggings or anything else. We are a self-publishing print on demand e-commerce company. So we work with creators and, and entrepreneurs and authors every day and we'd love to talk to you as well. So I appreciate it, John.
0 (23m 49s):
Listen, it was great chatting with you, Matt. You dropped some great value bombs in Fire Nation. I hope you realize that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with MB and JLD today so keep up that heat. Head over to EOFire.com, type Matt in the search bar. The show page will pop up with everything that we've talked about today. Best show notes in the biz. Matt, thank you for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
1 (24m 18s):
0 (24m 20s):
Hey Fire Nation, a huge thank you to our sponsors and Matt for sponsoring today's episodes Fire Nation. Over the last decade, I've interviewed more than 3000 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs and I've created a revolutionary 17 step roadmap to your financial freedom and fulfillment. I put it all into my first traditionally published book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success, personally endorsed by Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. The Common Path to Uncommon Success is these step by step guidance that you need to achieve the lifestyle of your dreams. Visits UncommonSuccessBook.com to order your copy and I'll catch you there or I'll catch you on the flip side.
0 (24m 60s):
Speakeasy. We'll allow you to create content for your audience. Live, earn recurring revenue from monthly subscribers, stream private shows for select attendees and more. I am loving creating daily content on speakeasy and I think you will too. Visit getspeakeasy.com to download the app and start rolling. Success story hosted by Scott D. Clarey is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals success story features Q and A, keynote presentations and convos on sales marketing and more. A recent episode on how to protect your business in times of crisis is a must. Listen, listen to success story wherever you get your podcasts.
1) The Common Path to Uncommon Success: JLD’s 1st traditionally published book! Over 3000 interviews with the world’s most successful Entrepreneurs compiled into a 17-step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment!
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