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Writing Little Business Books with Barbara Grassey

March 21, 2020

The sheer power of words can change the direction of people’s lives.

Barbara Grassey is The Book Boss and Owner of BarbaraGrassey.com.

Barbara loves words. She always has. She uses those words to help her clients discover their own words. Her mission is to help you accomplish your mission.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

All right, Barbara Grassey, you are known as The Book Boss, and you're on the web at BarbaraGrassey.com. And that's Barbara and grassey is G R A SS E Y.com. And you help people put books together but not necessarily volume for the Harry Potter series, which was significantly longer than the first two, that's where I stopped. Ehhhhh is too much here.

Oh, come on. Oh, wait for the movie.

Yeah, and that's what I did.

That's okay. So

so you're a big fan of, of small books of what you call mini books, right?

Little books, little books. And what I found is I'm a reader and I started out in life, like from three, four years old, I was reading everything I could get my hands on. And people are not readers anymore. They're listening to podcasts, they're watching videos. And so books are getting shorter, even real books except for Harry Potter IV. So they're getting shorter because people have shorter attention spans with more things, vying for their attention. And what I advocate doing, especially if you've never written a book before, is to write a little book, a short book that's a promotional book for your business, something that's going to help you find your peace. And help get your name out there.

Because think books is scary.

You sure? Sure. And and I think again, you know, just in terms of digesting them. If somebody gives me like a 30 page book and I'm interested in the subject, I'm going to listen to our argument, you know, I'm going to read it. But yeah sitting sitting down like I'll listen to audiobooks, I can work my way through that in you know, maybe like 30 to 40 minutes max at a time. But yeah, reading, reading a book I, I agree. It's really rare. I am a hyper consumer when it comes to podcasts and YouTube videos. And I think that that again, just culturally, there I'm sure there's some people that are going to argue with us about this, but I don't know I think if you do the research,

you can do you can break it down demographically, and older women tend to read we grew up reading. younger men tend to watch videos or listen to podcasts. Men start listening to podcast about the age of 18 or so, and go up through now mid 40s and older, but it's split along gender lines to a certain extent. And it's also split along age lines. Because if you grew up with reading your reader, if that was all you had, a lot of people struggled with reading. So videos and podcasts are a godsend for them.

Oh my gosh, yeah. I and I mean, like I said, I mean, I will spend hours a day learning stuff, if I can, you know, either multitask when I'm out riding a bike, but, you know, to grab all my attention on two words on a page. It's, you know, I've read a handful of books this year, and I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, but at the same time, you know, I consume more education, and probably 95% at least 95% of the country.

Oh, yeah. And that's okay. That's not that's a pretty low bar, but yes,

Alright, so how does one so give me give me a couple more reasons how somebody would use like it, why they should get motivated to put together a mini book?

Oh, well, this is easy because I call, I call it Little Books, the Swiss Army Knife of marketing tools because they have so many uses. So one of the things you can do is to use it first of all is an opt in on your website to gather names and email addresses. So you can start building your list with it. Second thing that I really love about little books is it showcases your knowledge and your expertise. Because when somebody is looking for a vendor or somebody to provide services, somebody with a product, they want to make sure that the person they're giving their money to, especially on the internet is not somebody who's incompetent or somebody who's just going to take their money and run so if you have a book out there, they can read the book they can see you've got some substance to you and actually just writing a book proves to people that you know enough about was subject to write a book. That's that's a real big one. It's a nice little funnel starter. And you can use a little book as a tripwire. I know one of the things that was very big for a while was the $7. Special Report. You paid $7 for report, it was about 2030 pages on something very specific a how to, and that trip wire was will people pay for this information? And if they bought the report, yes, they were interested enough to pay $7 and $7 is a very low fee. Yeah, you know, you can buy a full book for $7, too. So you're saying that they would pay $7 for a special report. And you can also just use it to get your name out there and increases your visibility and for people who are out there speaking, having a book, even if it's a little book is a nice thing for the person introducing you to say Our next speaker is the author of such and such, and I live in Tampa I have to tell you actually outside of Tampa, just about everybody in Tampa in business has a book, not my fault. Everyone's an author. So I always tell people, if you're going to do a book, make sure it's a good book, even if it's a little book, a lot of people stretch to make a full book, if you don't have that much information, there's no sin and having a short book. And as you said, you would like it better if you just got right to the to the main con. Oh, sure.

Yeah, exactly. So if somebody has been producing written content, say in a blog for a number of years, chances are they got at least one book already. Or if they've been producing a podcast,

they have at least one book because you take those and you find the thread that weaves them together. I actually just worked with a man who has been blogging for years and he put together his first book, it was a test. He's really doing a bigger second book, but his first was taking his blog posts and stringing them together with a theme and With lessons in between, and he had a book that we got to number one in a couple of categories on Amazon. And it just got ranked as one of the top 50 Amazon marketing books of the year, which was really nice because it was basically built from his blog post. So if you've been blogging or podcasting, you probably already have a book. Oh,

okay. So what does this like? How do we put a book together is because it sounds big and scary.

Some books are big and scary. Harry Potter four, four and a half. It's really thinking about what your reader needs to know and what they want to know it whenever I sit down to talk to somebody about doing a book. I'll say, two questions. What do you want your reader to get out of this book? Because that's should be your first concern. What are they going to get out of it? How will it help them? And then the second question is, what do you want to get out of the book, because I work with business books, and those are people that want their book to help them get more business. business. So sitting down to write a book, especially a little book is not that tough. It's a matter of organizing your your work, I tend to do a brain dump. And then I organize according to categories. So I might have, for instance, I just realized I've got an outline for a book on masterminds, because we did a summit on masterminds. So I look to see what do people want to know? What do they need to know? And what's a logical progression for it? And if you just go with common sense and logic, you're halfway there.

Is there any way Barbara could speed up this process or make it let's say that a lot of folks that listen to this program, they're running a thriving company, they're very busy. And so the idea of adding one more thing to their plate, so, you know, so how could we maybe systematizes or who could we hire to at a reasonable rate? Or what? You know, maybe we could hire someone in train somebody on our team to be able to help us do this. But any ideas there?

Oh, tons, you can hire a ghostwriter, or actually any writer, I recommend Upwork. If you're looking for that, I used to go straight bigger projects, I only take on one or two projects a year now because they are big. For small books, you can easily get somebody on Upwork. To put that together, I actually have a course on how to put together little books, called, you know, big profits and little books. And you can train somebody on your team to do that too. Because really, they follow a formula. So if you're going to do a promotional book, I've got a formula for that if you're going to do and I love these top 10 tips or a top 10 red flags, things to look out for. And if you've got a business that is a service oriented business, and one of the the types of books I like for those businesses is what do people need to look out for before they hire somebody in this industry. And if you're telling them that I think one of the best selling little books ever was from a car salesman that said, This is what profes Press salesmen do to trick you. Right? So if you think the car salesman that's telling you all his tricks, you're going to go to that car salesman because he's just showing you. This is what car salesmen do. This is what I do. So it can be very formulaic because people aren't reading every single little book you put out. But it's also something you can hire out easily. And that's there's tons of people on Upwork that are great. I would not use fiverr.

No, please come on.

And I would look for Native American or Canadian speaking, because even though people from other countries speak impeccable English, they do not speak American. And which I always find out when I make jokes to them on the health line. My jokes Do not try to translate in Bangalore. They don't get

no Right. Right.

American. I'm funny. Thank you very much. I know

that and that's one thing that, you know, admittedly, you know, we've hired a lot of people over the past 12 years, both domestically and overseas. And writing is one of those ones. I've had a real tough time trying to it just, I just, you know, even just blog writing, like they're just some things that it's just, it ends, there's a lot of I appreciate if I'm writing to a North American audience, you know, someone that's just been living a North American lifestyle really makes a big difference even though the, the, the grammar and everything else is, you know, it's it's cracked. Yeah, sure.

And Americans don't have we don't speak with correct grammar.

No, no, we certainly don't.

And part of that is regionalisms. And part of that is just the casualness of the American language.

Yeah. So Barbara, tell me about your business and how have you been able to grow and scaled the work that you're doing. And it's

been a journey. I've been an entrepreneur, I started entrepreneurial in the 80s and took a couple of jobs and started back again in the late 90s. So I've been working writing books, and I fell into it since about 2000, so about 20 years. And one of the things you find out as a female is that you are kind of unhearable after 40 or 45, depending on how well preserved you are. And men find this at about 5055. So we just get we get the word earlier than the guys do. And after you've been working for yourself for a while, you really are kind of unemployable. You don't take a lot from that employer, you know how things ought to be done or how you would run things and you kind of get a bad attitude, Josh. See, so I love it. So I started working, writing for other people and I was working as a ghostwriter. And I didn't Now how much I should be charging. And this is something that women really need to investigate because they don't charge enough money for what they do. And I'll say it category credit world as females up your prices. That's, that's one of the sentences I'll put into every talk that I do. It's like if you're a woman, double your prices. So I started working with really National Speakers writing their courses and manuals, and I launched up from there and what I had was people that could not afford my services are like, how do I write a book so I wrote a course on how to write a book. And that was kind of a bigger course for people and then I started running into people that just needed a small book for their business. And over the years I've niched down from writing certain things to really doing marketing plans for people who have a business book, because people put a lot of work into the business books and they launch it and they get a little pop, and then nothing happens. And the idea of the business book is not to sell copies of the book itself. Use the book to market your business. And once you get that mindset change, you can do amazing things with the book.

Yeah, so I invited Barbara, just if you could kind of throw a bucket of cold water on anybody who's thinking that they're going to write a book, make a lot of money selling that book, give any statistics or you know, General. I've been in this world for a while. Let me tell you the reality.

Oprah is not gonna call. Yeah. Because if she was I would not be here, Josh. I would be done. Right? Yeah, um, the average book sells fewer than 250 copies in its lifetime. So it's not even two copies a year its lifetime. And that's why I tell people don't get hung up on selling copies of the book. You want to use it as a marketing tool. Other stats are, you know, 81% of people say they want to write a book. And then my favorite follow up stat is nine out of 10 people who start writing a book, don't finish

That's where I come in. Thanks. Um,

so that's really interesting. So Barbara, imagine if someone were writing a book. And you were to say, Okay, so here's the deal, you're going to do all this work, and you are going to sell 250 copies now, so yeah, right and Max, like it over your lifetime. So those are the numbers. I mean, and I'm just telling you, that's exactly how many books you're going to sell. That said, How can you leverage the authority from writing a book? And how can you leverage those 250 sales and the fact that you just have a book to increase all of the other areas of your business? Do you think that's a good question? That's a great question. I get were you just really like you just blew my mind right there like in there thinking that and then it's, listen, it's like when you do so we, obviously without my influence, we're getting media for a lot of people like really rely on blew 25 grand hiring PR firms. And I got one good introduction reporter. And I turned that into because of my own skills, I was able to turn that into, you know, probably about, you know, I got a regular segment probably did about 40 to 50 segments with it. So that was cool. That the PR firm, all they did was make the intro. And they got me to speak at a lawn and garden show. And so if someone said, Listen, you're going to spend $25,000 this is all you're going to get. How could you max that out? Yeah, I mean, but I share that. Here's the reality. In media, most people overvalue the visibility aspect of a being in the media. And they think oh my gosh, I'm going to get in front of all those eyeballs and all my wildest dreams are going to come true.

And my site is going to crash. So many people.

Right, exactly. Now I could die. can tell you that actually has happened. You know, but you gotta do stuff like I did like a 20 minute segment on Chicago radio, like, really, really big in or most like, if you're just doing local news or something like that. Again, you're going to be underwhelmed. Yes. But that said, should you still do it? Absolutely. Because the visibility is just one of like, five major, big, big benefits you get. Having a book is the same thing. Barbara, if you have a book that is a calling card that legitimizes your authority, it opens doors. And Matter of fact, you have those here's the crazy thing. of the 250 people that buy the book, how many people are actually going to read it cover to cover 20

people bail at page 18 Isn't that amazing? Yeah, I'm usually the only person that reads cover to cover and, and that's why shorter books work better gets your book read. It's a shorter book and it's easier to digest.

Yeah, absolutely. Why did I give me using Uber driver and he gave me a book. You know, we started getting talking about, like religion and faith and stuff. And he was a, from Nigeria. And so he recently moved to the US. And I guess he was going around speaking. And I said, Look, I've got a 15 page book. And he said, which would you like a copy? It's you're welcome to take it if you want. I wrote it myself. I'm like, Yeah, sure. I flipped through it. And I read it. And it was like, man, cool. You know, my, and I actually, I consumed all of it. Now if you'd give me 150 and I think even if he had offered me 150 page book, I would have politely declined his books at conferences all the time. And it's, you know, they're all not that shelf over there. I have tons and

the books that I really don't like compilation books where somebody gets you to pay them a certain amount of money to have a chapter in their book. And I have a blog post that says nobody's going to read your chapter. And these, you get a certain number of copies for paying your money and they give the book away, or they sell it. And there's a bookmark in there chapter. People, other people, the people who know you might read your chapter, but other people aren't going to find you through a compilation book because it just honestly it sits on the on the shelf and collects dust. Yeah. Barbara,

this is honestly been one of my favorite conversations. This is really, really cool. So you are on the web Barbara Grassey, you're the Founder and CEO of, uh, you are known as The Book Boss. And you're on the web at BarbaraGrasse.com GRASSEY.com. And you have free training. You have free resources. You have free, free minutes

away. Yeah, actually the mini course is really good. It's it's videos You like it?

Love it, love it things

on finding the time to write your book, overcoming imposter syndrome and getting the whole thing schedule. training you can go to there's also a free training on how to use many books for your business.

I love it, Barbara. That's awesome. I love your go giver approaches. Well, thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you, Josh, you take care.

Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit UpMyInfluence.com/guest that we've got something out of this interview. Would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and text it to a friend or postit on the socials. If you do that tag us with the hashtag UpMyInfluence. Each month we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform, and you get crowned king or queen of that social media. Now what do you win? We're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans totally free. Now. Can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now. Please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. While you're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why? Tomorrow? That's right. seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials. You'll find all the stuff we're doing at UpMyInfluence.com. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur movement.

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