My initial title for the book was The Choose Yourself Era. But here’s the problem I was having …
When I tried to physically tell people the title of my book, it was actually hard to say out loud. It sounded like Choose Yourself Error. I was having lunch with an editor from Harper Collins who wondered if I was writing a book about archaeology. It just wasn’t working.
So I came up with 10 titles. Matched them with the book cover. I then made ten Facebook ads (Pick Yourself, Choose Yourself Era, Choose Yourself, Be the Happiest Person Alive, etc.) and watched what people would click on.
Choose Yourself won by a factor of 3:1. Next in line was Pick Yourself and then The Choose Yourself Era. My choice was a distant third.
This is the power of testing everything.
I did the same trick here as I did above, but, I used it to pick out a subtitle among ten possibilities.
Incidentally, I decided to play around with this live testing technique for other things. So, because of Facebook ads, …
I was at a dinner that Amazon had for self-published authors last October.
One guy who was making a solid living self-publishing science fiction novels told me that he always made an audiobook. I thought this was a horrible idea, and told him so.
But two things about audiobooks:
So Claudia, my wife who has been supportive of every aspect of this effort, set up her office in our house to be a mini-recording studio. I wrote to Tucker Max that I was going to make an audiobook. He wrote back:
James, where are you doing the audio, and who’s editing it? Please tell me you aren’t just doing it yourself with your Mac and a mic you bought online.
We looked at our Mac and a mic that we bought online and decided to go to a professional studio. Tucker suggested John Marshall Studio. They had done audiobooks ranging from President Clinton’s autobiography to the Harry Potter books to Freakonomics.
I felt uncomfortable just sitting there for eight hours reading words I had written. For one thing, it hurt. Reading for eight straight hours was killing my throat.
Ramit Sethi, who wrote, I Will Teach You To be Rich, told me that he had to put warm towels around his throat while he was reading and still couldn’t speak for a week afterwards. If you do the audiobook, which I highly recommend, make sure you drink a lot of water and have cough drops.
Second, I didn’t want to just read stories I had already written. So I did it totally unabridged and improvised quite a bit, making it somewhat original compared to the book.
But the best reason for doing the audiobook is it forces you to really look at your writing and hear what works and what doesn’t. I rewrote about 20% of the book after reading things that I felt didn’t quite sound right in the book.
So, it was another round of edits to improve the book, a process I never would’ve gone through if I hadn’t done the audio version.
20. Video trailer
I used a company called Simplifilm to make a video trailer of the book. They had previously done video trailers for Robert Greene and Seth Godin, who I felt would be hitting a similar demographic to my book. They also created the MyCopyblogger video for this site.
Why do a video trailer? I personally don’t buy books from watching video trailers. But some people do. I wanted every possible angle to communicate my message to potential buyers. Also, if someone asks me via email, for instance, what my book is about, I can send them a link to the trailer.
Again, a self-published book doesn’t need a video trailer. But I didn’t want my book to have any of the stigma at all of being self-published. I wanted to do a better job than the traditional publishers would would have done, in every way.
Tomorrow we'll look at the final point you need to understand if you're going to self-publish. It's all on marketing and it's a long section in itself. But it is probably the most important section as well, so be sure to come back for the final installment.