How To Be An Unskippable Author with Jim Kukral

welcome to the creative pen podcast i'm joanna penn thriller author and creative entrepreneur bringing new interviews inspiration and information on writing publishing options and marketing ideas for your book you can find the episode show notes your free author blueprint and lots more information at the creative pen comm and that's pen with a double n and here's the show hello creatives i'm joanna pen and this is episode number 435 of the podcast and it's Friday the 14th of June 2019 as I record this in bath so today I'm talking about how to be an unskipable author with Jim cockerel who you might know from the Selma book show podcast which is fantastic so in a world full of distraction how do we make ourselves unskipable and the world is noisier than ever so how do you stand out how do you make sure your books are those that people line up to read digitally speaking so one thing particularly stuck out to me in this interview is that we are more distracted than ever but once we find content we love we're pretty loyal and we binge it and we become dedicated to that until potentially we change our interest but we might bend your whole load and really get into something and go deep and this is definitely true for me in terms of the voices that I know like and trust I will keep going back to those voices in order to learn more because I over time I've come to trust them so I want to hear more from them and my consumption I was really reflecting on this is ease primarily audio so I everyday I'm listening to an hour or so more actually at the moment just generally what my husband's away so I have a lot of time to listen to audio around the house where I normally might not be plugged in but podcast and audio are my primary consumption way more everyday than TV or even reading ebooks or print so I will be listening like a lot of the time and then I will I might watch a bit of TV with with my husband when he's here but and then I'll read a bit in bed I always read on my Kindle before I go to sleep but that's pretty much the only time I'm reading with my eyes now most of the time I'm listening to podcasts in audio so it's really interesting to me as the world chefs again and you know not that long ago probably the end of last year is when I started when I know it's nink it was really nink last year and i did a whole show on that of since September 2018 when and also when I found out more about storytelling I got involved with find away voices and realized the way the audio was going and it just made it clear to me it's even with my own behavior what was happening so I just wanted to challenge you as you're listening to the interview with Jim reflect on your own behavior and how you behave and how you skip through things and how you choose people to listen to or read and but also consider that you may not be your market so consider how others interact with the world and how you might reach them in these changing times so last week I mentioned that Barnes & Noble might be bought by Elliott management the same company that owned water stones here in the UK and it looks like that will go through as I record this there was a cut-off date of yesterday night for another buyer but I've been checking the knees this morning here in the UK and I haven't seen anything so I'm assuming this is going through it might not but it was pretty certain and I also mentioned last week that I really didn't understand the euphoria I mean it yes we want bookstores to stay open but the euphoria of the publishing industry seemed a little odd considering it just will mean that there is a decreasing pool of buyers for books and that will impact the price that that publishers are able to sell into the chains for and I wanted to mention the Hot sheet this week so the hot sheet is a fantastic subscription newsletter about the publishing industry for authors run by the wonderful Jane Freedman and Porter Anderson you can subscribe at Hot sheet pub calm and this week they do some commentary on the whole Barnes & Noble thing and mention they quote Philip Jones from the bookseller here in the UK saying James dawn so James dawn is the guy they've put in charge he has come up through the publishing industry after Investment Banking and he turned around things here but Philip notes it wasn't all easy he says Dawn's first few years at waterstones were troubled he had pushed and largely largely succeeded in getting extra discounts from all of the big publishers in return for culling paid for promotions including the popular 340 deals on paperbacks he also returned huge numbers of books after discovering 20 million pounds around 25 million u.s. dollars worth of worthless stock hidden in back rooms and under tables across the chain and as a crate daunt was asked in Jerusalem he was there on a trip and he was asked what he thought of Barnes and Noble when he went into a store last and he said there were too many books and it's funny because I feel exactly the same way about Barnes & Noble whenever I I'm in the US and I'm you know I'm there a few times a year I go into whatever book shops I'm near whether that's an indie or a Barnes & Noble or I've been into the Amazon bookstores in New York and I always feel that I always feel like whoa it feels just dense there's too many books this is not displayed in a way that I enjoy it's it's almost like a website page with no white space it's too cluttered and I can't get value from it so if you think about those comments and think about what that might mean for those bonds and they was for well not necessarily for the Barnes and Nobles but for those publishers if he if he does some of the same stuff and just returns a load of books that is gonna be a big deal so watch out for turbulent times ahead I would also add that again I've seen these kind of happy oh the Brits are coming life will be amazing when British people rescue this American train but not at all so there is a New Yorker piece about the head of Elliot management the hedge fund who owned who now will own all of these bookstores it says this guy oh I didn't write down his name but anyway the head of Elliot management is an activist investor so that means that they take a distressed company and make it profitable again and then obviously sell things on for a profit but he's been called aggressive tenacious and litigious the world's most feared investor so I'm like how is everyone just jumping up and down with glee I mean yes I want the bookstores to be there but let's just wait and see what happens so I'd love to hear if you start seeing changes in your local Barnes & Noble pretty soon then let us know I certainly as a reader from the other perspective I love water stones here in the UK and I shop there at least once a week so I'm not worried as a reader I think as a reader it will be a much better experience but I think it will absolutely impact the publishing industry and authors who currently have their books in the other thing that happened F and W media who I reported back a while ago obviously they own writer's digest and all the books that writer's digest publish they went bankrupt and publishing perspectives now reports that penguin Random House has bought the publishing assets so a back list of more than 2000 titles and 120 new titles annually so it will be interesting to see what happens to the authors who use books have been bought as part of this deal many of whom have are owed money from the bankrupt company but they will probably never get that but it's always good to reflect on these type of stories because when you license your rights to a publisher and then they go bankrupt for example whatever is in your contract will stand and a lot of the times the rights will just get bought up as they have here but sometimes they can revert to you so definitely check your contracts if this type of thing happens yeah you want to see how things are gonna be if your rights change hands and again thanks to Jane and Porter and the hot sheets which is fantastic you can subscribe very reasonable price at hot hot sheet pub comm links in the show notes a very brief futurist segment this week because tomorrow I'm actually going out tomorrow as I record this will have happened by the time you hear this but I'm going to the wired AI conference in London and very excited about that Marcus DeSoto who's been on the podcast talking about AI in creativity he's a speaker and a number of other people are speaking so I will be doing an AI show in a couple of weeks time and we'll be talking in detail about all this but what I wanted to point you at this week in order to really understand how far things are moving how fast things are moving just Google Zuckerberg deep fake so basically if you haven't seen this this is a video of Mark Zuckerberg which is it's been described as an art piece but essentially it's him if you watch it or listen to it it's him talking about what would happen if one man owned billions of people's data and it's a fake it's a fake video fake audio but it's in his voice it's his face and this is how far we've come with tech you can already do this type of thing and I want you to go check it out it's only like a minute or so long because it makes it very clear that the idea of voice sense which I've talked about before and the company Lyrebird or AI that I've spoken about before this is already happening this is almost here and I absolutely believe you will be able to license voices to do your audio books they were kind of AI slash licensed voice product within a couple of years and I fully want you to be able to license my voice for your audio book that is kind of one of my goals so I reckon it'll happen and I've mentioned this before but the sleepwalkers podcast I absolutely think in a must lesson to understand where we are in this world of AI right now so I am as I said I I am excited I'm positioning for the next wave which I really believe is coming the disruption I don't even think the disruption has started yet but I am positive and happy about it as you can hear I'm positively giddy about the things that come I think I haven't been this excited for a long time about things because I I feel I just hate when things get stagnant and last year I I was starting to feel like oh where is this going I just don't want it to be cranked out more books plus advertising that is just not satisfying so what is coming that's more creative that's more interesting and this to me is fantastic so I will obviously get into much more detail in the a I show I do in a couple of weeks time so my personal update this week so I've been narrating I have in fact finished narrating successful self-publishing and that will get mastered by the lovely Dan van work Haven who also does this podcast and we will get that out there as an audiobook and I'm in my booth right now and it is a real pleasure to have my own space for recording don't think it's something posh though it is literally I hired a carpenter to build me a frame and then I bought some audio blankets and they're held together with you know the Bulldog clips thing and some shower curtain hooks this is I mean the pro studios are like five and a half grand in pounds they're like 8,000 US 7,000 8,000 US and this was 500 pounds so I'm really happy with that investment in my voice to do I will be doing a blog post on that once the audio book is ready another decision I've made finally I've been flirting with this idea for a whole year I have decided to stop my youtube channel now I'm not gonna take it down or anything and I will maybe still do occasional videos but I'm not gonna be doing this show on YouTube I've been I've been putting my interviews on YouTube for 10 years and what I found is the views have just got less and less and less and it's never been my favorite medium I'm not a video I don't actually consume video I never watch YouTube I know it's a massive market but it's not me so I feel like we have to double down on what we love and for me it's voice first so I've resisted this for like a whole year because of the sunk cost fallacy which is I've spent so much time doing this I must keep doing it and I have now got over that so yay bye bye YouTube so a challenge for you there and what can you cut out that will give you time to focus on what you enjoy and what you think will have will be effective both of those things and I I cannot win at YouTube no way can I win and what I mean by win I don't mean number one I just mean I can't well don't we even want to spend time on YouTube whereas I spend all my time as I said listening to stuff so yeah that's a decision for me but yeah the challenge for you is other things where you've got the sunk cost fallacy that you're like oh well I spent so much time and energy in this thus I must continue I also wanted to mention another hard decision I have made in the last week so my mum my mum was on the show on episode 390 last year and we talked about the three books we did together as penny Appleton so sweet romance books my mum wanted to write books she loved sweet romance so those are the books she wrote not my natural genre but I helped her write those three books I pretty much co-wrote them I edited them I published them we did them together and then last year in episode 390 we talked about that I just both of us kind of felt that I had launched her in a good way and she was ready to go it alone and also I didn't want to do sweet romance anymore so penny Hamilton is not an active brand it's just an author name and we don't do any marketing as such we don't have an email list we have a static website but essentially it is I don't have the bandwidth for it and I explain that to mom and said like are you okay with that and she's like yeah fine I just love to write so I am still helping her publish I'm doing that technical side but she's doing all the writing so what has happened is she has just given me her new penny apples in which I've just published so it's called love at the Sommerfeld stables and it's in eBook print and large print and what I thought was I am not doing justice to what I would do with someone else if you came to me and said this is the situation with my mum who's in her 70s she doesn't want to do any marketing she's barely on the Internet she just wants to write and put books up and point to them on Amazon and say here's a book I made and have a copy on her shelf and if she makes a bit of money awesome so she can go on holiday you know whatever and to her pension but if I if you came to me and said that about your mum I would say just put it on Amazon go Kindle unlimited because it's the most simple way to publish so even though I have reached Gary did a big show on going wide with self-publishing I am putting the penny books into kayuu because of this inability to do other forms of marketing so my active brands Joanna pen and jf pen are white still happily white as per that show but once I withdraw the penny books from wide they will go into kayuu so that's my reasoning and part of me is kind of I don't want to do that but then the other part of me is as I said if it was anyone else's mom I would do that so I want the best for my mom and if she can make just a bit more money you know because if you go white you really do have to concentrate on marketing to those other platforms as well as Amazon so anyway I wanted to talk about that and if you are in that situation and you don't have the bandwidth for all the other things then you know fair enough I get it and I will continue to be wide for all my other books but penny will be k you so there you go and you can always check out penny Appleton if you enjoy sweet romance okay and then finally I'm off to Spain for my dad's 70th birthday this week so I'm the eldest of five siblings from two different marriages my dad's so hot some half sisters half-brother and we are all hanging out for a week so this may be absolutely fantastic or it could be one of those family drama situations but certainly sun sea sangria and lots of listening to more podcasts and audiobooks and I have a lot of books on my reading list for my week away so very excited about that so thanks for all your emails and tweets and comments this week Laurel Laurel wine row says I'm listening to the crime episode while oiling the cabin that has been in my family since my dad and his parents built it in the 1950s I need to listen to a number of episodes for sure Laurel that looks amazing lovely picture of the cabin now a image in court says I love the podcast it's like a shot in the arm on a Monday morning and today Johanna is absolutely buzzing I wish there were more people in my life with her enthusiasm and joie de vivre oh and yeah indeed I am as you know I just cannot contain my excitement at the moment I'm so excited about life and voice stuff and telling stories in a new way oh so many things I think it's just because I love learning as well and I'm learning so much right now that I just feel like all the gears are oiled and spinning and that is fun and then Lin says about Toby Neil Toby's primary desire to always have the reader in mind really resonated with me I think this is so important to keep the book from becoming far more than a recollection of memories having recently completed a next steps in fiction writing I realized I'm hiding behind my fiction and it's a memoir I should be writing well that's so interesting Lin and again that's part of the reason I've started the books and travel podcast and if you enjoyed Toby show she's actually on books and travel right now you can go find books just search books and travel podcast on whatever you're listening on and or if you're listening on a lexer you can say you can say Alexa play books and travel podcast and it should happen so yes and Toby is on that show with a different perspective that show is aimed at just you know travel interesting travel tips and talking about Hawaii much more in detail about Hawaii say where if you fancy Hawaii check that out so today's show is sponsored by Ingram spark who I used to print and distribute my print-on-demand books to thirty nine thousand retailers including independent bookstores schools universities libraries and more so why do print books if you don't do print already well firstly because we love books and you want to say I made this and readers love them so I've just I'm gonna do a blog post on this but I've just done my end of year and 22 percent of my book sales income this year are from print books and that has is considerable growth over the last couple of years and that has all been through Ingram spark so you can do hardback editions as well as large print and all different sizes of paperback as well as things like mass-market paperback editions so yes you can use KDP print to make your books available on Amazon but if you only do that you won't be able to reach bookstores universities schools libraries because first of all Ingram spark gets you into the catalogs that those services search for but also enable you to offer discounting so if you think about the business model of say a bookstore you have to discount because they buy the book at a discount and then they sell it at a certain retail price and the difference is how they make a living so you if you're not offering discounting you cannot sell to these type of places you can also do bulk sales and bulk purchasing at reduced prices if you are a speaker or if you're speaking at an event or if you want to sell to schools for example as discussed with Dave Hendrickson in episode 377 where he talks about a business model of exactly this bulk sales into schools through Ingram spark so since being with Ingram spark over the last couple of years my print sales have more than doubled and my books have been available in book stores like Blackwell's in Edinburgh Scotland and at literary festivals and that's pretty super exciting so Ingram spark have a lot of help on their website and also a great podcast with tips at go publish yourself available in all the usual places so it's your content do more with it through Ingram spark calm so this corporate sponsorship pays for the hosting transcription and editing but my time in creating this show is sponsored by my patrons so you can support the show on patreon and thanks to those new patrons this week Creek I think that is quick or croak great name and a Howard and I really do appreciate the support on patreon like your tweets and emails it demonstrates you enjoy the show and want it to continue and you can support the show with just a couple of dollars a month or a couple of coffees a month of you're feeling generous and you'll get the extra monthly Q&A audio which I'm just about to record as this goes out so you can support the show at PRT rton com4 slash the creative pen right let's get on with the interview today I'm back with Jim kook roll hi Jim hey how you doing I am good just a little introduction Jim cuoco is the author of 14 non-fiction books an international professional speaker consultant and co-host of the sell more books show podcast his latest book is your journey to becoming unskipable in your business life and career which is fantastic and I've just read it myself symptom I wanted to ask you you've written a lot of books over the years and I have been following you since attention this book will make you money back in 2010 so you're a successful entrepreneur why this book now ah you know it's funny I don't think I could have written this book years ago even two years ago because of some experiences I had in my life and just a mental place that I'm at because this book right now is more of a mindset book than atencion atencion was more you know marketing and your business stuff and this has elements of that in it but I try to work in a lot of stuff about mindset and where you want to be in your life and and and try to weave all those things together which is why I think it's applicable for authors as well as plumbers right so there's a there's a lot of different things in this book so the why was really because I made a really dumb mistake in my life a couple years ago I decided to run for political office in the United States of America right about the time when social media had reached this pinnacle of you know divisive nough sand the everyone was so negative and angry and it became something that almost ruined my businesses almost ruined my marriage almost ruined my health almost ruined my the relationships with my friends and my family to the point where it like almost completely broke me being elected and and I kind of had to change the way I think but I also learned a lot about people because marketing yourself to people like when they when they vote for you they're buying you it's like not steak sauce right like if if you market steak sauce right if the people don't buy your steak sauce they just don't buy it but when you lose an election and when people come at you and and don't buy you it's a much bigger hit on your ego to feel like people want man they hate me they didn't vote for me so I won the first election lost the second one and I've been slowly climbing out of this hole for a couple years and that's when the idea for unskipable came about mmm it's so interesting and a couple of questions off that so you've obviously written a lot of nonfiction survi and there's a ton of nonfiction books out there on all kinds of topics but your personal story and your honesty and transparency in your experience there which I didn't know about so I mean I had some inkling of it but it was fascinating to read your story more than anything so how important is this kind of authenticity and honesty in writing nonfiction now and where do you draw the line well look I mean Johanna you and I both know we monitor what's selling you know selling books is a business right so you can see the trends of what's on resort pokes are selling if you look back at the last couple years you will see that there are certain types of books in the nonfiction space that are doing really really well and they're like and I hate to call them self-help books but they're books that are motivational inspirational self-help type of books girl wash your face go on blank yourself you are a badass at you know whatever those types of books right now are resonating with people where they didn't used to be so as much because there's just been a mindset change in how people think react to other people and businesses and that's really what unskipable is about it's about understanding what people are looking for in today's day and age because everything changed everything changed overnight it's not like it used to be there's the people are thinking differently they used to be they they want to support businesses that share social causes with them and they want to ban companies that they disagree with and that's really what this book is all about is is understanding how everything has changed and that goes for you as an author as well and to back to your original question the transparency the authenticity is so important nowadays when you look at authors like cecilia mecca who has a wonderful instagram account and she shares her life on there and she builds this tribe of people who really care about her not just her books and joanna you've been doing this forever i mean you've been podcasting about this industry longer and I have and I've been doing it over five years you understand that people want to get in and see who the real person is so that makes a lot of sense to me and that's what people want nowadays yeah I totally agree and and in fact that's what we remember you know we remember those personal stories and it makes you like a real person and more than anything else so let's get into the book then because the word unskipable is an interesting choice so I want you to start by saying about how has the world become skippable and why does that matter for all things well look the the world has become skippable I mean DVRs allow us to fast-forward through the commercials when you're watching a show on Netflix or Amazon Prime as soon as the show ends they give you like five seconds where you can click the button to start the next show because who could wait five seconds for the next show to start right I mean we're being bombarded more than ever with ads and content marketing which I still content marketing still ads as far as I'm concerned and you know we're just being hit every single moment of the day and we're more distracted than ever and you know my first book attention which was nine years old now was really about that topic so I try not to cover too much of that we we we don't really have an attention problem nowadays we just have a problem with trying to decipher through all of the content that's being thrown at us and then figuring out which ones we want to pay to pay attention to so in this really complex world how do you get someone to pay attention to you I mean did you know that most college students and younger people watch television or Netflix I'll just put Netflix in with television they watch it with the closed captioning on yeah I did know that and that is really interesting and also the double screen thing I do this myself I've heard you talk about this and you say like your kids do this I do this I sit watching Netflix and I sit with my phone in my hand well it's exactly right and the reason they watch it with cap captioning on it's because they say they can retain more of the information so you know in and I and I make this this case in the book it's like be honest with yourself when was the last time you sat down and watched a show or something and you didn't have your phone in your tablet on your lap that you checked while you were watching it that's the world we're living in now living in now and that's why you have to learn how to become unskipable because that our minds are just being distracted by so much stuff here's what's interesting about that though we we are distracted more than ever however once we find content that we love we will consume it voraciously so once we're into once we get past that you're pushing the stone over the hill and we get somebody into our content which is why it's so important for authors does this is a show about authors right which is why it's so important and you know this to have multiple books because if you only have one book and somebody reads it and then they're like oh okay well now what when you finish a show on Netflix and it's over and you're like that was amazing you're depressed you're like oh my gosh what am I gonna watch now so you go to social media and you're like hey well I just finished watching this show what do you guys recommend you see that post every single day on Twitter and Facebook and the same thing happens with authors you know they start to read the book and then they there's nothing they're after and they're like okay now what I read so they try to go find somebody else it's very important to have multiple books mmm I think that's part of the binge culture idea and in fact Game of Thrones is a good example we didn't watch it live but we were so happy to watch it in a binge like over two nights we just finished the whole of the final series of Game of Thrones and actually it was far more satisfying to just watch it in that binge way and it's the same with books as as you say so apart from having multiple books what are some of the other ways that authors can become unskipable well look I mean I kind of mentioned a little bit here but you know unskipable people product and skippable people perfect okay this is a business this is the author business and when you can put out good quality content consistently you're gonna have a much better time of being successful than people who are just you know only getting a couple done a year because they're sitting around and they're perfecting I understand it's very difficult to write really great content over and over at a fast pace but if you really look at the authors that are doing really well you're gonna see that they're finding ways to do that so finding a way to get that content out and have it a book launch every two months or every month in some cases we just did a story on our on my podcast with Brian the other day about somebody who's putting in our book every single month you know Jamie Albright's another great author she can't write fast but she's putting out consistent amount of works and she's putting them out good quality work so shipping your product instead of perfecting your product definitely makes you unskipable the second thing for authors that I really think is a huge thing is the cover to market strategy I can't tell you and you know this Joanna I can't tell you how many authors I run into who just want to try and do a different cover like they're writing a legal thriller so they think oh wow everybody has a gavel and the scales of justice on it and a silhouette of protagonist so I'm gonna go do something different well that line of thinking doesn't usually work right because if you love legal thrillers and you read them voraciously and then you start to go look for the next one and you find a cover that doesn't look like the other ones your your brain says to you oh well that's really not like the one I just read which I love so I'm just going to skip it so resist the urge to try and do something different it does work every once in a while but in a general sense if you're not doing a cover to market strategy I think that's gonna hurt you long run it's interesting you say that and this is something I've gone on about for years is that we should be able to upload different covers for different markets because if you compare an American book cover even to a British one let alone to a cover that works in India for example or Asia where the covers are very different you know we should be able to have the same book but different covers per market in the same way back on Netflix they actually show different images depending on who you are so you might see a series with a male protagonist on the screen and I might see the female the main female character and so it's kind of convincing us that it's maybe a slightly different thing but isn't that interesting that this you know this perception as you say is so fast that there has to be an image that portrays what people are looking for well look that's what this book is about the the distraction that everybody has you know we spend an average of three hours a day looking at our phones not talking on them okay so these are little devices that are sitting in our pockets or purses or on our counter tops that we don't use as phones we use them as browsers we use them as text right we use them and and these little devices make it more and more difficult to get the attention of people you know most of the mobile browsing are most of the browsing that people use on social media like 80 percent is on a phone right and how do you how do you get through to those people and especially a little tiny thumbnails on Amazon for your book cover and things like that you have to be able to do be something different so the cover is like just one of those little things but in terms of an author you know being unskipable obviously writing great content and producing it more quickly is something that's gonna make it more unskipable mmm so let's come to audio because I must admit to being attached to my phone it is right here it's in my hand right now as we talk I mean you know I have it right by me but I don't talk on the phone at all like pretty much hardly ever except to my mom like once a week but today I listened to almost an hour of audio I listened to a podcast and I listen to an audiobook as I walked around town and did did some chores and things like that so for me even though I skip some things I am deep diving on audio so you and I've been podcasting for years you have an AI assisted audio business so what about voice how the voice and audio help authors become unskipable well absolutely it's the fastest-growing market in publishing is the audio market the problem is you and I both know and have spoken privately about is that it's cost prohibitive and time prohibitive to produce audio and until the technology catches up where it's easy to create a powered audio that's closer to a human narration we're still gonna have these problems so there will be a time when that comes and you'll see in my estimation through the research I've done one to three percent of all books on the internet are an audio one to three percent that's it and it's probably closer to the one percent so think about that there let's say there are 10 million you know 20 million books online that's not a lot of audiobooks because it just takes forever to produce them so that is absolutely the future and that is absolutely where people are gonna go the thing about audio though is that there are people listening to this right now who are listening to this at 2 times speed right because this goes goes back to my original point just because it's audio it's still another piece of content and people look people want to find ways to skip things they their brain says I'm busy I've got other things to do I've got to go do this I need to find a way to skip that and one of those ways is they'll say I'll turn the the speed up on this podcast to two times I know it's gonna make them sound like Chipmunks but I'm gonna get through this content faster because I have other things to do and they're probably while they're listening to this they're probably checking email checking Instagram whatever else they're doing rarely does anyone sit and listen to a piece of content or read a piece of content all just at that one time like I was talking about yeah I disagree on that as someone who in Europe I think we walk a lot more than Americans I that is a massive statement but you know American Americans have a lot of cars so a lot of Americans are listening to audio in while driving while I think a lot of the emails I get and a lot of tweets about people listening to this show people are at the gym they are walking or they are doing chores so they are doing something physically with their hands or with their legs so that they can't necessarily skip so I agree with you on the speed because I listen to on one point five speed for both audio and audiobooks and podcasting but I don't think that's skippable I think that's just because my brain can go that fast and over time you can move it up I know someone who listens but at a much faster speed and I have a friend who's blind who listens at a speed that you and I couldn't even understand so I think that's not the same as being unskipable I think that or skippable I think that is just a way of consuming absolutely but I would push back a little bit and say how much are you really retaining though if you're speeding things up and let's face it even if you're at the gym there's thirty screens on the television of different news channels and sports that you're dealing you're looking around in a general sense though I mean it's not like it used to be where we would sit down and consume a piece of content we'd set sit in front of the TV set at eight o'clock to watch this show because there was nothing else to distract us in a general sense so there are a lot of people in the world who can really retain information as much as they is they want to with all of these different things come in that command so I agree with you and disagree yeah okay we'll leave it I do want to ask about book marketing with audio because my feeling is I mean again this is the type of consumer I am i don't read blog posts anymore i read books and i listen to audiobooks and I listen to podcasts so most of my non-fiction book recommendations come from podcasts so for me that voice is not just content production as such it's also book marketing so I wonder with unskipable how much what are you doing with the book marketing how much are you focusing on podcasting and how much should authors think about that yeah so I've got a podcast that is associated with it and I launched it a couple months ago and I'm gonna retool it now but the audio is gonna be a big part of the book marketing for this I'm recording my own audio book I'm gonna use find a way voices for that and I'm gonna you know go wide right I'm gonna try like I know you recommend people to go wide I'm gonna try and go wide with the audiobook at first and not get stuck into like a seven-year contract with audible and kind of do it on my own the problem with book marketing and audio is like since audible kind of controls that space they give you such limited ability to promote your book I mean I think they give you what like twenty coupon codes or something like that maybe it's ten I don't even know so and they don't really and of course they control the price right and there's so there's so many things that you can't do to market your book an audio form because you're stuck in an AC X contract and that's why I'm gonna go with find away voices so I have way more control okay so let's just talk about the business angle because you know you and I both believe in multiple streams of income and there is an ecosystem that you can build around a book so I wondered what is the ecosystem you're gonna build around unskipable which may include speaking for example yeah speaking I'm definitely is what I'm focusing on for this I had younger kids in the last ten years and I didn't want to be away from them so I stopped going on the road and now I'm back to the point where you know they're in high school one's gonna graduate next year and I'm like alright I want to get back on the road so this book is really about getting myself back on the road and using it as a business card and I want to go out inspire and teach people and help them to think differently and help them to build better businesses and become entrepreneurs and things like that so this is absolutely a speaking thing I model myself after a speaker by the name of Andrew Davis who was an amazing keynote speaker the best I've ever seen and he's doing three to four gigs a month he's traveling all around the world you know he's in Prague last week you know he's he's all over the place and he only has I think three books but what he really did is folk he uses let me put it to you this way books used to be the biggest thing you needed to be a professional speaker now you can get away with having a book as an add-on to that but it used to be such a big thing like if you didn't have a book you couldn't be a speaker nowadays if you're a great speaker you don't have to have a book so I'm really gonna use this book as a business card to get myself back out on the road and speak so really interesting there because speaking can be the way to make the most money when your nonfiction author so is that is that the plan is unskipable like you said a business card or are you also looking to do consulting are there other products so how is that ecosystem going to work with all your other business ventures because you're you're a busy guy well listen i still get leads from attention the book i wrote nine years ago right you know i I'll tell you a story about a lead I got from that book I don't know a couple years ago somebody read the book like seven years after it came out at the end of the book they got to my back matter and they saw that they could contact me through my website they contacted me we had a conversation I ended up going into their office talking with CEO of the company they booked me to speak for an hour they booked me to do a workshop after and then I ended up getting a six-month consulting contract at $5,000 a month so I don't need to sell Seth Godin amount of books or mark Dawson or Johanna pan Johanna Penn level amount of books because my business is getting in and getting speaking gigs and consulting from the books and I make more money doing it that way in nonfiction indirectly from the books a business around a book mmm yeah and we both agree on that I mean I think a lot of the times the nonfiction ecosystem is what makes it so powerful you know whether that's products or affiliate income or you know consulting or all those other things so yeah that's fantastic I did want to ask you about speaking you spoke at the obviously the sell more books a summit which was your comfort your own Brian conference this year and you mentioned that you've got really good response to a ten minute talk now this is really interesting to me because I I've been doing speaking for years and generally I only do really long talks like I'll do a full day so I struggle you know I struggle to go from a full day to a ten minute so what what is the key to going from a Content speaker like a teacher to being a keynote speaker which I presume is what you are now doing well look the keynote speakers are the ones who get paid right the business of speaking is the peep the people who get paid are the entertainers the people who don't normally get paid are the ones who do the 30-minute sets that where they have the top ten tips to something right the educational stuff though they don't really pay those speakers nowadays the people who make like Andrew Davis who probably makes twenty five thousand dollars a keynote he's he's he's informing people but he's entertaining people so if you want to make money as a speaker you have to be you have to be a keynote speaker which is where you you you actually entertain people make them laugh you're draw all of those things so it's different right so if you just want to be on the road and and do conferences and trade shows and stuff like that in today's speaking world they normally don't give you any money for that kind of stuff anymore you want to get that there's two different types of speakers there's paid speakers and there's people who just do it for the fun of it and just do it for leads for their business which which they're both great but I want to be I eventually want to be Andrew Davis I want to be the guy who they bring in for the final closing keynote that people are wowed by but that takes years it's like a I mean it's like a stand-up comic you have to spend so much time and effort honing your craft and having that perfect talk just like writing a great book I mean you can't just mail it in it takes years of practice but it can be very lucrative if you could do it and that's my I'm gonna I'm gonna try to get there eventually yeah and if you enjoy it as well which i think is the interesting part I think it's you have to love doing that so you do mention in the book you talk about joyful experiences as highlights for being unskipable and I will be joining you I'm very excited at the career author summit in Nashville in May 2020 when I will be doing a Content talk and I hope you're gonna pay me what what are some of the reasons that authors should consider in-person events I mean attending them you know even if they are introverts okay so I write about this in the book there it says there's a poll that says the average American hasn't made a real friend in five years but we have all of these Facebook friends right and what we've done now is we have supplant a sub replaced our social media friendships with real friendships at least here in the United States according to this poll of course this is not true for every single person but in a general sense you know this study these people did a study a 75-year study on people and they said that friendships are really what makes us happy okay so when we think about where we're at this vicious circle now we're where we have friends and social media and friends on Twitter these aren't really our real friends right they're people we may have no I mean Associates and things like that but they're not the person you call when you get put into a Tijuana jail at 4:00 in the morning and somebody needs to come and bail you out right you know so we've gotten to this vicious circle of replacing our friends our real friendships with these virtual friends and getting back to the joyful experiences joyful experiences are really powerful okay banks are a great example okay when I'm 47 years old so I grew up in an age I don't know how it is in Europe but in the United States when you walk into a bank it's like walking into a secure vault there's lines and you know there's a security guard standing at the door and you know you feel intimidated when you walk into a bank but that's again that's all changing no capital the one is completely redesigning all of their banks and instead of it being like the old version of a bank with the big columns and the security guards it's like a coffee shop you walk in now and there's free Wi-Fi and couches and friendly people at the counter because they understand that it's about the joyful experience for somebody if you're a 25 year old ready to choose a bank that you're probably gonna bank with for the rest of your life are you going to your parents bank or you're going to the one that's more like the coffee shop where people are friendly and they make it easy and I can sign up online and it's this whole thing joyful experiences are what drives people when we don't have things to look forward to we get depressed and if you are running a business and you are creating friction and and you're not creating joy with people during your process or your email signup or whatever else you do if you're bothering them they're not gonna pay attention to you they're not gonna become lifetime loyal customers if you are not creating joy with them and that's something that I think I need I want to try to get through to every single person who reads this book is you really need to think about how you're interacting and what joyful experiences you're creating for your readers mmm yeah it's really interesting and that emotional resonance actually goes back to the keynote speaking as well you know it's often I've looked at my notes after a talk that I thought was amazing and didn't write anything down or you know broke like one ridiculous phrase down but I felt good and that people remember that emotion and they're like that was that speaker was amazing they were the best speaker even you know because of how they they felt afterwards I guess and I did want me to come back on banking because here in Europe certainly I'm sure it's the same in America the biggest growth in banking is online apps like people don't even go into a bank anymore and all the banks are closing well I write about that in the book to people look people don't want to leave their house anymore right there's a there's a reason why car dealerships are going to be on the wayside in the future because companies like carvanha you go online you find the car you want you order it online you get the financing online and then they deliver it to like this big vending machine near your house you walk up you put your token in and your car comes out you drive at home why because a joyful experience is not having to deal with a dealership walking in and spending three hours on a Saturday talking to a car salesperson who has to go check with the manager and maybe I can get you a better deal and then they put you know put some extra fees on it people don't even want to leave their houses anymore there's a company called enjoy technologies and what they do is if you want to order an iPhone you can go to a Apple Store and wait in line and make an appointment or you can go to a AT&T store or whatever or you can order it online or you can have enjoy technologies order it online they'll send somebody to your house come into your house set up your phone transfer all your files and show you how to use the phone and unpack it for you in your house oh and by the way it's completely free mmm and that is a joyful experience that is that is the expectation that the new consumer has moving forward from 2019 and that is why you see companies like Payless Shoe Source here in the United States closing because nobody wants to get in a car drive to the store anymore when they have so many options in so many ways for to save their sadness of time and effort and money where they don't have to do anything and it's sad but that's really the world we're living in now and all these companies skippable and what makes these new companies that disrupting that process unskipable you know I want to go back to this joyful experience thing did you ever hear of the the konmari method yeah I love her I love her she's amazing so the condo yeah so the the it was a best-selling book then it was made into a Netflix show and the entire concept and I'll summarize it here just for the cliff note version it is if you are going through your material possessions in your life if they do not bring you joy get rid of them right and that mindset is taking a hold to all kinds of people not just younger people it's doing they're faster but all throughout the world that's the phenomena that's the disrupt that's happening and people don't have time don't have the don't want to put the effort into things that do not provide them joy any longer and they are looking for the substitute to that and when you're running a business if you can figure out if you first understand how people think then you understand that that's why they think the way they do then you can change your business and change the way you interact with your customers or your readers and you're gonna have much more success going that methods create joyful experiences get rid of that friction that people don't want to have because they that's skippable the people mmm no you get that very true okay so where can people find you and unskipable and all your books and everything you do online just go to Jim kook real calm or actually if it's easier to remember just go to be unskipable calm be e unskipable calm that'll take you right to my website and you can grab a copy of it I'm really excited about this one this is the best book I've written since attention it's different I'm I'm a gold miner I love gold mining right so I've never actually gold mine but the analogy is I've written this book it's got a lot of different thoughts in it and I guarantee you that even if you're an author who writes you know romance or legal thriller or whatever you're gonna get inspired by this book you're gonna get a get a pool at least one nugget of information at least one I guarantee you that you're gonna go wow I think I could change the way I write or the change the way I run my business from this book and that's what this book is all about fantastic well thanks so much for your time Jim that was great Thank You Joanna it's always a pleasure to be on your wonderful show and thank you for continuing to lead the way in the publishing space you are an inspiration to everyone and I can't wait to see you in Nashville so I hope you enjoy today's show and got some ideas about how to become unskipable Jim and I of course discussed the importance of voice and next week's show will be interesting to those who want to take it further I'm interviewing Lorelai King who is a multi award-winning audiobook narrator and co-author of storyteller how to be an audiobook narrator and it is a brilliant audiobook and definitely worth getting on audio because Lorelai demonstrates all these different voice tips which you can really only do with voice it doesn't work on the page so much although there is a kindle transcript available as well so I picked Lorelei's brains about some of my questions she is super knowledgeable so that is coming up next week happy writing and I'll see you next time thanks for listening today I hope you found it helpful you might also like the back list episodes and show notes available at the creative pen com forward slash podcast you can also get your free offer blueprint at the creative pen com forward slash blueprint if you'd like to connect you can tweet me at the creative pen or find me on Facebook at the creative pen see you next time

8 thoughts on “How To Be An Unskippable Author with Jim Kukral

  1. Wow! Lots of exciting news for you and the industry. I will miss your face on YT, but I'm glad you're sticking to your priorities.

  2. Really love your podcast! Can we still listen to your podcast on Youtube – like this one, by any chance? That would be amazing. Thank you. Asking because I use Youtube for notifications and listen at high speed while doing chores around the house.

  3. Very interesting discussion. I'd write a detailed comment, but there's a lot to say and don't want to write an essay. lol. Thanks, Joanna! 🙂

  4. Coming from land of Powells Books (Portland OR) the idea that there are too many books in a barnes and Noble seems nutty. I actually don't go in them because there's too much space and I typically never find anything I'm interested in. My favorite book shop is out on the Oregon coast and it is a cramped winding maze of a store with stacks of books piled ceiling high on the floor and an average hallway width of two feet.

  5. Looking forward to listening to this! Discovered SMBS through you and then listen back to Jim in one of your shows… Nice conundrum 🙂

  6. My 2nd comment (I am commenting as I listen): I would so love to, one day, purchase a license to have my book read in your voice. You are so cheerful and positive.

  7. I find the big book stores to be over-cluttered as well. They are a horrible consumer experience. There is no beauty in the displays. It is just overwhelming.

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