Publishing Direct, Key West and the Women’s Final

A New Way to Publish

My new collaborative book project, The Content Entrepreneur, is now available. Please buy a copy hereAnd special news…we are providing free shipping to the contiguous 48 states for the launch of the book.

Officially, this is my ninth book. I’ve published a book every two years since 2009. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know this has been one of my long-term goals.

But this one feels different. This time, I’m selling the book directly.

This means no Amazon, Barnes & Noble or any other book site. The only way to buy the book is through my own website.

Some thoughts:

– You don’t direct people away from your site to buy from third parties. You KEEP them on your site and complete the sale.

– You need to integrate a payment method into your website.

– You can’t rely on testimonials at Amazon et al. because your book is not there. You need to come up with a way to do that yourself ( for example).

– You can set your own price. You don’t have Amazon or others manipulating your retail price.

– Shipping is always an issue because so many people get free shipping through Prime. But…you can charge a few dollars more for your book and give away the shipping (if you want).

– You need to think about your audiobook differently. Audible starts an audio project from the print or ebook first. If you don’t sell the print or ebook on Amazon, there is no place to start the audiobook (I think I’m correct here). Our plan with The Content Entrepreneur is to distribute directly, so this will be a completely new process as well.

– You don’t just collect royalties. You are running a business. You generate revenues through your Shopify or sales account. You pay for your expenses to print the book (in my case through Lulu). You keep the difference.

– And maybe the biggest. You get and keep the customer data. This is GOLD. Every other book I’ve written and published Amazon, B&N, Kobo and others received all the data.

Since 2015 I’ve sold over 100,000 copies of Content Inc. in print, electronic and audio form. I don’t have the data of one person I’ve sold a book to over that time. Boy, would I love to have those customer names, addresses and emails to continue marketing to.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand the many benefits of selling through outside distribution. Most people already have Amazon accounts, so they can just print and ship. Amazon has been a good place for discovering books (at least in the past). In addition, many authors don’t have a website to sell from, and most authors (to sell directly) would be selling products from their site for the very first time. Some of this is challenging to do.

If you are or want to be an author, the choice is yours. There may be some good business model reasons for you to sell through third parties. That’s the whole point. A decision to sell directly is all about your business model as a content entrepreneur. What are you trying to accomplish, long term?

As a final note, The Content Entrepreneur is one of the first books from our new service, Tilt Publishing. Tilt works with non-fiction authors, helping them deliver an amazing book experience to fans directly. Please check out our offerings. Maybe I can work with you.

This is a useful and valuable book. That said, I think how we are publishing it is even more important. One of my new missions is to help more authors move to a direct sales model if it makes sense for them. Right now, very few authors do this. I believe we are about to see this change in a significant way.

Falling in Love with Key West

I spent last week in Key West.

I think I found my new favorite place.

Everywhere we went the people were so welcoming.

Our top spots:

1. The Hemingway House, where Ernest himself wrote some of his best work. I had no idea that the house was home to 59 six-toed cats.

Cats at Hemingway House

2. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park: A lovely beach experience.

3. Latitudes restaurant at Sunset Key: An incredible way to dine. You take the boat over from western pier. It’s not as expensive as you think.

4. Duval Street Bars: We tried them all…we were able to check out 30 establishments around Duval street in the six days we were in Key West (I know, right?). My favorites were Kevin’s Irish (great music), Caroline’s, and General Horseplay (owned by a friend of Bill Murray).

Some rare finds that I would try again include:

– A local draft from First Flight. Amazing patio.

– Lunch at Seaside Cafe. We sat literally one foot from the water. It’s at the southernmost end of Duval. Everyone raved about the fresh seafood.

At Seaside Cafe in Key West

– A little touristy, but the Conch Train was totally worth it. Start your trip with it. Ask for Marc.

– Our first day included a tour of six bars NOT on Duval. It was a great way to start the trip. Try the Halo Rooftop Lounge at The Saint. Great view of Duval. You don’t have to be a guest.

– Watch the sunset at Mallory Pier. It’s a thing. Best sunset I’ve ever seen.

– Grab a filet or the lobster mac-and-cheese at The Flaming Bouy Filet Company. All the décor is Star Wars.

– Better than Sex for dessert. Hard to describe this one. SO worth it.

– Eat a sloppy joe at Sloppy Joe’s.

– Talk to the locals at The Green Parrot bar.

– Take a Mojito class at Key West Legal Rum.

And the chickens are everywhere (they are protected).

Key West is one of the best walking cities as well. Even when it’s hot, there is shade nearly everywhere. If you stay near Duval or the Truman Annex, all the important places are within walking distance.

We rented a car from Fort Lauderdale and drove the trip. Worth every bit to drive with water on both sides, but going 35 miles an hour most of the way gets old.

And finally, what an amazing city for music! The performers were incredible and diverse.

I can’t say enough good things about this city. I’ll be returning soon.

The State of Women’s Basketball

SC beats Iowa in the NCAA Women’s Final.

Major League Baseball used to be the most popular sport in America.

That changed right around the time Joe Namath and the New York Jets pulled off a Super Bowl upset in 1969. No, Broadway Joe wasn’t the reason for the flip from MLB to football, but he was an important part of it.

I feel the same about Caitlin Clark and the NCAA Women’s Tournament. The perfect South Carolina team played a role (they were a GREAT team), but most people (and sponsors) were talking about Caitlin and Iowa. Heck, even Jason Sudeikis is a fan.

While in Key West people were talking about and WATCHING NCAA women’s basketball like no other time.

I’m hopeful this is a Broadway Joe-type moment, where one star can pull the entire league along. I’m bullish on the future of NCAA Women’s Basketball.

My wife and I were blessed to go to the final game between Iowa and South Carolina. Now I’ve been to a lot of exciting sporting events in my day, but I’m hard pressed to come up with one like the Women’s final game where so many people were “all in” on the game. Quite a few people (including Sudeikis) wore the shirt “Everyone Watches Women’s Sports,” and I tend to agree. If you go to the game or match, you are there for one reason, to watch great sports happen.

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