How to Succeed as a Self- Published (Non-Fiction) Author Today in 2023

15 minute read (3744 words)

Note: This is a reprint of an email I sent to paid KDSPY users. It was in the context of 3 emails. This is the last one in the series. The first email is here and the second is here. Read those first.

Some great feedback again from my last email.

Many thanks to all those replied. My favourite?

Giovanni Antonelli states:

“I was reading your email with my eyes… They were not simply words composed by letters, but a film composed of images flowing in my mind…

Hehe. Love that. Anyhow:

A little story to start things off.

It’s a long one, but stick with it. It’ll provide context for everything — setting the stage for an ‘eye-opening’ business model.

Picture the scenario: (non-fiction example)

You’re an author — and you write books in the “self-help” space.

You help high achievers break bad habits, become a master of their mindset, and excel in all areas of their life. You’ve written many. On a myriad of topics to help people in this space. (great niche btw).

Through your books you’ve been contacted by – and worked with – many entrepreneurs that randomly reached out to you that wanted additional help one on one.

Picture this:

You’re out to dinner one evening with your spouse’s friends and their partners. Surrounded by new people.

Couples you’ve never spoken to before.

The inevitable question?

So, what do you do, [FIRSTNAME]?

And yes, that’s you: FIRSTNAME.

Just go with me here will ya.’

You begin your deep, long winded explanation of a few books you’ve written and the prior corporate career you had – after a couple minutes you can see he’s looking away, and easily distracted by others in the room, so you relay the same question back to him.

So, what do you do?

He mirrors the pattern of your response, talking about what he’s doing now and past careers.

After a couple minutes, you find yourself looking over his shoulder at the waitress with the cute smile, as deep down you’re not really that interested either … you’re just making polite conversation.

You continue your meals. Distracted by your environment. Checking your phones. A few conversations spark up in between bites of that delicious prime rib talking about all manner of topics … until the evening is over and you all return home.

Conversations; forgotten.

You reminisce politely to your partner about how nice her friends are and call it a day.

What was missing?

Well, you all had a great evening. Great food… Great wine… (just one mind you – you were driving).

You met some great people…

Nothing meaningful though, right?

Just polite conversation.

But, It could have gone a lot better for you – and another member of the party.

Here’s how:

The angle you took with your answer was all self-centered — all about me (ie: you).

Just a long drawn out explanation of what you do. Me. Me. Me.

What should you have said?

Enter – the “Elevator Pitch”…

So, what do you do, [FIRSTNAME]?

You reply:

“I help driven entrepreneurs adopt high performance habits to overcome stress, overwhelm, and DOUBLE their productivity in 30 days.”

Then you’re silent.

No followup question. You’re waiting for his reply.

His face lights up and he responds.

“That sounds interesting, so how do you do that?”

What do you have now?


You relayed a “captivating” statement of;

  • WHO you help.
  • WHAT you help them achieve.
  • HOW you help them achieve it.
  • The timeframe they’ll achieve it in.
  • Two hurdles you’ll help them overcome.
  • And a closing benefit they (entrepreneurs) desperately seek.

All in less than 7 seconds.

After further bombarding you with questions…

You find out he’s your perfect client.

He got laid off from his corporate sales job earlier in the year, and started his own business shortly after. But, he’s overwhelmed and fighting to get, and retain clients on his own.

You oblige him with a FREE copy of your book that you have in your car.

He’s stuck to you like glue for the rest of the evening firing questions your way. Ones you’re more than happy to answer.

You’re in the business of serving others.

It’s what fires you up.

Your new friend returns home that evening, reads the first few pages of your book, and sees that you offer two free gifts in return for an email address.

“The Ultimate Double Your Productivity in 30 Days Roadmap (Wall Planner)”


“The Miracle Morning Routine for Lasting Energy & Motivation”

He loads your webpage and gladly exchanges his email.

He prints them off and puts both on his wall, eagerly jumping back into the book to read a few pages before calling it a day.

The next morning?

He’s distracted. Clients are calling him no-stop.

So much to do, so little time.

At lunch he checks his emails, and receives an “automated” email from you:


[DAY 1] The 5 minute morning routine to alleviate stress and overwhelm

He feels desperate.

He wants to consume your book, follow the cheat sheets, do your routines, but time is not on his side right now.

He’s got a business to run. Clients to find. Clients to keep happy.

And mounting tasks.

But, he reads your email and takes on your recommended 5 minute meditation routine.

Your email wasn’t like most that floods his inbox. You mixed personal stories, humour and education.

He couldn’t resist – even with so little time – to open and read your daily communication.

Day after day, he starts reading your bite-size emails…

Day 2...

Day 3...

Day 4...

Day 5...

Reading a chapter of the book in the evening.

And your emails every morning.

Every day, you made it entertaining for him to consume, and easy to implement with bite-size changes for him to make in his life.

By day 6 — he notices something.

Before, when he’d get overwhelmed, his heart would behave erratically.

His chest would pound. His thoughts would be cluttered. His focus stolen. The stress, anxiety and pressure of mounting work and client headaches would take its toll on his body and mind.

But — after a week of following your daily guidance, he feels, somewhat different. The anxiety doesn’t have control of his mind and body like it used to.

Slowly, day after day of implementing what you teach, he’s getting more done. It feels like the chains in his mind are being released and his focus is returning.

Productivity is improving.

Client relationships, too.

Your daily email becomes like his favourite “TV show” that he simple cannot miss. It’s entertaining. Engaging.

Thoughtfully written to capture his attention, and provide value day after day – and help consume, and implement what you teach in the book.

Weeks go by and he doesn’t miss a single day.

By day 30, he’s finished the book and is overjoyed with the results.

Meeting you turned a desperate situation into a profound transformation.

In all areas of his life.

  • His relationship with his wife…
  • His kids..
  • His clients…
  • His business…
  • And his friends.

The overwhelm just doesn’t affect him like it used to.

He’s got control. Control of his body, his mind and his workload.

Your emails continue.

Not on a daily schedule with bite-size walkthroughs to keep him on track anymore. But two to three times a week you’re in his inbox strengthening the relationship.

The bond. The trust. He’s already a raving fan.

But welcomes the additional value.

But, what’s this …

He gets an email that you sent out to your mailing list that looks unlike the others.


I’m giving you $500 towards your limiting beliefs

He eagerly opens the email.

Your email explains that you’re celebrating a very special event.

It’s exactly 365 days since you launched your most recent book for entrepreneurs, and you want to give THEM a gift to celebrate.

You explain that you’ve worked with entrepreneurs in the past as their coach. Helping them break their “limiting beliefs” and excel to new heights in their business.

Using strategies and tactics that can’t be relayed in a book alone.

And as it’s your books one year anniversary, you’ve decided to give them a gift in celebration. $500 towards the cost of coaching.

You ask them to REPLY if their interested…

At which point you have a templated response that details everything they get, the benefits, the coaching, the schedule, the investment, and week to week what’s included.

He doesn’t give it a second thought.

He replies on the spot.

He’s a raving fan.

  • Your book…
  • The wall-planner…
  • The morning routine…
  • The daily emails…

Unshackled from the stress, anxiety and overwhelm he used to experience on a daily basis?

You’re his hero.

He got the book for free, and you’ve rapidly changed his life in 30 days.

“Imagine what he could do for me in 8 weeks?”, he thinks to himself, eagerly responding to your offer.

You reply with a detailed explanation of what’s included and explain that the normal investment is $3,000 – but today – with the $500 credit – it’s just $2,500 for 8 week of group coaching.

He’s sold.

In addition:

Your email went out to over 900 buyers that purchased the book on Amazon over the last year – and subsequently joined your email list and got all your past emails.

You’ve sold 1300 copies of the book in total so far … but 900 people eagerly gave up their email address and downloaded the wall-planner and morning routine to keep them on track.

Because the gifts were such a welcome addition to the book, that enabled you to capture such a high percentage (67%) of the email addresses of book buyers in 12 months.

In total – 2% of people took you up on the offer email. (21 buyers)

All you need to do to fulfil the coaching?

A weekly one-hour zoom call for 8 weeks with 21 people.

You collected $52,500 on the anniversary of your book launch.

For just speaking for an hour a week (total: 8 hours).

All teaching your advanced strategies to break limiting beliefs and excel to new heights.

Answering any questions along the way.

With the groups permission – you record all the sessions.

After 8 weeks … on the last call … you “ASK” the group for their thoughts, feedback and any positive changes that have happened for them by working with you during that time.

You turn ALL the recordings into a “digital course.”

AND, you extract all the feedback for use as case studies and testimonials later on.

You did the work once, and the recordings are now an “ongoing asset” you can sell over and over to your book buyers on autopilot.

Course name:

Mindset Accelerator:

Remove limiting beliefs, banish your fears and unlock your “hidden potential” in just 8 weeks.

You price the course at $1000.

You continue sending emails 2-3 times a week with bite-size stories, entertainment, and useful strategies that helps the other 879 book buyers on your email list.

The engagement is through the roof.

With your weekly updates, people eagerly await your communiques.

NOW – you have an additional offer that doesn’t take as much “time” to fulfil.

So, at the end of all your emails — you now add a P.S.:

P.S. I’m starting a new Mindset Accelerator group this week. If you followed through on my book and seen positive results — congratulations. You’re an action taker. It’s a small step though compared to what can be achieved when you unlock your hidden potential as an entrepreneur over the next 8 weeks.

REPLY to this email and put “Mindset Accelerator” in the subject line and I’ll get you all the details along with the incredible results of our past students.

You continue to send your weekly bite-size emails.

Delivering valuable, entertaining communications that take you about 30 minutes to write 3 times a week.

Every day you’re getting a couple replies to your new closing P.S.

You reply a templated response to each, and you’re converting 20% of people who REPLY into buyers of your course.

You’re making a paid sale of $1000 every 2 days.

You’ve created a lucrative income stream of $15,000 per month from course sales alone.

And your time investment?

Well, your previous teachings we’re rolled into a course for your students to consume.

So now you spend just 30/45 minutes per week to simply answer questions through whichever medium you choose.

  • Email…
  • Facebook group…
  • Live Zoom call…

Your choice.


Now, you may be thinking that was completely made up.

Of course, the first part with the dinner and elevator pitch was all fabricated (I’ll explain the point in a second).

The “underlying strategy,” though — was all real.

The same process (different market) was exactly how I was influenced to sign up to a course about 2 weeks ago.

For $1500. No sales letter. No coercion. No funnel.

And no hype or hoopla.

Just a straight up REPLY to an email.

Triggering a conversation between two people.

Giving me an “opportunity” (important distinction) to invest and learn something I wanted to better understand.

It’s happening everyday.

I see this process more and more being used with great success.


Because it gets back to business basics.

“One to one conversations” of people doing business. Separating themselves from the hype and typical persuasion you see everywhere today.

The difference between influence and persuasion?

Not many understand that there’s a difference.

There is.

Persuasion is what you see everywhere today. A one time process to convince you to part with your money.


That’s earned. Over time — requiring patience.

  • Through trust…
  • Communication…
  • Delivering value…
  • Telling stories…
  • And being top of mind.

Separating yourself from the average joe marketer.

It’s far easier — and more authentic — to convert people into your products and offers (less work). And converts a much higher percentage of people into sales than coercion and hype.

The other points in the story?

Here’s what I wanted to get across:

And yes, sorry to you Fiction folks. This ALL still applies, though.

In our space, I see so much lost potential. Great books and authors that never get the recognition they deserve.

The part that I wanted to highlight with the elevator pitch?

The missing piece for most?


Our attention is one of the most scarce and valuable commodities.

Big tech companies are investing BILLIONS a year to capture it.

Cleverly designed technology, algorithms, and notifications that are stealing our attention on an hourly basis making us dumbed down and slaves to our devices.

We check our phones every 12 minutes.

The endless scrolling.

It’s sealing our attention.

Hour after hour.

The trend is set and we can’t escape.

Technology that’s supposed to help us, is having the opposite effect. Killing our ability to concentrate. To focus.

To make decisions.

As marketers, creatives and authors it’s never been “easier” to build an audience. The choices and mediums are endless.

But — it’s never been harder to “captivate” and keep attention.

The best – and only way – in my opinion?

Bar none — It’s EMAIL.

You have endless options to build an author platform (audience) and get noticed.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts, Guest Posts, AMS, Google, Instagram — It’s endless. Choice fatigue is plaguing us all in that department. But, none of those platforms give you what you ultimately need as an author.


If you don’t own and control a customer list — you don’t have a business. You have an income stream that can be taken away in an instant.

Social media?

Well, you can continue fighting for attention amongst a sea of Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and ever more engaging notifications and big tech distractions.

Nothing wrong with it, at all.

But ultimately, what do you have?


Just like with Amazon, Facebook can change the rules in an instant. Many YouTube influencers have had their accounts terminated.

Facebook, Twitter and Patreon, too.

The rug can be pulled on you at any moment.

You don’t have CONTROL.

EMAIL gives that to you. IF you collect them, of course.

ALL your efforts should focus on that one activity.

Collecting and nurturing an email list to fuel a business.

If you use social media to build your platform, direct them to a FREE offer in exchange for their email. Then promote your books and other offers.

A customer list can never be taken away.

Most marketers however, use email in the wrong way.

Do it the right way, and your customers will read every single email. Just like people listen to their favourite radio station or TV show — you want to treat email the same way.

It’s a vehicle to separate yourself from the spam, and become a trusted source of valuable information and commentary.

  • Teach…
  • Entertain…
  • Inspire…
  • Take them on a journey…
  • Build trust…
  • Anticipation…
  • And share stories…

That is how you build influence.

Influence doesn’t require hype, persuasion, or coercion.

Influence is earned over time.

And it puts you in a position to sell more books, products and services by simply writing an email, and clicking SEND for 30 minutes 3x a week.

You’re leaving TONS of money on the table if you don’t capture the emails of your customers.

They want more — from you.

Over time, you’ll get to know your customers better than they know themselves. And an email list gives you control of your market and your marketing.

You’ll get to see what they like and what they don’t.

Which emails generated better opens.

Which subject lines work better.

Which offers people respond to.

Seek feedback on questions you ask.

You can get them to open up about their struggles, and build up an accurate picture of how you can better serve them with additional books and offers.

You build up golden insights from their POV.

Allowing you to launch books that become bestsellers in days.


Because NOW, you understand exactly what they WANT.

  • Their real desires…
  • Their true WHY…
  • What’ll captivate their attention.

You’re creating empathy with “specific” segments in your market — all with unique wants, desires, hopes, dreams, struggles and problems.

Ones you can solve.

You’re collecting the vital DATA you need on your market to craft compelling titles, hooks and descriptions for book, courses and coaching offers. And now you have the ability to contact hundreds and even thousands of people at the push of a button.

All eagerly awaiting your email.

That’s what you need to build a real business as an author today.

One where you have control.

  • You don’t need tech skills…
  • Copywriting experience…
  • Or anything fancy…

Just the willingness to communicate with your reader’s.

And those you seek to serve.

It’s the simplest business model you’ll find online today. Visualize a hub with email as the center (the foundation).

All the spokes are your books, your guest posts, blog posts, podcasts, facebook activity, everything…

All directed to collect and nurture a tribe of raving fans who get introduced to your books and other offers (think: digital courses, consulting, coaching, etc) through two to three emails a week.

As humans we make things more complex than they need to be.

Commitment, consistency, patience, and a nurturing attitude is all you need to execute the simplest business model — you’ll find anywhere — that I’m handing you here.

$10k a month as an author is rare as honest politicians.

Not when you implement the 3744 words discussed here…

By building a sustainable, long-term business on the backend…

Driven largely — by EMAIL.

p.s. Every business I’ve setup had email as its foundation.

In the past I always had income streams on the side of any job I had. When I was laid off in 2010 (story for another time), I already had my backup plan in place doing affiliate marketing. The writing was on the wall for the company and I could see it a mile off. Heck, even in 2005, I was making money online with email and SEO alongside employment with Google Adsense. I’ve even used email to launch digital ebooks on Clickbank many years ago.

Publishing is by far the simplest business I’ve found to make an income online.

Email just accelerates things to the next level.

It works – and should be the foundation of – ANY business.

Even if you write fiction, people will be drawn to your weekly stories, updates and communications. It’s puts you top of mind on a daily or weekly basis and simple links to your books is all it takes to drive consistent sales and have successful launches.

I hope that helps you see the bigger picture that email plays.