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Interview with Self-Published Author Ian Coburn

As part of the jexbo, Self-Published Author Series, today we hear from Ian Coburn, author of "God is a Woman: Dating Disasters,"

Tell us about your self-published book.

The book relives my various dating and sexual misadventures as a touring comedian, sharing what I learned as advice after each story.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I decided to go in with one guy because I'd have more control. I had a few big publishers who were interested but wanted to turn it into a “pick-up” manual. That wasn't my goal and directly conflicted with the book's message. Considering it landed me a gig answering questions for “Lifetime” in a column called, "Ask A Guy," I'd say I made the right move.

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book?

Finding a third-party publisher who would give us books for cost. It's crazy that many printers want to charge you full-price or only 30% off for your own books. You have to give many away for reviews, etc. Are they crazy?!

That tells me they don't believe in their books or authors; they just want to make money off them, as opposed to book sales. We wanted to be on bookshelves because then we would get more media. Media members don't like to have you on the news, etc, if their viewers can't by your book at the bookstore, understandably. And to do that, you have to be listed with Ingram. You have to have 10+ books under your imprint to be listed with Ingram, so we used a POD provider who met the qualification. It was our imprint (just one book) but their reputation that enabled us to get listed with Ingram.)

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book?

Control over content and greater profit per book.

What advice do you have for other potential writers and self-published authors?

Do your research. Find what matches with you best. If you use a POD, etc, as a printer for online orders or to get listed with Ingram, get one who charges cost for your books. (WingSpan is the only one I've found to date.)

You have to look past all the other "specials" they offer, recognizing them as gimmicks. You have to MARKET, MARKET, MARKET, whether you self-publish or go with another publisher. When you self-publish, you accrue all the marketing costs. If you can't afford to buy your books to give away for free to reviewers and the media, you can't market. It literally baffles me why anyone would use a printer or POD publisher who charges more than cost per book.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

MARKET, MARKET, MARKET. If you're not willing to market, don't be an author. Authors who don't market don't sell. And they make a bad name for the rest of us. The number one problem authors have approaching publishers is getting them to believe they will market because many authors say they will, but don't. Marketing is hard, continuous, often tedious work that never ends. NEVER.

Wow! Thanks for your valuable tips and advice Ian. If you’d like some help on how to market, sell and publicize your book, please write to me here or at I’d love to hear from you!
Today, in the jexbo Self-Published Author series, we hear from Andrew McCombe, the author of “Activate Your Life,” After starting his business to fund his beach volleyball career and represent his country at the 2000 Olympics, Andrew now owns and manages three health clubs in Sydney, Australia.

Now, he pursues his passion of empowering individuals, teams, businesses and organizations to experience EASE in their Health, Wealth, Relationships, Career and/or Business in a simple, balanced and fulfilling manner.

Here’s what Andrew has to say about self-publishing:

Tell us about your book.

“Activate Your Weight Loss” will empower you to:

- Get a clearer understanding of why you are the way you are and why you have created your current body and life.

- Address and remove the dis-EASE that causes mental, emotional and physical stress in all areas of your body and life.

- Get clarity on what your ideal body and a life of EASE would be like for you.

- Understand why some people can never follow through to having their ideal body or life of EASE.

- Create your ideal body and life of EASE with ten EASY steps which form the basis of the Activate Your Weight Loss Program.
Activate Your Weight Loss is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual overhaul – a book that will transform every aspect of your life.
The tools, ideas and solutions you will learn are just as useful and important whether your goal is to fit into a size 8 dress, improve your fitness, overcome cravings and addictions, climb Mount Everest, find a new or improve your current relationship or start your own business.

You have been given a gift. It is called life. And with this gift you have been given all of the talents, all of the knowledge and all of the power to create whatever it is you want to create on this Earth. Regardless of what shape or form this gift comes in for you, you owe it to yourself to go out there and become the best person you can possibly be, doing whatever it is that you want to do and use your gift to see what an amazing life you can create for yourself. – Andrew McCombe

Why did you decide to self-publish?

One reason was return on investment. Another was so I would not lose my creative license. What I mean by that is I can get my books typeset, printed, edited, etc. (at my expense) and then make all of the profits through my website and other sales platforms. As a published author I only receive 10%, and the publisher can change the content if they wish, which was non negotiable in my case as I don’t feel that a publisher can represent my message as well as I can.

Another big issue was if the first six weeks of marketing is ineffective, they can pull the book forever. Whereas, if one angle of marketing does not work for me, I can then create another one and another one and another one…forever, if I choose to.

A drawback I guess is that I have to do everything in creating and marketing my book. But the intangible benefit from this is that it has now allowed me to write another book and create an entirely new business around teaching others how to Start, Grow and Automate their business, based on their passions, talents and expertise, so they can live a life of EASE. And I guess that is the main reason I love self publishing. It allows me to create unlimited income streams from my message which ultimately allows me to get my message out to support so many more people in the world.

What has been your biggest reward in self-publishing your book?

Getting more clarity on who I am as a person. Publishing a book /message is a great way to get laser-like clarity on how you as an author like to operate. For me, it made me realize my flow is not to be an author but a messenger/creator (in many different forms, from speaking, writing, interviewing, coaching, teaching, etc.)

What has been the most challenging part of self-publishing your book?

The ongoing marketing of the books to the media (eg. trying to keep coming up with different angles) and also pre-purchasing the books for the distributor and bookshops and them only receiving a third of the income (but after expenses this is even less – eg. break even). And then not getting paid this income until 12 months after they first go into the shops.

Seems like an old school way of doing business to me, compared to doing it through my websites, etc. and then making 100% of the profit (I say this because today I have to make the decision again to go through this process for my new book called “Activate Your Weight Loss.”

Should I spend $2000-$4000 to get 400 books for the Australian bookshops that I know I will only break even on my investment, but not for 12 months - with the only real benefit being the increased awareness of my message to the people that buy my book? Or, is it better to spend $2000-$4000 on Google AdWords to people who are directly searching for my book and its topic - rather than being one of 500 of the same books on a shelf in an actual location in the world, and then having to do PR to get people to that bookshop – Hmmmm…I guess what I am really saying is the Internet is so much easier and the return on investment is so much higher for a lot less effort).

What advice do you have for other self-published authors?

Make sure you have a Website that supports your book, and then from that, make sure you create different forms of products/services to leverage off your book. (Eg. coaching, workshops, newsletters, membership programs, article marketing, audios, videos, etc.) Unless you become world famous for your first book (somehow), you are going to need other income streams to support your message development until enough people see you as their trusted advisor on your chosen topic/field of expertise. And once this happens, things will become easier. (Eg. people will come to you rather than you trying to get them to come to you.)

Is there anything else you would like to add?

From a personal growth and expansion point of view, I would recommend that you self-publish any day over using a publisher. (However I say this having never used a publisher) It will certainly reveal parts of you that you did not even know existed, but I guarantee you it will be worth it.

Thanks for your insights Andrew! We look forward to seeing your success grow!

Do you have questions on how to sell your book and the self-publishing process? Please let me know here, at, or at I’m here to help! Thanks!

7 Quick Tips to Save Time and Money Raising a Child and a Business

As a mother and entrepreneur, do you run around your home simultaneously making oatmeal for your children, responding to e-mails, answering customer calls, and doing a load of laundry among other tasks? If so, it’s time to stop and review your activities.

By making a few simple changes, you can grow your business faster, have more time, and most importantly, reduce stress. Here are a few quick tips from one Mom to another to help you get started:

1. Work ahead as much as possible.

Unexpected things happen all the time, and it’s better to focus on these issues rather than panic about work that needs to be finished. My son had scarlet fever twice in twelve months. And with a child so sick, the first few days were very stressful. But because I didn’t have anything pressing with my company, I was able to take care of him without too much distraction.

2. Outsource things you can’t do as well as others.

This may not be the cheapest option, but often it is the best. The time it would take you to learn to do something that an expert can do instead needs to be counted as cost. Also think about the time being taken away from your child.

3. Trade your skill with someone who can do something for you.

Everyone is good at something so figure out your strengths and use them to your advantage. Find others who need your assistance and offer to trade services. For example, are you computer-savvy but short on time when it comes to meal preparation? You may want to offer a computer lesson or two to someone who can prepare a freezer meal for you.

4. Do the tough jobs first.

For some, the toughest task may be doing the laundry. For others, it might be answering customer e-mails. I find that doing the job I least enjoy first makes everything else easier. After all, no one likes to have a dreaded job hanging over their head all day.

5. Use your friends.

Coordinate with your friends to help each other out and share responsibilities when necessary. For example, one of my friends is going to night school. When she has a big test coming up, her son spends the afternoon with me. When I have something that needs my concentration, my son spends the afternoon with her.

6. Get Help From Your Kids.

Even very young children can help around the house. For instance, it’s not difficult to take clothes out of the dryer and separate them to be folded or to set the table for meals. And older children can help with the business. This will also teach them the day-to-day activities that go into different jobs and give them an advantage when they start working on their own.

7. Find free stuff.

Look for no-cost products and services online to help you work more efficiently. After all, there are so many free things out there, we’re spoiled for choice. There are free e-mail services, blog sites, Web sites full of tips for making your business better, and activities and classes for your children.

Get Help and Go for it!

It can be a challenge to be a caring mother while growing a successful business. However, if you plan accordingly, find the right people, products and services to help you, and take advantage of the many free opportunities available, you can save time and money. Plus, you’ll reduce your stress and be able to focus on the things most important to you.

Do you have questions about running a business or self-publishing your book? Please let me know here or at I'd love to hear from you!

Self-Publishing Author Series: Interview with Liz Goodgold

Today, we hear from self-published author Liz Goodgold. Liz is a branding expert, speaker and the author of “Red Fire Branding: Create a Hot Personal Brand to Have Customers for Life!”, and “DUH! Marketing: 99 Monstrous Missteps You Can Use to Learn, Laugh, and Grow Your Business,”

Tell us about your self-published book.

“DUH! MARKETING” offers a humorous jaunt through the advertising and marketing jungle and is guaranteed to get readers to chuckle or gasp over positively on-point or miserably off-target marketing efforts by some of the most recognized companies worldwide.

“DUH! MARKETING” covers the essentials of marketing through analysis of humorous and not-so-hilarious real-life examples. It provides simple and foundational marketing guidelines following the premise that if readers can remember an outrageous story, they will never forget its lesson. Every DUH! Is followed by a parallel Ta Da! so that you learn what works and what doesn't.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

After acquiring a very prestigious agent who also represented Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, I discovered that interested publishers had a very different idea of the book than I had. It was either my vision or their vision-no compromise. Further, the book was already finished, and I couldn’t get the book published fast enough; it seemed to me that the sooner it was published, the sooner I could reap the rewards.

What has been your biggest reward in self-publishing your book?

A book is the best business card you will ever create! It moves your credibility beyond “knowledgeable” to “expert.” I used the book as my foundation to grow my speaking business exponentially. I also learned that publishing your book isn’t news (unless it is about a wizard named Harry Potter!), but you can use your book as an opportunity to bombard the media.

I appeared on hundreds of radio and TV stations talking about Brittney Spears, Super Bowl commercials, networking, and the best ways to market. It is the ultimate springboard for publicity.

What has been the most challenging part of self-publishing your book?

The devil is in the details. Just because you are a subject-area expert, doesn’t mean you understand the intricacies of publishing. Getting an ISBN number, filing for copyright, designing the cover, and getting your book up on Amazon, for example, makes for tedious work best delegated to others as I discovered later in the game.

What advice do you have for other self-published authors?

Two key pieces of advice:

Delegate certain tasks; you cannot, for example, proof your own book. Similarly, find someone who can handle the book publishing details so that they are accurate.

Find a coach who will keep you on track. Without a publisher, it’s easy to make your book into a “some day” project. With a coach seeking accountability and responsibility, I guarantee that you will progress, hit deadlines, and ultimately get your book to market.

Excellent information Liz! Thanks for your insights.

Do you have questions on how to sell your book and the self-publishing process? Please let me know here, at, or at I’m here to help! Thanks!