Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
How To Write A Book From The Heart with Keith Leon
I am talking to the magnificent, Keith Leon, and we have some good stuff for you. Keith Leon is a multi-bestselling author. He owns a successful publishing company and he’s a book mentor. He’s well-known as The Book Guy with his wife, Maura. Keith co-authored the book called The Seven Steps to Successful Relationships and the acclaimed bestselling author, John Gray and Terry Cole Whitaker and Keith co-authored the international bestseller, Who Do You Think You Are? Discover the Purpose of Your Life with a foreword done by Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield. He appeared on many popular radio and TV broadcasts and his work has been covered by Inc. Magazine, LA Weekly, The Huffington Post, Succeed Magazine, just to name a few. He has spoken at events that included Jack Canfield, Neale Donald Walsch, Barbara de Angelis, John Gray, Michael Beckwith and Marianne Williamson. His passion is teaching people how to go from that first thought to a bestseller and to create what he calls, “The world’s greatest business card.” Please help me welcome, Keith Leon.
Hi, how’s everybody doing?
When we did a Facebook Live, it was one of the most watched Facebook Lives in my group. People enjoyed you and I love hearing about how you have a process where you write books with people from the heart. I love that about what you’re doing because for so many of us, it’s hard to get that analytical piece out of it when we write with our head and it just doesn’t connect to people. I know me, rarely my brain even connects with me. How in the world do I expect it to connect with other people? How did you get the name The Book Guy?
The book that changed my life completely was the second book that I did. It’s called Who Do You Think You Are? Discover The Purpose of Your Life, now it’s an international bestseller. I went from, “Keith who?” to all of a sudden being on the big stage. From speaking to twenty people to speak into a thousand people. From being only able to get to local press to being able to get national media. I found myself on the big stage after that book came out and I’m speaking about life purpose, which is the topic of the book. Every speaker starts at the very beginning with a piece that I call earning the right, and that’s the, “Why would you listen to me? What have I done? Where have I gone from here to here?” During that story, I told about how I got all these incredible people to be in that book, Who Do You Think You Are?, which was ten people from the movie, The Secret, and many people you would know and your audience would know were in that book.
I would do that on the right piece and then I would go into the life purpose piece and all these people at the event started coming up to me and they would say, “Aren’t you that book guy? Aren’t you the book guy? Are you the book guy?” I heard that so many times that I said, “I get it.” I went and looked up and sure enough, the URL was available. I realized that I was the only person alive that had all of the information about how to create a huge bestselling book from all of the bestselling authors, speakers, trainers, and marketing experts of the world that had all taught me everything they knew. I was the only one that had that. I literally went from, “Keith who?” to The Book Guy in nine months’ time and it was amazing. It was the people that called me The Book Guy and gave me that name. I just heard it over and over again. I’m a guy, I have to hear things at least three times a day but I heard it way more than three times.
I know a lot of us online entrepreneurs are such URL junkies, but isn’t it funny how you just know something’s meant to be when you go, and the URL is right there? I had that on Author Success Academy. I was sitting in the classroom, we were setting up our academy and I was like, “I think the Author Success Academy, but it will never be available.” I even flagged somebody down and I was like, “Did you spelled that right?” Thinking I must have typed it wrong if it’s available but that’s how you just know.
That’s how you know it’s supposed to happen. I’ve got some of those where I could not believe that I got it.
You have a full-service publishing company and you’ve had it for over fourteen years now, which is just incredible because so many publishing companies go in and out of business very quickly. How did that all start and how did you become one of the huge publishing houses like you are now?
The first book that we published, we just decided, “We’re doing a book and we’re starting a business. We might as well also do a DBA as a publishing company.” We started the company Successful Communications doing business as Babypie Publishing. We put the first book out and the first book did nothing because I had no idea what to do about marketing. I didn’t know it was my business card. I didn’t know anything yet. We got John Gray’s endorsement on the front cover of our relationship books, so I thought it was just going to fly off the shelves all by itself. That second book where I got Jack Canfield, he did the foreword and all those mentors took me under their wings and taught me how to create an international bestseller. Amazon has the algorithm that says, “If you like that book, you like this one. If you spend $10 more, you’ll get free shipping,” everybody was adding the first book to their cart as well. When Who Do You Think You Are? was an international bestseller, so was the first book that we did because everybody was adding it to their cart.
Now I have success with two books, two international bestsellers. After I realized that I was The Book Guy, I started doing classes and teaching people how to write their books. I had helped so many people and one of my mentors, Jack Canfield said, “You might want to start thinking about possibly publishing some of those people that you’re helping to write their books.” I thought, “I know I can create an international bestseller for myself, but could I do it for someone else?” We took two authors that we were working with and created an international bestseller for them. Now we have four international bestsellers underneath our logo, our stamp.
I was speaking again to my mentor and he said, “When you’ve had success with four books and you know there’s going to be more behind it, you’re a publishing company.” That’s all it takes is to have success with your imprint and to be able to do that for other people and you’ve already proven that. I suggest you change some word, some verbiage on your site and own that and claim that.” We did, we started publishing more people and we’re not a vanity publisher. We don’t just publish anything. We publish things where it’s a match. We publish books that make a difference. You feel better when you put it down than when you picked it up. That’s a prerequisite. Those are the types of books that we do. It’s all the cutting-edge difference makers in the world. That’s who we publish.A good quote is one to two sentences. Short is better in this case, specifically for a book cover. Click To Tweet
One of the things you shared with me is that you can teach authors. This is so important when we’re putting together nonfiction books, that we’ll be able to tap on big names to help us out and write the forewords. I remember somebody I was talking to telling me that she had Brian Tracy write hers and it made all the difference. This is the super-secret sauce that nobody knows about out there. I asked you if you’d be happy to share it. You said yes, which I thought, “He’s going to say, ‘I’m very unhappy. It’s my super-secret sauce that I’m keeping for my own clients.’” For our audience, this is the gold, this is the stuff that nobody out there teaches you how to do. What’s cool is Keith is going to do some game-changing which is what they teach us to do. Can you share that process with us?
What you said is true. This is typically saved for people that work with us, people that we publish, our authors, but you asked me and you’re awesome so I’ll share it with your people. I want to start off by sharing with you that almost every endorsement that you’ve ever read on a book was most likely written by the author or the editors on the book. Sometimes I hear people say in response to that, “Every endorsement that I have ever read means nothing to me now?” I wanted to address that. First of all, I want to reframe that for you before we get into the actual process. A good endorsement is only one or two sentences and they’re only so creative that you can be in a sentence or two.
If you provide somebody and you will, three pre-written endorsement quotes, one of those quotes that you send them is going to be exactly what the person who would have said anyway and now you’ve saved them the time of having to write one, which highly increases your chances of getting a yes to your request. Standard practice is to provide three pre-written quotes and a short excerpt from your book, not the whole book. If it looks like I’m reading a script here, I am because I’m going to read exactly what you will be getting when you get the PDF that you’re going to receive.
I want to stick to this so that when you go ahead and read it later and you click the link and you listen to me, go through it again that it really landed and you’re going to go, “I remember that,” and it’s really going to have landed. The first thing you’ll do is you’re going to click the link and listen to me, but right now the way that you start when you go to get endorsements is you want to make a list of all the people that you would love to have endorsed your book. I don’t want you to limit yourself with this list. If someone’s super well-known, write their name down anyway. Most people in the self-help arena are not hiding. They will be easy to find. Once you’ve created your list, count how many names that you have on your list and write at least that many endorsement quotes. You’re going to pre-write at least that many endorsement quotes.
I like to write 150% of the amount on my list. If my list was twenty people, I would write 30 quotes and I’ll tell you why. You’re going to keep the quotes simple and short. A good quote is one to two sentences, short is better in this case, specifically for a book cover. Inside the book, one to three sentences but on the cover, one to two. That way you’re able to get more and people will read them if they’re short. If they’re longer, all they read is the name of the person. If you need any good ideas, let’s say you’ve already written ten and you’re like, “I don’t have any more. It’s in me. I don’t know what to do.” Go grab some of the motivational books or something that’s in the same subject or genre that you’ve written on your shelf and read the endorsement quotes on those books. You’ll soon find that they are all very similar in nature. Just imagine now that you’ve read your book and you loved it, what would you say about your book? How would you give praise to it in the least amount of words and make this process fun? It can be fun, especially if you allow it to be. This is a great process and you’re going to need these endorsement quotes when it comes time for you to reach out to these people and ask for the endorsements for the book. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you too much, but I want to educate you how the process is done in the real world.
The standard practice for getting endorsements is to send an email with your very short keyword, very short request for endorsement, and three pre-written endorsement quotes written by you. Also, with one chapter of your book, your strongest chapter so that they can get a sense of your writing style and the subject of the book. I have found the following statement to be the most effective in getting a yes answer from the person that you’re requesting the endorsement from. It goes like, “I have included in this mail one chapter on my book and three endorsement quotes to choose from. You can either pick one of the provided quotes, change one a bit to personalize it or write one of your own.” You have made it very easy for that person that you’re making a request to, to say yes. Some of the people that you’ll ask are incredibly busy and they received many requests for endorsements and it’s all in how you ask that will determine the answer that you will receive.
What I’ve shared with you is the way to ask. It will generally increase the probability of you receiving the yes answer because you made it so easy for them to say yes. Short and sweet is one of the keys to your success. Here’s a valuable tip. This is what I’ve learned over the years. If you have a preference as to which one of the three quotes they choose, put that quote last. I don’t know why, but people always choose the third quote. Even me and I teach that. You typically want to pick the last one that we read. That’s the way it goes. The endorsement quote template goes like this. This is called an endorsement elevator speech. It’s an elevator email. You want it to fit in the size of the window when somebody opens up their email without them having to scroll down. Here’s what it will look like, “Dear,” insert their name, “I am writing a book about,” put what your subject is about, “called,” the name of your book, your title, and your subtitle, “and would love to have your endorsement. I am a big fan of your work. I value your opinion and I know my readers will as well.”
Then a new paragraph, “I’ve included in this email one chapter of my book, see attached and three endorsement quotes to choose from. See below.” I highlight that in the color, either purple or blue and bold it so that, “See below” jumps out and then back to black. “You can either pick one of the provided quotes, change one of it to personalize it or write one of your own.” Then a new line, “Thanks in advance for saying yes to this request,” because you’re assuming they’re going to say yes, “I look forward to your reply.” Right underneath that, it says, “Endorsement quote suggestions,” underlined and bold. You’re going to make these endorsement quote suggestions and that title the same color as what you did above in the parentheses that says, “See below.”
There’s something about the brain that when they see “See below” in purple, they sometimes jump straight to the purple and pick one. They don’t even need to read, “You can either pick one of the provided quotes, changed one to personalized it.” They jumped straight to the purple because their brain takes them there. If they read the rest, now they know that they’ve arrived to purple and now it’s time to choose a quote. Change it a bit to make it their own or write one of their own as you previously instructed. It says, “Endorsement quote suggestions,” same color as what you put in the parentheses above. You put three short quotes, one or two sentences, then your sign off. For me, it was, “Blessings, Keith Leon. President, Babypie Publishing,” and then my website and then my phone number.
Everything that I said up to the sign-off, that’s what needs to fit in the window without having to scroll down when someone opens up an email. They don’t even have to scroll down. If they want to scroll down and see your name and all that information, that’s okay but it isn’t the important part. The important part is to get all of that in the window where people don’t have to scroll down. It’s like the top third rule on a website. That’s what people will read. If they feel like they have to scroll down, they might just click out. Everything they need to read is right there in the top without them having to scroll down. When they scroll down and the go, “Who is it?” Then they see who it is and they say yes.
You will be provided with this script. This script works perfectly when it’s unedited. You have a template, you’re just going to fill in those two things where I put a blank and everything else, you’re going to keep the same. Every person who’s filled out the blanks exactly and kept it the way it is has had a huge level of success. If someone wants to send more perhaps, “I need more.” Some will, then they’ll ask. Some people will not endorse unless they read the whole book. Perhaps they also want to write their own quote. That’s fine. In this case, that’s great because it was their idea, not yours. You made it so easy for them that they could have just read your instructions or one strong chapter or they could have thrown a dart or pointed their finger at one.
You made it that easy for them. If you’re using this template the way that it is, if you get to the person or the decision maker, seven out of ten people will say yes to this request as is, then send you a quote back. The key to this is a follow-up. You send the request if you don’t get an immediate reply, you wait one day and then the next day you send it again. I always put, “Resending,” in the subject line and at the very top of the page highlighted in purple and then I wait another day. If I don’t hear back, I sent it again with another resending and I let them know each time, “This is how many times I’ve resent it,” just by putting, “Resending.”
When I did the Who Do You Think You Are? book project, I got all these people to interview in the book. I asked 80 people, I got 68 yeses. I got that because of my follow-up. You’re not being a pain in the you-know-what until somebody says, “No, please go away.” If they say no, then you say, “Who do you know that would be able to do this?” If they say, “No, go away,” then anything after that, you become a nuisance. Anything short of them saying, “No, go away,” is called great follow-up and it’s the difference between you and everyone else. Other people will send an endorsement quote request once, maybe twice and if they don’t hear anything back, they’ll go away. That’s why they don’t answer it the first few times in a lot of cases, especially if it’s a big ask, not an easy one like this. Once they have chosen one of the quotes, turn back to them a request for their name and title. Sometimes if I know the person, I go ahead and I put what I think they would want as the name and title on the endorsement quotes and they can change it then. You can try and see which one of those works best for you. For the sake of what I’ve written here, once you get the quote then turn it back and say, “Here’s the name and title,” or I’d go to their website, I put together their name and title the way that you think they like it.
If they are authors, maybe find a quote they’ve already done for one of the books. See what their name and book title was on that. That’s probably the standard one that they want. If they’re not an author, go to their website, read their bio. Usually, a bio will start off with something like, “This person is this and this and he’s written one of the bestselling books or this person is a creator and founder of this organization or the dean of this college or the chief of staff at this hospital.” You get the picture. You just provide the quote that they chose, added to or rewrote themselves, with their name and title after and then asked for approval for the whole thing. If you’ve not already nailed it then trust me, they’ll tweak it and send it back to you the way that they want it.It's all in how you ask that will determine the answer that you will receive. Click To Tweet
Next, I want to share a bonus template with you. This is that email ask letter that I told you to use. It’s what got me the interviews with those 63 rockstars in my bestselling book, Who Do You Think You Are? Discover the Purpose of Your Life. I want to tell you the formula of what that letter consists of. After you’ve created your list of endorsers, people that are going to endorse your book, you went and found their contact information. You can usually find everything on their website. If they only have an office number, call it, ask for the assistant or the person that you can reach them. Ask them for their email address. Introduce yourself and tell them that you’ll be sending an email shortly and you want to make sure that it finds the right mailbox.
That’s one way to follow-up, talk to the person and tell them that you’re sending the request. Then next, you will create that elevator email. That’s the email where everything is in the window without having to scroll down. To break it down in the elements that I use is first, subject line, a catchy subject title. Mine was, “Interview requests for the next bestseller.” I heard it over and over again. It made them go like, “What’s that? I want to know what the next bestseller is. Do they want to interview me? What’s that about?” They open it up. In the very beginning, I put, “Dear so and so,” and who I am and where we met and why I was contacting them. You can put up what you’re doing, who’s involved, name drop if you’re able to.
First I said, “I love you to endorse my book. I’m a big fan of your work.” After I started getting people, I said, “So far, we have endorsements from,” and I put Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, John Demartini, John Assaraf, that made the totality say, “If they’re doing it, I want to do it,” and so on and so on. I kept adding and adding and adding and if you’re able to drop names, awesome. Then your request and what’s in it for them and what is the benefit for everyone if they choose to participate and how quickly and easy it will be for them to participate. This is for interviews. If you want to interview people, you can tell them that you’ll set up a conference room to record and you’re just going to ask them three questions and it will be ten minutes and then you’re out.
If you make that promise, then you have to keep that promise. That’s why I think I got a yes from these people mentoring me too was because I remember John Assaraf at the end, I said, “Thanks, we’ll be back to you with the edited transcript for you to review.” He was like, “What? Someone kept their promise. That was less than ten minutes and you didn’t try to tell me how great I was or try to get anything from me. This is amazing. Someone keeps their word.” Later when I met him in person, I was like, “I’m Keith Leon from Who Do You Think You Are?” He was like, “This was the guy who kept his word.” He literally said that to his assistant. This one thing can make a difference. You say something that you keep your word.
The next part is how you’d be honored by their participation. This bonus is the interview ask letter if you want to interview people. Again, the catchy subject line, who you are, where you met. If you met them at your event or you met them at some other event, you can drop that, why you’re contacting them. “I’d love to interview you for my book. I’d love to interview you for my radio show,” or whatever. What you’re doing, who’s involved, if you’re able to drop names with the request is. What’s in it for them, “If you’re on my show and you sell something, you can keep everything.” What’s the benefit for everyone if they choose to participate?
If you’re talking to the right person, that will be quick and easy. I always use those words easy or quick, and then I keep my word on that and how honored you’d be by their participation. Then you put the information below and hopefully they can see everything without having to scroll down. What you’re going to get is this written interview as a template and it has an exact example of this. This is how I got people to say yes to interview with me. This one was one to Joe Vitale. It said, “Dear Joe, my name’s Keith Leon, we haven’t met yet. I’m a big fan of your work and I’m looking forward to meeting you soon. The reason for my email is I’m creating an incredible book and would love to include you and your words of inspiration in the book. Let me tell you quickly about it. It’s called, Who Do You Think You Are? Discover The Purpose of Your Life. This book uses a series of three questions to uncover the inspirational stories of successful people and how they were put in their path. This book is to help people discover their purpose in life and see how people are not so different than those who have already had success. It will be done in the Chicken Soup for The Soul format, meaning short stories. Here are just a few of the people who said yes so far.”
By the time I wrote to Joe Vitale, I got to say this, “Jack Canfield, John Assaraf, John Demartini, John Gray, Hale Dwoskin, Bob Proctor, Rudy Ruettiger, Stewart Emery, Mark Thompson, Bill Bartmann, Christine Comaford, Terry Cole-Whittaker, Rhonda Britten, Craig Shoemaker, Scott Green, Scott Evans, Armand Morin, Debbie Allen, and Patricia Drain.” If you know any of those people, that’s like, “Are you kidding me?” I wonder if he said yes and then I put dot, dot, dot meaning, “I’m going to fill in your name next.” “I’m requesting one phone interview with you and I’ll ask three questions. It only takes ten minutes to do the interview. I’ve set up a conference line where I can do the interview and transcribe it at a later time. Will you participate in this inspirational book project? We sure would love to have you onboard. Many powerful blessings.” Then my name was down below where they had to scroll to get to it. “Keith Leon, President, Babypie Publishing,” our website and my phone number.
That’s a bonus for you. How to get that interview with the people that you would love to interview. Take the time to create this letter. The letter means everything to your project success. If you’re contacting this person by phone, you can use your letter as your script to keep you on track, to keep your call brief. People who are successful, they don’t typically have a lot of time to spend on the phone hearing somebody draw on and on about their project. That’s the one thing that I teach all my students. I love to teach all of our authors that you have to ask when you want somebody of influence to help you and drawing on and on is not going to ask. Believe me, I learned that the hard way. I was that guy, but I’ve learned to laser things and do what they call “Right asking” now.When you ask the right way and you make it so easy for them to say yes, you increase the odds of getting a yes. Click To Tweet
When you ask the right way and you make it so easy for them to say yes, you increase the odds of getting a yes. I want to repeat the short endorsement letter that I covered earlier. This way, when you need to do it you’re going to say, “I remember this.” You start by creating that catchy title for your requests such as, “Endorsement request for the next huge bestselling book.” Add the word huge if you want. Make it sound like, “I’ve got to open this. I want to read this.” “A sample endorsement quote request.” You’re going to cut and paste and fill in their info. Before you paste this into the email, this is what I learned. Fill it out ahead of time. Craft the whole thing ahead of time and then when you’re ready, cut and paste it in. Then the last thing you want to put is the email address to the person because the first few times I was doing it right within the email and I was writing, I was tweaking it and I was halfway done, then somehow I’d actually sent. It was sent to that person before it was completed. Cut and paste it, fill in the information and then put it in at the very end.
It’s, “Dear,” whoever you’re asking, “I’m writing a book about,” the subject of your book, “called,” the name of your book, “and we’d love to have your endorsement. I am a big fan of your work. I value your opinion and I know my readers will as well.” Won’t you feel good if you read that? “I’ve included in this email, one chapter of my book, (see attached),” in bold, “and three of those quotes to choose from, see below,” highlighted, bold and in color purple or blue would be my suggestion. “You can either pick one of the provided quotes, change one of it to personalize it, or write one of your own.” Easy peasy. “Thanks in advance for saying yes to this request. I look forward to your reply,” assume a yes. You know they’re going to say yes. Thanks in advance for saying yes and I don’t even know why. “I look forward to your reply. Endorsement quote suggestions,” the same color as above that said, “See below,” and the three endorsement quotes. Either just the quotes or if you feel like you know what their title would be, go and add those to the quotes.
The skill that I have just taught you will serve you and your business for years to come. Once you have reached a point where it’s time for you to get those endorsements for your book, you make your list, you write your ask letter and if you want, you can send it to me. You can send it to me to have a look at it before you send it out. If there’s anything I see that’s a red flag, you didn’t stick to the script or whatever. I’ll make a tweak and I’ll send it back to you. I know it by heart. It takes me a second to do that for you. That’s what I’ll do and you may also want to ask me for an endorsement for the book. If you do that, I will want to see it this way. I also want you to know that people who I know, my mentors, dear friends of mine, who may be the people that you want to get an endorsement quote from. If you send this exact template to them, they will recognize where you got it. That’s going to highly increase your yes factor.
You see this when you stick to it. I had one person who talked to me and they said they wanted to hire me, and they got this much information as they could from me and didn’t hire me. Then they took what they thought I had said about this template. They crafted their own and they sent it to somebody famous that you would know. Their office called me and said, “Is this one of your students because it seems like they’re trying to ask in your way, but it’s not the template? Do you know them?” They said, “We would say yes if we knew that it was coming from you, but we wanted to check.”
First of all, I was blown away because this specific person, I didn’t know they would automatically say yes, just because it came from one of my students. I was like, “Yes, for that.” The good news for the person was I felt that the person they had asked would love the book and was a match for the book. I said, “No, it’s not a student of mine. No, they didn’t hire me. I still think it’s a fit. Say yes,” so they did. I’d like to take this time to share with you that our company, Leon Smith Publishing, also You Speak It Publishing and Babypie Publishing, we provide each step that you would need to get your mission and your message out to the world. We take people from first thought to bestseller and work with Juliet to make sure that you are a rockstar and you get the word out. When you’re ready, let us know. If you want to ask me for an endorsement or just get it tweaked before you send it out, then feel free to send that to me at Info@BabypiePublishing.com. Send it to me there and I’m happy to tweak that for you and send it back.
Thank you. Keith and I met and he’s like this big huggy Teddy bear. I immediately liked him. His wife is such a sweetheart. That’s neither here nor there but we just resonated. We have lots of packages that we can put together for you as well. What he does so well is ghostwriting and publishing and we have platform building. You can see just from what he taught you there, he has a lot of tips and tricks up his sleeve as well that are beyond platform building. Reach out to either one of us if you’re ready to build a platform and write your book and get all this together. He truly has an amazing way of pulling the book out of you in a way that will connect with your reader instead of just being a book. It’s a great business card. He went through a lot of stuff here and that was super impressive. Thank you so much. You can get ahold of him within the platform building group. You can contact him directly. Thank you so much. This was fabulous info.
You’re welcome. Take care.
- Keith Leon
- The Seven Steps to Successful Relationships
- Who Do You Think You Are? Discover the Purpose of Your Life
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
- Successful Communications
- Babypie Publishing
- Leon Smith Publishing
About Keith Leon
Keith Leon S. is a multiple international best-selling author, he owns a successful publishing company and he’s a speaker/trainer who’s well known as, “The Book Guy.” Keith has appeared on many popular radio and television broadcasts, and his work has been covered by Inc. Magazine, LA Weekly, The Huffington Post and Succeed Magazine just to name a few. He has spoken at events that included Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Neale Donald Walsch, Barbara De Angelis, John Gray, Michael Beckwith and Marianne Williamson. He’s also a member of the Evolutionary Business Council. Keith’s passion is teaching people how to go from first thought to bestseller, and to create what he calls, “The World’s Greatest Business Card.”