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Of Blooks, Vooks, And Slooks with Rebecca Morgan
Our guest is Rebecca Morgan. Rebecca is a CSP, CMC, an international speaker, trainer and consultant who specializes in creating innovative solutions for the workplace effectiveness challenges. She’s appeared on 60 Minutes, Oprah, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, National Public Radio and USA Today as well as international media. She is the bestselling author of 27 books. Two of those books have sold over 250,000 copies each, which is no small achievement and have been translated into nine languages. She co-publishes SpeakerNet News, the weekly ezine of best practices tips for speakers, trainers and authors around the world. She’s created nearly 500 products from interviewing industry experts, which is amazing that you’ve had that many interviews. Welcome, Rebecca. It’s great to have you.
Thank you, Juliet.
For those who don’t know, what is a CSP and a CMC?
CSP is conferred by the National Speakers Association. It means Certified Speaking Professional. They are fewer, I believe it’s 8% at last count, of all professional speakers who belong to say an organization. Fewer than 8% of us have earned this designation. It’s tough to earn. That’s why so few people have gotten it. I’ve had it for several years. The CMC is Certified Management Consultant conferred by the Institute of Management Consultants. At the time when I got that, I was the fifteenth person in the world to have both, which was a nice little melding of I’m not just a good speaker, but I also got the business acumen to make sure that things are implemented and the results come as an end product of my interventions with my clients.
Can you talk a little bit about the criteria to become that speaker designation because it is going to add a lot of credibility in what we’re to talk about?
It changes periodically. Even though I was the Chair of that committee many years ago, it’s been updated. At the time, you had to have 100 different clients, 250 different speaking or training engagements. You had to earn a minimum of $50,000 a year, which isn’t that much. Now they’ve added another criteria where you have to be reviewed. A video has to be reviewed by two fellow CSPs, who have to say, “Yes, you have sufficient high quality to qualify for this designation.” There are some new tweaks. If people are interested, it’s on the NSASpeaker.org site look under qualifications or designation Certified Speaking Professional, and you’ll get the most recent criteria.
She’s the real deal is basically what we’re trying to say here. I do want to talk about that because there are so many people out there who want to be paid speakers. They’ll tell you they’re paid speakers. Going down to the local mall and getting $500 doesn’t compare with when you are a real paid speaker out in the world. Tell us a little bit about SpeakerNet News. What is SpeakerNet News?
The SpeakerNet News is a free weekly ezine full of best practice tips from our about 9,000 subscribers worldwide. It’s designed for speakers, trainers, consultants, authors, anyone in the info guru space who wants to be better at their practice. There’s no fee for this. What we say is if you’re a subscriber, we ask you to submit two tips a quarter. We cull those. We edit them. We check out the URLs if there’s a link in there. We compile those each week into an ezine that we push out to the subscribers. That’s our main focus. We’ve been doing this since 1996.
My business partner, Ken Braly, and I had been doing it that long. In addition to that, we interview industry luminaries, people that I’ve identified have a specific area where they are particularly good. I interview people like you, I’ll be interviewing you soon. We’ll spend an hour drilling down and getting deep on actionable items that our audience can utilize to better their practice. That’s things from how to sell their services, how to create and sell products, how to get media exposure, tips, anything. I usually vetted the people to say, “You have something that’s unique here that our audience would like to hear.” I engage them. We spend an hour going deep.
The key there is actionable items because it’s so easy to give tips. If they’re not something that you can take action immediately and get results, a lot of times people won’t stay engaged. How can someone sign up for that if they wanted to go over and subscribe? Who is that ideal person you’d love to see subscribe?
Anybody who is either full-time or part-time or even an aspiring speaker, someone who is in the same process with books, consulting, training. Anybody in the info guru space. They go to SpeakerNetNews.com. There’s a Subscribe button on there. New subscribers also get the free report I created, 51 Best Marketing Tips from our SpeakerNet News issue. I culled ten years of our ezines and pulled out what I thought were the 51 best or unique ways to market your services. Additionally, we periodically do special reports. We have a special report that one of our readers completed for us, which is a survey of over 250, almost 300 of our readers, who had published a book within the last few years. He wanted to cull what sold books.Drill down and get deep on actionable items that your listeners can utilize to better their practice. Click To Tweet
There are a lot of myths on that. A lot of people assumed that since I was on Oprah, did that help my book sales? I’ve already sold 100,000 books at that time. She did a business book. Business viewers were not her market. Did it do a bump in sales? No. There are all these myths of, “Get on Oprah and you’ll sell a bazillion books.” It had already sold a good amount by then. This drilled down. We culled his findings into a brief report. The nub of what does sell the most books. There’s that on there. We have other reports on travel tips from road warriors. Again, we culled ten years of travel tips. We divided them into eight different categories. If you want to know how to travel well and save money, save time, there are eight different topics that people can glean.
Those are some products that we sell. Additionally, there’s a compilation section where if someone posts a question that I think would have a broader reach to not just them, I asked them to compile the answers. They submit them back to us. We post that on the website for free. There are tips on editors and publishing attorneys, literature, agents. There are maybe 100 different compilations divided by category on the site as well. We try to be a good resource for people to not keep asking the same question, which is what happens on Facebook pages. I’d find is you don’t pay any attention until it applies to you. You want everybody to resubmit what they already submitted a few months ago, the last time that question was asked. This way we capture it so that doesn’t happen. If the question comes up, I send them to the compilation page.
I love that you have this compilation page because there is no magic bullet. She said, “Oprah,” it’s not a magic bullet. It has to be the right audience and a combination of different tactics and platform building tools that you use. You went through those products. That was my next question. We’re going to talk about some things here that are Rebecca creations. Tell us about a blook. What is that?
I did not coin that term when I started doing blooks. That term was already out there. A blook is where you take your blog postings and you compile them into a book. Obviously, there needs to be some flow, some organization. I’ve created nineteen blooks from my two blogs. My other books have all been written to an outline, a traditional way of writing a book. You know what you want to cover when you want to cover it. I created the outline and I started writing to the outline and then posting it on the blog. I got responses. I got comments. I could see what resonated with people, what didn’t make sense. I can refine that posting. Life happened and things that occurred to me that weren’t on the outline I wrote about. Those also often made it into the final book. The point is it’s a way you post your chapters or even subchapters to your following and get feedback.Instead of waiting until it’s published, you know what’s resonating with people. You know which gets the most comments. If you’re a savvy blogger/writer, then you say, “I need to write more to that because that’s what people wanted to hear.” People say, “Why would someone buy a book that they could read online?” Most people now want to read something on their tablets or hard copies. This is one of the blooks that I created based on some of my blog postings. It’s called Life’s Lessons: Insights and Information to a Richer Life. It’s got small chapters, three to five pages long, which on average is about 750 words. When you think about 750 words, that’s not odious. That’s not onerous. That’s doable.
I made the commitment to write every day a blog posting, whether that was 500 words or 1,000 words, but every day was my goal. I felt I didn’t have enough strength in writing regularly. I wanted to build that muscle. I use Julia Cameron’s concept of morning pages, but instead of writing whatever was on my mind, gibberish, I wrote a blog posting so I could use it. At the end of eighteen months, I had enough content. I had 2,000 pages at the end of that. I had enough content for thirteen books without repeating any of the content in any of the other books. These were not short books. These were 120 to 250-page books.
When I say books, I mean this size such as 5.5 x 8.5 and eleven-point type, not double spaced. They’re bookstore-quality books. For our writers, the key was to write every day. I didn’t go to sleep until I’ve written that day. If I was traveling, if I was going to be on a flight or something, I would pre-write a couple and then have them timed to release every day. You have all of this content. Even if you were to write the 750 words in six weeks, in 40 days. If you’re after 120-page book, which I think is the minimum for a book, then it would take you 40 days. In less than six weeks, you would have the content for a book. You could conceivably have eight books a year. Let me put the caveat in there that that is raw material. You need to send it to an editor. You need to have somebody do the internal layout if you’re self-publishing. What I now do is some of that simultaneously.
When I’m starting a new book, I will simultaneously send it to the artist for a book cover because that may take a week or two weeks to get back. I don’t want that slowing down my process. If you say, “Rebecca, I can’t write every day. That’s too much.” How about every other day? You’d have a book in three months instead of six weeks. Would you like to have four new books a year? It depends on what you want. Frankly, 750 words, I can now do it for about twenty minutes. A lot of it is the thinking. You’re thinking through. While I do other things, washing the dishes or on the treadmill or something, that’s the thinking. It’s putting a word to dictation or finger to keyboard to get that thinking and to solidify it, and then to go back and refine it. That’s a blook. All of our readers can do a blook.
I have to ask because I used to write every day when I wrote fiction novels. Do you hysterically laugh when you go back to your rewrites? There were days I would go back when I was rewriting and I’d be like, “This is like one giant brain fart day.” I’d have other days, I’d be like, “I’m a writing genius.”
Maybe I’m delusional, but I am more on the latter side, not the genius side. Granted, even after I’ve posted things, sometimes I’ll go back and reread them and go, “That was a typo. That sentence didn’t make sense. I will refine them before they make it into the final book.” That’s also why you hire a professional editor because we don’t see our own mistakes. We’re so close to it. That’s a blook. There’s also vooks, which are video into books, which I haven’t quite figured out. It’s integrating video into an eBook where they could click and see an example of something. Before we go onto the next one, any other questions about a blook?
I’ve got a blook down. A lot of people are doing a spin-off that video they’re doing. A lot of people are doing transcription with their podcast as well because that’s another great way to put it all together and then get it into a book. They’re doing a little bit of that. Talk to us about your next creation because I laughed at the name. It’s a slook.You know what you want to cover when you want to cover it. Click To Tweet
If we were going in the same theme of blook is blog into a book, a vook is a video into books. We’re going slook, which is slides into book. I know some of our viewers give presentations. They spend time creating great slides that are easy to read and have the content down. I gave the first rendition of a new talk, which is called Leadership Lessons from Silicon Valley. I live in Silicon Valley. I have clients in Silicon Valley. A conference in the Philippines asked me to speak on this topic. I put it together. It’s only a half-an-hour talk but still it took me a while to put together. I did it two more times in the Philippines with different conferences.
Out of the eight or ten speakers, that topic was the highest rated. I felt pretty good about that. One of them asked me to expand my half-an-hour talk into a full-day talk. It’s a workshop. I spent two weeks flushing out the content, creating the slides. I liked the slides. I said, “If I give them the slides, it will be useful to them, but it won’t be as useful if I flush it out a little bit.” I took the slides. There’s content explaining whatever I would have explained from the stage between the slides. They get the data. They get the information. They get cool quotes. They get the images that I’ve created. They get whatever explanation beyond the slide. In addition to that, it also has links to studies that I quote assessments, which you’ll appreciate that go along with the content, not assessments I created but assessments that are available. It includes a few articles from my blog back to the blog concept that applied to that content.
At the end of each chapter are a couple of articles that explain it in more depth. I could have integrated those in the slides but I wanted to have a tool also for them to have. If they’re in my audience and they can follow along, there are places where the audience members can add their thoughts. There are places where when I have them do an exercise or I’ll say take 30-seconds and write down your thinking about, there are places for them to write that. I call it a workbook on steroids because it’s way more robust. It now gives me a tool that I have my clients buy for every person in the audience as well as if they haven’t done that. If it’s a public conference and they don’t do that, then we sell back to the room for people to have and take away and be able to get more depth than refresher of what the main points were.
This is such a cool concept because if you wanted to film an event, you could use that to create the workbook that if you did round one without it. You could fill it, transcribe and do a lot of this as well. That is a cool tool to make your workbook from.
We try not to call it a workbook because it de-values it. Between us here, we can call it that. You can audio tape it obviously and have it transcribed as well. The video is cool. You could put links in the slook, one of those shortened links. It doesn’t take forever to type the link to a YouTube video. You telling that story. Instead of having the transcript of the story in the slook, you could have a link to the actual video of you telling that story. What I’ve done is in the front of the slook, I’ve got a page that says, “Go to this private page.” There will be links to the assessments and the studies that I quoted and the videos that I’m referencing. All the links are in one place and I can update them easily. Instead of having them printed in the slook, now my next iteration is going to having it on a page where I can add.
We actually did a book for Rich Germann. It was a little bit younger crowd. We did it with QR codes because so many of them in the audience have their phones out and they can go right to that video. You’ve got so many ideas on how to put this together easily for those who think that a book is such a monumental task to get out the door. How many of those did you do off of that couple-month blog, did you say thirteen?
From the eighteen months of blogging every day, thirteen plus I had two bonus books. There are thirteen that have all unique content. I have one that is my ethical bribe. They signed up for the mailing list and they get that. That interestingly has thirteen chapters in it.
That’s a big book.
There are thirteen chapters because there are thirteen books. They have one chapter from each of the thirteen books that have links back to those individual books for them to buy or they can buy the whole library. The second free book is a gift with purchase book that I did with eleven other experts in this area. We each have a chapter. At the end of the chapter is a promo for that person’s products or services, which are all affiliate links. Anybody who orders from that book, I get a commission from because I put together that gift with purchase book. Our deal is all twelve of us, we can’t sell it. It has to be a bonus for them buying one of your products.
You’re hearing the way that you put this book together. One of the books I read I loved because they put the podcast as additional resources at the end too. They had the affiliate links to the person’s products as well. I thought that was a great way to do it too. You’re combining so many different income streams there but providing great information with it. You have an up and coming slook class.Find enough strength in writing regularly. Build that muscle. Click To Tweet
I do. It’s a live virtual seminar. We’re doing it in three sessions so that you have time to work on the information from the first session, put it into the second session, etc. It’s a step through. If people are interested, they go to MakingMoneyInJammies.com. Under the first Mini-Course under the tab, they’ll see the slook course. There is an early bird price. Hopefully, you can get in before that. There are several different options. One is just the course. One is the course with some coaching from me. It’s called How to Create a Slook in a Month because the goal is that if you do what we say, you can have it out the door. This slook, I did in two weeks. I sent it to the printer after two weeks and had it on hand in ten days because it took them two days to print and a week to mail with the weekend. You can do it. Maybe you don’t have it in hand in a month, but you could have it ready to go to the printer in a month if you follow my direction.
What do you do? Let’s get into that a little bit more now that they know where they’re going. What would you tell them that they need to have in place for this course?
They get a pre-work email that says, “You need to have your slides in good working order.” If you think, I need to revise these or I need to have some professional help on them,” that needs to be in order. You can always go back and replace them before you go to print, which I’ve put in placeholders sometimes in the flow. If you know you have a popular talk that you don’t have a book for, then you’ll want to have that transcription of that recording of the talk at your ready. Ideally, start editing it or send it to an editor ahead of time so that I can walk you through once you have those components, what do you do next. Most people think their slides are in better order than they are. I’m doing this presentation live. I’m telling the participants, either bring a printout of that popular talk slides, even if it’s in sixteen up format or bring it on your computer and you’ll be in a small group and get honest feedback whether they’re ready or not.
This honest feedback is not only about your slides but about your talk, how it’s formatted, it sounds like.
At the minimum, it’s the image of the slides. I travel with my professional speaker friends all the time and see slides that I go, “Are you kidding me? How do you expect them to read it?” They have a way too much on a slide. They have a twelve-point type. Even professional speakers don’t always have the slides that we’ll then port into a slook because frankly, they’re not viable for a talk. Let alone in a slook where they’re going to be business card size.
That bring up some good points about they are not only getting the slook training from you, but they’re going to be getting a little bit of speaker evaluation in that as well.
I do partner them with a buddy to get feedback on because I can’t personally give all the people feedback. That’s why if they want the individual coaching then that’s available. I can go through their deck with them and help them with the flow.
Once again, can you tell us where we find that course out because it’s interesting?
It’s MakingMoneyInJammies.com. It’s under the Mini-Course. I call them Mini-Courses because it’s for three weeks. If you are willing to get a lot done, I will help you get a lot done in those three weeks.
You guys have action, not just theory. If you’re ready to step in and do something quickly because remember out there you have a choice between getting something done in a weekend or three weeks versus nine months to a year. If you have those options, take that accelerated path and get some deliverables out of it. The slow way, a lot of times we don’t get things done. Things get in the way. What do you think, Rebecca?
I’m a get-it-done person. In fact, one of the gals from the last course I did on this, she had her slook in three weeks because she was going to go speak at a conference where they were going to be hundreds of people and she didn’t have any BOR. The other point is what I’ve found in decades of doing this work is if you have BOR products that echo your talk, they are going to sell much better. I didn’t have a product on this talk and knew that it was going to hurt my sales because my other books weren’t related to this topic. I have found now that they sell. In fact, I sold out the last few conferences that I went to because didn’t anticipate because this was new to me. It’s a new product I’ve invented. I had no idea how much the demand was going to be. I under packed.
BOR is Back Of the Room. Thank you so much for sharing all this with us. This was some great information. Once again, where can they subscribe to the newsletter?
It’s SpeakerNetNews.com. On the Making Money in Your Jammies courses, there’s a home-study course, which is 38 lessons on how to make money through webinars and teleseminars. The slook isn’t in that yet because I just invented it. If you want more general information about how to take your nonfiction information and monetize it better, there’s a home study course on there.
That is at the same URL, the SpeakerNet or the Jammies?
Thank you very much, Rebecca. It was great to have you on.
Thank you, Juliet.
- Rebecca Morgan
- SpeakerNet News
- Life’s Lessons: Insights and Information to a Richer Life
- How to Create a Slook in a Month
- Home-study course
About Rebecca Morgan
Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC, is an international speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in creating innovative solutions for workplace effectiveness challenges. She’s appeared on 60 Minutes, Oprah, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, National Public Radio and USA Today as well as international media.
Rebecca is the bestselling author of 27 books. Two have sold over 250,000 copies each and have been translated into 9 languages.
She Co-Publishes SpeakerNet News, the weekly ezine of best practice tips for speakers, trainers, and authors around the world. She’s created nearly 500 products from interviewing industry experts.
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