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The #1 Self Publishing Mistake to Avoid

Jul 08, 2024

The average self-published book sells fifty copies in a lifetime.

Do you want to spend four months writing a book only to sell fifty copies?

If not, read on.

We’re going to highlight the #1 reason why most books drown in the ocean of 10,000 new books published every single day.

To do so, I need to share a few examples.

I'm going to teach you the most powerful business lesson I've learned:

The power of tangibility.

Tanner Chidester is an entrepreneur who generates over $10 million per year in sales.

He was doing a Q&A on Instagram one day — analyzing people’s offers for free.

Someone asked:

“Tanner, what do you think about this offer...I will help people grow their business by fixing their mindset.” 

His reply:

“You have to make it tangible. If it’s not tangible, good luck.” 

Dan Henry is an entrepreneur who serves coaches and has generated over $30 million in his business.

He wrote a post on Facebook a couple years back that still stands out in my mind:

“The difference between a program that sells and one that doesn’t...

The difference between a program you can sell for $6,000 versus $60...

Comes down to whether the program has a QER... Quantifiable End Result.” 

The other day, I was driving around Denver and noticed all the stores in a shopping center. There was a coffee shop, a burrito place, a life insurance company, a yoga studio, and a brewery.

It struck me: all these businesses offer something tangible. 

If you still aren’t convinced, think about how you spend money. What have you bought that wasn’t tangible?

Look at your bank statement and try to find something you bought that wasn't tangible.

A book is no different.

People aren’t buying “a book.” They are buying a solution to a problem.

The answer happens to be packaged as a book.

If the problem your book solves isn’t clear, no one will have a reason to buy it.

Examples of Tangible Solutions 

In my book Nail Your Niche, I wrote extensively about how to determine if your offer is tangible.

Still, I get DM’s from readers who say:

“Hey, can you tell me what you think about my offer?

I want to help entrepreneurs grow their leadership skills.” 

That’s not tangible.

Grow their leadership skills so they can get what?

How will they know when their leadership skills have grown?

My most successful offer in the real estate coaching space was:

“buy your first rental property.”

There’s something great about having a clear finish line to cross with your clients.

Did you get the rental property or not?

My book Get Clients With a Book is another example. It shows you how to publish a book that brings you clients. Tangible.

How to Discover Your Tangible Outcome 

To figure out your tangible outcome, we start by discussing the "Big 3 Markets".

They are:

Health, wealth, and relationships.

(There is a fourth market that is a bit trickier to sell it but vitally important. I call it "Happiness or Inner Peace")

People want these things the most and will pay the most money for them. You can sell things outside of these markets, but it will be a lot harder.

Here’s why the Big 3 Markets work:

We all have a friend who struggles to find the right relationship —bouncing from person to person — always blaming something outside them when the relationship doesn’t work out.

The friend doesn’t think he is the problem. He doesn’t know he needs to grow. He just wants to find a great relationship.

He will respond to an advertisement for a book about:

“How to find a great relationship”

He’s going to scroll right past a book about:

“How to grow as a person”

You will teach him personal growth inside the book. But the cover should advertise his desired end goal: a great relationship.

This is where the mantra comes from:

“Sell them what they want, then give them what they need.” 

For some of you, your book topic clearly ties to one of the big three markets.

For example:

  • Sales Wealth
  • Yoga Healh
  • Nutrition Health
  • Dating Relationships
  • Social Media Growth Wealth

Some of you may be considering a topic where the benefit isn’t as straightforward. For example, say “personal growth” is your topic.

Personal growth can lead to all three: more wealth, health, and better relationships.

Pick one of them to position your book around. I wouldn’t write a book about “personal growth”. I’d write one called “The Money Mindset”.

I’d teach people mindset (personal growth) so that they can make more money.

If you aren’t sure which Big 3 to choose, pick the one you care about the most. Not the one you think you should care about. What you actually care about—and how you spend your time back that up.

For example, many say that family comes first, yet they spend most of their time thinking about money and working on their business.

This person would be better off choosing to help others create wealth because it aligns with them.

Here are examples of tangible outcomes you could deliver via your book within each of the big markets:


  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Clear your skin of eczema
  • Gain 10 pounds of muscle


  • Create $2,000/month in passive income
  • Buy your first small business
  • Grow to 10,000 YouTube subscribers


  • Find a partner after divorce
  • Marry your soulmate
  • Make three lifelong friends

Happiness / Inner Peace

  • Cure your anxiety
  • Rid yourself of overwhelm
  • Experience a deep sense of inner peace

How to Pick the Best Outcome for Your Book 

With so many potential outcomes, it can be intimidating to decide.

Here’s a process that my clients love. It will help you discover the best tangible outcome you can deliver.

Step #1: List all the tangible outcomes you could get for your dream client.


  • Build a website
  • Get them to 10K/month
  • Create a sales process
  • Hire an executive assistant
  • Create an email follow up sequence

Step #2: Score each outcome on a scale from 1-10 in two ways:

1 — How excited you are about getting each outcome

2 — How confident you are in your ability to create each outcome

We score it this way because we want you to:

1 — Have a lot of passion for the outcome

2 — Feel confident in your ability to deliver it.

We want you to have fun and make money.

If you aren’t passionate about it, it won’t be fun.

If you aren't confident in your abilities, you won't be able to sell it.

Don’t choose an outcome you haven’t already gotten for yourself or someone else. You won’t be able to fool anyone, and it’s not ethical.

When you complete this exercise, one or two outcomes will stand above the rest. Choose the one that feels right.

If You’re Struggling I haven’t always had a tangible outcome to sell. I know how it feels when you don’t. It’s frustrating. It can take time to figure out what’s best for you.

It's not worth writing your book until you get clear on this.

I’ve always been a writer. I started writing and illustrating books starting at the age of 10. My mom still has at least a dozen of them. My college buddies paid me to write their papers in college. I wrote two actual books and published them.

Still, it wasn’t until after all of this that it occurred to me, I should help people write books. It took me years to see the “writing” on the wall (pun intended). Looking back, it made sense to me.

Such is life.

You don’t have to figure this out on your own. If you want my help with your book concept (and taking it all the way to publication), grab a call with me using the link below.

PS. When you are ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

#1: Ready to publish a book that grows your brand and brings in high quality clients? Let's chat. ​​>>> Click here to schedule an Author Clarity Call with me​ (packages start at $500/month)

#2: Check out my ​YouTube Channel​, Podcast (​iTunes​ and ​Spotify​), ​Instagram​ and ​LinkedIn​ for more content on creator business, writing, spiritual growth, and fatherhood.

When You're Ready, Here's How I Can Help:

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