JF1467: Building Your Real Estate Brand Through Books #SituationSaturday with Julie Broad
Julie has self published her own books, as well as helped a lot of other people publish theirs. When she published her book More Than Cash Flow, it went to #1 overall on Amazon. Today she’s here to tell us how we can use books to build our brand for us. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Julie Broad Real Estate Background:
- Julie Broad is an Amazon Overall #1 Best Selling and award winning author, More Than Cash Flow
- As an entrepreneur and successful real estate investor she was also awarded the Top 20 under 40 Award
- Her latest venture, Book Launchers, helps entrepreneurs and professionals build their business with a brand boosting book
- Listen to her previous Best Ever Advice: JF1084: From Living in her Parents House, to Complete Lifestyle Freedom Through REI with Julie Broad
- Say hi to her at https://booklaunchers.com/
- Based in Los Angeles, CA
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
First off, I hope you’re having a best ever weekend. Because today is Saturday, I’ve got a special segment for you called “Situation Saturday.” The situation is this – you’ve got a company and you want to build that company’s presence, so that you can make more money, so that you can get more customers, and then in turn make more money. Today’s best ever guest, Julie Broad, has done just that by publishing a book, and she has recently launched a venture called Book Launchers, which helps entrepreneurs and professionals build their business with a brand-boosting book. We’re gonna talk about how to do that if you are looking for more customers and ultimately more money from your business. How are you doing, Julie?
Julie Broad: Hey, I’m good! Thanks for having me.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, my pleasure, nice to have you back on the show. Best Ever listeners, you might recognize — you definitely recognize her name, because you’re loyal and you remember episode 1084, titled “From living in her parent’s house (sounds like fun) to complete lifestyle freedom through real estate investing, with Julie Broad.” So if you wanna hear her best ever advice, then go listen to episode 1084.
We’re gonna be talking about how to publish a book to build our real estate brand. Julie has published a book that got the distinction of being Amazon’s number one best-selling in one category, which is the book called More Than Cashflow, and she is an entrepreneur and a real estate investor who was awarded a Top 20 Under 40 award.
With that being said, Julie, will you give the best ever listeners just a little bit of background, real quick, about who you are and what you’ve been focused on? Then we’ll jump right into building our brand through books.
Julie Broad: Yeah, you bet. So as they know if they’ve listened to the best episode, I started investing in real estate in 2001. The first book I wrote, I wrote and published in 2013, after Wiley turned me down. There’s a couple parts that are really cool about that story. First, which is kind of funny — it wasn’t cool at the time to be completely rejected; it was really hard on my ego. But looking back, one of the things was they actually told me that this book idea wasn’t very good. Not in those exact words, but they were like “It’s been done before, it’s already out there.” Then they worked with me on another book idea, and in the end they said “You know what, we don’t think that you have a strong enough marketing platform to sell books.” So then it was full stop, like “We’re not gonna work with you.”
So it took me about a year to get over it, because I really felt like I needed that gatekeeper to tell me my idea was good, and they said it wasn’t, so it took me a while to kind of go “You know what, I’m gonna publish it.” And the part that’s really cool is this book went to number one overall. So it wasn’t number one in a category, it was number one in books, period… And that’s pretty epic for a self-published niche real estate book to do. I was ahead of Dan Brown, ahead of the Game of Thrones series as a print book on Amazon.
Joe Fairless: Just so I’m understanding – you were number one in all of the printed books on Amazon?
Julie Broad: Correct, and I was in the top 100 overall for 45 days.
Joe Fairless: Wow. Was your book free at that time?
Julie Broad: No, it was $21,97.
Joe Fairless: Huh. Alright, you’ve got my interest. You’ve piqued my curiosity.
Julie Broad: [laughs] Which is why I wanted to make the distinction, because I don’t wanna say it’s really easy, but there’s so many gimmicks and ways to guarantee that you can be a best seller in a category nowadays… And it messes things up if you do it that way, or you can go free, but then can you really call yourself a best seller if your book was free? It’s kind of one of those things, I’m like “It’s the best freebie.” [laughs]
Joe Fairless: Right, yeah.
Julie Broad: Yeah, so I wanted to make that very important distinction. So after that happened, I had a lot of people who had book deals and were working on self-publishing start asking me questions, and I worked on a ton of different books as a side-hobby; it wasn’t even a side-job, I was doing it for free, just because I loved helping people and loved the book industry. So a little bit by bit, that led me to creating a company where I can hire all the amazing people that helped me when I created my book, as well as hiring even better people now that I’m in Los Angeles, which is kind of the hub of creative and phenomenal talent. I’m able to attract really great people to work on my client’s books, which is what I do now – help people write and self-publish and then sell their books. So yeah, it was a fun journey from real estate to book publishing, but books have been in my blood since I was a kid.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, and I’m really interested to hear how you got to number one, because I’m on Amazon right now, and I’m looking at your book page, and it’s ranked 649,668 in all of books. So it’s now over 500,000 ranking, but before you said it was number one. So how did you get to number one and how come there’s a discrepancy?
Julie Broad: Two distinctions. Number one, this was in Canada, so on Amazon.ca. Definitely a little bit less competition, so a little easier, but not much easier. So that’s discrepancy number one. Discrepancy number two is this was 2013. So this was five years ago that this happened… Which also helps the fact that — there were a couple things that helped, and it’s luck; I would never ever promise anyone that you could get to number one overall, because it just happened nobody else was launching a really big book that week. If I was competing with a big name, like a Tim Ferriss, or even another Harry Potter book or anything like that, there’s no way I would ever hit number one overall… And you can’t control those things. It’s kind of like when a movie hits the box office. You can’t really control what you’re competing with all the time. And you also don’t know what’s going to work out.
So the reason though that my book went to number one was I had a few really key people who jumped on board and supported it… And there was two reasons for that. One was that I had spent years building relationships and had people that were going “You’re writing a book? I’ll help you”, and they had people who had the exact audience that I needed to reach. They had real estate investors and people who wanted to invest in real estate in their audience… And I also wrote a book that, just by what Wiley said, it was not like the other books. I was not teaching you how to be rich in real estate or how to make money, I was actually saying “Hey, listen, there’s a lot of stuff that makes you maybe not want to invest in real estate”, and I was telling the stories of our manslaughter in a crackhouse, or our property manager that got charged with manslaughter, or a property manager who stole money from us, tenants that pulled knives on each other. I was telling all of that stuff, saying “Hey, listen, this is some of the stuff you don’t hear about, and if you still do wanna invest in real estate, here’s how to avoid most of those things from happening.”
So it was a unique spin, plus I had a lot of support from a lot of really influential people in the real estate space in Canada.
Joe Fairless: I love it. So three things I took away from that. One, don’t compete with other book launches, even though we might not be able to control it… Ideally, we don’t compete with other book launches. Two, partnerships, and three, having a unique spin. Are those basically the three things that you just mentioned?
Julie Broad: Yeah, it was perfect. You can’t control the not competing with other books, but I think if you’re unique and you’ve got a lot of support — and by the way, Oprah didn’t call. My book went to number one, and Oprah didn’t call. So if your book doesn’t go to number one, it’s okay, as long as you know why exactly you’re writing your book.
I have some clients who don’t rank on Amazon, but they’ve sold thousands of books, and they’ve sold it through bulk sales, and they sell books to associations, or as part of a speaking package. So it never ranks on Amazon, but they’re actually selling a ton of books and getting in the hands of readers who can become clients, which is their goal. They wanna drive business, so it doesn’t matter to them. The dopamine hit you get by posting on Facebook that you’re a best-seller – that feels good for a day. But getting business for two years as a result of your book – that feels good for a long time.
Joe Fairless: I completely agree, and if we do anything for just the sake of accomplishing a metric, then it’s not sustainable. We’ve gotta really want to be in it for the long haul. So let’s dive into number two and number three, because not competing with other book launches – maybe, maybe not; we’ll just see depending on when we launch. But number two and number three we certainly can control – partnerships and having a unique spin. Let’s dig into partnerships. What specifically did you do to climb to number one in Canada on the best sellers list?
Julie Broad: There was three things. One of the partnerships was finding people who would give me things for my launch week… And one of the powerful reasons that it was so strong of a launch is that I had some very valuable giveaways; stuff people would have otherwise paid for. One of the things that was a little lucky, again – which is why I say you can’t repeat this – is a former mentor of ours, he had left the real estate space that year, and he had a really great course that used to sell for $299 that he had just taken off of the market, and he said “Hey listen, for a week I’ll let you give this away for anybody who buys three or more books.”
So I had a $300 course that was genuinely off the market, and people really saw value in it. It fit with my book. It was basically “How to invest your retirement funds into a 401K (in the States) or an RST (in Canada).”
And I had a couple other really relevant things that were giveaways…
Joe Fairless: Like what?
Julie Broad: Honestly, I don’t remember one of them. I know it was an eBook. Another one was all about dealing with tenants. So it was like a checklist and a package; it was a tool. It would have only sold for $50 I think, but again, the person who gave it to us did sell it on his website for $50, so it had real, tangible value. So it was about a $500 package that we put together, that was just quality content related to real estate investors or people trying to decide. There was this property evaluation spreadsheet, how to calculate the cashflow and figure out your mortgage and all that kind of stuff… So those kinds of things. So really high value, and that was partnerships; I promoted them as much as I possibly could around the launch, but it was relationships. So that was part of it.
Part of it, of course, was getting people — so I had mortgage brokers and realtors who bought lots of books to give to their clients, and then I had a couple of really key organizations who have thousands and thousands of real estate investors in their audience promote not just my book, but this giveaway package. So they were incenting their members to buy three books to get this package, so you get a thousand people buying three books, you get 3,000 book sales in a day, and that starts to pop you up really high. And all it was was I think three or four different strategic companies that promoted it, but they had 35,000-40,000 real estate investors, so really targeted people in their audiences, and that really was the secondary piece. But the key to that isn’t that I contacted them a month before the book launch and said “Hey listen, this is going on.” The key to that was that I’d been building relationships for years with most of those people.
Joe Fairless: It’s so smart what you’re doing… You’re reaching, one, the packaging of all this content, so that you buy a book for less than $30 and you’re getting a value — whether a $500 value is $500, maybe it’s $50, or maybe it’s $1,000; it depends on if you use it. But $500 worth of content that is valuable… So the value exchange was tremendous, plus you’re reaching the gatekeepers. How did you confirm that the individuals purchased three books in order to receive that $500 package?
Julie Broad: [laughs] This was a pain in the butt. So I hired a VA, so I had a VA from the Philippines on my team at the time, and people had to submit a receipt to prove it, so… [laughs] So that poor woman, for an entire week — actually, I think it took her two weeks to sort through all the orders… But the cool part of that was two things. So we ended up getting a huge database of people that we knew bought my book, which made my second book launch even better; not better than the first, in that I didn’t hit number one with my second book, but I knew I had book buyers. I also knew I had people that were willing to put out $90 or $70 to buy three books. So we got their names and e-mail addresses. We didn’t market to them unsolicited, just so you know, but it was part of the reply back that she sent.
So she had to process all of them… I don’t actually know if there’s a good automated way to do this to this day, but that’s how we did it. We had people send in the receipt in order to get the package.
Joe Fairless: Did you put that e-mail where they send in the receipt in the book?
Julie Broad: No, because that package was only available for launch week…
Joe Fairless: Oh…
Julie Broad: After that launch week, you could get — there’s like a checklist and a few other things that we still give away… But the book just directed you to a web page specific for the book, and then you can submit there. And truthfully, on that page we don’t monitor the thing anymore… It asks for the page number where you were told to go there… But really, I scan it every once in a while and I’d say like 4% of the people have the page number wrong, so they just guessed to try to get the freebie… But I really don’t care at this point.
Joe Fairless: Sure, yeah.
Julie Broad: You know, take the freebie and run. I don’t need to pay somebody to monitor… [laughs]
Joe Fairless: Yeah. So now it’s automated… After launch week you then have a call-to-action that is in the book that is automated, where they receive something in exchange for — oh, they just have to list out the page number, and then they get the stuff?
Julie Broad: Correct, yeah.
Joe Fairless: Okay.
Julie Broad: And there’s three different page numbers in the book where they could have got that link.
Joe Fairless: Oh, cool. Very cool. And that’s just automated… And what are you giving them there? I’m just curious.
Julie Broad: This was five years ago [unintelligible [00:16:15].15] I’ve done a lot of book projects since then. [laughs]
Joe Fairless: Hey, you brought it up…
Julie Broad: I know. I know for certain there’s that spreadsheet I mentioned that evaluates cashflow on a property…
Joe Fairless: Cool, alright.
Julie Broad: I know that’s one of them for sure.
Joe Fairless: Cool. Alright, good stuff. That is so interesting. So one, you’ve built the relationships along the way; it’s not just a month prior, it’s the good karma and the goodwill that you’d done for others, and now you’re cashing in a little bit on that. Two is of all those people you identified some gatekeepers who have large audiences, both organization leaders, as well as people who have a platform, like e-mail (large lists) or a podcast, something like that… And then you promote the heck out of the package, which also is involving those individuals in the first week, so they wanna promote it, because they’re getting their stuff out, too. That’s beautiful. That’s so smart.
Julie Broad: Yeah, it worked wonderfully… And then, of course, they felt great because their audience was so grateful to know about this great deal. So it worked out really well, because it really was high value and relevant to the people. I think that’s really important. I see a lot of book launches where you can get a lot of free stuff with the book launch, but it’s really not that relevant to the person who would want that book. They key to that is stuff they would otherwise pay for happily. So you’ve gotta find that stuff that they would otherwise be paying for and would be forking out money for, because then they’ll see real true value in it.
Joe Fairless: I love it. Anything else as it relates to launching a book that you did or do that you wanna mention?
Julie Broad: Have an endgame plan, know why you’re doing this… Because a lot of our clients think “I’m just gonna help people and it’s gonna grow my business”, and if you’re not strategic about it, you miss opportunities in the book to either build credibility or even let people know what you do… A lot of people write books because they wanna paid speaker, which is smart; it really opens the door and adds a zero to what a lot of people will pay you to speak if you’ve got a good book, but for goodness sake, put it in a book somewhere, talk about a few of your talks; seed the ideas that you want to put out there in the world. People mistake this; they write the book and they think it’s all about them, like it’s their story, it’s their advice, it’s their experience, but the book isn’t for you, the book is for the reader. So really make sure that you’re focusing on what’s in it for the reader.
Don’t ever tell them a story that doesn’t give them a benefit or a lesson. You don’t ever want somebody to go “Well, that was a good story, but why did you make me read it?” And that’s really core to the book and to the success, and to having other people wanna share it. Because other people really wanna look good for sharing it, and if it’s just about you, it doesn’t make them look good for sharing it; but if it’s all about benefitting the reader, then it makes them look good for sharing it.
Joe Fairless: Yes, absolutely. Isn’t that true not only in books, but also in any type of content creation?
Julie Broad: One hundred percent, yeah. One hundred percent.
Joe Fairless: Anything else that we should keep in mind or do best practices for book launches that you can think of?
Julie Broad: For book launches – again, I think it’s really about that ideal reader. When you start writing, know who you’re writing for, and get clear on that, so that when you do go to launch, you know exactly who has the same audience. So again, I was a real estate investor writing for people who were thinking of investing, or who had started investing and it wasn’t going well… So clearly, not every realtor is my target market, because some realtors only work with homeowners, the people who wanna live in their home, period. But realtors who work specifically with some real estate investors or want to attract more real estate investor clients – they have the same audience.
We have somebody who’s in the fitness industry, she talks about a couple different fitness programs and raves about them in her book. Now, they’re a great potential promotional partner. But think about that in advance, like who would you like to promote your book for launch, and is there a way that you can make it appealing to them, maybe by talking them up in the book, to be strategic that way… To say “Hey listen, I gave you a shout-out and here’s the chapter where I included something about your business, and your audience might wanna know about this.” If you can be strategic, it’ll make your launch so much stronger.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, this is so smart by doing this all through partnerships… I am asking some pointed questions because I am about a month and a half from launching a book, so… [laughs] So believe me, I am taking a lot of notes right now, on my silent keyboard; I’ve gotten a lot of hot water for having a noisy keyboard and I switched up computer keyboards. I got a lot of flak from listeners. So I’ve taken a lot of notes on my silent keyboard and this is incredibly helpful. So… Selfishly, what else should I do?
Julie Broad: Okay, great. I’m glad you asked, because now I have a timeline – so six weeks out is like THE time to start lining up media, podcasts and any kind of external support that you’re hoping for. A lot of people throw their book out, or they’re about to put it out in a week and then they try to do this; we always work with our clients 6-12 weeks out from launch. So you’re at the critical point, and you know this, because you have a podcast, and I don’t wanna spoil anybody’s world, but most podcasts get booked like six weeks to three months in advance, and then they record them, and they don’t always put them out the day they record them. Sometimes it’s the next day, sometimes it’s a month later… So you really wanna plan ahead and talk to the podcasters and say “Hey listen, I’ve got a book coming out this week. I’d love to get the podcast out around that time… What can we do?” So now is the time to be doing all that and being strategic about who is the most important for you to reach out, and putting that launch package together and really trying to create something fantastic…
And try to come up with something unique for a launch event. A lot of people will do a boring — at the local library, or even the local bookstore… What I did for my second book – I did burpees for books, and I did a live-streamed event from my local cross-fit gym, where everybody who bought a book, they got to watch me do three burpees for every book that was purchased during this live stream, and then I gave a whole bunch of money to charity for every single book sold. And I didn’t make money that day from book sales, but I got exposure and I got some media attention from the local media.
So do something fun and unique that people are gonna tune into, whether they wanna buy your book or not, because that will get people paying attention to the fact that you even have a book coming out.
Joe Fairless: Yes… The burpees for books – did that tie into your second book at all, or was that just kind of something that “burpee starts with a B, and book starts with B, and it rhymes, and it’s a little silly, so I’m gonna do it”?
Julie Broad: [laughs] Well, it was unique in that, but inside of my book — my second is the The New Brand You, and it was really about how we built a brand that raised millions of dollars for our real estate investment company, and then also how we built a brand to grow our real estate training and education company, which is what I did before Book Launchers.
The inside of that book though – I actually talk about cross-fit quite a few times, for a variety of different reasons… So it wasn’t a direct tie into the title, but it actually has a tie-in when you read the book – you learned about some of the things, the life lessons and the branding lessons I learned through cross-fit and the people that I surrounded myself with in my cross-fit gym.
Joe Fairless: Beautiful. So if someone works with you or your team at Book Launchers, what do they pay and what do they receive?
Julie Broad: We’re a monthly membership, and our prices are slowly going up on a regular basis. I would say the best thing to know what we’re charging when you’re listening to this is to go to BookLaunchers.com. You can work with us at any point in the process. We like to work with people sooner rather than finished, because then we can help guide some of these things I’ve talked about – making sure you’re putting it in your manuscript, so that it really is gonna be easier to market it and get the strategic partnerships and get it out there.
Then when you work with us, one professional works on your book at a time all the way through to the end, where we have a marketing team that works on your book. I always say we market with you, because some of these things are your relationships, and that’s going to drive the best results… But if it’s cold reach, we have a phenomenal book marketing pro who worked as a literary booking agent for years, and she’ booked authors and many people on speaking engagements, media tours, podcast tours, all that stuff… So she works on your book and pitches ten outlets a month; we even do some pitching to try to get you bulk deals, too. We might sell 200 books to a real estate association, or to a different organization, or sometimes colleges and universities will buy bulk…
So we’re working on all kinds of angles, trying to figure out where your ideal people are, and how we can get your book in front of them.
Joe Fairless: Outstanding. How can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you and learn more about your company?
Julie Broad: BookLaunchers.com is the best way to learn about the company. If you want to chat with me and ask questions, I hang out on my YouTube channel all the time, so BookLaunchers.tv takes you straight to my YouTube channel, which has tons of tips, and it’s also like a passion project for me, so I pretty much respond to every comment.
Joe Fairless: Well, Julie, thank you so much for being on the show and educating myself, as well as others, who are launching a book or looking to launch a book. Best Ever listeners, if you’re not launching a book right now, that’s okay, because I’m sure you’re listening closely, and what Julie talked about is applicable to our real estate investing and partnerships, and just in general acquiring customers… And in particular one aspect of what she was talking about, the partnership angle – identifying people who would help you build your business and working with them simultaneously to partner up, and they’ll build their business. So whether it is a real estate deal where you can bring in a partner, and then together you two can go bigger and better, or something like content creation, like we were talking about…
Many, many lessons, both general and specific, and I’m very grateful that you were on the show, Julie. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Julie Broad: Thank you.