May 3, 2023

How to Best Succeed Without Traditional Publishers-BM368

How to Best Succeed Without Traditional Publishers-BM368

Are you tired of waiting for traditional publishers to give you the support you need to succeed as an author?

Meet Anna David, a best-selling author with mixed feelings about traditional publishing but who has found success in hybrid publishing and self-publishing.

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Are you tired of waiting for traditional publishers to give you the support you need to succeed as an author?

Meet Anna David, a best-selling author with mixed feelings about traditional publishing but who has found success in hybrid publishing and self-publishing.

In this week's episode of Book Marketing Mentors, Anna spills the tea on why simply releasing a book may not give you the success you're hoping for. She explains how to redefine success and measure the impact your book has on your audience.

Stop letting self-doubt and hesitation hold you back from sharing your brilliance with the world.

Learn how to establish yourself as a leading authority in your field, secure verified reviews on Amazon, and create an impactful online presence using social media, newsletters, and websites.

Tune in and discover the powerful tools and strategies you need to succeed in book and author marketing.

Your knowledge deserves to be shared, and this powerful interview helps you make it happen!

Here's how to connect with Anna and get a copy of her latest book "On Good Authority"

Click here to schedule your 20-minute brainstorming session with Susan


Susan Friedmann                                                                           00:27

Welcome to book marketing mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters.

Every week, introduce you to a marketing master, who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books.

Today, my special guest is Anna David.

Anna is a renowned author, publisher, and speaker.

She has eight best-selling books under her belt and is the brilliant mind behind Legacy Launchpad Publishing.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           01:14

Not only has she graced the stage at 3 TEDx events, but she's also a familiar face on popular shows like Today, Good Morning, America, and The Talk.

With her company having published over 40 nonfiction books, Anna is a true powerhouse in the industry.

And a quick news flash that's just come in her brand new book "On Good Authority: 7 Steps to Prepare, Promote, and Profit from a How-to Book that Makes You the Go-to Expert," launched this week.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Anna, so it's even more of a pleasure to welcome her to the show.

So Anna, thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor. It's so good to have you.

Anna David                                                                                     01:23

It's so nice to be here and to listen to the dulcet tones of Beautiful accents.

Oh, thank you.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           01:42

Well, thank you.

I appreciate that.

I must admit that a few people have said that in the past so I have to believe you.


Anna, we were talking before about the whole idea of traditional publishing versus hybrid publishing, self-publishing.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           01:52

I know you feel very strongly about this subject.

So talk to us about that.

What do you feel the way you do about traditional publishing?

Anna David                                                                                     02:16

I often say I'm in recovery from alcoholism and traditional publishing.

Back when I got started first of all, 22 years sober.

So that's good.

And let's see how long sober I might have traditional publishing about 12 years.

I sold back when I was a traditionally published author you could make a living at it, which is a shocking concept to me today.

Anna David                                                                                     02:42

And there really was no such thing as self-publishing.

There was, you know, your weird uncle carried a manuscript in his trunk and you just were like, what is this weird thing?

I got an agent who sold my book to Harper Collins in a bidding war and to my top-choice publisher.

It was all so exciting, and there was a bidding war over the movie rights and everything.

And then this top choice publisher her imprint dissolved in a day.

Anna David                                                                                     03:07

There was nobody there to sell the book back in 2006 you had to sell lots of books.

A sales rep would go to all the bookstores to Barnes and Noble and Borders primarily.

And they would place a big order if they really believed in your book, and there was no 1 to place orders.

Because there is no one at the company.

Even though the book got tons and tons of buzz, it didn't sell well because of all of that.

Anna David                                                                                     03:32

It sold well enough for me to keep getting book deals.

So I got five more book deals with Harper Collins.

Each time I thought, well, the first time it didn't go well because the division dissolved, this time, I'm gonna get all this publisher support, and it's gonna be so great.

And I will say I have the same editor on 3 books that I have no evidence he actually read my book.

When he was ultimately like, go.

Anna David                                                                                     03:59

I heard a rumor that he found all these unread manuscripts in his I just thought I was brilliant because he had no notes, but it turns out he was just lazy.

And the publishers did absolutely nothing for me, and I had 0 control.

I I had books released under titles I didn't like, with covers I didn't like, with all sorts of things I didn't like.

And when I discovered that I could publish my books myself, it was such a great revelation and that's all I will do from now

Susan Friedmann                                                                           04:28


Oh, I'm with you.

Amen, Absolutely.

I mean, yes, I've had a few books published traditionally and recently had my dummies book published, but I know that that control factor is such an important part, and especially so many of our listeners, as you know, are nonfiction authors.

They've either published through Aviva publishing, like, a publishing company, or they've published other places, or they've published themself.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           04:46

I mean, we can do that these days, and it's so incredible what we can do.


Now I know that in your new book, which I absolutely love.

I just got it literally the day before yesterday.

It's called on Good Authority, as I mentioned in the intro.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           05:02

You say in it that most people who release books these days find that their businesses don't improve and that their lives don't change.

Why is that?


Anna David                                                                                     05:44

I think we all have this idea.

We all grew up reading books.

And if we go to the trouble or expense or both of writing and publishing our own books, no matter what people like me tell you, you have this fantasy that your life is gonna change overnight.

That suddenly everyone's gonna treat you differently and possibly there's gonna be paparazzi outside your door and nothing happens.

There was a story that I read in Bookseller, the website today that was about how first-time authors often have to get anti-depressants their mental health suffers as a result of the disappointments, and learning that your publisher's not gonna do anything for you.

Anna David                                                                                     06:21

I always likened it to you know, I live in Hollywood where let's say you got the funding from a company, you got Warner Brothers to support you in a movie, you wrote directed started, and produced.

And then the day came out, you called Warner Brothers and the phone was disconnected.

That's really what it feels like.

They're with you and they're with you, and then your book comes out, and nothing.

And if your Glen and Doyle in your book automatically takes off Traditional publishers will put all their time and resources into books that don't need them, not because they're horrible people, but because they're business people.

Anna David                                                                                     06:51

And they wanna put their resources behind the books they know they're gonna make money on.

I not only didn't understand that, but you're sort of set up to fail because if you're not Glen and Doyle, then your books probably not gonna take off in the first week.

That's what they look at.

My friend, Jennifer Armstrong, said, and this is actually in the book "On Good Authority."

She wrote several books, and then she thought she was having marketing meetings.

Anna David                                                                                     07:06

And then when she wrote a book called Steinfeldia, which was a New York Times bestseller in its first week.

They said, well now we're gonna have a real marketing meeting.

Those haven't really been real meeting meetings, then you really learn what it's like when your publisher supports you.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           07:21

Oh, yeah.

I mean, if people are behind you, yes, it really helps.

And I love to support my authors in whatever way I can.

However, like you, we guide them along the way.

We don't necessarily do it for them.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           07:45

So you talk about in your system, your author, authority building system.

That you talk about in your book on good authority about making a book wildly successful in a way that going to impact your whole life the rest of your life.

How do we do that?

How can we make our own book, wildly successful?

Anna David                                                                                     08:44

You did wanna clarify one thing, which is I did find a publishing company where we do it all for people because I found it because you should have found a company based on what you were seeking.

And it's so important to me that our authors feel supported and see how excited we are for their books.

And you can't do that if you're releasing 10 books a week or whatever, but you can if you're only really 12 to 15 a year.

In order to make your book answer your question, so quote, wildly successful, you have to redefine what success means I know a handful of authors who had number 1 New York Times best-selling books whose books were picked by Oprah, made into movies, and they can't rub 2 nickels together today because they didn't have a business that supported their books.

If you have an incredibly successful book, you're still not going to make a living from it.

Anna David                                                                                     09:05

Mister Glenn Enjoy.

And even she seems to do a whole bunch of other things.

You have to look at it like what does success mean to you.

So I released a book 4 days ago.

And I consider it wildly successful because I decided I was gonna be so organized that I was gonna have an amazing lunch and I'm lucky enough to have a team that does a lot of it.

Anna David                                                                                     09:33

It's wildly successful to me because it's got over a hundred reviews in a few days.

I don't look at book sales.

That has nothing to do.

With success for me, it is I'd rather have a hundred people whose lives are gonna be changed by my book in May, and hire, my company, as a result of reading my book than 10000 people who aren't going to care.

I say you go into it knowing you're writing the specific book for the specific group of people and you have a way to get it to them.

Anna David                                                                                     09:53

That is wildly successful.

And you have a business set up so that you can actually make money.

Because if you're not gonna make money, you're basically saying I'll take pennies for my time, which I don't believe in.

I believe in being compensated for all the time and effort and possible money you put into your book.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           10:17

Amen, very much so.

Now something else that you talk about especially, I've read the introduction to the book, and I was like, oh my goodness.

This tells me everything.

It was like, training an audience to always think of you as the authority on a particular topic.

You know that I talk about that a lot, the whole idea of riches and niches.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           10:23

But how would you go about training an audience to think of you as this authority?

Anna David                                                                                     11:06

You have to, first of all, declare yourself an authority, not through a degree though, a degree is wonderful, but through experience.

And I think I learned this just through being in recovery, we always talk about it in recovery.

You can go to all the therapists in the world, but 1 alcoholic talking to another is where recovery starts to happen, experience, and obviously, I'm not talking about, like, operating on people or things that you're gonna put someone's life at risk.

But if you have experience with something and you have come out on the other side you can help other people with that.

I had experience with publishing.

Anna David                                                                                     11:43

And I came out on the other side of traditional publishing and that gave me an amazing education into how to do it for other people, but what gave me a much bigger education was actually doing it.

Because The reason I release a book every year is so that I can look at what's working.

How do you get people to review your books Is it worth paying for a publisher's weekly review?

Should you ask, quote, influencers you know, to help you when I learn so that I can then do it for my clients?

But back to training your audience, like it or not, you have to start putting yourself out there.

Anna David                                                                                     12:06

And rather than looking at social media as an arbitrage, I said look at it as your opportunity to have your own TV station, magazine, radio station, whatever it is you want.

You don't need a gatekeeper.

You don't need the Today show to say, yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll have you on.

You just need to set up these accounts and start posting.

There are very easy ways to do it.

Anna David                                                                                     12:35

I'm actually teaching this in a class based on Susan, the work we did together I have a Masterclass.

I don't know when this is going to air, but it's free Masterclass where I'm going to teach that system that I went over with you guys, which was all about using your book.

As material to post.

You don't have to come up with anything new.

Take the book that you're writing, where you've written, go to the Word document, save a version for social media, and look for little parts that can be posted.

Anna David                                                                                     12:58

I use a platform called Social Bee It takes sections of my book.

I post it simultaneously.

I schedule it to go on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

The entire thing takes about an hour a week, and I have trained an audience to think of me as an expert on this topic.

I've gotten $80,000 clients as a result and I don't have huge followings.

Anna David                                                                                     13:06

So it's not about the numbers.

It's about showing people that you're an expert.

Social media isn't the only way, but it is a terribly effective way.


Susan Friedmann                                                                           13:23

what else?

I mean, yes.

You know that 1 of my maybe it's a bit of an albatross or I've made it that way with regard to social media.

I've made it really hard for myself, and I know you and I've had this conversation that it really shouldn't be, and I'm working hard on that.

But what else?

Susan Friedmann                                                                           13:33

What are other ways in which you can get out there?

And as you say, be seen and heard and valued as an authority in your topic area.

Anna David                                                                                     14:17

I think joining groups, masterminds, I don't have a lot of experience with joining Facebook groups and that kind of thing, but Quora in the book, I get into all these different methods You can join a quote board for magazines like or websites like Bath Company and Entrepreneur, where you pay but you are allowed to post whatever stories you want.

They have to be approved by an editor.

They're very strict because it can't look self-promotional or promote anybody else.

If you're writing about business and you're writing for Fast Company and Entrepreneur, you are establishing your expertise.

A newsletter is going to be the very best way they always talk about.

Anna David                                                                                     14:41

You can rent an audience or you can own it.

Renting is hosting in those places, and owning is bringing those people to your newsletter list.

And people say it's pain, it is a pain.

I really did not like doing a newsletter for many, many years, and then I figured out a system and I absolutely love it.

I'm not just saying that.

Anna David                                                                                     15:01

And I've gotten it into a system where I don't have to spend a lot of time doing it.

I look at it as you get to write a little book, a very short book, maybe just a paragraph every single week.

And I think looking at these things as creative opportunities rather than, oh, my god.

I have to write a book and go do all of this stuff too.

That sounds really exciting.

Anna David                                                                                     15:04

Is that something that you can share with us or would you share with us?

Anna David                                                                                     15:21


It's also in the book.

I went and studied What are the newsletters I like opening?

We're the ones I always delete, and we're the ones I always open.

And I took classes and I really studied what those newsletter writers were doing.

Anna David                                                                                     15:55

And I saw that they were consistent, both in how often in what day they sent their newsletters, also in the content.

And I decided, okay, every week, I'm gonna answer 1 publishing question.

I'm gonna have 1 resource and I'm gonna have 1 tip.

And that meant when I'm sort of bouncing around the Internet all week, I'm bookmarking, oh, that's a good resource, and that's a good tip.

Sometimes those are bits from my book Sometimes those are gonna be things I'm gonna post on social media, but it's literally 3 holes that I have to plug in.

Anna David                                                                                     16:08

By the time I come to write the newsletter each week.

I've got ample options.

The more fun you're gonna have with something, the more people are gonna like it.

I definitely get emails every week from people who say, I love this newsletter.

Oh, you made me laugh.

Anna David                                                                                     16:12

Oh, I'm gonna try that.

And I never got that before I had a system.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           16:29

Systems are wonderful things.

1 of the things you mentioned earlier, and I want to pick up on it, and that'll review so many of my authors say, well, how do you get reviews and you say your book's been out a few days and you've already got over a hundred reviews.

Anna David                                                                                     16:30


Susan Friedmann                                                                           16:31

What's the secret?

Anna David                                                                                     16:52

The secret is you have to remember that non-authors don't know how important reviews are.

They don't know what currency, they just think, oh my god.

I'm so happy for you.

You best way, honestly, followers are gonna be better at doing reviews than friends.

And it's not because your friends don't love you.

Anna David                                                                                     17:13

It's just because people interested in your topic who follow your work, who look at you as an authority, are going to be better at it.

My team and I have a system.

We do it for all of our clients where if you have a newsletter list, you send out a couple of emails to that newsletter list.

They say, please, will you join my launch squad?

That's what we call a launch squad.

Anna David                                                                                     17:30

And people join.

I will tell you something I did this time I sent out the newsletter.

And the more books you have, the harder it's gonna be to recruit people because they've already supported you.

Your first book, they're far more supportive than on your eighth.

I sent out a newsletter and I said, please join my launch squad.

Anna David                                                                                     17:51

This is, you know, what it is, and this is what will be required I got a lukewarm response.

I got not that many.

Then I sent another email a week or so later where I titled it, "My book's in trouble."

I explained, hey, I sent out this newsletter and I didn't really get a great response.

I really would love your support and I got a much better response.

Anna David                                                                                     18:28

Somebody on my team gathered all those emails into a spreadsheet, and we have a copy that we send out a series of 6 emails.

And we give the book to people a month ahead of time.

We put it on a website called Book Funnel, which is 20 dollars a year, and you send them the link and it's this pretty landing page and they're able to download the book as a PDF or on their Kindle or whatever it is, then we nudge them a couple of times and we say write your review ahead of time so that you are fully prepared 2 or 3 days before the book is officially launched.

We send them the link to Amazon.

We say this is the time.

Anna David                                                                                     19:12

Please buy the book for 99 cents and paste your review.

And you have to know that probably at least half the people who said they will do it will flake, so always get a bigger number than you think we'll be there.

I think we have 200 and we have over a hundred reviews, but we don't have 201 things that I tried this time that I'd never done before I have a list, not a massive list, but I have about 4000 people on my list.

And if I have a hundred and 50 people, 200 people on my 1 spot, that's not an amazing percentage.

So we went to we looked at who opens a lot of my newsletters, who are my most active subscribers and we wrote individual emails to them and said, hey, would you support this?

Anna David                                                                                     19:25

And not only did we get responses, but I got invitations to go on podcasts and other offers.

So that's really the secret.

It's interesting because the email that you sent out with that

Susan Friedmann                                                                           19:35


My book's in trouble.

I mean, I responded to that.


And I don't think I'd seen the previous 1 or if I had, it hadn't had the same impact.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           19:42

But seeing that, I was like, oh my goodness.

Anna's book's in trouble.

I can't believe that.

You know?

Anna David                                                                                     20:03

And I learned it because somebody sent 1 of those emails to me, and I had the same response with newsletters when you're sending 1 every week.

You start to notice, what do people open?

I will tell you I make a lot of mistakes.

So I've sent newsletters and then realized, oh, God, I didn't mean to send that or something wrong link.

And then I'll send a follow-up called oops.

Anna David                                                                                     20:12

Oops, are always the emails that are opened the most.

If people think you made a mistake or you're in trouble, that's what they're gonna respond to.


Susan Friedmann                                                                           20:18

want to help.


That's a natural instinct.


So why not take advantage of that?

Susan Friedmann                                                                           20:25

I love that.


What's one of the biggest mistakes that you find that authors make?

Anna David                                                                                     21:02

I think believing the Field of Dreams quotes that "if you build it, they will come."

We're drowning in noise authors or not just competing with authors, but they're competing with Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian, competing for attention with everybody in the world.

For the most part, you have to do a lot to break through that noise.

They say it's somebody has to hear about your book 7 times before they buy it.

If you quote own that audience, if there are newsletter subscribers and social media followers that you've been talking to, you'd probably only have to hear about it once, to buy it.

Anna David                                                                                     21:12

I made the mistake 6 times thinking, oh my god, everyone's gonna care, and they don't unless you make them care.

So that I think is the biggest mistake.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           21:18

Making them care.

I love that idea.


Talk to us more about that concept.

Anna David                                                                                     21:37

I think what you just said is really brilliant.

People want to help.

But they don't know unless you told them.

Like I was saying with reviews, your friends don't know.

If they don't write books, they don't really get that reviews are currency.

Anna David                                                                                     22:00

You have to know how busy we all are.

I will say 1 other thing I forgot to say about getting book reviews.

1 thing that we did this time is we sent out don't know what to say why not answer these 3 questions?

Because I think a lot of people, especially people who had custom training reviews think, oh my god, a review.

It's like very intimidating.

Anna David                                                                                     22:05

It's for a book.

It has to be really no.

It doesn't.

It can be short.

You can go back and revise it later.

Anna David                                                                                     22:47

So I think understanding how overburdened everybody is and really catering to that, making them care and then making the ask not particularly time-consuming or difficult.

1 thing we do, which can't do if you're traditionally published, is we release an ebook at 99 cents.

Because verified reviews on Amazon count a lot more.

You can review something on Amazon without buying it, but Amazon really prioritizes verified reviews So asking somebody to review your book is 1 thing for 99 cents.

Asking them for 10 dollars, that's a big act.

Anna David                                                                                     22:49

And I don't wanna ask that of anybody.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           23:02


I love this idea of the 99, you know, just for a day.

The whole idea, you can become a best seller on Amazon without it.

Very helpful.

And people will like that.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           23:17

It helps their ego, especially first-time authors.

I really love the idea of helping people with what to say.

Because you're right, many people don't know.

A testimonial, a review, what shall I say?


Susan Friedmann                                                                           23:29

I'll agree to do it.

And then after that, you're like, 0SH.

What happened?

I don't know what to say.

And then you leave it and you leave it and you procrastinate and it never gets done.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           23:44

Helping them along the way again is very useful.

I know that our audience wants to know more about you, how they can find you, they can tap into some of your brilliance, so take it away.

Anna David                                                                                     23:57

Probably right now, the best place Well, I'll tell you depending on when this is released.

I am doing this masterclass on how to build a business from your book.

Because people say, oh, great.

I don't have a business.

I'm a creative.

Anna David                                                                                     24:15

Well, I'm showing you exactly what to do.

So depending on when this gets released, go to launchpad masterclass dot com.

It's May eleventh, 9 am Pacific.

I'm gonna be doing that.

But I'm on all the social media platforms at Anna b David, and to find out about "On Good Authority"  you can go to "

Anna David                                                                                     24:19


And listeners, it's really worth it.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           24:36

Go buy the book, and just soak up everything that Anna has to say because she really is brilliant in this area.

Ww ask our guests to leave our listeners with a golden nugget.

Anna, what would you like to leave our listeners with?

Anna David                                                                                     24:59

If you think you have a book in you, and I'm imagining if you listen to this, you do, the best time to write a book was 10 years ago, the second best time is today, don't let fear, which is false evidence appearing real, talk you out of it.


That fear.

And 1 of the things that just touch on

Susan Friedmann                                                                           25:11

very briefly on this idea of impostor syndrome because I think there's impostor syndrome that's wrapped up in that idea of fear.


Give us a few words on that.


Anna David                                                                                     25:37

I think everybody suffers from it to varying degrees and to just think of it as when you have that voice, who am I to do this?

This is actually how I end the book.

I challenge you to say who are you not to allow impostor syndrome to stop you?

If you have something that can help people, that's actually quite selfish.

To allow your negative thoughts to stop you from helping people.

Anna David                                                                                     25:42

So I think remember it's not about you.

It's about who can benefit from the information.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           26:02

And that's brilliant.

The whole idea that it isn't about you and often we get absorbed with the idea that, oh my goodness, What are they gonna think of me?

And it's like, not that at all.

It's what you have to offer your authority, your expertise, in a particular topic area.

So, Anna, thank you.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           26:10

I hope we can get you back again because I know we've not even touched the tip of the iceberg here with your brilliance.

Anna David                                                                                     26:13

Thank you so much.

It's been a pleasure.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           26:46


So thank you.

And listeners, if your book isn't selling the way you want it or expect it to, lets you and I jump on a quick call together to brainstorm ways to ramp up those sales because you've invested a whole lot of time, money, and energy and it's time you got the return you were hoping for.

So go to to schedule your free call.

And in the meantime, I hope this powerful interview sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books.

Susan Friedmann                                                                           26:46

So until next week, here's wishing you much book and author marketing, success.

Here's how to connect with Anna and get a copy of her latest book "On Good Authority"