Steve Kidd helps people write, publish, and market their books to become bestsellers. In this episode he talks about the importance of telling your story, and how someone can go about getting their book published. It's easier than you think.
With the help of Steve, you can go from “I'm not even sure that I have a story to tell” to best-seller status.
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Scott DeLuzio: 00:00:00 Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we're focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community, whether you're a Veteran, Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, or a family member, on this podcast we'll share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:00:22 Hi everybody. Today my guest is Steve Kidd. I met Steve in a Veterans networking group last week, and he was talking about how he helps authors get their books to become bestsellers. I've had a number of authors on the show before who talked about their books. Some were self-published, others went a more traditional publishing route and regardless, each of these authors had a story to tell and people like our guest today can help get that story in the hands of as many readers as possible. So welcome to the show, Steve; I think that's the goal anyways, right? If you write a book, you might as well try to get it in front of as many people as you can. I mean, that's pretty much the goal, right?
Steve Kidd: 00:01:02 Well, thanks for having me, Scott. I mean, ultimately your book is the number one marketing tool, but it's also like a really great foundation on a house. If you don't build some walls and a nice rope and things like that, you wouldn't want to live on a really cool foundation. That's really what your book is. It's the beginning of the conversation. And yeah, I help people all the way along the road from, “I'm not even sure what I want to do” all the way to, they've already gotten several books out and they need to market them.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:01:32 Yeah. Awesome. And so how about we take a step back and how about you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and how you got into all of this.
Steve Kidd: 00:01:44 My name is Steve Kidd. I am the third generation minister and international best-selling author of multiple books. and a couple others I'm working on right now. I was actually editing one of them just before we got on the call here, actually. I had created a system, it's been around for about 13 or 14 years now to help people write, publish, and market their books to bestsellers. In fact, probably most people that have a system for doing an interview and having an interview turned into a book is at least loosely based off of what I teach. There's literally thousands of people that have used the system I created to now be best-selling authors.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:02:27 Awesome. And so as I mentioned in the intro, I've interviewed a number of authors on this podcast in the past and talking specifically about military Veteran authors. One thing that I think the post 9/11 era Veterans have going for them is the fact that it's easier than ever to be able to write and publish a book these days. Compare it to the WWI, WWII generation, where the barrier to entry to get a book not only written, but also published was just so high that I feel like a lot of stories from back then from a lot of the Veterans who served in that time period, those stories just went untold, or at best they were word of mouth to family members. And it didn't really get a chance to spread out that way. So you know, how do you help people nowadays where they have more availability to get their story out there. How do you help them craft their message and get it out to as many people as possible?
Steve Kidd: 00:03:36 Well, of course it is a system, but you know, we start with strategy, first of all, who are you talking to? What are you talking about? What do they need? That kind of thing. We're always looking at it. I'm technically a marketing company with a strong publishing division versus a publishing company who may or may not know how to market at all. And to that end, we're looking at what it is going to take to advance your life, your business in the world and that's kind of where we start from, that strategy. Then, like I said, I do strongly encourage speaking to write versus handwriting or typing it out. When we journal, journaling is so powerful, but it's very cathartic. It's very internalized; it's more for us than it is for the reader. Whereas when we speak, typically anyway, there are a few outliers, but typically we're thinking about the person we're talking to you and so by doing it that way, we can really create a book that is almost from the beginning interactive with the reader as they read and then we just take them through that course.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:04:47 Yeah. And that actually is a great way to do it too, because talk about a lower barrier to entry here, like pretty much most people have a cell phone of some sort these days, and most of those have a voice recorder type thing. And those could even not only record your speech the way you might talk about your story, like you're talking about here, but a lot of them can also transcribe the text and so that way you can take that and now you have a foundation for your book. It's something that you don't necessarily have to sit there and type out every single word, it sort of does it for you. So that could even speed up the amount of time that it takes to get your books out there. That's kind of a good piece of advice there as well that I didn't really even think of until you just mentioned it. That's a a great way to do it. I think you know, especially people who may not be as computer savvy or whatever, if you have a voice recorder on your phone, it's pretty easy. You just click record and you just start talking and just let it flow.
Steve Kidd: 00:05:53 Yeah. And I make it even easier for them because I just get on a Zoom call with them. They can call in, so they don't even have to have a computer. I actually walk them through a conversation so they don't even need to know “What do I want to say next?” “Well, what's this character going to do next?” that kind of thing. We just literally walk them through that conversation and then go through that process that way. So it makes it even easier than just turning on a voice recorder and recording.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:06:21 Yeah. That is pretty easy. And like we're using zoom right now to record this podcast interview. And it's a very simple process just to record it; it's recording both of our voices and that way you have a nice record of all of that stuff. And so it's a pretty good system to use. Now with all of that said with the low barrier to entry or the ease of being able to write a book these days, there are pros and cons to that, obviously. On the positive side, it allows far more people to be able to publish their story and get their books published. There's self-publishing options where there's virtually no barrier to entry, where you write a book and it's basically pay on demand, you know?
Scott DeLuzio: 00:07:13 So as a book is sold, you pay for it that way. It's not like you have to pay a lot of money to get into it. That's a good thing because a lot more people can tell their stories, but on the negative side, the downside to that is that it's so easy to write a book that the competition for getting your story out there becomes pretty significant, which I feel is where someone like you and your expertise comes in so that you don't end up competing with tons of other authors, Oh, take that back. You will end up competing with tons of other authors who are out there trying to get the attention of the same audience that you are. but having a strategy in place, kind of like what you work on. I feel like it would give you that leg up to be able to creep up higher on that best seller list, as opposed to just getting lost in the sea of other authors and other books that maybe go unheard of.
Steve Kidd: 00:08:11 And it's all about having a strategy whatever that might be, whether it's individually selling the books, using the book as a lead magnet so you're actually going to give it away after you make it a bestseller. Any of those kinds of things, it's about having a strategy for doing it. Without the strategy, the average, now I'm talking about when you put books by like Tony Robbins and Michelle Obama and big names to sell hundreds of millions of copies of their book in with the other people, the average is 40 books per person that publishes a book. So in other words, the zeros bring those millions down to an average of 40. I mean, most people without a strategy, well, I should even say sooner than that, most people never publish. Harvard did a research study that showed that over 80% of the people in the world want to write a book and less than 5% ever do. It's like 3.27% or something like that ever actually write the book. So that's before we ever even get into best sellers. Then after that like I said, on average, it's your mom and your dad and your grandma that bought copies of the book. We want to help you try to have a little bit more of a process and a plan.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:09:28 That's right. Yeah. And I mean, well, that's great that you have some family support there with the book, that it's not necessarily always worth the effort to go about writing a book just for friends and family. They might want to hear your story. They want to be supportive of you obviously, but if you're gonna take the time and effort to write the book, you might as well get that story out to as many people as you can, to as big of an audience as you can, and I think that it's important for the people who are listening to know that you don't have to go it alone, that there are people like you out there who can help with this process and get your stories out there. So it doesn't feel like you're just spinning your wheels and wasting your time.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:10:21 So for the listeners, what is some of the process that they should go through, if they're in the stage where they're one of those people that you're talking about, where they feel like they got a story inside of them and they just don't know where to start. Could you walk through that process a little bit and through what you might do with a potential client of yours who would start off basically from scratch and not know where to start and how you might get the ball rolling with their story?
Steve Kidd: 00:10:59 Two sides of that equation. One would be people that work with me. I do encourage people at whatever level to bring me into their sphere as early as they possibly can at whatever financial level that might be. There are a lot of ditches in the road and the hardest conversation is when it's like, well, you did that thing and all that money you just spent, it's thrown away; we're going to have to start over. So that's one side of it. from a really basic standpoint I mean, I do have a series of six videos that I take them through. I have to write your best seller in a one hour workshop that I teach on a relatively regular basis for people that just want to do it themselves; but if the listener wants to do it themselves they're like, no, Scott, I'm going to write my own book myself.
Steve Kidd: 00:11:51 Okay. That's fine. Basically there are four elements to any book, fiction, nonfiction you're going to make it a movie, or it's a self-help book or anything in between. There's really basically four elements. Number one is, who are you? We need to build the know, like, and trust factor. Now, if you're talking about a nonfiction book, it's, who is the protagonist in the book in this case, in a nonfiction book, you, as the writer have to be at least one of the protagonists, the reader should be another one of the protagonists in the book, we buy from people that we know, like, and trust. And so we have to build that. That's number one. And like I said, in non-fiction, that would be, we have to be engaged with the character to care whether we want to read chapter two.
Steve Kidd: 00:12:47 These aren't necessarily chapters, these are sections. Number two is what are you going to tell them, tell them what you want to tell them, explain it to them, and then tell them what you told them. It's basic speaking one-on-one and then Part three, and this is the part that most everybody misses in their book, and that's what Tony Robbins would call fear of failure. You know, we're motivated by either success or failure, and usually fear is the biggest motivator in our lives and so we need to explain to them, well, what's it going to look like if you don't do this in a nonfiction book, that's where everything goes wrong with the main character and all this hopeless, the same concept is true in nonfiction. Actually, you can choose not to make this step, but if you don't, this is what you're going to continue with, or you're going to find and that's really important because without that moving to Number four, we never really get the buy-in from them to want to take action.
Steve Kidd: 00:13:55 There's not enough motivation for that; the same would be true in a fiction story without that downside to it, there isn't encouragement to overcome it. There's nothing to overcome. You know, if life was just perfect. I wrote a book with a person one time. They're like, I can't really write a book because I've never really had anything bad going on in my life. I was like, okay, let's just go through this. And once we got talking about it , it's like, Hm, that was a lot of stuff for somebody that's never had anything bad going. I mean, I don't know anybody that's over about maybe two weeks old that hasn't had something bad happen there in their life.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:14:32 Right.
Steve Kidd: 00:14:35 I was just born. That's pretty traumatic too.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:14:38 Right, right. Yeah. It was all nice and comfortable for the last nine months. And all of a sudden here I am, doctor smacking me.
Steve Kidd: 00:14:46 So then Number four is action. What is the thing that they can do right now, set down the book and they can take action on right now. That's the four basic elements. So there you go in less than five minutes, I just wrote your whole book for you. if you want to go do it yourself,
Scott DeLuzio: 00:15:05 Right. Yeah. But it's easier said than done, to just go in and do that. So, I mean, those are good, you know, kind of steps and outline of what you're looking for in a book, but you do also have to have a goal in mind. Like what is the purpose for even writing the book? Is it that you just have a story that you had something that was way worse than something that happened to a two year old baby or whatever going on in your life. And maybe especially with the audience that we're talking about here is a lot of combat Veterans definitely experienced a lot of traumatic events and things like that.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:15:49 And in their lives through their deployments and things like that they definitely have stories to tell and they have things that they may want other people to know about and part of the writing process, like you were saying earlier, it is kind of cathartic and it may even be a therapeutic thing for them to write down all of this stuff. But it may be something that they want other people to know about what happened in their deployment. So you know, it is important to have a goal for what your stories are even going to be about and why you're even writing it. You mentioned earlier that it could be a lead generation thing for your business to establish yourself as an expert in your field, whatever that may be and that's another way too, that people can basically leverage that book and all that effort that they made to end up getting more business or new clients and things like that.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:17:00 So you know, what are some other ways to think about that, in fact, goal setting process, like what it is that you want to do for your story and for your book, how you want it to work for you, but what are some other things that people have done for what was the purpose, I suppose, for their books?
Steve Kidd: 00:17:27 Well, I mean, the purpose can be extremely diverse. I worked with one guy that used the book purely to get a raise at work, and that's viable. If you were gonna teach a course, whether it be in a school or it be an online course, having that course be based off of a bestseller is so much more powerful. Movies are a perfect example. Over 50% of all movies that get made are based off of best sellers. And over 80% of them that win awards are based off of best sellers. So if you want to write a screenplay, step one is going to be, to have a book that's a bestseller that it's based off of. I mean, without it, you've already lost 50% of the possibility of ever being made as a movie. It's those kinds of things; it really mostly has to do with and sometimes all of us need help with this.
Steve Kidd: 00:18:23 It's really hard to see the label on the jar that you're in, but we need to find clarity. And who am I? And what is my purpose? What am I here for now? It doesn't have to be all encompassing, like you know, I need to find the answers to life, the universe and everything here. It could be as simple as what do I want to share with the world the next month, the next six months? kind of a thing, but what do I want to be right now and having help defining that makes a big difference because knowing who you are, who you're meant to serve and what they need is tantamount in that. And in most cases we do end up needing help from an outside source to help us really hone into what that is.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:19:12 And it is hard to be introspective that way and looking in on yourself and trying to understand your own background and purpose and all that kind of stuff. You know, it's not the easiest thing to do. And so sometimes even just having somebody else as a sounding board that you can bounce ideas off of, and you can maybe have a more clear vision for the direction that the project should go might be a useful thing to have. With all of that there are again, the audience listening to this show is going to be mostly Veterans and military connected people. A lot of times their stories are going to have a military focus of some sort
Scott DeLuzio: 00:20:06 but not all of them, some of them may be a novel, a fiction novel. It may be something that they created, it could even be a children's book or something like that but any of them are going to have their background as a Veteran that's going to go into it. And I think one of the things that we as Veterans have going for us is that discipline and the drive to, you know, accomplish this mission. So if you set a goal for yourself, like I'm going to finish this book and I'm going to write it, we have that going for us. A lot of other people who might write a book may get frustrated and kind of quit along the way in that whole process. So I think that that's a positive thing with working with Veterans on stories that they will probably be a little bit more successful in that we'll get that story done and finish that process.
Steve Kidd: 00:21:15 Oh, I absolutely agree. In fact, I'm working on an anthology book with a group of Veterans that span Vietnam Veterans, all the way to people that are still actually in their Reserve period. They're technically not active duty, but you know what I'm saying? It's interesting because, for example, the Vietnam guys, the experience that they had day one as a “civilian” versus the experience that somebody who got out last week, so it's the sharing of that. And it's also how easy it is to lose perspective because you brought up post 9/11, we live for the most part in a society that says, thank you for your service and is grateful for our military versus we need to remember where that came from and why it's important to let Veterans know that we appreciate them, because it's such a subtle, small change to go back to a society that is hating them and spitting on them. And they don't even put their military service on their resumes because they won't get the job or they'll get fired if they find out. We need to share those kinds of things too, if nothing else, to keep the culture informed of what was so that it doesn't happen again.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:22:55 Yeah, exactly. And I think history is a great teacher of the things that we've done wrong as a society. And I think the Vietnam era Veterans definitely were not treated the way they should have been. The war was unpopular at home and people took it out on the soldiers and a lot of them didn't even have a choice. They were drafted and they got sent over. So it's very unfair to treat them poorly. They were just doing what they were told and so you're right, absolutely. I think getting their stories down and making it known how they were treated and how that made them feel and how poorly they were treated is important. So that future generations don't repeat those same mistakes.
Steve Kidd: 00:23:46 I'll tell you another story, Scott. So I was doing a book with a person who was writing for their family legacy and their great grandfather was actually a soldier. And honestly, I think he fought for the South, I don't remember clearly, but I think he fought for the South in the civil war and then had left there and came out and was basically one of the founders of the State of Washington.
Scott DeLuzio: Oh, wow.
Steve Kidd: I mean a really amazing person. We're so close to having that lost again with WWI, WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans. The only place that there was any information was he happened to be a member of the Masonic lodge and they happened to save some newspaper articles from when they had founded the town. And without that, this guy's whole entire history, good and bad would have been totally lost. I would hate to see us have another generation of men that have done so much for our country, have their stories be missed when doing a book can be so simple.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:25:04 Exactly. and I think in the networking group that we were in last week, I briefly mentioned that I was in the process of writing a book and in various stages here, you're in there trying to put things together. That's exactly one of the reasons why I wanted to do that. It was my primary goal to make sure that my story and the things that I went through didn't get lost. I'm not a super famous person, I'm not founding any towns, I'm not forming new States or anything like that, you know? But there might be a time later down the line where my kids or my grandkids, or even further down the line might be curious as to what I had done in my military career or whatever.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:26:02 So I wanna have something written down so that someone could read it later on. And you know, it's not the most heroic, glamorous Hollywood blockbuster story, but still it's my story. And I want to get that out there to make sure that the story isn't lost to history and other people will probably find that same story interesting as well. You know, there's quite a bit in there that would be of interest to people whether or not they know me.
Steve Kidd: 00:26:37 Absolutely. Yeah.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:26:44 Well for our listeners, are there any other tips or advice or any words of wisdom that you might have for them to help them along their journey, or emphasize the importance of telling their stories to get started with this, anything along those lines that you might be able to offer?
Steve Kidd: 00:27:01 Yeah. A couple of things. number one is as you said before, you need to tell your story. There's only one you. You may do a job that a thousand other people or a million other people do, but nobody will tell it the way you do; nobody's been you, we want to save that. Secondarily, it is so easy to do these days and the cool part about it is with all the negative stuff we can say about COVID, it helped us in one really simple way. And that's that we got probably almost twice as many books out in 2020 because people were stuck at home. And so what else can you do, but write a book. Amazon was already selling about 80% of all the books that are sold. Since COVID it's so close to a hundred percent, you may as well just say Amazon sells books.
Steve Kidd: 00:27:59 But it's such an easy process. And it can literally be a kind of thing where you can do it all the way from zero all the way up to however much, there's real high end. I actually even have a $250,000 program, but that's a four or five-year course working with all of your marketing but for an investment that you can get it out there and you can have your book available. And the cool part about it is Amazon will actually cover the cost of printing and shipping and just cut you a check. So you could do it all the way from $0 all the way up to whatever is going to meet your budget and it's going to help you. So don't let money be the thing that gets in the way, really do truly share your message with the world.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:28:48 Yeah. And that's the thing I do love about the way the technology has gone is that print on demand. You know, where Amazon lets you basically upload your book to Amazon and they take care of printing as the orders come in. So it really costs you nothing. You just, they take their cut for the printing fees out of the sale price and they send you, like you said, they just send you a check whenever books are sold. So it's really that simple. I mean, if you have a built-in audience, if you have a social media following with tons of followers and stuff, and people are really interested in what you have to say, it could be just that easy and not really cost you hardly anything to sell that book.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:29:33 So anyways, well, I think so. I mean, great advice I, I like the process and the steps that you outlined to help people understand what it is that they should be doing to think about how to write their book and that whole process in the goal setting and everything like that. I think all of that is really great information and the importance of telling their stories is also really, really great as well. So I mean, it's been a pleasure speaking with you today. Where can people go to get in touch with you and find out more about how to sell their books with your assistance and the stuff that you do.
Steve Kidd: 00:30:19 So my website is www.thrivingbestsellers.com. Or if you already want to talk about your book, you're like, look, I need to talk to Steve. It's really easy. You go to askStevekidd.com, it takes you straight to a scheduling link that will get you on my schedule. I'd love to talk to you and see if there's anything I can do to help you.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:30:42 Perfect. And I will have links to both of those in the show notes so that people can find that really easily. And again, thank you for joining me and talking about how to get people's books out there to as many people as possible. I really appreciate it.
Steve Kidd: 00:30:57 Thanks Scott. I appreciate it.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:31:00 Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com. We're also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at DriveOnPodcast.