The process to self-publish a book has gotten so easy with technology and you can be a successful writer if you know how to do it. Best selling author Jeff Goins shows us how to become a successful author just like he has become.

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How Jeff Goins Makes Money

Jeff is a speaker, a writer, and a teacher of online courses and programs. He helps creative people succeed through his work and while teaching others.

Jeff got started with a $2.99 ebook and sold about 1500 copies in a week in 2012. That same year his first child was born. Working for a non-profit at the time, Jeff was interested in trying something new. 

What Jeff Did Before Being a Successful Writer

Jeff worked for a non-profit organization as a marketing director that he sort of fell into. He was hired as a copywriter, then became manager, and then took over as director.

He once toured with a band and was a Spanish major in college. At the time, he was helping other people share their stories while doing international service projects to raise money.

Jeff realized he had ideas and stories that he wanted to share, so he started a blog, and it grew quickly. Then came some ebooks, online courses, events, and masterminds that he created.  

Most people assume everyone goes to college to make money, so he and his siblings did the same thing. However, Jeff intended to go to college and get a job afterward, not necessarily with the intent to make a lot of money.

Many people have the notion that if they go to college, then the world owes them a job and then becomes disappointed as a result because that is not the case. Jeff studied Spanish and Religion because he was interested in religion.

He chose Spanish because he wanted to study abroad in Spain. He thought about maybe being a missionary in a Spanish speaking country but ended up with a non-profit mission group. He thought it would be fun as most things in his life. 

Jeff’s whole life, he was told he could not be a writer and make money. He has always been a creative person. He has acted, joined a band, written songs, and poems, and drawn Garfield comics. He just never knew he could do that all and make a living.  

Jeff’s first book was self-published on E-junkie. He more describes it as a 10,000-word pdf, but he made a few thousand dollars from it. He was sort of embarrassed by the ebook, so he took it down.

He later republished it as a book called You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One). This book was his story of wanting to be a writer, becoming one, and what he learned along the way about building an audience, building a platform, finding your voice, getting noticed, and eventually getting paid.

He self-published and sold about 10,000 copies in six months. At the end of the book, Jeff included his email, and people began contacting him and asking him to teach them the things that he talked about in his book.

Because of this, he launched his first online course, and a few months later traditionally published another book. Jeff has been writing books and teaching online courses ever since.

Dustin says he is not a creative person but has written and self-published four books. It was a lot of fun for him, but it was a struggle. 

How to be a Successful Writer Without Being Creative

Jeff thinks everyone is creative in everyday life as we are making things all day. The act of making a podcast is creative, by definition. He believes when people say they are not creative, they think they are not artistic how they understand typical artists.

Even by having children, you have created life, and life itself is creative. The necessary process of growth, things coming together, and things falling apart and then creating new things is the creative journey. 

Jeff says that step one is to recognize that everything we make and do in some respect has never been done before; therefore, it is creative. We also realize that not everyone is creative in the same way.

Jeff is a different type of creative than Dustin and Picasso or any number of other great artists. 


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To live a good life, you have to make things and create things. Jeff believes there has never been a better time to harness natural creativity and share it with the world because we have an opportunity to connect directly to the audience that needs our work.

If you work for yourself and are successfully unemployed, having some sort of business you are running that you created is a very creative act whether you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, artist, musician, or not.

Jeff points out Dustin’s guitar hanging behind him and reminds Dustin that he is, in fact, creative. Whatever you do, the things you make, it is easier than ever to find and connect with people who need those things from you. 

Second, figure out what you want to make, and step three is asking who this is for and how you connect with them. The Internet is an efficient and affordable way to find and connect with people who need your work.

You could connect through a podcast, a blog, or an article. When building an audience or platform,  there is a misunderstanding that if you want to make something and make money off of it, you have to go and find people who need that thing. 

Dustin agrees that we are all creating. He is not creative; it’s much easier for him to see something that someone else is doing and copying that. That gives him a leg up because if Dustin has to sit down and create something new, he can do it quickly.

He can eventually, but his brain takes 100x longer to get there than other people. Jeff sees this as iteration, taking something that someone else has created and adding your take to it or making it better.

A lot of the world’s greatest artists were not original. They took somebody else’s idea and did it better or differently, like Walt Disney, Michelangelo, and Twyla Tharp. Jeffs says that all great creation is sometimes recreation. 

Where to Start Writing A Book

According to Stephen King, if you want to be a writer, you have to read a lot and write a lot. You have to absorb a lot of good writing and study the craft, then write it.

Jeff thinks many people set out to be original, and that is the worst way to start. The same goes for a business if it is an original concept, assuming no one has ever done it before.

What you should be doing is paying attention to what’s working in the current markets, seeing what people have already done, and trying to do it better or differently. 

Writing is similar. Jeff says to pay attention to the books you enjoy reading, observe what the writers do that you like, and start copying them. Jeff thinks writers begin as thieves and quotes Picasso, “good artists copy, great artists steal.” 

Jeff says to learn, then find your style and your voice. Pay attention to the books and authors you like and mimic some of the things they are doing. Jeff compares the learning process to learning a martial art.

You would understand the dojo’s fundamentals before even daring to try to figure out your style. 

He advises not writing a book first but writing an article, blog post, or an Instagram caption. Start small and begin learning how to communicate your ideas.  

If you have an idea and the shortest way to contain it is with a book, then write a book. Figure out the smallest form of writing that includes your message and do that. 

Jeff doesn’t believe that everyone should write a book. People say writing a book will build your platform, give you authority, or be a great business card.

No reader wants to pick up a book and think of it as a business card. That makes for, often, not a good book, according to Jeff. A business card is a better way to go over a business card book. Jeffs is a purist when it comes to books. \

He believes in good books and that we don’t need any more bad books in the world. 


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