Traditionally Publishing a Book: From Idea to Launch

It’s a question many of us ask ourselves when we reach goals, hit milestones, and look ahead to future possibilities.

Tony Robbins says that if you don’t know what’s next, you’re losing. (Or something to that effect).

Looking back, we’ve always had an answer to the question, What’s next?

Entrepreneurs On Fire at a Glance

It was June 2012 when John told me about his idea to launch Entrepreneurs On Fire. Three months later, in September 2012, he launched the podcast.

Three months after that he was acting as a mentor to other entrepreneurs who were just getting started.

Three months after that I joined the team, and the heat continued to rise!

Three months after that we launched our first ever offer… (notice a trend?)

It was July 2013, and we welcomed 50 members into Fire Nation Elite, a mastermind to help entrepreneurs who were just getting started connect with one another and learn from our experience.

And then, three months after that, we launched Podcasters’ Paradise, our first online course. It was October 2013, and we welcomed 100 founding members into an online course and community that didn’t even exist yet. (We were of course open and upfront about that fact.)

One Thing at a Time

Looking back at the series of launches and new projects we’ve worked on — essentially a running list of our “what’s next?” — goes to show that nothing happens overnight.

Where we are today in our business is 9 years in the making.

And we’ve never launched anything simultaneously; it has always been one thing at a time.

Once we’ve proven the concept, successfully launched, and created systems to help that thing run and continue to grow with little work from us, then we ask the question, what’s next?

Our Launch and Offer History

Here’s a full list of our “what’s next” projects from beginning to present (and you can check out an infographic of this list on our About page!)…

Our business has grown, changed, and evolved a lot over the past 9 years, but one thing that has remained the same is John’s desire and passion to ask, what’s next?

An Idea is Born For a Book

In mid-2017 John started seriously considering writing a book.

After interviewing 2,000 of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs (at that point in time), and learning so much along the way, he knew he had a lot to share.

Plus, a recurring struggle and question just kept coming up from Fire Nation:

I know I want to start a business, create financial and lifestyle freedom, make an impact… but I don’t know how. What step do I take next?

It was early in 2018 and all the way into 2019 that John started brainstorming what it might look like if he were able to answer that question — provide a solution for that struggle — in the form of a book.

What if he could provide people with a complete roadmap to reach their goal of starting a business, creating financial and lifestyle freedom, and help them make the impact they want to make — step by step?

Is it Meant to be?

Whether you call it a coincidence, great timing, or something else, in late 2019 John was approached by a book agent.

She loved what John had created with Entrepreneurs On Fire, and she wanted to get a feel for whether he’d be interested in traditionally publishing a book.

This had John thinking that his whole book idea might just be — meant to be.

Although, with his luck self-publishing books and journals in the past, he wasn’t convinced going the traditional route was the answer.

That said, he wasn’t ruling it out, either.

By early 2020 John had gone through the entire process of shopping publishing houses, and as you all know now, in the end he decided to go ahead with the traditional publishing route. We’ll chat about that decision and the pros and cons a bit later…

John signed with HarperCollins Leadership in March 2020.

So… What Happened Next?

What you’ve read up until this point is a very high level overview of what I could write in detail about for a really, really long time.

The up’s the down’s and everything in between is something we strive to share in detail every single month via our monthly income reports. So if you want to dive into a specific time period in our business, we make it very easy to do so :)

For example, if you want to learn more about what it was like launching Podcasters’ Paradise in October 2013, you can check out our October and November income report from that year.

This post will specifically focus on the behind-the-scenes process from start to finish of traditionally publishing a book, and we’re about to dive deep into exactly what happened next…

As you read through this post, keep in mind that everyone’s platform, experiences, expertise, niche, and audience is different. This is our experience, which shouldn’t be confused with the “right way” — and is far from the “only way” — to traditionally publish a book.

What started out as brainstorming in mid-2017 turned into a massive launch with our entire teams’ hands on deck for the March 2021 release of The Common Path to Uncommon Success.

I’m going to break this recap down into 4 parts: Ready?

Part 1: The Idea

So often people have an idea, and then immediately expect to launch it and see results.

It doesn’t work that way.

As I mentioned earlier, John’s initial idea to write a book on the topic of helping others figure out how this whole entrepreneurial thing works came in 2017.

In May of that year (2017) we started an interest list for a book titled How to Finally Win.

By January of 2018 we had over 1,000 individuals raise their hand to learn more about John’s new book, which confirmed there was interest in figuring out just that: how to finally win.

It must be an entrepreneur thing… of course ideas come and go, time passes, and we strive to continue to keep our focus steady.

John hadn’t forgotten about writing a book, but we had a lot of other exciting stuff going on at the time. We’re big believers in the 80/20 rule. In fact, it was in 2018 that the 80/20 rule became our North Star.

The idea for a book never left, but it was pushed to the back burner and only on occasion did it resurface for a conversation.

An Idea Resurfaces

It wasn’t until the summer of 2019, after John was approached by the book agent, that the conversations really started up again. I remember being on a walk in Maine bouncing ideas back and forth about what the book would be called.

How to Become a Millionaire was a top choice for quite some time.

The title didn’t feel 100% like a fit, and there were probably 30–40 different titles we manhandled for days and days.

Even though the title wasn’t “there yet”, John didn’t let that stop him from continuing to move forward — knowing that the title would come.

And so it continued for several months… How to Become a Millionaire was pitched to a handful of publishers, and a bidding war ensued.

This brings us to August 2019.

We were riding in an Uber in Toronto as John finished up a call with his book agent. It was down to two publishers who were offering quite different deals.

One was a lesser known publishing house offering a small advance with a bigger royalty percentage — plus an exclusive audiobook deal with Audible. There were a lot of advantages to this deal…

The other offer was from HarperCollins Leadership: a large advance with a smaller royalty percentage and full control over the audiobook.

At this point in time John was still 100% okay with self-publishing, his main goal always being to write the best book that will create the biggest impact for those who read (or listen) to it.

Choosing HarperCollins Leadership

When it comes to making big decisions in your life or in your business, it’s important to bring your goals to the forefront. In this case, choosing between a lesser known publishing house, HarperCollins Leadership, or self-publishing required John to really hone in on his goal for this book.

John’s #1 goal for the book: to get it into the hands of as many people as possible, and as a result, make the biggest impact possible.

If John’s goal with the book were to hit the New York Times Bestseller list, or create a close relationship with Audible, or prove that you can successfully launch a book going the self-publishing route, perhaps his choice would have been different.

But given his goal, the notoriety, and the experience and breadth of knowledge HarperCollins brought to the table, made John’s choice clear.

Note: this isn’t to downplay the length of the conversations and back-and-forth that went on in order for John to make this choice. It was not an easy one, nor did it happen after a night of “sleeping on it”.

If you’re following along our timeline, we’re still in late 2019 at this point, and John didn’t actually sign a contract with HarperCollins until March 2020.

So what the heck happened in between?

Pros and Cons of Going the Traditional Publishing Route

Simultaneous to reaching out to several of his mentors and those he respects and looks up to to request input and feedback from their experiences in the book publishing world, John started documenting everything he was learning and hearing.

Listing out the pros and cons of going the traditional publishing route will explain a lot when it comes to what happened in between late 2019 and March 2020…

Let’s start with the cons.

Cons of the Traditional Publishing Route

From the time John chose HarperCollins until the deal was actually signed, there were A LOT of back and forth conversations and revisions to the contract.

Just one example: HarperCollins wanted John to go to their studio to record the audiobook, and they wanted him to create an online companion course with revenue share. These were two things that were non-negotiable for John, and getting to a place where both sides could agree on things wasn’t easy.

Now let’s look at the pros, because there are certainly many!

Pros of the Traditional Publishing Route

Some of the pros are a bit vague on purpose — every agreement is going to look different based on a number of criteria. We’ll get into the specific perks and benefits provided by HarperCollins for our agreement a bit later (well, as much as we’re allowed to disclose…)

Before we move on, I’ll just note: we never create a pros and cons list as the be-all, end-all decision-maker for anything, but I thought it would be helpful to include here so you can see at-a-glance what comes along with going the traditional route.

Part 2: Project Planning

This brings us to March 2020.

After a lot of legal reviews, asks and concessions, and revisions and signatures, John chose HarperCollins Leadership and the agreement was official.

The next logical step was to dive into the project planning and how we were going to get from where we stood with a signed contract to a successful launch day.

Meeting (and Assembling) Our Team

Getting the right team together for any project or launch is critical. Whether it’s just you, you and a few of your employees, or you and a lot of contractors, making sure you have proper support will make or break your launch.

So first things first, John met the team he’d be working with at HarperCollins.

This part comes hand-in-hand with tasks, timelines, and deliverables, too. It’s tough to know what support you need until you know what needs to be done. But we’ll get into all this in a minute…

As a result of these first few conversations with HarperCollins the tasks and timelines started to reveal themselves.

Questions like:

These questions and more were all answered in the first few months, and so by spring of 2020 John was already hard at work creating his masterpiece.

Answering these questions also made it possible for us to start building out our extended team.

Additional questions around who would help us fulfill our bulk orders and whether we would receive any budget or resources from HarperCollins for our marketing phase were also covered in these early calls leading into the summer of 2020.

Let’s take a look at the early task list, timeline and deliverables, and in doing so we’ll introduce the team we hired outside of HarperCollins to help make it all happen.

Creating a Task List, Timeline and Deliverables

As you can see from the list of questions above, the initial focus was on the actual book and making sure we were all set with the tasks, timeline and deliverables for that.

First things first: what would the final title for the book be?

Uncovering the Title

How to Finally Win, and later, How to Become a Millionaire, were starting points. But pretty early on in the title discussion HarperCollins was looking to move away from winning and millionaire speak and into a more classic vibe.

As John continued brainstorming on calls with their creative team and sharing his vision for the book, how it would be laid out, and what he wanted to accomplish with its contents, they got closer and closer to the core.

Ideas and terms like “roadmap” and “success” were repetitive. Achievements like lifestyle, location, and financial freedom — and fulfillment — were recurring.

The more conversations John had with the creative team, the closer they got to the title that would ultimately define what one could find within.

What has John learned from thousands of interviews with today’s most successful entrepreneurs? They’ve all followed a very similar path. It’s no secret the steps they took to achieve the financial and lifestyle freedom they possess.

But what’s different is that each individual has a different definition of what freedom affords them, and also what fulfillment looks like in their life. It’s not just success — it’s their own version of uncommon success.

The Common Path to Uncommon Success: A Roadmap to Financial Freedom and Fulfillment.

This circles us back to just one of the pros of going the traditional route. You have creative teams and other resources available to help you brainstorm and decide on some pretty major deliverables.

Starting to Design the Cover

After finalizing the book title, we dove into cover design.

Once again the HarperCollins team sent over a few initial options, but we decided to run with a design we came up with on our own.

After sending our idea over with a mockup from our own designer, Brandy, (image in black and white below), HarperCollins took over from there.

Here’s what the first round of book cover options looked like:

Practicing what we preach, we set out to find the perfect cover for the book by sending out a poll to you, Fire Nation! We posted a poll in our private Facebook Group for Podcasters’ Paradise (image below), plus sent out an email to our entire list asking for feedback.

Here’s the poll from our private Facebook Group:

As for the subject line of the email we sent out was very straight forward: “Help me choose my book cover, Fire Nation!”

And the layout and contents of the email was equally straight forward:

The click here text was linked to a Google Form to quickly and easily collect input.

With over 500 votes submitted via the Google Form, over 100 email replies from this email, and over 100 votes on our poll in Podcasters’ Paradise, Fire Nation had spoken!

The winner…

So much for our favorite design ;)

Although the winner did grow on us, and as we turned our focus to more pressing activities (like John actually writing the book!), the cover slipped into the rearview mirror.

Months would pass before we would decide to go back to drawing board with cover options.

But that wasn’t the end of it…

And again, we went back to you to help us decide which one would be the final, final book cover.

The second round of options looked like this:

This time our subject line was: “Have I earned 34 seconds of your time? (If yes, please open)” and the email was even simpler in its format and ask. Just hit reply, and tell us your number: 1, 2, or 3.

Nearly 500 email replies later, we came to our final, final tally…

It wasn’t by much, but book cover 3 was a clear winner.

Finalizing a Book Outline

In tandem with the book cover being chosen — and after the title was decided on — John sat down to finalize an outline for the book.

While he had a pretty clear picture in his mind of how the book would flow, getting it all out on paper was an incredibly helpful part of the process. To see the steps and to make sure they were in the correct order was important in helping him brainstorm what each of the chapters would include.

And so it began: step one to step 17 were cemented.

Another big part of the book outline would be the prologue and what John had been toying with for several months — to end the book with a bang! He had an idea for a sort of dictionary or bible for entrepreneurs. John wanted to make sure the book was something people would go back to — not just pick up and read one time, but revisit for years to come.

What eventually came to be named The Well of Knowledge was that resource that would keep people coming back to the book for inspiration, strategies, and a little kick in the rear when they needed it most.

Working Towards a First Draft

With the title finalized and a first draft due in early August 2020, John got to work.

For two months straight John spent every single morning writing for two hours.

In terms of the layout and format of the book, John had a couple ideas in mind that would require a little extra planning.

First, he wanted to include an excerpt in each chapter from someone else’s point of view.

Each chapter would be one step on the roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment, and it would be laid out like this:

  1. Description and overview of the step
  2. John’s experience and how he approached that step
  3. A contribution from another successful entrepreneur and how they approached that step

This of course required finding 17 successful entrepreneurs, each one who could represent a step given their zone of genius. And given the relationships John has built over the past eight plus years, this wasn’t a tough list to come up with.

Finding and Making the Ask to the 17 Contributors

Not thinking he’d get a yes from every single individual on his list, John stacked it: he also had a second and third choice for each contribution.

After a few back-and-forth’s to get to the final list, John reached out with a personalized video to each individual, explaining his idea for The Common Path to Uncommon Success and why he chose that individual for the chapter he did.

Then, he waited.

And what do you know?… every single one of the 17 individuals said YES!

So, the next step was managing the process of getting contributions from all 17 individuals, and John crushed this like a champ — all the while continued working away on his first draft.

First Draft is Submitted

In early August 2020 John submitted his first draft to HarperCollins, and we set off on a two month trip to Maine and California.

During our travels we definitely took it easy work-wise, but John’s focus on the book never ceased. It was during this time we started thinking about what our marketing plan would look like.

Creating a Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan required a few things.

First, we wanted to talk about the budget and resources HarperCollins was going to provide us so we could start to envision what was possible. Not that we weren’t willing to invest some of our own money in the launch, but we already knew a marketing budget was included in the deal.

After putting together a very rough draft outline of what John wanted the marketing plan to include, and given the budget HarperCollins was offering, we went on a search for a book launch manager who could help us coordinate and maintain the communications we had in mind.

In our search there was one team that stood out: Amber Vilhauer and NGNG Enterprises team.

We’ve known Amber for years, and in early 2020 we hosted her and 7 other incredible entrepreneurs for a peer mastermind (led by Amber) at our home in Puerto Rico.

Our history with Amber, combined with her experience and her team’s expertise in book launches, gave us everything we needed to confidently hire NGNG.

Here’s that rough draft outline of the initial marketing plan:

We officially brought them on November 2020.

Brainstorming Various Offers

As we started working with Amber’s team in late 2020 it became clear that our first order of business was creating the landing page for the book. Thankfully she had just the team to make it happen!, along with our support pages (with swipe copy and images), and our bulk buy reward experiences page were all pages built by Amber’s team.

Having support with this piece of the puzzle was huge, as it allowed John to focus on communications with our influencers list and past guests, and it allowed me to focus on managing all the moving pieces, including:

As we got deeper and deeper into what these pages would look like, we started detailing out what the pre-order and bulk buy offers would be. We knew that pre-orders would make or break this launch, so it was a critical piece of our marketing puzzle.

We also knew that bulk orders could be a huge win, and so that was another strategy we were dedicating a lot of brainstorming time to.

We’re going to get into a lot more detail regarding our pre-order and bulk buy strategy in the pre-launch section, but first, I want to share the tools and software we chose to use and that played a huge role in helping us manage this launch.

Tools and Software Used

It’s not always easy knowing what tools and software to use to manage a launch with so many team members and moving pieces.

Luckily Amber’s team is very efficient, and so is ours :)

There are of course alternatives for all of these tools and software options. The most important thing to remember is you should be using the tools and software that work best for you and your team.

Part 3: Pre-launch

As we continued sprinting ahead to our pre-launch phase it was time to consider our in-house roles.

By this time it was clear that John would be responsible for all book content, reviews, and approvals, and that he would also continue to be the main point of contact with the HarperCollins team.

My role was very much going to be the overall project manager, which quickly helped me uncover areas where our virtual team could play a bigger role.

Here are the tools and software we used throughout the launch:

Gathering data, like social media reach for our influencers; tracking outreach and follow ups; and working tirelessly helping us keep up with the podcast schedule (additional and unexpected interviews were popping up sometimes just days before they were to go live) were all critical tasks our virtual team was playing a huge role in.

Once everyone knew their role, it was time to dive in.

Side note: I cannot over-stress the importance of everyone knowing their role in every and any area of your business. Whether the person is a contractor, a project-based team member, a virtual assistant, or a full-time employee, making sure everyone is on the same page about responsibilities and ownership will make or break any project or launch in your business. Take the time to do it right and set expectations and clear roles, and I can assure you that you’ll experience a much smoother path to launch!

Making the Ask With Outreach

In early December we started weekly calls with Amber and the NGNG team to figure out a solid timeline for outreach, pre-orders and our marketing leading up to the launch.

Another quick side note: Timelines are IMPORTANT.

Always make sure you’re creating time in your pre-planning and pre-launch stage to reassess your timeline and where you’re at in relation to your goal. Does something need to shift? Get moved? Re-prioritized? Always be checking in!

Back to outreach: this would be a biggie, as so much of our marketing plan depended on it.

Our Ask was 3-Fold

With all of our outreach we were asking for one (or all) of these 3 things:

Influencer Outreach

Our first focus was taking our list of 3,000 past guests and choosing the top 300 we would consider our biggest wins to help support the launch.

  1. Their audience is a fit for the message / book
  2. Their reach and platform are large
  3. We have a solid a relationship with them that has built over time

Extracting those 300 influencers took some time, but by the time we had that list sorted, John was ready to start his outreach.

This is where our marketing strategy came in at 10x what most other authors are willing to do…

John sat down and created a total of 310 individual videos using BombBomb and emailed them to each of the 310 individuals with a note from his Gmail account.

No auto-responders.

Here’s the criteria we used for those 300 was pretty straightforward:

No blanket video communication.

This alone likely took our YES rate from what would have been a 10–15% to 53% of those we reached out to saying YES!

Out of John’s outreach to 310 influencers, 165 replied that they would help support the launch in at least 1 of the 3 ways we had requested.

Past Guest Outreach

With over 3,000 interviewees, we still had a lot of outreach to do. John was already working hard with his outreach to the 300 influencers, and now it was time to reach out to the other 2,700 past guests.

While we didn’t go as personal with this outreach, we still went 10x what most other authors would be willing to do.

No automated campaign, but again, an individual email to 2,700 people from John’s Gmail with a video (we used the same video in all of these communications), and a specific link back to their episode on Entrepreneurs On Fire.

That’s still some pretty awesome personalization to 2,700 people!

Plus, it reminded people of their interview on EOFire and gave them easy access back to it.

A side note here: it might seem like putting these lists together would be a ton of heavy lifting, but because of the existing systems we have in our business for our podcast interviews we literally copied our interviewee contact sheet in Google Sheets and immediately had access to every piece of info we’d need to do this outreach for all 3,000 individuals:

Fans Outreach

Where we did go somewhat automated was with our fans outreach. Reaching ALL of Fire Nation is much more efficient with a broadcast email, and we sent many of them!

In addition to updates we were sending out to our interest list (these updates included asks and pushes along the way), we were also sending out time-sensitive emails to our entire email list asking for their support.

In December we sent a total of 4 broadcasts related to the book, including an announcement that pre-orders would be available soon, promoting our live stream for Fire Nation to talk about the book, and diving into more detail about what to expect in the book.

The average open rate for those 4 emails was 25%.

We’ll get into the email broadcasts sent in January, February and March a little bit later…

Pre-orders Go Live!

In late December and early January pre-orders officially went live.

This was tricky timing with the holidays, but we managed to do a very soft pre-order launch in late December, with a bigger push once we were into January.

Our initial communications were focused on pre-orders and sharing the bonuses people would get. Here’s an excerpt from our December Income Report (note: these bonuses are no longer available — they were only available during our pre-order period):

If you haven’t had a chance to pre-order your copy yet, head over to You’ll get access to 5 INCREDIBLE bonuses just for pre-ordering your own copy today!

Stacking our pre-order bonuses ended up being a huge win for our pre-orders. Our list of 5 bonuses made it a no-brainer to grab a copy of the book, and we were so happy to share these bonuses with Fire Nation!

As we flew into 2021, we continued to sprint, push, and keep the asks coming. This is also about the time that our calls with HarperCollins became more of a weekly check-in to review numbers, strategies, and brainstorm new ideas.

Our January Pre-launch Push

January is when we really started pushing our bulk buy reward experiences. We knew getting our sales numbers up would only help with the overall visibility and launch push, and so we stacked rewards HIGH for these packages.

John was also very lucky to have a few key calls with bestselling authors, each of whom requested to remain anonymous, but who provided massive value by way of sharing their own experiences.

These calls resulted in us adding things like our 12-book bulk buy package and reaching out to do some more traditional media, like appearances on news shows.

Here’s an excerpt from our January Income Report, which sums up what we were up to nicely:

As many of you know by now our complete focus is on our upcoming book launch for The Common Path to Uncommon Success, which happens March 23, 2021!

In January we’ve been pretty heads down making sure everything is in place for a successful launch.

As you can imagine, this project is not a small one, and we’re fully committed to making sure The Common Path to Uncommon Success gets into the hands of as many entrepreneurs as possible who are ready to accept the challenge and finally get on the path to financial freedom and fulfillment!

If that’s you, be sure to check out the incredible bonuses we’re offering for anyone who pre-orders at

You’ll get access to 5 INCREDIBLE bonuses just for pre-ordering your own copy!

Of course, thank you so much to those of you who have already jumped on this so quickly — your support means the world, and when it comes to launching a book, pre-orders are EVERYTHING!

This includes:

And if you run a coaching business or mastermind — or you just want a little one-on-one time with JLD — consider checking out our bulk buy packages! We’ve spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought into the reward experiences that come with each of the bulk buy packages we offer.

So be sure to check out our bulk buy options and reward experiences today ’cause they won’t be around for long!

You’ll noticed in January’s report we mentioned a company called Givington’s. Givington’s is a 3rd party fulfillment center that helps with bulk order fulfillment and delivery specifically.

We initially chose Givington’s to not only help with the logistics, but also because we were told that having a 3rd party managing bulk orders would make it more likely that BookScan (the company that reports sales numbers to the bestseller lists the week of launch) would accept bulk order numbers in our overall sales count.

This did NOT end up being the case. Unfortunately we were given false information from BookScan, resulting in our sales numbers being reported as 0 the week of our launch.

Incredibly disappointing, and unfortunately something we can’t do anything about at this point in time.

Probably our biggest lesson learned of the entire launch: ask as many questions as possible to as many different people as possible. Had we gotten a better understanding from multiple parties about how final numbers were counted, we would have made multiple bestseller lists.

More on our actual launch numbers — and this massive fail — later.

Of course we knew none of this back in January, so I’ll close out this section out with a huge win: with our number of pre-orders we were starting to climb the charts on Amazon, helping us bring in organic sales thanks to increased visibility!

Oh yes — and our emails sent in January…

Well, there was actually only 1 — subject line: 8 Years in the making… and we saw a 24% open rate.

Our February Pre-launch Push

As we got closer and closer to our March 23 launch date, our efforts really started ramping up. Between January and March John did a jaw-dropping 345 interviews on other podcasts.

You read that right. Three hundred and forty five!

That’s just a 1-week view, and this is what John’s calendar looked like for nearly 3 months straight!

So February included… well — A LOT of interviews!

February is also when we started weekly check-in meetings with our HarperCollins team to review order numbers, discuss which of our marketing strategies were working best, and to chat about new ideas to continue improving our pre-launch efforts.

But back to John’s insane interview schedule… here’s an excerpt from our February Income Report

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard us talk about our love for guest podcasting — that is, being a guest on other peoples’ podcasts in your industry or niche.

Not one time, not five times, but consistently — over long periods of time — can make this podcast growth strategy a huge winner.

And because we believe so wholeheartedly in the podcast guesting strategy, it’s one we’re leading our book marketing strategy with.

To show you just how much we believe in the power of guest podcasting, I went back to John’s calendar for the month of February to count the number of interviews he’s done on other podcasts to spread the word about The Common Path to Uncommon Success.

Let’s break it down by week.

In week 1 of February, John did 32 interviews. Week 2, he did 31; week 3, 24 interviews; and week 4, 52 interviews! That’s a total of 139 interviews in the month of February alone!

So you can imagine that January — and March — are looking quite similar.

Want to support the launch by sharing The Common Path to Uncommon Success with your own audience? Check out the swipe copy and social media assets we’ve put together for you here! Thank you in advance for your support, Fire Nation!

Great question.

The total number of interviews John did in February?

The pre-order website we’re using for every call to action in all of our marketing is This is where we have all retailers linked up so it’s easy for people to preorder from whatever outlet they prefer.

But before we share links to order the book from the retailer of your choice, we start with asking for your email address.

We went this route on our marketing team’s recommendation, and we’re SO glad we did.

How do we know the interviews are working?

So let’s say you’re listening to Hal Elrod’s podcast, and you hear John do an interview where him and Hal talk about how awesome The Common Path to Uncommon Success is.

The call to action in that interview is to visit to pre-order a copy of the book and grab your 5 bonuses.

Listeners visit that page, click the “pre-order now” button, and enter their email address.

Next, they choose which retailer they want to use for their pre-order (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc).

Before they’ve even completed their pre-order they have an email in their inbox from us prompting them for 3 things in order to get the link to download their bonuses:

  1. Reply to this email and attached your pre-order receipt
  2. Tell us where you heard about the book
  3. Why did you decide to pre-order?

The flow for our pre-orders

This has given us such amazing insights into which marketing channels are working the BEST for us (based on where people say they heard about the book), plus why people are interested enough to invest in the book.

We’ve been able to take this info in real time and let it help inform how we move forward with our marketing strategy.

Recording the Audiobook

February was also the month John sat down with his mic and recorded the entire book on audio.

For the record, the book is 71,000 words and 273 pages!

Following his own advice, he was SUPER focused on accomplishing this task. John set aside time every morning to record and edit 2 chapters.

Being Named an Amazon #1 New Release

February also brought the awesome news that we had hit the Amazon #1 New Release list!

This was incredibly exciting because it meant more people were placing pre-orders and that more people would see the book because of the increased visibility Amazon gives to its #1 New Releases.

How exactly these tags are calculated — and why we’d be considered a ‘new release’ before actually launching — I’m not sure (and I’m guessing Amazon makes its algorithm a secret on purpose). Nonetheless, we were very excited to see this!

Our March Pre-launch Push

As you can imagine, March was a full-out, knock-down, all-hands-on-deck month! Leading up to launch day on the 23rd everyone’s focus was on our last sprint.

We continued to push pre-orders and bulk buy sales, and these last 3 weeks forced us to get creative.

On March 10 we sent out an email announcing that we would be removing one of our top pre-order bonuses: The Journal Trio shipped to your door. Two days later, on March 12, we sent another email reminding our list that it was the final day to grab this bonus.

This push got us to the #1 Bestseller category on Amazon, which was another HUGE win!

Another strategy we used to get a bump in pre-order sales in March is email everyone who had already purchased a pre-order copy and offer them a special 6th bonus if they bought another pre-order copy for a friend or family member.

While this did generate a few extra sales, it didn’t move the needle too much.

Here’s what happened with our pre-order sales:

What did move the needle is the email we sent out the day before launch reminding people it was their last chance to snag our pre-order bonuses. Come launch day, all 5 bonuses would be completely gone.

Quick note here: when we removed the Journal Trio bonus we only removed the “shipped to your door” part — so people would still get the “digital packs” of the Journal Trio — just not physical copies.

Why? Well, one of the main reasons we decided to go from physical copies to digital copies — instead of dropping the bonus altogether — is that we had so many announcements and promotions that were advertising “5 bonuses”, including in our swipe copy and images.

We figured we’d save ourselves the massive amounts of emails from people wondering why they saw 5 bonuses advertised but were only getting access to 4 and technically still have 5 bonuses.

Also, at this point we had already sent out over 931 Journal Trio packs! That’s a total of 2,793 journals. On us.

That’s a lot of journals!

March 22 was our biggest sales day for pre-orders with 206 total orders. The only other pre-order sales day that came anywhere near this number was March 16: 133 sales — and that was the day we sent out a 7-day countdown to launch email.

We dove into these details and more in our March income report — here’s a excerpt from that month:

Top Strategies That Produced the Best ROI

The relationships that we’ve been nurturing and growing for 9 years now is hands down the most powerful way we’ve gained momentum throughout this launch.

And the list goes on.

Alright, back to sales numbers…

It’s because of these relationships we were able to put together a top 300 influencers list, which we used to reach out to all 300 individually — with a personalized video from John — and ask for support.

In our recap post we’ll be talking about detailed numbers, like the % of those 300 who supported, and in what ways.

We also reached out to each of our past guests from the show — via an individual email — asking for their support.

We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without these existing relationships. Especially when it comes to being featured on so many different individuals’ platforms.

Since January, John has done a total of 345 interviews on other podcasts. 345!!

And those relationships have led to:

And of course, as I’ve already mentioned, Fire Nation — YOU — have been so incredible. YOUR support, your pre-orders, and you sharing the love with your friends and followers has helped us take everything to the next level.

The emails we’ve sent — you’ve taken action.

The social media we’ve posted — you’ve commented and shared.

And we’re so grateful.

Creating the Companion Course

Another thing we were hard at work creating in March leading up to the launch?

The companion course.

That’s a lot of reach.

John knew he wanted to created video tutorials to go along with each chapter. Nothing crazy — just an additional medium and format to communicate the content in a different and unique way.

John and I are pretty good at tag-teaming deliverables like this, so I went to work creating the slides and bullet points, which made John turning on his video and going through the book and steps a walk in the park :)

In addition to the companion workbook and the audiobook, our audience has every possible option to consume the content in whatever format they choose.

Part 4: Launch

Once launch day came it was time to celebrate! The amount of hours, dedication, work, drive, and TLC that went into this launch might be unprecedented in our business.

We’ve worked really hard on every project and launch we’ve done, but this one felt different. There were more players in the game — and more at stake. Plus, the accountability was at an all-time high since we’ve not launched something of our own with other partners involved (like HarperCollins).

A couple of days before launch we had a pretty awesome opportunity to do a live stream pre-launch party with Kary Oberbrunner. Knowing Kary quite well — and having him offer to host the celebration — made it a no-brainer.

The more awareness we could bring to the launch, the better!

The pre-launch party was a ton of fun and we successfully got to provide value to those who had already pre-ordered the book — and to those who hadn’t… yet :)

And just a couple of days later, on our actual launch day, we celebrated with another virtual party and invited several of our 17 contributors and all of Fire Nation to join us!

Quick side note before we dive into the launch day livestream party…

Success Talks originally was meant to be a series of livestreams leading up to launch day that ran weekly for 6–8 weeks. It was something we started talking about way back in December with Amber and her team. At that time they had put together a cool strategy where we’d co-host the Success Talks with her and at least 2–3 other influencers (the influencers would likely rotate each time so it’d always be a new set of guests.)

Thing about these Success Talks sessions is there would be a lot of logistics to manage. It wasn’t just about locking in the influencers and getting them to commit to showing up. We also waned to pre-sell the book during these sessions, AND wanted to provide and lead with value for the influencers who would be joining us.

Sometimes you’ll come up with great ideas — ones that would be amazing if implemented correctly. But not all ideas are going to make it to the finish line, and that’s ok.

As the weeks and months went on, the timeline to lock everything in became tighter, and the logistical questions remained. So, we decided to make Success Talks a 1-time livestream launch party — for now.

Here’s an excerpt from our March income report on the launch day celebration:

Launch Day Livestream Party

To celebrate the incredible journey we’ve been on to get to this point, we hosted a 2 hour live stream and invited everyone to come celebrate with us!

We had a blast chatting about the book, the lessons learned, and the mistakes we’ve made along the way.

We also invited some rockstars on to join us, like Pat Flynn, Stu McLaren, Jeff Walker, Selena Soo, and many others. It was so awesome having some Fire Nation faithfuls who were tuning in join us live on video to chat about their own journey, too, and what uncommon success means to them.

So, now that the book is OFFICIALLY live, we can’t wait for you to grab your own copy!

So then the questions and brainstorming shifted to…

The launch phase definitely didn’t come without work (although most everything that would affect the launch in terms of numbers was done in the pre-launch period).

What the launch phase really brought to the forefront is the entire fulfillment piece of the puzzle, including:

Fulfillment: Pre-order Bonuses and Reward Experiences

We pulled out all the stops for this launch — especially when it came to the pre-order bonuses and reward experiences we offered to those who supported the launch.

Pre-order Bonus Fulfillment

Once we had the system in place for how we would deliver our pre-order bonuses, fulfillment was incredibly simple. Had we not put a system in place for delivery, it could have been an absolutely mess — and nightmare!

I know we covered it briefly above, but here’s what the pre-order flow and our fulfillment system looked like:

  1. Drive traffic to pre-order page
  2. Visitors click the “pre-order now” button, and enter their email address.
  3. Next, they choose which retailer they want to use for their pre-order (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc).

So before they’ve even completed their pre-order, they have an email in their inbox from us prompting them for 3 things in order to get the link to download their bonuses:

  1. Reply to this email and attached your pre-order receipt
  2. Tell us where you heard about the book
  3. Why did you decide to pre-order?

This process gave us such amazing insights into which marketing channels are working the BEST for us, plus why people were interested in the book.

Our final tally for books sold up through our launch week: 14,335

For delivery, Amber’s web team over at NGNG set up a download page for the bonuses. Then, we crafted a template email in Gmail with the link, so whenever we received a reply to our automated email with the person’s order receipt and request for bonuses, we’d reply with the template for them to download their bonuses.

Of our 5 bonuses, only 1 of them required help from our virtual team: shipping out the Journal Trio. If you received a Journal Trio as a bonus for pre-ordering The Common Path to Uncommon Success, then you have Tipu to thank!

The rest of the bonuses were 1-time creations, including the AMA bonus with John, the lost content interview I did with John, the downloadable companion workbook (I created that!), and the videos interviews with many of the 17 contributors.

Reward Experience Fulfillment

The reward experience fulfillment for our bulk buy packages ended up being a bit more complex than the pre-order bonuses. Because there were so many different bulk buy packages (seven to be exact), and the rewards attached to each of those packages weren’t 1-off things, fulfilling those experiences has required a lot more attention and planning.

Also, the actual book fulfillment side of the bulk buy orders was 2-fold. Unlike pre-orders, which were fulfilled by whatever outlet they were ordered from (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc), the bulk buy orders were placed through us, and ultimately were being fulfilled by Givington’s.

Therefore, it was up to me to make sure we had accurate mailing address information and all the details in a spreadsheet for Givington’s in advance of the book launch (since all books had to be shipped by the end of our launch week).

Follow up for this — for the most part — was pretty simple. But managing 90 bulk orders — all different sizes — going to 90 different places (some international with additional shipping charges and such involved) wasn’t easy!

Plus, making sure everyone knew what bonuses they were eligible for, and when and how they could access those, was on me.

To help track everything, I started a new tab in our overall Google Sheet for this launch, and I named it “Bonuses”.

On that sheet I listed out every individual reward, which packages were eligible for it, and then everyone’s name and email who was included in that individual reward.

About one week after our launch, I emailed each individual and laid out their reward experience, plus links and details for how to claim each one.

Which brings me to another strategy we used for the 100-book bulk buy package: this came included with your Entrepreneurs On Fire appearance fee. So each individual who invested in an appearance fee on Entrepreneurs On Fire between Jan — Mar also received 100 copies of The Common Path to Uncommon Success.

While the bulk buy packages were a huge win in terms of getting the book out to more people — and potentially brand new audiences — as we mentioned previously it didn’t help our ranking for making the bestseller lists.

We’re still incredibly happy we offered these packages, and we’re absolutely loving the connection opportunity that come with the fulfillment.

Just one example: we’re nearly finished with our 6-week mastermind, one of the bonuses for those who purchased the 75-book and up package. Each week we jump on Zoom for 1 hour together to go through a specific section of the book and work through any struggles or questions — and share wins! — with the group.

Our Book Launch Biggest Lessons Learned

We had a lot of great lessons learned from this launch. And as we always preach, if you’re not going to set aside the time to reflect and learn from your launches, projects, and experiences as an entrepreneur, then you’re missing out on a massive part of your journey — and your growth potential.

Traditionally Publishing a Book Isn’t Always the Way To Go

Of the 91 bulk orders we received, here’s how they broke down by number:

You saw the list of pros and cons we covered earlier in this recap. There are a lot of great reasons why self-publishing is a huge win. Full creative control, full control over your timeline, and the ability to do the launch your way.

And of course, there are a lot of awesome reasons to go the traditional route — we’re definitely not sorry we chose this route for this particular book launch.

Will there be another traditionally published book in the future? Never say never… but probably not :) This was a great experience.

Appoint a Project Manager Early On

If there’s one thing I could have changed about my role in this launch, it would be me getting involved sooner.

John is such a leader and visionary that sometimes he gets so deep into a project that he forgets to let me know just HOW deep he is.

I have to be honest: by the time I got really involved in the launch and planning, I felt like I was playing a bit of catch-up, which I don’t love doing when it comes to being a project manager.

Commit to Your Deadlines

In no particular order, here are some of our biggest lessons learned:

And check in often! We chatted about this already, but it’s absolutely critical that you have a timeline in place for your deliverables and your launch / goal date — and that you’re checking in with them regularly!

Without that accountability, your launch or project could go one forever. It’s way too easy to “push” deliverables when you don’t have a timeline to follow.

Leverage Your Existing Relationships

I have a feeling a lot of people “feel bad” asking for help. But when it comes to working on something huge — that you’re passionate about and that you’re creating to make an impact and add value to peoples’ lives — chances are those you’re close with will want to help support you.

Especially if you’ve reciprocated in the past.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues, partners, and contacts. And keep in mind that an “ask” doesn’t always have to mean you asking someone to do something for you.

An “ask” could be you mentioning to a contact that you’re interested in hiring a project manager, and you’re wondering if anyone comes to mind.

Or an “ask” could be you sharing an outline with a colleague for feedback.

Ask Your Audience For Support

Hopefully you’ve been giving to your audience for a long time already, and asking for their support isn’t something you feel bad (or are being shy) about.

If you run your business to serve, and you lead with value, your audience will be excited to help support you.

Go BIG on Your Pre-launch Efforts

We approached this launch like it might be the only time we do this.

And it might be.

Now, at least we can say we did EVERYTHING possible to make it the best it could have been. And we believe that.

Regardless of the bestseller lists and the final sales numbers, our team knows we gave it our ALL, and that’s something to be super proud of.

Do It Your Way

Have you ever noticed that big life events seem to be like a massive invitation for people you know (or who you don’t know) to provide unsolicited advice and feedback?

Everyone has an opinion about whether your baby is wearing socks, or how your dog walks when on a leash, or what process you’re following to plan your wedding.

Believe it or not, business can sometimes feel that way, too.

Everyone has a larger-than-life opinion about the “right way” to market, the timeline, the communication, the amount of money you spend on ads…

But at the end of the day — full circle — this is YOUR launch. No one else’s.

Receiving feedback, advice, and brainstorming different ideas is awesome, but continue to remind yourself why YOU have decided to do this. This is YOUR book, YOUR message, and YOUR launch. So do it your way.

5 Fun Facts about The Common Path to Uncommon Success

There were so many moments throughout this launch when I thought, “WOW! This is insane!” or “I can’t believe it!”

Kind of cool thoughts to have because it means you’re doing something different, experiencing new things, and learning a ton!

I thought it would be fun to share a few facts that really triggered those thoughts of, “Holy _____!”…

Fun fact 1: The Common Path to Uncommon Success is 71,000 words and 273 pages long!

Fun fact 2: Chapter 7, Your Content Production Plan, is roughly 5x longer than any other chapter in the book… and happens to be the chapter I’m featured in!

Fun fact 3: John was interviewed on over 345 other podcasts and social media lives to talk about The Common Path to Uncommon Success. Of the 345 interviews John participated in from January until launch day, our top recommendation for ONE to listen to would be his interview with Hal Elrod on his podcast Achieve Your Goals.

Fun fact 4: We sold 10,574 bulk order copies of the book pre-launch to 91 individuals. As a part of the reward experiences attached to those bulk buys, John gifted 45 hours worth of 1-on-1 coaching time, one full-day in-person 1-on-1 coaching package in Puerto Rico, plus 11 hours worth of mastermind sessions and a live virtual event.

Fun fact 5: With the help of our bulk buy purchasers we were able to donate 1,008 copies of The Common Path to Uncommon Success to 9 different events, organizations, and public libraries who run entrepreneurship programs, including Cornell University, Providence College, and the New York Public Library!

A Final Wrap Up

We hope this recap has been helpful and enjoyable to read. Because there is SO MUCH that went into this launch, it’s easy to miss stuff. That’s why I turned to our Podcasters’ Paradise and Journal Family Facebook Groups to ask what questions they hoped to see answered in this post.

While I was happy to see that a lot of what people wanted to know was already included in the post, I decided to include ALL requests here, with at least a quick recap of the answer — even when it was already covered in more detail somewhere in this recap.

Here Are the Requests we Received

James: What was the most positive surprise that came out of the launch experience?

Getting to see behind the scenes of the traditional publishing world. It’s fascinating what all goes into a launch! The many moving pieces, the multiples teams, the advertising, pushing for Amazon pre-orders… It was a completely new experience for us and a very cool process to witness and take part in!

Andrew: Where was time best spent in promoting the book? Like which strategy had the biggest return and which has the least return?

Podcast guesting — hands down! We went into a lot of detail in this post about how we leveraged this strategy, and it yielded great returns. It provided awesome relationship building, the ability to provide value and share the book’s message, and a great way to put us in front of all-new audiences.

Paul: What were the questions and criteria used to decide whether to self publish or traditional publish? When in the book writing process did you decide to traditional publish? How will this benefit you?

Aside from the many pros and cons — plus the brainstorming process we went through — that we’ve shared in this post, it really came down to wanting an experienced team running the ship. Having a publisher meant having a team who has done this hundreds, thousands of times. That meant the marketing side of things, the editing — all of that would be taken care of.

Mariana: What would you do different next time?

Honestly, nothing! We laid everything out on the table for this launch and are so proud of the results!

Ben: How did you decide which ideas would help the launch and which ones to throw away?

We share one or two examples of things we thought we were going to pursue, but then didn’t. It really came down to a timing thing — we knew we couldn’t implement EVERY idea we had, so we had to take a step back and ask ourselves what can help us 80/20 this launch?

Paul: What active steps did you take to rate so high in Amazon Bestseller Ranks subcategories? I see you are at #2 in Business Pricing #2 in Vocational Guidance (Books) #3 in Business Health & Stress.

This really goes back to John’s podcast guesting. The awareness, traffic, searches, and pre-orders helped up climb the charts, and without our podcast guesting strategy, this probably wouldn’t have been possible.

Patrece: What was the most interesting and fun parts of writing and launching?

For the writing process, it was engaging with the 17 contributors — this was such a highlight! We had existing relationships with everyone who said yes, but many of them we aren’t in touch with on a regular basis. So that part of the process was really fun.

We also found a lot of joy in having Fire Nation be a part of this process with us, and that really shone through during the launch phase. We had so many reach out and ask to help promote, ask to support — and that was really special.

Cloris: How did you decide on the bonus packages? What worked best? What didn’t work so well?

We went into quite a bit of detail on the bonus packages above, but to answer what worked best and what didn’t work so well…

What worked best was choosing bonus we knew were super high value for our audience. For the pre-orders, that was the Journal Trio. It made pre-ordering the book a no-brainer. For the bulk buy packages, it was one-on-one time with John. That’s super high-value since John doesn’t offer one-on-one coaching anymore, so we knew that would move the needle with the bulk buy packages.

What did work so well — honestly, nothing went horribly wrong. But if we were to really dig for something that we maybe could have reconsidered or thought longer about it was the complexity of the bulk buy packages and the price point we offered them at. We included SO many rewards and had so many different experiences that we honestly lost money on some of the packages. Plus, the fulfillment wasn’t super simple, either because of how many different rewards were included. So if we did it again, we’d maybe simplify those packages.

If you have any additional questions about the launch, we’d love to hear from you! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me (email in original post) and reference this post in your note!

And with that, we’ll say goodbye!

Originally published at on May 18, 2021.

Kate is the engine at Entrepreneurs On Fire, the host of the podcast Ditch Busy, & co-author of The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days.

Kate is the engine at Entrepreneurs On Fire, the host of the podcast Ditch Busy, & co-author of The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days.