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How to Write and Self-Publish a Book for Business Success with Jyotsna Ramachandran
Episode 3493rd June 2024 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 00:43:26

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This week on the podcast, I'm interviewing the awesome Jyotsna Ramachandran from Happy Self Publishing, and we are talking all about what a book could do for your business, and how to know if it is the right choice for you.

So if you have ever been curious about becoming an author of a book or if you want to know more about exactly what it would involve, then today's podcast episode is definitely for you!  


  1. How you can write a book, even if writing is not your superpower
  2. Self publishing versus having a publicist and what's better
  3. The costs involved in writing and publishing a book
  Jyotsna is a bestselling author, book publisher, TEDx speaker, and is an international Author Success Coach who helps, coaches, trainers, speakers, and experts to build a super profitable author funnel with the help of their book. She is on a mission to elevate the consciousness of humanity one book at a time by helping visionary leaders convert their messages into bestselling books in the easiest possible way. So far, Jyotsna has helped over 1000 authors from 35 different countries through her global publishing agency, Happy Self Publishing. While Jyotsna isn’t working, this mom of 2 kids also loves to dance, cycle, plan her next family staycation and is a passionate advocate for educational rights. If you enjoyed this episode then please feel free to go and share it on your social media or head over to Apple podcasts or Spotify and give me a review, I would be so very grateful.  


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Teresa: Have you ever dreamed about writing a book, or maybe you fantasized about being an Amazon bestseller? Maybe you wonder what a book could do for you and your business. Well, in this week's podcast, I'm interviewing JR from Happy Self Publishing, and we are going to be talking about how you can become a bestselling author, even if writing isn't your superpower. We get into what it actually takes to write a book, both time and money investment, and is it really better to have a publisher than to self publish the book yourself. We get into all that on this episode and more. Welcome back to another episode of your dream business podcast. How are we doing this week? Have you ever dreamed of writing a book? Now, it's crossed my mind a number of times, but most of the time I go, I'm not good enough to write a book, or I'm not very good at writing, so can't write a book. Now, some of you might know or remember that I was a co author of a book that hit number one in some of the Amazon charts. So I can technically call myself a bestselling author of a book. However, it wasn't my book. It was a co author book where each author had a chapter and writing one chapter felt like a fairly easy thing to do compared to writing an entire book. And. I've had the questions I'm sure loads of you have had. What the hell would I write about? Why would anybody want to listen to me? Is it really going to do that much for my business? What is the process? I wouldn't even know where to start. That's why I am really glad to have JR on the podcast today. JR is the CEO and founder of Happy Self Publishing. She's a best selling author, book publisher, TEDx speaker, international author, success coach. And for the past eight years, she has been helping purpose driven authors share their message. grow their business and reach millions of people by publishing a book. Now, if you're sat here thinking, I don't think this episode's for me, Teresa, I don't want to write a book. I really want to urge you to listen, because like I said, I thought books were not really something that I was going to do. I didn't really understand what it did for your business. I didn't want to self publish because I wanted a publisher, because that sounds like a real credible thing to do. And this conversation really did open my eyes to the whole thing. Not only about what it can do for my business and my credibility, what it can do for the funnel within my business, and also how can I write a book if I don't think I'm a particularly good writer. And that's something that JR and I talk about and how we get over those things. She also shares with us the investment in money and time that you might need to put into it. And I'm kind of glad to say that she didn't say I could write a book in like 30 days or something because I just know there's no way that is something I could do. So she gives us a realistic view of what it looks like to write a book, but also kind of gets me really fired up and excited about the thought of what it could do for my business. So like I said, whether you've ever thought of writing book, whether you dream about it daily, this is a really cool episode to listen to, not only for the book thing, but also her story is really interesting. So definitely, definitely don't skip this one. It's going to be a good one. Now, if you know someone who is thinking about writing a book or is in the process of starting to write one, then you definitely, definitely, definitely want to point them in the direction of this episode, Because like I said, she taught me lots and has given me loads of information to go on in terms of how I would even get started, where you put your time and effort in, how you market it. There was so much good stuff in it. So do please share this with someone who you think it could help. Also. I just want to mention, if you haven't yet subscribed to the podcast, please go ahead and do that. And it will make sure that it tells you every time I do an episode, which is every single Monday. So please go ahead and do that. And thank you so much for spending this time with me. I promise you it's going to be worth every minute. Here is JR. So welcome to the podcast. JR, how are you doing? Jyotsna: I'm doing great, Teresa. Thank you so much for having me on the show. Teresa: My pleasure. And I think this is the first time, I think this is the first time I've ever interviewed someone who is in India. I think. So this is a first. Congratulations. And the thing that you're talking about, is probably a first as well. So this is awesome. I love bringing new things to not only myself, but also to the amazing audience. So let's start by you explain to us what you do and how you got to do the thing that you do. Jyotsna: Yeah, sure. So I run a publishing agency called Happy Self Publishing where we help Passionate entrepreneurs, coaches, trainers, anybody who has a strong, compelling message to share with the world, we help them to package their idea, their story into a best selling book, irrespective of whether they are a great writer or not. So that's what we do at Happy Self Publishing. And it all began after my daughter was born, I wanted to run a business that will let me work from home. And I was looking at different options and this idea of book publishing kept coming back to me in the podcast I was listening to, in the blogs that I was reading. So it kind of was like a divine message. So I learned the whole process of how this whole publishing world, especially in the self publishing side, works. And as a result, it actually inspired me to write my first book called Job Escape Plan. After that book got published, I was a part of an author community in the US and authors over there reached out to me saying, Hey, your book looks pretty professional. Could you help me get the cover design done? Could you refer me to your editor? Could you just project manage this whole thing for me? So I thought, wow, there are so many authors out there who needed that professional support to take them from their book idea to the finished published book. So I just put my team together and I started Happy Self Publishing. That's how it happened. Teresa: That's awesome. I love that. And you know what I love even more is that you said they don't have to be a good writer, which is really fascinating because I would guess the one thing that puts most people off writing a book is the fact that they've got to write it and their own view of whether they're a good writer or not. So we'll come to that. Also, I love the, the message that you were getting over and over and over. Had your previous career or previous kind of experience had anything to do with books, publishing, writing, anything? Jyotsna: Nothing. I don't come from this literary world or editing background. None of that. I was running a staff recruitment agency when my first daughter was born, and that was great because that was my first business. But it made me, you know, attend meetings all day. I had to be on phone calls all day. And that wasn't, that was not the lifestyle I wanted. The reason I quit my job to become an entrepreneur was so that I can have the kind of lifestyle I wanted. It was fine when I didn't have a kid, but when this newborn needed all my time and attention, that business did not serve me. And that's why I started looking for other options where I can have. Well, control over the time and the place where I worked from. Teresa: That's amazing. And I think especially I'm always in awe of people who go into something that they have no experience in because it kind of, you know, what was going through your head at that point? Not only were you, you know, you'd got a young child, you were starting a business, but starting a business in an industry that, you know, nothing about? Like, was it that you just had faith in it and you just decided to trust in, in the messages that you received? Was it a case of, do you know what? I can work these things out. Was it just, I'm going to go for it. Jyotsna: It was a mix of everything. Firstly, I wanted that lifestyle where my business could be completely online. And I saw that this business had the potential. There was one step which I forgot to mention, which actually served me. So after I decided that publishing has a lot of potential, I did not straight away write a job escape plan because I had zero confidence in my own writing skills. But I knew that books that were published on Amazon were selling a lot. So I would just every single week I would find the hot topics which were trending. I would find a ghostwriter from a freelance website, pay them a few hundred dollars and make them write a short ebook. And then I would get a cover designer and an editor and a formatter to put together and I would publish the book under different pen names. That's how I began. So I did about 50, 50 of those books in six months. So those are the tiny little eBooks and back then they were actually selling and people were buying them just for these like 1 or 2 and yeah, that kind of gave me a lot of side income as royalties. And that also gave me the confidence as to how this whole self publishing thing works. Then I felt that though I was doing this as a way to earn money, I was not feeling 100 percent fulfilled because I had no idea about these topics. For example, you know, just because how do you use AI to grow your LinkedIn is a hot topic today. I have no idea about it, but I find a writer who also doesn't know anything about it. They just rely on articles that are published online to put a book together. It does serve the purpose of having everything in one place for the reader, but I felt that I'm not an authority in any of this. That has been, I felt that maybe if I share my own message with the world, I will feel good about it. That's why I wrote job escape plan to talk about how I managed to quit my job and stop this and how others can also start an online business. I interviewed other famous people in the online space. Seven of them agreed and I interviewed them. So I loved that whole experience. So then that book got published and I got featured. My book got featured as one of the top 10 start your business books of 2015. That gave me a lot of confidence that I don't have to necessarily be fantastic to be a good author, in terms of writing. And because of that visibility, podcasters started interviewing me and that's how other authors noticed my work and they reached out to me. And that I felt was, you know, a divine signal because I did not have the plan to start happy self publishing. I was kind of Just going with that ghost written books, but, but because these real authors reached out to me, I felt that when I published job escape plan, I felt amazing because it was my real authentic story. So I felt I would feel better publishing real stories by real authors rather than these ghost written books. So I just stopped that side of the business and I started focusing on helping authors who came to me for the publishing support. Teresa: Gosh, who even knew that that's a, that's a business. This is what blows my mind about what, you know, being in my business and speaking to different people is like, I would never have even thought my brain doesn't work like that to think, Hey, I know this could be a business like that just blows my mind. So let's talk about Your business as it is today, is it just supporting other authors to self publish or are you publishing it for them? Jyotsna: Yeah, so this is a great question and there is a difference between the two. So we are not a traditional publishing house. A traditional publishing house would decide which book they want to publish based on the marketability of the book, based on the potential the book has to make money. And they would reject the manuscripts that they don't like. And they would not charge any money to the author for publishing, but they would take away almost of the royalties. The author barely makes 5 to 7 percent as their royalty. So that's the traditional publishing model. Whereas I am a huge advocate of self publishing because it has served me well. So what we do is we make sure that the whole process is done well. The author doesn't have to try and design their cover on their own using Canva. They can rely on my team to do all of the heavy lifting for them. They can come to us at any stage. If they come to us at the ideation stage, we get on a 90 minute call with them and help them get the confidence if their book idea will work or not, give them the method to create an outline and all of that. And then they can write the book and then come back to us or they can come to us right at the beginning. I was just telling that you don't need to be a fantastic writer, right? So if they feel that they don't want to be writing the book themselves for various reasons, either they're too busy or maybe English is not their first language or writing is not their superpower. In that case, we would either, we would give them an angel writer. So this is very different from the ghostwriting I used to do in the past. An angel writer is more like a podcast host. They would ask the right questions chapter by chapter to make sure the author shares everything that's there inside of them. And the angel writer would go back, listen to the recorded interviews and write the book on behalf of the author without losing their voice and tonality. So that's how angel writing works. The other option is where an author wants to write on their own, but they feel lost. They feel stuck. They want that motivation, guidance, accountability for them. We provided an author coach. An author coaches like a business coach who would get on calls with them every week to see the progress they have made and provide the guidance. And then the final step is where book is already written. And then some people come to us just for the publishing support. So this is where we do the cover design, the editing, the formatting, distribution on Amazon, editing the audio version of the book, putting it, putting it in multiple formats and even running promotions in Amazon. So we do all of this and we charge for these services, but then we publish the book using the author's Amazon account. So Amazon has a platform called KDP which stands for Kindle direct publishing. So we Teach them how to create an account inside KDP and we publish the book inside of that. And then the author has complete access, which means the author gets to change the pricing whenever they want. They can publish the next edition of the book whenever they want. They don't have to rely on anybody's permission to do any of these changes and they get to retain the complete rights and royalties to the book. So that's how self publishing works. So we are basically assisting them to self publish their book. Teresa: Love it. So, okay, this might be a common misconception and maybe it's a common misconception that I have that I am now bringing to this podcast, but I always thought that if you had a publisher, it was more credible. What are your thoughts on that? Is it a misconception? Is it more credible? What's the two sides of that story? Jyotsna: Yeah, that's such a great question. So in the past, I would say 10 years ago, people still felt that getting that stamp of approval from a publisher adds more credibility to their brand. Yeah. And I've seen authors who've published their first couple of books with a traditional publishing house. Now they have offers, they have proposals and deals from these publishers, but they don't want to take it up and they want to traditionally, or they want to self publish their book now because they feel that any which way they are, Putting all their effort and money in marketing it themselves. So why give away the rights and royalties to a traditional publisher? And also traditional publishing is a, again, that industry is huge. There are too many players there. My suggestion to somebody would be if you're getting a deal from one of the big five publishing houses. like the Harper Collins or Penguin, people like that, then you might want to at least read the contract and see if it will work for you. But if it is some publishing house that you've never heard of, then that's definitely not going to add any value to your personal brand. So you might as well go ahead and self publish it. Teresa: This is really interesting and it's really changing my mind on this because like I said, I had this thing that, you know, if it wasn't a pub and when I think of a publisher, I think...




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