Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!
In this episode, I talk with best-selling author, business coach, and Mr Consistency himself, Michal Stawicki. Michal shares how daily habits and writing routines can supercharge your author career. He also shares tips on increasing your sales and success with Amazon Ads, and the number one mistake people make when using ads. This episode is full of tips, tricks, and suggested resources to amplify your mindset, get you writing, and leverage Amazon ads, to bring you closer to the author-life of your dreams.
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Connect with Michal:
Twitter: @StawickiMichal https://twitter.com/StawickiMichal
Books Mentioned in this Episode:
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success – By Jeff Olson
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – By Stephen Covey
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born, It’s Grown – By Daniel Coyle
Amazon Ads for Indie Authors: A How-To Guide From An Industry Expert – By Janet Margot
More Resources on Amazon Ads:
Kindlepreneur: Sell More Books With Amazon Ads (Free Course) https://courses.kindlepreneur.com/courses/AMS
Bryan Cohen – Hosts regular free Amazon Ad Challenges. https://bryancohen.com/
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Join the Alchemy for Authors Facebook Page here.
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Find the full transcript of this episode below.
Episode 37: Daily Habits & Amazon Ads with Michal Stawicki
Jo: Hello, my writerly friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed a productive start to November. And if you’ve been challenging yourself with NaNoWriMo, I hope your prose is flowing and word counts are rising.
So in today’s show, I talk with best-selling author, business coach and Mr. Consistency himself, Michal Stawicki. Michal shares how daily habits and writing routines can supercharge your author career. He also shares tips for increasing your sales and success with Amazon ads, and the number one mistake people make when using ads. This episode is full of tips, tricks, and suggested resources, to amplify your mindset, get you writing, and leverage Amazon ads to bring you closer to the author life of your dreams. So when you’re ready, my friend, grab a drink, find a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy the show.
Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors. Today I have the pleasure of chatting to industry expert Michal Stawicki. Nicknamed Mr. Consistency, Michal is a bestselling author in the personal development field and a business coach. He is obsessed with changing the world through daily habits, starting with his own habits and his world.
In the last decade he has published 19 books sold over 80,000 copies of them, created dozens of new good habits, coached over 100 people in developing new habits, started a book advertising business, and quit his day job as a database administrator. Michal preaches and practices consistent daily action. He believes this is the means to achieve success in any area of life, from parenting to business.
Hello Michal, welcome to the show. I’m so very excited to have you here, and I just have so many questions to ask you. So, welcome to the show.
Michal: Hi Jo, thanks for having me. Okay. I’m here to answer all the questions. Ask away.
Jo: Thank you. Well, first, just from exploring your bio a little bit, it seems that you’re a very prolific writer and so I’m really interested if you could share with myself and our listeners what put you on the path of writing books and what’s your origin story for being an author?
Michal: Okay. Do you want a ten second version or one hour version?
Jo: Well, usually I find authors have, you know, there’s usually something that puts them on the path. So maybe it’s, they’ve always dreamed of writing a book and then there is something that kind of triggered them actually doing that. Or just life circumstances. So you start wherever you feel.
Michal: So in 2012 I read a book, The Slight Edge, and by Jeff Olson. And before reading that book, I was just a miserable cook in the corporate world and I haven’t seen any sense in my life despite the fact it was okay. Oh, I had good job. I had family, three kids. I’ve been married for like thousand years or so. Uh, but really life just didn’t have uh, taste and I didn’t feel like I, I’m feeling my potential. The message of The Slight Edge is Jim Rohn’s, uh, message: success is a few simple disciplines repeated over time. And failure, uh, is a few small error in judgments repeated over time. And I was like, No, no, that, that’s too easy. Before that, I had thought, well, success is something great. Magnificient like a golden medal at Olympics. And of course, I’m not able, so I didn’t even try, I didn’t even give myself, uh, permission to try to succeed. But small, simple disciplines, yeah. I kind of felt like, well, this something I can do. And because I was so miserable and because Jeff Olson, like his call to action was to set goals in every area of your life. It not just like health or just business, because everything is important in human experience. So I followed that and so I set some goals for fitness, some for relationships, and so on and so on. And I invested a lot in my own personal development, like, uh, invested time mostly: reading, listening, watching And because of that, I like, well, I read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and Steven Covey says they’re about having the end in mind and creating your own personal mission statement.
So I started exploring that. Took me about a month. And during that exploration I like rediscover it, my passion for writing. Yeah. I, I knew I need to do something else, but what? And okay, I like writing. Maybe I will be a writer. And I had no clue what does it mean? It took me about a month before it really clicked. What writers do? They write. Okay, so I should write actually. Okay. Yeah, Yeah. And the road was bumpy. Uh, I started writing fiction in Polish, uh, written nice short story, published it on a literary forum, and it was like decimated. And I thought, Yeah, all this feedback is true. So it would have taken me like five years maybe to get my craft where it should be to make money from writing, and I had no time. I needed to do it yesterday. Then I had also a couple of stuff, uh, blogging, uh, in English and my Canadian friend, she commented on one of my blogs. This is a good material for eBook. What the heck is eBook? I didn’t even know that Amazon exist back then. So I did my homework, explored around and decided, okay, I will publish in English, uh, on Amazon and the rest is history.
Jo: Wow, that’s really interesting because without having initial success, you continued on for five years, so there was definitely that perseverance. So what was it that made you not give up during that time when you got that negative feedback about your fiction writing and that, but you still persevered? So why, why did you do that? Why did you not give up?
Michal: First of all, you, you got it wrong.
Jo: Oh, sorry.
Michal: I thought it would have taken me five years to, to get so and no. No. But still even this period between, you know, starting writing, which was like November. Late November, early December, 2012, uh, before I published the first bestseller, which was January, end of January, 2014. And you know, I still had my full-time job, three kids to take care. And I was living, you know, a different life next to my life, which was really one existing and two. So what, what can I say? I always say, because people comment a lot okay, you wrote 19 books, you sold tens of thousands copies, and so yeah, it’s pretty huge, but it took me a decade. So it was over the span of, of those years, that’s one thing. And the other is I really didn’t look at it that way. Like I remember my beginnings, okay. So I made calculations how much I need to make in book royalties to make a living. And I came up with like, hmm, I need to sell like, a few thousand copies, move. Heck, uh, and when I published my fierce book, I sold 30 copies in the first month. So, that wasn’t a massive, uh, success.
So what keeps me going was that I was focusing like on one day, always one day, always habits. And habits are daily, at least one I created for myself. And I was making sure I’m doing my habits. And then the output was, this is the philosophy of The Slight Edge, the output is like after effect. It will be because habits compound, uh, it’ll matter sooner or later as long as you keep going. So I just kept going. Just I was focused on one day at the time. And I had, uh, periods of depression had during those years, and some family drama and changing jobs a couple times. Like it, it was a bumpy ride. And I even had some health problems for two years. I couldn’t really exercise because I hurt my shoulders. So there were plenty of different things and I, and so like mental, like health drama and so on, relationship drama. Yes, yes, yes. But my habits were always there. Daily habits. Every day. I wrote, every day I tried to edit. I hate it, so I wasn’t so consistent with this. I followed blogs and other authors. I interacted with other authors, and so on and so on. I had like a checklist of daily habits. Okay. Done, done, done. Done. And that’s it. I, yes, I was frustrated. Yes, I was comparing myself to others.
Michal: But in the end, I just kept up my habits because deep down I knew it will work. And now from the perspective of this decade, I can tell you, it works always in every area. Just keep going and you will reap the fruits. It’s like farming. Exactly. You put the seeds, you water them, time, some effort, and voila, you have a fruit. It’s, it’s like love of nature. It’ll happen. It doesn’t happen when you give up.
Jo: That’s awesome. And I love that idea of consistency. Now, you were saying that you were very busy at this time. You had a full-time job, you had family, and you had all these different routines that you’d built into your life. Were there ever days where you slipped and couldn’t write for some reason or didn’t write? Was there any time when you couldn’t follow that routine?
Michal: I had a streak of like three or four years I wrote every day.
Michal: And it was like, uh, mid nineties approaching, and I haven’t wrote, Okay. So I sat down at, uh, 11:00 PM and wrote something, anything, even some fiction piece just to keep the writing practice. Lately, like my identity shifted a bit. I’m not just a writer. I’m a business owner, business coach, so I write less, but like we have 14th of October, I didn’t write three days. And that’s actually a busy month. So now nowadays it’s like I miss maybe five, six days a month. Yeah. But there are still most when I can keep the streak. Uh, yeah. But I was fanatical about my habits. Mm-hmm. Because, you know, or you don’t know, maybe you are the lucky one, but I felt like my whole life like a failure. And that was the one thing I could succeed at; those small daily disciplines. So I kept at them and as I said to just a couple minutes ago, it freaking works.
Like I remember when my ghost writer, uh, my friend, ghost writer, contacted me. She was approached by a client who showed her my books. And told her, Okay, write like this guy. So she, about six or seven my books and, and read them all. And then she reached out to me and, and said, Yeah, I can really see how you progressed from the book number one to number six. And it’s just practice. It’s uh, what was the name of the book? The Talent Code. I don’t remember the author, but he just described the biological reality that whatever we do, we practice, you are getting better at, because this is how human brain works. And after reading that book, I, I was like writing, it’s pretty complicated and creative endeavor. He wrote mostly about things like sports or music. When you can like connect the dots, pretty simple. Okay. Practice, practice, practice. You will get better. Yeah. But writing, yeah, the same thing applies.
In my previous life I was a database administrator.
Michal: I liked it so, so, but I remember a period when I work with a guy who was like, I think one of the best in the world when it comes to, uh, Microsoft, ESQL database. Like he was going to the conferences of Microsoft and correcting those who are giving the lectures. Yeah, so amazing guy. But I, I just was next to him. Like sometimes I ask for his help, but really, and he tried to teach me, but I, I just wasn’t passionate about that.
And then I changed jobs and I got very demanding project of auditing a database. And I didn’t feel like I’m up to this task, but we succeeded. It took us three months to make the audit, then next three to improve the performance. And uh, the speed of the database doubled. And I was like, Come on, that’s because I was sitting next to Bogden for a few years. Like I absorb it. That’s it. That’s it. And be even such complicated tasks like database administration, this knowledge, these skills, uh, and then some talent, even such things, if you do them regularly, you are just getting better at it.
Jo: Yeah. That totally makes sense. And I think for all writers or anybody, it’s so important to keep that learning, to keep learning, to keep trying to better yourself. Now, I’m just interested a little bit, these routines that you created for yourself, and you said you had them in all areas of your life, but with your writing in particular, when you sat down every day for those periods that you did to write, did you set yourself like a time limit that you had to write for this long or word count, or what was your personal routine that you had?
Michal: Yeah, so at the beginning I started with that time limit and, uh, or that was that word limit? Whatever it was, just one of them didn’t really, uh, cut the mustard. You need both of them because either you will try to just spam too many words because you have a word count or, uh, you will just sit in looking at the blank page because it’s time. Okay. So I will write one sentence and it’s still okay. I spent an hour writing. So when you combine both boundaries, it really makes sense and it made sense for me. I focused more on world count. Mm-hmm. But then I also was watching my time with my schedule that was necessary. I gave myself an hour initially, I think. And that was producing about 400 words. And with time it was 600, uh, 800, over thousand. Yeah. And that, that was my like, highest output. For few years I was writing every day thousand words a day, and I had an hour for writing. Nowadays I’m writing, like I scale down, I’m writing 600 words in half an hour, and I need to hit both metrics to, okay, mm-hmm, say I’m done for the day.
Jo: Yeah, that’s good. I like having both those metrics. I always work by would count myself because otherwise, you’re right, I’ll have that problem of sitting, watching the time and getting agitated, cuz yeah, the time’s going past, but the words aren’t on the paper, so. Yeah. But I like that idea of combining the two.
Michal: I will add another great, I personally think it’s great, uh, habit for a writer. I got it from my, uh, mentor Steve Scott, of keeping a writing log. So each time I write, I write, I may mark the starting time, the end time, and I have the formula in Excel which tells me how much minutes that was and how many, and, uh, also what I wrote in each, in which language, and some remarks when I see that the speed was like higher than average, or lower than average. And since I started doing it years ago, I like within a, Oh no, at the very beginning I discovered, I, I thought that I’m writing much faster in Polish than in English. But it was, I was like a year into my writing book back then, and I discovered it’s about the same. I was shocked. So, uh, tracking your writing gives you data, and it’s not just your ideas. I am so great. I write so fast. No, you just have four hours to write. That’s why you have such a great work on. It’s good to know your metrics then you can manipulate those, those requirements of yours.
Jo: I totally agree with that. I’ve been doing that for a little while. I actually use, I don’t know if you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo. Have you heard of that?
Michal: Yeah, I participated a couple times, not writing a novel, but my books.
Jo: Yeah. Well, so I use their website, whenever I’m starting a new project at the moment, I’m doing a short story, so I’m just using it for that. So even though it’s not connected to NaNoWriMo, I use their page for their setting a goal and their stats and that. Because you put in your start time and your end time, how many words you’ve written, and it all calculates it for you. You can put in how you are feeling at the time if you’re feeling a little bit meh writing or if you’re really excited, where you are writing, and then it kind of gives you this feedback of, okay, so you write better in the evening, or your outputs better in the morning or, you know, just those little things. So I’ve actually been doing something similar to that and I find it so interesting. The days when I’m really feeling that writing vibe, I can get lots of words down and, and it calculates, okay, you are writing seven words a minute. Oh, here you’re writing 15 words a minute. And, you know, you can see all of that. And yeah, I think that’s a really great idea. Really cool.
Michal: I’m smiling because uh, I also track where I’m writing. Mm-hmm. and what was the wired place, uh, you, you wrote in that?
Jo: Yeah, I find it really interesting cuz I have an office set up for writing and yet I’m more prolific when I’m sitting on the sofa in the living room. So not in my office space. It’s really unusual how environment actually can influence output a little bit.
Michal: Okay. I’m looking at where I was writing it: on a plane in Ireland, visiting my parents, even on the playground when watching my kids. Come on .
Jo: So you can write anywhere, right?
Michal: Of course. Yeah. Especially if it’s nonfiction. You don’t have to be as creative and you can have, you know, outline in advance. I actually went back just because I had no inspiration to the book I started like three years ago. But I already had an outline, and I was writing so much faster than, you know, my usual blog post, for example. Because I had like predator mind, what I’m writing about.
Jo: Yeah. Oh, that’s cool. That’s really cool. So when you are fitting this around a day job as well, cuz I know what that’s like, I have a very demanding day job at the moment and I try and fit in the writing and sometimes there are days when I’m just tearing my hair out because I wanna be doing more writing and less of the day job, but, you know, you’ve got responsibilities and that. If you ever felt that way yourself, how did you deal with that issue that can arise where you want to be doing something else, but you’ve got the commitment to your job or something like that, even though you are pulled to want to write. How did you deal with that kind of inner conflict, if you ever experienced that?
Michal: Not well.
Jo: No. I’m there with you.
Michal: And of, of course, like, in the Bible there is this passage, uh, your treasure is where your heart is, so, Mm, yeah, I was slacking on my day job. Oh. And I was slacking for years. But okay, another story then. The day I gave my notice, and it’s been like for the last three years I barely worked anything and it was just quarter of time. Mm-hmm. So come on. I was taking money for nothing most of the time. And then I was approached, Michal, help us with database in this new project because, it’s just a month to deadline and we are gone lost and come on. So, and we need to fix it, this process till Monday, but with the current speed it will run past the deadline. Come on. That’s, that’s unacceptable. So, was the same day or the next day, it took me like two hours and I fixed the process and saved like, million and a half for the company. So I was like, Okay, I’m justified.
Michal: No guilt anymore, and this is why they paid me for so, uh, long.
Jo: Yeah, fair enough, fair enough. So now you have your own business. Now you’re working for yourself, is that right?
Jo: Yeah. And did writing books help put you in that position so that you could do that? Is that the crux of your business, the main part of your business?
Michal: Yeah, uh, it helped a lot because my business is advertising books on Amazon for other authors. And I learned that while advertising my own books. So definitely without the writing career I wouldn’t have this business. Like I spoke two weeks ago with an Indian guy who does the same thing like I do, but he doesn’t have the self-published background. So it, for him is just like, uh, keywords optimization and this technical stuff. Yeah. And I know nuts and bolts because I learned this on my own books. So even though I had little clue about optimization and keyword research and so on, I have other like advantages. And as I’m saying like this business is now about half of my overall income. And it comes from the experience. I’ve been writing, publishing my own books, and then, uh, advertising them on my own and then tweaking something, figuring out what works, what doesn’t. And that’s why I have this business, and book royalties are still trickling. I’m selling a few hundred copies a month.
Michal: That’s, that’s about, about thousand bucks a month.
Jo: That’s great. That’s cool. I’m really interested in your business model. Now I might have this completely wrong, but I did a, you know, a little bit of snooping on Amazon. So you have a lot of personal development books that look like they’re based on your experience, but they look quite short. So most of them seem to be under a hundred pages and I was talking to a woman actually on the show, oh a few weeks back, and she does something similar. She’s in the personal development arena and she writes and encourages others to write books under a hundred pages just to make them more digestible for the reader. Now, was that a conscious decision you made, to make them short reads for that or so that you could get more books out? Like was it more of a marketing thing? Is there a purpose to you writing short rather than longer content?
Michal: Yeah. Most of my shorter books are from the beginning of my career.
Michal: But in nonfiction it’s easy to write those short books. Mm-hmm. Like, you have one subject, you write till the end and that’s it. Why beat the dead horse? Yes. So, um, my first book, I started writing to publish on Amazon. It took me 49 days, but it has less than 10,000 words but it’s a book, like there is kind of story – my own, and it saves this like a textbook on how to write your own personal mission statement. And it works well because I have like over a hundred or 200, I don’t really remember which book has many reviews, but hundreds of them. And I sold like over 10,000 copies of that particular book. So yeah, they don’t have to be long. They need to solve the problem.
Jo: Yeah, I think that’s key. And yeah looking at your books, you did look like you had a significant amount of reviews on them, so they’re obviously getting a lot of attention. So what is your marketing plan then? So as a self-published author, I know you use Amazon ads and everything like that, but how do you garner all those reviews? Do you have a newsletter or how do you get your books out there so people can find them?
Michal: Yeah. I just followed whatever I learned from other successful self-published authors and mostly from Steve Scott who, uh, is very prolific, or rather had been, because he stopped publishing new books. But he has like 40 of them or something like that. And he produced them in like two, three years, maybe four, five. And that’s it. So like he condensed all his effort into relatively short time. That’s how he got elevated to the top of the ranks and make a fortune on, on the books. And then moved to other business ventures. But going back to my marketing plan, well, at the beginning it was all about first producing a readable book. Then preparing the launch. Launches like back in 2014, 15, they were a huge thing. It was how the algorithm on Amazon worked. So your goal was to sell as many copies as possible in the first 30 days. And you are doing that by putting the price as low as possible, which is 99 cents for the Kindle. And putting your book on some promo sites, ha, but most of those promo sites need some reviews. So before you publish you need to have a mailing list and, uh, give advanced copies so they will review as soon as possible your book, and then you can apply for those promo sites services. Uh, what else? Other authors. Like, this is huge. And of course your email list with time. Right now, I have over 3000 people on my outer email list. When I published my first bestseller, I had I think 100 something. Mm-hmm. But I leverage the email list of Steve Scott, and he had like 20,000 or 40,000 people back then, if not more. So we promoted the book for free. It got like several few thousand downloads, which back then on Amazon really translated into sales afterwards.
Jo: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Michal: So after that, that free promotion. I sold like over 600 copies of the book in the first month. And then the sticky power was so much better. So this book remained the best seller for the good year or two and it’s still doing quite well. That was the launch. And that was, I would say, do-able with your day job, cause you were focusing on this month, maybe, and because preparation and then, uh, the launch and two weeks after to book those promo sites and then you switch the price back to the normal. And you were done in about a month, and then you can could focus on the next book.
So that was my system and I’ve been publishing like few books a year. Like Steve Scott, but on the uh, smaller scale, I was adding on top of the next and the next and the next, and it really, like, I was burnt out, like I mentioned, and a couple of books flopped, and I had no heart really to write more and publish more. It was 2016. And then I discovered Amazon ads. And in 2016, they were easy. I just scraped, like harvested 10,000 words, random words from dictionary, put them on Amazon and voila, I was selling three times more. And that was my system at the very beginning.
Jo: That’s amazing. So how many books did you already have out when you started Amazon Ads?
Michal: I don’t remember, but; I guess around 10.
Jo: Ah, okay. So I’ve dabbled in Amazon ads. I’ve done Bryan Cohen’s free Amazon ad course a couple of times, which is just so much fun. And so I, I’ve kept that up for a few months at a time, and then I usually pull the plug. So I write fiction and I only have four books out there: two short story collections and two standalones. And I’ve always been told, well, you really need a series or you need more books to take advantage of Amazon ads. Do you think that’s true? Is that something that you would recommend for other people?
Michal: Yeah, I have a nice rainbow of the whole spectrum on Amazon because I’ve worked with like hundreds of authors from fiction and nonfiction and I can see what’s going on. So yes, it’s really hard to stand out with a standalone because with the series you have the funds to bid high, and then with the standalone you just don’t have the chances. You beat 20 cents because this is what you can afford.
Michal: And you are getting leftovers of everybody else, because those who have 10 books in the series and each book is like $2 in royalties, that means they can afford to spend 19 bucks to sell one copy which will then lead to selling the whole series. Uh, okay, so it’s 19 bucks against your two. You are in the last position. Yeah. In case of non-fiction authors, it’s easier. It’s easier because yes, you compete with, for example, I have a customer who spends several thousands a month for just one book, but he’s not so much concerned about the cost. He just want to sell more copies because then he sells coaching at the back end. And I have no clue how much it costs, but my guess is north for $5,000 per month. So, of course it makes sense for him to spend, uh, 10,000 to, to make like 50 or 60, and that’s the strategy of quite a few non-fiction authors. But if you don’t have a business behind your books like me, mm-hmm, then well, those leftovers are good enough I would say. I’m still selling those few hundred copies a month, making some additional income. And it also leads to other business.
Like even though I have no advertising in my books, people were coming to me, my readers, and asking for my coaching services. So I made like thousands of dollars because, mm-hmm, I write nonfiction and people are reading it, they’re finding it, you know, helpful.
Michal: Or I was approached by Bellevue University and they paid me thousand bucks so I will do the webinar for them, and also give them rights to distribute my eBook for the clients. They found me. They approach me. Yeah, exactly. That’s how non-fiction can work. But you need either be high in the see changing results, which is really hard, especially right now when people are paying for the traffic. Or you just need to constantly sell something, maybe even do those expensive targeted ads just to reach your target audience. Yeah, yeah. So then those decision makers, for example, who are looking for training for the employees, they read your book and they hire you. So that’s usually the justification for non-fictional authors to pay more for bids. Mm-hmm. Just to stay in business, really.
Jo: That’s really fascinating. So for somebody who’s maybe got a decent back list and writes nonfiction or fiction, but with a decent size series or something like that, and they’re considering doing Amazon ads, do you have any suggestions for where they can start? How they can go about learning, or where they can start with ads? Any tips or advice?
Michal: So I have some blog posts on my website, resurrectingbooks.com, but they are like, hm, more about how to prepare for advertising, your book description, your book page, editorial reviews, and the like, and it’s rather for non-fiction authors. I always recommend everything Kindlepreneur. So Kindlepreneur has a free course on Amazon ads, and it’s good enough for the start, like you, and it’s free. So it’s very good enough.
Michal: Yeah, exactly. Because you are getting like 80% of the all information you need for free. There is no competition for that seriously. And that two resources, Kindlepreneur and resurrectionbooks is really enough to start. Also, when you start and you already run something and you know what’s going on, there is a book by Janet Margot. If you type Janet Margot book on Amazon, you’ll get it. The cover is funny, like Janet purposefully made it from this Amazon generator. Yeah. Okay. So the cover is awful, yeah, the content is great.
Jo: Yeah. Oh, that’s cool. Well, I’ll totally make sure that that’s also in our show notes, so people can find that as well. If you were to give any tips to really up the odds of success with Amazon ads, so we’ve already talked about having a series, or if you’re in nonfiction it’s a little bit easier, is there any particular tips for somebody or mistakes that can easily happen, so things to avoid, anything like that that you want to offer?
Michal: Yeah. When people start advertising, they think in terms of, Okay, the budget, bids and so on. Nope. The most important thing by far is your book description. Mm-hmm. Because, whatever source of traffic you’re using, it may be Amazon ads, Facebook ads, Bookbub, and promo sites and so on, in the end, those people will land on your book page on Amazon, and then they will decide if they buy or not. Yeah. So you need to spend like 80% of your time on chiseling your book description, adding editor reviews, maybe now a-plus content. So lazy, I should do that. And that’s it, because the difference between decent book description and horrible book description, and horribles are all over the place. I know from experience. Yeah. Worked on hundreds of books. 95% of them the book description are terrible. You can have the best book description in the world, like, Hmm, yeah, it’s so interesting and great, but it’s one wall of text and nobody will read that. Yeah. Like, this is number one thing I see when it comes to books descriptions.
So the difference is between decent and terrible book descriptions, it’s in tens of clicks. So a good book description can convert like 15 clicks into a sale. A terrible, like 50. And you are paying three times more to sell the same one copy. So this is what you should really focus on initially. Okay. At the end, you think my book page looks all right and then the data will verify if it’s all right or not. The data will tell you if your cover is attractive. Yeah. Then okay. Yeah. Thousand impressions, one click. That’s pretty good. Or even great, especially if the crowd who sees that is totally random, like I do for most of my customers. And then, but I have 100 clicks and only one person bought, start something off. And you need to go back to your book page, look at it, and, and figure it out, because no amount of money will really help you in that case. Like a hundred clicks, a hundred people, and only one reader. Yeah, yeah. Nope, nope. That’s the key difference.
One of the people I look up to, Susan Friedman, I think is her surname. She has great podcasts about book marketing. And she recommended a book of her friend. And so I clicked and I bought because Susan recommended it. Yeah. It was a good book. Yeah. But then I looked at the book description. It was terrible. Like the wall of text. Yeah. And not what’s in it for you, for the reader. Nope. No, that was terrible. That was terrible. And so you ask your great friend, Susan Friedman, 10,000 people will land on the, on your page, but only 100 will buy. Uh, and that’s the difference. So no matter what the source of traffic, your book page will always convert or not convert, verify this traffic so it makes sense to focus on that.
Jo: That’s great advice. I really love that. That’s really good advice because there’s so much lost opportunity otherwise, so we wanna maximize all those opportunities for those sales. So yeah. That’s wonderful. So I’m just gonna backtrack a little bit. So your field for writing is in personal development and you talk about, I think on your website and that, about people being able to change their lives through consistency and things like that. And so I talk to authors and artists and musicians and people in the creative field all the time, who have this passion but aren’t necessarily taking those steps towards achieving those goals because they’ve got excuses like, I don’t have time, or I’m too old, or, I don’t have the money to spend on this, or something like that. What would you say to those people who are maybe stalling on going after those things that bring them passion because for whatever reason, they believe it’s too hard?
Michal: If it’s too hard, they are right. Like Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you cannot, you are right. ” So what I would actually recommend is for them is to explore their own motivations and maybe write their vision for their writing career or musical career, and like really embrace it. And I think more of things you, you mentioned is more about them and them giving themselves permission to try. Mm. Like it was with me 10 years ago. If you don’t give your, give yourself a permission to try, you won’t try. And if you won’t try, you will never achieve, period. And the opposite way is not a guarantee of success because there are no guarantees. Mm-hmm. So if you keep trying and keep doing, well, maybe you will never succeed, but if you never try for sure, 100%, you will never succeed.
Jo: Mm, yeah, absolutely. I agree with that. And I can see just from the titles of a lot of your books too, you have that strong theme of that consistency and building those habits into your life and everything like that. And I think, sometimes we get so stuck in the idea of success and what that end result is going to be. But there is just so much learning and that, that comes from the journey, right? And I know it’s a little bit of a cliche, but from my own experience, having those routines and taking those steps and doing those things every day, there is so much learning and different kind of feeling of accomplishment along the way as well. So, I agree with you that whatever you think, whether you think you can do it or if it’s too hard or not, is generally the way that it absolutely is. But have you felt that in yourself, that even though it was a tricky journey to get to the position that you are, do you have any regrets?
Michal: I have regrets, of course. And when I think how much money I could make back in 2016 if I focus on my Amazon ads, come on. That’s a big regret. But I would also come back to one thing: the motivation. Like it appears in this interview all the time. You need to take care of your motivation. This is what I’m doing every day. I spend some time on listening to podcast, uh, repeating my personal missions statement and looking at my vision board, and reading inspirational quotes. Like this is part of my routine every single day, and those kind of routines, they got me from, you know, that, that place of being miserable or struggling or having health issues or mental health issues. Yeah, it, it was so easy to just give up and do nothing or tell me how you are not good at all. But because I was doing this mental stuff and Zig Ziglar said like, uh, motivation is like bathing. We recommend to do it daily, otherwise it doesn’t work. Yeah. Mm-hmm. You stink. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And so, I dropped some habits along the way or stopped doing them for some time, especially in my depression period, but I never stopped doing my motivational habits because without them I would have been lost, but here I am. Here I am. And it’s really not, not that hard, really.
Imagination exercises or reading your personal mission statement, which you created, so this is like from your soul, you know, it’s out, sending it through. Yeah. So it’s not hard to follow those simple things, especially if you know, you invented them in the first place. There is a research that if you try positive affirmations, you don’t believe them, they are actually harmful. But well just invent your own affirmations, which you can believe in. I remember when I wrote my personal mission statement And this is what Stephen Covey advised, you need to write true and it needs to ring true in your ears. So I wrote, I’m a writer, because it needs to be in the present tense. This is the only tense your subconscious can understand. But it wasn’t true. I wasn’t a writer, like, not in my mind. Yeah. So I change it to I’m becoming a writer. Mm. And that was enough for me to, Okay, that that feels true. So if I’m becoming, I need to keep writing despite the fact that it’s been a year and I earned 11 euros in the first year, I will keep writing because I’m becoming a writer.
Jo: Wonderful. Yeah, I love that. I love that. I did have a bit of a laugh. I looked at your bio on Amazon, and you’ve mentioned how, you know, you’re quite down to earth and you live by that consistency and the routines and that kind of structure. And then you said something about, but you also see some value, and this is the quote: “in the hokey pokey visualization stuff.” And I had to laugh at that: “the hokey pokey visualization stuff”, because this is what you’re talking about, right? Is that, that imagining, that becoming the writer and that kind of thing. Is that what you were talking about?
Michal: It’s the least hockey pokey thing I tried. I tried thirty different things. Cause as I wrote in that bio or in one of my books, the standard traditional way, there was no answers for me. So I was willing to try anything including visualizations.
Michal: And I still feel itchy when trying to doing that. And I still feel like meditation is waste of time, but I still meditate a few minutes a day because this is what successful people do. And there is a like stack of, uh, research that meditation is, is beneficial. So, I was willing to experiment because I was so desperate. Like Jim Rohn said, we’ll change generally from two reasons, either inspiration or desperation.
Michal: Usually desperation gets us started, but it’s not enough to keep us going. So then you should take care of your own inspiration.
Jo: Yeah. That’s cool. I love it. I love it. So just to kinda wrap up here, what’s next on your agenda? What are you doing now? Do you have more books coming out this year, or will you be putting any books out on Amazon ads and the knowledge you’ve kind of accumulated there? So what’s next for you?
Michal: Yeah, I’m all over the place, but right now when it comes to writing, yeah, I just went back to that book I started few years ago.
Michal: And I think I will finish it eventually. Yeah. When you keep writing, you will arrive at the end point. I don’t like the publishing process, but, let’s see, let’s see. Let’s not think too much ahead. I also ask my VA to make an inventory of my answers on quora.com. I have over 1600 answers there, and I will put them together and publish as a book series because I have like over 400 answers on habits alone. And I’ve seen a lot of habit myths repeated many times. So yeah. With this content, I can publish five, 10 books. Let’s see.
Michal: Let’s see. And what else? And I have a wonderful friend in Mexico, eighty year old guy who is impressed with my writing, and he offered to translate my books into Spanish. We already translated and published one, and it’s doing okay-ish. So I think we’ll continue with that. So that’s my writing agenda.
Jo: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Now, how can people connect with you? Where can people find you, find your books if they want to work with you or anything? How can they connect with you?
Michal: And my blog is expandbeyondyourself.com, but it’s so easy to find me, you just write my name and whatever you have in mind. Like podcast, which I don’t have, but I’m a guest on many podcasts. Blog, books, and they will just appear. Michal Stawicki Quora, Michal Stawicki Medium, and it’s so easy to be a Polish guy in the English speaking space. I’m at the top of results every time.
Jo: Yeah. Oh, wonderful. Well, thank you so much. I so appreciate you being on the show and sharing your knowledge about Amazon ads and your author journey and everything. It’s been such a pleasure. So thank you so much.
Michal: You’re most welcome. It was a pleasure for me as well.
Jo: So I hope you found that episode as informative and inspiring as I did. Here are some takeaways from today’s show:
1. Michal believes that success really does come down to a few simple disciplines and habits repeated over time. And he suggests sitting out with the end in mind and with your own personal mission statement.
2. Set both a word count and a time limit to maximize your writing time, and try and keep a writing log to track your writing speed, mood, and where you write. Use this data to amplify your writing output.
3. Amazon ads work best when you have a series or connected backlist.
4. Nonfiction authors can also make their ads worthwhile by leveraging connected courses and coaching. A higher ad spend may pay off through the CTA in their book, bringing new clients to their business.
5. To increase your sales success with Amazon ads, first optimize your book description. Secondly, think about enhancing your Amazon book page with the likes of editor reviews and A-plus content.
6. The number one mistake people make with the book descriptions is having it just as a wall of text.
7. If you’re stalling on writing, give yourself permission to try. Explore your motivations and nurture your motivations daily. Consider using affirmations that you believe in.
If you’re looking for further ways to improve your life and amplify opportunities for success, make sure you check out Michal’s books on Amazon or check out the links in the show notes to connect with Michal. You’ll also find links to connect with me and you can download a free PDF of Manifestation for Authors: Tips and Tricks to Supercharge Your Author Life Using the Law of Attraction.
Otherwise, I am wishing you a wonderful week ahead, my friends. Until next time, happy writing.