How can you make better decisions about your life? How can you be self-critical without hating yourself? What sort of analysis should you go through before launching a business or even creating a “launch” of your new life?
Nothing ever goes perfectly right or perfectly wrong. List out your reasoning for every decision you make. Analyze that reasoning, using hard data when applicable.
This is how to think about any problem or challenge in your life.
Step 1. Why are you doing what you’re doing?
You must know your reason why. Most of the time we don’t know why we want to do something, as deep down we don’t care. We’ve been taught to want something, and when we start working towards goals others have set for us, there’s no passion.
If you’re going to make a life decision, honestly assess your motivations. Do you, or someone else, have a vision for your life?
Sit around for hours thinking about your reason for acting as you do. Ensure that you’re going after something you want. Until you have a personal reason to take action, you will never take action.
Here is an honest “why” from me. I’ve never had a six-pack. I hate dieting down to those levels. I used to read fitness sites and think I needed one. But I truthfully don’t care. I know how to diet and what drugs to use to change my body in any way I want.
My body has never cost me any lays or a job, and I’ve found having “sick abs brah” is largely something that impresses other men more than it does women.
Instead I prefer to eat a lot of good food without being too fat. I also like having my body feel good, and my body feels better at a higher bodyfat percentage. (I’m sort of like Fedor in that way. I’m actually more explosive and quicker when “fat” rather than “lean.”) Hence my training and dieting program is different from most people who write about fitness.
That said, if you want those abs to pop, good for you. Do what makes sense for yourself, with a full understanding of your motivation.
Do you really want “it”? Or has someone else convinced you that you should want “it”?
Uncovering our true motivation is hard as we all tend to deceive ourselves. Often it’s helpful to talk these issues out with a trusted adviser.
(Example: I talked to Victor Pride for hours about the Gorilla Mindset launch. We spent four hours talking about the subtitle alone. Some of my decisions he agreed with and some he did not. Nevertheless, I had a sounding board to ensure every decision was calculated and well-reasoned.)
Why did I publish Gorilla Mindset on Amazon rather than e-Junkie?
I have reasons!
I’ve been on the cusp of tipping over for a while. While I’ll never be mainstream, there’s no reason Danger & Play’s traffic can’t be ten times what it is. There’s no reason I can’t be on TV.
Ask yourself the Ruthless Focus question: Will my decision bring me closer to or farther from the desired outcome?
Fair or not, no one wants to have an “ebook author” on their show to talk about an ebook. It’s an unfair bias, but it is a bias.
Writing ebooks is sort of like living in the ghetto. If I sell a lot of ebooks, this makes me king of the ghetto. That is not good enough for me.
I have to have a “real book,” and this means a book on Amazon.
There is still a slight stigma against self-published authors, but this is going away. 50 Shades of Grey was originally self-published, and many authors and TV booking agents understand the economics of self-publishing and hence why legit author choose to self-publish rather than go with a Big 6 publishing house.
The economics of publishing on Amazon v. e-Junkie.
I also took an economic gamble, as it’s possible in theory to sell more books via Amazon than on e-Junkie. It seems unlikely the economics will work out in the short term, however, as e-Junkie offers several benefits to Amazon.
Amazon or e-Junkie: pros v. cons.
If you want to make as much money as possible through your writing, then e-Junkie is likely the way to go. Your royalty is higher on e-Junkie, both more in absolute terms (you can sell your books for a higher price) and relative terms (e-Junkie doesn’t take a royalty).
Amazon’s royalty split with authors is either 30-70 or 65-35.
Amazon wants self-published authors to price their ebooks at between $2.99 and $9.99. Your royalty is 70% if priced in that range and it’s 35% if you sell your Kindle book outside of that range.
I listed Gorilla Mindset at $8.99, to save you all a buck, and thus my royalty for each Amazon Kindle book sold is 70% – or $6.20. (My royalty on the print copies is $5/unit.)
E-junkie does not set a price ceiling. List your books for as high as the free market allows!
I’d have listed Gorilla Mindset on e-Junkie for $14.99. E-junkie doesn’t charge a royalty per copy, but instead I pay them $18/month. PayPal takes a cut of each transaction, called a “seller fee.” After PayPal’s fees, my royalty per copy would be $14.10.
To make the same amount of money on Amazon as I’d have made on e-Junkie, I must sell 2.25 more copies.
Will Gorilla Mindset sell twice as many copies on Amazon as on e-Junkie? That’s impossible for me to say, although here is my thinking.
Amazon is a search engine.
Did you know Amazon is the third largest search engine in the world? (Google is first, YouTube is second.)
When I want to read a book about mindset, I go to Google to type “mindset amazon.” Or I go search Amazon directly. Owning this keyword on Amazon is a strong marketing move.
Mindset is a hot term.
My article, “How to Develop a Dominant Mindset,” is at around 100,000 page views due to SEO.
Hence why I have mindset content here at Danger & Play, content on YouTube, and now a book on Amazon.
Amazon is anonymous.
A lot of people who would not buy Gorilla Mindset due to my controversial nature will do so on Amazon due to anonymous ordering. When you order from e-Junkie, you pay via your PayPal account, which reveals your email address and name. Maybe you don’t want me to know you read Danger & Play because you’re rich or famous? Or maybe you’re afraid I’d leak the information (never would).
Amazon has one-click ordering.
One-click ordering completely changed Amazon’s business and many attribute one-click ordering to Amazon’s success.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, said data testing showed your conversion rate drops by 50% with each click. Hence why Amazon has one-click ordering.
When you sell something, you want warm or hot buyers to make a quick decision. Get them while they’re hot!
When you purchase an ebook from e-Junkie, you must add the item to a shopping cart, then log into PayPal, then pay me. That’s a lot of clicks, and thus in theory a lot of lost orders. (In online marketing lingo, that’s called a “lost” or “abandoned” shopping cart.)
Step 2. Do what you’re going to do: Take action!
This step is obvious and yet it’s the one most skip. You must take action, even if you don’t “feel” ready.
Sitting around penciling out ideas and visualizing your dream life are important – crucial steps, actually.
You can’t plan everything out, though, as life is dynamic. As with Thai boxing or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, each action you take creates a situation where you will be hit back.
Yes, you will have anxiety before making a move. I felt sick, angry, and anxious before the launch. Yes, I actually felt angry.
“No one is going to buy this book. You wasted your time. This is fucking stupid. Just go back to being a lawyer. You don’t need money anyway. Fuck these guys, they will just torrent the book.”
Is that self-talk an accurate reflection of how I view myself or you? Hell no. But life is a mother fucker, man, and your head will mess with you.
You can all, from the outside, realize this was irrational. I would say the same about your fears and worries. We all have our issues.
Some of us choose to address our issues head-on. Others live in denial of them, with terrible repercussions for their lives.
Remember this: You’re afraid to take action due to fear of unknowable consequences.
You must do something, anything, or your life will never change.
And, yes, you might get your ass kicked. Life hits back and sometimes drops us. “Fall down six times, get up seven.”
As the saying goes, “You won’t know until you try.”
Step 3. Be nice to yourself. What went right?
Although talk of “loving yourself unconditionally” leads to a life without vision and is used to rationalize foolish choices, self-care is crucial.
Whether you launch a book, business, or simply decide to lose some weight, something went right. Always.
If nothing else, what went right is you took action. That reason is something to reflect upon. Most people never do anything. By choosing to take action, you are already above average.
You also learned something from your experience. Each move you make, even if it’s the wrong move, becomes part of your resources. It’s experience to draw upon.
What did I do right?
Professionalism counts. If you want money from people, you had better earn it.
I hired the right people for the right tasks. I hired a development editor to keep me on target and point out anything that didn’t fit. I hired a copy editor, type setter, and book cover designer.
Get a development editor (if you can afford one).
A copy editor checks for typos. A development editor helps you with structure, provides substantive feedback, and gives you comments and criticism.
I even went for diversity, though not in a quota sense. Greg Stevens is a Renaissance man who happens to be a gay liberal feminist. (Literally.)
Since I wanted Gorilla Mindset to help me tip over to broader audiences, it was important to have someone who would “get” the message, respect that I won’t water down content, but also keep me on track.
After struggling to find an editor – several turned me down and one even got a friend of mine who referred her to me in trouble – I remembered Greg had emailed me about GamerGate. Greg is Milo Yiannopoulos’s research assistant for Milo’s forthcoming GamerGate book.
Good enough for Milo, good enough for me!
Gorilla Mindset was written with the assumption that your brothers, fathers, or anyone else could read it without ever having read Danger & Play. Gorilla Mindset is complete in itself, thanks to Greg.
@Cernovich Gorilla Mindset is a fantastic book. I’ll be writing up more thoughts on it later. I am happy to have been a part of the project.
— Greg Stevens (@gregstevens) July 2, 2015
I hired a professional cover designer. The Gorilla Mindset cover looks amazing. This is not due to me. It’s due to due Shauna Danger and Derek Murphy from Creative Indie Covers.
Gorilla Mindset looks better than any of these mainstream books. It pops, has an aggressive look, and will scare away cry babies.
I gave away a PDF copy of Gorilla Mindset. Giving away a PDF copy, which no publishing house would have allowed, was inspired. A lot of people were on the fence about the book, as Kindle is not ideal for a workbook. Also, people love PDFs. By giving it away, anyone who had hesitated immediately bought Gorilla Mindset. There are also a lot of pirates looking to steal Gorilla Mindset. I have strong SEO for the term, “Gorilla Mindset PDF.”
Guess what people will find when they Google “Gorilla Mindset Free PDF.” SEO genius. https://t.co/D4tCBMmJ4I
— Thirty Days To X (@XDays) June 29, 2015
Will I convert all of those thieves into customers? No, but I’ll convert some.
Since the launch date, there have been nearly 5,000 searches for Gorilla Mindset PDF.
Even if you’re not going to give away a PDF to people who buy a print, Kindle, or audiobook copy, get ahead of the pirates. Optimize your page for your book title + PDF.
Giving away the PDF proved my mindset talk isn’t talk. It’s a walk. Here’s a PDF that thieves can easily upload and share. I’m not afraid of anyone torrenting my books. In fact, if someone stole Gorilla Mindset, I’m confident they’d buy a copy on Kindle. (And if they wouldn’t, then who wants them reading Danger & Play? Not me!)
I created demand.
Write for free to build an audience. You should write for at least one year. Ideally you’ll write until you have a good-sized audience.
In my view you should have 2,000 page views a day before publishing a book.
And if no one will read your website or listen to your podcasts when it’s free, why would they pay for your writing?
I released Gorilla Mindset when it was ready, not sooner.
Guys wanted a book for years. I couldn’t release a book until it would be a hit.
How can you know if something is ready? While nothing is perfect, you must have standards.
I wouldn’t release a how-to book on life until it was at the level of what Dale Carnegie and Tony Robbins released. Once I knew Gorilla Mindset was at that level (in many ways it’s better), then the book was finished.
I rented a recording studio for the audiobook.
If you want people’s money, you’d better deliver a professional product. I found a recording studio through a friend.
The audiobook is coming soon. Audible is taking its sweet time!
Side note: The importance of networking.
I met my development editor Greg Stevens through Milo Yiannopoulos, who I met through my online activities. I met my sound tech – finding a recording studio in Saigon was looking to be impossible – through Daniele Moretti, who I met through Amir Siddiqui, who I met through Chris/Good Looking Loser.
And I met Chris/Good Looking loser through Danger & Play, after I wrote about him without any expectations he’d return the favor.
Get your ass out there and start meeting people!
Do note that “meeting people” might mean giving others free publicity and delivering value and good will to them without receiving anything in return.
Step 4. Be critical without being a drama queen about your mistakes.
Something will always go wrong. No one is ever perfect. You made some mistakes. Some of these errors were due to unforeseeable circumstances, and some were due to human error or laziness.
Don’t cry about it or talk about how you “always ruin everything” or say your “life is over.” You are not a teenage girl, so please stop acting like one.
Simply figure out what you did wrong, analyze why you made that mistake, and avoid making it in the future.
How would I have changed the launch?
Amazon is dynamic, so you have to know the rules before the launch. I’d have studied them more carefully to dial everything in. Or perhaps I’d found a consultant for a launch plan.
Example: I learned you can sell the Kindle version for $2.99 to people who buy the paperback version from Amazon. In other words, you could have bought both versions for around $20. Fuck!
You can’t bundle your books on Amazon anymore, but you can enroll in Kindle Matchbook.
Learning this post-launch was frustrating. I had planned on bundling the audiobook, print book, and Kindle book into a nice package at a deep discount. Amazon does not allow bundling.
My research revealed you can’t bundle items on Amazon, so it never occurred to me you could sell the Kindle version for $2.99 to guys who bought the print book.
If I had know about that form of “bundling,” I’d have released the print version at the same time as the Kindle version. I delayed the print version as I had a friend check out a printed copy to ensure everything was perfect.
That said, I did give away a PDF, so whatever. It’s not a big deal.
The Table of Contents in the Kindle version isn’t descriptive.
Although the Table of Contents in the PDF and print versions is descriptive, the Kindle version simply says “Chapter 1.” I am getting that issue corrected.
The pictures are too small in the Kindle version.
There’s not much to do about this, as pictures don’t look good in grey scale. If I can have larger pictures in future versions, then I will.
That said, you can find full resolution images in the supplemental materials page.
I didn’t track my campaigns closely enough.
Amazon’s affiliate program allows you to create multiple Amazon affiliate IDs. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t use Amazon affiliate links in book reviews to make money, as 8% of a $10 book is not enough to get me out of bed. Rather I use affiliate links to see what books people are buying, as this tells me what you actually want (revealed preferences).
I should have created separate Amazon affiliate IDs for links via:
- Gorilla Mindset email list,
- Danger & Play email list,
My links to Gorilla Mindset received over 13,000 clicks. Where did all of these clicks come from and what % of each click converted?
This is data you must know, as it tells you your ROI. Your time is money, and should you spend your time/money on writing articles, networking, posting on Twitter or Facebook, list building, or doing something entirely different?
I know how many clicks, for example, that I receive via Facebook (not many), Twitter (a lot), and my newsletter (in between Twitter and Facebook) due to Bit.ly’s unique links.
Should I spend more time or less time on Twitter, on my email lists, and on Danger & Play? Data tells you.
(Well, in truth everything I do is fun. Even if Twitter had a negative ROI, I’d still use it.)
I didn’t have a back cover for the paperback version.
That’s one of those minor details easy to overlook, as I come from an ebook/online writing background whose biggest question was whether to use e-Junkie or Kindle – neither of which require back covers. If there’s enough interest and demand, I’ll create a checklist for self-published authors.
The new version of Gorilla Mindset will have this cover.
Step 5. Putting it all together: Add your experiences into your pool of resources.
Always remember your life is a collection of your experiences. Life is the sum total of who you associate with and what activities you spend your time on.
Each action you take in life, whether you win or lose, becomes part of your resources to draw upon. Always remember you are becoming more resourceful, even if you “fail.”
As I’ve learned, in life you will have highs and lows. Although I’m 37 and my life is way better than I could have dreamed, there’s still some perspective. Everything could go away tomorrow. Or I may live a long, perfect life.
There is no way to know how long you’ll live or what will happen in life.
One fact is certain: Your past experiences are the resources you draw upon when making decisions in the future.
You therefore want to challenge yourself as often as possible
How can you apply this model to your own life?
Post your comments and questions below.