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Advice from IR Approved Author Steve Morgan: “I always recommend that other authors consider doing an audiobook version of their book…”

Anti-Sell received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Steve Morgan.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

It’s called Anti-Sell (subtitle: Marketing, Lead Generation & Networking Tips for Freelancers Who Hate Sales) and it was published around late March 2019.

What’s the book’s first line?

“Repeat after me: I. Hate. Sales.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

It’s essentially the sales guide for people who don’t like selling – or at least for those who do not relate to the traditional ‘hard-sell’ idea of selling (like me). The subtitle says it’s “for freelancers,” but truth be told it’s pretty much for anyone who feels that way about sales. It gives tips and advice on how to sell yourself in a way that doesn’t feel like selling, and gives ideas on how you can encourage others to sell you for you (via referrals, testimonials and word of mouth).

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

Two things, mainly.

Firstly, despite being a freelance digital marketer, I wasn’t a confident salesperson – but in spite of that I seemed to do well through networking and by utilising non-salesy selling methods. As time went on, I met more and more freelancers and solo business owners who also struggled with the idea of sales and selling themselves. So the book came about because I wanted to help other people who felt the same way as me (by providing tips that have worked well for me over the years), and because I knew that there would be a demand for it.

Secondly, before becoming an indie author, I used to blog a lot – and I’ve always really liked blogging. I mostly blog about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which is what I mainly do for a living. But I had a few ideas for posts that were less about SEO and more about freelancing, networking and personal branding – and by publishing them on my SEO blog, they would’ve felt a little out-of-place. I didn’t like the idea of setting up and maintaining a second, separate blog for those types of posts, but then I realised that the content could work well in the form of a book: each blog post idea could be a chapter in the book, after all. And it was at that point I felt more inspired and driven to start writing it.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

If you’re new to freelancing and self-employment (or you’re considering it), and you’re worried about, put off by, or simply struggling with the idea of how to do sales, then it should help you out. You don’t have to be a full-on salesperson in order to get clients. Its main and strongest message is: “the best way to sell is not to sell” – and the book explains what that means and how to go about doing it.

When did you first decide to become an author?

As mentioned before, it came about because I had a few blog posts ideas, but later decided that they’d work better in the form of a book rather than as blog posts. The irony is that before that, I’d never had any plans to become an author! I was more than happy just being a blogger, and had little-to-no interest in writing a book and becoming an author. But obviously that all changed when I realized it’d work better in the form of a book. It’s funny because I know people who spend their lives dreaming about becoming an author one day, whereas I approached it from an entirely different angle and mindset – but it is what it is and I’m happy with the way it all worked out.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

Yes it is.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m a freelance SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consultant, so I help clients to optimize their website in search engines, such as Google. I also run an SEO meetup (Cardiff SEO Meet), but that’s more as a hobby and side-project rather than as a side-income.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

These days, less than I’d like to. I have two young kids (ages 5 & 3 as I type this) and therefore I have less free time during evenings and weekends in order to write/blog. I’d rather spend my optimal working hours (weekday daytimes) doing client work… and with this combined commitment to client work and family, it leaves little time for writing on the side.

I also don’t like writing for writing’s sake. I don’t like the idea of ‘forcing’ myself to write or blog when I don’t have any ideas for anything to write about at the time. However, if I have a blog post idea – or perhaps an idea for a second book – then at that point I’m usually more than happy to make the time for it.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?  

The best thing is having full flexibility and control over how your book is written and published. I don’t know much about traditional publishing (so apologies if this is wrong), but I’d heard from people that there can be tough deadlines and that decisions can be made for you or without you, so I wanted to avoid any situations like that. By self-publishing, I could write and publish the book however I wanted and whenever I wanted – without any pressure from an outside source.

The hardest thing is doing it alone, with limited support. I had to figure out everything myself, including who to hire for the editing and book cover design, how to get it onto Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform,  how to promote it, and everything else in-between. It was a lot of fun (and I learnt a lot), but stressful too.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

I always recommend that other authors consider doing an audiobook version of their book, ideally self-narrated as well. I’m biased because I tend to listen to audiobooks more than I actually read books, which I often do during ‘dead’ time – such as while driving or commuting. There are other people who – like me – are more likely to listen to an audiobook than to read a book, so it’s a potential opportunity to target people who may not read the book otherwise. I suggest self-narration as well because I always feel like I resonate better with a book when I know that the author has narrated it themselves (even if they’re not necessarily a natural or confident speaker), rather than using an actor to narrate it for them. It just comes across as a lot more authentic and genuine.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

Maybe… I’d certainly consider it at the very least. Whereas with this first book I just went straight into self-publishing (without even considering traditional publishing), I think I’d be open to the idea of speaking to publishers and seeing what happens (if they’d want me, of course). That said, on the other hand, now that I’ve gone through the self-publishing process once, it’ll be much easier for me to do it all again a second time, which would encourage me to do it the indie way again anyway.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

As corny as it sounds, I love helping people. Therefore the biggest motivation for me is finding out that the book has genuinely helped people.

…But let’s say that fame and fortune are an added bonus, haha!

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I’m a big fan of Rand Fishkin, who’s a bit of a legend in the SEO industry. He blogged on-and-off for his company Moz, and has also written a book called Lost & Founder, which gives a very honest account on what it’s really like running a software startup.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I’m also a big fan of ReWork, written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH for short), who are the founders of the software company that created Basecamp, the popular project management software tool. I related to it heavily, and as they’re prime examples of people who have done incredibly well for themselves despite going against the grain (and probably against what a lot of traditional business textbooks would say)! Their book was a massive influence on Anti-Sell.