I’ve Tried That Reviews Self-Publishing School by Chandler Bolt and James Roper
Quick Summary of Self-Publishing School
Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Self-Publishing School is a solid book publishing and promotion program.
Pros: SPS provides daily and weekly task plans for you to complete towards the writing, editing, publishing and marketing of your book via Kindle Direct Publishing. The program also positions you to hopefully achieve bestseller status with you book and/or make sales that go beyond just the launch period. Community access and an accountability partner help you not slack off in your tasks.
The Master version of this program gives you access to group calls and even weekly coaching calls with the program founders.
Cons: The price tag for SPS Pro is $597, while the Master level is $1,997. While the program can be paid off in installments, it is still a rather big investment for the aspiring author to make.
Some of the instructional videos and documents provide bare-bones instruction on topics. For example, the document on finding and joining Facebook Groups provides good technical direction, but it doesn't entail how to actually engage members in conversation and build an audience through that venue.
SPS members may have a hard time following all the outlined tasks because some technical know-how is required to set up a website, use MailChimp, etc. There is a strong emphasis on outsourcing many technical and/or detailed tasks (like book formatting), which may or may not be financially feasible for would-be authors.
Our Recommendation: The Self-Publishing School is a solid investment for the aspiring author and provides a lot of resources and support for the money.
If you have a book ready to self-publish or still in the works, then the Self-Publishing School (SPS) program may be the perfect program for you. This program, developed by Chandler Bolt and James Roper, is intended for first-time authors who may or may not have a book in the works and who want to self-publish their work. Chandler granted us access to the program in order for us to provide you with our review.
SPS is geared more towards non-fiction authors, but fiction authors can also use the course to learn the finer points of launching and marketing a self-published novel or other work. The optimal goal of the program is to have the author write and publish a book that becomes an Amazon Kindle bestseller; other goals include building a following/network, generating sales leads, and becoming a recognized niche expert.
The six-phase program, which is designed to run for 90 days, promises to help you take the following steps in your self-publishing plan:
1. Positioning and Outlining
Phase 1 involves going from having no book idea or plan of action to having a book outline with a completed introduction. To this end, you go through the steps of finding an “accountabilibuddy,’ finding the purpose and subject of your book, creating a mindmap for your book, and finally, creating an outline of your book from your mindmap.
Other areas covered in phase 1 include writing your book’s introduction and learning how to write fast. Chandler narrates many of the videos that are presented in this section as well as others:
Incidentally, the accountabilibuddy is located by perusing through a list of the program’s members, as well as their proposed books. Once you select an accountabilibuddy, you are expected to set up weekly calls with this person and use the program’s provided accountability document to hold both yourself and the buddy accountable.
Such accountability systems have proven their worth in many other programs, including those designed for weight loss, physical training, etc. Obviously, when you have another person to answer to, you’re less likely to slack off and not complete your tasks or achieve your goals.
This section focuses exclusively on rapidly writing at least 50% of your book during a 2-week portion of the course. To this end, you are taught how to successfully start and finish your book’s rough draft and how to write faster and for at least 30 minutes each day.
You’re also provided with videos and tutorials such as these:
The Key To Getting Your Rough Draft Finished Faster
The Lazy Author’s 3-Step Short-Cut To Creating Your First World-Class Book
How To Easily Bulk Up Your Book
The biggest hurdle that this section focuses on is having you get over writer’s block, which can originate from a number of sources including fear, procrastination, and not having a clear picture of the book’s subject matter.
Phase 3 involves hiring an editor. To help you in this task, you are provided tutorials on how to recognize a good editor and locate one through sites like Upwork (formerly Odesk and Elance). You are also provided with documents and videos explaining how to craft a great book title, subtitle and book cover. Several resources are provided to you, including the following:
How to Find An Editor Using Elance (An Upwork Company)
How to Keep Your Editor On Budget (and avoid hiring a bad editor)
7 Steps To Crafting A Best Selling Book Title
How to Get a Book Cover created with Fiverr
Because editing your book and crafting its elements are critical components to garnering interest in it and placing it on the bestseller list, there is a lot of information packed into this segment of the program. For example, there is a video that discusses how you can use 99Designs to create several different versions of your book cover instead of just one:
4. Book Launch
Building an email list, formatting, reaching out to influencers/reviewers, creating landing pages, writing your book description, and social media marketing are all addressed in this section of the program. Many different resources are provided, including videos teaching you how to create a landing page and then connect it with an email service like MailChimp, and how to use Scrivener to format your book. There are also PDFs that explain how to reach out to reviewers, for example.
The main goal of this section is to have you clean up and prepare your book for publication through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
In this section, the goal is to have you finally publish your book using KDP, which involves creating a KDP author account, selecting keywords and categories, and uploading and publishing your book. For the first few days post-publication, you promote your book by .finding free e-book Facebook groups, for example, and putting your book out there. Once the promotion period ends, you switch to KDP paid mode.
There are several resources provided to help you complete these tasks, including the following:
How To Use Your Book To Get a Ton of Leads
3 Ways to Drive More Book Sales
How to Easily Create A Simple Book Website In Less Than 10 Minutes With No Tech Skills
Once your book is published, it’s easy to get sidetracked by other projects…or just forget about your book altogether. To not have this happen, SPS presents a Phase 6 plan for sustaining your book sales long-term and even creating and releasing new books. This involves tasks such as creating a book website, having periodic promos, and engaging in a marketing sand sales strategies that go beyond just promoting your book on your blog or Facebook.
One of the resources provided towards this effort is a recorded webinar by marketing expert Nick Stephenson:
Other Self-Publishing School resources
SPS does more than just throw a bunch of videos and PDFs at you. Once you sign up to the program, you access a private Facebook community where other students and program coaches chime in with questions and answers about various book writing and publishing topics.
Should you choose to purchase the Master version of SPS, you also gain access to monthly group calls with Chandler and James. You also get 30-minute one-on-one coaching calls each week.
The Bottom Line
I think that SPS offers some major benefits for the unpublished or even previously published author who is looking to launch a book online, build a network, and generate book sales. Chandler and James go in-depth about creating a finished product that has the look-and-feel of a bestseller, an audience and influencers to carry it, and actually makes money for its author.
While SPS isn’t the cheapest training program around, its emphasis on accountability and community can help a reluctant author finally publish that back-burner book he or she has been thinking about for the last few months/years, and that in itself makes this program a worthwhile investment.