How to Launch a Book Without Amazon
Tim Church is a clinical pharmacy specialist in primary care. He self-published his third book, The Pharmacist’s Guide to Conquering Student Loans.
Tim joined the Your Financial Pharmacist team and is now the Director of Getting Things Done which includes content creation, marketing, web design, and managing strategic partnerships. They provide guidance and education through their blog, weekly podcast, and their comprehensive financial planning services.
Tim’s practice is in chronic disease management with a focus on diabetes management. He is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and has self-published a book on this topic for patients titled When Eating Right Isn’t Enough.
What We Discuss with Tim Church:
- Why he chose to write a book to help get pharmacists out of debt
- What is debt forgiveness?
- Leveraging the book and podcast to grow his audience and build authority
- Book launching and distribution strategies
- Why audiobooks are great!
- Tim’s book writing process
- How to overcome the barriers of writing your first book
[01:55] Why a Book to Help Get Pharmacists Out of Debt
When you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, pharmacists would borrow an average of $170,000 to get through school. Then obviously, if they have undergrad debt, that would add on top of that. But there are a lot of forgiveness programs and different ways you can tackle that.
It’s very important to know what those options are because one mistake can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s not as simple as paying off debt. You have to be tactical about it and look at all the different strategies. How do you save the most money even if it takes you a little bit longer than you could have otherwise paid off on your own?
[05:17] What is Debt Forgiveness?
Even before forgiveness, there are opportunities to get free money. The best way to go about it is not to worry about making payments or making a certain amount of payments.
If you can get free money, that’s the first thing to go.
There are a lot of government and military programs available for pharmacists such as:
- Veterans Affairs
- Indian Health Service (has a program available for tuition reimbursement)
- National Institutes of Health
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
By working at one of these particular organizations or institutions, they’re going to help you pay back your loans. The only stipulation is that you continue to work for them. But then you have some of these other programs that are available specific to the federal student loan program.
If you make 120 qualified payments (basically over 10 years), you make an income-driven repayment. As long as you’re meeting all of those requirements, you’re going to have your loans forgiven. Plus, it’s going to be tax-free.
In order to get that, you have to work for a qualified employer, which is a government entity. It could be a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) company or some other nonprofit companies will also qualify for that.
If you have federal loans and you make qualified payments for 20 to 25 years, depending on the specific repayment plan, you will get forgiveness on the remainder after those 20 to 25 years. But the big caveat is that whatever that amount is forgiven, you’re on the hook for whatever your tax bill is. But again, for somebody that has a huge debt-to-income ratio, like many pharmacists out there and other medical professionals, that sometimes can still be a good strategy.
[08:29] Leveraging the Book and Podcast to Grow His Audience and Build Authority
The book is a way to get your message out there to a greater number of people. It’s also a way to improve your own personal brand. It gives you more authority in that particular space.
Student loans are an issue that more than 80% of graduates are going to deal with.
The rise of student loans in the country is definitely a problem. And Tim wants to provide that solution through the book and other forms of content like the blog posts and the podcast.
[13:00] Book Launching and Distribution Strategies
Tim utilized the podcast to launch the book. They used an email strategy to do that as well as tapping the different social media platforms. Then they put the book on sale for a week just to help them understand how many books they have to order.
If you’re going to self-publish a book, you’re taking the responsibility from vision to reality.
First, you have to decide number one who’s going to print the books if you’re going to do a physical copy. Then where’s your distribution going to go? (with Amazon as the biggest platform). So you’re going to do all your distribution.
Amazon is a platform for buyers. When people go to Amazon, they’re looking to buy. However, you don’t necessarily know who is visiting Amazon all the time versus somebody that would visit your website or visit you in a Facebook group or one of your other social media channels.
Another thing to think about when self-publishing is the logistics. However, Amazon takes a lot of royalties on every sale that you make. And you can actually come out a little bit better, depending on how much it costs for you to do your own disruption.
Audiobooks are also a great way because people are buying subscription-based services.
Audiobooks have very little cost because there’s no shipping necessary. There’s only the cost of the transfer files. And so many people are using audiobooks.
[20:00] Tim’s Book Writing Process
Tim had somebody on their team read all of the words out loud. The idea of flow, your voice tone, those things are hard to hear in your head. So you’ve got to have that context if you’re not a professional writer.
It’s sometimes better if you have someone else read it because you’ll fix things in your mind that aren’t there.
[23:43] Overcoming the Barriers of Writing Your First Book
If you really love to write a book, but you think you don’t have time, it’s really about creating milestones, plans, and deadlines. Understand that if you’re still starting out, your first book is not your best. So you have to accept that and keep going.
You don’t have to be somebody with a ton of authority necessarily or have done all these great things in order to be an author and to write a book.
The key is to be very intentional about your time.
Break down things into parts, days, and hours so you don’t have to get overwhelmed. It’s all about words and taking steps forward, and you get more clarity about how to do this.
[26:10] Message to Aspiring Writers
Get over the fact that you don’t think you’re qualified to do that. Somebody’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. So whatever you think other people think about your current situation, forget about it.
Then just accept failure as part of the process. You may not sell a bunch of copies, especially with your first book or the way that you initially launch it or market it. You just have to be okay with that.
Sometimes, getting the book published is more important than actually making money from it.
Break down any barriers and any excuses as to why you can’t do it. Then at the same time, be okay with criticism and failure along the way.
Follow Tim on Linkedin.
Listen to The Your Financial Pharmacist Podcast