Cartwright started buying up smaller providers, including one that had been started by Mr. Menz, his longtime friend, in Southern California, and assembling them into a national chain. Cartwright also spent time in a psychiatric hospital after a breakdown, an experience that helped to shape his belief that anyone can overcome addiction as long as they have the right mind-set.
Addiction should be overcome by willpower and hard work in therapy, Mr. Cartwright said. Other treatment providers put more emphasis on medicines to help addicts — particularly opiate addicts — function in the long term. The treatment world is split by methodology and motivation — inpatient and outpatient, religious and secular, nonprofit and moneymaking. Such a Balkanized industry seemed ripe for consolidation by a businessman like Mr. With aggressive internet marketing and a central call center, Mr.
Cartwright pulled in patients from around the country. Patients stay for weeks at a time in a treatment house, undergoing therapy paid for by private insurance.
But there were people who believed they saw big vulnerabilities in that emerging brand, including a college student in South Carolina. With bushy eyebrows and a boyish face, Mr. Drose comes from a family of skeptics and crusaders. His grandfather helped plot the assassination of Rafael Trujillo, a dictator in his native Dominican Republic, in the s.
He remembered the day, in late , that he discovered the investment idea that would launch his career. Drose said recently. That day, one company stood out to him — American Addiction Centers. In just a few months in existence as a publicly traded stock, its shares had risen a blistering 60 percent. Any time a stock rises that quickly, short sellers like Mr. Drose sense an opportunity. But there was something else that piqued his interest. Drose said. Posing as a prospective patient, Mr.
Drose called the company and asked how often it conducted drug tests, and came to believe that American Addiction Centers was testing much more frequently than other providers.
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He wrote an article about his findings on a website called Seeking Alpha, which short sellers frequent for investment tips. That was a big win for anyone short-selling the stock. Short sellers borrow shares in a company, then sell them hoping that the price falls. Their goal is to buy back the shares later, at a cheaper price, and return them to the lender.
The price decline is their profit. In Nashville, Mr. Cartwright watched his stock fall, and was stunned. Battle lines were being drawn and Mr. Kingsford Capital, a hedge fund based outside of San Francisco, hired him as a consultant and told him to keep digging into the treatment business. And another interested party had noticed Mr. Hill told Mr. Drose that he knew a great deal about American Addiction Centers. He congratulated him on his article about the urine testing, and suggested he start searching for lawsuits brought by families of patients who had died in California.
Following Mr. Drose flew to California in the spring of He may have been working for a major hedge fund, but he was so young — still only 20 — that he had to pay extra to rent a car. The two men met at Mr. Hill thought the college kid was an investigative reporter. So he was thrilled to have someone to listen to his concerns about the treatment business. Hill recalled. Standing five feet seven inches in scuffed leather boots and faded jeans, Mr. Hill is a former painkiller addict and a natural storyteller.
The story that perhaps best defines his life involved a football injury back in the s. It shaped his personal philosophy of drug treatment, one that puts its trust in modern medications — and is at odds with people like Mr. Cartwright, who want patients to ultimately lead a truly drug-free life. Hill was injured at the age of 42, too old to be playing tackle football. But eager to relive his high school glory days, Mr. Hill — his nickname is Rocky — had joined some friends to start a full-contact football league, The Over the Hill Pigskin Shootout.
They used old pads donated by the Los Angeles Rams. One fateful tackle, though, ended the fun. He tore the rotator cuff in each of his shoulders. His doctor prescribed a powerful painkiller, Norco. And Mr. Hill — who was already in the addiction treatment business — became an opiate addict himself. When he tried to stop taking the Norco, his life unraveled. He subsisted on Ensure, the nutrition drink, because eating made him vomit. He considered suicide. A doctor specializing in pain management told Mr.
Hill that the opiates had permanently altered his brain. The doctor prescribed Mr. Hill a different drug, buprenorphine, which satisfies the craving for opiates but does not result in a high. Minutes after the first dose dissolved under Mr. Hill said. Today, he sends the opiate addicts he treats to a local doctor for a prescription for the same drug he still takes every morning. For many addicts, that prescription is all they need to get on with their lives, Mr. During the day, addicts come to Mr. At night, they go home. Hill believes the inpatient model is motivated more by greed than doing good.
There is great debate about which treatment approaches work best, and even how to measure their efficacy. Hazelden offers a mix of outpatient and inpatient treatment. Modern addiction treatment grew directly from Hazelden and its secluded farm in Minnesota. In , a group of businessmen and a Catholic priest pioneered the idea of bringing alcoholics to a rural location, where the men they were all men back then could focus on the step principles without the distractions and temptations of everyday life.
The approach became known as the Minnesota Model and was copied by other nonprofits for decades. Then, the new insurance laws in and transformed what had largely been a government-funded and charitable-minded field into an enticing for-profit business. He told Mr. Drose about patients who had died in rehab homes around Temecula and nearby Murrieta that Mr.
Cartwright later acquired. The deaths, Mr. Hill contended, showed how the company was unequipped to deal with medically fragile addicts. Yet, Mr. Hill claimed that for years the company kept taking those patients, assuring them that they would receive adequate care. As far back as , Mr. Hill had told the California agency that oversees drug-treatment programs that he believed some patients at Mr. The two began trading emails discussing aspects of the investigation — emails that would later cause headaches for the prosecutor. At one point, Mr.
Every group takeover is different, but if you do it right both you and the creator win because they are introducing you as a new cool thing their audience should get behind, and you are able to provide value to their group in return. There you have it, 5 ways to rapidly build your audience without spending a lot of money.
Just remember, the more money you can spend on audience building, the more you can get out of these strategies, but if you have more time than money you can build a little more slowly but still get amazing returns. The biggest thing you can do is start now. Go do it. You are going to suck at doing it at first, but the more you do it, the better you will get.
Please, do not let being crappy prevent you from moving forward. People are much more forgiving than you give them credit for, and appreciate seeing the growing pains because it humanizes you. Learn how to sell more of your work without feeling gross about it…in less than 20 minutes. One of the biggest mistakes young writers make is getting into a terrible contract they can never leave.
More than one person has sent me a contract in which they signed away the rights to their book for less than it cost them to make the book in the first place. Imagine that. You have poured your blood, sweat, and tears into a book. You were so excited to finally be able to get the book out there…and in doing so signed away the rights to the publishing company. This actually happened to somebody I know.
I would much rather have you self-publish your book and reap all the profits. However, since many of you want a publisher the least I can do is give you some tips on what to look for in a contract. Before I get started I want to emphasize this:. This is advice from somebody who has dealt with a lot of contracts, but I always consult with a lawyer before signing a contract, or before sending out a contract for signature. If you decide not to hire a lawyer, that is on you, not me.
Now we can get on with the good stuff. There is a big difference between gross receipts and net profits. Net profits mean the remainder left after the publisher has taken out all expenses. The publisher gets to recoup their printing costs, marketing costs, distribution costs, editing costs, and just about any cost imaginable before you see any money. Net profits is a bad deal for creators. If you must take a net profit deal, make sure it is accompanied by an upfront payment equal to or greater than the cost it took to make the book because otherwise, you will never see a dime.
Publishers are very good at manipulating the accounting so that every book looks like it loses money on paper. Gross receipts, which is what Wannabe Press and most traditional book publishers give, is what you want. Gross receipts come off the top of the amount made. Even better than gross receipts is a percentage of cover price. That means no matter what the publisher sells the book for, you get the same amount.
It is uncommon to get this deal nowadays, but if you can get it then the accounting becomes very easy.
You check the units sold and simply multiply by whatever percentage you agreed upon in the contract. Many publishers will put something like this in a contract. In this scenario, the publisher owns the book. That means they can sell the book to other companies and make changes to the book without your permission. Most publishing deals should last years maximum, and then you will get the right back, at which time you can look for another publisher.
However, if you sign over IP rights, which is the rights to the underlying intellectual property, then your publisher will own a piece of that project FOREVER, even if you take it to another publisher. A publisher should only be interested in publishing rights to a project, not intellectual property rights. This is becoming rarer as publishers start to see the value of IP, but a publisher should be able to make a profit and stay in business from book sales alone. If they insist on some ownership, tell them that if they bring a deal to the table, then they can be compensated as a producer would on a movie project.
However, the underlying IP rests solely with you. A good barometer is 25 books per month over a three-month window. If your publisher does not sell that many copies over EACH quarter, then the book is considered out of print and the rights immediately revert back to you.
Getting a book onto a publishing slate is hard work. However, if a publisher sits on a book for more than 18 months they never intend to publish it and you should be able to get the rights back. Finally, you want to make sure that no matter what all rights revert back to you after a specific time, hopefully within years. After that time, a publisher can sell any remaining copies in their warehouse, but you are allowed to again shop around the book. This means that when the book reverts back to you, the existing publisher would have to bid to keep the rights as well, allowing you to make more money on the book than if the original publisher held onto it forever.
Publishers are sneaky fuckers, and they love to slip shit in that will fuck you as an author. The non-compete clause is the perfect example. A non-compete clause is meant to cover a publisher and make sure that you are not directly competing with their book by putting out your own book, or putting out a book with a competing publisher. Now, this is pretty widely understood to be illegal and unenforceable, but do you really want to go to court and roll the dice?
No, of course not. So look carefully at your non-compete clause. While you are at it, comb over the limit of liability clause and look for any non-standard language, especially if in the clause it promises that this will be the next book you release. If you see something like that, run, because it means you could be prevented from releasing another book for years. In our contracts, I very clearly define that a creator can create exclusive prints and other materials as long as they are in limited quantities and they do not engage a distributor.
The only thing the contract forbids is making and reproduction of the work. This gives the creator the ability to at least make money doing exclusives at their table. You will be making money tabling at shows and in person. You want to make sure that falls within the purview of the contract.
Carving out the contract in this manner makes it very clear what can and cannot be done by all the parties involved. This is the essence of a good contract. You should be able to take the contract to a lawyer and have them easily be able to interpret what is meant by each clause. Ambiguity is your enemy. At the end of the day, your name is on your work, so you want to make sure you can approve the licensing deals your publisher negotiates, and that you get a piece of the licensing commensurate with your part in the process.
You created the work, so you should get a large portion of the licensing monies. Do not allow publishers to make licensing deals without your knowledge. Yearly audits are a general rule in business when you make a deal. When you sign away your book, this is a business deal. You cannot expect the publisher to be honest with you about sales, and even if they are you have the right to make sure they are paying you fairly. However, you should also include a penalty to the publisher should they not pay on time.
Publishers know you will most likely not take them to court. However, if they see the money piling up from late fees then they will be more likely to pay you. When a company owns the publishing rights to your books, they usually include a provision that allows them to sell the publishing rights to another company without your approval.
This is called assignment and is included as a provision so that a publisher can negotiate with foreign publishers, paperback publishers, and other publishers so that they can get more exposure for your book. I have seen instances where publishers are sold, resold, and resold again and again until its impossible to track who owns the rights to a book anymore, and that means either the writer has to fight tooth and nail to recover their book or they have to abandon it into the ether.
To prevent this, make sure you have a no assignment clause in your contract, which means a publisher cannot assign the rights to anybody else without your permission. Additionally, make sure if the publishing company is sold, disbands, or goes bankrupt that you recover the rights to your book immediately. I so often see artists that sign contracts without reading them, and then complain that the contract is unfair. Of course, the contract is unfair. The publisher is out for their best interests. You have to be out for your best interests. For me, there is no better way to tell the true character of a company than to negotiate with them.
It tells you everything you need to know about their professionalism, ability to collaborate, and how much they value your work. There is no harm in asking. A contract is a negotiation. If they are not willing to negotiate, then move on. Take our free day course and find out how to build a better business and have more leverage with publishers…today.
So, how am I able to have such success on a platform that people have been telling me for years is dead? Some of them are things you can implement today. Others are mindset shifts in the way you think about the platform and social media in general. However, I am very sure that these same tactics will work, though slightly tweaked, on any social media platform.
You might have to change the names of some of the terms, but most platforms take their cues from Facebook, so you should be able to work these lessons into any system. I hope you get something out of this, and it gets you thinking about social media in a new way—namely, a more productive way. The first thing you need to know is that there are no true social media platforms anymore.
If you are not showing posts the algorithm deems relevant and interesting aka things that get liked and clicked a lot then you are not going to be shown very often in other social media feeds.
And right there is the trick. You must please the algorithm too. Posting now takes a lot of thought. The good news is that algorithms are all based on machine learning, and machine learning can be tricked, because machines, as smart as they are, do not have any higher brain functions. They are programmed by humans and thus have flaws. Given the right tricks and tools, you can fool the machine. After all, the algorithm is there to protect the interactions people have with each other—and that should be your goal too.
The better an experience you can give users, the more positively they will think of your brand—and your content—and the better opinion they will have on you. Take our free day course and find out how to make a better business today! Social media platforms have rules baked into their system. The percentage changes across platforms, but the basic premise is that a platform will show your post to a small percentage of your audience. If enough of those people like and comment on it, the algorithm will show the post to a lot more people, and if those people like and comment then they will, show it to even more people until eventually it is disseminated to the biggest audience possible.
A big caveat here is Facebook Pages. Facebook intentionally suppresses the reach of Pages because it wants businesses to pay for that reach. However, on most other platforms, and with both your personal Facebook Pages and Groups this ratio is still true. For instance, Reddit uses the engagement in the first hour of a post to let them know whether to put a post on the front page or post it to the top of a subreddit, where the posts will take off and get thousands of upvotes. This is specifically for Facebook, but it is applicable to every platform.
It would do a disservice to their brand if I liked their page. These are nothing but vanity likes. The same goes for groups. You should focus on building a group filled with people that have similar interests, not one that has thousands of people in it. If you do that, then you will get great engagement and the algorithm will show you to more people, naturally boosting your engagement. Social media platforms choose who to initially show your post to by analyzing the people that engage with your brand most often.
This means that if you share a ton of cat videos, the people who are clicking on your cat videos are the same ones Facebook is going to show links to your Youtube videos, blog posts, or product pages. This is not a good thing because while there may be people who ARE interested in those links, they are probably not the same people who click on all those cute videos.
Maybe, but not likely, and certainly not in large numbers. To combat that, you want to ask a lot of questions to people before you drop links to your page and make sure those questions are relevant to people who DO like yoga. Why ask questions? Questions are a great way to get to know your audience and boost the engagement on your page while priming the right audience to get fed your links. This shows Facebook that my group is full of highly engaged members. Additionally, it brings people back into the group and makes sure they are ready when I drop a link.
Thus, when I send them links they get a good reaction. Most creators post the same image and link up to a dozen times a day. Doing that quickly burns out their audience and makes them tune out to the message, even if they would normally be interested in the product offered. They are ALWAYS changing up their promotions and their ads, even though they are a multinational company with massive brand recognition because they know that people become numb when they see the same imagery over and over again. Without new imagery and messaging, your promotions will become white noise as well.
However, if you constantly change up the imagery and types of promotions you run, then people will never get bored hearing from you. You see, people WANT to hear from you, but you must give them a new reason to tune in. People generally need to hear your messaging different ways before they buy. If you keep changing up your imagery and your promotions throughout the year, you will start to see your message sink in and your engagement increase. This should lead to more sales as you fine tune this message to better activate your audience over time.
Therefore, if you make the same post three times and each one gets three reactions, that is significantly worse that one post with nine reactions. One post with better engagement will be seen by more people than three different posts with meager engagement. Read the first chapter of my new book and start growing your creative business today. After you create a post, dedicate an hour to answering questions and responding to everybody who comments. That first hour is critical to the success of your post. If you want to improve your engagement, ask follow-up questions to people who have commented on your post to get them to reply to those comments with more information.
When you are done answering all the initial messages for your post, let the post sit for several hours to gather more comments. However, it is important that you come back every hours to answer all lingering comments again. This will re-engage the algorithm and tell it to show your post to new people, or reshow it to old people who did not comment. People who already commented will also get a notification in their newsfeed to tell them that the conversation is continuing on your post and give them a reason to re-engage, thus pushing your post to even more users.
Keep asking questions in the comments to stir the conversation. People cannot help but answer questions. The worst advice you can receive about social media is that you must be on every platform. That is ridiculous and myopic. Creators only have so much time in their day, and they should be spending a lot of time creating things.
Trying to build out and maintain a hundred different platforms is exhausting and time-consuming. It splits your brain power and prevents you from taking the time necessary to dominate any one platform—and that is the key. If you are going to be on a platform, you need to go all in and dominate on that platform. You need to make sure you know every trick and can utilize everything that platform can offer, otherwise you are wasting your time. Because there are always people who will dominate a platform and take the time to learn every trick.
I am not saying that. Different platforms have different strengths and thus attract users for different reasons. You need to know who uses your platform and for what reason before you can effectively add your voice to the mix. You should be hyper-focused on getting people OFF social media platforms and onto your newsletter. Then, you can use social media as a means to:. Any other use of social media is a waste of time. Your newsletter is the biggest ROI positive piece of your business. It is where people will buy even if they follow you on multiple social media outlets.
It is also the only way where you own the means of communication with your audience. On every other social media platform, the platform owns the means of communication. However, once you get an email address, you now have a means of communicating with people directly.
One thing that is very popular with creators these days is to form social media pods. Pods are a way for groups of creators to band together to like, share, and comment on posts within the first hour of it going live. A pod is usually a Facebook group chat—though it can be anything with group chat functionality—where people will share their new post. Then the pod is expected to all go to the post and engage with it ASAP.
However, social media platforms have gotten wise to this over the years and are now suspicious when a new post gets tons of engagement immediately. Developers have written code into their algorithm that prevents pods from being as effective as they once were, so proceed with caution. So, there you have it.
If you follow these tips, tricks, and hacks, you will be on your way to making Facebook—and the rest of social media—work for you. Is anything I said revolutionary in any way? Take our free day course and learn what you need to hypercharge your creative journey and move to the next level! A couple of months ago, I wrote an in-depth article about how to land a book publishing deal , and I got a flood of questions from people asking about how to achieve success as a self-published author. I think you should read that article and this one together, and much of the social media building in that article is relevant to this one.
Since I have been a self-published author for years and a full-time self-published author since , I think I am qualified to answer this question. Now, the question becomes can you make it as a self-published author without following this strategy? Of course. There is no one path to success. However, my job in this article is to show you the commonalities between lots of self-published authors and what they have in common, so you can use them for your own success. However, when taken as a whole, this is the most common way that most self-published authors have built their career.
This article is not meant to bum you out. That is not my intention. My goal for this article is to give you a blueprint, just like an architect hands a foreman the blueprint for a house. I believe you have the tools and the knowledge. Anybody, and I mean anybody, that works hard enough can make it as a self-published author. I truly believe that.
However, the keys to the castle have been guarded for a long time. That is my goal with this article. To give you the keys to the castle so you can unlock every piece of potential you already have. That being said. This will be harder than you ever thought possible, and you will have to go through hell to get there. However, you will come out the other side a warrior, forged in fire, and made of steel.
The most important thing that self-published authors have is a backlist of books. This is because most self-published authors make the bulk of their money on their backlist. The backlist are the books which are not being released right now those are frontlist books , but that they have released in the past. This is not hard math, but it is math. They are relying on something called sell-through to make money. Watch this minute video and learn how to sell better without feeling gross about it.
Sell through is the percentage of people who will finish one book and then continue to buy other books in the series. Numbers vary, but a standard sell-through percentage looks like this:. The number of total buyers drops off after each book, which means that you need to have a lot of people buying book one so that enough people read through the rest of your collection to make a decent profit.
Using the metrics above, your sell-through readership would look like this. That means that if you have people buy your first book, you should see people buy your fifth book. How much money would that net you? What do those revenue numbers look like? Now I know what you are thinking. Well, this is where marketing comes in, and why people often offer discount or free books to people through Facebook ads and other mailing list services like Bookbub. However, once you have books in a series, then you can start running ads to the first book in your series and stop losing money on your ads.
Sell through is the most important metric you have when determining your marketing budget. Without it, you are shooting in the dark. To test your sell-through, you would first need a series of at least 3 books. Then, you can log onto your KDP dashboard or Bookreport if you have it and see how many buyers bought book 1, and then how many bought book 2 about a month later, and how many of those bought book 3.
Back matter content is the information in the back of the book, found in the pages after the book is over. Most people end their book, give a short acknowledgement, and then leave it there, but back matter content is one of the most important parts for marketing your book. Effective book marketers utilize back matter to drive people to their mailing list, give extra details about the book and themselves, and, most importantly, give a preview to the next book in the series to help convince readers to buy the next thing.
If you are having poor sell-through now. It might not be the book at all. It might simply be poor utilization of your back matter content. If you use it correctly, it should drive people to your next book. The first thing I will caution is not to have 20 books written in the same series—writing in the same world is fine, but not the same specific series. Because fans burn out on one series.
More importantly, advertising one series will cause fatigue with the people seeing your ads. If you keep promoting the same series for a year, eventually you are going to exhaust all the potential buyers and your ad costs will skyrocket. This allows you to get all the sell-through of a series without having to worry about burning out the same readers. However, each of your series should interlock together with weak bonds and strong bonds, and you can drive people to other series through utilizing your back matter content. Download the first chapter of my new book and learn how to create the best work of your life, today.
A bond is something that connects one book to another book and one series to another. A weak bond might be that your new series takes place on the same planet as your previous series, or in the same town. A strong bond might be that your new protagonist is the brother of the main character in the previous series. Using these weak bonds and strong bonds help bridge series together, and give readers a reason to keep digging deeper into your universe. Because once somebody finishes one series, then some of them will migrate over to your other series to find more information about the world.
The nice thing is that once somebody reads three of your books and loves them, you can almost guarantee they will be a fan for life, or until you piss them off. Therefore, if you get them into one three-book series, they will likely check out another series, and another series, and another series, until they have exhausted your catalog. Readers will keep reading you until there is nothing else to read. Once they have exhausted all your books, they will move on, and it will be incredibly hard to win them back. This is why having many books is so important, because it will keep a reader busy for a long time, and by the time they are done with your backlist, you will have more frontlist books to keep them entertained.
Additionally, if you allow them to read twenty books, they will become more devout fans, and the chance of losing them will be greatly diminished. Now, back to why you should have multiple series set in the same universe. The reason why I like the idea of having four interlocking series is this—you can rotate your promotional calendar every three months, and keep books fresh for people.
If you notice, writing four interlocking series of 5 books each will equal 20 books in your arsenal. I personally like to write 3 book series, and make 2 series connect strongly while crafting weak bonds between them as well, so that some series acts as 6-book sets, while still maximizing my entry points into the series while also maximizing my read through. I will note that romance works completely differently than this. That means each romance novel is technically a stand-alone book, but they use the same tactics we discussed above.
Romance authors often take a secondary character from one book and make them the lead in the next book. Christopher Moore and Stephen King both utilize this strategy outside of the romance genre. I want to give you a statistic first. I recommend writing a series 40, to 60, word novels until you build out your backlist. Martin style novel at 40, words, but you can write a killer single POV story in that length of time. And at the beginning speed is your friend. Again, because speed to market is your friend. Having shorter novels means less editorial investment. If your books are only 40, words, you can create an entire three book series for the cost it takes somebody else to write a ,word novel, and with the same quality level.
Your books will be different than that ,word epic, of course, because you are cutting out secondary characters, storylines, and overarching plots that diverge and connect. You need to get in, tell a great singular story, and get out, but if you are okay with that, you can craft an excellent, quick, fun experience within 40, words. There one more reason I like writing short. What becomes hard is focusing on twenty characters, their motivations and goals, and making it all coherent, all in a short amount of time. Writing short was a tactic I used at the beginning of my career, moved away from, then came back to doing recently because of all the reasons above.
You need a formula that you know works every time. I write one book a month. Outlining never worked for me before, but after reading this article about writing a GOOD book in three days, I was a convert. Then, I modified and tweaked the outline to fit my needs, and even put up a sample on my own Facebook group. This outline gave me the tools I needed to write fast, cogently, and well, while still having a great book at the end which I knew had a market. People like Lloyd Alexander wrote great, prolific books, over a long period of time, and all because they were short.
His books tended to be less than 60, words, but people loved them. You need to train your brain to write faster than you ever thought possible. Most people release books…well frankly without a plan. I see hundreds of books a day where I wonder…where are the rest of the books? Why is this book free? What are they driving me to do? Why did they waste their money? That last point is important to remember. This is one very good reason why writing short, interconnected series works so well, because you can capture the completionists very quickly.
The next thing I will say is that you should attempt to release a book at least once every three months. This is because of a phenomenon called the Amazon Cliff. The Amazon Cliff is when your book drops off significantly in the Amazon algorithm and Amazon stops pushing it to new customers. These cliffs happen at 30, 60, and 90 days after the release of your book. So, my recommendation is to hold off releasing until you have enough books to release at least every 90 days, and keep up with producing content regularly. Consistency is incredibly important when trying to build a following.
The more often you release, though, the better your chances of hitting the algorithm and making a splash. My goal is to release one book a month for two years to make Amazon work for me, and get readers accustomed to buying my books, and then pull back to a more modest schedule afterwards. The quicker and more often you release the better life will be for you. However, you want to make sure you are releasing quality books, not shit, because people can buy shit for free.
They will keep coming back to you because you give them something better.
Writing to market means you need to write fast. However, it will be tougher because you lose out on the benefit of all of those voracious readers. Before I go, I want to talk for a minute about covers. Covers are the 1 most important thing when it comes to selling a book. This is not to discount writing a killer book as a self-published author, because people will only stick around and become fans if you write an excellent book, but getting a great cover is the easiest thing you can do right now to increase your sales. There are some excellent cover designers who make good, exclusive, reasonably priced premade covers.
One thing to remember about premades is that if you are constructing interlocking series you want to find a cover designer to do ALL your series covers so they can make sure the font and logo are consistent. This consistency is key to making your covers look like they are part of a set. Find one designer who has the right aesthetic for all your covers in the set. You can change premade designers between series, but keep each series consistent as best you can.
She is amazing, and nobody has ever heard of her.
Book Cover Designer — This is a repository for lots of different designers. There are thousands of designers on this site. Some do exclusive and some do not. I have personally bought a series from betibup33 that was fab. Covers by Combs — Another person I have not used, but hear very good things about this designer. Goonwrite — James at Humble Nations makes exclusive designs, but he starts with existing stock imagery, which means that you might see the image on other books, but the logo design is exclusive.
One final note about covers. Go to the Amazon top in your genre and see what kind of covers are selling, then model your cover to that. If you follow this article, you will have a solid road map for creating a writing career that works for you. I know it seems daunting now, but the best part about having information is that you can synthesize it and figure out how to make it work for you.
You might hit it out of the park on your first go around, but the changes are not bloody likely. This creating twenty books in this fashion allows you to have the BEST chance for success. Heck, it might take you 40 books to break. However, if you play it right, you can create a career that works for you. Take our free day course and learn how to grow your writing career and take it to the next level! The trick is getting them interested in the first place. A pitch needs to be simple and concise with specific appeals for your intended audience.
There are tons of steps that go into a great pitch. Pitching, like any art form, gets better with practice. The first step in any good pitch is the question. This is where you get your potential customer to engage with you by answering a simple yes or no question. One of the most important concepts in sales is the idea that many small yeses lead to one big yes—the big yes being a sale. Once your potential customer is engaged with your pitch, you need to give them a simple two-choice option to move the conversation along to the next step.
This option is another way to make your potential customer self-identify their preferences. Psychologically, this puts people in a more receptive mood to buy. By choosing their favorite, they agree they are interested in what I am selling. Now, all I have to do is make my case and hope they bite. The beauty of this option is that I know every possible outcome and can plan my pitch accordingly. You know what your pitch will be if they say option one, and you know your pitch if they say option two.
Some people prefer to ask their customers open-ended questions, but that is a dangerous game. They could say anything. Not gonna happen! As part of the freebies they give you, a deal analyzer form is included. From that, I can build an inquiry form to feed my database and it will be no different from what they claimed to have spent millions of dollars in developing. And from the first form, I can modify it to suit other REI needs as well.
They TAKE your money. OK, I have let you mention your business a few times here, but you are pushing it a bit. No more, please. All of these charlatans are the same. Just the names vary as you hear their too-good-to-be-true radio commercials blathering about how you can make money fast with no credit and no money and no intelligence? Beyond that, it was a dog and pony show for sure. It will be a year in February since my business partner and I attended the 3-day seminar.
Than Merrill is again peppering the airwaves of the San Francisco bay area currently. First of all what they propose cannot be done without tremendous risk, period. WHY should you believe my post? I am regular guy and I owned investment property years ago. I was involved with the local real estate investment club for several years. Now lets fast forward to November , when I attended a free Than Merrill real estate investment session at a local hotel. Google or Dr. YouTube and go to BiggerPockets. Also, do not complete the application that will be given to you on day 1.
You will learn about having the right mind set to acquire wealth. You will learn about the importance of marketing, sales, CRM systems, web site must haves, team development, using social media for lead generation more sales , creative financing, tax loopholes, flipping, rehabbing etc. Several days after the seminar you may receive a phone call from asking you if liked the 3 day seminar.
The rep. After that if you still seem interested they will set up a time to talk with you and your spouse about other ways you can participate in Than Merrill programs yes there are other money grabbing programs. This is not what you need in your life — someone blatantly stealing for you. I just signed up for this class and now I just signed out..
If you developed your own Investment Rehab program through your own study at Pockets, what were your results. How long did it take for your first deal? How much in profits did you make if any? How many years have you enjoyed success from what you built? I have written numerous articles on this very blog about evaluating, purchasing, rehabbing, and renting out my rental properties, and regularly report my income on those properties through monthly financial updates which go back to the founding of the blog.
All of my learning was done through publicly available resources, the vast majority of which were online. Purchasing a property and making it profitable is, in the end, a matter of simple mathematics, common sense, some knowledge of the market in question, and more than a little bit of luck. By and large, the time to profitably flip properties is not right now. During the Great Financial Crisis it was far more difficult to lose money as property prices rebounded annually in the double or even triple digits around the country.
Now, property prices have returned to all-time highs and flips which can reasonably be conducted profitably are fewer and farther between. That is absolutely farcical. Merrill and his ilk have realized that as profitable deals became harder to come by and the margins smaller, that the real money is in the fantasy business. Some deals go bad and you lose money. It requires money— money from your own pocket. It requires some luck, especially as you develop your acumen. TL;DR: Now is a bad time to flip. Real Estate is hard work that requires skin in the game. Real Estate will not make you rich quickly.
You want an example of people who have had success on their own? I started the business by learning and reading and going to REIA meetings. No one helped me. I listened and took notes…. I went to meetings to network with people and to ask a lot of questions. My point is that I was going to be successful, no matter what. I forced myself to learn. I put together a so called rehab crew, sold some houses to investors, rehabbed them and went on my way. But, it got me started in the business. I learned from my mistakes and believe me, there were a lot of them! I kept pushing forward. I refused to give up.
Now, 10 years later, I have my own rehab crews, my own property manager and two realtors for flipping. The Vagabond is correct. Success in this business takes a great deal of time. I was a manager at several very large corporations. I know how to run a business. Nothing can hold a candle to how difficult this business really is. They suck you into believing that you can quit your job and be a millionaire in a year or so. I still work about 55 hours a week in my business. I can easily support my family on what I make.
I will tell you this. Not everyone is cut out to be self employed! When everyone was out at the beach or vacationing in the sun, I was working my butt off. When people were relaxing and watching tv or whatever it is they do, I was still working. You HAVE to be willing to do that.
I have personal relationships with my buyers. I could go on and on. But it took me about 2 years to get a solid team together and build my business, where I could support my family. I have mentored maybe 15 people. Out of the 15, 3 are still in business. They told me how hard they were willing to work and that ended real quick, after they saw what it took. When people see the reality of the business, they drop out. I already know that one will not make it and the other probably will. Sometimes a crisis is a blessing. I lost my job and my home because of kidney cancer.
No one wanted to hire me because of my age. So it forced me to do real estate full time. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. So, it truly was a blessing in disguise. So it all worked out well. So sometimes being down and out, is a huge motivator to succeed at something else. Flipping houses is a great way to make money.
The market is very tight right now, but it can be done. You just have to have patients. By the way, starting out as a wholesaler is the toughest way to go. Just trust me on this one. So if you want to go into the RE game, you better be prepared for some very rough times ahead. I believe in looking at the truth and calling a spade a spade. So I wish you the best of luck. Remember, read books and then read some more books. Go to REIA meetings. Get an education from BP. I still use BP quite a bit.
You can never have enough knowledge! Try to partner up with someone that has experience. Scott is totally dead on right. Most investors lose their butts and most landlords are out of the business within a couple of years. A lot of the paid seminars really just turn you into a bird-dog for THEM and you paid for the so-called training. Just understand that smart money is getting out of real estate in a lot of markets. As you point out, there are many strategies for RE investing but some of them work only in certain kinds of RE markets.
Some of these Gurus may have been successful with their formula at the right time and right market, but they continue to beat the drum long after the conditions have changed. And I also believe many of them are frauds. Few saw fall coming, I questioned appraisals and market values and scratched my head, WTH????
Some people did great, others lost their asses. Now , the next wave. We have google and docs everywhere these days, know how to dissect info, not rocket science. And know qualified sales, specially in Florida. I cannot find one post from anyone who completed the program. The poor woman next to me was going home to figure out how to scrape up 25, Half and they would finance the other 25K! And god knows at what interest rate! Why all the silence? I have been rehabing homes in new orleans since hurricane katrina back in or so. Everything said in this blog has been true as far as I can tell.
I have more business than I can handle right now doing contractor work. I am in day one of the three day class right now. Day two is in 7 hours. Why the hell am I up at 2 oclock in the morning writing this? After reading these blogs I know I can do this business without Fortune Builders. Your blogs have been most helpful. Thanks to all of you. And yes. It takes long hours and hard work. He is now 50 grand in the hole and with nothing to show for it but he still seems optimistic, how can I show someone how bad this is when they have blinding faith in this insanely obvious scam?
The sad part is that he was before this very fiscally responsible. So instead of him having a nest egg for his retirement he will be left penniless. Hi Joe, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. You might start by showing him this comment section— lots of useful information for the scammed, the close-to-scammed, and those who avoided it entirely here.
Thank you for responding and for your thoughts on my situation. Just avenues to pursue— but the sooner, the better. Today at 12pm i was suppose go to a free seminar but i did a little digging and i read everything everyone had to say about Than Merrill well im not going!!!! I have spend the last 30yrs as a wife snd mother my husband works and i took care of the house and kids.
The kids r all grown and i wanted to make my own money but i found out i cant work for someone else i want to be my own boss i wanted to learn how to flip homes and be in real estate but these people busted my bubble. We live check yo check is there any real way to learn and be able to get properties on my own? Or is there a legit person out there that really help people like me to do this without the scam. First off, good job being thorough and looking before you leap. My advice if you live paycheck to paycheck is to go to BiggerPockets and read and listen like crazy.
Wholesaling is a tough business, and requires you to have access to both appealing properties and motivated buyers. The upside is that you can do it with little or no money. So some people getting started will wholesale until they have enough extra money to make the downpayment on a property, then buy and either flip or use the property for income.
I have 3 other friends like myself who are also retired. Who will be investing together. And the answer was nothing that I did not already know- I wish there was a way to get all the money spent on these misleading classes and actually pool it together to actually purchase properties. That way you would st least have something tanglesble. So he bought into this and has a website. Stolen Zillow articles??
And to think, he probably pulled all of the equity out of his current house or any savings he had left. Shaking my head.. I just feel bad for him. Thank goodness I found this site! I was going to go with a co-worker who has invested in real estate and wanted to partner with him. Something he said about investors who lend money and their high rates made me look into this company more. I purchased the course on April 22nd and the clock starts the next day which would have been May 7th.
I missed it by 2 days. Try to get your money back anyway. I did go to the seminar last year. The work the room pretty hard to get into your wallet. First of all, Great read! Secondly, I will be attending the 3 day workshop in June. I really appreciate all of the information provided here! Thanks again for your input. Different perspectives are very useful. Though the ads have been out there for a long time, they emphasized how urgent it was that you sign up right away for the purportedly imminently ending seminars.
It caught my ear a short while ago, though, that they had added to the beginning of their ads before you even realize an ad is starting one of those super-fast-talking caveats, in a speeded-up distorted voice, like car commercials usually have at the end. The caveat indicates that results are not assured and are based on your efforts. I would venture a guess that was not added voluntarily.
This post fills in the details that I had figured must be the case. I appreciate your efforts to make people aware of them, and I hope all who are pursuing this path take your advice and think critically about all the pitches tossed their way. Good luck to all. Thanks, CC.
You are spot on. As you no doubt know, NY and NJ are among the worst kind of markets for flips most of the time. Thanks for the kind words. Great article. I was on a free seminar and got the same impression. They use psychological tricks to make you interested and willing to pay for education.
The FB representative was just a motivational speaker. The idea was not to teach us something but to encourage and make believe that we, in fact, can do it. What is it anyway?
I think that was very irresponsible. Real estate is not as easy as they say it is. Without the experience, someone may lose all of his savings and be left with nothing. Most of the people on the seminar were in their s and s. If they lose their savings then what will happen with their retirement? Kind of cynical approach in my opinion. Girlfriend signed me up for this seminar.
I knew what it was on the outset but went with her for protection and to be the voice of reason. Frankly, not me. Maybe if you can take a hit on the football field you would have to resort to being a snake oil salesman!! Thank God for Google, and thank God I ran across this site. I am scheduled to attend this seminar with Fortune Builders next Saturday. I will gladly be cancelling my slot. I am currently in the process of trying to obtain my PA sales license in Real Estate and thought that I would learn how to invest as well. At this point, I cant afford to lose money. LOL ….. Hello, Thank you for this post I really enjoyed it.
I have never attended one of these FB seminars nor do I tend to. I am curious about a couple things…. Then 2. I am not interested in defending FB in any way shape or form. I am however tired of people coming to the aid of so called distressed people only to steer the money to their own pockets….
I know BP is a free sight but now just as much money can be maid of advertisement affiliate programs ECT, through a free sight. I think if you are making any money from BP you should revise this blog and notify people that you stand to gain directly or indirectly monetarily wise from their traffic. The overall seminar was approximately 75 minutes long, and was a continuous hard sell for the three day workshop.
The trap that I refer to is one of the many mentions of the three day workshop. It occurred about 20 minutes into the session. I have simply benefitted from it as a free resource, and educated myself. I have never received, directly or indirectly, any payment from Bigger Pockets. I am not even a paid member of their site.
Thank you for clearing that up. I misunderstood the 75 minute sentence, as you were 75 minutes into the presentation. I appreciate your transparency in regards to Bigger Pockets. I feel much more comfortable looking into using the sight as resource. Well thank you for this site. After coming home and thinking about it, decided to come on the Internet and did a search and found your site. Yes, they are deceptive but so glad I found this site. I hope more of the people who signed up will take a while to think about it. Thanks for doing this Vagabond! If they refuse to refund you promptly, file a dispute with your credit card company for the charge.
If you charged your course to a credit card, see what protections the issuing bank or credit card company may be able to offer you. Calling on the phone I always got disconnected, but I was able to do this through email. I hope you get your money back Albert. Than is at it again. Over the last few days I have been hearing commercials from SF Bay Area radio stations proclaiming Than is looking for a few highly-motivated people to join his flipping team.
Join his flipping team? Let me guess what that is:. You have to give him a lot of money, and play the game. Have you finished the post on how to get started in Real Estate? I signed up for the free seminar, thinking it could be another give me money scheme. Now reading this has confirmed it. I also wrote a book linked in the right sidebar but make it a policy not to push it on anyone. I strongly believe all the tools you need are out there and available for free.
I wish I had come across this blog first. I went to the 2 hour seminar and then I let me talk myself into the 3 day course. The 2 hr. That said, I was told I had up to a year to go said 3-day seminar. Anywho…I feel like a fool for letting myself talk myself into this. Even thought the red flags immediately went up, I thought.. I enjoy real estate and had been a real estate agent back in IL. Maybe I can get my money back since I never got to the original 3 day seminar.
I guess it is worth a try?? Sorry for your bad luck, Jolie! So your margins are going to be low at best. Unless you are operating in an overheated bubble market, in which case have fun, ride the tiger and all that, but do try to be out of the game before the bubble goes pop.
The people you are trying to sell to can find on their own the same properties you want to flip to them. So, once again, what is the value you are adding to the transaction? Is your response that the value you add is your time and expertise researching and identifying good deals for your buyers?
And if you are being told to get new credit cards and max them out to afford the mastery program, RUN. Specifically, run to the nearest place where you can work for a real paycheck. I was scheduled for a presentation here in Decatur GA tonight. Thank you for all of the informative info. I am attending the 3 day program now, and, while I understand the sales pitch and what they are doing, I am taking some good information from it and can see where money can be made in real estate if you are willing to put the time in.
I will not be filling out the application, nor did I plan too before I even read these comments. Here is the problem I have with all of the negative comments though. Some people simply do not have the ability to learn and research information on their own. For my statement here, we will need to take out the people that truly cannot afford this program.
I think most of us would agree that it is wrong, for any company, to exploit people when they are vulnerable. News flash though…FB is not even close to the only company that does this. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet most of the successful real estate investors in these posts have purchased homes getting ready to go into foreclosure, or purchased homes that had to be liquidated because of a divorce, death, etc. I would also be willing to be that successful investors are renting to people who can not otherwise afford to buy their own home because of circumstances in their life, be it credit, a divorce, of simply not having a job that can meet the demands of mortgage requirements.
What is the difference between praying on these people or praying on people desperately wanting to better themselves by any means possible? Is this the name of the real estate game and smart investing? Those that are successful in real estate have mastered these techniques, and there is nothing wrong with that.
But to throw stones at FB? When you peel away all of the layers, at the very core, the best deals in real estate are made when someone usually the seller is on the receiving end of a bad deal. For me, no, it is not a fit. However, just do a bit of research and you will quickly see McDonalds and Subway are not the only franchises out there. There are thousands. Many that you probably have not heard of. So, if you are interested in getting into one of these businesses, is it a waste of money to pay a franchise fee, along WITH royalties, for something that you can research and find information for free on the internet?
So, you are not buying into the name, you are buying into the systems, networking, and expertise of the company that has had some proven success with it. Could you learn everything you need to know about home inspections through the internet, books, etc? Of course you could. Some people would prefer to spend the money to quickly get the systems in place, and, get off and running in the right direction. I own a construction business. I would almost guarantee that the money some of these franchises are asking for, I have spent in some way shape or form in self teaching techniques, that I probably would not have spent if I was following a system.
Again, I have no intention on buying into this Mastery program, I am simply trying to say that there is usually more than one road to a destination. Just because someone takes a different road than you do does not make it wrong. I will close with re-visiting the issue of praying on people that truly cannot afford to do it. Yes, this is absolutely wrong, and would not be considered an example of integrity which FB does preach.
Raise of hands? Just my. First: despite making money on most but not all of my RE deals, I have never purchased a property at a deep discount due to the unfortunate circumstances of the seller. All have been purchased off of MLS, mostly at market prices allowing for negotiation based on condition and were fair deals to all concerned.
The truth is, the vast majority of landlords and tenants are everyday, decent people who neither exploit nor are exploited. RE is a business like any other, and there are as many ways of doing business as there are people doing it. Second: For the majority of renters in the country, renting is their only option. Without clean, safe, affordable rentals, they would be homeless. If you believe that the success in RE is contingent on exploitation of either the seller or the renter, I strongly recommend that you find another means of producing income.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a deeply honest assessment of FB. The three day was great fanfare, with all of their slick sales speakers. They played on emotions with heartfelt stories of loss and giving back, photos of their family and helping poor people in Mexico.. I watched people raising their hands to say they wanted to know more about Mastery. I, too, raised my hand to learn more about their methods. I was called in and they were very chummy with me and asked that I fill out an application, which asked a lot of financial and personal information.
Once they saw I owned property and had the financial ability to buy in, the vulchers came out. The sales person I initially spoke with who was trying to be my best friend, then introduced me to a new person who was obviously the closer. I then spoke up and told every sucker in that room that they were going to regret writing that check and losing that money. Needless to say I was escorted out of the room and out of the seminar!
Whew, Thane Merrill infomercial was on just now. They almost convinced me to register for their seminar. I was motivated to be a real estate investor but not to attend the seminar when I found this column you wrote. Thank you. I just attended the 3 day event. All of it was leading to the pitch to get people to sign up for the bigger commitments. I had a feeling that they might present something more or less near my figures and then REDUCE it to get us to sign up.
Not so. I returned the next day with a plan and outline of goals. He then told me they had financing for it. I said NO again. We parted with respect and kind words. He moved on to the next person. I expect to receive a call soon…. Overall: the 3 days were filled with good info and it was exciting to hear about it all with the speaker, JOHN, from New Jersey. His clarity and familiarity were all on point. He spoke quite confidently and knew his material with and without his prompt monitors.
He often jumped down into the crowd. Does that really matter? Yes, syntax really matters. I am happy with my decision to pursue the field on my own with the guidance many people have suggested on this forum. I could bring up many points, but will say I learned alot of information. They do offer financing for the programs, however you must make a decision before leaving the seminar.
Here is the email I got:. Run fast! Again, thanks for everything. Now another red flag is I went to the BBB's site and it had a message in red about them this is the link: www. Benefield, a bear of a man with a big drinking problem, had pursued his hope of getting well. I want to pour all this money into hiring an artist to create some game art so it can get to market faster. These are the vocabulary words from Unit 1.
Very nice undercover, were can I find the link that you posted on starting out in real estate. Thanks for all the information. That will give you some overview in the kind of investment I am most familiar with, but there is tons more to read at BiggerPockets in the forums, on their blog, and in their podcast library. He said, no, the 3 day workshop is all you need. He said, no the 3 day class is all you need to get started in the RE business yourself, but if you want the business package ready-to-go to be delivered to you, then you can choose the Mastery level with the coaching, etc.