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Fitness Author Dale L. Roberts on Self-Publishing & Hitting It Big on YouTube - The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 39

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YouTube is a huge platform with millions of viewers, but achieving success as an entrepreneur on YouTube is easier said than done. On today’s episode of the ROI Online Podcast, fitness author & YouTube expert Dale L. Roberts shares the one metric you need to build a YouTube channel that leaves people coming back for more.

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Dale is an established author who has written 40+ books about fitness. But before he achieved the success he has today, he was a driven fitness addict determined to share his passion with the world. He quit his day job to become a full-time author. But after months of running his wheels, burning through his savings, and using up all of his 401K, he knew something needed to change. 
 

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Desperate to provide for his family and make his dream reality, he met with his mentor Jason in Chicago. His mentor helped him gain clarity on his mission and the steps that he needed to take to achieve it. By the time New Years Resolutions came around, he had gained traction and managed to stand his own next to big-name stars like Arnold Swartzenager, Frank Colombo, and Michael Matthews.

Dale’s book became an Amazon Best Seller. It reached the top 3000 books in the highly competitive “Health and Fitness” category. As a result, he was bombarded with interviews from people who wanted to know his secret to success. He wanted to share his advice with everyone without spending hours responding to emails, so he started a YouTube channel and filmed videos to help others achieve success.

Initially, he intended on creating videos on the side while he wrote full-time. However, he quickly became enthralled with the YouTube community. He realized the same formula that helped him achieve Amazon Best Seller status could be applied to the YouTube/Google algorithms. His channel slowly grew from 5,000 subscribers to over 35,000. 

Eventually, after writing 40 fitness books, he began to feel burned out on writing. His YouTube success started to eclipse his success as an author. He realized he loved to use his knowledge to help other people achieve their dreams of becoming an author. He now manages his YouTube channel full time, 

For anyone considering starting a YouTube channel, Dale has this advice. You can have all the subscribers you want. You can get the likes. You can get all the comments. You can get all the shares. But until you get watch time, none of that matters. You have to get your subscribers to actually watch your content.


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You can learn more about Dale L. Roberts here:

selfpublishingwithdale.com
Watch Dale on YouTube
Follow Dale on LinkedIn

Read Dale’s books:

The 90-Day Home Workout Plan: A Total Body Fitness Program for Weight Training, Cardio, Core & Stretching


Enroll in the QuickStart Academy today to learn how to develop and implement a proven growth strategy that grows your ROI, your business, and your confidence. Learn more HERE.

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Topics: Marketing, Podcasts

Dale Roberts: 

We're like, okay, we're still seeing this drop here the sudden drop. Okay, people are tired of hearing me talk about myself and subscribing. So we killed this subscribe. And instead what we did was we put visual calls to action for subscribing. Yeah. So that way, it was just kind of showing it as I'm talking at very good points to where it's like I'm delivering a very good key point, we drop a subscribe there. And instead of saying at the very outset, onset, like, hey, and see the thing is a lot of YouTubers, big YouTube experts will tell you, you should definitely come in mention your creep, give them a call to action and ask them subscribe. But I found that it was becoming detrimental to my watch time. And here's the thing. As I'd said before, you can have all the subscribers you want, you can get the likes, you can get all the comments, you can get all the shares, but until you get watch time, none of that matters. Because you want watch time, subscribers great. It's a nice little metric ain't gonna lie to you. There's a good reason why I'm headed to 100,000 subscribers over the next year. mean that's great. But if you really, really want to win big, you got to get them to watch.

Steve Brown: 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI online podcast where we believe you. The courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is a place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Dale l Roberts, welcome to the ROI online Podcast.

Dale Roberts: 

I am beyond ecstatic. Thank you so much for having me on.

Steve Brown: 

So Dale there we need to set up why people need to be interested in this conversation that we're going to have. Here's interesting that you don't come across as a a bodybuilder you don't have the cap on backwards. You don't have the tattoos. You got the type T shirt right Wait, you're not this typical, typical meathead image, you know, you don't have the the shake bottom there with your protein stuff. But water or is that vodka,

Dale Roberts: 

it's vodka, I have to get lit up for my podcast interviews.

Steve Brown: 

Got to get lit so we can pull out all his wit. But so here's the cool thing is that you wrote a bunch of books you self published a bunch of books on on fitness. And we have a lot of authors that listen to this podcast. Now. I didn't know the only people I knew that ever wrote books on fitness or maybe Frank Colombo or Arnold Schwarzenegger, right. And, and they go on to be movie stars. And, and in a way, you've kind of gone on to do some of the other things now. Yeah, I didn't know this. At first, actually, I learned about you via Kindle Direct Publishing videos on YouTube. Yeah. When I had to publish my book, I had to get in there. And this it's it's this ecosystem. That's real confusing. It's as dark forest with all these Scary Monsters. It is. And most every author worth their weight, it has to go into that forest, and try to get their book put up there. And so what did I do? I went on YouTube, started do education. And that's when I ran into Dale. l. Roberts. And he's, he's, he's the guy you need to know, all you authors out there. All you ones that are considering self publishing, you need to know Dale because he knows his stuff that they'll tell us about. So you started doing these, these books or something happened, you decide I'm going to start writing these books. But when you got into KTP What made you like really dig in and figure out every aspect of that ecosystem.

Dale Roberts: 

It was a sense of desperation. At some point. It's so true. It was it was a matter of necessity. I when I left my day job back in 2014. I left it with the thought of Okay, my very first paycheck I got from just one print book in one month was a little over $21 in some odd sense. And I thought if I can focus on this full time, what could I be able to get out of it? So I you know, I burned the boats. I just said we're doing this and I put in my month notice that my job and the thing was, I thought that I could just rinse and repeat do the same thing time and again, but for the first year I just spun my wheels. I burned through my 401k that I had. I burned through all my savings. I started dipping into credit cards, it started getting really bad going over to ramen noodles and frozen vegetables. And you know, and I could sense there was even this tension between my wife and I because of finances becoming so tight. And I started to have to consider, okay, either this has got to work, or I've got to go back to my day job. And I just felt like there's pride in me even right now there would be pride in me having to go back to a job. Because it's like, well, I left that, because I said I was going to succeed at this. And thankfully, I'm not in the position I am, you know, was before but, you know, I had to learn it. So in the first year, I think it was right about July 2015, my wife and I bought roundtrip plane tickets from Arizona, where we lived at the time to Chicago to meet up with my mentor. And we sat down with him for about a day or two. And he was able to get it to where he focused me better, because you're probably like me, and anybody else that's on here, you probably like me, if you're creative entrepreneur, you'd like a fire hose. But the problem is with the fire hose is when it's firing off and no one's holding it. It's going to be flailing in the wind and just spraying every which way and no direction whatsoever. So getting him in my corner and investing in his services, he was able to harness the power of me as a fire hose, pointed me to the direction that I needed to go in. And then that's when I started getting some traction. And it took six months to the day that I saw it finally just tip. It was just in January of 2016. Things took off. And that's where I was just like it was almost like a click. Because I was putting in all this work. And I remember even like a couple times I questioned it. I was like, Am I doing the right thing? Am I really doing like, he's just listen to me? Do everything I'm telling you, and you're gonna be fine. And he was right. I think I probably literally cried from from joy, because I think was January 2 or January 3. And you know, obviously you and I can both agree. It was timing. Because fitness books, New Year's resolutions. Yeah, just getting it to where my books were discoverable at the right place at the right time was enough to trip the Amazon algorithm and get it to where it was serve to a mass audience. And you and I can both agree. Yeah, you got the likes of big name. Fitness stars like Arnold, like a frank Colombo. like a like a Michael Matthews, who is even another big indie author and in the space. It can be very intimidating. And to my detriment and to my benefit. I was like, I you know what? I'm not them. But I'm going to prove that I can run with them. And I did.

Steve Brown: 

So this is interesting to me. Because if you'd gone to your mentor six months earlier, you hadn't done literally hadn't done all the reps to use a fitness. metaphor, right? You right? You hadn't really done all the reps and so it wouldn't have sunk in and if you still would have been flailing a little bit I'm so that first six months of just serving up ugly, messy. I'm talking about me right now. But

Dale Roberts: 

that your sound like you were describing me to a tee.

Steve Brown: 

But it's like, you have to be okay. You know, it's like the first time I finally convinced myself to start working out again. And you know what the biggest barrier of that was seeing myself bit over, gasping for air and having realized that let myself go so bad. That was a big emotional barrier. I had to get over this. And till I got past that self flagellation or flogging myself, and just go and get over, Steve, just just focus on the reps. Yep. This mentor, what was the magic dust that he had? Did you already have like 90% of it? You just needed that last and percent.

Dale Roberts: 

That was it. It was essentially like I had the creativity. He just had to tell me. That's good. That's not good. He was able to sort out the best practices that I was doing, and the things that I needed to stop doing. He looked at he he paid attention to the things that were actively moving the needle Because see, here's the problem is I'm thinking to myself, okay, I'm going to be a fitness author. But I'm also going to do a pen name with humor and satire. And I'm also going to have some ghostwritten books from somebody and put it out and he's like, no, stop. He's like, stop. You did this one fitness book. It's called the 90 day home workout plan. I'm going to get you to focus on this and you're going to build Everything around this flagship book and get all roads leading to that book, because it's phenomenal. Why would you go away from this? And anytime that I would veer off I go, Hey, what do you think about this? You'd be like, no, it's not part of the plan. You got to get focused. So yeah, it was wasn't necessarily magic pixie dust, it was a case of just getting me focused and knowing what my goal was, what my purpose was, and getting it to where I wouldn't get distracted. That was the problem. And this is something I have to always remind myself on a regular basis, stinking ADHD just gets me all over the place, is the man who chases two rabbits gets none. And he got it to where I just chased after one rabbit until I got that rabbit. And then he said, Okay, we're gonna do that again. And again, and again. And it was just like, oh, and it made sense. So anytime I find my business isn't moving upward, it's hit a plateau, I go back to the advice that he gave me originally, which was just focused on the things that move the needle, double down on that, and rinse and repeat. And he's right every single time. And the nice thing is, I don't pay him anymore. Sorry, Jason, you're not getting any of my royalties.

Steve Brown: 

So Jason didn't give you a silver bullet. He gave you a system to follow or a plan where you it was more of a, like, a really nice, organized fitness program that included sleep included, you know, eating right, drinking enough fluids, not just doing curls. Right.

Dale Roberts: 

Right, exactly had to be very specific, especially if I wanted to get any measure of success. And my measure of success was at that time to break 1000 to $3,000 per month in earnings. And when that happened, I'm telling you, I was just elated. I even get goosebumps just thinking about it right now, which is crazy, because you know, you get so far out, you'd think it wouldn't be as emotionally patched. But it was. And yeah, he got it to where it's like follow my plan. So the best way to put it was having that mentor was like having my own personal trainer for my business.

Steve Brown: 

Wow. What's fascinating to me, is that you master in two very complicated eco systems that Kindle Direct Publishing, number one, the Amazon system and bigger and within the YouTube system as well. And both of these systems, I was talking to someone else the other day, they offer a way to get your products to people, but they hide who those people are. And therefore, you need to also bake into another little system that leads them to your own platform. Yeah, how long? Did it take you to realize that and then then how long did it take you like, Alright, I'm, I'm solid over here and KDP. And that's what I'm going to be my message. And now I'm going to move into YouTube. Right? That was a long march, was it not?

Dale Roberts: 

It was okay. So this is where this is one of those instances where actually I didn't listen to my mentor. I didn't listen to him, I ended up getting my first real bestsellers. And the thing is, is anybody that listens to this, anyone can get an Amazon bestseller tag, anyone. If you don't believe me, like I even have in my background here, anybody's listening can't be able to see it. My brother wrote a book, we got it to best seller on Amazon within 12 hours, it was that stinking simple. I've shown a full video on it. But for what I did for Amazon bestseller, we're talking in the top like 3000 books in the overall store. what I ended up doing was breaking into a very competitive niche of health and fitness. And it just it took some time. I got interviews because of it. And naturally because of those interviews, people are like, how did you do it? Oh, okay. So the problem is I started getting inundated with a lot of emails and direct messages, wanting to you know, learn this and me, I'm just kind of like, okay, okay, I need to capture everything I'm doing right now this momentum and keep running with it. I don't have time to answer people. But I'm the type of guy that I just, I don't like to tell people No, that's my that's one of my worst suits is like, you know, some people are just like, Hey, can you help me? I'm like, Yes. And I'm like, in order to like, I don't have the time for that. Right. So my means to an end was let me just shoot some videos, and then I'll send people over there. Easy peasy, right? My mentor was like, Oh, that's not a good idea, man. I'm telling you because he had a successful YouTube channel at that time. And he's like, it's gonna take up a lot more your time Believe me on this. And I'm like, Nah, I got it. I got it. It's no problem. And the next thing I know, hook, line and sinker. I became so hooked with doing YouTube videos and helping people out. That was Within a year, I kind of did another one of those instances, like what I did with self publishing books, where I was like, Okay, I'm gonna make this work. While I maintain my business. That's that was my thought. So here I am chasing after two rabbits. Little did I know that I become so hooked and so deeply entrenched within that first year, didn't really need to have a mentor per se, because, you know, he helped me out, he was doing YouTube already. And I started reaching within the YouTube community. And I started to see a parallel between how you work with search engine algorithms over an Amazon. And through YouTube slash Google. When I saw that parallel, it was almost like, that mathematical formula just pops up in my head. And I'm like, Oh, so this is how you research Amazon keywords. And you pretty much do the same on YouTube and Google. And so this is how you build relevance on Amazon, you do the same thing over and YouTube. And then that's when the momentum started just picking up. And it's funny, I just look back now. And this is nothing huge. A lot of people look at this. And they're like, Man, that's pretty big. It's nothing huge to brag about. But it's huge to me, especially for such a small niche that I look back, mid July, two years ago, I'd hit 5000 subscribers, and I was really happy about it. And I looked at that I was like, That's crazy. 30,000 subscribers later, here we are over 35,000 subscribers. The thing is, though, I just honestly, this is where for some reason or another, I loved youtube so much, that all of a sudden, the self publishing aspect of things started taking a back seat, because I started seeing even more results as a video content creator. So I kind of just let my fitness brand die a slow and horrible death. And I can talk to you about you know, pretty much what I'm doing with that fitness brand right now. We can get to another conversation if that's the case. But either way, everything I did on YouTube ended up eclipsing everything I did as a fitness author, and you know, I'm okay with that. Because I think to a certain point, my I started feeling burnout. I started kind of like, okay, I published well over 40 different fitness books. Wow. 40 health and fitness books. Yeah, just kind of get tired of telling people how to do push ups and pull ups. And after a bit, you just kind of like, Okay, I've got enough content there. Do I really need to do another one like, okay, you know, maybe I can go do something about keto diets or vegan diets, and working out. But I'm like, that's just not my thing. And I was like, but I really love this aspect of having people fulfill what's in their hearts that I always hear this, oh, I've always wanted to write a book. That's music to my ears. It's like the blood in the water to a shark. I'm like, really, let's talk.

Steve Brown: 

Well, I think that you're illustrating a certain point that happens in a leaders life is they first kind of figure out they, hey, I'm good at this. And they work really hard. And they get good at that. But then they reach this little plateau where this thing goes to their head and they go Should I kind of attempt another? Another ascent on something I'm not so good at? Do I have the confidence and the self identity to let myself fail on a new thing when I've been hitting some home runs on this older thing. And that's what you were going through. And what it illustrates is when you open yourself up to that you actually you level up, or you move up to help more people that are needing other things. So you're not necessarily letting your your fitness brand die. That fitness brand helped you recognize you had all of this other thing to offer other people?

Dale Roberts: 

Yeah, absolutely. I honestly couldn't say it any better. It's it served as a stepping stone and it continues to positively impact people's lives. I'm still getting some sales. I decided though, I'm doing the major pivot. It was It's been four years since I launched my last fitness book. And I've been kind of just, you know, hoeing and humming and I'm like, I'm gonna get to animate it might I've been publishing other books because I function as a small publishing house and I'm able to get ghostwritten brands that I'm able to put out and such. But it has been four years since the last Dale L. Roberts book, which was a fitness book. And I thought, okay, I've got this audience here on YouTube. And this following for self publishing. It's high time I go ahead and make the major pivot from talking about fitness over to self publishing. And right now as you and I speak, I'm getting it formatted through two different companies Kota B and Archangel Inc. They're not paying me to say this, by the way, they're getting the content fully formatted and ready to go. And my brain goes, but they'll, your audience is going to start to see all of your stuff, they're going to go pay attention, all of what you've been doing. So naturally, over the past two weeks, I've been working overtime, and going back through and updating all of my old fitness books, getting brand new covers, getting new keywords, getting new ad copy, getting it to where everything is congruent, because that was one of the things that I was it was real, you could see almost this growth of my brand where I had some really terrible covers two good covers good covers good covers. And then at some point or another, I was like, I'm gonna do my own covers and where it started diving just a little bit. But you know, the nice thing is I went through, I updated all of the covers everything starting to look ruined. So that way when a follower of mine on YouTube, or my podcast says, Well, let's see what Dale's doing. Because whatever he's doing, I'm obviously going to follow his lead, right? I want to be the person who's practicing what he preaches. So I had to go back through and fix a lot of the fitness stuff. And the nice thing is, is as I've gone through and fixed it, slowly, I'm starting to see the fitness books rise again, which is kind of cool.

Steve Brown: 

So here's the trap, I think that I think you really encouraged some content creators on YouTube. So when I set up my YouTube channel, I started putting these videos that we're recording right now over there. So I'm producing content on a regular basis, I'm putting them over there. And then we're chopping up little snippets will have golden nuggets, a short version of these. But But if you go over and look on the monetization tab, it says no monetization to have 1000 followers and 4000 hours of watch time. So I think the trap becomes at the very first, it makes sense why they do that and what you do the long game. But most content creators, just do click to like, hit the bell to subscribe, and share. But they miss the bigger part of the system, which is how to bring them over onto your platform and adapt identify who they are. Because they're trying to hit that first metric. What do you what are your thoughts about that?

Dale Roberts: 

It's if you're building a presence on YouTube, a lot of the things that you've mentioned, engagement is definitely key is definitely key. But I'm gonna tell you what is absolute absolutely paramount on YouTube today is watch time watch time is king, k, i n g not in K e y. Watch time is king. It doesn't matter if they're subscribe, it doesn't matter if they hit the Like, it doesn't matter if they hit the comment doesn't matter if they share. It doesn't matter what they do. Because if they're not watching for prolonged periods of time, YouTube just doesn't care. What they want is to have it to where you're bringing people to their platform, and consuming and bingeing content. And I think that's where I've one big is that I've been doing this for the past four and a half years, I've made binge worthy content, I have, I think 475 videos now. And the crazy thing is about a year or two ago, I got a wild hair up my rear end and I was like, I'm going to pull 300 videos down I don't like anymore. I'm kicking myself over that because I could have just simply had left those up there very cringy but nonetheless, I should have left that up because it would give First of all, when you develop as a business owner anybody's listening to this or watching this, you as a business owner when you develop an asset, okay, that is a window or a door to your brand and your platform. So you can see what I ended up doing was I shot myself in the foot. I didn't like that video. It just it was very cringy I just my delivery was off the information was fine. That was the crazy thing, but I decided to pull it out, say literally just pulled all these doors and windows off of my brand. Yeah, so with what I have now, thankfully, I haven't pulled anything off lately. You know about 475 doors and windows opened into my brand and highly discoverable. And here's the nice thing is I've learned the game of getting people to watch longer and watch more. So that way YouTube goes okay, we're going to recommend and suggest some of his content. And this is one of the things I'm very proud of is the fact that when someone watches one of my videos, guess what comes up in suggested more of my videos. I think sometimes what some of the people do when they go onto YouTube, is they do a great job of bringing people over to watch your video. Hey, Mom, come check out my latest video. It's how I grew my cat. You know and people go on watch it. But the problem is they they're like I don't understand I put out this cat grooming video. My mom and my family watched it. It got away 300 views, but I've only got two subscribers and nothing to show for it, we just don't have enough content, and there's nothing for them to suggest to you other stuff. So this is why I have so much assets, they're able to continue to suggest more of my stuff and more of my stuff and more of my stuff. And then there's bleed over, what ends up happening is they go, Okay, so say, for instance, Steve goes and he releases a Kindle Direct Publishing tutorial, and he gets done with his video, they're gonna suggest it over to mine, because there's a little bit of an overlap between the two of those and guess what ends up happening, people binge watch my content, it becomes almost a circular loop, I know that there's a number of channels, and I, I'm not going to name names at this point, but I get a lot of suggested traffic from them. And they indirectly send me you know, their, their followers. And that's kind of nice. So watch time. Absolutely. If you aren't winning at this game, if you're, if you're finding on YouTube, you're like, after the first year, you're not monetized in the YouTube Partner Program. First of all, don't beat yourself up. If you're not in the ypp. It's not a big deal. Okay, you can monetize many other ways. But it is a good milestone to have thousand subscribers 4000 watch time hours in the course of a year. But if you're not getting to that point within a reasonable amount of time, then chances are likely got to take a step back. And you got to ask yourself, are people watching my content actually staying and watching the content, the next thing is, am I being consistent in delivering value to my viewers, and this is with anything, whether you're running a children's channel, a vlog, you're doing a podcast, all of it. Because I've been able to do this on two different channels. And I'm getting ready to do it on a third channel this year. It is very, very possible. So if you're finding you're spinning your wheels, and you're like I don't understand, haven't gotten to the YouTube Partner Program, no one's watching my videos, you got to take step back, you need to start to analyze. And here's one of the things that I always think about. You are a boss of your business, you are the CEO, when you go ahead and decide you're going to publish videos on YouTube, you also need to treat each one of your assets, like your employees, and you need to look at it from an unbiased viewpoint. And you look at it and go, Okay, I need to evaluate how you're performing this year, or this past week or the last 24 hours. And you need to be very critical and figure out okay, why aren't aren't people staying on for very long, that's the nice thing is the analytics are second to none. And YouTube dashboard. I wish that Kindle Direct Publishing had the same type of analytics over inside their dashboard. But YouTube has that and they're able to tell you when people are watching where they're watching from, how they got to your content, where they came from. And if they're watching additional content, that's really freaking cool. So when you can start to dial in that element and understand it, here's the cool thing. Let's say you got a five minute video, you can go in and figure out okay, what's the average watch time. And then let's say for instance, you like your average watch times, one minute, whoa, something went wrong, you had a five minute video, they're only watching for one minute, go in pay attention. And you're going to see this little light curve, it's almost almost looks like a hockey stick, it'll just kind of come down and just drop down, suddenly figure out where everybody's dropping off, go and watch that portion of your video because you might have said or done something that turned somebody off, or didn't deliver and match up the value of what you end up giving to them via the title of your video and your thumbnail, because those are your barriers of entry. If you've got a title and thumbnail that are clickable, and they show up, and they don't stay very long, then chances are very likely there is a mismatch between what you said in your title and what you did and your thumbnail. And they're kind of going, I'm out of here. And I'll be realistic with you. Thankfully, I've got a video editor and consultant that works with me now that we're able to look at some of these things. And he's able to pay attention to sometimes the things that are turning people off

Steve Brown: 

on a positive here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called the ROI quickstart Academy for authors. Every day I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation and we want to grow our business. But the things that are in our way, our lack of knowledge about the specifics we should put in place, what kind of technology what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns and that problem exists for authors as well. We just chill so good with authors because, well, I'm an author, and I understand everything that you struggle with. You have a great idea you have a great book, but what do you want? Do you want to get your book in front of more people, you want to make it easy for them to find you learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you hire you for a conference, or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the Quickstart Academy for authors? Imagine working with a small group of like minded authors, and the experts from the ROI quickstart. Team, it's a great way to get your messaging clear to be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book. To learn more about the Quickstart Academy for authors, you can visit ROI online.com or click in the link in the show notes below. And now, back to this episode.

Dale Roberts: 

I used to go into my videos, this is how my structure used to work. I would go in and talk about the pain point. So let's just say for instance, would you like to learn a little bit more about Amazon KDP keywords today, make sure you stay tuned and it would have my bumper, my flashy bumper which is like you know, just a show my logo and I you know, neat little theme music type thing. And I come into and I'd say welcome to self publishing with Dale. And if you'd like to learn more about self publishing books that sell then make sure that you hit the subscribe turn notifications on so you don't miss a single one of these videos. problem is people were skipping because what I was seeing was it started out drop and then it would come back up after about 20 seconds. So people were automatically probably on their mobile device going Skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip. I'm done with this guy like so we said, okay, let's cut the bumper. We cut the bumper, we saw better, better average watch time, right? I was like, Oh, cool. So we just got rid of a three second bumper is through three seconds. I'm not exaggerating this. And we can Okay, we're watching it and we're looking at it better watch time. But then we're like, okay, we're still seeing this drop here. The sudden drop. Okay, people are tired of hearing me talk about myself and subscribing. So we killed the subscribe. And instead what we did was we put visual calls to action for subscribing. Yeah, so that way, it was just kind of showing it as I'm talking at very good points to where it's like I'm delivering a very good key point, we drop a subscribe there. And instead of saying at the very outset onset, like hey, and see this thing is a lot of YouTubers big YouTube experts will tell you, you should definitely come in mention your creed, give them a call to action and ask them to subscribe. But I found that it was becoming detrimental to my watch time. And here's the thing. As I said before, you can have all the subscribers you want, you can get the likes, you can get all the comments, you can get all the shares, but until you get watch time, none of that matters. Because you want watch time, subscribers great. It's a nice little metric ain't gonna lie to you. There's a good reason why I'm heading to 100,000 subscribers over the next year. mean that's great. But if you really really want to win big you got to get them to watch so I ended up clipping out. So now anymore Come in, I say it in the video. You want to learn more about you know Amazon KDP keywords Stay tuned today's video Hey, what's up guys is Dale here, I'm going to go ahead talk about Amazon KDP keywords like right into it. So that way people are like, are going and skipping that they tried skipping, they're going to have to backtrack and I get more watch time because they backtrack and watch even more. So that's that that was really something it's a learning process. And you can see that what it takes is a willingness to be okay with having a little bit of mustard on your face being okay with messing up just a little bit and going okay, let's adjust this. We can do better. And I will forever be doing that. I'm going to keep trying to be better. I pay attention to comments like there was one gash one period back in March 2019. For some reason or another when I was getting my editing my own videos, I decided I was going to start doing zoom ins and zoom outs. People were like, dude, stop zooming in there. Like it is really annoying. And I'm like,

Steve Brown: 

Okay, thanks. You pay attention those comments, because if someone's saying it, who else is not saying it? Who else is just awkward? This is annoying, I'm out of here, they're leaving. So pay attention sometimes to those comments. And they will tell you, they will paint a bigger picture for you. And you can kind of understand every now and then you're gonna run into some trolls. You know, trolls are definitely a diamond does and I deal with it on a daily basis. So while you're illustrating a certain point, I think that first of all, the fact that you had a bunch of videos up and then you after you've done all of your fundamentals and God got that going, then you were able to kind of back up and go Alright, now I'm going to evaluate all my content. I've curated my library of content, what can I start to what process can I put in place to up the quality and improve the performance of this content? But Do you focused on that at the very beginning, I think it would have been a big barrier and it really distracted you.

Dale Roberts: 

It probably would have it would have back then all I thought of was just answering a video really quick. And it's so funny. I purposely named the channel self publishing with Dale Roberts because I took the knowledge that I had from Amazon of selecting a keyword, so you could be more discoverable. I knew my name is Dale Roberts was already kind of taken by the whole fitness thing. So I was like, let's go ahead and just put self publishing with. And beyond that, though, all I did was, it was very dry, very boring stuff. I was like, hello. So I think even like my first video was, I was wearing a bright neon green cutoff shirt. It was poorly lit, my camera was on a laptop camera and I'm looking down like lording over it by the way, don't ever Lord over your camera, try to get it at eye level or a little bit above eye level, like kind of like what you and I have right now for our videos. You know, you You never want to look down but either way. And it also sounded like I was depressed. I was just like, this is self publishing with Dale Roberts and welcome to the channel. And yeah, so it The nice thing is, I just wanted to answer questions really fast. I didn't think about necessarily making it good. I did have this delusions, delusions of grandeur that I thought I was going to become the next PewDiePie by simply launching that. But when I found that I was getting like eight views in over the course of a month on a single video. I was like, Okay, okay, we got to get realistic on this one. I'm not going to become PewDiePie. And, but you know, yeah, that's the thing is don't try to get caught up. If you're getting into doing video content creation, whatever platform it might be, what I would say is, embrace the perfection in imperfection. be okay with using your cell phone with using your laptop and learning over it. be okay with putting out imperfect assets and adjust as you go along. And you'll see in due time, you'll start to get better. It's it's kind of like what you were saying, you know, you just you go into the gym, it's going to be tough. You're going to be winded after the first workout, you're gonna be like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe it. I'll never be like Peter McKinnon or Casey Neistat, or Dale Roberts who don't, don't say you're gonna ever be like, please be better than me. Either way, you get the idea. But as you go in and get your reps it and you're consistent with it, you will get better in due time, there's gonna be some things that honestly, are second nature to me, when I get ready to set up things, so for instance, when I got ready for this interview, I got ready with the intent of Okay, I know this is going to be audio is also going to be a video podcast. So I made sure that my video cameras on it was dialed in, I have my lighting, I have my mic set on all that second nature, I just go click, click, click, click, click, click, click and it's on. Whereas somebody new to this would be like that, where do I plug where I just don't Oh, ah, I just start out with what you have at your disposal. Don't worry about getting a Sony a 6400 or a Shure SM seven B or a light v Okay, with whatever you have, just take the first steps forward and tweak it as you go.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, I'm, you know, part of the things that I'm really want to stress is that you need to think about there humans. On the other side of this, we're using technology. But whether it was 1000 years ago, or 1000 years from now, and there are humans with names, and families and hopes and stuff in the really the essence of what you're doing is communicating something to help them hopefully, or to connect with them or to inspire them and getting getting tripped up in all the sexy technology stuff is where most of marketing goes wrong. And thinking of the SEO that you're talking about, I think it's more applicable on YouTube and, and KTP and Amazon, you know, those things are, there's a place for them, but it's one part it's not the silver bullet. It's one little part that makes the whole pie

Dale Roberts: 

taste. It's so ancillary. You know, I used to pay attention so much to get everything keyword optimized, and it is good. It does play a part in it. But it is the most critical part. Well remember the most critical part was I told you is watch time, that's going to be the thing and who's gonna watch it, human beings are gonna watch it. And I think Tim Schmoyer put it really good. Tim actually says, Don't create videos for an algorithm, create videos for people, right? When you start to think about I'm creating this asset for People, then it will click. And by the way, this is same, like, I give the same advice over on Amazon KDP. And self publishing in general, don't try to put together like some people get a hold of me like, hey, Dale, what's the most popular niche for me to get into? And I'm like, What? What? What does it matter? Like, just find something you're passionate about and do it, like, stop worrying about gaming the system and trying to develop your business around and a search engine algorithm. If this was 10 years ago, go for it. That was 10 years ago work for a search engine algorithm, because you could game it back then now? Nope, the search engine algorithms have become so sophisticated to this point, forget it, you are not going to be able to game the system, you're going to need to start to work for human beings, because they're the ones that are going to consume it. If you're doing it for robots, then you're probably in the wrong business.

Steve Brown: 

Robots, bad humans. Good. So that you know what niche question reminds me and what there was a point where I was like, trying to figure out what what I want business what I do, so I'm just looking for business to make money. Was it like a sandwich shop? Was it going to be this? I don't know, do pick up bed liners or something. And later, I'm thinking back and I'm going I was just looking for something to make money, not something I was good at. And I would enjoy doing and that's the same thing that you're saying with this. What niche should I be diving in and you shouldn't be attacking the niche where you soar in, in our in your best element? kind of naturally. And you this personality comes out of you and you have this energy? That's what people need.

Dale Roberts: 

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. You said it beautifully.

Steve Brown: 

So what's the one question Dale that people never ask you that you wished they would ask you?

Dale Roberts: 

Uh huh. Man, I guess I never think about things like that. Honestly, I, I get asked a lot of really out there questions. I think. I think sometimes the the issue I see is when people ask some questions, I think to myself, like, Did I just become Google? Like, did I all of a sudden, like am I had the new search engine algorithm? I think Tony Robbins, I'm gonna have to paraphrase him once said that, in order to really get the proper answers, you need to be asking the correct questions. And asking these lower tier questions like legitimately, I'm not even kidding you, Steve, there's been times people ask me, What does KDP stand for? And I'm like, okay, and you know, and I'm at this point now, anymore, nothing shocks me into some of the things that people ask me, like, you know, what does I ESPN stand for? And I'm like, Okay, fair enough. Like, I'll go ahead and answer that. The questions that should be asked are going to be something that's going to be that's going to move the needle, you know, so sometimes when people ask me, like, for instance, or like, they say, hey, my book sales are really awful. I've tried everything that you've told me to do. What should I do? And it's typically I've got to look at some of their assets. And I've got to tell them, the hard truth. Your book covers ugly, you got a terrible title. I don't even know what that book description is like, what is this? I'm not even enticed to in fact, I want you to pay me money for even reading it. You know. So there's there comes times, like, I think some people are not as self aware as they think they are. So I don't know necessarily that it's bad questions or horrible questions. But when you ask questions, you need to take a step back and ask, how is going to help me actively move my business forward? That's going to be the thing if you are, for instance, and I'm not going to call myself the Michael Jordan of self publishing. But if you had the opportunity as a basketball player to ask Michael Jordan only one question, one, one question, or you can throw LeBron James in there don't matter. Okay, anybody big in basketball, you've got a chance to ask them one question. Do you think you're going to ask them? What does NBA stand for? You know, no, I'm probably going to be asking them some very high tier, you know, question of some sort. Here's my routine. It's X, Y, and Z. What do I need to do to level this up so I can at least be a fraction as good as you were? And that right there? That's deep thinking right there. It's enough to be vulnerable to somebody to where you can get active feedback and move your business upward.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, so. So I was wanting you to look at my book, I'm teasing.

Dale Roberts: 

So your book looks great golden toilet by the way. We're gonna go ahead and shameless plug that right there golden toilet, go pick it up.

Steve Brown: 

Excellent. I'll send the check later, they'll build up the KDP, I think when you said, you can SEO the heck out of KDP or YouTube, but if your content is not valuable, if you haven't really like got a great title and some good stuff to really the it's not going to help that much. You're you're getting ready to launch a new book or publish a new book. Yeah, that's about where are you going in the future. And tell us about this book that you mentioned.

Dale Roberts: 

I'm so glad that you mentioned it. Actually, I am launching a book called Amazon keywords for books. So oddly enough, I'm talking about keywords in this particular one. And as far as my launch sequence goes, I'm very fortunate that I have attention. This is really nice between the YouTube channel, Twitch, Instagram, LinkedIn, a very deep email list, Facebook groups, 4000 members deep that are very, very active. So I'm able to leverage that at least. But there's other practices that I'm also going to put into play. So for instance, I'm not just going to go and press publish. If you just go and you press publish, and pray, and you're wondering why you're not getting any success. It's because you didn't go into it with a strategy. My strategy was, how can I leverage my YouTube channel to build awareness of my book? That was the very first thing I thought of, I was like, Okay, why don't I start hyping this on my channel? So I started telling people in various videos and live videos that I was working on this, then I wrote the book, on my channel in a 11 hour writing sprint, yes, 11 hours wrote 20,000 words in front of a live audience. Because why? Well, first of all, hopefully, fab people inspired and work along with me. And the next thing was to get it to where I was staying accountable, and I would get it done. And next thing is building the hype.

Steve Brown: 

Tell me more about that. You wrote the book in front of your audience.

Dale Roberts: 

Yep. It's what's called a write in or writing sprint. And what ends up happening is you you go onto YouTube, you just turn it on live. And what I did was I created what's called a pomodoro method, which is essentially, you're going 25 minutes on, five minutes off for four sets. And then you take 15 minutes off, rinse and repeat. And I would just, it's literally, it's so boring. If you go in there, it seems like it's performance art. You're like, you'll see a timer. And you know, you might see like, you know, some type of a message. But it's like this right here. I'm looking down. And I'm just kind of just typing away. And people are they just they write along. And then when the timer goes off, they hear that alarm go off and they Okay, they stop. And it's kind of cool, because then you can kind of talk and so they write along with you writing their own book, right along with you. Yes, some people were doing other things. Like there was an artist that was tuning in, they were doing their artwork while I was doing this. So they were doing art sprints along with me,

Steve Brown: 

what kind of crazy stuff is that? as it sounds like those were they listen to people eat an apple or something?

Dale Roberts: 

ASMR? Yes, yes. You know, I thought it was insane. Like originally saw it. I saw some, you know, author tubers, as they call them. Their authors that do YouTube type stuff. And any rate, I saw them doing it, and I was like, Oh my gosh, there's 200 people watching them stare at a screen. But it was the principle of sitting down of let me work along which by the way, that's another searchable thing is work along. And you would just work along in those sprints. And every now and then they would just you know, they stop, they would kind of stretch they would talk Hey, how are you doing on your work? I had, I think, nearly 60 concurrent viewers, while I was doing that, at one point, and it dropped to about 40 at another point. And within 24 hours, I had well over 1000 views because remember, watch time is king. So people are watching this. And the funny thing is, people watch the replay to work along because the timer was already there. So they just went ahead. Okay, I think that video is getting nearly like 2000 views. So that was one of the ways that I was able to build hype behind this, get the manuscript done. And here we go. I'm gonna go ahead and tell you the full like, almost the full strategy here. What I ended up doing was I got a hold of a couple contacts that I have, and a couple of them and to do the interior for me, okay, and they've been sponsors for the channel or close friends of mine. So guess what, I just promote their brands while they're doing the interior formatting for me and it's really good by the way, I cannot wait for everybody to see it. I got a Fiverr got them on the phone because they've been a sponsor of mine. They've been so so good with me. And I said, I got an idea. I want to do a video where I hire five of your cover designers for one book cover. And they were like, love it, how much do you want. And I just told them how much I needed for credits. And you're going to have to stay tuned for that video, we're going to say this, that they gave me a lot of money to make it work. And the nice thing is is, so as soon as that's done, I'm going to end up doing two videos in this series, I'm going to do a how to write a book in 24 hours challenge to where I chronicle the whole situation, how I laid everything out. And then in the end of the video, I've already told everybody how to do it. Now would you like to have a copy of this 100% free while I'm doing an advanced reader copy team. So I'm going to send them over to a landing page link to where they download it in exchange for their email to where they'll be able to get updated on various releases. And they will leave a review when it launches. We go over into the cover video, rinse and repeat. Here's the beautiful thing is, in order to get the engagement on that video, obviously, everybody's going to want to see all five covers for crying out loud, I'm going to get the audience to vote for the actual cover I'm going to put on there. So I'm gonna have five covers, I'm gonna help, you know, tweak them with all the designers and everything else like that. But the audience is going to vote between is it going to be the cheap cover design? Or is it going to be the expensive cover design. So you can see how much fun this is. And again, I'm able to plug a call to action to join the advanced reader copy team. Pretty neat, right? So we've building up the arc team so that when I get ready to launch the book, I have reviewers on tap ready to go. Not to mention the fact that I'm already just just talking with my wife last night. And she's in fiction publishing. And, you know, I talked with her about how she's building out her list, and how she gets advanced reader advanced reader copy team put together. So I'm looking at various places like book funnel, booksprout, and story origin, to bring in even more people outside of my realm of quote, unquote influence outside of YouTube to people that haven't heard of me want to bring them in to get an advanced reader copy. And ultimately, what's gonna end up happening is when this launches, I'm going to have a large enough advance reader copy team that is going to have a ton of social proof and reviews ahead of time. So when it does launch, it builds relevance over on Amazon's platform and gets it to where there's social proof, ready to rock and roll. That is scratching the surface of what I might end up doing. Like for instance, I have another one put into play that I have editorial reviews already ready to go like I got to send off the copy to them. I'll get the editorial review ready. So yeah, it's it's a juggling act. And tomorrow, I'm going into the recording studios to record the audio book as well. Yeah, so excited about all this stuff. Yes, absolutely. So you could see it's be very deliberate about what you're doing. And your business folks have a strategy. Don't just publish and pray for the best. Because if you just publish and pray, whatever your whatever it is, think about publishing could be whatever your work is going to be if you just pray for the best. You're not going to get anywhere fast.

Steve Brown: 

That's where the whole conversation right there and Dale, that's what they called the Black Swan. That's the question that I wanted. And the answer to that I didn't know how to ask, what is the plan for your new book? And then would you do? It's called Open the kimono folks. That's, that was excellent. There's a lot of people are going to listen to that and get jacked up ad for all the ideas that you had in there. Very original, very creative, very community oriented. Excellent.

Dale Roberts: 

Yeah, it's it's so important. When I look at the whole self publishing with Dale brand, there's a team now officially, as of today, I have four people in my team. And, but it's not just my team anymore. So it seems like very narcissistic, that My name is on it. I sometimes cringe from it. But I also think of it as a brand. But I also think about it as a community and people that are working with me and when you can bring your community into this and make it a community effort. People feel more invested, and they're gonna want to see the succeed. Because this is their their project. This is their thing that they're invested. And that's why I wanted to bring in these 35,000 subscribers, these 4000 Facebook members and also bringing in other people. And I'm super, super fortunate to be the position that I am that I have an amazing tribe of people that surround me and support me and cheerlead me all the way. And I believe that this book that's going to be released, even though it took 11 hours to write, it did take hours to outline By the way, that was one part we skipped over. That took days of me outlining ahead of time, so I was able to write it and then let's add in the three rounds of edits that were like pulling teeth like I literally at this point, like just pull out one of my bicuspids I don't care. I would rather just do that. By the way, I love my tea. So there's no way you can get me part ways with it. But in this instance, I don't want to go through the editing process again, because it was brutal with a capital B.

Steve Brown: 

Great guests, Dale, this has been a fun conversation. I'm really appreciate you being on here. I think folks are gonna get a lot of value out of that. And they need to know you. That's kind of cool. You're the you're the guy at the party that is like, I'm happy to Hey, come here. I want you to meet Dale Dale's he's got all this cool stuff. And he's walked the walk. You'll enjoy hanging out with him.

Dale Roberts: 

Yeah, it is. It's if you're at a party, you're at a cocktail party or somewhere. cocktail party. Most importantly, you're gonna have to just drop the whole like facade. You're gonna have to come up you have to enter the conversation, bro. I got a guy you got to meet right over here. He's wild. Just Just brace yourself. Are you wearing your depends you're not wearing your depends. Well screw that talks because he's gonna make you soil yourself.

Steve Brown: 

Thanks for being on the ROI online podcast. Where can people connect with you? We have to ask that question. Just give us your we only have a few more minutes so you have a lot of platforms but give us the top ones.

Dale Roberts: 

I'm going to give you one and I'm gonna make it super super simple self publishing with Dale comm So just think self publishing with Dale like Chippendale calm.

Steve Brown: 

Chippendale. That's a great ties of bow and fitness man, he probably wanted to start off being a dancer. Dale, thanks for being on the ROI online podcast. Thank you, Steve. That's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI online podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat, and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better. Be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden toilet at surprise, that golden toilet.com I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI online podcast.