We’ve all had jobs that we really disliked, right? I’ve had too many to mention! During high school and college I took on so many crappy part time jobs that I could write a book.
Well Kimanzi Constable hated his job and did just that – he wrote the book. Two books in fact. But his books aren’t just a career moan-fest, they’re inspirational and provide a helpful manual for people wanting to change their lives for the better.
In this interview, Kimanzi talks about how he went from delivering bread at 2 am, to creating a business and a living around what he loves to do; writing and speaking.
If you want to make the transition from a day job to a lifestyle business that involves writing and the income streams related to it, I think you’re going to learn a lot from this talk with Kimanzi.
He gives us insight and the specifics of how he promoted his two self-published books to sell over 65,000 copies before getting picked up by a publisher to write a third book. You can certainly use some of this advice to push your own books further and increase sales.
If you can’t watch the video, there are some notes below on the things we talk about in this video. Enjoy!
Kimanzi is creating an online business around his writing and books to create the life he wants to live. This is my own philosophy and the business model for 30 Day Books. Before this point Kimanzi underwent a radical life shift that was sparked by the following –
- Realizing how short life is. He had a couple of friends who died last year and his father died earlier this year – we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. When he thought about his life and realized if he dies tomorrow, could he honestly say he tried to do most things, the answer was no, no, no.
- There are a lot of things he wanted to do in his life and talked about doing. There are three things, for Kimanzi, that was the difference between living and existing:
- Losing weight. He did this radically a few years ago and didn’t do it the right way.
- He lives in Wisconsin and hates snow. And he thought, “if I hate snow, why am I still in WI? This is where I was born, and where my parents are. We stick to what we know. My wife and I wanted to move.”
- Work – this was the biggest one. In a job that he absolutely hated delivering bread at 1 a.m. every day. Three hours of sleep wasn’t cutting it anymore, and he did this for 12 years.
How Kimanzi changed his career and got into writing:
- Journalled his work-life, and then got his book professionally created after hearing about Amanda Hocking’s success. Worked overtime to find the extra money to pay an editor, formatter, website designer. He got on social media and let everyone know my book was coming.
The disappointing book launch
- Made a mistake thinking everything should be about numbers – he built up his FB and Twitter and had a massive following. Kept spamming everyone that the book was coming. The book came out and in the first two months he only sold 11 copies. “I was crushed!”
Going back to the drawing board…
- Started blogging and connecting with people.
- Stopped trying to spam them and really focused on connecting with people with similar stories.
- Once he stopped trying to cram it down their throats, people started buying the book and then recommending it to their friends. Bloggers would read it, review it and then the sales came.
On getting traffic, exposure and growing a blog
- Realized he needed more exposure, especially to his blog. Started looking into more ways to get traffic and started guest posting. The first 2-3 posts he sent out, got feedback back and realized he needed to review the blogs he was attempting to guest post on and get a feel for what they were about. Did that and got a post on 48days.com. Guest-posting just snowballed from there. After one guest post, Kimanzi had 23,000 unique visitors alone.
- Started getting traffic but when people started coming over, Kimanzi began using his story and some stuck around and actually bought the book. Between the 2 books, this year, Kimanzi has sold a little over 64K copies.
Advice on how to successfully pitch a guest post
- Thinks it’s better when people write the post and say, “hey I wrote this specifically for your blog.”
- Don’t be fake. The blogs he sends guest posts to, he reads those every day. He comments every day. The blogger knows him – he’s not an outsider. You aren’t just going to go on MichaelHyatt one time and expect to get a guest post.
- Get a feel for the blog. Don’t just send out a general, template post.
I talk about my own experience being pitched as a blog owner
- Someone pitched me yesterday a guest post about 10 Dating Don’ts. Way off topic and clear that person hadn’t read my blog! Agree that you can tell when someone is being completely fake.
Other forms of income besides book sales
- Public speaking. Talks about how he hated public speaking and didn’t want to do it! After signing a four book deal and being asked to speak at a conference about how he sold his book with social media, he was swayed by the money. When he got up there, it felt right.
- Spoke from his heart and wanted to help people and was swarmed with people wanting to connect afterwards. After that went well, it’s been dominoes’s and have booked conferences. He is gone 3 weeks out of a month in a different place. The public speaking has been great, the books are great and he has also done some consulting for small, local businesses.
- Coaching and products sold from his websites.
Kimanzi’s ideal lifestyle
- Moving to Hawaii next year. (No more snow)! Loves the people, environment and lifestyle.
- Writing is big. Already knows the next 8 books he wants to write.
- Speaking – will be more strategic and do fewer events from now on, but more international events.
On taking risks. What Kimanzi has to say to the people who say, “I have a family to support, etc.”
- First, it will be very hard. The best thing you can do is have a plan. You have an idea of what you want to do, but need to have a plan – like work overtime to pay for it, work toward your goal. Even before you embark on your journey, have a solid support system. You will need someone to lean on.
- Support system
- Don’t move too fast. It will take time. It’s a marathon, not a race.
- Take some kind of action. Even if it’s a small one, keep moving forward.
“I delivered bread and if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Find Kimanzi online at: http://talesofwork.com/blog/
Go say hi on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/KimanziC
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.