Self publishing vs Publishing house

Welcome to the Meet-the Author Series, a short series where I will be chatting to authors to talk about their experience writing their bestselling book.

In today’s episode I chat with Success Coach, Suzy Ashworth, who is an inspiring business mentor and author of The Calm Birth Method. We talk about the process of self-publishing versus going through a publishing house… both of which Suzy has experienced. 

In this Episode:

04.55: About Suzy’s work and how her 2 x books came about in a strange way (and made her a Hay House Author!)

10.34: The difference (and restrictions) between self-publishing vs publishing house

19.14: The role of manifesting in creating a bestselling book

23:00 Suzy’s advice to business owners who want to write a book

Links:

Guest Bio

Suzy Ashworth is a single mum of three children, high school dropout, Hay House author, international keynote speaker, multiple seven-figure success coach, and serial entrepreneur on a mission. She has worked with 1000’s of impact driven leaders in business to create quantum shifts in their lives and their businesses over the last 9 years and her vision is to raise the vibration of humanity through helping people consciously create freedom, joy and abundance through sharing the secrets of how to tap into the frequency of Infinite Receiving.

Her work has been featured in Forbes, Grazia, and The BBC.

Always open to the experiences life has to offer, Suzy’s also lived in Mexico and Spain with her family, and is now based back in the UK.

Suzy Ashworth Instagram >
Suzy Ashworth Facebook >
Suzy Ashworth Facebook 2.0 >
Suzy Ashworth Website >
Suzy Ashworth TikTok >

Transcript

The next few episodes of the podcast are going to be going deeper into the process of writing a business book. To follow along with this theme, I’ve decided to create a Meet the Author series in which I’ll be bringing on some of my favorite authors to chat about their experience writing their bestselling books.

The first guest I’ve brought along in this series is my previous business mentor. Her name is Suzy Ashworth, and she is extremely inspiring, and she’s the author of the global bestselling book, The Calm Birth Method. In today’s episode, we are chatting about the process of self-publishing versus going through a publishing house, and Suzy has done both. So, in this episode, we dive into both of these different options and understand a little bit more about each option. With no further ado, let’s dive into today’s episode chatting to Suzy Ashworth.

Hello and welcome to The Clare Wood Podcast. This is your weekly dose of all things money, to help you intentionally create a profitable business and a life you love. I have the difficult conversations about money, so you can make more money with ease. Each week, I share how you can use mindset and the practical foundations of finance to elevate your earnings without sacrificing the things that are important to you, because you can and should be making more money.

Just a reminder, if you haven’t already, you can pre-order your copy of my book Intentional Profit via the link in the show notes for today’s episode, or at www.clarewood.com/intentionalprofit. I am also really excited to share that my book tour is kicking off very soon. Intentional Profit officially launches on the 17th of March, which coincides with the first stop of my book tour, which is in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. You can find out more about the book launch via the link in the show notes for today’s episode, but it’s going to be a really fun, vibey night. There’ll be networking, bubbles, and canapes, and I would love to see you there. So, grab your ticket via the link in the show notes for today’s episode.

Welcome back to the podcast, Suzy Ashworth. We just had such a fantastic chat off air, and if anyone doesn’t know, Suzy was my coach for 12 months of my business journey, and she was so pivotal in an energetic shift that happened for me personally. At the start of our time working together, I was aspiring to be living at the beach, in my beach house, and I’ve been here for over 12 months now, and that was a massive change that happened in our time that we were working together. I still wake up every day, pinch myself, and I think, “It wasn’t that long ago that this was a crazy dream of mine.” So, thank you for being part of that chapter of my life.

SUZY:

Wow. It’s an honor and a privilege to walk alongside you during that moment in time, and I’m looking at your background and I’m like, “It is sexy AF.” Yeah.

CLARE:

It sure is. I’m loving, loving, loving the beach. And something that I’ve been reminded of, I guess recently, is the power of our mentors even after our time together finishes. And you might not know this, but you still have such a powerful influence on me. I tune into your podcast and I hear your voice and it’s like you’re still there, you’re still part of my journey. And I guess that even though we’re not working together anymore, you’re still such a powerful part of my influence and my energy, and I appreciate you.

SUZY:

Thank you. That really means a lot to me. Thank you.

CLARE:

So, the reason I brought you on the podcast today was to chat about writing a book, because I’ve recently become a first-time author and you are an experienced author. So, I thought that I would bring you on and have a bit of a chat to you about your journey in creating your book, which is actually quite different to what you do now. So, we might start with that and really a little bit, explore a little bit about your experience creating and publishing a book under various different methods.

So, maybe if you could start by doing a quick intro to yourself. Just jump straight in there. So, maybe if you could explain who you are, what you do? And then as part of that, share about your book and also your latest book as well.

SUZY:

Yay. So, my name is Suzy Ashworth. I am a success coach. I work predominantly with females, but really impact-driven entrepreneurs. I help them create more magic in their lives and more money in their businesses. And this is my 10th year in business this year.

CLARE:

What?

SUZY:

Absolutely.

CLARE:

I did not know that.

SUZY:

It blows my mind. It makes me feel quite old and very proud at the same time. And where my publishing journey started is really right at the beginning. So, I created a company called The Calm Birth School, and it was the world’s first video-based hypnobirthing program. And that program in and of itself … I did a course called B-School and it’s run by a woman called Marie Forleo. And I had the idea for that program three weeks in. And being in that group and at the time there was a Facebook group with about 30,000 people in it.

And what I was seeing is people having 10K months, people creating new programs, people having sent out this, doing this, and also, people writing books. And so quite early on in my journey, I had the idea that I was going to write a book, but I had no idea how. The way that I looked at it, it was going to be a very comprehensive business card for my business. That is how I thought about writing a book. And I ended up buying a book called Book Launch by Chandler Bolt. And in that book it gives you the A to Z of how to come up with the idea, sort out your chapters, write it, and then market your book. And so, that’s what I followed and ended up with the first edition of the Calm Birth School book.

CLARE:

Amazing. And so, hang on, did you just jump straight in? So, you came up with a concept and did you just start writing?

SUZY:

Well, see, here’s the thing. I feel still like a little bit of an imposter when people ask me, “How did you write the book?” Because what I had actually written was a really comprehensive manual to go with the program. So, hypnobirthing, it’s not a complicated method, but there’s a lot of layers, there’s a lot of pieces of the puzzle. So, we’d do the videos, but I wanted people who were not visual learners to have something that they could just sit and go through and write and et cetera.

So, I had this really thick manual, and so what I decided was I was going to turn the manual into a book. And so, of a book of around, I don’t know, 60, 70,000 words, I probably started with a base of around 40,000. And then it was, how do we take this from being a manual to an actual readable book? And so, I always feel a little bit like I cheated a bit, because I didn’t start from scratch. But I think that for anybody who has course materials, and this is actually, also I’m following the same method with Infinite Receiving, which is the new book that I’ve got coming out at the end of the year.

For anybody who’s written a course and you’re basing your book on your program, you’ve got the content in the course material. And so actually, transcribing everything that you have spoken is a really incredible place to start again for writing your book.

CLARE:

100%. When you were saying that that feels like an imposter, I was like, “Why would that feel like being an imposter? It’s your content, why can’t you use that in your program, in your book, rather?”

SUZY:

Yes. I think that in my head, we tell ourselves these silly little stories, but in my head, a proper author starts with a blank sheet of paper.

CLARE:

Interesting.

SUZY:

With a pen, and they’ll be, “Once upon a time.”

CLARE:

Lying in a field.

SUZY:

Exactly. That proper author does it like that. So, there’s still a little bit. I feel less like that with Infinite Receiving. And I think that the reason being is that Infinite Receiving feels like my life’s work. It feels like purpose work, it feels like legacy work. The Calm Birth Method, and that’s what the book … Basically, I self-published and I used the strategy that Chandler talks about in his book, and I got it into as many hands as possible in the first three days. And one of the hands that the book landed in was a commissioning editor from Hay House. And so, what was interesting is it wasn’t a huge amount of time after first self-publishing the book that Hay House got in contact with me and said, “Would I be interested in becoming a Hay House author?”

CLARE:

That’s mad.

SUZY:

It’s pretty crazy. It’s one of the most common questions that people ask me, “How did you get your book deal?” And I got my book deal through self-publishing. And as an entrepreneur, I really think that it is important for you to think about, “What is the objective of me writing this book?” Because as soon as you go down the publishing route, if you are not a big name with a huge following, the experience of being able to control everything yourself and use your book as a marketing tool is very, very different from when you have a publishing house who essentially, although you own your copyright, they have control of how the book is distributed, how much you have to pay for your own copies if you want to use it for marketing purposes. There are many more restrictions when you go to a publishing house versus when you self-publish.

And so even when I got offered the deal, actually, I took quite a bit of time to think about, “Does this tick the boxes for what I want for this book?” And if I’m really honest, the answer to that specific question was, “No, it doesn’t tick the boxes for what I want for this book.” However, the kudos and the credibility and the authority that comes with being a Hay House author trumped everything that I desired for that book.

And I think particularly if you are in the personal development world, spiritual world, you do call yourself a Hay House author. You might say, “My book has been published by Random House.” You might say, “My book has been published by Penguin.” And for sure, one of the big five, that means something. But there’s something very, very different if you are in the spiritual world to say that you’re a Hay House author, it means something, at least from an ego perspective.

CLARE:

Yeah. 100%

SUZY:

Not only.

CLARE:

No, I totally agree. And so, at the time, you weren’t working in the coaching spiritual space?

SUZY:

Not really. At the time, the Calm Birth School was my focus. And what was happening is because other birth professionals were seeing how we had made this big splash on the birth scene, and it was online and it was video. We were doing it quite differently. Lots of people were coming to me and saying, “How are you doing this?”

So, I certainly wasn’t teaching in the spiritual space. I obviously have always taught mindset because so much of hypnobirthing is about mindset. And so, at the time, I used to call myself a mindset and messaging mentor and I would work with other people who were working in the birth and baby field, to help them build their online presence and their personal brand. So, I was doing that. It wasn’t the main focus though.

CLARE:

Yeah. And were you expecting the success of the Calm Birth Method?

SUZY:

No. No. It’s really weird actually, because when I think about how I work with clients now and how I think about my own intentions and goals now, they were always massive. With the Calm Birth School, I think that we talked about … Because I started it, I approached somebody and for a while I worked with a partner, and we talked about being bigger than the NCT. And the NCT, for anybody who’s not in the UK, is the number one prenatal birth preparation, like traditional birth, like Lamaze, if you’re in the States, I’m not sure what you have in Australia. We talked about being bigger than the NCT, but there was no real energy or intention for how to make that happen. It was more of a, this is what we were saying.

But the other special thing about the Calm Birth Method book is the business model. So, first of all, when I started the company, it was just selling video programs to parents. And then I was like, “We could have teachers, we could have Calm Birth School teachers teaching this method.” And so, then it went from just going from end to consumer to having a, it wasn’t a certification, but a licensing model. And so, then all of the instructors had to buy books. And so, what is great about that model for myself and also Hay House, is that you have this ready built-in audience. You don’t have to do a huge amount of marketing. You don’t have to do lots of advertising because as long as you’ve got instructors who are running successful businesses … Oh, hello.

CLARE:

Goodnight, darling. It’s time for bed. Love you. And that my friends, is why you put a lock on your office door. We have already said goodnight. Apologies for that interruption. Let’s go back a couple of beats. So, you were saying that the great thing about the business model was that the instructors had to buy-

SUZY:

Yeah, the instructors have to buy the books. Don’t have to buy the books, but the instructors buy the books. So, from a modeling perspective, as long as you’ve got instructors, as long as you’ve got new people coming in and buying the license, then you have a built-in audience of people as well as the end user. So, it works really, really well.

CLARE:

Interesting. And what have you taken from that learning that you were going to incorporate into Infinite Receiving?

SUZY:

Yeah. So, Infinite Receiving is the new book. And it’s funny, it’s only in speaking to you that I realize how full circle things are becoming and are. Even just saying that it’s 10 years, so it’s 10 years ago that this whole journey started. I had a program which I turned into a book. I have a program, the Infinite Receiving Program, which is six weeks, which I’m turning into a book, but I’m also launching a coaching certification. And so, lots of the things that I learned from how to train people in your method, when it comes to the licensing method, it is what we’re applying to the coaching certification. So, that feels really quite like [inaudible 00:17:24]. Just like, it’s circles.

But what feels incredible is that Hay House approached me. I’d been chatting to a guy called Kyle Gray. If you don’t know Kyle Gray, go and check him out. He has amazing angel and oracle cards, and I’ve been chatting to him and I’ve been telling him about Infinite Receiving, and I said, “I really think that this is probably going to be a book.” He actually went and approached the managing director of Hay House and said, “You should speak to Suzy, because she’s got some stuff going on and I think that it would be really good.”

And honestly, Clare, it was the quickest meeting of my life. I’m getting myself all prepared. I’m thinking it’s going to be an hour and I’m going to have to pitch properly and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And I told them the concept of Infinite Receiving, and within 15 minutes they were like, “This sounds amazing. We really want to do it. I want to speak to the American team. If you can just put this in an email in some bullet points, then I’ll pitch it to them.” Well, my face was like that, I was like, “Shouldn’t this be a little bit more challenging? What?” And so, that was it. It was really, really quick. So again, there’s this little bit of imposter, because everyone was like, “How do you do a book proposal?” The truth is, is that I have never actually written a book proposal in my life.

CLARE:

“I’m just a twice Hay House author, and to be honest, it just kind of lands in my lap. So yeah, I can’t really help you with that.”

SUZY:

You know what it is? It’s the magnet of infinite receiving.

CLARE:

Yeah. There you go.

SUZY:

I’ve set up this field around me so that we’re creating magnetism. And so, I’m drawing in the things that are important to me, and those things get to happen with ease and with grace and with gratitude.

CLARE:

Well, isn’t it funny because we were just talking off air about how, for me, the big, ultimate, crazy goal was to be bestseller. And I know that you’re a Money Bootcamp graduate. My passwords have been number one bestseller. I even used the hashtags bestseller, every time, when I mention the book. And off the back of one social media post, one to my personal and one to my business, I was like, “No, no, no, no.”

SUZY:

Should be harder than that.

CLARE:

“There was meant to be six weeks of promotion and lead up to this.” I didn’t even think that I could go to bestseller in presale. But then it’s so ironic because everything about my energy for this book, I never allowed myself to not believe it wouldn’t be a bestseller.

I found articles, I pitched to someone to buy wholesale, and I said, “I’m confident this book will be a bestseller.” Was what I wrote in the email to her. All my energy was constantly like, “That is not even open for compromise. This is done. That is happening.” So, then when it happened, I was a bit the same, a bit like, “Oh dear, why was that so easy? No, no, no. I was meant to work really hard for that.” Because I had this six weeks and had all this activity that I was going to do and the universe was just like, “Nope, there it is.”

SUZY:

But do you remember when we talked, and it might have even been on a podcast, I’m not sure. We talked about the manifestation of your house and how you worked on cleaning and clearing your energy.

CLARE:

Yeah.

SUZY:

So, when you say that about the book getting to number one and actually your process, it’s the same. You’re a master manifestor. Like when you’re in line, you’re in line, nothing is stopping you and everything happens like that. It’s when your head gets in the way that it slows things down. It doesn’t surprise me the way that you’ve just communicated that to me, at all.

CLARE:

Yeah, 100%. And I know that that was a lot of the work that we did, because I’ve got a very, very strong … I get really caught in my head. And to your point, when you can step out of the way, and I know this is what everything you teach is about, and just allow it to flow, but it’s really beautiful that this … Exactly what unfolded for you with getting a Hay House deal, again. Again.

SUZY:

And this deal as well, was a good deal. It exceeded what I thought was possible for me. And again, that came with real ease and grace. So, I’m very grateful and appreciative for that too.

CLARE:

How fabulous. So, have you started creating the book yet?

SUZY:

I have. I’ve got a deadline of the 14th of March.

CLARE:

That’s like one month away from the time we’re recording this podcast.

SUZY:

Yeah. So, can we just hop off so I can get-

CLARE:

Yeah, pretty much.

SUZY:

That’s it. The level of actually, actual presence. If I don’t write first thing in the morning, I find it quite challenging. This morning, I didn’t get to write first thing in the morning, so I’m going to have to write in the day. It’s not my favorite time to write, but I’ve got to do it now.

CLARE:

Yeah. I have a feeling this book’s going to be absolutely incredible because it’s based off the work that you so deeply believe in.

SUZY:

Yes.

CLARE:

And it’s just bringing it all together into one place, really. So, let’s talk the two, let’s compare someone who has self-published and also been published, what do you think the key distinctions between the two are? And if someone’s listening, what advice would you have to them about which path might be the best to go down for them?

SUZY:

I think that the common myth that I want to bust is that if you get published, your publisher is going to put a huge amount of marketing behind you. He’s going to control all of the PR. I’m going to do all of that. It doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen. And actually, even if you look at the bigger authors, there’s still so much that happens on their platform that has nothing to do with the publisher.

So, don’t think that if you get a publishing deal that you’re going to have this whole team of people like, “Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.” Doing this summer dance for you every single day. Not going to happen. And I think that if people really understood that before they pushed to get a publishing deal, many people might choose to self-publish, because ultimately, you control everything.

If you want to do Russell Brunson’s book funnel, where you just sell postage and packaging for 4.99 and get the book for free, you can do that if you’re self-publishing. You can’t do that if you’re a published author because you have to pay for the books. You still get a publisher’s discount, but it’s also, logistically is challenging. If you are a published author and you actually decide, “You know what? I’m going to take a hit and I’m going to do that model.” You’re the person, or your team, sending out the book one by one, by one, by one.

It’s like, if you are doing it via Amazon with drop shipping and stuff like that, there’s just more freedom if you are going to self-publish. And I think that, like I said, I wanted to use the Calm Birth School book as a business card. And that means that I want to be able to take books, drop books. There’s an ease and a freedom that comes when you self-publish.

What you don’t get is distribution. However, now with the hybrid publishers… So again, if I wasn’t with Hay House and I was doing a business book, I might consider a hybrid publisher who can help you get into some of, not all of, but some shops. Whereas, if you’re with a publishing house, you might find yourself in Barnes & Noble. You might find yourself, if you’re in the UK, in WHSmith. And there’s something about that, that is great.

I think the other big thing is timelines. If you are a business owner and you get the inclination to write a book, you can have that book written in a month. There are even courses that will teach you how to write it in a week. So, you can do it quickly. My deadline for this book is March the 14th, and it will come out in the middle of November. So, from a business model perspective, it’s a real long lag time. And as a business owner, when you have an idea and you want to be able to take action on that pretty much immediately. Can’t do that if you’re publishing.

However, the benefits are, there is more kudos, I think still, if you are a published author versus self-published. You are likely, if you don’t treat your self-published book like a course launch, you probably are not going to sell that many copies. I think that most self-published authors, I think, sell less than 500 copies. And that might be in the lifetime of the book, not even just in the first year. And it’s because people don’t understand how to market it. Just by the very nature of there being distribution deals with a publishing house, you’re going to sell more copies than the average self-published author.

For me in Hay House, their platform, their online platform, their live events, all of those things were also very instrumental in me being like, “This helps me get my message out in a multimedia way over and above what many of the other publishing houses have, even though it’s significantly smaller.” So, the big thing is you’re just really thinking about, “Why do I want to publish this book?” If it is simply to use it as a business card, then self-publish. If you are serious about, “Actually, I want a Times bestseller. I want to be published in different languages across the world.” If this feels like legacy work, then I’m like, a publisher is a better home for you than self-publishing.

However, I got my book deal because I self-published. And so actually, what I would genuinely recommend to 99% of people is even if you want a published book, show them what you can do first, because you are much more likely to be able to negotiate a better deal if they can see that you’ve written a book and sold a book on your own. My platform is a lot smaller than what most … Most people who are pitching books now, the publishers will look at your social media, and unless you are 30,000, 40,000, 50,000, 60,000 followers, they’re like, “Your following’s too small.” They don’t believe that they’ll be able to get a return on investment. Whereas, if you’ve self-published and can prove that you have sold X amount of copies on your own, even if your social media is small, they will take you more seriously and you’ll be able to negotiate a better deal with them too. So, I still really favor self-publishing. It gets you out of the gate and then you can show the people that count, that you’ve already done it.

CLARE:

100%.

SUZY:

You have more [inaudible 00:29:47].

CLARE:

And in hindsight, that is so what I would’ve chosen for my first book. I think that having that control, and even over things like pricing at the moment, it’s like I’m seeing what is happening with my pricing, and I have absolutely no control over it.

SUZY:

Yes.

CLARE:

And I think that being able to have that power would be really great for the first time, but I was really acutely aware, for me, that I did not have the audience. And the feedback I got from multiple people was that getting a publishing deal would not be possible with one of the big publishing houses.

That is such, such interesting feedback. What would be your advice if people are listening to this and they’re umming and ahing about a book, like, “Do I write a book? Do I not write a book?” What would be the thing that you would say to people?

SUZY:

Ooh, this is a really tough one. What I say to people is, “It comes back to your why. Do not write a book thinking that it is going to change your life overnight. It is not. And if you really want a book to change your life, the writing is just the beginning. How you promote it and keep the book in people’s minds, that’s the thing that will really make the difference to your business over time.”

Most people write a book, they do the launch and then that’s it. You don’t hear about it from them. And so, write a book if you are willing to go all in on it, is what I would say. The thing is, as I say that I’m like, one of the things that my team and I are working on is a book funnel for one of my courses, and that’s just a short book which we will use as a lead magnet, and that will generate sales calls for us to sell our courses.

So, I think the way that I think about it as a business person, use your book as a business card, as a lead magnet. Use it as an asset that you can immediately start to see your return on investment for. I think leave the memoirs, leave the vanity books until later on in your life. Or, if you have something that you genuinely feel is going to be your life’s work, then fuck it, write it. If you’ve got a message that you really believe should be in the hands of many, many people, then do it.

CLARE:

Do you know what I love? We just spoke about the full circle that you’ve had. This is a full circle back to my book because my book is all about being intentional. And this is exactly what I’ve done with my book. It was very much like, I don’t anticipate that I will recover the investment that I’ve made in my book through book sales. However, I’ve very clearly made it part of my funnel.

SUZY:

Yes.

CLARE:

And I talk about the power of what you can do inside my programs.

SUZY:

Yes.

CLARE:

And for me, when I was working out the profitability or the potential return on investment, I was very intentional, not like, “Oh, I just want to say that I’m a bestselling author.” It was like, I want to use this as a way to say, “Hey, look how powerful this work is. If you want to take it further, come join my program.”

SUZY:

Or, “Get my course.” Yes.

CLARE:

“And this is what’s inside.” And I’m directing people back to my email list and to download things and to be building a relationship with me, further and beyond the book.

SUZY:

Yes. That’s it.

CLARE:

It’s really beautiful that we’re wrapping up where it’s like, it’s not necessarily, is it right or wrong? But whatever you’re doing, do it with intent. Come in and say, either, “I’m doing this for vanity.” Or, “I really just want to write the book.” Or, be very intentional and make it part of your infrastructure, your funnel, whatever it might be. So, I love that you shared that. Thank you.

SUZY:

Yay. You’re welcome.

CLARE:

Suzy, I will put the links for you, for your programs, for your books, of course, in the show notes for today’s episode. I cannot speak more highly of you and the work that you’re doing in this world. So, please, if you are listening to this episode, make sure you go give Suzy a follow, reach out to her. And thank you so much for sharing your journey, being a published author.

SUZY:

Thank you so much for having me.

CLARE:

I hope you are feeling inspired and excited about what is possible for you when it comes to money. It takes a lot of time and energy to create a podcast, so I’d be very grateful if you could take the time to hit subscribe, write me a review and share any of your favorite episodes with your audience on social media. The more people that we can reach, the more people we can empower to earn more in their business, because you can and should be earning more money.

 

SHARE

Latest episodes

One of the most effective ways to increase your profit is to increase you prices. In today's episode, I share how to know the right time to raise your prices, how much to increase your prices by, and what other pricing strategies you can use if a price rise isn't aligned for your business right now.

Are you ready to consciously create a life you dream of? In today's episode, I chat with Suzy Ashworth, author of Infinite Receiving, about allowing yourself to be truly and deeply fulfilled.

My whole job is to help business owners to fix their businesses and to make more money, more profit. But I have a bit of a confession to make... I kinda took the eye off the prize in my own business. In today's episode, I share what I've been working on behind-the-scenes to breathe new life back into my business and create new pathways of profit.

FREE Money Masterclass.

4 Steps to Grow your Profit

Grow your take home profit, even if “money” overwhelms you and you think you are bad with numbers.