How to Self-Publish a Book with Chris Swenson | FP 109

On this therapist podcast, Chris Swenson talks about how to Self-Publish a Book

What distinguishes self-publishing from traditional publishing? How can therapists navigate confidentiality when it comes to storytelling in their books? Why should you write for your reader?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks about How to Self-Publish a Book with Chris Swenson.

Meet Chris Swenson

A photo of Chris Swenson is captured. Chris is a mindset and self-publishing coach, entrepreneur and author. He is featured on Faith in Practice, a therapist podcast.

Chris “Rhino” Swenson is a mindset and self-publishing coach, author, and entrepreneur. He is the author of the forthcoming book: “Staring Down Imposter Syndrome: Conquering the Social and Psychological Games Imposter Syndrome Plays.”

Chris also runs a course, Published, a guided step-by-step course helping therapists, coaches, and consultants go from idea to self-published.

Connect with the Rhino Mentality Facebook Group. See also the Self-Publishing for Therapists Facebook Group.

Email Chris at

Visit Chris’ Published webpage and Enroll in his course! Use Promo code “WHITNEY” for 20% off full payment!

In This Podcast

  • Differences between the self and traditional-publishing process
  • Chris’ self-publishing modules
  • Confidentiality for stories
  • Chris’ advice to Christian counselors

Differences between the self and traditional-publishing process

It comes down to that no one [way] is right over the other, it’s really not. It just depends on what you’re looking to do. (Chris Swenson)

Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing has more structure in place, however, there are many pros and cons to this system: The traditional route:

  • Requires an agent to market your book to publishers
  • Needs to have all the pre-writing aspects such as chapter summaries, the core message, and the overall outline completed for the book proposal to market the book to publishers
  • Publishers work with an already existing audience and platform to market the book to
  • Publishers purchase the rights of the book from you and become the new legal owners of the book
  • Requires you to still maintain and drive the marketing aspect of the book, unless you are a more well-known author
  • Publishers will design the cover, the format, and the layout for you


Self-publishing, on the other hand, requires similar aspects to traditional publishing but it does give you more freedom while allowing you to retain the rights to the books you have written.

On average, a traditionally published book you’ll probably receive a royalty of about $1 a book. With self-published you’re looking at about $4 a book, so you are kind of eliminating the middleman when you’re self-publishing. (Chris Swenson)

  • Self-publishing is like being entrepreneurial: you handle all the aspects of the book and everything around it.
  • You oversee everything, and you get to retain all the rights.
  • You can use services such as print-on-demand from Amazon. If a client purchases a book from Amazon, it gets printed and delivered to them without you trying to sell thousands of already printed copies.

Chris’ self-publishing tips

Where do I start?

Where you start is when you come up with your idea and make the commitment to write the book.


Write down everything you want to do and can do for now. Lay all your options out on paper.

Publishing quickly:

If you self-publish and work quickly and effectively you could most likely publish your book in three to six months.

If you publish traditionally, it will most likely take about a year and a half.

Work with what you have:

If you already provide courses then you can use their step-by-step system and turn them into chapters for your book.

Meditate on it:

Look at what you have in front of you now and see how it makes you feel. Is it making you excited? It is ringing true for you and your passions?

  1. Get your topic
  2. Write out the core message, the promise of your book, from the topic
  3. Outline your book: how the book will run and how each chapter will go
  4. Begin writing

Confidentiality for stories

As a therapist or business coach, you will most likely have a treasure-trove of stories that you have accumulated over your time working with clients. These could be pertinent to a book that you want to write on your subject.

You can definitely write the story around that with different names, scenarios, sometimes changing the gender or whatever it might be, you can definitely do those things [to protect confidentiality]. (Chris Swenson)

Unless a client gives you exact permission to use their names and outline their situation, it may be best that you change some details and provide them with pseudonyms to protect their identity while telling their story.

Chris’ advice to Christian counselors

Honor what is being delivered to you. If something is pushing you to do something, listen to that feeling. Do not block it if you do not yet know the process, because you can learn new skills to bring your ideas out into the world.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

  • Connect with the Rhino Mentality Facebook Group. See also the Self-Publishing for Therapists Facebook Group
  • Visit Chris’s Published webpage and Enroll in his course! Use Promo code “WHITNEY” for 20% off full payment!
  • Email Chris:
  • Email Whitney:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Whitney Owens

Photo of Christian therapist Whitney Owens. Whitney helps other christian counselors grow faith based private practices!Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Visit her website and listen to her podcast here. Connect on Instagram or join the Faith in Practice Facebook group. Email her at

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[WHITNEY OWENS] Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host Whitney Owens recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner, and private practice consultant. Each week through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow and scale your practice from a faith-based perspective. I will show you how to have an awesome faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.

Hello and welcome back to the Faith in Practice podcast. Thanks for being here with me today. I love sharing things about my practice, about my life and getting to know you as well. I also love just the way that God speaks to us through our practices. I feel so stretched as I make challenges and work on my business and I find myself having to grow closer to God as I’m making those changes and things that I’m needing Him for. So I want to share a little quick story of something God’s done in my life recently, and as I share this, if there’s something that you’re like, man, this is something God did in my business, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email, Tell me about what it is that’s happening in your business and how you’re being stretched, or maybe how you’ve been blessed. I would love to hear about it.

So as you, maybe you’ve heard me talk a little bit on the podcast, the past six months or so have been really challenging with hiring at the practice. I have probably had three separate times where I really rolled out a really strong campaign for hiring new clinicians. I even recently offered health insurance, started offering health insurance for the practice, retirement benefits. These were things I eventually wanted to offer, but also felt like it would help me get in a really great candidate. So I had interviewed lots of people and just nothing felt right. I’m sure you’re listening and you’re thinking, “Gosh, I know what Whitney’s feeling like.”

It’s like, you might have one person. It’s a great clinician, but it’s something about the personality and then you have someone who has a great personality, but has no clinical skills or they’re brand new to the field. So it’s just a really hard decision to make. And then back, I don’t know when it was, a couple of months ago, there was someone who seemed like a great fit. I offered her the position and she decided to stay at her current job and I was heartbroken. Then it happened again. I offered someone a position, she actually signed the offer letter and four days later came back and said, “Well, when I tried to quit my job, they offered me something I couldn’t refuse.”

It was like a punch in the gut. I always say that hiring is like dating. You’re interviewing all these people, trying to figure out what’s going to work for you and it totally is like that. And as I look back, I now see God’s hand in it all, even though at the moment, it just felt like rejection. I wasn’t really sure who was the right hire and it really just didn’t feel right. Nothing was wrong with either of these hires. There was just something about it that was a little bit off with it that I was trying to push it to make it happen. So when I got that second rejection and then I reached out to another person who had interviewed and she had found another job, I was back at square one after six months. And I had so many applicants. I was like, really I’m really back here.

Now, this is how the Lord has a way of working things out. All when this was happening, someone at my church whose daughter’s a social worker, the woman, the mother knew my husband and says to him, “Oh, you know my daughter’s here. She isn’t happy with her job. She’s looking to go into private practice. Do you by chance, think she could pick your wife’s brain to her more about what she’s doing?” He was like, “Well, sure.” So I texted her and said, “Hey, I’m happy to answer your questions, and are you looking for a job?” It just happened to be that she had just quit her job, she had like one more week to finish out, she loves the Lord and is passionate about the field. She’s newer to the field, but really willing to learn and she is just the perfect fit.

So I’m saying all this to say, sometimes we force things. We try to make things work in our business because we don’t see any other way out. And patience is the hardest thing. I mean, I’m going to admit to you when my assistant said to me, “Oh, those other hires that they weren’t God’s fit,” I just wanted tell her to be quiet, that’s not what I want to hear right now. But now that I look back on it, this other girl that we’ve hired is just the best fit for the practice. So first I want to encourage you to pray about things that you want in your business. God cares. I mean, He cares about growing your business, about meeting the needs of clients. So pray about things that you need and then wait, don’t force things, wait on Him to move.

But then if He does tell you to move, move on it. Don’t wait around. So there’s that balance there. Get other people to pray, have at least someone else in your practice, maybe your assistant or someone like a business coach that you can talk to about this stuff. And I am just really grateful that God did something and you know what? I’m going to pray for another one because I think there’s more need out there and I’m going to pray that God brings someone else around. So I hope this encouraged you today. It’s been encouraging me and has really helped me have a greater faith than I had before.

So I also am excited to share with you that today I interviewed Chris Swenson. You’re going to hear a little bit about more ways that I feel like God’s challenging me in thinking about what I feel called to in my life. And maybe you’re going to feel the same way because Chris talks about self-publishing books and I’m sure a lot of you have felt the earth to do that and Chris just walked right through it. He’s such a great guy. I’ve had him on the show before and he has even said to me, “Hey, Whitney, reach out if you need help, happy to help you.” He’s just a great guy. So let me tell you a little bit about Chris.

Chris Swenson, we also call him rhino is a mindset and self-publishing coach, author and entrepreneur. He’s the author of the forthcoming book, “Staring Down Imposter Syndrome: Conquering the Social and Psychological Games Imposter Syndrome Plays.” He lives with his family in Colorado. So this is the Faith in Practice podcast. You’re listening to episode 109, how to self-publish a book with Chris Swenson.

Today on the Faith in Practice podcast, I have Chris Swenson. He is a returning guest here. So I always love bringing people because they have such good things to offer and today we’re going to talk about self-publishing a book and he’s going to answer all of our questions. So thanks for coming on the show.
[CHRIS SWENSON] Absolutely. I have an honor to be back on again. I love this.
[WHITNEY] Last time when you were on, we talked about imposter syndrome and I think you had a book that was associated with that, correct?
[CHRIS] Well, not particularly that, but I do have one in the works right now. Then my big thing is I keep switching titles, subtitle round, and last night I come up with this great idea. Oh, that’s it. So hopefully I just need to stick with it and then finish it.
[WHITNEY] Awesome. Great. Well, I’m excited to jump into this because I’ve thought about publishing. I never can make my mind up and then right now, Alison and I are looking at maybe publishing. So I have lots of questions to ask you and want to learn from your experience. So why don’t you kind of jump in and kind of share a little bit about your books that you’ve created, what that process was like for you?
[CHRIS] Okay. I know, kind of describing the process, there’s a lot of nuts and bolts that go into it. So we can get pretty detailed, which can it take up quite a time, but just to give you an idea there was a couple of them that I had self-published before and now I’m going, working on my third, but the first one that ever published pretty much I just wanted to be like, okay, how do you do this process? Let me just take myself through kind of learn how to do this and just walk it through. So I did all of that and then didn’t realize that after all these years, that’s probably my best selling book that’s on there. Just to kind of give a little quick thing on that, it’s Called Rhino Life Lessons and there were 32 lessons to help people achieve wisdom, confidence, resiliency, and strength.

What I did it is I had written so many blog posts over the years that there were some of them that were so well. So I said, I’m going to narrow these down and then just kind of expand on those, offer some coaching questions with it and kind of compile it together. So that’s how that one got put together and that one, like when I’ve spoke at conferences, people want those. People say, you need to bring that for giveaways. I’ve had so many people like, “Hey, can you sign my book for me and send it?” Just last week someone’s already shopping for Christmas and said, “Hey could I get five of those? I want to use them stocking stuffers.” So yes, that one’s turned out great, because they were all these kind of short little chapters that you can kind of go through and read and just kind of choose where you want to be.

So that was that one and I really enjoyed writing that stuff, but the next one I did, Private Practice Warrior was mainly like, okay, I want to try to put together a book that I can utilize as like an opt-in or a freebie and also be able to get on podcast shows, whatever that kind of thing. Because writing a book definitely enhances your credibility and authority on topics. So that’s definitely one there where it might not be the most selling one, but it’s been probably the most downloaded because people get it for free, to opt in to like an email list, stuff like that. So kind of the process with that one was a bit different because I wrote it, not like a traditional business book where it’s, we talk about like nonfiction.

It’s get all serious. Here’s the lessons and whatever laid out. That one written with an element of fiction in it. So there’s a character, there’s a story. You follow the character through the, as the character learns so do you about the mindset of being in private practice. So it was a different kind of creative approach. So I took time off. I went up to my mom and dad’s at their lake home in Minnesota in the middle of winter. They weren’t there but it was below zero every day. I did not miss living up there after that. So I just kind of locked myself in the cabin and cranked it out in like a week.
[WHITNEY] That’s so funny. We were talking right before getting on the show about how hot it is in Savannah in August, so maybe I should do the same thing when it’s hot, just crank up the AC and sit inside.
[CHRIS] Yes, no it’s because I’ve been in Colorado now for what, probably 16 years. So I don’t miss the cold weather up there and that time I came in and they had so much snow, was like driving through trenches and had to start my car throughout the night just to make sure the battery one die. But it made kind of a cool deal or I’m just going in the middle of nowhere, all by myself to write a book like those old traditional authors or whatever.
[WHITNEY] That’s what I was thinking. It’s like the movies, I see that the authors go, of course, in those movies, they go to like Italy and sit by a beautiful countryside and write a book. I’m like, how do you do that? All right. So let’s go ahead and dive into some questions. Can you share with me the difference between getting your book published and then self-publishing?
[CHRIS] Yes, absolutely. I think when people look at it, it used to be where like traditional publishing was the thing and self-publishing was frowned on; like if you didn’t get a publishing contract, well then you do self-publishing. Nowadays, it’s not how it’s looked at. In fact, I think Stephen King does all of his on self-publishing now actually. But it just kind of comes down to no one is right over the other. It’s really not. It just depends on what you’re looking to do with like the pre-writing phase of where do I start? How do I get started, outlining, preparing, writing of your book. All of that stuff is virtually the same, whether you go to publishing or self-publishing. It’s kind of after that. So with the traditional publishing stuff, you’re going to to need an agent that’s going to have to shop your book around for you to traditional publishing houses.

So you’re going to have to come up with like all the pre-writing stuff, your title, your subtitle, what your core message is, having the outline, kind of a chapter summaries, everything laid out, your marketing plan. All this stuff needs to go into a book proposal. And there’s a lot more to it than that, but essentially what I’ve seen now is the first question these agents or publishing people will ask is how big is your platform? That’s the biggest thing because they’re in the business of selling books, that’s what they want to do. So if you don’t have that big following type of thing, it’s difficult to get yourself accepted as into like a book proposal and then get an advance on your book.

That’s the other thing, because one thing, people, because I always looked at like, man, wouldn’t that be something getting like a six figure advance on a book? Wow. I didn’t realize that if you don’t sell enough books, they’re going to most likely ask for that back. It’s like an advance on the royalty part of it. So most of them, because the contract that goes, so you basically with traditional publishing, you’re signing a contract. In a sense you’re selling your book to the publisher. They own the rights to that book.

There’s this story of an individual who wrote this book and then got a traditional publishing and then got approached by a movie to do a movie on the book. Well, they didn’t want to do it so he couldn’t do it. So he had to actually go back and buy his book back from them to go do that. So sometimes, but if you want like massive distribution in the bookstores and stuff like that, I think that’s primarily your traditional publishers are doing those is being able to get that distribution from them. A lot of people assume that if I get a traditional publishing deal, they’re just going to set this stuff up, market this thing for me.

No, the marketing is on you pretty much. They might do something here or there, but most of the time, unless you’re like a major author then they might start celebrating a little bit more stuff. Other than that, you’re virtually kind of left on your own. The great about the traditional publishing route though is they’ll edit your book for you. They’ll design the cover for you, all this stuff, that’s going to be included in all of that stuff and then formatting and all this other stuff, whatever you want to do e-book. They’ll do a lot of those. So to me, if somebody wants to go that route, it’s perfectly fine. There’s no right or wrong.

I just think for a lot of people especially with like therapists, coaches, consultants, it becomes a lot simpler to just self-publish in a sense. So I’m trying to just randomly throw some stuff in here, but on average, like a traditional published book, you’re probably going to get a royalty about a dollar a book. With self-published you’re looking at about $4 a book. So you’re kind of like eliminating the middle man kind of thing when yourself publishing. I think that’s why like authors like Stephen King are now going to that route. But they also own their rights to it. That’s the big thing, because with the traditional publishing company, you might have your title and subtitle and this is what you want to write for the book.

They accept your proposal, they look at it and say, “No, we’re changing the title. This is what the title is.” And they can do that .the cover, you might love the cover that you picked out and they’ll be like, “No, this is the cover.” Even the content of the book may or may not be what you’re looking at. They’re going to, they’re in the business of selling books and so they want to know, but you’re going to write it. But that’s in there. So the way I always look at it, self-publishing is kind of like being entrepreneurial. In other words, you’re going to run the whole show. It’s up to you to get the timeline and it’s up to you to write it. It’s up to you to kind of find editors if you need to, where you want to market it, which is left on your own anyways. So in a way you’re kind of in charge of everything and you retain all those rights, period, is what you’ll have from that.
[WHITNEY] Okay, now this question is going to sound so basic, but I have to ask, because I’m still trying to figure this out. If you self-publish a book, is it only a virtual copy or can you actually, like if somebody went online and purchased your book on Amazon, are they getting a physical copy of your or book?
[CHRIS] Yes, absolutely. Amazon actually has its, it’s called, I guess Amazon KDP where they have like a print-on-demand. So I mean I bought a whole bunch of my copies of my books because when I go to speaking events, I’ll bring them out all the time, but one thing on there is like when people go there, like my first book, Rhino Life Lessons is available by paperback. So you could go on Amazon and you can purchase it by paperback or eBook. If you purchase it by paperback, it’s all print-on-demand. So in other words, when somebody purchases that Amazon will print it for me and then send it out to them and I don’t have to worry about any of that distribution. Now, obviously they do take a little a bit out of that, but it’s not too crazy. So it’s kind of like gone are the days where you get to buy about a thousand books and then try to put them out there. So there’s print-on-demand through Amazon. There’s other places like a lot of these. Ingram Sparks is another company that will allow you to utilize print-on-demand through them and they’ll submit it up through Amazon as well too. So a lot of options actually.
[WHITNEY] Okay. So do you have to pay Amazon to make your book an option or does Amazon only get pay when someone purchases your book?
[CHRIS] You only get paid when someone purchases the book. You don’t have to worry about that. It’s actually free to publish it on Amazon. You can put it right up there, upload it, it’s all on there and only when somebody purchases your book, that is when they will get that. Even the eBooks, same way, only when someone purchases that well, they take whatever they have.
[WHITNEY] This is great. I did not know all this. So let’s walk through the process of self-publishing. What suggestions do you have, and you have a course on this, is that right?
[CHRIS] Yes I do. I’ve just been putting this together now. I got published or it’s called published and it was basically going from idea to writing the book to having like marketing secrets and book launch secrets are included with that. So I put out the course right there within the group I had and then I got a few people signed up to that, so I’m like, okay, cool. This is great. So then we put out each of the modules, which I call missions, so you get mission one, this is what you do. First mission two, this is second. Mission three, here’s third. And it’ll walk you right through pretty much the entire process with that. So yes.
[WHITNEY] Well, can we cover a few of those I guess modules right now, so that listeners can kind of get an idea if this is something that they want to do with self-publishing?
[CHRIS] Yes, Because I think the beginning part of all of this and it kind of, like the modules are based almost on like, do I start like? People have those most kind of questions people will ask are, “I’ve always wanted to write a book. Well, where do I start?” Where you start is kind of coming up with your idea besides making the commitment to do this because yes, anytime you do any endeavor like this, you enter that jungle and in the jungle, there’s a lot of whispers that try to pull you off the path. So making that commitment and getting ready to do that is a big thing, but essentially it’s you need to find your idea. Sometimes like for me, I’m coming up with ideas all the time. Like which one do you write first? What am I want to do with this?

So sometimes you just do like a brainstorming deal. You can write down a whole bunch of options. What are some options you’d love to just write about and just list them out. And after you’ve got that list, go back and kind of take a look at the list. Then there’s two different things. One is if you want to, I want to publish quickly and just to kind of go back to that with self-publishing. Self-publishing you can probably get it done within about anywhere from three to six months and have it published if you work hard at it, whereas your traditional publishing, it could probably take about a year and a half to actually get through the process. It’s a little bit longer on either one of those, but you essentially want to, if you want to get it fast now you’re looking at what content do you already have? Do you have some blog posts related to this? Have you spoken at conferences? Were there any kind of workshops or something you’ve done or maybe whatever you work with clients, there’s a whole procedure you walk them through and it’s just a matter of outlining step one, step two.

Those could become your chapters. If you have that, then you switch topic, kind of the most stuff already there to use, and that could be purposeful to repurpose it and get it put out there quicker. The other part becomes, sometimes is you start looking at the list and you just kind of like open yourself up. Maybe you get a little meta spiritual and which one really kind of jumps out at you? Which is that one that you know has been in the back of your mind, you’ve been hearing that whisper saying, this is what you need to do? There’s sometimes to honor that call by, okay, this is the topic I’m going to pick. So getting the topic is usually your first step right.

Now, I know in the course we can go in a little bit more as far as you know how to differentiate your book, how to see what’s out there, that kind of thing. But once you get that topic, that’s usually the thing. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but what do I do? Well, first step is finding your topic and then once you get your topic, it answers the next most asked question, which ends up being like, I have this idea, well, what do I do now? Essentially what you’re wanting to do is it’s something called a core message for your book. Having a core message is what it is, is it’s kind of the promise of your book. It’s that journey you want to take the lead on.

The core message is like the mission for the book. What is it, that big thing that you want to do? And to get an idea what core messages usually are for a book, look at the subtitle. Almost 90% of the time the core message is the subtitle. By looking at that subtitle you know exactly what you’re getting, exactly what journey you’re going on. And there’s a whole module on coming up with your core message in my course, because to me it’s like a mission. So you get the different steps to get your core message so you could, if you get it done, kind of set up for like mission for a week. But to me, it takes me two to three weeks to actually figure it out and kind of nail it down because the core message is what you want to run through everything you’re doing in your book.

All the chapters need to basically be like the steps to accomplish what that core message is. You want to deliver on that core message. Even your marketing materials all need to be in line with that core message as well. It also kind of keeps you on track when you’re writing so you don’t end up writing like three, four books in one and you just take the reader all over the place. So it helps you kind of stay focused on there. So like the core message with my Rhino Life Lessons book was “32 timeless lessons to achieve strength, confidence, wisdom, and resiliency.”

So knowing that they know exactly that was my journey, that was the journey I wanted to take them on, take them through these lessons that helped them achieve that. So then when they look at it, they know exactly that. My core message for the new one coming out, Imposter Syndrome, I’m kind of teasing it around a little bit still, but, and that has, because I come up with different ideas but when you do, it’s like a different book. And I don’t want to write just a simple book like everybody else has done on imposter syndrome already. I want to have a different kind of angle to it. So essentially establishing your core message and once you’ve got that, which eventually will be your subtitle, your next step in that process is to outline your book.

Most people don’t really understand what an, they think an outline is just kind of like we did, like here’s my chapters and this is what I’m going to do. But an outline is a lot more complete, a lot more in-depth than that. You want to have an outline obviously for your chapter. And an easy way of trying to get those sometimes is yes, if you have steps that you take people through consistently like there’s your core message. That’s what I want to deliver for people. Well, here are steps to do that. Each one of those steps can be put out as chapters. That sometimes becomes an easy way.

At other times, if it’s what lessons, are there certain kind of stories or lessons that you want to teach people about that really hit that? Those can each be kind of listed out as a chapter. So you’re really wanting to decide upon when you get at the chapter, you want to decide upon what is that empowering story that’s going to open the chapter and then what is the lesson that you’re going to teach in that chapter and then do a chapter summary. That’s mainly the outline for the whole book, but then you also want to like a in-chapter outline. In other words, it’s like a template of how you’re going to write each chapter.

So when you have each chapter, it’s do I open up with a story, then introduce the problem, and then this is my solution and explain my solution? That’s what I’m going to do and consistently. That way for the reader, it’s a lot easier to kind of know what to expect and it’s very, very similar of how you’re going to like present the material within the chapter. And you can use that as a template. So then by the time you get this nice outline done and you go to writing, you know what your core message is, you’ve got a nice outline with some summaries and you have the in-chapter template. So it’s execute out and begin writing.
[WHITNEY] Let me jump in and ask a question here. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s thinking this. So let’s say a therapist has the technique they want to write a book about and they want to use some powerful stories. What are the rules surrounding, obviously we can’t use detailed client information. So what are some of the rules around sharing stories, either clinical stories or even maybe me as a consultant, I have business stories I want to share if people I’ve worked with. What are the rules surrounding that?
[CHRIS] Well, obviously, unless you’ve got their exact permission to use their name, especially from a coaching standpoint then you quite can, but most of the time you want to change names. Obviously with clinical stuff, no. No, you are going to have to like definitely change the names, any things like that and sometimes like it is, you can definitely come up with and kind of write the story around that with different names, different scenarios, sometimes changing the gender or whatever it might be. You can definitely do those things.

I know like the book that Kasey Compton just put out on, Fix This Next for healthcare providers, she had interviewed a number of us for that book. So on page 131 I’m in there but all she mentioned was my first name. So there wasn’t any other materials from that. So sometimes that could be a very simple, easy way to do that from a coaching standpoint or from colleagues or friends, but most of the time the general rule is just change the names and stuff. Don’t get into the hassle of that stuff.
[WHITNEY] Okay. So let’s say someone gets motivated and they write their book. So this is my biggest fear, is I’m going to spend all this time and energy, writing a book and it’s not going to sell or it’s not, the ROI is not going to be there. So would love to get some feedback from you about what you think about that or tips that you have about that.
[CHRIS] I know first off from a mindset standpoint, I’ll tell people that the book you’re writing needs to be focused on the reader. So as you’re writing it, you focus on the reader. Anytime you’re focused on you, those thoughts will come in your head, like, does anyone even going to buy this? Those things will come into your head. That’s just part of the journey. Like I said, you go to the jungle, the whispers are there, or they’re kind of like cities, you have to go through in order to finish your book. But you need to be, anytime you’re focused on you during the writing process, you’re getting off the path. It’s to focus on the reader.

Now, obviously afterwards, we’re looking at sometimes during, because the best time to market your book is during the whole process. It’s not to wait till the end. It’s when the minute you come up with your idea, boom, let your audience know. Let them know, “Hey, I’m writing a book. Here’s the thing.” Boom, I’ve come up with some possible titles. What do you all think? You know, involving them in the process of this, as much as you can, kind of like movies do with behind-the-scenes kind of things or bands do, it’s just the same way. That’s a way of building up that hype for it. So you kind of do want to know what you want to use your book for. Because most of the time, a lot of people don’t make all of their money from the book. They don’t, especially with like therapists, coaches, consultants, it’s most of the money comes from the referrals that’ll come from that book, the speaking engagements that might be able to do there, that increased audience building, building a program or a course off of that book. That’s there.

My book, Rhino Life Lessons, it’s basically a fairly generic one. A lot of shops around town have my books in it. They’re like, “Hey, can we have this here?” I’m like, how am I going to say no? So I’ve had like a lot of referrals to my own private practice, just because of book that people have. So those are ways where you exponentially really increase your return on investment from a lot of that. But like my course, like I put in the on the sales page for the course where it’s like $397 and I put it right in there on the bottom that I’ve actually made more money than that with just the sales of my books. Like not a single book is ever sold less than that. And you can have lifetime access to it. So you can utilize those things, but most of the time, yes, your return on investment isn’t huge from just a book itself, unless you’re a major, major author with a huge audience. Otherwise yes, most of us are using it to build leads, to build authority, building courses, programs, all of that. And that can be mentioned in your book to allude to that and that becomes one of the greatest ways of really bringing in traffic.

This is so helpful. I think it’s funny how, we’re on video course, everybody else isn’t able to see us, but when you said you tell people what you’re doing, I was like ah-ah. But that’s, you’re right. You need to, and like getting over that fear and getting that extra support. Because while you’re writing that book, there are going to be times you don’t want to write anymore. You forget about why you’re doing it and you need that push from your people to help it there.
[CHRIS] Yes, absolutely. And a lot of times because some of those people that are out there when they start getting involved, they get excited, they start telling other people about it. You know, I just put out in one of the Facebook groups about, “Hey, this is kind of the title, subtitle I’m thinking about for a book?” I had a ton of people like, “Oh my gosh, let me know when this is coming out. Let me know.” Things like that are a great way, but there’s also times like when you do your book launch. It’s you want to find some people that are either colleagues, people you kind of know that maybe they do have a level of an audience to kind of help you with your book launch and they become part of your book launch team.

What you’re doing is they’re able to either read the book ahead of time or read parts of the book ahead of time and as part of that, then they’re going to kind of help on book launch day. They are going to help promote that, get the sales from that. I know like Kasey had one heck of a book launch stuff. Man, she sent us out these cool boxes and things with all sorts of neat stuff in there to be part of that book launch stuff too. So yes. But it is kind of getting behind the, like you said, I got to put myself out there. And I think that’s always a scary thing for marketing wise. It’s I got to put myself out there.

That’s a scary thing sometimes when you write, because you really are putting yourself out there. And to me that’s when you really, when you are writing and being a part of the book, it’s really needing to get in touch with that energy, that creative energy within you, almost just like a spiritual connection with the book that becomes that this is what I’m kind of called to do and I need to honor that by bringing that out there. And if this book can help someone, then I need to let people know about that.
[WHITNEY] Sure. That’s so important. Well, you have provided so much information and then I know you have a discount code for some of the audience today, is that right?
[CHRIS] Yes, absolutely. In fact, the discount code would be [WHITNEY], with, I don’t know if it’s all cap-based, maybe it is.
[WHITNEY] It is all caps. I have it here.
[CHRIS] So if that’s kind of how it rolls and that’s the thing, but that would get you a definite discount off the full price on my publish course for all of the listeners out there. Absolutely. Because part of it to me is it’s easy for me to go, you know I could charge a whole lot more and do things, but there’s a time where I realized that there’s a lot of us out there that have something to offer people. And especially from like introverted side, from people where to offer through the written word becomes amazing. And I think as therapists, we’re pretty gifted at words and that’s a great way of bringing that out, especially to people who might not be able to come into therapy or come into coaching. They might not, but they might learn from you, from home, from the book that might lead to something different too.
[WHITNEY] Yes. That’s funny that you said that because I actually struggle to write. Like I am much better verbally, so just putting it out there. Alison and I are working on a book. Since you’re saying I’m supposed to talk about it. I haven’t told anyone, but we’re working on a book and we’re using stuff we already have, just like you said. We’ve already gotten all the information out there on how to start a group practice. So why not have someone put it together? But we have someone writing it for us and then we get the information and then we go back and we read it. So all that saying like if you’re not the best at writing, that’s okay. Get a ghost writer, get someone else to do it for you or create videos or audios and give it to somebody and let them do it. But don’t let that hold you back from getting that word out there.
[CHRIS] Yes, absolutely. I think that’s the part of what I love with the self-publishing part. Like I said, being entrepreneurial is you’re going to run the show here. So if you’re not very good at that, outsource that out, like having ghost writers come in to do it. And even on the editing process you can, there’s definitely copy editors who will look at your punctuation and the grammar, but there’s a lot of other editors like developmental editors that will take a look at the flow and structure of your book. Are you delivering the message, stuff like that. And that’s essentially where like someone like myself is kind of like that. It’s like a book coach at that point of what is the message you’re trying to nail? Are these getting in together? But yes, you hire a ghost writer and it takes it out there. I know to me, I don’t like typing. I hate it. So I speak it. And in fact I speak my books. So I do the dictation because you can speak faster than you can type. So you just speak it out and it starts kind of going and then I’ll go back and kind of look to self-edit at first. But yes, because in the same way, I don’t like to type.
[WHITNEY] Where do you that? What platform?
[CHRIS] Microsoft Word. It has that dictation feature. So yes.
[WHITNEY] Is that in your course? I’m not the best with technology.
[CHRIS] Yes, I do elude to that, to the fact of, yes.
[WHITNEY] I’ll have to figure out how to do that. Alright. So if somebody’s wanting to get your course, where do they go to get that?
[CHRIS] I think the easiest thing is just looking me back on Facebook with the Facebook group, the Self-Publishing for Therapists, coaches, consultants. I have a link right in there from that. I think it’s just a simple like Bitly, the Bitly link that has like at the end of the Bitly link is published underscore course, and then they can take a look at the sales page there to see what it’s all about.
[WHITNEY] Great. And if somebody’s listening and wants to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?
[CHRIS] The best way is just to go on the Facebook group. It’s probably the easiest way. If not, they can always email me. Email me at
[WHITNEY] Perfect, perfect, awesome. Well, I wanted to ask you what I ask everyone that comes on the show. What do you believe every Christian counselor needs to know?
[CHRIS] I think it’s to honor what’s being delivered to you and when there’s something that’s knocking your own mind about, I should do this or I need to do this. And then I think a lot of times it’s as if something’s trying to tell you that this is something you need to do and yet we’ll block that because maybe we don’t know the process or we don’t know how to do these things. And to me, it’s overcoming that or finding a way through that because that becomes a way of honoring what’s been delivered to you and then bring that out into the world.
[WHITNEY] I love that. Well, thank you for all the information you brought today. I will definitely be using it myself and I appreciate you being with us.
[CHRIS] I absolutely had a great time. Now it’s been a pleasure being back on, so I hope everybody out there got some good helpful advice.
[WHITNEY] I sure they did. Thank you.

Thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. If you love this podcast, please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player. If you liked this episode and want to know more, check out the Practice of the Practice website. Also there, you can learn more about me, options for working together, such as individual and in group consulting, or just shoot me an email, We’d love to hear from you.

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