Content Expansion - Why I'm Writing a Book

Every morning, I write or rewrite or edit 500 words. Right now we’re past the first draft and we’re in the process of reaching out for endorsement deals for the book. I’m also trying to get forewords from influencers to help promote it.

I want to talk about why I decided to write the book in the first place, and the route that I’m taking. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, so I’ll continue to give updates on this over time.

It all started when I did a podcast interview with the founder of Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi.

Joe Pulizzi Content Marketing Institute

At the very end of the interview, I always talk to people about tangential stuff. Joe happened to say at the end that publishing a book is a game changer. Once you do that, it changes everything.

It got me thinking about the progression of my professional life. I have Single Grain, a growing and profitable business. I also have two podcasts now (Growth Everywhere and Marketing School), and I’ve spoken at different events.

What’s next? Write a book.

How I’m Writing My Book

It’s been over a year since I started writing Level Up, and the process began with me taking a bunch of Post-Its and throwing all my topic ideas together. I figured out what I wanted to write about in each chapter, and then I just started talking into my phone every morning and recording my thoughts with Rev, and that was how I got the ball rolling.

At the same time, I started listening to this podcast by Copyblogger on how to publish a book, which was really helpful. What I’ve found is that most successful books go through more than five drafts. That led me to decide whether I should self-publish and get it out quicker, or try and wait for a big publisher.

Related Content: How to Repurpose Content (And Write Your First Book!)

E-book or Publisher Route?

Neil happened to be releasing his first book, Hustle, and I asked him, “Hey, can you introduce me to the guy that helped you with your book?” And that guy’s actually helping me with my book now, and we’ve decided to take the publisher route.Hustle Neil Patel

Having a physical hardcover book is powerful. People tend to treat it more seriously and respectfully compared to an e-book. It’s something that you can hold in your hand, and having it backed by a big publisher is serious validation, so I’ve decided to go down that route. 

How Do You Pitch Your Book to Publishers?

The first step to approaching a publisher is to put together a book proposal, which is basically an outline of your book, and why it’s unique. It includes a marketing plan as well. You need to show potential publishers that you have a plan for marketing your book on your own before they’ll help you. This is where you include details like how big your e-mail list is and how big your website is.

Publishers want to know what firepower you can put behind the book to help push it, because they’re interested in selling as many copies as possible.

What Level Up Is All About

The concept of Level Up is that gamers actually learn a lot of the skills needed to become an entrepreneur by playing games. In other words, playing games can actually help you level up to playing the game of life and business. At the end of the day, you can gamify just about everything, and in fact the most successful people do gamify their lives.

The ultimate game, I think, is eventually “beating” the game of business and moving on to philanthropy. One of my favorite books, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t, is about Chuck Feeney, the main founder of Duty Free Shopping, who’s given away nearly his entire fortune of $7.5 billion during his lifetime. 

The Billionaire Who Wasn't Conor O'Clery

He indirectly inspired Warren Buffett, and in turn Bill Gates, to try and do the same thing with their Giving Pledge.

The Giving Pledge

So the premise of Level Up is, how do you go from gamer to entrepreneur? And how do you then play the game of business really well, to the point where you build up your wealth enough to move on to the game of philanthropy?

I’m hoping that because there are so many gamers out there, this book will inspire some people.

Related Content: How to Create Quality Blog Posts that Convert Customers

Current Progress: Still in progress

Right now, we’re done with the first draft which is about 60,000 words. It’s still a really rough draft, but the process has been really enjoyable. Very excited to see what happens with it. For now, my goal is to reach out for endorsement deals and forewords.

Fun fact: I got Mark Cuban to respond the other day. Unfortunately, he’s not going to be a part of it, but at least he responded. We’re trying to get endorsements from studios and producers like Electronic Arts and Sony, too.

Ultimately, if I were a parent and my kids were playing a lot of games, I’d want to give them this book. My parents used to think gaming was a waste of time, and to an extent it can be. If you overdo anything, it ultimately is unproductive, and can become harmful. But if you do it in moderation, you can learn a lot.

When I look back at my gaming history, I would say I probably did overdo it, but it’s the same thing with a lot of entrepreneurs, right? We’re all obsessives, and it’s partially why we succeed.

On Being an Author

If you haven’t read it before, definitely check out Seth Godin’s 19-point checklist Advice for Authors. One of the key points? If you’re writing a book, don’t expect to make a lot of money. It’s just good to get it out there for your personal brand, and if it takes off? Cherry on top.

If you create a lot of content already, I highly recommend that you think about writing a book, because you probably have a lot of the content published anyway. I think it’s going to be really rewarding.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

GE_How to Repurpose Content (And Write Your First Book).jpg

I want to talk about content repurposing.

Right now I’m writing a book called Leveling Up. It’s about how gamers can change the world by playing the ultimate game of business. It’s basically what I think I’m doing right now.

The backstory: I used to play a lot of games growing up, because I was never really interested in school. So I did what I could with games and strived to be the best at whatever I could play. I knew that if I put some effort into it, I could be good at it.

That’s why I’m writing this book—because there are 1.8 billion gamers (spending $22 billion in one year!) out there who could be changing the world, if they just knew how.



A lot of the stuff that I learned from games, a lot of the soft skills, actually translate extremely well into the world of business. For example, you can play your best poker for months at a time, but it’s a numbers game at the end of the day and sometimes there’s going to be variance. When you’re losing for a couple months, you’re really going to get rattled. As a result, you have to learn how to control your emotions better. 

That’s why I think poker’s a great game for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

In the course of writing Leveling Up, I found a format for real-life case studies that works well. I’ll lead with a topical quote, then go into a personal anecdote and finally give some real-life business examples, too. For example, in one chapter, I might start with gaming but end up talking about Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.

And that’s when it hit me.

I have all this other content. I’ve interviewed over 200 entrepreneurs on my podcast Growth Everywhere at this point. Why not include these people, too? I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. All these success stories (and failures) are evergreen and incredibly valuable. That’s an example of repurposing content.

Growth Everywhere interviews

So I’m working on the book proposal to take to a publisher, which is basically an outline that includes a snippet of each chapter. From there you have to write a marketing plan, too. They want to know how you’re going to market this thing. That could be a whole other post or live video.

There’s a really good article from Seth Godin called Advice for Authors which is basically a 19-point list on what to expect as a writer as you try to get your book out there. If you’re looking to make a lot of money by writing a book, you probably shouldn’t be doing it, because that’s pretty rare. Harry Potter is a great example of perseverance. Anyway, I digress.

Seth Godin

What I’m doing now is adding content from my Growth Everywhere interviews. Usually when you write a book, you probably go through four or five drafts at the minimum. The first draft that I did was really a lot of dictating into my phone and then transcribing it, and then getting it onto paper. Once I have it all transcribed, all I need to do is continually rewrite something until it’s more to my liking. That’s a kind of repurposing, too, because I’m constantly iterating it.

Let’s say I’m talking about sustained learning. From there I’m going to look for somebody that I remember as a learner who’s really driven. All these people in the podcasts are really driven, but who really stands out to me? In this example, Emerson Spartz (listen to his interview here) dropped out of middle school and his father made him read biographies all the time. The web properties that he has drives over 160 million monthly paid views. He’s really motivated.

And that’s the takeaway: read a lot of biographies, learn about these people so you don’t have to make the same mistakes that they made.

Another example is from Ron Klein (listen to his interview here). He’s the guy that invented the magnetic credit card strike. I’m going to put him in another chapter about perseverance because he was diagnosed with a disease when he was 16 or so.

I also have a topic section. There’s one on A/B testing. Who are all the people that I’ve interviewed on A/B testing? Who are all the people that I’ve interviewed on advertising? Guess what? I can make mini podcast episodes for each and every one of these topics and just keep adding to them. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I can just repurpose the content I’ve already got.

Read More: 5 Important Landing Page Elements You Should Be A/B Testing

Not only that, but I have my other podcast called Marketing School and I can categorize every single idea in there and repurpose it into a post or a separate podcast or live video. A lot of this stuff, these stories, they’re never going to fade. They’re evergreen.  

Marketing School

Think about all the content that you’ve produced. How are you going to make it evergreen? If you aren’t producing content yet you should be! For us, it is the backbone of what we do. Without me doing my podcast it wouldn’t have led to speaking gigs and I wouldn’t have spoken to Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute who said, “Hey, you have to do the book,” which is why I’m doing the book right now.

The more you learn, the more you’re able to speak to things, then you can start to put content out there. You realize that the people who do try to create content when they don’t have much experience, when they haven’t paid their dues, you’re going to find that their content falls flat and they eventually give up.

If you’re constantly learning, you’re constantly reinventing yourself, and then you have a lot of material from which to produce content or repurpose the content you’ve already created.

Can you turn your content into videos? Can you make it into another podcast? Can you put it into your book, for example? What can you do with it?

Let me know what you think. Let me know what issues you see with this. Leave some messages in the comments.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

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