In 2015, I had been working at a job I hated for almost two years. I had been laid off by my previous employer and the career I had always wanted to pursue seemed like a fading dream. I kept working and working to pay the bills, but every morning I loathed the alarm… I used to drag myself out of bed and hope the day would pass-by as fast as possible.
Then, one day, I had an email from superstar indie author Joanna Penn. In it, she shared a free 3-part video series by a guy named Chandler Bolt, who claimed he could take anyone from idea to best-selling book in a matter of 90 days.
At first, I was skeptical. But I subscribed and watched the first video. This Chandler guy, who was (and is) about my age, claimed he had written a book with his brother about productivity, optimised it for Amazon, put it up for sale and basically forgot about it. Then, while on vacation in Europe, he checked his sales. He had become a bestseller and the money was literally pouring in.
Needless to say, I was hooked. I had no previous notion of self-publishing, writing for fun (I had always written academic papers) and actually making money from it. The three videos went by, and at the end Chandler pitched me to join is program.
That program was the very first version of Self-Publishing School. And it changed my life.
What is it?
Self-Publishing School is an online course aimed at first-time and pre-intermediate authors. You could best describe it as an introduction, a Self-Publishing 101. It claims it can take you from idea to best-selling book in a matter of 90 days, and boy, does it deliver.
Through the course of several hours of video, checklists, downloadable and other material, Chandler and his team (but mostly Chandler himself), guide you through the whole process of outlining, writing, marketing and profiting from your book.
You don’t need prior knowledge of the world of indie publishing: all you need is a computer and a keyboard..and a will to work hard. Yes, there’s no substitute for that, but I’m sure you know. And I’m sure you know that if you put the hours in and have someone to guide you, just like SPS, you will get there. You will become a bestselling author.
How is it structured?
SPS has a two-tier structure. The Pro Level and the Master Level. Here is a breakdown of what you get in each of them.
As you can see, the Master Level is ‘the bee’s knees’, or ‘where it’s at’ (for my American friends) 🙂 In addition to everything in the Pro tier, you get some pretty exciting stuff, the best of which being your 6 calls with a personal coach the school gives you when you enroll.
I was a Master student myself, and the extra hand-holding I got from my personal coach was what made the difference for me. You can ask them literally anything and they will help you or point you in the right direction, especially when it comes to motivation. They don’t joke, let me tell you that: this is serious!
Each level gets what they call a ‘membership portal’. But it’s much easier for me to show you, rather than describe in words. Take a look at the video below:
Who is it for?
It’s definitely for first-time authors or people who, like me, didn’t even know self-publishing existed.
It’s all step-by-step: nothing is left out. One of the first modules even includes a calendar you can print out and follow as you move through the course. But the best part is the accountability system: as you enrol, you are assigned an ‘accountabilibuddy’ who is at the same level as you and who you can form a ‘mini-mastermind’ with as you progress.
This, along with many other features, was a game changer for me. It helps you keep on track and gives you tons of motivation when nothing seems to be working. Two years ago and I still speak to my accountability partner on an almost daily basis.
Oh, I hear your question: fiction or non-fiction? SPS is great for both. The actual modules give instructions for both authors, and if you choose the Master level (which I highly recommend), you get assigned a fiction author as a coach!
Who created it?
Chandler Bolt. Before SPS, to be honest, I had never heard of him, like I’m sure many of you. And when we enrolled in the school’s very first ‘academic year’, Chandler was still fairly unknown.
Fast forward to a couple years later and he’s been featured on the likes of Business Insider and many other top-notch publications. Yes, he’s built a multi-million dollar business with SPS. But he’s not some ‘unreachable’ guru who only appears in webinars and sales videos. He’s actually in the trenches with you: he’s always in the FB group and he does weekly ‘hangouts’ to answer all your questions. He’s no scam.
Has anyone been successful?
Many of us ‘first time users’ went on to become best-selling authors. Some stopped at one book, some (like yours truly) built a business in this industry.
I know what you’re thinking: I was skeptical too. I was even skeptical all the way through, until I got the little orange banner next to my book stating that I had become a best-selling author. You don't believe you can do it until you actually get there.
How good is the tech?
This is probably the least exciting feature of SPS. Don’t get me wrong: the tech behind it is top-notch (see walkthrough video above).
But I think Chandler could have gone the extra mile and made a better effort of producing better quality videos. The intro video series is pro, you can tell. But the actual module lessons are often made up of Chandler standing in front of his Mac talking.
Having said that, it’s the content that matters… and boy, does he deliver!
How good is support?
Support is great. SPS has a dedicated team on Email Mon/Fri and they are super kind and helpful. You can access them through the membership portal or by shooting them a message.
That’s for tech and/or account issues.
But if you run into roadblocks, the monster in the room is the FB community. It has thousands of members and all of them are super-engaged and happy to help when you ask a question.
Another added benefit (which Chandler doesn’t usually stress) is that the FB community can be a priceless source for reviews and the best way to build a launch team and beta-reader group (don’t know what I’m talking about? Don’t worry: go through SPS and you’ll be let in the inner sanctum of self-publishing terminology!!!)
Do you have any concerns about it?
Not much to say here. As noted in the table at the top of this page, the only thing that bothers me is the quality of the videos in the membership portal. I mentioned it before, but as a perfectionist it does get to me a little bit.
My second concern is about the FB community. Don’t get me wrong: it’s an EXCELLENT resource and it saved my life many times, even in recent months.
But it’s getting so big, it can become overwhelming. After all, you need to write that book, and staying on top of all that’s happening on social can get distracting. But then again, I am still part of it two years later, and I wouldn’t quit it. Ever!
But it's expensive...
Yes, it's not cheap. But you must think of this as an investment in you. How would it feel to be a published author? How would it feel to make some money on the side from your book - or even an actual income from multiple books? Plus, you could use what you published in a variety of ways: as an 'upgraded' and impressive business card, as a way to generate leads for your business, as a new and exciting hobby you could turn into a career.
So, to sum it all up...
If you’ve ever wanted to write a book (and 92% of Americans do, while only 2% actually gets to publication), SPS is for you. But don’t take my word for it… take my story! I mentioned it above: I didn’t even know you could publish books on Amazon, and now… I live from it!
It’s not a magic bullet, and everything that claims to be, you should stay away from. You need to put the work in, but if you do and you trust the process, you’ll get there. I promise that.
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