The Janine Bolon Show with Mike Capuzzi - 99 Authors Project, Season 3, Episode 13

The 99 Authors Project – Season 3 – Episode 13 with Mike Capuzzi

Mike Capuzzi

Mike Capuzzi is an author, nonfiction book coach and short book publisher.

He is also the inventor of CopyDoodles,® a collection of hand-drawn direct-response doodles.

He launched Bite Sized Books in 2019, which shows business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders how to create short, helpful books (shooks™).

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hello and welcome to the show. You may or may not know this, but the Janine Bolon show is the syndicator program of four different podcasts that were combined in October of 2021. My team and I merged the four podcasts that we had been running up to that point, which was The Three Minute Money Tips, The Thriving Solopreneur, The Writers Hour, Creative Conversations, and The Practical Mystic Show. Today, we are highlighting one of the 99 authors that I am interviewing over the course of this year to receive their guidance and perspective on how to get your message, your story or your memoir out into the world. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re a practical mystic, if you’re a writer, solopreneur or you’re in the financial industry, these authors can help you because many of them, just like yourself, were told they needed to write a book about their life experience. These 99 authors that I’m interviewing are going to be writing, not only did they write their own stories, but they’re also sharing with you what worked, what didn’t work with selling their books, and the things that they wish they had known before they became published authors. So, today, I’m interviewing Mike Capuzzi, who is a publisher, author and book publishing coach, and he has been helping clients with exceptional marketing since 1998. In 2019, he launched Bite Size Books, a new publishing concept formula for creating short helpful books, also known as Shooks. Now, this a little bit of a commercial for Mike, but I actually was so impressed with this process, I bought four of my books were published through his company. Shooks are ideal for business owners, like myself, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders who are looking to increase their level of authority, while also providing helpful information in these bite size formats. So, go to www.bitesizedbooks.com, and check out what Mike has to offer. Now, if you think that’s all this guy does, you are so wrong. The other thing is, he has his own podcast called The Author Factor Podcast. He interviews business owners and book experts on real world proven ways to leverage a book to position yourself and to promote your business. Now, after this interview, I recommend that you check out his programs and testimonials of his Shooks, as well as go to www.bitesizedbooks.com, and if you think you would be a great guest, which, hey, if you’re listening to the show, I’m pretty sure you’d be a great guest for his, and you have a written, or you want, have published at least one book, visit www.authorfactor.com/guests/, introduce yourself to Mike so that he can get to know you. Welcome to the show, Mike. Great to have you.

Mike Capuzzi
Hey, Janine. Yep, and you’re right, you are a foreshook author.

Janine Bolon
I know, we have to say those things very, we have to enunciate very carefully, as we say those things. Well, I’m just gonna launch into the questions that I ask all the authors that come on my show, mainly because all of you have been called into writing under such different circumstances. And one of the first things that an author will struggle with is whether or not to publish under their name. So, do you publish under your full name?

Mike Capuzzi
With a name like Mike Capuzzi, why wouldn’t I? Right?

Janine Bolon
You gotta say it, how do you teach us how to say it?

Mike Capuzzi
Honestly, you remember that? This comes back from when I was a little kid. I’m not a little kid anymore. We always say that it rhymes with Jacuzzi, which is actually the American pronunciation of Capuzzi, which is the Italian pronunciation. But yeah, Janine, I was never that creative to think I should have a pseudonym. But then again, I published nonfiction. So, typically, you don’t find nonfiction book authors publishing under a different name. They’re out there. But no, I, I had already built my brand name recognition with my own name. So, yeah, it just made sense to keep that.

Janine Bolon
But that is one of those questions that when people want to hide, because being an author, you know, you’re out there, you’re like, there’s nothing to hide behind once that book is in print. So, would you in any way change your decision? After? Are you still happy with that?

Mike Capuzzi
No, that’s a really interesting question. Because here in 2022, the answer might be yes. I’m looking to go back near where you live, and get away from it all. You know, I yeah, I mean, I would have to undo decade’s worth of investment of time and energy and money. But, you know, depending on what I was writing that, and again, I’m writing stuff that most business owners can use. So, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But if I was writing something a little more, you know, the topic was something that, you know, maybe I do want to hide under a pseudonym, I could see doing like that. But yeah, at this point, now, I wouldn’t change it.

Janine Bolon
And that’s one of the things I’d like to ask about because some people find that silly, but it’s a very fundamental question, because that’s the first fear. I can remember having is like, oh my god, do I use my name, do I not use my name? I can remember having that moment of panic when my book was complete, and I was starting to build out how am I going to do the title page? Because I write my book first, and then I worry about titles and all that afterwards. So, that’s one of those things. Everybody’s different on that. So just out of curiosity, did you have a marketing background before you started writing your first book?

Mike Capuzzi
Yeah, I did. I did. I actually have an engineering background if you go way back, and you remember that because you and I are kindred spirits,

Janine Bolon
Yes, we’re both scientists.

Mike Capuzzi
So, actually, I have an engineering degree, did that for a number of years worked in the software industry. And I worked at essentially a software startup, that has now, it’s huge. They’re a public company now. But they didn’t have a marketing department, and I was one of the founding members of that. I went from a technical role to a marketing role, because I just had an interest in marketing. So, I raised my hand at the time, this is back in the early 90s. And, yeah, I grew up in a corporate marketing environment, traveled the world. But then when I went out on my own, I did that for a little while, like big company clients, but I really fell in love with the small business owner, the medium sized business owner, Janine. And yeah, for the last, geez, two plus decades, have been really helping small to medium sized businesses.

Janine Bolon
Right, and that was one of the things, Mike is an exception. It’s very rare that I run into anyone who’s published a book that has any kind of marketing background, because most I’d say 90% of the people I run into are clueless. But even you had some struggles. Like, that was one of the things that I was like, oh, my gosh, dude, you were marketing in electronic medium. You were online and marketing back before we had Wi Fi. Back before Bluetooth was the thing. YouTube wasn’t even a clue. We had MySpace accounts you and I were talking about that. We had MySpace accounts.

Mike Capuzzi
I didn’t have a MySpace. I had a CompuServe account, though. I was what they called a Sysop, System Operator for CompuServe, for the company I worked at and yeah that, we had the old dial up.

Janine Bolon
Back in the day… So, yeah, before we get too far down that dinosaur trail that we’re growing. So, I always tell people, but still, there were surprises. What was the most surprising thing to you about book marketing and publishing your book?

Mike Capuzzi
Well, it’s probably one that a lot of your authors are probably sharing, I would imagine, but it is, on my own podcast I say, to be successful at book marketing, you have to be consistent and persistent. It is not an event. You know, book marketing is not an event. Event Marketing might be you get ready for an event, you do it, you build up to it, and then it’s over and you’re done. If you’re in for the long haul, it’s something that you have to consistently, persistently do, you know. The whole, I’m going to publish a book and they’re going to read it is a fallacy, and you’re going to have to really do a lot of different things. And thank you for interviewing all these authors and sharing the ideas, because it’s a grind, it’s good grind, but it’s a grind. And if you think you’re just gonna publish a book, and you know, everyone has that initial excitement, you get your friends and family and then maybe sell a couple whatever it might be. But you’ve got to have a ton of, you got to have a strategy going into this if you want to be successful, whether it’s selling books, or giving away books. There’s a reason why you want to do that, but depending on, you know, what you’re doing, but yeah, it’s a long term game, Janine.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, well, I can remember back in 2005, when I first started publishing my book, and I was clueless, had no clue what we were supposed to do. And I was running around local radio stations, and then I’d run down to the main street and find the used bookstores, and which you know, I said, I just got on the radio and sure enough, there would be people queuing up behind me say, hey, I just heard this woman on the radio, and there I was, I was standing there, but that was, you know, 2005. So, today, what would you change about marketing your book, knowing what you know, today?

Mike Capuzzi
I would say several things probably. I would get smart about podcast guesting. I think podcast guesting is a smart strategy for authors. So, that’s something I would get a little more serious about. I’ve kind of went in kicking and screaming, but a friend of mine finally encouraged me. I would get really smarter or at least hire some smart people when it comes to Amazon Marketing. I mean, Amazon is the 800 pound gorilla, and you know, you’ve got to get good at, you just can’t throw your book up on Amazon and expect it to sell. You’ve got to play the game. So, I think that would be another thing. And then, I would say I would get a little, I would get smarter, and more effective use of book funnels. So, online funnels that are unique to your book and how to leverage those better.

Janine Bolon
Right. And that’s a whole technology and science in and of itself. So, just out of curiosity, what worked best for you? I like asking each author, hey, where did you sell the most books? Or maybe not where, is the incorrect word. But what have you done that sold the most books for you?

Mike Capuzzi
Yeah, so, I mean, most of my books are on Amazon. So, that’s our primary, you know, distribution channel. We haven’t, you know, I don’t really worry about too many other online books retailers, though, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, I just don’t specifically worry about them. So, again, you publish a book on Amazon doesn’t mean it’s gonna sell. And that was a mistake I made my first book that I did do on Amazon, like in 2009 I think it was. I thought, oh, you put it up there, you know, someone’s gonna find it, and buy it. And you forget, there’s like a zillion books on Amazon. So, anyway, you put your book up on Amazon, what worked for me, and again, I been in business for a while. So, I have a pretty substantial email list. I have a good reputation in the business world that I live in, and what really worked well was me was getting what I call joint venture partners. So folks like you, I think I probably tapped on you at one point, Janine, hey, can you just let your friends and family and network know about this new book that’s coming out, just go to the Amazon link. So, that that worked well. And then my own email list, which is, you know, again, still one of the wisest investments any authors can make is to build their own email list so that you can keep in touch with them. So, yeah, my most recent book that I published, did very, very well. I mean, we literally sold and it wasn’t even my goal, Janine, but we literally sold 1000s of copies in the first couple of months by doing some smart stuff.

Janine Bolon
I remember that. I remember, I was more than happy to help you because you had done so much to help me. Are you kidding? I’d be glad to help you out. Yeah. So, that’s one of the biggest things that many of my authors didn’t know about when they first started was how to do joint venture ships. They didn’t know about that aspect of it. So, What process did you use that was like an epic failure? Every author, I love these stories, because every author that I’ve talked to has a story where they went and tried something, and it just landed flat, and it did not work for them.

Mike Capuzzi
Well, yeah, I mean, honestly, it was putting my book up on Amazon and thinking that was the last step.

Janine Bolon
Oh, yeah, I know, you had mentioned that, but I didn’t know that was your story.

Mike Capuzzi
Oh yeah.

Janine Bolon
Okay.

Mike Capuzzi
Yeah, because if I look back the first couple books I did, and again, we’re talking like over 10 years ago, I just put them up there, and I just thought with Amazon, they have keywords and all this stuff that you set up, and I thought, oh, I just have really good keywords, and it’ll get found. And it doesn’t work that way, just like any of these big tech companies. There’s all these algorithms, and they kind of game the system. So, you got to kind of pay to play but I would say that was probably my biggest mistake. The other thing I did, my very first book Janine, was a compilation book, so, similar to what you’re producing here. I interviewed, or I didn’t do it, I paid someone, but we we had 31 plus myself, so 32, Philadelphia, which is where I’m from, Philadelphia area, fairly successful entrepreneurs and business owners in this book, I called it Dream, Inc. And it was all about why did you have that dream to have your own business, and it was very successful financially, because of the way we modelled it. However, the big mistake I make there, and this was in 2007, I didn’t have a launch party. I didn’t know when the book came out, I just said, oh the books here, we gave everyone their copies, and that was it. So, we didn’t make it like a big event and I really missed the ball on that one. Like when your book comes out. You could do virtual launch parties, physical launch parties, you know, there’s like, make a big deal about it. Because if you don’t know what else is going to.

Janine Bolon
Well, and I like to describe it as, it’s a birthday party. It is a birthday party. You took time and effort. And I remember I used to read about Ernest Hemingway where he was talking about, you know, creating a book is like birthing a child and I remember being very sexist in my brain and thinking, what would he know about that? And then I had four children, and then I started writing books and I went, he nailed it. The man knew exactly what he was talking about. He totally knows what he’s saying. So, I ate crow on that one. So, tell me a story that you tell about yourself, that gets a lot of laughs from your target audience. There’s so many.

Mike Capuzzi
I don’t know. There’s nothing that literally comes to mind. I tend to be a very self deprecating person anyway, so I have no problems like, you know, making fun of myself, but,

Janine Bolon
Nothing comes to mind? Okay, moving on. So what was the biggest change that you’ve seen in yourself since you started marketing your books?

Mike Capuzzi
I’m just realizing, well, let me take one step back. I grew up a book lover again, I know we have that in common, right. So, I grew up my grandmother, my mom’s, mom really instilled that in me at a very young age. I used to go to visit her, and she had this big library in this upper bedroom, and I just loved picking out her books and, you know, I just loved it. So, I love books. And I always had this thing in my mind. And again, I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this, that, Oh, I can never be a book author. Like I just had this magical, I put this magical level of power that book authors have. And after writing the first one, and the second one, I think I’m up to 15 now, you realize there’s nothing magical about it. The difference is people like you and I just did it, right? Doesn’t mean they’re all gonna be successful, doesn’t mean they’re all, but regardless, I think a lot of us put in this illusionary power of being what it means to be a book author. And I always say, Janine, if you have a message to share, a story to tell, if you know something that can help other people, None of that will happen until that book was written. So just go do it.

Janine Bolon
I, totally agree. Thank you. That was the whole reason I’m writing this book with the help of my 99 closest friends, is because we all had that same thing. We all had that like, we have got to get this message out whatever it is. So all right, real quick. What are five tips that you would give authors that are selling their book in today’s environment?

Mike Capuzzi
Study book funnels, study Amazon advertising, because that is something you’re gonna need to know. Study podcast guesting. So, there’s three that we’ve already talked about. So, again, podcast guesting being a guest on other people’s podcasts, you don’t need to have your own. Study good, what it means to write good book descriptions and, and how to leverage. There’s a whole science behind Amazon, if that’s one of your primary mechanisms to get your book out there. To write good, you know, good book descriptions have to have a good book page. So, that would be another thing. And then, you know, I would just figure out where does your ideal reader exists. For a lot of folks that might be on what I call Main Street, they’re local business owners, they just want a local book. It might be someone has a book, like you and I are global presence. Know where they exist, and figure out ways to get in front of them.

Janine Bolon
That’s brilliant by the way. Thank you. Those five, definitely, if you’re going to be on the online space, that’s what you need to be doing. So, what is the one thing you most misunderstood about becoming an author? We already talked about it with the book magically appear. But yeah,

Mike Capuzzi
Well, I think it really is that, you know, I will say it on my podcast, so many people feel like I’m not smart enough, I’m not a good enough writer. And again, the kind of books that I write, I think you probably agree with this, we’re not trying to be the next Hemingway, that’s the last thing, again, that’s not my goal. My goal, and you can already tell by the way I talk, right? I write the way I talk. I am conversational. I just try to bring my personality and I think that’s, you know, that’s critical. There’s so many people still get it. Now, again, there’s certain kinds of books where your proper grammar and having it professionally edited and all that, yes, that has its place, but for my books, they are really extensions of myself. The last thing I want is someone sort of trying to put a polish on that’s not authentic.

Janine Bolon
Right, because definitely, I can speak for myself on this one. Polish is not necessarily what my personality is. I’m a little too direct, like you and I were talking about so. Well, what is the primary thing, or what is the biggest reward for you for being an author?

Mike Capuzzi
Well, again, because I love books, I think the first thing was just to be able to say I was an author, I love that, like, I remember I started my company in 1998, like, gosh, it’s funny to look back at it, but I was so proud to create a business card that said I was the president and CEO of is this one person company. But the same thing, when you write a book, it’s like, oh, my gosh, I’m an author now, right? That’s kind of cool. And it’s neat, I mean, you probably know this Janine, it’s neat when you’re at an event, and you’re giving your book out or selling it, people ask you to autograph it. It’s neat when you get stories, that people say your book changed my life. I love that and it happened. Again, I will just suggest to everybody, if you haven’t gotten that first book done, none of this happens until that happens. So just go do it.

Janine Bolon
Go do it, because I guarantee you that the books that Mike has written, and the other authors in this project, all of them have stories of where people say it changed their lives, it really helped them out of a period of time, which is why you’re being pushed to write your book. So, any last words of wisdom you care to share, Mike, before we go?

Mike Capuzzi
Yeah, you know, I mean, you and I could talk forever on some of this stuff. But listen, one of the things is you’ve got to be careful, again, I know I’m slanting a lot of my conversation towards Amazon. But that’s, I have a global presence. All your books are up on Amazon, right? You’ve got potential clients all over the world. So, do I. So, it makes a lot of sense. You know, in this day and age, unfortunately, the reality is you have to have thick skin. So, not every review, I just got to review, and I read my reviews, I read it for a couple of reasons. If we have time, I’ll share some of that strategy there. But I read my reviews, and I just got one yesterday and I’m like reading it, and I’m like, what’s this woman talking about? She left her name, and I’m like, that’s sort of a dumb review, she was talking about the 100 page book, which is my most recent one, and she said, well, it was good, but it really didn’t deliver on its promise. It just doesn’t make any sense, because I have like 200 really good reviews. But you can’t let that bug you, so whether it’s an Amazon review, or somewhere else, or you know, not everyone’s going to love your book, there’s a lot of, you know, it’s just unfortunate in this day and age, it is just a reality. But I would just say you know, suck it up, and don’t let that deter you, you always focus on the people that you can help, and that the people that you know, are positive with your message, and I think that’s something really smart to think about.

Janine Bolon
That’s key for you, especially, you know, you have hundreds of reviews, that you help people, you can expect that out of the 8 billion people walking around on this planet that everybody’s gonna…

Mike Capuzzi
I have and I’ve coached, meaning I’ve been coached by some very smart people, and they’re like, you gotta get that out of you. But you know, my DNA is to be a people pleaser. And it bothered, you know, it doesn’t bother me like it used to, I can definitely you know, but it’s still sort of, it becomes at least a conversation with my wife at some point during that day, like errr, yeah one of those things.

Janine Bolon
Us as podcasters we get on and we’re like, oh my gosh, you wouldn’t believe the review I’ve gotten, and we all start laughing because we’ve all been there. We’ve all had that review, where you’re like, did they really read the book? Did they really listen to the episode?

Mike Capuzzi
I had a one star review on one of my the Magic of Short Books, and I researched it was like a 10 year old kid leaving it. And the one thing that really stinks about Amazon is if you go to the Magic of Short Books and look at the one star review, it’s like you could tell it’s a kid, then if you look at what else he reviewed, like Lego blocks and stuff. But once the reviews on Amazon, they don’t take it away. So, it is what it is. It kind of stinks but all you can do is just work your hardest to have a good quality book, you know. And by the way, there’s another little tip, make sure if you are going to leverage Amazon, you literally do this right in your book, you ask for reviews, you’ve got to ask for reviews. That’s the other thing I thought well, people are just gonna review because out of the goodness of their heart. It doesn’t work that way. You got to ask and even if you ask, you know, you’re only going to get a small percentage, but you want those Amazon reviews to be good and you want to be as many as you can get.

Janine Bolon
Exactly. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate your time today. And we will say goodbye to Mike and this is Janine Bolon signing off with you today and all of us here at the eight gates that produces the Janine Bolon show. We wish you a wonderful week and we encourage you to get your message, your story or your knowledge out into the world and make it a better place just like these authors are doing with newer authors that are coming along behind them. We’ll see you again next week and until then you keep sharing what you know with others, keep shining that light that is you, and when you go out today, just do something fun for yourself. Seriously, people do something fun for yourself. We’ll chat with you next week.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

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