Mike Capuzzi – Bite Sized Books

Mike Capuzzi - Bite-Sized Books on the Thriving Solopreneur Podcast with Janine Bolon

Janine Bolon: Hello, welcome to The Thriving Solopreneur show. I am your host Janine Bolon, and I have with me today, Mike Capuzzi. Mike is a publisher, author, and a coach for business owners looking to get to the next level in their business. Throughout his twenty-five years in marketing and twenty-one years as a consultant, Mike’s innovative use of high-impact marketing has consistently surpassed expectations and outcomes of traditional marketing concepts, as well as business strategies that has clients brought to the table. In 2019, Mike launched Bite-sized Books, a new publishing venture founded on his proven formula for creating short, helpful books also known as shooks, for Main Street business owners. Shooks are ideal for local business owners, who are looking to increase their level of authority, as well as provide their people with information in these bite-sized books. Mike is also the host of The Main Street Author podcast, where he interviews business owners and book experts on real-world proven ways to leverage your book, and position yourself, and promote your business.

So check out mikecapuzzi.com if you think he makes a great guest, once that is written, published, at least one printed book, mikecapuzzi.com/guests so that you can introduce yourself to him, and get on his podcast. Welcome to the show, Mike! Great to see you.

Mike Capuzzi: Hey, Janine, good to see you again, too. So thank you.

Janine: No problem. Just wanted to let you know, I am so sold on the system that Mike has for the shook, I signed a contract with this man like, right off the bat, four books, let us go. Let us make this happen. I am on book number three with this man. So just want to let you know. Yeah, I am a rabid fan. Okay, I am not going to say I am your number one, but I am going to say that I am a rabid fan of this guy. And so I have had him on the show multiple times, but I thought it was really important to bring him back, especially since I am seeing a lot of changes in the business dynamics of what is happening. And yes, there is still even with all the changes that we have experienced over the last few years, it still is
imperative that business owners have their shook or a short helpful book that is helping their clients. So Mike I would love for you to just talk a little bit about what got you started into Bite-Size Books, and then some of the things that you have seen happen with the program.

Mike: Well Janine again, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity. I also appreciate the opportunity to have worked with you, on your previous two shooks, and now your third, and soon-to-be fourth shook. But as you and I were talking about before we jumped on the call, I am, believe it or not, I am an engineer from Penn State University. So I am wearing the colors today. And I did engineering for a number of years after college, before I got into a more marketing-oriented, technically more marketing for a technical software company, so it is more of a technical role, but still marketing-oriented. So I have got an engineer brain. I got a marketing brain. And when those two combine, you get some neat things that happen. One of which is what you mentioned, a shook: a short, helpful book. So I am a firm believer, as I know you are, in the power of books to help people, but also books to position the author as an expert authority. The way I have hundreds and hundreds of books over to my shoulder here. Many, many years are in there.

Janine: Great.

Mike: So, you know, books are powerful even in the twenty-first century. People are still reading books. Yes, there are now more digital books and audiobooks, but books are still a very powerful type of media, especially for business owners. Now, one dynamic, and I think most of us would agree, is that most people’s attention spans have gotten shorter. We have got too many things vying for our attention: kids, gadgets, whatever. So this idea came in, why have a typical 300-page book, which even though I love to read, Janine, I struggle these days. Right now I probably got three or four open books next to my bed. I started with the best of intention and then, you know a hundred fifty pages in you are like, “Oh my gosh, you know, when is it going to end?” So I combined this idea of why not create content in bite-sized chunks, shorter books that are highly focused, combine that with a proven marketing formula for response.

So how do you get people to respond to things, and then really combine that with traditional book publishing? So it is shorter content, more focused content, layered with proven direct response marketing techniques, layered with what we consider some unique design techniques, how the book, how the shook looks, you have the end result: a shook. And as you mentioned, they work great for not only local business owners but folks like yourself and myself who have a larger reach around the world. So that is sort of in a nutshell, the history of how shooks came about.

Janine: Well, one of the things I just wanted to share was how my business almost tripled, and sure I was doing other strategies, but I had learned those strategies from you. And I had been marketing my business in a very specific way, and then when I got the shook and started marketing it in the strategies you and I talked about, it was great. But one of the things I wanted to let people know is I am a self-published author and have been since 2005. So the landscape of self-publishing has drastically been altered over the last two decades, and one of the things I loved about working with you was the fact that I still keep the intellectual property rights. It is still all mine. And yet at the same time, basically, I have you as a consultant and a buddy that helps me drive forward, and drive traffic where I need it to go. And you are also doing your part with me.

So people talk all the time now about how important collaboration is, and how important it is to have strategic partners, and I just wanted to let folks know if you need a strategic partner, and you want to write that book you have had in your head your entire life, Mike is the guy that can help you get that out and published, and then drive clients to your business, whatever that happens to be. So I just wanted to plug that in there, because of that. So talk to us a little bit. You and I are both scientists. You are the engineer. I am the analytical biochemist. To say that we are systems-heavy is like a joke, right, you know you and I both have our systems. So what are some systems that you can help recommend to people to get rolling with their own shook? Like they say, “Well I want to write a story, but I really do not know what to write about.” So, how do you coach some of your authors?

Mike: Yeah. So the very first step, Janine, is so we are talking non-fiction business books. That is the only type we help our authors with. So if you are looking to do fiction or an autobiography, we are not the choice for you. But if you are looking to craft a book that helps a very specific reader with a very specific problem, or with the goal that that reader has, then we are your self-publishing partner. Because you are right, it is still self-publishing your name, but it is sort of a hybrid. When you self-publish, you have so much more control versus the traditional publisher. And you are right, the publishing business has completely transformed over the last decade, and for most people going the self-publishing route, or the hybrid where you are working with someone like myself, that is a fine choice. Especially if you are a local business owner, you do not need the reach of a traditional publisher. So the first thing Janine, when we work with the first system if you will, it is always about clearing your own head, what it is you are looking to accomplish as the author. But equally important, what are you looking to help readers and very specific readers? You know this, we really drill down on who are you trying to target with this book? And what are you trying to get them to do after they read it? So I would say the first system is getting very clear. And the beauty of short helpful books, shooks, is that while we have a ton of information, and all of us probably help our clients and customers with a lot of different things, a shook forces you to be very focused. So even though you may have a lot of things you do, rather than write one long book, How to be a Solopreneur, for example, you can slice and dice that topic up. How to go from a job to a solopreneur might be with the first shook. And then how to get started as a solopreneur or whatever. So it is this idea of sort of this bite-sized content where you can get very focused. Therefore the reader says “Jeez, that book is for me. I want to read it.” So I would say the first system is really getting clear on who you are targeting, how you are going to help them, and then what you as the author want to accomplish.

Janine: And that is one of the things that I absolutely loved is you started like on Main Street. You have your Main Street Authors podcast, and you were just trying to help brick-and-mortar businesses really extend their reach. And one of the things that is so important I know for the people I help out is that we are not trying to be the next Oprah Winfrey or Wayne Dyer or something like that. We are just trying to find that niche that is all our own that we can help those people. And the shook does that very very effectively, even better than the way that I was running my publishing house at the time. So I just wanted to kind of talk a little bit about that on the PowerPoints that you literally have throughout your shook that guide people not only to your website but then there is an interaction, so they talk about “Oh, when you market, you have to give your people an experience”. Talk about what the shook brings to the reader as an experience.

Mike: Yeah, it is again, a great question. So first of all, the first experience is focused content, right? It is about helping someone with a very specific challenge or issue or problem or helping them achieve a very specific goal. I mean it tends to be the thing.

You want to learn more about something. So the reader is getting what they are looking for, and it is niche, right? We are not trying to be the end-all-be-all thing. So for example, I am working with a real estate agent in Montana, and I actually have not shared this with you, Janine. We are looking to start a series of shooks. We call them the Dream Destination Guides. So the first one is a gentleman, actually a couple, in Whitefish, Montana. So they are real estate professionals in Whitefish. And Whitefish is a dream destination. There is a ski area, etcetera, a beautiful area. His shook is almost done as he is going to see the first version tomorrow as a matter of fact. But he could have written a book moving to the west or he could have written a book, the shook, moving to Montana, but no, he went narrow. He went very focused: moving to Whitefish. And that will not be for everybody, but it will be for the person who wants to move to that area, and they will definitely, definitely want that book. So that is the first thing. The second thing, Janine, I would say that is unique, but it really is not, because the days of invention are long gone, but I would say many, many book offers get this wrong, including a lot of smart ones that should know better, which is they write a great book, it helps people, etcetera. But they do not connect the dots to what we call the next step. So you read a book, and you are like, “Okay, I love what you Janine has to say. Now what?” And if your book does not give very explicit directions on what to do next, we do not require, but we suggest all of the authors have a next step chapter, which gives those readers again, it is not going to be everybody. But if they got what you had to say in your book, they are driving with you, they like what you have to say, they are going to want to know that path forward. So you need to give them that path forward, and then you need to give even within that, a couple different ways to connect with you. So in my shooks, the primary thing I want to do is have interested readers reach out to me to schedule a discovery call. We call it a shook strategy session, which is when we just get on a zoom, and we talk about your ideas. That is my primary call to action. We call it the active call to action. A small percentage of people will take that. A little bit bigger percentage of people will take what we call the pass of call to action which is, “Hey, I love what Mike has to say. I am not quite ready to get on the phone with him, but I want to stay connected to him”. So we offer a pathway for them, to give us their name and email in exchange for some more helpful information. And now they are on a pathway hopefully to connect with us in the future. So a big, sort of “aha”, is to offer book readers these pathways to connect with you.

Janine: And as a business owner of any kind, no matter what your business is, there are questions that your people ask you over and over and over. And the shook I am currently writing with Mike right now is the one where I got so tired of people asking me this question that I ended up making a short course, created a website, and that still was not helping. I am now writing a shook based on these top three questions, and I am like, from now on the pathway is, they will not talk to me until they complete those three questions. And so this is another way that a shook can help a solopreneur or a multimillion-dollar business owner to get rid of all those questions that are asked of you over and over and over. You give them the answers, and then you give them those next steps, now that that is answered for you if you have additional things that you need to go through. So another thing that Mike can help you with is how to trademark your answers in a beautiful package that will move you forward with that, right?

Mike: And Janine, that is a great point. And I would say yes, there is a good percentage of our authors who had that exact challenge, or that happened at that exact opportunity which is, if you are answering the same things over and over again, it is a much better idea to put them down, give them some thought. Because as you know, Janine, as you work through the process, even though you think you know the answers because you repeat them over and over, once you are forced to sort of put a pen to paper, you refine it. You find it. And then working together, “Hey, and maybe it is a better way to say this etcetera”. But yes, that is a great strategy. It is something we recommend all the time. And then having a book, a shook, that is you know a paperback which is the kind we do is, one of the media having it as a download or a Kindle book is another, having it as an audiobook. So you are hitting all the types of media that people are consuming these days: real books, e-books, audiobooks.

Janine: And then my favorite part is if you are answering questions that are industry-based, then Mike and his team also have the ability for you to whitelist your book, so that other people can do that. And when I heard that I am like, “Oh man, this is perfect. I have got to let more people know about what Mike is doing, and how he is setting that up.” So if you do not mind, describe that just a little bit for people what you do with that.

Mike: So if you are a thought leader, you have some sort of connection where people are following you. And you know the idea is Janine, you, the expert, craft a shook that can then be licensed by other folks. So for example, I work with an elder law attorney. She has written four, five shooks already. So you are catching up. You are not there yet, Janine.

Janine: Right.

Mike: But she has her elder law practice, her day-to-day practice, but she also has a coaching group for other elder law attorneys. So she wrote three shooks – two on Alzheimer’s disease, one on dementia – and she licenses those shooks to be customized by other elder law attorneys around the country. So it is an area exclusive program. So that is a very unique type of way to leverage good contents, a great way to leverage a book, and it is a very profitable opportunity for the thought leader. It is also a great opportunity for the end-user because they get to have a really well-written shook where they can customize it, and put their name on it, and use it. We call that our Main Street Publisher Program.

Janine: And that is where for me and other people who have written as many books as I have, I just let them know, “Look if you can start getting your stuff licensed, then yet another revenue stream, and at the same time you are doing what you have wanted to do”. Because most of the people I interact with, they really just want to serve humanity, and help make their lives a little bit easier than others. And so for those types of folks, that is a wonderful program. So, anyway, I would like to go ahead and wrap this up. Anything else we need to hear about from you? Talk to us real quick about the hundred page book. You flashed it real fast. And that hundred page book is like, it is exactly what you can do with your own books. And what I love is, it is a perfect example of that. But what else do you recommend? How else do people get a hold of you?

Mike: So Janine, I would say the first thing is, if you have you are currently helping people or you have an idea to help people, all you need is a hundred-page book. So that is why I wrote it. It was an Amazon bestseller for like seven months. Number one bestseller. So it sold thousands of copies because it just resonated with people. And again, it is this type of book. So if you are writing some other type of book, that is fine. But if you are looking for the kind of books that you and I like to write which are short, helpful books, the hundred-page book is a great read. As a matter of fact Janine, I have an online version of it, along with another shook that your listeners can get to. If they go to my mikecapuzzi.com. I am looking at it. I know it is here. If they go to my mikecapuzzi.com/gifts… So that is gifts, G-I-F-T-S plural, they can read the hundred-page book online. And you are right, I give the exact formula, everything you need to do. If you want to work with me, just reach out to me. Let me know, we can schedule a call. But I am giving you the resources to go do it yourself if you want to do it yourself.

Janine: And so thank you so much for taking time with us today. I know you and I kind of had to throw this meeting together real fast, but I thought it was too important to kind of wait on that. So thank you so much for being with us today.

Mike: Hey, I always appreciate talking to you.

Janine: And so this is Janine Bolon with The Thriving Solopreneur Show. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to myself or Mike, and we will be glad to assist you with what we have done, how we have run our businesses, and how we are living our dream life. And we live our dream life, but we fit our business into the cracks of that life. That is why we work from home. Anyhow, have a great day today. Keep your feet firmly on the ground, but do not forget to keep reaching for those stars. We will see you in the next episode.