ASP 38: David Nihill on Testing Book Ideas with Udemy and Going Traditional with His Self-Publishing

Quote of the Day:

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”

– Dr. Seuss

In this episode, David talks about how he tested his book on the Udemy platform first, how it became a bestseller, and his decision to leverage this success with a traditional publishing deal.

David’s background.

To conquer his fear of public speaking, David crashed American comedy clubs and festivals, pretending to be a stand-up comedian named “Irish Dave.”

Why did you write your book?

I’m a big fan of AJ Jacobs and Tim Feriss, and learned a lot from great comedians. Over the years, I noticed that businesspeople often struggle with public speaking, and thought that I could help with that. At first, I didn’t want to do any writing because I was dyslexic. So the early versions of the book came in the form of a voiceover, which I later turned into a course.

David’s book: Do You Talk Funny?: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker

(The book is geared towards businesspeople who need to do presentations in front of crowds.)

David’s public speaking blog: 7 Comedy Habits

David’s Udemy course: Become Better and Funnier at Public Speaking

How do you interject comedy into your presentations?

I start by trying to be fun instead of funny. Then I focus on telling my own story. (You’re the only who knows your own story.) I make a list of funny stories—sort of like journaling, but of funny stuff/stories that you read or hear. And I always try to have a strong opening statement. That is important. It should make people nod in agreement, or be relatable. It can be about you or your experience, but it should also be generic enough that everyone can relate to it.

Why is comedy important for authors?

If you put a book out there, sooner or later you will need to speak about it. Providing a short form presentation of your book will offer a great way to connect with influential people and get your message out there.

If you’re just starting out, for your first presentation, use the technique called “memory palace.” It’s a way to remember key pieces of information and store them in a familiar place in your mind. You can read more about this technique in Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer.

David has also written an article on memory palace: The Secret to Avoid Going Blank in Your Next Presentation

Why did you decide to work with BenBella Books?

Website: Ben Bella Books

Traditional publishing is a bit restrictive, but my contract provided for some flexibility, which was important to me. There was a lot of negotiating involved. I had to negotiate with the company on the cover, some aspects of promotion, etc., but ultimately, the book reads and looks better with traditional publishing.

How do you validate and promote a book idea with Udemy?

I started out with an e-course I published on Udemy. This allowed me to sort out what chapters I should include in the book, as I was able to see which lessons people interacted with more in the course. It was also a good way to get feedback and ask what should be improved in terms of my content. And the Udemy students also served as the book’s initial readers and buyers.

How does Udemy give you data on your customers?

Udemy allows you to see which students have completed your course. People who pay for the course tend to be more invested in it, and are more likely to complete it.

I email the people who have gone through the course and ask for their feedback. I made it free for the first 1000 people who signed up for it, and after playing around with the course for six months, I had it transcribed. The transcribed content made it easier for me to write the book. In the process, I also used feedback to decide on and test my book title and chapter titles.

Talk a bit about your BookBub deal.

Website: BookBub

My BookBub deal contributed more to the book’s sales than anything else. The book’s original price was $10, but for launch week, they priced it at $2.99. BookBub and SlideShare are the two biggest traffic drivers for his book, so this collaboration was very valuable.

You can visit SlideShare for 23 Tips from Comedians to Be Funnier in Your Next Presentation (via the book Do You Talk Funny?)

To learn more about David, sign up and get 80 free tips from the book.

You can also check out FunnyBiz Conference.

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