Book in a Box Passes $11.3m in Revenue, 500+ Authors

In Episode #790, Nathan interviews JT McCormick. He’s an American businessman, author and speaker. Most recently, he served as President of Technology company HeadSpring before his current role as president & CEO at Book in a Box.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Cyrus the Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – Jeff Bezos
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 4.5
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – It’s not about the high school diploma. It’s about the work ethic and the sacrifice you’re willing to put in to achieve greatness

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:47 – Nathan introduces JT to the show
  • 02:08 – It is possible to buy a bestseller from Book in a Box
    • 02:23 – The cost will depend on many factors
  • 02:40 – One of Nathan’s friends spent almost $250K on Book in a Box because he wanted to put out a book and increase his speaking fee
    • 03:15 – There are many people who paid more than $250K to get a book out
  • 03:21 – Nathan read his friend’s book and thought it was trash, but his friend’s speaking fee increased
    • 03:33 – It’s still a positive ROI
  • 04:02 – Book in a Box specializes in ensuring the books are filled with valuable and meaningful content
  • 05:11 – Book in a Box has made it possible for authors to publish their book
  • 05:27 – JT just met a professional speaker who has been in the business for 22 years, but never had a book
    • 05:34 – He never got the time to write a book
    • 05:41 – Book in a Box will just interview him and write the book for him
    • 05:52 – “Your book written in your tone, your voice”
  • 06:09 – Nathan shares how Book in a Box makes you spill the beans
  • 06:41 – Cost is $25K which is $5K a month for five months
  • 06:58 – The quality of the books are the same as the ones from Barnes and Noble
  • 07:13 – Nathan got a deal from Portfolio Random House
  • 07:37 – Book in a Box provides proposals and manuscripts for their clients to bring to publishing houses
  • 08:00 – Book in a Box has worked with a total of 500 authors
  • 08:31 – Book in a Box launched in 2015
  • 09:00 – Book in a Box is one of the unicorn companies in the startup world
  • 09:13 – “We, as Book in a Box, have no debt, no private equity, no VC money and we are extremely profitable”
  • 09:27 – Book in a Box has changed pricing a couple of times
    • 09:38 – When JT met Tucker and Zach, the co-founders, he was actually looking for someone to write his book
    • 10:14 – Tucker offered JT three pricing models, $10K, $18K and $30K and JT chose the latter because he wanted a high-quality book
    • 10:51 – JT explained how the pricing turned out to be just one pricing model which is $25K
  • 11:33 – Total revenue since 2015 is $11.3M
  • 12:07 – Book in a Box currently averages 25-30 books a month which has continuously grown to 50-75 a month
  • 12:29 – Team size is 30 full-timers with over 100 freelancers
  • 13:13 – “We’re a relationship company”
  • 14:17 – Book in a Box treats their freelancers with respect and pays them on time
  • 15:05 – Book in a Box helps with marketing and book sales
    • 15:14 – Customers go to Book in a Box for one of three reasons; credibility, thought leadership or lead generation
    • 15:48 – Book in a Box created Thought Leader Media
      • 16:01 – Pricing starts at $15K to up to $75K yearly
      • 16:17 – The pricing varies depending on the author needs
      • 16:51 – Thought Leader Media just rolled out in Q1
      • 16:58 – 35 out of 250 published books are in Thought Leader Media
    • 17:10 – Total book sales from Book in a Box authors
    • 18:50 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Those who want to have a book written, but can’t manage to start can simply utilize companies such as Book in a Box.
  2. Pricing is crucial in every business—it’s either you make it big or lose everything.
  3. Respect and an excellent work ethic are keys to success.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

The post Book in a Box Passes $11.3m in Revenue, 500+ Authors appeared first on Nathan Latka.

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Bing Ads Rolls Out Account Level Ad Extensions by @MattGSouthern

Bing Ads will now allow advertisers to set ad extensions for all campaigns at the account level.

The post Bing Ads Rolls Out Account Level Ad Extensions by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Crypto: With $50k MRR, He’s Buildling Crypto Database To Track Accuracy

In Episode #782, Nathan interviews Bruce Pon. He’s the CEO and founder of BigchainDB and he’s been playing in the crypto world.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Mungerisms by Charlie Munger
  • What CEO do you follow? – Vitalik Buterin
  • Favorite online tool? — Streak CRM
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— At least 8
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Buy bitcoin earlier”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 02:03 – Nathan introduces Bruce to the show
  • 02:44 – Bruce built BigchainDB to manage data
  • 02:55 – Bitcoin is a payments cryptocurrency in a global network while Ethereum is a business logic in a global network
  • 03:11 – People pass trusted data over the blockchain network for enterprise use cases and consumer applications
    • 03:32 – From the business logic, you can exchange bitcoin and other types of value
  • 03:42 – The problem with the use case on top of the bitcoin blockchain 3 years ago was it didn’t scale
  • 04:04 – Bruce was building io which is putting intellectual property into the blockchain
    • 04:25 – You can sell your intellectual property over the network
    • 04:48 – It was built over the bitcoin blockchain and got difficult to develop over time
    • 04:54 – needed meta data about the creative work, author and licensing model
    • 05:04 – isn’t just built for bitcoin—it’s like trying to using a Lamborghini to move your house
    • 05:49 – had AI, scientists and other PhDs who told them that building wasn’t worth it
  • 06:09 – Team size is around 20 and is based in Berlin
  • 06:24 – BigchainDB has raised $6M in price round series A
  • 06:41 – Open source software is traditionally a dual license model
  • 06:53 – BigchainDB is looking at an enterprise model
    • 07:00 – They’re looking into the ICO craze too
  • 07:21 – BigchainDB is like a SaaS model
    • 07:27 – They’re looking at per transaction charges but it may not work for the long-run
  • 07:54 – BigchainDB just released their 1.0
    • 08:08 – They give premium support
  • 08:27 – Bruce is looking into 5-6 figures per month for their starting price point
  • 08:58 – One-third of the work in businesses happen in the back office
  • 09:13 – Blockchain allows you to have a single source of truth
  • 09:29 – BigchainDB unlocks the opportunity for different organizations to have a single source of truth
  • 09:48 – When you can make IoT, AI and blockchain tools, you can track the product from the inception until it gets to the customer’s hand
    • 10:01 – The customer will now understand how the product is made
    • 10:03 – The regulators will know that the product followed the guideline
    • 10:07 – The company will know if there’s a recall or quality issue and they will know where exactly the product is
  • 10:40 – BigchainDB can work with different kinds of products
  • 11:20 – Blockchain is definitely auditable
    • 11:30 – Before the product comes to you, it will be signed by entities with a cryptographic key in every process
    • 12:00 – With AI, you can also see who is in the very process of making your product
  • 12:34 – The key metric Bruce is measuring is the number of people that are building upon them
  • 12:56 – Target MRR is $100K by end of 2017
  • 13:03 – BigchainDB is currently at $50-60K MRR
  • 13:19 – Number of customers
  • 13:44 – There are 300 developers in BigchainDB’s channels and there are 5K clones of their software
  • 13:54 – BigchainDB has 1K monthly downloads of their whitepaper
  • 14:45 – The ratio of developer to clone is the 300 developers to 5K clone requests
  • 16:05 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Data that is passed over the blockchain network can be used for enterprise use case and consumer applications.
  2. The beauty of blockchain is that it is auditable and has accountability capabilities.
  3. Some tools that are built over the bitcoin network won’t always work; even if you have the best people in the industry.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

The post Crypto: With $50k MRR, He’s Buildling Crypto Database To Track Accuracy appeared first on Nathan Latka.

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How to create a kickass link-building strategy for local SEO

Link-building is a tried and tested SEO tactic, and although there are a number of dubious ways to go about it, at base developing a strong link-building strategy is a smart and very necessary way to get your site ranked above your competitors.

This is particularly true of local SEO, where a few savvy tactics for building links and relationships with other local businesses can give you a huge visibility boost in local search.

According to the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors, inbound links are the most important ranking signal.

But if you’ve run through all the usual methods of getting inbound links, what can you do to give your site – or your client’s site – a leg up in search?

At Brighton SEO last Friday, master of local SEO Greg Grifford shared some “righteous” tips for a kickass link-building strategy, in his signature flurry of slides and movie references – this time to 80s movies.

How link-building differs in local SEO

With local small businesses, said Gifford, you have to think about links in something other than pure numbers. Which is not to say that quantity doesn’t help – but it’s about the number of different sites which link to you, not the sheer number of links you have full stop.

With local SEO, all local links are relevant if they’re in the same geographical area as you. Even those crappy little church or youth group websites with a site design from the 1990s? Yes, especially those – in the world of local SEO, local relevance supersedes quality. While a link from a low-quality, low-authority website is a bad idea in all other contexts, local SEO is the one time that you can get away with it; in fact, these websites are your secret weapon.

Gifford also explained that local links are hard to reverse-engineer. If your competitors don’t understand local, they won’t see the value of these links – and even if they do, good relationships will allow you to score links that your competitors might not be able to get.

“It’s all about real-world relationships,” he said.

And once you have these relationships in place, you can get a ton of local links for less time and effort than it would take you to get a single link from a site with high domain authority.

So how should you go about building local relationships to get links? Gifford explained that there are five main ways to gain local links back to your business:

  1. Get local sponsorships
  2. Donate time or volunteer
  3. Get involved in your local community
  4. Share truly useful information
  5. Be creative in the hopes of scoring a random mention

Practical ways to get local links

These five basic ways of getting local links encompass dozens of different methods that you can use to build relationships and improve your standing in local search.

Here is just a sample of the huge list of ideas that Gifford ran through in his presentation:

Local meetups

Go to and scout around for local meetups. A lot of local meetups don’t have a permanent location, which gives you an opportunity to offer your business as a permanent meeting venue. Or you can sponsor the event, make a small investment to buy food and drink for its members, and get a killer local link in return.

Local directories

Find local directories that are relevant to the business you’re working with. Gifford emphasized that these should not be huge, generic directories with names like “”, but genuine local listings where you can provide useful information.

Local review sites

These are easier to get onto than bigger review websites, and with huge amounts of hyperlocal relevance.

Event sponsorships

Similar to sponsoring a local meetup, a relatively small investment can get you a great link in return. Event sponsorships will normally include your logo, but make sure that they also link back to your site.

Local blogs & newspapers

Local bloggers are hungry to find information to put on their blogs; you can donate time and information to them, and get a killer blog post and link out of the equation. The same is true of local newspapers, who are often stretched for content for their digital editions and might appreciate a tip or feature opportunity about a locally relevant business.

Local charities

Local charities are another way to get involved with the community and give back to it – plus, it’s great for your image. By the same token, you also can donate to local food banks or shelters, and be listed as a donor or sponsor on their website.

Local business associations

Much like local directories, it’s very easy to get listed by a local business association, such as a local bar dealer’s association – make sure there’s a link.

Local schools

These are great if you’re on the Board of Directors, or if your child or your client’s child is at that school. Again, getting involved in a local school is a good way to give back to the community at the same time as raising your local profile and improving your local links (both the SEO and the relationship kind).

Ethnic business directories

If you’re a member of a particular ethnic community who runs a local business, you can list your business on an ethnic business directory, which is great for grabbing the attention – and custom – of everyone in that community.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should only do this if it genuinely does apply to your business.

Gifford’s presentation contained even more ingenious ideas for local links than I’ve listed here, including local guides, art festivals and calendar pages; you can find the full list on his Slideshare of the presentation.

Gifford advises creating a spreadsheet with all your link opportunities, including what it will cost or the time it will take you. Make sure you have all of the relevant contact details, so that when it comes time to get the link, you can just go and get it. Then present that to your client, or if you’re not working on behalf of a client, to whichever individual whose buy-in you need in order to pursue a link-building strategy.

In fact, Gifford has even put together a pre-made spreadsheet ready for you to fill in, and you can download it here:

Decide what links to go after, and go and get them; then, after three months, wipe the spreadsheet and repeat the process.

Some important points to bear in mind

So, now you’re all set to go out and gather a cornucopia of local links, all pointing right at your business, right? Well, here are a few points to bear in mind first.

A lot of times, the people you approach won’t know what SEO is, or even what digital is. So be careful about how you go about asking for a link; don’t mention links or SEO right off the bat. Instead, focus on the value that will be added for their customers. “This is not about the link; this is about the value that you can provide,” said Gifford.

Once again, for the people at the back: it’s about building up long-term, valuable relationships which provide benefit to you and to the local community. When it comes to local SEO, these relationships and the links that you can get will be worth more than any links from big, hefty high-domain-authority (but locally irrelevant) websites.

Or in Gifford’s words: “Forget about the big PR link shit. Go really hard after small, local links.”

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Smarter Outreach: 3 Google Chrome Extensions to See Who is Behind Each Email

Today’s social networking world is overwhelming: You meet people online, talk to them, lose them for a month or two, then find them again. There should be better ways to keep up than trying to remember everything!

Luckily, apps are popping up that allows for smarter outreach, by putting a social dashboard inside your inbox. These three helpful tools work by giving you information on each contact, effectively establishing your own little social network.

If you have been looking for a more social way to interact with your contacts, or just don’t always remember names without faces attached, check these programs out.

1. FullContact for Gmail

FullContact for Gmail

FullContact for Gmail has been named the best alternative to Rapportive after the latter became Linkedin’s Sales Navigator (as discussed below, Sales Navigator is still a useful Google Chrome extension if you spend a lot of time on Linkedin). FullContact for Gmail is an awesome tool allowing you to see social profiles, job titles, tags, and notes for each of your Gmail contact. View recent tweets and company information without leaving your inbox.

If you subscribe to FullContact for Teams ($9.99 /Month with a free trial available), you can use the extension to share contacts with team members, add notes for individual contacts, apply collaborative tags.

The tool is one of the highest-sated extensions currently in Google Chrome web store.

2. Discoverly

Integrate your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn emails inside of your inbox, and that is just a start. Discoverly is all about creating a more interactive email experience, not only adding that element to the email itself but also putting interactive live feeds within your range of sight.

They also have security icons, allowing you to confirm the source of emails and quickly catch phishers posing as official parties. It works with Gmail, Yahoo and Outbox email clients, and you can download it for free.

3. Linkedin Sales Navigator for Gmail

Formerly known as Rapportive, this Gmail client is the first program I ever came across. Since it became Linkedin Sales Navigator, it has lost some of its initial appeal (the product had shifted away from supporting other social networks) but it still remains a useful extension, especially if you spend a lot of time and effort building your Linkedin connections. It also makes sense if you already have Sales Navigator subscription which is required in order to use this product.

This is a free tool, and you simply add it to Gmail. It can be customized, but the features are pretty straight forward.

What Do Do With This Info?

Alright, so you can get all these social and demographic tidbits about your contacts. What exactly are you supposed to do with all this data once you have it? Knowing things like their social activity, general location and work info is great, because it lets you better target the conversation.

Do they live in the same city as you? Invite them out to lunch for some one on one networking. See that they are going to be attending a conference you are? Set up a meeting during it to get face time with people you normally wouldn’t. Just finding contacts at companies you want to be affiliated with can be a major benefit.

At the very least, these tools can be a great way to organize your contacts, a list that can get very long and hard to keep track of.


Anyone can see a real change in their engagement and outreach with one of these tools. They are quick, easy to use, and (mostly) free. Not to mention a fun way to keep up with social media in your personal life.

Do you know of any good outreach tools for email clients? Have you been using one not on this list? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to include a link!


The post Smarter Outreach: 3 Google Chrome Extensions to See Who is Behind Each Email appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

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How does Bing’s voice search compare to Google’s?

Google remains the dominant player in search marketing, but the industry is changing very rapidly and the old certainties may erode. Does voice search provide a platform for Microsoft to compete?

A study earlier this year revealed that Microsoft’s speech recognition technology demonstrated only a 5.1 percent word error rate in Switchboard, a conversational speech recognition task. This shows impressive development and shows that Microsoft is more than competitive in this domain, but it is only part of the picture.

Speech recognition and voice recognition are significantly different. The former extracts words and comprehends what is said; the latter also understand who said it. We could frame this as content and context.

Context will be the defining factor in who becomes the dominant player in voice search, with an increasing amount of internet-enabled devices providing the opportunity for a seamless, conversational experience.

No doubt, search is at the very heart of this battle.

Bing has positioned itself as simply a more effective search engine, with campaigns like Bing It On aimed at showing users the quality of its results compared to those of Google.


Occasionally we see stories of impressive user growth for Bing, but never quite enough to suggest a significant threat to Google’s totemic stature. Latest estimates from Smart Insights put Google’s global share of the search market at 77%, with Bing on about 8%.

The signs so far suggest that Google will remain the dominant search player in the West, but the sands are shifting and it is increasingly difficult to predict where the industry will go. With a newly-announced partnership with Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft is clearly not going to give up the fight.

So, if search is the glue that holds this together, what is Microsoft’s strategy to compete with Google? We know Microsoft’s speech recognition technology is effective, but how do its voice search capabilities stack up?

Microsoft voice search: the key details

Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, is embedded into Windows-enabled devices and into Microsoft’s Edge internet browser. That provides access to over half a billion users, once we factor in Microsoft’s Xbox gaming consoles.

Cortana has a multitude of uses. It helps users navigate the Windows interface and can respond to a multitude of wider queries, powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine, for example.

Of course, mobile is a core focus and therefore Cortana is available via a range of Microsoft mobile hardware and software.

Like other digital assistants, Cortana is always ready to answer queries on a Windows device. It now prompts users to test its broadening functionalities by pushing notifications like “Ask me to remind you to buy eggs next time you’re at the supermarket” or “Would you like to know which song is playing?”

It can be a bit creepy and intrusive, but for the most part users will only really notice Cortana when they need to use it. The list of prompts is quite formulaic and Cortana simply searches a query on Bing when it can’t understand what the user wants.

Cortana voice commands

All of this functionality is at its best when a user is logged in across a range of Microsoft devices, however. The same is true of any digital assistant, but the the respective cases of Apple and Google this is simply more likely to occur.

This means that Cortana misses out on vital context, not through any technological shortcoming, but rather through the lack of mass adoption of Microsoft’s hardware.

On the software front, Microsoft fares better. There are now over 100 million monthly users of Cortana via Windows 10, and the latest edition of the Edge browser continues to bring voice search to the fore.

This is still not quite enough to make a significant dent in Google’s lead, however. One of the most searched-for technology-based phrases on Bing is [google], after all.

Microsoft’s voice search strategy

The challenge for Microsoft has always been to gain enough of the valuable mobile software market to compete with Apple and Google.

Where Apple controls a very profitable section of both the hardware and software ecosystems, Google has historically focused on its Android OS as a Trojan horse to ensure continued use of its products on a wide range of devices.

With Google Home, the Google Pixel smartphone, and Google’s soon-to-be-completed purchase of Taiwanese smartphone company HTC, the focus has shifted to hardware as the Internet of Things comes of age.

Microsoft’s Invoke smart speaker ensures it has a seat at the table, but it is the partnership with Amazon’s highly successful Echo speakers that should increase usage numbers for Cortana.


Microsoft has always fared well in the enterprise market (albeit under increasing competition from Apple and Google here, too), but the personal smartphone market has been harder to break.

Further integrations with popular platforms such as Spotify, to go along with Microsoft’s ownership of Skype, could start to position Cortana as an appealing alternative to the walled garden approach of Apple.

How does Microsoft voice search differ from Google voice search?

Although both function in similar ways, there are some core areas of differentiation:

  • Speech recognition: Cortana does this fantastically well and, although Google Assistant is still very accurate, small margins do matter in this arena. Although only a sample size of one, I can also attest that Cortana comprehends my Irish brogue much more accurately than Google Assistant.
  • Business task management: Cortana can be a huge timesaver with commands like “Pull up the latest version of my task tracker.” With full access to the Windows OS, it can locate documents quite easily and reduce time spent on laborious document searching.
  • Context: When a user is logged in across Windows products, Cortana can serve accurate contextual results. See below for an example of the same phrase searched by voice on a Windows laptop using Cortana and Google:


The differences are slight, but telling. Cortana knows that I am currently in Spain (I am using a Windows laptop), and therefore provides the kick-off in my local time. Google is not privy to this information and serves the result in Eastern Time, as my account is based in the US.

When results default to Bing, it all gets a little hairier.

I follow up by asking who will be in the starting lineup and receive a bizarre result about the USA soccer team, a news story about a Leeds starting lineup from three years ago, and some news about the Leeds music festival.

Leeds line-up

Google does a better job of this, but both lack the immediacy that integration with a social media feed would provide:
Google Leeds

This same pattern plays out across a wide range of travel, weather, and commercial queries. When Cortana can pull an immediate answer, it does so very capably; when it resorts to providing a list of search results from Bing, the quality varies. Google therefore represents a much more consistent, reliable option.

The new partnership with Amazon may open a range of avenues for Microsoft to reach a wider audience, which will only help to refine these recommendations. For the moment, Google’s superior search experience remains its trump card in the battle for digital assistant supremacy.

In summary

A graphic comparing the voice search capabilities of Microsoft and Google, respectively. Under the Microsoft section, the pros are listed as: speech recognition, ecommerce offering via Amazon, and Skype integration. The cons are listed as: voice recognition, lack of third-party integrations, and Bing search results. The devices which support Microsoft voice search are listed as: Microsoft devices, Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge. Under the Google section, the pros are listed as: context recognition, linked to all Google products, and Google search. The cons are listed as: speech recognition is flawed, shopping offering is a work in progress. The devices which support Google voice search are listed as: Android devices, Google Chrome and Chromebooks.

Image created by Clark Boyd

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