Tucker tells us about his transition from “asshole author” to entrepreneur, how he co-founded Book in a Box to almost immediate success, and why he had to fire himself as CEO to grow the company.
Today’s guest, Tucker Max, is co-founder and chairman of Book In A Box. If you’re not familiar with Tucker, he has written three #1 NY Times bestsellers that have sold over 3 million copies worldwide. He is only the third writer (after Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis) to ever have three books on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller List at one time.
We’ve also mentioned Tucker a couple of times in the past. In episode 9, Chris Dessi talked about using Book in a Box to write “Remarkable You.” In episode 26, Brent Underwood chatted about how instrumental Tucker was in starting the online marketing startup Brass Check.
We’re going to learn about how Tucker Max successfully transitioned to an entrepreneurial lifestyle through constant messaging, about the launch of Book in a Box, and about the major overhaul they had to make within the company to grow.
In this episode, you’ll learn from Tucker:
- 4:50 – Background about Tucker’s time as a very successful “asshole author,” and the process by which he transitioned into an angel investor and the chairman of Book in a Box
- 5:40 – “I’m kind of in a unique situation in that my personal brand was not really a business brand, it was an entertainment brand. I wrote about … acting like an ignorant 20 year old.”
- 6:00 – Shifting away from that brand seemed difficult at first. “What I actually realized was I could use it to my advantage … I didn’t even have to try to be anything … because their expectations were of this demonic, drunken ass hole. The bar was set so low, it was so easy for me to come in over it.“
- 8:25 – “A big part of shifting out of a lifestyle is messaging that.”
- 11:25 – An overview of Book in a Box. “We’ve developed a process to turn your book idea into a book, without you having to sit at a computer typing for thousands of hours over the course of a year.” It’s a structured interview process.
- 14:00 – “Some of the greatest books in Western history were not actually written down by the people who wrote them. Socrates never wrote a word down, Jesus never wrote a word down, Buddha never wrote a word down, Malcolm X never wrote a word down.”
- 15:00 – “I knew the process of writing a book, but I had to get everything out of her head.” Tucker developed a series of great questions to get information out of his client’s head, without knowing anything about the topic.
- 16:55 – Book in a Box almost grew by accident, and almost grew too fast. “We sold $200,000 of stuff without even marketing it … that is the definition of product-market fit.”
- 19:00 – The first stage of writing is called positioning, which is basically figuring out what book you want to write.
- You actually don’t start with the topic
- 19:10 – There are two questions you have to answer when you start writing a book:
- Why are you writing the book? What result do you want for yourself to come out of writing the book?
- Who am I trying to reach with this book? What audience do I need to get in front of to get the result that I’m looking for?
- 20:45 – Once you know why you’re writing the book and who you need to reach, the next question is “What do you know that is interesting and valuable to the people you want to reach?” If you have an answer, that’s what you’re book is about. If you don’t have an answer, don’t write a book (or learn something valuable).
- 21:55 – Structure is step two in the process. “That’s basically writing the table of contents. What matters is not what you think, but what the audience wants to know.
- 23:35 – After they have an outline, the content interviews begin. The conversations are transcribed, and then the same editor who interviewed the client edits the transcription into book parts.
- 26:30 – The process usually takes six months, and Book in a Box even does the publishing. “Everything from idea all the way through to finished, published book.”
- 27:50 – “Pretty much every book we release we get to number one in Amazon in their subcategory.”
- 28:15 – “There’s no such thing as book marketing, because almost every book has to be marketed differently.”
- 30:05 – In under two years, Book in a Box has made about $5 million in revenue, and they just had a $1 million quarter.
- 30:20 – Every time the company grew, it almost broke the company. Tucker fired himself as CEO so that the company could scale better. “We were throttling the growth of our company.”
- 34:10 – In four months, the new CEO of Book in a Box, JT McCormick, questioned everything and turned the company around. “He just knows how to scale a business, which is totally different from starting a business.” They grew 20% last quarter, and Tucker expects to grow 50% next quarter because of him.
- 39:35 – The next step for Book in a Box is designing cohesive media platforms for authors.
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Book in a Box
- Brass Check
- “Remarkable You” by Chris Dessi (affiliate link)
- “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan and John King (affiliate link)
- “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” by Tucker Max (affiliate link)
- “Mate: Become the Man Women Want” by Tucker Max (affiliate link)
Answers to Quickfire Q&A:
- If you could chat with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
- Edward Bernays. “He’s the dude who basically invented modern advertising.”
- Name a tool, app, or website that you can’t live without and why.
- Slack, “because it connects our entire team.”
- Tell us something unique and interesting about you that not many may know.
- Tucker gets up every morning with his son at 6:30 and makes him breakfast. “The first hour of every morning for me is cooking for my son and playing with him … it is pretty cool, I will admit.”
- What is your favorite business book and why?
- “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan and John King (affiliate link)
- “Basically the book made me understand that … everything in business is part of tribal identity.”
- What is the top characteristic or trait that you look for in people you work with?
- A deep desire and willingness to learn, and being open to learning
- What is something you believe, but few others agree with you?
- “I believe that we are entering a new epoch, a new economic era in human history, where the only scarcity is going to be attention.”
How to contact Tucker:
You can reach out to Tucker at BookInaBox.com.
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