In this episode, real estate investor and self publishing guru, Julie Broad, tells us about her company, Book Launchers, and how they can help physicians become authors.
“This asset can generate income in so many ways. It’s not just the content, you now have the rights to use that content in so many ways.” -Julie Broad
In today’s episode, Dr. Jen Barna talks with founder of Book Launchers, real estate investor, author and entrepreneur Julie Broad. Book Launchers is a self-publishing firm that will take you from idea to completed book all while focusing on marketing your book to be a success. In this conversation, we hear all about Julie’s real estate investing experience and expertise. She shares her tips and mistakes to avoid. We also hear about her company, Book Launchers. She shares how a rejection from a traditional publisher set her on the path of learning everything she could about self publishing and successfully marketing a book. She took her self published book, More Than Cashflow: The Real Risks and Rewards of Profitable Real Estate Investing, to number one overall best seller on Amazon. Tune in to learn if real estate investing is right for you. Then find out if self-publishing is right for you, and how Book Launchers can help.
Julie Broad, founder of self-publishing services firm Book Launchers and Amazon Overall #1 Best Selling Author, knows what it takes to successfully self-publish a book. Her popular YouTube channel, BookLaunchers.TV, embodies the hashtag of #noboringbooks helping nonfiction authors write and market books people want to read.
Julie’s titles include More than Cashflow, which topped Amazon, The New Brand You, and her latest book, Self-Publish & Succeed. A recognized real estate investor, successful entrepreneur, and notable speaker, Julie also received the Top 20 under 40 Award for her business and community contributions. She’s been speaking on stages across Canada and the US since 2009, sharing her strategies to write a book that builds your business and have more impact and influence with your brand.
An expert on writing a book with marketing in mind, Julie teaches the best approaches to get results, make an impact, and ultimately, make more money. Julie always leaves people inspired, excited, and with clear steps to take action immediately. Her advice for authors and investors has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, Yahoo! Business, CTV, the Toronto Sun, Medium.com and many local and national TV shows.
Born and raised in Canada, Julie currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son. When she’s not busy with Book Launchers or her family, you’ll find her at CrossFit or playing poker.
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Podcast produced by: Amanda Taran
Please enjoy the full transcript below
Julie: This asset can generate income in so many ways. It’s not just the content, you now have the rights to use that content in so many ways.
[DocWorking Podcast theme]
Jen: Welcome to DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast. I’m Dr. Jen Barna, and I’m here today with Julie Broad. I’m very excited to bring you this guest, who has a world of experience in real estate investment, becoming an author, and now, has launched a company which I think you will find to be very relevant and interesting called Book Launchers, and it’s helping people to become authors. Julie, welcome to DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast. I’m so excited to have you here and I really am looking forward to hearing your story and how you have come to be where you are now.
Julie: Thanks for having me, Jen. I’m excited to be here, too.
Jen: So, tell me a little bit about how you got into real estate. You’re originally from Canada, is that right?
Julie: That’s right.
Jen: How did you get into real estate investing, originally?
Julie: I had just graduated from university actually, and a co-worker said, “This is a good company.” But you know, I feel like, “You should do more.” So, she told me to go buy a book and this was back when you had to get in the car and go to the store [laughs] to buy the book. So, I went and I bought Rich Dad Poor Dad and it was just a mind shift for me that, you know, I needed to get my money working for me and I had plans to go back to university to do my MBA. So, I thought, I can’t start a business, so what can I do? I don’t have time. I just looked and I thought, “Well, I’ve got some money saved for university that could be a down payment on a house,” and that’s what I did. [laughs]
I took the money that I had for university, and I put the down payment on a house, and I convinced my boyfriend at the time to do another one with me. So, we bought two, and then, I financed my university with student loans, because it’s much easier to get student loans than it is to get down payment money. And that’s how I started, and it was fun, and I started buying a property every year, sometimes, five, and by 2009, I was buying a house every month.
Jen: I’m very excited to talk with you about this because for anyone who’s interested in entrepreneurship, real estate investing, and of course, we’re definitely going to get to becoming an author, this is definitely a conversation to listen to. So, when you started doing that, you don’t mind me asking a couple of specifics, what type of reserve did you find that you needed to be able to manage all the things that could potentially need to be fixed on multiple properties as you were adding one a year and you’re really, in the early stages of your financial life? So, how did you come up with that reserve?
Julie: This was 20 years ago, so I didn’t have that. I’m kind of the typical entrepreneur in that I go, “Oh, that’s a great idea,” and I go do it. I don’t make sure all the lights are green, I don’t make sure [laughs] you know, everything is perfect before I take action, because then that really holds you back. Now, of course, the result is that I made a lot of mistakes, which made for a great book, which is how I got into books. I made mistakes and I started writing a newsletter to help people avoid them and then eventually, that led to writing a book. But to kind of answer what you’re saying, for me, I had an accountant early on that said, “Look, you’re making a lot of money right now,” because I was for my age and I lived like a student. I didn’t immediately get a salary and start living a big lifestyle.
I was really, financially savvy for a girl in her early 20s and I focused on paying down my student loan debt and really just trying to move myself ahead as fast as I could. But my accountant said, “Look, if a property isn’t perfectly cash flowing, you’re in a better position to buy properties and take the write offs, and write that off against your income right now, then, when you want to stop working, and you need all of that to be cashflow.” As a real estate coach, when I eventually started coaching people, I wouldn’t necessarily advocate for that because what I learned is when you have 30 properties, probably, seven of them are going to have problems all at once. [laughs]
The other thing to think about is, you don’t need 30 properties to get financially ahead. If you have three to five really solid properties in great areas that attract great tenants, they really are a minimal amount of work. We still have properties back in Canada, we’re in Vegas, and you know, we have a great property manager that oversees them, and we have wonderful tenants. They’re in great neighborhoods, there are rarely hassles. Like, we had a mold problem at one of them recently. It took a few hours of our time, but it’s minimal. So, it depends on how you approach real estate investing and the kind of advice that you take.
Jen: Yeah. So, just to pause and just reflect for a moment on a couple of things you’ve said there. First of all, going back, I love what you said about perfection. Perfection is the roadblock to “done” basically. [laughs] It can keep you from making progress. So, you’re right. As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to run with something before it’s perfect. Otherwise, you’ll just never be able to move forward. So, I love that you did that. And you took some risks and it sounds like it worked out well. So, as you say, you learn a lot of things the hard way and that’s ultimately, what you made into a newsletter to help other people, and then, that grew into a business where you were coaching other people. I also love what you said a moment ago, about how much is enough.
I think a lot of people get into real estate and they just kind of get into this acquisition mode where they just keep acquiring and acquiring. I do think one key thing to happiness and feeling, you know, fulfilled is to know what your line is, in terms of how much is enough, and what is the right number for you because otherwise, you can just be busy. You know, you can just be always overwhelmed and always have too much to do because you keep feeling that you must add, and add, and add. So, I love the idea of finding three to five properties that really work for you and I’m curious if you have any tips, I’m guessing that acquiring the property at the right price is one of the major keys to making that cash flow, and perhaps, longevity, in terms of keeping the property for a long time, but I’m really curious to hear your tips.
Julie: Yeah. Real estate’s really forgiving. I saw this all the time as people would get hung up on finding the perfect property trying to get the lowest price, and five years would go by, and they’ve lost out on five years of mortgage pay down, they’ve lost out on five years of appreciation, and there are markets that don’t consistently go up, and there are cycles, of course. But if you’re going into it with a 10-to-20-year mindset, real estate cycles up. Unless you’re buying in an area that nobody wants to live in anymore, you want to kind of think about trends and what’s going to happen in a market area. But if you’re buying in solid, tried and true areas with good employment, good government in place, that takes care of it, you know, real estate’s forgiving.
We bought a house that became a crack house. It was an absolute nightmare. And ultimately, we sold it for like, whatever somebody would pay us. And we only lost $30,000 on that. I’m saying that because this is one of the worst things that could ever happen to somebody buying a property in an area, getting a property manager that got charged with manslaughter, he was on house arrest. He was the only guy who’d managed this property and still in the course of five years, we only lost $30,000. So, I know, $30,000 sounds like a lot, but if you think about like the most giant mistake you could make and that’s all we lost, [laughs] that’s not that bad.
Jen: Oh, my goodness, what a story? Wow.
Julie: Yeah, it is. That’s why I wrote a great book because I can tell you all the things. It was completely preventable. Everything that happened was preventable. It’s just making better choices and that’s really what it came back down to is we just made some bad choices. And thankfully, I can blame that property entirely on my boyfriend at the time because I didn’t want anything to do with it. But it made for a good story for my book. So, you know. [laughs]
Jen: And your book is More than Cashflow.
Julie: The first one, yeah.
Jen: Do you have other real estate books as well?
Julie: No, that’s it. I wrote that in 2013 and shortly after, we started to pivot away from real estate. By then, I’d been doing it for 13 years. My first property I bought in 2001, and I was getting tired of it because we had turned it into a full-time job, and we had a ton of properties, and we were coaching real estate people. And it was never intended to be my full-time thing. It was always intended to be the backup plan and the retirement plan, and somehow, it just became my full-time thing. But my passion has always been on the creative side, which is why I’m so grateful for the real estate experiences, which created the stories that led me to write my first book, which opened the door to the publishing world to me, and it has led me to running Book Launchers, which is to me, the greatest company. I was always meant to run this company and create this and help people write books. If I look back on childhood, this is what I was meant to do, but I needed to do all those other things first to be able to do this.
Jen: Yes, that is a wonderful point that everything that you do along the way, you know, you may feel like you’re having roadblock after roadblock, but in reality, you’re learning and accumulating knowledge that ultimately for you has led you to create a successful company that helps people author books, not just to write books, but to successfully market and successfully become authors, and there’s a huge difference, of course, because it is possible now for anyone to self-publish. But that’s something that I’m really interested in hearing more about.
One quick question just to tie up the real estate. When you decided to launch Book Launchers, and you and your husband at that time were in Canada, and then, you decided to move to California. Was the real estate able to support you in a way that allowed you to make this huge leap into, both of you with new careers?
Jen: How did you make that transition?
Julie: Yeah, I mean, it’s a complicated story because it’s crossing a border and that brought in a whole different element of things, and we discovered something called deemed disposition. As soon as we moved and became United States residents, Canada deems all of our assets as disposed, which means we have to pay capital gains on everything, even though we still own them. So, that was really joyful. We had to sell a property just to pay the government for the properties that we still own. [laughs] So, there’s some really complicated aspects that don’t apply to most people that we went through. But essentially, we sold a couple of properties to give me seed money to start Book Launchers. And then, our real estate for the most part was providing us a secondary income to really subsidize our living in Los Angeles until the pandemic hit. Being real, we had a 30,000 square foot office building, and our tenants were actually a medical office. So, there was a giant space to them. And then secondary, we had like a blood lab place, a pharmacy and some other smaller tenants that kind of circled that.
The doctors moved out at the start of January 2020, and then, the pandemic hit, so, try filling a 30,000 square foot office building in the middle of a pandemic. So, it was really rough. So, our properties were no longer funding us, like that property was largely our cash flow. And it now became the opposite of cash flow and was very challenging. So, we had to sell other properties to cover the losses on that property while we tried to solve that problem. So, there’s good and bad to every adventure. A developer ended up buying the property because it was a phenomenal piece of land. Next time I go back there, there’ll probably be a giant apartment building.
But yes, real estate made it possible, it funded it for a long time, the first two and a half years that we were there, and then real estate funded the problems that we encountered with the pandemic and gave us a chance to kind of recover and fix that, too. So, real estate is a great backup. It doesn’t always go the way you plan it to, but I’m a big fan of having some property.
Jen: Terrific. So, tell me why someone should publish a book.
Julie: I mean, it depends. There’s no one reason. I have some clients who have done it for legacy reasons. They’re like, “I want my children to know this story in the future and I want this to be on paper if something happens to me, I want to know that this story and this advice will live on.” Most people do it for brand, and business building, and secondary income. It’s not necessarily that the book will generate tons of income. My first book did phenomenally well, and it still pays me a little bit. Maybe, $200 a month now, like nine years later. The other books, New Brand You, my second book, doesn’t pay that much. Self‑Publish & Succeed is probably $400 to $500 a month. So, there’s some passive income from the book. But it’s the fact that it’s now an asset.
So, looking at it like a piece of property, this asset can generate income in so many ways. It’s not just the content. You now have the rights to use that content in so many ways. So, sometimes, it could be translated, you can sell off foreign rights. Some people get the opportunity to turn it into a television series, others will have audiobook, and large print, and workbooks, and courses, and it all evolves from this first piece of property, this intellectual property that you put into a book. Talks can come out of that as well. There’re so many ways to make money from this first piece of content. It’s also a really great door opener.
So, look in your field everybody, probably has the same medical credentials, right? Very similar. There might be specialists but even the specialists all have very similar credentials. So, how do you differentiate yourself? A book, you’ve now written “the book”, on “the subject”, and your colleagues haven’t. So, that’s the differentiator for a lot of people to get out from the crowd of people that have the same credentials as them.
Jen: So, do you recommend nonfiction versus fiction?
Julie: For the purposes of making money, building a brand and growing your business, yes. [laughs] Fiction has interesting business aspects. We don’t work in it. For a lot of reasons, it’s really hard to sell fiction books. A lot of the fiction authors will write 12 books before they start selling any and that’s a hard model for a lot of people. That’s my experience in non-fiction anyways. I read 20 non-fiction books for every fiction book, if not more. So, I have the expertise there that I don’t have in fiction.
Jen: That’s probably the case for most of our audience as well. I would think it’s definitely the case for me. Tell me about your experience with self-publishing versus publishing companies?
Julie: Yeah. So, I mean a lot of people think that they need to get a traditional publisher. In my own personal experience, I kind of felt like I had to be chosen and I wasn’t a legitimate author if I didn’t. I had built a platform in Canada to the point where a couple of publishers had kind of said, “Hello,” and were interested in me. I got in a really serious conversation with Wiley and I told them, “Hey, I’ve got this book idea. I’ve had this crack house. I’ve had some other problems.” They said, “Oh, you know, another general real estate book, no.” So, they said, “We’re interested in working with you.” So, I was like, “Okay.” And they gave me a book idea. We went back and forth on this proposal, which is really unusual.
The vast majority of people who want a traditional publisher have to write a book proposal, and then, they pitch it to an agent, and then, the agent will decide if they want to take you on, and then, they’ll shop you to the traditional publisher. So, it is very unusual that I was in direct talks with the publisher. So, I assumed I was getting a book deal. We went back and forth for three months. I paid people to work on this proposal, edit it, develop it with me, and the publisher gave me feedback. At the end of three months, they sent me an email that said, “I didn’t have a strong enough platform to sell books.” So, first, they rejected my idea, now, they rejected me, and I was really devastated. But it was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me. Because when I eventually recovered, I realized that I still wanted to write a book and I was going to do it because I believed that my message would help a lot of people. So, self-publishing was the only option.
But I didn’t just self-publish. I decided that, you know, if I’m going to self-publish, I’m going to do it better than if I had gotten a book deal. So, I was going to make this book, everything a traditionally published book was and probably more. So, I went headfirst with a vengeance into all things, self-publishing, and publishing, and marketing, and I took my book to number one overall on Amazon. So, ahead of Dan Brown, ahead of Game of Thrones, with this niche, non-fiction real estate book that was self-published. I did really, really well. But it was powered by vengeance. [laughs] But it was phenomenal because in that first 12 months after, if I had gotten a book deal and done the same, which I don’t think I would have, because the support that I got for that book was largely because of my story behind it.
But if I had, I would have made less than $8,000 in royalties from the traditional publisher. And I made almost $100,000 being self-published, and I got to talk to TV companies, I had the rights to everything, I turned it into courses. I made tons of money from that book that I couldn’t have made from the publisher, and by the way, I wasn’t even going to get to write the book that I really wanted to write with the publisher, I was going to have to write the version of the book that they wanted me to write. So, that’s why I love self-publishing for rights, royalties, control, you know, to me it’s everything.
Jen: Like you did with the crack house basically, you came up on a situation that some people would interpret as a failure and you turned it into a learning opportunity that actually catapulted you forward into a whole world of opportunity that you would have not had, had you not had that rejection from the publisher, for example, or you know, the crack house situation, it sounds like you’ve learned a ton from that. So, similarly, from the rejection you were motivated to figure this out and that’s not a small feat to have figured out how to author a book that would become a bestseller and to accelerate to the number one spot on Amazon. So, I can definitely appreciate how you would be bringing that knowledge to other people because that can cut a huge learning curve for everyone that you help. How long did it take you in investment of your time to sort through all of that?
Julie: I don’t even know. Like hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of hours. At the time, my real estate coaching business was going pretty smoothly and I didn’t have kids yet. So, I had a lot more disposable time, if you will, to invest in it. But the writing of the book itself was hundreds and hundreds of hours, but the research that went into doing what I did and the networking, it was probably thousands of hours, if not more to do that. So, that’s why I started Book Launchers because people don’t have time for that and hiring people. I made mistakes too, as I did this.
And I can tell you from hiring at Book Launchers like hiring, training, vetting, the people for every piece of the puzzle, we have somebody on our team that almost exclusively does hiring these days, because it is such an intense job, and then to make sure you’ve got the right person, you got to test them and go through the whole thing. So, it’s really, really labor intensive and I don’t think the vast majority of people writing non-fiction books have the time or the energy for it. So, our team does so much of that for you that you can bring your expertise, and we can turn it into a book, and it’s still work. There’s no way to avoid it but it’s a lot less work when somebody else is doing all of the pieces, and project managing, and overseeing all the people involved.
Jen: So, tell me about that process. I think our audience, myself included, our biggest limitation, I think is time. And we may have ideas, we may even have outlines of books that we would like to write, but you know, we do not have the time to get those finished. So, what would you recommend for someone in that situation and tell me about how your business model works and whether that might be a good fit?
Julie: Yeah, I mean, we’ve worked with quite a few doctors. I’ll answer this in two ways. So, the first way is, I’ll tell you the advice that I have, having worked with the physicians and different kinds of specialists that we’ve worked with. One is that, the people who have succeeded have said, “Okay, Thursday night is my book night,” and they’ve made a two or three-hour time period that’s sacred every week. Some of them have office days. So, they’re not seeing patients. So, they’re able to carve out part of that day. But regardless, it was those people that were able to you know, with the exception of when they had to be in an emergency, that was sacred, like that was their book time.
And then, they would meet with their writer. So, we have writers and they would meet with a writer that night or then, if they’re not meeting with the writer, they’re reading what the writer’s written or when they get to editing, they’re going through what the editor has done. And they’re able to get through the process in about a year, you know, 12 to 15 months just committing two or three hours, but making it two or three real hours, every single week. But the other ones that didn’t do that, this one book is two years and counting, we’re still working on the book because she works on it when she has time. [laughs] It’s tough because her time is limited. She has kids and she’s got a very busy practice. That’s my first advice, you’ve got to find two or three hours a week that’s sacred and that is your time. And if you don’t have that, it’s going to be a very painful process.
The other thing is to get out of your head. [laughs] Because I find we have perfectionists, which is great, you know, with my own doctor, I want you to care about the details. Like that’s something that’s really, really important. At the same time, when it comes to a book, perfection is your enemy. Perfection is the enemy of progress. So, you really have to get out of your head and trust the team to carry you forward and to make your book good. Then, the third thing is to remember who your reader is. We had one book that was written by a doctor for doctors. But the other books we’ve worked on were written for the people they wanted to help and they weren’t doctors. So, you need to write for your reader.
So, if you’re working with a ghostwriter, just because you use a big word, it doesn’t mean that’s the word the ghostwriter should use. The ghost writer needs to write in your voice, but a voice that would communicate clearly to someone at a grade eight level, what you’re trying to say. Not at a grade 12 level with big words that everybody has to have a glossary for to understand, because it would be a very hard read. So, we help with all that and there’s a whole process that I can take you through, but I thought those would be really relevant points for anybody listening if they’re thinking of writing a book. [laughs]
Jen: Definitely. So, at what stage would an author come to you? Would they come to you with an idea, would they come to you with a first draft? Tell me about how that process works.
Julie: We’ll work with you from any point from idea to first draft, sometimes, a first edited draft. Because anything past that we have a hard time developing the concept and making sure it’s marketable. Our ideal is for you to say, “Hey, this is what I want to write about,” and then, we build it with you. We have a story expert on the team. We actually have a couple story experts. And their job is to figure out what’s the outcome of the outcome for your reader, which is essentially our marketing hook, who that reader really is. Because it’s not a demographic. I really tend to see a lot of people come in and they’re like, “Oh, it’s women between the ages of 35 and 55” and I’m like, “That’s not good enough.” Like, I don’t know how to market two women between the ages of 35 to 55. Even if I had the budget of Coca Cola, I don’t know how to market to those people. We need to get specific, and understand the problem they’re trying to solve, and how you are the unique solution to that problem.
So, the story expert helps you craft that and then, also, builds a story arc, even though it’s non-fiction, a story arc into your book so that it’s an interesting and engaging read. And then, we pair you with either a writing coach or a writer. I would say, the vast majority of busy professionals will go with the writer option, but not always. Some people do want to try writing it themselves. Once you’re through the writing, we move into editing and design, and we start working on book marketing. Because one of my fundamental beliefs is they’re not separate. A lot of people write the book, and then they figure out how to market it, and that creates a gap. So, I mean, that very first conversation with the story expert, you’re figuring out the marketing hook of the book, while your book is in editing, we’re doing pricing competition, keyword research, we’re layering that into title, subtitle, brainstorming, writing your description, we’re brainstorming chapter titles, so, they are potential talks, they’re potential courses, they’re potential income streams for you in the future.
And then, we’re talking about influencers in this space. We have a researcher on the team who does all kinds of great research to help the marketing efforts. All while your book is in editing, so that we know what we need to do to make you stand out in the process. And then, we set all the distribution up for you, but everything belongs to you. You keep all rights, royalties, all the accounts are yours. We’re not in the middle of anything. And then, we move into marketing, which is the super fun part to get your book into readers hands where we pitch you for podcasts, and live appearances, and bookstores, and libraries, and depending on your goals, maybe, speaking engagements and things like that.
Jen: Fantastic. So, how would someone reach you if they’re interested in pursuing becoming an author?
Julie: Yeah, the best thing you could do is go to booklaunchers.com/7steps. So, seven steps. That’s a download to walk you through really thinking through some of the elements that you would need, whether you’re working with us or writing it on your own, in terms of your audience, your hook. One of the mistakes a lot of people make is just go, “I’m going to write a book” and they sit down and start writing. And in the 7 Steps, writing doesn’t actually start until Step 5. So, there’s a bunch of things you want to do before you even start writing and this download will give you that, and it also gives you my email address, so you can just hit reply and contact me directly that way.
Jen: Fantastic. I love the concept of the marketing tying in from even before the writing begins, because that’s really, ultimately, the key to success that I’m sure a lot of us as potential authors might miss. Depending, I suppose, on your goal with the book, but if selling books is part of the goal, then, that is critical and brilliant to have a team behind you to do that.
Well, Julie Broad, More Than Cashflow is your real estate book, and Book Launchers is your book writing and launching company, and I really appreciate you coming to talk with me today on DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast.
Julie: Thanks for having me.
Jen: I look forward to speaking with you again and getting an update.
Julie: Sounds good.
Jill: Are you distracted with dreams of retirement, even though it’s a long way off or are you living from one vacation to the next? Does it feel like your day is filled with dreaded duties instead of fulfilling work? You may need an experienced physician coach to walk you through a system to help you find joy and meaning in medicine again. You want somebody who has a lot of experience working specifically with physicians and who has a track record of helping doctors get content and happy at work again.
Amanda: I’m Amanda Taran, producer of DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast. Thank you for being here. Please check us out at docworking.com and please don’t forget to like and subscribe. Thank you for listening.