Chris Benetti: Profitable Book Marketing

On episode #223 of The Author Factor Podcast I am having a conversation with the founder of Smart Author Media, Chris Benetti.

Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, Chris is known for transforming non-fiction authors into notable moneymakers through their books.

Chris Benetti nonfiction book author

While Chris is not a nonfiction book author (yet), his expertise and experience working with nonfiction book authors to help them sell or give away more books makes this a must-listen to episode if you are looking to generate more from your own book.

Here are 3 important book marketing tips Chris shared:

1-Leverage Your Authority: Chris underscores the immense value of a book as a credibility tool for business leaders. Having a published book elevates your expertise and distinguishes you from the competition, making it the ultimate authority-building asset.

2-Scale with Smart Advertising: Chris emphasizes the scalability and efficiency of advertising for book promotion, suggesting that it's the optimal way to distribute your book widely without the time-intensive endeavors like tours and interviews. Paid advertising allows for targeted, scalable book exposure that can significantly outdo organic reach.

3-Patience Pays Off: The conversation highlights the need for a long-term strategy in book marketing. Immediate sales are great, but the real success is found in nurturing leads over time through strategic follow-ups and funnel sequences, turning readers into recurring clients and fostering sustained business growth.

Unlocking the Author Factor: This Episode's Big Takeaway

The key author factor from this episode is the critical importance of marketing and promoting a nonfiction book effectively. As highlighted in Mike and Chris's discussion, simply writing and publishing a book, even with proper keyword selection and categorization on platforms like Amazon, is not enough to ensure visibility and sales. To truly leverage a book for building authority, generating leads, and driving revenue, authors must actively engage in persistent and consistent book marketing strategies, which often require expertise in areas like advertising, sales funnels, and understanding audience behavior. 

Chris Benetti shares the importance of book marketing...

Learn more about Chris Benetti by visiting:


Mike Capuzzi: Welcome back to another profitable episode of the Author Factor Podcast. Now today, I'm doing something a bit different and not interviewing a nonfiction book author yet. Hint, hint. Instead, I'm interviewing a really smart guy who helps nonfiction book authors make a lot of money with their books. Chris Benetti is the founder of Smart Author Media, a book marketing agency that helps business owner authors create more impact and profits from their book. He's also the host of the Smart Author Podcast, which I was recently a guest on. Thank you, Chris. Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris Benetti: Thanks for having me, Mike, and thanks for the awesome intro.

Mike Capuzzi: I always appreciate when someone makes a goodwill gesture to me first, which you did. You invited me on your show, and then we I had to have you on my show. Even though you're not a book author, what we're gonna talk about today is critically important. So I'm really excited to have you here, Chris. Tell me a little bit more. I know I know a little bit about you. I've done some research. You've had a very interesting background to, you know, bring you up to what you're doing today.

Mike Capuzzi: But why don't you tell me a little bit about your background, and then Mike importantly, what you're doing today to serve book authors?

Chris Benetti: Yeah. So I had a transition period from 2016, 2017, where I was working in mining and actually lost my job, iron ore mining. So I was a tradesman in that field, mechanical engineer. We did primarily breakdown maintenance and problem solving, in the realm. And I just had this urging desire to work in business, you know, finding Robert Kiyosaki and Tim Ferriss and all and, you know, Russell Brunson and Anik Singhal and, like, all of, like, the big names back then. And, yeah, I had a natural inclination to pursue sales funnels and work in that area, and so that kind of quickly became my wheelhouse. 2018, started a business agency, doing sales funnels. And I just built up a really good knack for doing conversion rate optimization with them.

Chris Benetti: So I found myself working with people like Rachel Peterson, Alex Charfen, and a lot of the Mike, the bigger names in the, internet marketing community in the Russell Brunson world. And mid 22, I just was kind of done with doing funnel projects on a one-time basis. And really, you know, every single month was like starting at 0 and every single month was like finding new clients and it was just like, the worst. So you know, I just I did some market research, noticed that the author market and, you know, especially people who are trying to make money with their books was being under serviced from an advertising perspective. And advertising was a newer ish skill, but something I basically bolted on to my previous sales funnel expertise. And so that really started to shape and form Smart Author Media, where we handled, everything from funnel to ads to, conversion rate optimization to email follow-up and basically everything that you need to, have an effective book marketing campaign on Amazon, on Facebook, and with book funnels, so that you can get really good tangible outcomes when we are marketing a book. And so that you can, you know, essentially take those book buyers and turn them into clients or customers on the back end.

Mike Capuzzi: It's interesting to see sort of your progression from working in the literally in the Mike to, you know, what you're doing today. And by the way, we should I should let everybody know you're you where you work from and where you work out of. It's not this huge metropolis, somewhere in the United States, for example. Right? Chris, where are you where are you, calling in from today?

Chris Benetti: I'm in Perth, Western Australia, which is about as far as you can get from Mike at this moment in time.

Mike Capuzzi: It's pretty close. I did, I think I may have mentioned this to you when we were talking about it on your podcast. I did, had a guest. He actually became a client who was from, Tasmania. So he was in Tasmania, which, you know, other end, but, still, yeah, you're it's neat to see that you're you've, you know, been able to learn so much, obviously, work with so many, well, you know, well-respected authors and business owners and entrepreneurs. And yet you're in this little part of the world that's not really exactly thought of like, it's not New York or LA or anything like that, but nice job there. So Chris, you and I both know, and the reason I was really excited to have you on my show is, and I say this all the Mike, it's ad nauseam, that writing a book before I even go down and share that yet again, I want to just preface for everybody. Again, we're talking nonfiction books that are meant to be given away.

Mike Capuzzi: The money is not meant to be made by selling the book, right, for the most part. Now maybe in your case, you do work with some authors. That is their primary thing. But, typically, for the people I'm talking to, their book is a conversation starter. It's a lead-in, and it's a way to get people to raise their hand. And I share constantly you know, people say, oh, it took me years to write this book, or I can't write it. It's taking me too much time. And really, all of that can be, I think, fixed.

Mike Capuzzi: And I really think it's the incorrect focus oftentimes. I'm not saying you don't want to write a good book. That's not what I'm saying. But you and I both know the more challenging part of an author journey, it's not the book writing or book publishing. It is the book marketing. It is that consistent, persistent promotion, advertising, you know, funnels, all that stuff. Do you agree with that?

Chris Benetti: Yes. And, I think people get to the publishing phase, the launch phase, and then they really kind of half-ass try to market their book for probably 2 weeks or 3 weeks ago. And this is hard. Like, I'm going to just stop.

Mike Capuzzi: And by the way, they thought about the day, Mike it went up on Amazon or whatever. Like, Hey, I should probably start thinking about this. So we're both in agreement that the more challenging part and it's challenging for a lot of reasons, which I wanna talk to you about today. The technology is always evolving. Facebook, Amazon, the algorithms, it's like, my head spins. So that's one thing. But in your professional opinion, Chris, if you have a timeline where, okay, let's say day 1 is when the person comes up with an idea for a book, and, you know, at the other end is the day it's published. You know, where in that continuum timeline would you suggest they start thinking about the marketing and promotion of the book?

Chris Benetti: I think Mike once you've written your, like, rough draft, and it's ready for Mike polishing phase, you can start preparing marketing assets because you know what's inside of the book. And for me, a lot of the marketing and copywriting that we, you know, produce for our book funnels just comes from the concepts from the book for the most part. So I don't really like, go all in on sales copy, if you will, like, I'd rather just like focus on what's the content of the book, what are the outcomes that it's producing. And that that kind of information is stuff that you can kind of bring out of your own head while it's fresh, and you've just kind of done the book. And that's extremely beneficial for any of your ad creative copy, you know, any of your sales funnel, your email follow-ups Mike really, you know, when we're writing the book, we've got the base content and then we've also got the call to action, especially if you're following Mark Schaefer's process. But the sales funnel should follow suit to the book as well, you know, what's the next thing that we're driving someone towards? You know, the call to action in the book will be that next thing, the call to action on emails will be the next thing, the end of our book funnel will be that next thing. And so everything as long as we're just, like, you know, putting all of our focus on making everything congruent with each other so that if someone reads your book or if someone goes through your funnel, if someone gets your emails, everything's saying the same thing.

Mike Capuzzi: I like that.

Chris Benetti: You're not Yep. You're not, you know, you're not in conflict with yourself. Yep. Yep.

Mike Capuzzi: I really like that holistic approach. Maybe I you know, it's a it's a yes. It's a very smart approach. So, Chris, let's break up this conversation into a couple of bits and pieces. Let's first talk about the book author whose book is up on Amazon. And you and I both know, and I know from firsthand experience, just putting a book on Amazon, you know, and thinking, oh, someone's going to search on how to write a book and there up pops Mike Capuzzi's 100-page book. It doesn't work like that, does it?

Chris Benetti: If you're Mike Capuzzi, it might. But, for the most part, Amazon's gonna kind of put you where it wants to put you. And so, you're kinda just like posting on social media, you're kinda at the whim of the algorithm, you know, it's gonna do what it wants to do. And you can do what you can do to, you know, make the description keyword-rich. You can do what you can do to make the book cover, you know, attractive, the book title, you know, look good, and all of that kind of stuff. But at the same time, you know, it's Amazon determining the fate of your book.

Mike Capuzzi: So just so I could clarify because I'm sitting here, like, chomping at the bit because you're so spot-on. What we're talking about is what probably most, you know, self-published folks are doing. They put it up on Amazon. Yes. Oh, I'm picking the keywords. I'm picking the categories it's going to go in. And even if you do all that right, and there's a lot of science to that, like you mentioned, there's a bit of science and things that you can do to at least increase the odds someone searching is going to find your book. But this idea of just organic searches, I'm on Amazon, and I'm searching on how to write a book, which there's literally 100, if not 1000 of them out there.

Mike Capuzzi: Just pure organic, it's probably not gonna pop up. Or it's gonna be you know, it's not gonna be surely be in the top, you know, first page is my estimation. Right? It's it is a pay-to-play environment. Is it not?

Chris Benetti: Yes. And, you know, it's just like if you're a business owner who's quite popular on Google, you wouldn't expect to be the number 1, even in the number 10th you know, ranking unless it's a local search, you know. So, like, someone who's looking for book marketing, you know, they're probably not gonna find many results, so I might actually rank for that. But for someone who's looking to write a book, there's probably, you know, dozens, if not hundreds of people who help with that. So, you know, for Mike to be showing up high in the rankings there, you know, it might make sense for him to just run some pay-per-click ads, on Google so that he is an ad in that search and he just shows up at the top and this the same concept is for Amazon. It's a pay-per-click advertising platform. You know, we can put in certain keywords that we wanna rank for and they can be, short tail, long tail, which means essentially if someone's just searching for, you know, a word, we can show for that. If someone's searching for a whole phrase, how to write a book, you know, or how to write a short book, you know, Mike would show up for that right away.

Chris Benetti: So, you know, you can put that kind of stuff into place. You can also bid on other competitors' products, other competitors' books. So if someone's looking for Rob Kosberg's book on writing books, you know, Mike might wanna run a book ad for his 100-page book right next to that. Maybe that's more attractive to someone as they're looking at Rob's book in this example. And then you've also got, like, category ads that you can run as well for specific categories, which I do love. And then the automatic ads, which is honestly the easiest advertising someone can do for their book.

Mike Capuzzi: On Amazon?

Chris Benetti: On in general, it's the easiest advertising anyone can do

Mike Capuzzi: for their book.

Chris Benetti: Yeah.

Mike Capuzzi: So here's my experience with Amazon Advertising, Yeah. So here's my experience with Amazon Advertising, Chris. It works. It has worked for me in the past. I have I have tried and I know where my skill sets lie. I'm a technical guy. Actually, I have an engineering background too. I don't we never talked about that.

Mike Capuzzi: But I could get into the weeds if I wanted to. And I can't figure out Amazon. I've had buddies of mine, you know, some of them who have created courses and books on all this stuff. And I try to go through it and my head hurts. And I can imagine how most book authors feel. Like, I know there's the onesie-twosies that figure it out, and they can run their own Amazon ads. In my opinion, it takes an expert like you and your agency to make that happen. It changes constantly.

Mike Capuzzi: You have to be on top of it. You've gotta be careful how you're budgeting, like, all that stuff. Right? I mean, it's for the average book author, I don't think it's that simple.

Chris Benetti: Well, you know, I try to make it simple with, obviously, my agency, Mike, and, you know, consulting and things like that. I have also done some episodes on it on the Smart Author Podcast as well. So, we could probably make sure that, my masterclass is linked up in there. But, you know, ultimately, it's one of those things where it's very easy, but at the same time, like, you really have to make sure that your funnel inside the book is in place. Because when we do make book sales on that platform, we don't actually get customer data. Right. And that's, you know, arguably the most important thing and the most beneficial thing that you can get when you're advertising your book. So, you know, making sure that we have in-book links Mike what our next steps are or resource pages with an opt-in, you know, or something like that where we can drive interest from the book to our own website and capture, you know, the name and email of whoever bought the book.

Mike Capuzzi: Again, Chris, thank you for reminding me that. I just sort of assume that these days, and I know I still say a huge chunk of nonfiction book authors still make that mistake. They still make the mistake of not bringing interested readers from their book onto their own media, their own opt-in, whatever it might be, so that you can. Because you're right. When you sell a book on Amazon, you don't know who it is. And Yes. You know, we're big we're big fans in the that you mentioned The Shook formula. We have different calls to action.

Mike Capuzzi: It doesn't have to be, you know, bang them over the head, but you need some way of getting someone to, you know, you know, enter your family, enter your sphere, your ecosystem, if you will. Otherwise, you know, don't yeah. Then you're just at the whim of Amazon book sales. My takeaway is if you're a book author and your book's on Amazon, you've gotta work with a professional like Chris. It's just it does make all the difference. And even that, it's still challenging, but it can it can be a huge difference. Let's move now, Chris, to this idea of book funnels. I'm a big fan of book funnels.

Mike Capuzzi: Can you give me a quick description? What do you mean by book funnel?

Chris Benetti: Yeah, so it's, there's 2 types of book funnels, there's free book funnels and paid book funnels. Free book funnels is like, hey, we just want to give someone our book for free, just enter your name and email. So this is what Mike has for his free books. And then there's paid book funnels, hey, I want to charge you to get my book. So it might be a free plus shipping offer, it might be a full price free shipping or it might be a low-cost digital. It might be a full-price digital. You know, there's many different offer formats. But, the whole concept of the book funnel is that we are exchanging details, you know, sometimes it's credit card details as well and, contact information for our book, and we're kinda bringing that into our own website and ecosystem.

Chris Benetti: So it's, you know, we're not reliant on the platforms like Amazon, overall. And the whole goal of that is lead generation, essentially, paid lead generation or free lead generation. And what we want really is to have an ideal customer who's interested in our book's topic, so that we can go ahead and nurture and send them into working with us at a greater capacity at some point in the future. And it might be after they read the book, it might be right away after they go through the book funnel, it might be after a couple of months of going through our emails. But essentially, the whole intention is let's get a lead today for an exchange of our book, whether it's free or paid, and let's go ahead and, bring them into our world, help create authority, credibility, and all that kind of stuff. Let's continue to follow-up with them with the intention of them potentially wanting to work with us in the future. So in Mike's example, his books are about writing books. You know, Mike's book funnel would essentially be, cool.

Chris Benetti: Let's bring an interested business owner in today who is struggling to write their book. They need a really good process to follow. You know, the 100-page book is awesome for helping them understand the concept of short books, short helpful books. And then, you know, maybe by the end of 2 months after they've read the book and they've Mike, you know, spun the wheels a little bit, they're like, oh, maybe I'll reach out to Mike. Mike's sending me these great emails. He's educating me about writing books every single day. He's obviously the expert in writing books. Let's look at working with Mike at this point.

Chris Benetti: Mike might have courses, Mike might do done-for-you services, etc. And that's kind of where the transition point comes in. Now, of course, you can obviously be more aggressive as the book owner as well. And you can send them text messages, you can follow them up with phone calls and just be like, Hey, I just wanted to chat and see what you thought of the, and things like that. But ultimately, it's it that's the overall intention of a book funnel.

Mike Capuzzi: And I think what something you said, Chris, and you said it sort of in passing, but it's really The another critical mantra that I use over and over again is that marketing with a book and book marketing, it's a long-term game. And you said something about, oh, maybe after 2 months of getting my emails or whatever, they might because obviously, in a perfect world, they'd get the book, and the next day, they become a client. Right? That'd be the perfect world. It doesn't work that way, typically. I've had it, though. I've had people literally call you know, set up a, you know, a meeting with me that day. They've gotten in. Or the next day, they just got my book.

Mike Capuzzi: So it can happen. That's not the norm. The norm is nurturing. Yes. They they've gotta go look at other people, do their research, etc. And a funnel, in my work you know, The way I talk about it, it's a choreographed sales sequence, in this case, for books, literally starting from advertising and promotion, ultimately to them taking whatever that step is, student, becoming a student, a member, whatever it might be, a client, and everything that has to happen in between. And it's beyond this conversation today, but they can get pretty robust. They can get pretty complex.

Mike Capuzzi: Correct?

Chris Benetti: Yeah. 100% they can. But, they don't have to be. I think that's the key. You can do a 101,000,000 things, but simplicity often trumps that, in my opinion.

Mike Capuzzi: Yeah. And it just so happens, Chris, and we're going to encourage people to go check out your resources, your Podcast, your services, and all that. But you happen to be working I think you're still working with The gentleman who was one of our first Shook clients in 2018, Nigel Moore, down near you, right, same continent as you are. And, there he is. Yeah. That was his first Shook. And Nigel was great to work with. And I saw I saw when I was checking you out, I saw his book that we did for him, and then I saw his testimonial for you.

Mike Capuzzi: Can you just The Nigel's he's not a local business owner. He's more of a global business owner. He has a coaching program for IT consultants, MSPs. I forget what that stands for at this moment in time. But regardless Managed

Chris Benetti: service providers.

Mike Capuzzi: Managed service. There you go. Yep. He he's built this thing called The Tribe, which is really phenomenal how he's grown this thing. Nigel's had some pretty nice success with you. Right?

Chris Benetti: Yeah. We've been we actually have been Nigel was my first client in Mike alta media, funnily enough. And Nigel and I, we went of the approach of a free book with a trial offer to his membership. Now, the cool thing about Nigel and his business is that his core offer his Mike big thing to work with him is just his membership. Like he doesn't have a $1,000 thing or like a $10,000 thing or anything like that. So the transition from, like, book to membership is incredibly no brainer for anyone who is interested in the book. They're obviously gonna be interested in the membership. There are no questions about it.

Chris Benetti: And the fact that it's a low price membership as well, I think he charges $47, and we offer a 7-day for a $714-day trial. We convert 10% of people who opt in to get the book into trialers for the membership. And he has an incredible, like, 95% retention of trialers. And then from membership subscribers, it's 95% again. So you can imagine that Mike out of, let's just say, 100 people get the book, 10 people buy the trial, you know, he basically might have one drop off in that in those 10 people, which is just incredible in any kind of standards for memberships and trialing conversion. But with Nigel, we've, we're probably close to giving away like 6,000 copies of his book in the past year and a half. And

Mike Capuzzi: Real quick. Are you are you literally giving it away, Chris, or is it a free plus shipping?

Chris Benetti: Literally, digital opt-in, like, hey, we'll send you the PDF.

Mike Capuzzi: Yep. Wow. So no. Wow.

Chris Benetti: Yep. So, you know, with that thought process in mind, if we were doing a free plus shipping offer, we would have lower volume of people getting the book Author, but it would be easier for us to convert people into the trial offer because they've already given us credit card information on step 1, rather than us going, hey, give us your name and email here. And then on the next step, we have to ask for credit card information. So there's that, you know, caveat, and that's like a bump in the road, but it doesn't it hasn't hurt our conversions at all, from my perspective. Just because and, you know, if anyone's looking to replicate this kind of model, it's because package price profit Nigel's book is so damn congruent with his membership Author. It makes sense for them to upgrade and get everything that he offers in there. He offers 100 of templates worth 100 of 1,000 of dollars, literally, he spent that much money developing them for his customers. So it's seriously a no-brainer upsell for them.

Chris Benetti: Now, from a results out, you know, perspective, we've probably generated over $100,000 in revenue from And at the moment, we've built up about 20,000 in monthly recurring revenue. So literally all of my agency and it's but it's, you know, it was probably the 8 months weren't profitable. So it was a compounding effect. But now literally every single month, my agency fees are covered. My, you know, the ad spend is covered, and he's making probably 10 or $15 a month on top

Mike Capuzzi: of that. That so we're you know, Chris, we may have to come back and do another interview and do, like, a more advanced because what you're talking is some heady stuff here that a lot of people may not quite get. You said something else again very, very smart in that it took 6, 7, 8 months to become profitable. A lot of people, book authors or not, you know, a lot of people get very nervous a lot quicker than that. Right? They're like, oh my gosh. You know? But then the inflection point by the way, we've created a series of book funnels in the elder law space for consumers. So a consumer book funnel, and it drives the consumer to reach out to the lawyer. And the same thing, like, it took a the inflection point is, like, 6 months.

Mike Capuzzi: The first 6 months of the book and the book funnel being alive, it's rough. It's then after it's weird how all of a sudden it's Mike after the 6-month mark is when the Author start getting clients consistently. So it's it is a long-term play. It takes, you know, it takes patience. It takes nuances. It takes adjustments. But, again, that's why working with a professional like you and your agency makes, you know, so much sense. But before we go today, you know, I wanna ask kind of a leading question, but I think it's so important.

Mike Capuzzi: I'd like to hear from you and your experience why you believe book authors, nonfiction book authors should be aggressively advertising their book.

Chris Benetti: Well, for me, I truly believe that not only books are the number one authority and credibility piece that you can create yourself better than any type of media, any type of clout that you can get elsewhere. It's the one true differentiator between two people who are offering the same service if someone has a book, then one person is instantly more credible. So that's the first point. I would say that advertising your book is the only true way that you can get it out there with leverage as well and with scale. There's a 101 different activities you can do that require your time, your effort, your energy. But advertising a book Mike Nigel would have had to do a lot of speaking tours and Podcasts to move 6,000 copies of his book, but he literally does nothing, and we manage campaigns for him, and we've done the same thing in a year and a half. So, you know, I think, a lot of people will look at that and go, man, you know, it's gonna require time, money, energy, you know, so The thing for me is that if you have someone who's skilled at doing this, and can help you leverage that for yourself, The it's an infinitely kind of scalable and maintainable campaign over Mike, that really shouldn't require much of your, your effort or your energy at all.

Mike Capuzzi: Well, Chris, listen, I enjoyed being on your podcast. I could tell you're a smart guy. I love what you stand for. I love how you conduct business. I appreciate your time today. How can our listeners who are interested in learning more about you and your services, where is the best place to go?

Chris Benetti: Yeah. is the best place. There's an opportunity to book in a marketing chat with me there as well. And, you know, no, obligations or anything Mike if you if you just want to jump on there and get some help with planning out some book marketing, book funnels, Amazon advertising, I'm all value in that spot. And if you do wanna work with us together on implementing that kind of stuff, then that'll be an option as well.

Mike Capuzzi: Well, Chris, I appreciate your time today. You're gonna have a good my day's wrapping up. Your day's just starting, so thank you very much.

Chris Benetti: Thanks for having me, Mike.