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This Navy SEAL Built A Million Dollar Book Empire With 0 Employees

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This Navy SEAL Built A Million Dollar Book Empire With 0 Employees

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Jack Carr is a former Navy SEAL and the author of the bestselling book series, Terminal List.
  • Terminal List is a novel about a Navy SEAL who is wronged and seeks revenge.
  • The book series has sold millions of copies and has been adapted into an Amazon Prime show starring Chris Pratt.
  • Jack Carr's writing process involves:
    • Outlining the story in detail before writing.
    • Writing the first draft quickly without editing.
    • Revising and editing the draft multiple times.
  • Carr finds that writing in the morning works best for him.
  • He also finds that listening to music helps him focus while writing.
  • Jack Carr is traditionally published, but he also self-publishes some of his books.
  • He has found that self-publishing can be more profitable than traditional publishing.
  • Carr also makes money from speaking engagements and merchandise sales.
  • Jack Carr believes that masculinity is about:
    • Being responsible.
    • Being accountable.
    • Being a good father and husband.
  • He also believes that it is important to be a standup person, even when it is difficult.
  • Carr discusses the importance of integrity and honesty in both personal and professional life.

Launching a book how Red Bull launches a drink (00:01:15)

  • Jack Carr, a former Navy SEAL, has built a successful book empire without any employees.
  • He identified gaps in the publishing industry and capitalized on them by creating high-quality packaging and personalized experiences for his readers.
  • Carr's "Terminal List" series is known for its action, adventure, and high integrity, attracting a large and loyal following.
  • He personally selects merchandise and ensures the highest quality for his readers.
  • Carr sends personalized gift boxes to influencers and supporters, facilitating the promotion of his books.
  • The "Terminal List" series has been adapted into an Amazon Prime show starring Chris Pratt.
  • Carr estimates that over 10 million copies of his books have been sold.
  • Carr prioritizes the happiness of his readers over the financial success of his books.
  • Carr believes his background as a Navy SEAL has contributed to the success of his books.

6 books in 6 years (00:07:30)

  • Started writing the first book in December 2014 while still in the military.
  • Books released annually since 2018, with two books releasing in 2023.
  • Seventh book in the series, "Red Sky Morning," coming out in June 2023.
  • First non-fiction book on the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing releasing on September 24, 2023.
  • Weaves a lot of history into his books, including topics like viruses and Ukraine before they became current events.
  • Initially defined success as getting a publishing deal.
  • Inspired by John Grisham's success after writing "The Firm" following the initial rejection of "A Time to Kill."
  • Has since achieved significant financial success with his books.

Manifesting success from age 11 (00:09:41)

  • At age 11, the author decided he wanted to be a writer and a Navy SEAL.
  • He noticed that all the books he read had the phrase "number one New York Times bestselling author" on the cover and set that as a benchmark for his own success.

Defining your own calculus (00:11:36)

  • The author does not consider being a "number one Amazon bestseller" or "USA Today bestseller" as a true measure of success.
  • For him, success meant achieving financial freedom and controlling his schedule so he could write.
  • He had always been a writer and gravitated towards English classes in high school.
  • He was inspired by the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" to write his own novel, "Savage Son."
  • While in the military, he focused on reading both fiction and non-fiction.

Lessons from Mr Ballen and other SEALs (00:13:35)

  • Mr Ballen, a successful YouTuber, started by telling scary true crime stories on his channel.
  • He has millions of subscribers and has a billboard in Austin, Texas.
  • Mr Ballen's success is attributed to his great storytelling delivery.
  • Ex-SEALs like Mr Ballen demonstrate creativity, which was crucial for their success in military operations.
  • Being creative and solving problems quickly was essential for SEALs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Mistakes on the battlefield could have severe consequences, but writing allows for more time to find solutions.
  • Mr Ballen's book-writing process involves outlining and giving himself a year to solve any challenges in the story.
  • Unlike split-second decisions on the battlefield, writing allows for more time to find solutions and avoid mistakes.

Made-to-stick branding (00:15:23)

  • The author of "Made to Stick" emphasizes the use of specific and relatable examples to make ideas memorable.
  • A local newspaper in North Carolina achieved success by featuring local people and their friends, creating a sense of familiarity for readers.
  • The author's books include product mentions to add authenticity and provide context for characters, especially those in law enforcement or the military.
  • The author includes gear guides and gift guides on his website, some with affiliate links, but monetization is not his primary focus.
  • The author's affiliate link is primarily for enjoyment and to support small businesses, seen as a way to give back and offer assistance.

How to build an audience today (00:19:44)

  • The former Navy SEAL author built a successful book empire without employees.
  • Initially hesitant to monetize his website, he saw podcasting as a way to provide value to his audience while maintaining authenticity.
  • In today's competitive market, he emphasizes the importance of creating new readers through various platforms like podcasts, social media, and blogs.
  • The author admires Ryan Holiday's multi-platform success, including books, emails, merchandise, a bookstore, and a podcast.
  • He recently expanded his team with a chief of staff and additional members to support his growing business.
  • The author's latest book, a 150,000-word project, extended the writing process, and he hired assistants for limited interaction.
  • As of yesterday, his team consists of six people, marking a new phase in his business evolution.

The writing and launch process (00:24:10)

  • The author describes the challenges of being a one-person operation, handling all aspects of writing, marketing, and fulfillment.
  • He emphasizes the need for help but acknowledges financial constraints that prevent hiring additional staff.
  • The author compares his situation to starting a computer company in the 1970s, where he had to build all the parts and market the product himself.
  • He recently hired six people to manage the Hollywood side of his business, as he has multiple projects in development.
  • The author describes the process of putting together a team for each project, including a showrunner, director, lead, and production team.
  • He then takes the package to Netflix, usually through a production company he has a relationship with.
  • The author juggles multiple tasks, including writing scripts, executive summaries, and outlines, as well as creative back-and-forth with potential showrunners and lead writers.
  • He also works on his novel and manages his podcast.
  • To cope with context switching, the author prioritizes and focuses on one task at a time, with some overlap for editing and generating new ideas.

Master the one-pager (00:26:11)

  • Writes a one-pager before starting a project to ensure it's worth the time and effort.
  • The one-pager is like an executive summary or the description on the back of a book.
  • Asks himself if he's excited about the project and if it would grab someone's attention if they saw it in a store.
  • Focuses on the story and honoring the reader's time, rather than following trends or writing for popularity.

Anti self-publishing (00:28:43)

  • Prefers to focus solely on writing and not worry about the production and distribution aspects of publishing.
  • Appreciates the team, production value, audiobook narrator, and regional representatives provided by Simon and Schuster.
  • Believes in the value of a traditional publisher for tasks like getting books into major retailers.
  • Does not want to adapt to the new publishing landscape by building a social media presence first.
  • Built a million-dollar book empire with 0 employees.

Modern masculinity in America (00:30:03)

  • Scott Galloway, a successful entrepreneur, author, and thought leader, discusses the current state of young men in America.
  • Galloway highlights the concerning trends of increasing suicide and depression rates, as well as educational challenges faced by young men.
  • Galloway shares his personal experience of seeking guidance on becoming a better man and finding inspiration in various books.
  • James Ree, a former Navy SEAL and author, explains how he became interested in guiding and inspiring young men.
  • Ree noticed that his books resonated with young readers, motivating them to pursue careers in the military, law enforcement, and other meaningful fields.
  • Ree emphasizes that his interest in personal growth and leadership development came naturally through his passion for reading and learning.
  • Ree identifies "Once an Eagle" by Anton Meyer as the book he most frequently gifts to individuals starting their careers in the military or law enforcement.
  • Published in 1968, "Once an Eagle" is a historical fiction novel that follows two characters from before World War I to the Vietnam War.
  • Ree explains that he writes a personalized letter to accompany the book, setting the tone and providing context for the reader.
  • The book focuses on leadership and is seen as a valuable resource for those entering the profession of arms.

Creating a rite of passage (00:33:26)

  • The lack of formal rites of passage in modern society leaves many people feeling lost and searching for a sense of purpose.
  • Historically, rites of passage were essential for proving one's value to the tribe and ensuring its survival.
  • Today, many young men are drawn to experiences like Marine boot camp or expensive weekend retreats to fulfill this need.
  • Reading books and following influential figures can also provide a sense of growth and evolution, offering a virtual rite of passage.
  • The absence of institutionalized rites of passage in contemporary society is a contributing factor to the widespread feeling of being lost.

Voluntary hardship (00:37:27)

  • The speaker is training for a 50-mile race as a form of voluntary hardship, inspired by the concept of "misogi" from Japanese mythology.
  • Misogi involves undertaking physically demanding challenges with a 50% chance of success and a rule against dying.
  • The speaker is focused on writing and improving the quality of each book he writes.
  • He views each finished book as his best work up to that point and strives for continuous improvement as an author.
  • The speaker understands the appeal of undertaking difficult challenges to test oneself.

Manifesting Chris Pratt (00:39:36)

  • Former Navy SEAL Jack Carr envisioned Chris Pratt starring in a TV adaptation of his book, "The Terminal List," even before its publication.
  • Carr also envisioned Antoine Fuqua as the director despite having no connections in Hollywood or publishing.
  • Carr's friend, who is Chris Pratt's best friend, reached out to him about the upcoming book, leading to an unexpected connection and collaboration.
  • Carr emphasizes the importance of hard work and strategic action, rather than solely relying on spiritual manifestation or visualization.
  • Carr's success is attributed to his focus on helping people, especially his fellow SEALs, and his genuine care for their well-being.
  • Carr's upcoming projects include multiple books, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as other Hollywood projects.

Hitting your mission (00:44:51)

  • Jack Carr's strategic plan involves achieving various goals, including serving his country as a SEAL, becoming a successful writer, and having his novel reach the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
  • He aims to continuously grow and add value to people's lives while pursuing his passion for writing.
  • Carr's mission is to take care of his family and combine his passion with purpose after leaving the SEALs.
  • Jack Carr has not yet reached the point of financial independence where his income from investments can fully sustain his desired lifestyle.
  • He is close to achieving this milestone but continues to invest heavily in his ventures.
  • Carr emphasizes the importance of reinvesting in growth and quality rather than holding onto profits.
  • A fan of Jack Carr expresses a desire for him to become the new "MeatEater," envisioning a lifestyle media company centered around Carr's work.
  • Carr acknowledges this aspiration and mentions his investment in "Churnin," a company that invests in brands with strong lifestyle affinities.
  • The goal is to create more content, sell products, and establish a substantial business that benefits both Carr and his audience.
  • Carr emphasizes the importance of maintaining authenticity and staying true to his audience's trust.

Jack's recommended reading list (00:48:38)

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