Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

149: How to Sell 1000 Copies of Your Self-Published Book on Day One: Interview with Paul Sohn

The average self-published book sells 250 copies in its first year and maybe 1,000 copies in its lifetime. Most authors are ecstatic if they hit 1,000 copies in the first three months. But what if you sold 1,000 copies of your book on the first day it released?

149: How to Sell 1000 Copies of Your Book on Day One: Interview with Paul Sohn

Now, there is no such thing as an overnight success. Work that lasts and resonates with your audience requires consistent effort over an extended period of time.

Without a platform, without an email list, and without a community, you could not self-publish a book tomorrow and reasonably expect anything but dead air in response.

However, if you put in the effort, do your research, and engage with influencers and your target audience to build a loyal tribe, the sky really is the limit.

This week’s guest on The Portfolio Life, successfully self-published a book and sold over 1,000 copies on the first day it released. Within a week he was connected with seven traditional publishers, landed a book contract soon thereafter, and has just launched Quarter-Life Calling.

Listen in as Paul Sohn and I talk about how to decide whether to self-publish or pursue a book contract with a traditional publisher, realizing the emptiness of a “dream job” at a young age, and redefining what it means to achieve success.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).


Show highlights

In this episode, Paul and I discuss:

  • Redefining what it means to achieve success
  • Writing a book for yourself
  • Unpacking the decision to self-publish
  • Living out the principles of your book before publishing it
  • Building an influential network on Twitter and Facebook
  • Developing a book launch team
  • Hacks and tricks to boost Amazon rankings
  • Connecting with 7 different traditional publishers one week after self-publishing
  • The supplemental benefits of creating a platform that goes beyond the book
  • Establishing a personal board of directors
  • Picking whichever publishing method aligns best with your goals

Quotes and takeaways

  • The essence of life is discovering your calling. Which will help you to live more purposefully.
  • “It’s one thing to write a book. It’s another thing to live a book.” –Paul Sohn
  • Discovering your calling and aligning your life around it will require uncomfortable shifts.
  • Follow the advice of experts without arguing to get the results you want.
  • “Your quarter-life could be the best time to discover your calling in life.” –Paul Sohn
  • Just because you write about something, doesn’t mean you are an expert.
  • Any measure of fame or notoriety can be accompanied by loneliness.
  • Simply writing a book doesn’t entitle you to anyone’s attention.


Are you planning to self-publish or traditionally publish? Why? How are you living out what you write about? Share in the comments.

Click here to download a free PDF of the complete interview transcript.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Nate

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog and conversations! Thanks for serving.

  • Charles S Areson

    I was one of the people that bought one of those first 1000. I watch Paul before and after that launch and have been very pleased in what I have seen in him. He is for real and as I said when I reviewed his book the first time I can say it is the best book on finding your calling that I have ever read and as a pastor I have read more than a few. It is also good for all ages, so if you aren’t in your 20’s go head and read it before passing it on to that 20-year-old in your life.

  • kia

    Have me on your show! Check out my book at yesloveyourself.com

  • Loved the interview, love the book!
    Tons of good takeaways and have learned a lot from following Paul’s book launch.
    He works hard! It’s inspiring. As is his story.
    I’m self-publishing my first book, on parenting, this Fall and working to get everything ready for launch.
    How are we living it out?
    I have a soon to be 13 yr old, 17 yr old and 20 yr old. I’m glad I didn’t write the book 7-8 yrs ago like I wanted to, we have gone through and learned a ton. And the book will be 100x more helpful for it.

  • Sarah Beckman

    bummer I wanted to hear about amazon hacks and tricks… didn’t hear that in this podcast. although Paul’s story is interesting, the podcast was not as practical as I hoped.

  • WOW! What a great Cinderella story! Congrats to Paul for bringing this important book into the world, and thanks to Jeff for sharing Paul’s adventure with us.

    Answering your question: I self-published my debut novel, and have been very pleased with how it’s selling (3,000 copies). It’s AMAZING + HUMBLING to have readers email to say my story has changed their lives. I’m now working on the sequel, and trying to grow my email list.

  • Bonnie French

    Thank you so much for your email and alot of information.. I have know ideas about the published part..
    I am writing a very difficult book .
    Its about my Journey though times over 45 years of riding the asphalt on motorcycles as I am a professional motorcyclist that’s owned over 200 mc & my characters or divided up into each motorcycle story.. I’m trying two coordinate. The folks And I written 26.chapters tks

  • Really enjoyed this episode. Love Paul’s story. Think I might have a few kiddos in mind for his book. 😀

  • I am a writer and I specialized at academic writings like essays, dissertations and other papers. But I’d like th write my own science fiction novel. I’ve read your books and you really motivate me and give awesome tips. Your blog is also nice! Will you please help me a bit for examle how to start and something else. Thanks!

  • KayD

    This was an interesting interview. And yes, all of the bullet points above were discussed but it did not assist the listener with any of those things. Writing a book, developing a launch team, hacks and tricks, etc. all of these were discussed but the guy simply talked about the fact that he did it. It wasn’t at all helpful to the listener on HOW to do it.

    • I agree completely. A waste of time. The old con job, all about ‘yeah I did this great miraculous thing and so can you. Now just sign up for my course, buy my book or tapes,’ etc. Rah rah rah. Ziz boom bah.

  • claire

    This was a SUPER Podcast. I took notes and will follow through on the resources. I have just sold 270 books (first self- published memoir) in 4 weeks and this interview really gave me more ideas. Thank you for helping me get back into marketing during my post launch slump. All best to you.

  • Thank you for this! You are making a big deal!