Why He Spent $1M to Sell 55k Copies of His Book, “Ask” with Ryan Levesque

ryan le

In episode #355, Nathan will meet with Ryan Levesque, author of business methodology book Ask. Ryan wrote his book as a unique type of “business card.” It was a marketing tool for his “Ask Method” for businesses. After putting $1 million into his book, Ryan is now seeing the benefits, with tens of thousands of copies sold and a viable business in the education industry.



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Famous 5:

  • Favorite Business Book? – The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  • What CEO do you follow? — Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Don’t be so afraid, man

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:16 – Nathan introduces Ryan Levesque, author of Ask
  • 01:55 – Ryan wrote the book as a business tool, “a business card.”
  • 02:40 – The first half of the book tells his personal story, a polarizing element for the book.
  • 04:08 – more than 55,000 copies have sold.
  • 04:35 – He was introduced to a publisher with no royalty, and his second book will have an advance
  • 05:18 – He spent $1 million of his own money
  • 05:42 – The biggest expense was advertising
  • 06:28 – “If you’re writing a book to make money on the book, you’re going to be disappointed.”
  • 07:16 – His advance for his next book is a six-figure advance–around $250,000 to $500,000 would be ideal.
  • 08:15 – One mistake was to use partners to sell the book.
  • 09:00 – Podcasters were the one group that understood giving out free books.
  • 09:30 – He met with several podcasts each week.
  • 10:20 – Ryan originally wanted to drive traffic to the “Ask Method”
  • 11:30 – They are now exclusively an education company.
  • 12:05 – He made over $1 million a year on his different platforms, and eventually a business hired him for $50,000 up front and 5 % royalty.
  • 13:00 – He shifted to focusing on larger businesses.
  • 14:00 – He works with different markets and learns about how to refine his business.
  • 14:50 – Today they help students apply the methodology to their business.
  • 15:28 – The book and the program work hand-in-hand.
  • 16:28 – Go to askmethod.com for articles and downloads.
  • 18:36 – Ryan does the Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Make your story personal.
  2. Don’t write a book to make money—if you do, you’ll be disappointed.
  3. Considering using a book as a promotional or marketing tool.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.