Interview With Stanley Tang – 16 Year Old Becomes a Best Selling Author
Stanley is just 16 years old and today he has released his first book called eMillionswhere he interviews some of the internets biggest successes. Stanley talks to us about how he created the book and gives us a insight into the mind of a very talented young entrepreneur. I expect Stanley to be 1 of the biggest Internet stars of 2009 and once you read this interview, you will probably think the same. Buy the eMillions Book Now
First off – can we have a little background information on you Stanley – Where you live? How old you are? (if you don’t mind answering) What motivates you? What inspires you?
I’m a 16 year old student, author and internet entrepreneur from Hong Kong. What motivates me is my passion for the internet – do what you love and the success will follow. I love what I’m doing and I’m excited by the whole idea of coming up with creative ideas and turning them into successful ventures.
1) Tell us about your main project, eMillions ? Why did you launch eMillions ? What was the best part of creating your own Book?
eMillions: Behind-The-Scenes Stories of 14 Successful Internet Millionaires is a new book that I’ll be releasing this month. This is actually going to be one of those real, physical, print book published by a major New York Publisher – not an ebook. It is basically a collection of interviews I’ve conducted with internet moguls about their rags-to-riches STORY of how they got their starts, how they overcame adversities, and what they did to shoot themselves to the top of the charts.
I first came up with the idea in July 2007, when I was just a raw 14 years old, and started the interviewing process in October 2007. So it actually took me 15 months to get this completed (just goes to show how much I procrastinate…um I mean how difficult it is to publish a book). I created this book because I am inspired and motivated by stories of entrepreneurs, so I thought many others will be interested in those stories as well.
The best part was obviously getting to talk with all those internet millionaires over the phone, such as Mark Joyner, Yanik Silver, Willie Crawford, Rob Cowie (producer of The Blair Witch Project) etc..
2) I understand that you will only earn $3 per book sold, why did you decide to create a printed book rather than a eBook which you could of sold for $67 per eBook sold?
Yes indeed. I get 20% royalties from the profits and the price of my book is $19.95 (remember there are still costs) so you can work out how much I make per book. I don’t actually make most of the money from selling the book, but instead, using the book.
Let me explain:
David Hancock, founder of Morgan James Publishing, once said “An Entrepreneurial Author is an author who knows that they will make the most money from what their book does for them—not from the royalties of that book.” For example, you use your book to help position yourself as an expert in your niche and build credibility. Another way is to use your book as a frontend and help drive the backend sales (which is what I’m doing here with my eMillions book launch). A book is a perfect lead generation tool to attract people into your marketing funnel.
I go into a lot more details on this in a blog post I wrote a couple of months ago.
3) How did you manage to interview 14 of the most successful internet millionaires? Do you have any tips to persuading people to be interviewed by you?
You’ve just got to be able to write a good email proposal that outlines what you want from them (in this case, an interview), what the project is about, what’s in it for them (this is vitally important – in this case, I listed out the benefits in bullet point form) etc. I sent out hundreds of email proposals and most didn’t reply. Many rejected my interview request. Just understand you will get rejects so don’t take them personally. However, you’ll also be surprised at the people who say Yes back. I was never expecting a reply from Mark Joyner, Yanik Silver, Rob Cowie but surprisingly they said Yes.
I go into a lot more detail on this at: http://www.emillionsblog.com/how-to-write-a-killer-interview-proposal (video of the email proposal template) http://www.emillionsblog.com/getting-the-expert-interviews/
You’ve also got to be determined and persevere. With the case of Yanik Silver, it took me FIVE months for him to say Yes and actually get the interview conducted. I first emailed him in October 2007 and that time he said he was busy and email him back later. So I emailed him back later in November and once again was busy and told me to email him back in February. When the time came, I emailed him again and we were finally able to get it done in March. It just goes to show that sometimes you’ll get what you want if you are persistence enough. I just want to take a quote from my book:
“The success of the idea is sometimes determined by your determination to make it so.” -Mark Joyner
4) What advice would you give a young entrepreneur trying to promote their first Book?
I just want to say that any young entrepreneur out there able to actually write and get it published by a major publisher is a major achievement in itself, because I’ve been through the process and I can tell you it wasn’t easy.
When it comes to promotion for the book, I believe it’s very important that YOU have a STORY of some kind if you’re looking to create buzz. You’ve got to have some sort of message that will appeal to their interests. Then I would recommend you to put together some sort of product launch strategy – so things like creating buzz, building anticipation, educating the marketplace etc. Pretty much the same way you would do a product launch for a digital product, except you direct the visitors to Amazon. I also would tell them to go on “virtual book tours” and get yourself featured in major publications and blogs, whether its a book review, an article or an interview (which is what I’m doing right now )
And finally, your book actually has to have CONTENT in it, not just fluff and filler, but something of VALUE. Look, clever marketing and promotion strategies will only last so long… it’s really the book that’s going to generate the
word-of-mouth that drives the sales up to #1 status on best-seller lists.
5) You are offering a One-Time-Only deal to “Get Over 12 Hours Of Unedited, Uncut, Raw, Uncensored Audios Of All These Super-Stars Being Interviewed!” Why should Retire at 21 readers be buying this?
Yes. Anybody who purchases my book from http://www.emillionsbook.com will get a chance to upgrade to the deluxe package which consists of the audio interviews. You see, when I handed in my manuscript back in April for the book, my publisher actually rejected it because it was “too long” so I was actually forced to trim it down from 130,000 words to 80,000 words.
So what I’m offering here with this one-time-offer is for you to grab the full, unedited interviews which includes the 50,000 words that has been left-out – all the pure content and insights that’s only available from this package. Also, these are actually the original audio recordings to the interviews so you actually get to hear their emotions, their voices, where they emphasize what etc – you just don’t get that from reading a book. You get to download these interviews, listen to them in your iPod or in your car.
6) What issues to you come into while writing and producing the Book, did being only 15 make things a lot more difficult then if you were a adult? How did you over come these issues?
Well, being 15 wasn’t really the biggest obstacle, because back then I was too scared to reveal my age, so nobody actually knew I was so young I guess the biggest issue was trying to conduct those interviews at the right time zones. It wasn’t easy doing this especially if you live half way across the world so pretty much for most of the interviews, I actually had to conduct them at night (anywhere from 8pm to 2am). Plus, I had school the next day so it was pretty difficult.
7) Do you have any suggestions for coping with set-backs, negative experiences?
I’m definitely not one of the best person in the world at dealing with set-backs. In fact, that was the question I asked to the internet millionaires. When it came to this project, there was many many many times where I felt I wanted to just give up and couldn’t cope with the level of stress. But you just go to push yourself and persevere. Understand that if you started this then you got to take it right to the end. You can never ever just quit half way. This goes back to the point I made earlier – do what you love. You’ve got to love what you’re doing because when you love what you do, you will never give up.
Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on? (You can name more than one person)
Many. I look up to Steve Jobs. He’s a great example of somebody who creates great innovate products of value, which I talked about earlier, and somebody who does what he loves. He’s probably one of the most confident person in the world when it comes to doing projects and never doubts himself ever even if others tell him it won’t work (the iPhone was a great example of this). I also look up to Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google, Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Kevin Rose etc.
9) Do you have any favourite business related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
I highly recommend Rich Dad Poor Dad. That was the book that got me started with business and opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective on the subject of money. Seth Godin and Donald Trump’s books are also pretty good. And of course, eMillions <— shameless plug
10) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Take action. You can come up with great ideas, plan your strategy out, dream for as long as you want, but if you ultimately don’t take any action, then nothing is going to happen. It doesn’t matter whether you’ll get it right or get it wrong, you just have to take that first step. Once you are able to take that first step, then the rest will be a lot easier.
11) You are one of the most famous Young Entrepreneurs in the world today – based on your experiences, what advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur starting their first business today?
Wouldn’t exactly consider myself one of the most famous young entrepreneur in the world – just an ordinary teenager I just have to say to the teenagers starting out in business today is to make sure you’re able to balance it well between business and schoolwork and know what your priorities are. I always felt that schoolwork always come first and make sure you keep up with your studies. I don’t believe high school students should be thinking about dropping-out at this. If you are a teenager, then you should do what a teenager should do – hang out, games, play. I just simply treat this as a side hobby. There are still plenty of time left in your life if you want to get real serious. So just make sure you balance your time properly between business and school. Time management is key.
And one more thing, make sure your parents are 100% supporting you if you are to start out doing internet marketing or business. If not, then it’s going to be a pretty difficult journey.
12) What do you like best about the Internet?
It provides a new medium of communication. It allows you to meet new people that you would have otherwise never be able to do so if it wasn’t for the internet. I’ll definitely wouldn’t have been able to get in touch with all these people for interviews, create new joint venture partnerships and start my own online business. The internet makes all these things a lot easier. I really love this quote from Jermaine Griggs (one of the featured millionaires in the book):
“I think that if I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I probably wouldn’t have had as much desire to change things around. Only on the Internet can someone start where I started with absolutely nothing and turn it into millions.”- Jermaine Griggs
13) What do you like least about the Internet?
But at the same time, this new medium of communication is also the downfall. It definitely cuts out a lot of the social interaction, face-to-face meetings. It’s not a good thing to just sit in front of your computer all day and not talking to a single person. This is what I don’t like about it.
14) Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
I currently have a few more projects happening after my eMillions book launch. I’m currently in the process of developing this new search engine (can’t go into too much details as I’m working with partners) as well as this new charity organization promoting art and music with a couple of friends of mine here locally in Hong Kong (giving back).
It’s going to be pretty unlikely that I’ll release anymore info-products in the internet marketing niche. I’m focusing myself more towards the tech/web 2.0 side of things. But I’ll still be updating my personal blog and sending out updates to my subscribers over at http://www.stanleytang.com
My long-term plan is to create the next “big thing” on the internet like Google, YouTube, Facebook etc. I guess this is my ultimate vision that I’m working towards. I have no idea how I’m going to get there yet, but I believe if you have a clear target in mind, then hopefully the “how” will naturally come out. I know it’s pretty ambitious, but hey, likeDonald Trump says, “If you’re going to think, you might as well think big”
Thank you very much for the interview. Please go check out my book, eMillions: Behind-The-Scenes Stories of 14 Successful Internet Millionaires either at Amazon or at your local bookstore
If you would like to ask Stanley a question, he will be answering them on the Retireat21 forum .