Posts Tagged ‘networking’

You’ll Sell More Books if You Don’t Sleep on the Plane

Zach Hall is just a guy – a guy who one day decided NOT to sleep on the plane and, zach hallinstead, talk to the person next to him. From that one instance, he made a shift and began talking to people on every flight. Some wanted to engage – others were, well, sleeping. But the thing is, this process of endeavoring to engage changed his mindset, and it led to a book called … drumroll, please … Don’t Sleep on Planes.

This is his Twitter picture, so you get the feeling he’s a bit of an extrovert, anyway, right? But there’s still a lesson in his method for all of us. One piece of advice I give to every author I meet is to know who their ideal reader is – because it’s really challenging to market anything when you don’t know who the audience is.

But right behind that is a complimentary suggestion: be fearless in talking with everyone you meet about your book. That doesn’t mean clubbing them over the head with it – or walking up to a stranger and saying, “Hi, I’m Laura. Would you like to buy my book?” It means looking for openings – and when people ask you what you do (which the alllllways do), tell them you’ve written (or are writing) a book.

The inevitable next question is, “Oh? What’s it about?” So have a good, engaging answer prepared – but keep it short. If they’re interested, they’ll ask more. If they’re not, don’t chase them down to tell them about what a good book it is, how long you worked on it, how it’s suitable for all ages, and how they really, really need to buy it.

don't sleep on planesNow besides being an extrovert, Zach has another seeming advantage: he works in the marketing department for the Arizona Diamondbacks, an MLB team that made the playoffs this season for the first time since 2011. One thing that changed once Zach wrote his book was that he stopped talking about the Diamondbacks when he was out on his own time. He made business cards to promote his book and a baseball cap that says “Don’t Sleep on Planes,” and when people ask him what he does, his first answer is no longer that he’s in marketing for a baseball team.

Has Zach has leveraged his position with the Diamondbacks to his personal advantage? Of course. But before you start whining that you “don’t have a job like that,” think about the opportunities the work you do outside of writing does offer you. What kinds of people do you meet? How willing are you to talk with them on a one-on-one basis about anything other than work? How willing are you to advocate for or support the things they’re doing in their lives – be it their fitness efforts, their kids’ cookie/giftwrapping/calendar sales, or the fundraiser for their spouse’s pet charity?

An important rule of success is showing up – but it’s not just THAT you show up, it’s HOW you show up. Do you want to be left alone to sleep on the plane, or take a chance and talk to the guy in the seat next to you who happens to own a multi-million dollar business, invites you to speak at a training seminar for his staff, and buys 100 copies of your book? It’s totally up to you.



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Lead Magnet - dog

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

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When networking comes full circle

People tend to either love networking or hate it. I remember when I first moved to Phoenix and a VERY connected woman I met asked me, “Do you know So-and-So? How about this other So-and-So? What about the So-and-So from that important organization?” I didn’t know any of them – and what’s more, I was flummoxed at the expectation that I should know them. How does one get to know such people? I remember thinking.

One gets to know such people through networking.

OK, so is networking the best way to market your book? Not directly, perhaps, but there are loads of ancillary benefits that can help you indirectly.

As we’ve established, I didn’t know anyone when I first started my business. So I networked my little butt off. For my first year or so in business, I had two, maybe three clients. So I kept networking. And between finding my own clients, I spent a lot of time connecting the other people I was meeting to each other. I’d go to an event and meet a tax attorney. Then I’d go somewhere else and meet someone who mentioned in conversation that they were looking for a tax attorney. So I’d connect the two. There’s actually an art to doing this that I’ll discuss in a later post, but the general gist was that I put a lot of people together. It’s easy to do when you listen well. And when you don’t ask for anything in return, it creates a ton of goodwill.

Eventually the leads started coming in for my business – and it began growing. That was 10 years ago, and some of the seeds I sowed all those years ago are still paying off in referrals today.

One of the first people I met through my slowly burgeoning network was my friend Connie, an impressive international sales trainer. Connie works on the self-sabotaging mindset that keeps people from prospecting and self-promoting. And she, herself, is fearless.

Last week, we attended a local meeting of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), and Connie shared a success story that contains a great tip for almost any business owner, including you – my dear Marcie Brock readers. A few years ago, I introduced Connie to a website called Help a Reporter (HARO). Have you ever wondered where news sources like The New York Times, NBC, USA Today, or national radio broadcasts find the people they interview for their stories? Often, they use a site like Help a Reporter.

Through this site, you can register to become either a “source” or a “reporter.” As a source, you plug in your areas of interest and you sign up to receive daily e-mail alerts with news queries on those subjects. As a reporter, you can submit a request to find a source on almost any topic under the sun. And, the “reporter” status is loosely enough defined that you can register as an author, a blogger, or simply as someone conducting research in a given area. (There are a few caveats – please see the comment below.)

Best of all – there is no charge for the service. That’s right – it’s completely free. Each e-mail begins with an ad – and these notices go out to tens of thousands of sources daily, so the ads really pay off for the advertisers. This site gives you the chance to become a source for major organizations like The Wall Street Journal as well as smaller venues like our very own Marcie Brock’s blog. So chances are that if you’ve written a book, you’ve got some specialized knowledge – and a stroll over to Help a Reporter could prove extremely beneficial to you.

It sure proved beneficial to Connie. She answered a HARO query a few months back from a CNN reporter and was quoted in the reporter’s story. Then Connie followed up with the reporter, asking if she might be interested in a column Connie had written on the same subject as the initial query. The reporter said, “Sure!” I edited the column, Connie emailed it to her, and the reporter used parts of it in another story. Connie then followed up again, asking the reporter if she knew of any organizations looking for speakers on this same topic. Guess what – Connie has booked speaking gigs in Dallas and San Diego as a direct result of this follow-up call, and three more cities are pending!

Morals of the story

I met Connie almost a decade ago through networking. She’s become a great friend and a valued client. I shared with Connie the useful information about signing up for HARO, and she jumped on it. She’s landed at least a half-dozen opportunities from it – but this latest one was huge. And Connie brought it full circle by sharing her success at our ABWA group. She gave me credit for introducing her to HARO, but she created her own goodwill by passing the info along to the other members.

I’m guessing you can do the same in your own spheres of influence.

Here’s to great networking, maximizing leads, and marketing your book!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


There’s still time to get in on our 10-week program: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS. It starts Sept 5 and goes for 10 consecutive weeks. Sign up for single classes or pay for all 10 and receive a 25 percent discount. Week 1: Facebook Fan Pages (9/5/12); Week 2: Twitter (9/12/12); Week 3: LinkedIn (9/19/12); Week 4: Pinterest (9/26/12); Week 5: SlideShare (10/3/12); Week 6: YouTube (10/10/12); Week 7: StumbleUpon (10/17/12); Week 8: Ning (10/24/12); Week 9: Blogging 1 (10/31/12); Blogging 2 (11/7/12).

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Look BEYOND your network to build your author platform

I was interviewed today by a self-publishing consultant for a new program she is putting together to guide first-time authors through the publishing and marketing processes. As is common in these interview scenarios, the interviewer sent me her questions ahead of time. The following is one of the best questions I’ve been asked in a long time.

What if an author’s own personal network
is not interested in their particular book?

Although the natural place for an author to begin growing their platform is with their current network, the fact is that the people in your network may NOT be interested in this particular book.

What then?

A few things…

(1)  Do your research. Go back to your reasons for writing the  book in the first place. Determine WHO your audience is and WHY they are interested in it.

(2)  Next, answer some questions about this target audience:

  • What are their demographics (age, education, marital/parenting status)?
  • What are their psychographics (personality traits, values, attitudes)?
  • What kinds of books, magazines, and Web sites do they already read?
  • Where, how, and with whom do they spend their time?
  • To which organizations and associations do they belong?
  • How can you best gain access to them, both virtually and in real life?

The answers to these questions will be your jumping off points for building your platform.

(3)  Don’t dismiss that uninterested network so quickly. Now that you’ve got some concrete data about the audience with whom you want to connect, comb through your personal network to determine who among them is ALREADY CONNECTED to any of these people and ask them to make the appropriate introductions for you.

(4)  Call on your personal network to become your ambassadors. Say you’ve morphed from your traditional topic of sales training into merchandising, and your personal network isn’t really interested in a  book on this subject. They are, however, hard-earned and loyal fans. So leverage your credentials and goodwill with them by calling on your network to share your new book topic with their own networks. The worst they can do is say no in which case you’re really no further behind than you were before asking. Best case scenario, someone from your existing network opens a door for you to the perfect liaison to help you grow your platform!

If this is your first book and you don’t already have a sizable platform, growing it will take time. But with diligence, consistency, and quality content and communication, you can do it. It’s never too early to start!

Happy platform-building…



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Are you emphasizing the SOCIAL in social networking?

Social media is content that is created by the users, from music to videos to copy and more. Social networks are the vehicles through which we share much of that content. I find that while many people have heard how important social media is as a marketing tool, an overwhelming number seem to forget that all the emphasis belongs on the word SOCIAL.

A helpful reminder may be to recall how we conduct ourselves in face-to-face networking scenarios. How gung ho are you to “do business” with a person whose only real specialty is the Business Card Shuffle? Probably not very, if you’re like most people. So why, then, do so many of us have a tendency to revert to that obnoxious sort of behavior online? How is it that we so often forget our first priority in social networking: being SOCIAL? Our goal, first and foremost, is to initiate, enhance, and preserve relationships.

I came across a fantastic post this morning by Srini Rao about a terrific success he had with actual real-life relationship marketing. As always, I encourage you to absorb the content and look for ways Srini’s success might be applicable to your book marketing endeavors.

Wishing you good relationships and abundant business!



One of the biggest benefits of relationship marketing is the ability to elicit powerful testimonials from satisfied clients. Visit Write | Market | Design to download a special report about making the most of your testimonials.


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