In last week’s post, we covered my top 3 recommendations for what to do when the idea of climbing the social media ladder’s got you down. I received a cluster of emails from writers saying they felt relieved. That they’d been worried they weren’t doing enough, or enough of the “right” things for their social media platform building, and the post gave them hope.
Hot damn! (Although one gal wrote to me that she thought I was mean and wanted off my list immediately, believing that when I asked in the title if you ever “feel” like a social media loser, I was calling everyone losers. Just for the record, that would make me a GINORMOUS BIG FAT LOSER, but I digress…)
For those of you who don’t yet have Your Big Beautiful Book Plan—where Danielle LaPorte and I give the lowdown on the many ways to build platforms in depth–or even if you do and want a refresher+ on how to make yourself irresistible to agents & publishers despite no social media skills whatsoever (with a real life hot example), you’re in the right place. Ready for more? Here we go.
4. Rockin’ the Airwaves
Getting yourself on radio is a quick and easy way to build your status as an expert (and sell stuff right away, if you have products). When you’re on air, always mention whatever free download you offer on your site so people will be inspired to visit and sign up for your newsletter/email list. It could be anything. Your top 5 tips. A recipe. An ebook. I’m in the process of changing my opt-in now to a comprehensive book proposal template, which I’ll send to everyone who’s already on my list as well. If that’s you, keep an eye out so you can see how I’ve upgraded my offer.
Back to radio: You may have heard me talk about this before, but I’ll give you some quickie thoughts. Being on the radio sold many more thousands of copies of my first book than being on national TV shows. Why? Because something like 75% of Americans listen to the radio every day. They’re a captive audience, and often listen for HOURS. Oh, and they have jobs (that’s where they’re going), thus, money to spend on you. My friend Alex Carroll sells the best database of top radio shows and an incredible tutorial to make it easy. Steven Covey said that he sold 25 million books in great part because of this guy. Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) told me the same thing. I’ve recently bought it myself and am working it now for my app, The Boyfriend Log. Even if you’re not ready or don’t want to, at least keep radio as an option for your future, k?
5. Online Interviews
Ever notice how many summits, tele-courses, blog + interview shows there are online lately? Gazillions. Here’s the attitude I want you to take: they’re looking for YOU. Danielle and I have done dozens of interviews for YBBBP. Here’s an example. Each time we do, our lists grow, as do our sales and our platforms. Mostly, we get those interviews the old fashioned way: by sending them a note (email) saying, “Hey! We love your show. We’d love to come on and talk about ___, _____, and ____. Wanna play?”
Seriously. Sometimes (often) it’s that easy. We explain the value their people will get from hearing what we’ve got, and we’re booked. Try it!
6. Guest Blogging
Aside from writing your own blog, again, there are lottsa blogs on your topic (or topics you can hook into to). The authors of those blogs are looking for content. But even if they don’t appear to use guest bloggers, send them one of those cute emails and say, “Hey, everyone goes on vacation, right? Don’t you think it’s time you took a well-deserved break for putting so much great content out into the world? I’d love to gift you some free content so you can go play with your kids for a week.” (If that’s your angle, though, read their blog to make sure they have kids.)
Like all good things in life, it all starts with relationship. Heck, I’ve got two amazing women I work with who were both strangers I didn’t know I needed until they wrote me fantastic “Hey, here’s who I am, and what I can do for you” emails. It worked for me. It may work for you. When you introduce yourself, tell them what topics or revelations you can share with their peeps. Send a sample, or a link to other things you’ve written. If what you’ve got is good (it is, right?), they might just jump to highlight you to their list and expand yours.
7. TV. TV. TV.
We’re all so focused on the non-stop opportunities of the online world that we can forget that TV also has a bottomless pit need for content. And, it can be so much easier than you think. Case in point: one of my Carmel girls, Barbara King, was interviewed on CBS KCAL 9 at noon yesterday (she’s a stylist and did a closet makeover on air). And, here’s the cool thing: Barb was so excited to get going that she never even shopped her book to publishers–she just self-published and without any platform at all, has been creating her own good fortune. Start with a simple pitch/press release and contact your local station. (The big morning shows, Good Morning America, Today show…) will want to see tape. If you can tie your topic to the news, all the better. Hiring a publicist can shortcut your process, even if you can only afford one for a few months. Perhaps look for one who charges only by the booking.
(Tip: If the idea of going on TV scares you, ask yourself why. Are you feeling shy or out of shape? Would a makeover or session with a media coach give you more confidence? Would talking with someone about your fears help you step out in a bigger way? Get to the root of what’s blocking you, and take daily steps to build up your mojo. P.S. This isn’t an ego thing. The world needs what you’ve got.)
8. Special Events
If you’re selling a French cookbook, can you have the hottest French restaurant in town (or the funkiest) host your book party? Serve food and drinks at 6 pm, and add in a luminary or two (local celebs, perhaps a well-known chef), and you’re more likely to get the media there. I did my first book signing at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in L.A. and served enough delicious food and drink that we were swarmed. I promised a few celebs, too, which didn’t hurt with getting the press to feast on pot-stickers and egg roles. Use what you’ve got, whatever you’ve got.
9. Hosting Workshops, Seminars, or Tele-courses on Your Topic
Give some of your best information out for free so people see the value in your work and trust there’s more where that came from. I love the trend I’m seeing in many top proposals these days… where the author gives away a free tele-course or event to people who email a copy of their receipt for buying the book. Bottom line: show publishers that you’re a partner in selling your book and they’ll be that much more excited about signing you.
10. Raving Testimonials
Can someone HOT in your field sing your praises? Include well-titled people, who may not be famous, but have street cred for whatever reason–they worked on a rocket that flew to the moon or have a PhD after their name.
Don’t forget to shoot for the moon yourself. That’s what I did when I reached out to Ed Begley, Jr. at one of his local speaking gigs back when I was writing Generation Green. Guess what? This green superstar with a TV show on Discover essentially said my son and I had written a blueprint for a generation, and that every school needed it. Not bad, right? I guarantee you 100% it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t asked.
Before I go, remember last week when I asked a few agents to weigh in on this platform-building business? Ken Atchity, a longtime agent and film producer here in Hollywood (his company = Story Merchant) gave a cute answer. After that blog ran, he and I kept emailing and I asked if he had any specific examples of books he’d sold to publishers for authors with NO platform or social media so that I could report back to you in this follow-up post. His answer made me laugh out loud because I’d totally forgotten this case study about a proposal I co-authored. Ha!
Here’s Ken’s answer:
“San Fernando Valley attorney Dennis Walsh had no social networks, but a great story. Story Merchant sold it to Thomas Dunne Books, then made a deal with Marc Platt Productions for it to be a major motion picture. It’s now in development with Hollywood’s biggest agencies suggesting stars and directors for it. Don’t tell me it can’t be done!”
Fabulous. Hope that inspires.
Have any awesome examples of what you’ve done, or questions about your future empire building? Leave ’em here and I’ll get back to you : )
Yours, Linda xo