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E13: Writing a Book - The Learning Curve (61-65)

You're a salesperson now!

· writing a book

"Hey Todd, are you having a launch party?"

"Hey Todd, when are you doing a reading and signing at my Barnes & Noble?"

"Hey Todd, you must be living the sweet life. Book is out. Just sitting back relaxing, right?"

Well - maybe, no & no. When the book comes out, you'll have to decide where to allocate your dollars and time to maximize the only real inventory you have - your time! Today we dig into giving yourself a quota and other thoughts around maximizing the return / impact of your book.

Lessons 61-65

61. Should you do a “launch party”? Well, that’s up to you. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak at a large event the day my book came out, so that became the “launch party”. As I’ve talked to countless authors, the majority have done one. It can be small - invite friends out, sign books, allow those who don’t have a book to buy one at the event, or just an excuse to hang out. Then, there are the massive book launches. Check out this video highlighting a recent book launch that appears to be pretty over-the-top. Definitely not my style, but these guys weren’t screwing around. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPZYYU5qPtY&t

62. Should you do local events & book signings at your local library or bookstore? Again up to you, but think about your target audience. I could not imagine setting up a table at a local Barnes & Noble, reading an excerpt from the book, then having people come up to have the book signed. I pictured maybe 6 people, 4 of which are retired, plus maybe a couple of kids looking on wondering what’s going on. Libaries seem like an even worse place to do an “event”. The push should be towards speaking and workshops if your book is business non-fiction. Local events seem to me to be more aligned for broader topics.

63. When running your own biz speaking, consulting and training, your most valuable inventory is your time: As we talked about in Lesson 46, I quickly found that the most lucrative path is through speaking. But here’s the thing - some companies will pay a lot for speakers, some very little, and some want you to do it for free. How do you decide? For me, I think about what I’m selling. Books have very small margins, so what I’m really selling is my time. It’s all I have in inventory, and it has a capacity. At the beginning, you’ll be asked to do $0 talks. It’s something to weigh carefully. I’m ten months into this thing, demand is very high (thankfully), but I still did a couple of free events this month. Those were massive audiences that were right in my target zone. Following each event, I had multiple people approach me to discuss formal engagements with their companies. So, maximize the ROI on your time - which doesn’t always mean getting paid for that time. Sometimes your speaking time investment is marketing.

64. Get ready to sell - give yourself a quota: I’ve been in sales leadership for the past 13 years...as a multiple time SVP, a C-Level exec, or in other sales leadership roles. Now that the book launched, I’m carrying a bag like a front line seller again every single day. You’ll carry a bag again. One of the first things I did was to give myself a quota. I needed to understand what level of revenue would be required to (a) pay the bills at home, but (b) know month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter that I’m building momentum towards a sustainable business. That’s what my quota is based on, and I manage to it carefully. I also set up a basic forecasting system to manage prospects and customers. I also work on prospecting every single day - continuing to work on building pipeline. It’s lonely doing this all yourself, and sometimes it feels unsustainable based on the ebbs and flows of momentum. Establish discipline like a salesperson, and you’ll know whether your business can sustain.

65. Always be curating marketing material: What I mean by this is, when someone posts a picture of themselves reading your book or even talking about your book online, screenshot it. When you give a talk, ask someone to take pictures...even with their phone. You’ll want that collection. And by the way, if you’re truly focused on “speaking” as a money maker, the anti to get in is a speaker reel. My publisher strongly motivated me to get one put together. How do you do it? If you have a friend at a company whose team would get value from your content, ask the friend if you can speak for free at their business...even like a lunch & learn. Then hire a videographer to capture it. That’s what I did. Since then, I’ve spoken at so many events and have a ton of great video, that I’ll need to update the reel, but any event planner is going to want an example to predict what your engagement will look like.

Only five left! We'll be wrapping up this parade of learnings with a few random things - like pricing your time, translations into foreign markets, getting nominated for awards, and a final parting thought. Here it is...lessons 66-70.

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