Creating a bestseller – part I
In this three part series, I am delighted to introduce Linda Janssen of the award-winning Adventures in Expatland as a guest poster. Here, inspired by the amazingly successful Jack Canfield, she shares the nuggets distilled from his recent webinar into bite-sized nuggets of inspirational goodness. Here goes:
Getting to Where You Want to Be, Part IRecently I had the opportunity to listen to an informative 90-minute webinar in which Steve Harrison, publisher of ‘Radio/TV Interview Report’, interviewed Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise. The topic was ‘How to Get Where You Want to Be as an Author/Speaker’.
This enormously successful genre of Chicken Soup ‘inspirational anthologies’ by Canfield and co-founder Mark Victor Hansen now includes more than 200 titles, with over 115 million books sold in 41 languages. Canfield has also written such highly acclaimed training/coaching books as The Success Principles, The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor and Dare to Win.
Originally a teacher, Canfield became a teacher-trainer, than moved to training/coaching corporate clients. Today he sees himself as a ‘Teacher for Humanity, broadening my classroom for bigger impact’. His finely honed mission statement? ‘Inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in a context of love and joy.’
While the entire conversation was full of incredibly useful tips and insights, I’d like to share the highlights of this fascinating interview on marketing and selling books.
Unless you let people know about the book, no one is going to buy it. It took Hansen and Canfield eighteen months to get the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book on the bestsellers’ lists. During that time they interviewed other best-selling authors on the keys to their success; they looked for patterns, and developed a marketing plan.
We make our own luck…we attract luck and good things to us. Canfield is a huge van of visualization, and he wants authors to think and act like a marketer. He and Hansen visualized success for everything they wanted to manifest. They’d spend 8-9 minutes every morning discussing and ‘seeing’ their goals. They’d take the New York Times Bestsellers List, replace the #1 title with the latest ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book title, make copies and post them throughout their offices to reinforce their visualization. They would visualize the entire front window of bookstores filled with their book. Today the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is its own category, floor to ceiling, in most US bookstores. He still uses a vision board animated screen saver on his computer displaying his current goals and updates it as needed.
Dream Big. In an interview with former NATO Commander and US Presidential candidate Wesley Clark, Clark said ‘It doesn’t take any more time to dream a big dream than it takes to dream a small dream.’ Canfield explains: ‘When asked, we’d always say that we’re writing a best-selling book…The law of attraction kicks in, allowing people, resources and ideas into our lives to achieve our goals.’ He goes on to add ‘Every goal I’ve ever had and visualized has come true. Not necessarily on the exact time line or schedule, but we did succeed.’
Books travel by word of mouth. By going out and promoting your book, you help put success in motion. He mentions that realizing how important marketing was, and that it wasn’t ‘beneath him’, caused ‘a shift in attitude…and understanding of what was important: learning the tools, principles, techniques and strategies to sell books’.
Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket. Canfield uses this Biblical phrase to illustrate that you needn’t feel awkward about self-promotion. You can think and act in a proactive manner to market your book without cheapening yourself. If you’ve mastered your craft and believe that what you’re writing about will help others, solve problems or contribute to the greater good, then you don’t want to deprive others of this important thing.
Every book is like a child, with both a masculine and feminine side. The feminine side is writing the book, giving birth. The masculine side is getting out and learning the business side of promoting what you believe in. You are responsible for supporting this book. Develop that extroverted side of yourself to promote yourself, get media training (for television and radio), study internet marketing and use of social media.
Decide you deserve to succeed...You should expect to succeed. Set your goals high. Canfield and Hansen ‘sleep well at night knowing we’ve made a difference’ with their book series. Despite their publisher initially laughing at their sales goals as being unrealistic, they went ahead and proved him wrong (making him a wealthy man in the process).
Get Into Action. ‘Stop watching, get off the couch and go do something…you’ve got to take action!’ The Teacher in Canfield leads him to say, ‘The Great Curriculum Developer in the sky gives you ideas. But you have to act on them.’ Use affirmations to reinforce your visualization. ‘Learn marketing, stay focused, take action, keep going.’ Despite colossal success, Canfield continually attends new seminars and conferences, taking copious notes and learning more about publicity and marketing. He considers himself a ‘student/practitioner of the newest and latest practices’.
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