Creating a bestseller – part II
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. Today’s post is all about my favourite marketing tool of all -giving. Here goes:
Getting to Where You Want to Be, Part III recently 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’, and Canfield shared a wealth of information, insights and tips to help any author market and sell his or her book(s).
As co-founder with Mark Victor Hansen of the more than 200 titles in the ‘Chicken Soup’ franchise and author of highly acclaimed training/coaching books such as The Success Principles, The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor and Dare to Win, Canfield has sold more than 115 million books in 41 languages.
In Part I, I highlighted some of the core beliefs that fuel Canfield’s continual quest as a ‘student/practitioner of the newest and latest practices’ in marketing and publicity. Today we look at some of Canfield’s specific suggestions for selling books.
If you’re going to be successful, be a giver. Canfield has read The Go Giver books by Bob Burg and John David Mann, and subscribes wholeheartedly to this concept in all aspects of life. Giving begins with writing. He counsels ‘be the best you can be as a writer’; don’t be seen as an exploitative writer who throws out a mediocre product to capture the passing wave of interest on the latest trend. ‘Learn the craft of writing, put in the hours, get feedback…do the work to really write a great book.’
Identify a charity or cause to receive a portion of the proceeds. Canfield and Hansen do this regularly because the benefits are threefold. First, the charity receives financial support and public awareness. Second, ‘people love to be part of more than just buying a book’. Third, the recipient organization often starts helping to advertise or sell the books.
Give away chapters or articles for free use. Initially this may seem counter-intuitive: if you give away a key portion of your product, why would anyone buy the book? Doing so not only garners publicity and generates interest, but also establishes trust in your product. Canfield offered excerpted portions of Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul which ended up in more than 75 parenting newsletters across the US. The result? Tens of thousands of copies sold.
Give free talks. Most authors know to do the obvious book readings. Canfield suggests seeking out groups and organizations that might have an interest in your topic and offer to speak gratis. He is adamant that ‘the Universe always gives back tenfold.’ In addition to making sales at the back of the room after the talk, he maintains every free talk given led to selling more books or being hired for work with new companies or clients. As he puts it, ‘It is impossible to give without receiving’.
Give away your books. Canfield and Hansen read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point , which speaks of connectors (people with a special gift for linking us up with others) and mavens (people who accumulate knowledge and ideas and share them with others). Canfield’s advice is to look for connectors and mavens, and give them your book(s). For one of their books, they gave away 2500 books to such influencers, and ended up selling half a million copies. ‘If you won’t give it away free, you’re not passionate about it.’
Become a joiner and network, network, network. ‘Get into the right room, and you’ll meet wonderful people.’ Canfield talks about the ‘power of environments’, believing that people are generally weakest in the environments of money and networks. ‘The fastest way to develop a network is by getting into one.’ Look into professional organizations, associations, conventions, conferences and seminars in your field(s) of interest (e.g., a writers’ association, expat groups, etc.). Once there, be sure to volunteer your time and efforts. Pay your dues, literally and figuratively. Sharing an amusing yet effective anecdote about passing trays of hors d’oeuvres and drinks early in his tenure with one association, he counsels ‘join the hospitality committee and work your way up.’
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