On this week’s episode of SUCCESS Line, I talk to the Money Editors at SUCCESS, Julien and Kiersten Saunders. They have built a brand teaching all things money, and their first book is coming out in 2022. So they came on the show to play the role of students, to learn a bit about how to successfully launch their book.
What I remind them is that it is not called the New York Times Best Writers list; it’s the New York Times Best Sellers list. In order to launch anything—a book, product or service—you need to tell the world that you are there, and you need to sell.
This was a powerful and inspiring conversation and can be valuable for any entrepreneur preparing for a launch. If you are looking to cross the finish line yourself, read on for my top three takeaways.
1. Everybody likes to market and nobody likes to sell.
It’s simple. If you want to be successful, you have to learn how to sell. Someone (re: you) has to raise their hand and say, “I am taking responsibility. I am making a personal commitment to sell.” It is not enough for people to simply hear about your book or product—you need to make sure actual financial transactions take place.
So many authors naively defer the responsibility to sell to their publishers, but publishers don’t actually know very much about selling. They make books, they edit books, and they distribute books. They don’t talk to consumers and convince them which books they should buy.
The responsibility is on you to generate demand. If you’re the author (or any type of entrepreneur), you need to say, “My success is up to me. I’m accountable and responsible for the results of my life and my business, and I’m not going to leave that up to chance.”
If you don’t feel confident selling—and I’ll say this as humbly as I can—please go to my website and check out my pressure free persuasion course. In it, I help mission-driven messengers learn how to sell. Because you can’t help anyone if they don’t know you exist.
2. Prepare to leave it all on the table.
When you launch a book, product or service, you need to leave it all on the table. Realize that you are entering the “harvest season,” a concept I talk about in my first book, Take the Stairs.
The world operates on seasons. Farmers plant seeds in the spring and harvest their bounty in the summer. Baseball players train in the winter before entering the bright lights of the stadium in the summer. The season of the harvest is the time to decide to intentionally imbalance your time, energy and resources in one direction in order to see results.
If you want to create a breakthrough moment, you need to deliberately skew your attention for a short period of time, just like a farmer might work late into the night in August in order to harvest all of that season’s heirloom tomatoes. No farmer sits back and expects the tomatoes to magically pick themselves, and neither should you.
This is the conundrum of the starving artist. People assume that if their art is good enough, consumers will find it. That is baloney. It is not other people’s job to find you. Part of your art is making your work known; marketing is art. If you don’t market your work, then your artistry will be incomplete. No one will find you, and you put far too much effort into your creations to not have anyone hear about them. So when the harvest season comes, put in every last bit of effort you can muster to get your work out there. I promise it is worth it.
3. Leverage your relationships.
There is one big and common mistake that people make when launching their book or product: They try to market their work to a bunch of strangers, thinking they’ll somehow get Oprah or Reese Witherspoon to talk about it.
Well, good luck with that.
You don’t want the success of your book or product to be reliant on a gamble. You cannot leave your life’s success up to chance. We all have these fantasies that someone else is out there who will help us. But there is no marketing fairy godmother waiting with a horse-drawn carriage and glass slippers to take you to the ball. You have to build your own momentum and, hopefully, some luck will get added on top.
How do you build that momentum? By leveraging the relationships you already have. A close relationship to someone with a small following is more powerful than a distant relationship with someone who has a large following. Ask your family members, friends and fans to activate. Write up some emails they can send out or create graphics they can share on social media. Start with the people closest to you, who already trust you, and ask them to help you promote your book or product. If they all activate their networks, the ripple effects will follow.
Remember, there is no single New York Times best-selling author. There is only a best-selling team.