How I got headhunted to write a book for the UK’s Leading Publishers
Okay so I’m no expert on this, however since setting up my business many years ago I’ve come to the national attention of the right people and organisations (even the Home Office and most national newspapers!) in what I wanted to achieve. And so since its been asked (a lot!) in the last few months, here’s the answer to the question that everyone seems to want from me (accept the 2nd most asked question which is “when do you have availability I want to work with you!);
- What is it you want to achieve? For me from the start I have wanted to be a published author so it was very much part of the plan and to be part of the plan it had to be a clear, finite goal. If you want to get published how does it factor into your goals for this year? And for the record if its a wishy washy “I’d love to be an author” I’m giving you the big X Factor noise you hear when you get it wrong! Your goal has to be so clear you can see your book on the shelf in W H Smith’s (like mine is this month!). You can feel it. If you aren’t sure what that looks like check out me telling the world after a year of keeping my mouth shut about the book. (Now that’s excited!) It still makes me laughing watching this!
- Now work out the detail. What’s the plan? You don’t just have to know what you want to write about. What actions do you need to take (and its more than just writing!) See point 3.
- How will you be good for your publishers? You see there may be thousands of people that can write the book that you want to write so how are you going to be good for your publishers? Firstly you need to appreciate that publishers will have an agenda and if you don’t fit, don’t give up. I first took my first book to The Louise Hay Foundation, who despite loving it said it was too business focused for them and so they couldn’t use it. Not only did they wish me luck they gave me 2 publishers contacts to contact. Which leads me onto Point 4…
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. You will have to man up and accept that there could be some failure on the road to success, obvious right? But when Louise Hay Foundation said no and gave the contacts I went back and got the right contacts to speak to and asked what to say. Also when the dialogue began with my fabulous publishers I was prepared to stand up for what I wanted in the book. Ultimately you both want a book that will sell and people will fall in love with for years, so point 5 is important.
- Know when to back down. On some points you will be absolutely right to fight your ground since you are the expert in your field. But also know when to listen to your publisher. (They are the experts after all.)
- How do you look online? To get that book deal I think it is critically important that you look good online and I’m not talking the right outfit here. Get out of your head for a moment and think about what matters to the Publisher. They want to work with someone who will make life easy for them, which means you will make sales happen without them doing anything. If I was to find you online would I be able to guess what you want to write about? If not then how are you going to stand out and get headhunted to write that book? Remember I was head hunted to write a book and it came down to EVERYTHING I do whether it seems like a flippant post on Facebook, Instagram pictures, a YouTube video or a blog article it is always in the areas and topics that I want to be known for. There is literally years of content from me always talking about the same topics. That is how the publishers found me. (And its lead to one of my websites being a top UK resource for female entrepreneurs. (The Business Womans Network.)
- What will they find? The publishers found me first on LinkedIn, and it was compelling enough to have them clicking through to my website, and hopping on over to my YouTube channel. And do you know what that wonderful editor said to me in our first conversation (after “I found you online and liked what I saw”) was “we loved your passion”. So 2 points here, firstly every place your name exists online and off line, ensure it looks good. Your brand is going to sell you and I’ve worked with enough people to help them work out a) what is it I want to be synonymous with? b) does everything on line tell people this? (This is also critically important for that lovely sales funnel of new clients naturally coming to you. So whether you want a book deal or not, its very important. Secondly let your passion show. Yes that means you may need to share a viewpoint different to anyone else, and yes you could end up standing up for that viewpoint, but publishers don’t want the book that already exists. They want originality, they want a book that will sell!
- Get seen. Points 6 and 7 lead nicely on to point 8 that the publisher is going to want to know that you can get in the press and get that book seen. So how do you ensure you do that now? Check out my Marketing Production Line to help you on that one, I can even get in the press sat on a beach with my phone turned off, actually I had no idea where my phone was! They need to know that you can get that book the exposure it needs and keep it seen. How will you ensure that book sells? Your publisher will want proof of that, possibly before your chapters are ever seen!
- Be consistent. I personally feel (and I reitereate I’m no expert on getting book deals however I would say I know what I’m saying – looking at my clients results – good at helping you become a thought leader.) that you need to stick at it. Too often I see people’s messages veering into other domains. If you can’t keep providing great content, 24/7 all year around, then you risk not getting spotted.
So this is just a few pointers to get you started, however having met many of the team at Pearson’s I know what they’ve said to me, and I know what has got my clients in the press and on the national stage, so I hope these prove useful to you too. Oh and just because I can and because its my blog, here is a link to buy the book I’m so awesomely proud of. Because fear really is one of the impactors stopping you from going for it. So let’s get rid of that right now shall we?