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Welcome to The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson and Christy Kirk. In this episode, we are mixing things up to help two authors celebrate the launch of their new books. We are thrilled to have our client David Taylor-Klaus and his wife Elaine Taylor-Klaus on this episode. They are sharing a unique and exciting experience of launching their new books in the same week!
Becky: I can’t even imagine the stress level and the craziness that you two must be experiencing this week as you birth your book babies into the world together simultaneously. I thought it would be so fun to talk with both of you about what you’ve learned on your journey. Before we dive in, tell us about your books and your work in the world.
Elaine: Thank you for having us. It has been a wild ride with both of us launching a book at the same time. My work is as a parent, coach, and educator. I have an online resource for parents called ImpactParents. We provide a coach approach to parenting complex kids. Kids who struggle with life or learning, what we’ve found is that coaching is a great way to empower parents and their kids to become more independent.
My book is called The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety, and More, and it’s really a compilation of all the work we’ve been doing for about a decade. This is our body of work and what we teach parents and I’m so excited to get it out into the world.
David: For the last 12 years, I’ve been a coach as well. My favorite way to describe my work is I reintroduce successful entrepreneurs and senior executives to their families. My work shows up as coaching for leaders and the teams they lead, and I end up coaching a lot of the same audience that Elaine works with, but coming at it from the professional side.
My book is an extension of the work I do with my clients around mindset. My book is called Mindset Mondays with DTK: 52 Ways to REWIRE Your Thinking and Transform Your Life, and it’s the outcome of what started out as a year-long series of weekly broadcasts every Monday morning that’s continued now for almost two and a half years.
Becky: It’s been so fun to get to know you, David, and I’m excited to dive into your book and apply those things into my life. I encourage you to check out both David and Elaine’s books.
So on this topic on network mobilization, let’s start, David and Elaine, with the question of what does network mobilization as an author mean to each of you?
David: It means asking, and a lot of asking. Elaine, you shared as we were talking about this, that it starts long before the book launch. How long did we start the ask process for our books?
Elaine: We started almost a year in advance, maybe 9 months.
David: It starts with asking for endorsements from folks that add authority and exposure to your project. So reaching out to the folks that their endorsements are going to be on or in the book, has to be done early. Then it comes down to mobilizing the people that will help you promote the book around the launch.
Elaine: What you started with I love, because really it’s about asking for and accepting help. None of us can do this alone. We don’t write it alone. We don’t publish it alone. We don’t get it out into the world alone. The reason we are all out there in the world building these networks is because sometimes we need to call on them, ask them for help, and we need to accept the help they are offering. That’s a big tool that David and I both teach in our work, and we’ve been getting a heavy dose of our own medicine in this process.
David: Another piece is not taking it personally when people around you say no.
Elaine: Right. Because sometimes it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t or they are caught up in their own lives with their own focus. Very often what we find is that we are all busy and in our own world. Part of network mobilization is checking in and catching up with people when the stars align.
Becky: So what has worked the best for the two of you in terms of really being able to connect well with those groups of people who are around you and want to support you?
David: I think this is true for any author, that the people in your world want to help you. But they have to know what help looks like, and you have to get and keep their attention. So I think what’s worked well has been being super specific about what support looks like. Whether it’s leave a review on Amazon, buy copies for your clients, promote it on social media, give them a specific ask so they know what to do.
Elaine: Yeah, absolutely. I think what I would add to that is there is something about connecting with people who I haven’t connected with in a while. First, you want to connect and engage so it doesn’t feel opportunistic, but them understanding what’s in it for them. So we are working on something together and not necessarily them doing me a favor. As a coach for parents, everybody knows parents struggling with complex kids especially during a pandemic. So it’s not a stretch for most people to make the connection and see it’s relevant to them. So I have been reaching out to former clients and telling them, hey this is what I’m doing now, and because we have that relationship, some of them have an interest in supporting me. Former clients, former colleagues, people we’ve known over the years, it’s a great opportunity to reconnect and find out what other people are doing, and share with them what we’re doing.
David: I’ve also found that thought leaders, other authors that you know, and anybody who has been through this process is more than eager to help support you because they know how hard it can be, and they wish someone would’ve done the same for them. People are willing to give you the help they wish they had.
Becky: That’s really powerful. I think that one of the comments Christy and I talked about on a recent podcast was also being willing to reciprocate. So it’s likely as you’re going out with your network mobilization, people saying “Hey, of course, I’d like to help you, and here’s a way you can help me.” Have you experienced that?
Elaine: Oh, for sure. A lot of that actually. It’s an interesting dance because you have to be conscious of what your bandwidth is. So sometimes it can be yes, but in a couple of months. Let’s schedule it, let’s plan it, but I’m focused on this right now. And sometimes you have to say that’s not worth the cost for me. I can’t do that right now, but thank you for the offer. You have to be able to look for the juicy yeses and the juicy nos.
David: And saying no to someone, you can’t take that personally either. It has to fit into your world.
Becky: I love that. What, if any, surprises have you encountered on this journey of mobilizing your networks as you prepare for your book launches this week?
David: I was very surprised about how many times people needed to be reminded. I need to be reminded on the teams where I’m helping other people promote their book, but it still seemed to be a surprise to me that we needed to remind folks as much as we have.
Elaine: Yes, and I have to be honest, it surprised me how many people said they would buy it when it launched, but would not order it for presale or pre-order. For me, there was a lot of value for them to order it early, but a lot of people were like, it’s my intention to get it, but not now. That took a little navigating from my perspective.
Becky: Interesting. So people were reluctant to pre-order the book, but they want to be reminded when it comes out so they can buy it then.
Elaine: Yes. To me it would be easier to pre-order, but people are busy.
Becky: Well there is this need in our culture to have instantaneous satisfaction. So if you order it, you want it to be on the way.
Elaine: Yes, so what we did is, if you pre-order, you can get a bonus copy and extra goodies and gifts. We created incentives for people to pre-order so they could get something as immediate satisfaction.
Becky: How did that work out?
Elaine: Not as well as I would have liked, again kind of surprisingly. But it definitely created the momentum I needed to get a significant number sold before the publish date.
David: Now granted, we are talking about things that may work totally differently and have different outcomes and require less effort outside of the period where we have a global pandemic and social upheaval. So, this may just be unique to when we are launching our books.
Elaine: Yes and no, David. On the one hand, I do think it’s unique because people have more time, but they have less attention somehow. It’s been really hard to get people’s attention to what’s most important, because people aren’t sure where to put their attention and what’s important to them. So I think it’s been harder in that aspect.
On the other hand, I think a lot of what it takes to mobilize a network takes work, effort, engagement, time, reminding, clear asks, all of those things we’re talking about, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I don’t mean to scare people, because it’s also fabulous, exciting, and engaging, but I would say if you’re a writer then it may be that the network mobilization is harder, and vice versa.
Becky: Yes, thank you for calling out the hard work associated with this, Elaine, because I think there are all kinds of people at different ends of the spectrum in terms of, I love to write and don’t love to market, or, I love to market but I don’t love to write. It’s helpful to evaluate what things are easier or harder for you.
I’m wondering is there anything else you would like our listeners to know about this journey you’ve been on, specifically related to your networks?
Elaine: I think what I want to add is, David talked earlier about falling in love with your book and loving what you’re doing, not because of the ego piece, but because of what it has to offer. The other thing we talked about is people need guidance. They want to engage, but they need to know what to do. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and be willing to accept the help.
Becky: This is so powerful and there are so many great ideas. One of the things we also do on this podcast is we focus on the key actions authors can take today to be more effective in marketing their books.
Here are today’s actions you can take:
- Fall in love with your book. You have to fall in love with your book so you’re willing to make the asks, put yourself out there, and promote it.
- Be specific with your asks. Ask very specifically, I want you to endorse it, I want you to post a review on Amazon, I want you to invite me to be on a podcast or Facebook live, I want you to tell your friends. Whatever you’re asking, be very clear and specific so it’s easier for people to help.
- Ask more than once. Especially right now, people are time and attention poor, so you’re going to have to ask more than once. Busy people like to be reminded, so don’t take it personally.
As always, let us know below if you will take any of today’s action steps. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, please email Becky Robinson here and Christy Kirk here.
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I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.