April 11, 2011
When I starting writing Today We Are Rich, I had one goal: Share my story to validate and encourage others to be bold, live positive and cultivate confidence.
I’ve been talking about Abundance versus Scarcity my entire career on the lecture circuit, and with this book, I’ve finally hatched some contemporary ideas for a new generation – based on the classics of the 30’s and 40’s.
Right about the time I started the formal writing process, I created by first Facebook (fan) page. After inviting my friends my regular account, newsletter group and Twitter followers, I had about 800 people ‘liking’ my page. I used it to put out unedited ideas as I wrote them – sort of a proving ground for my book’s concepts. I’d post short pithy things my grandmother says, then note which ones resonated and which ones didn’t. Same went with my advice points. I found out pretty quickly that people are much more interactive on Facebook than they are with a blog – or Twitter for that matter.
One of my Facebook Like Friends contributed a saying her grandmother had, another offered a tweak to one of my ideas and soon, I began to rely heavily on this focus group for the evolution of Today We Are Rich. Sure, I was still telling Billye’s story, and mine too, but by making room for others it was much easier to achieve my goal as an author – validate, encourage and empower.
This isn’t typical crowd sourcing, where a group of people are aggregated then polled – with their answers being tallied up into a group-point-of-view. This was different, because my Facebook community was comprised of long time friends, colleagues and supporters of my work. When I called for some personal stories to help drive home some points, I received great ones from people I’ve known for years such as Jay Beckley (Myles Dad), Paula Cooper (Gratitude Exercise) and Stacey B. (The Quitter). They help this book become your book as well.
Maybe Mark Zuckerberg’s right: Facebook may be the way we find, buy, research or communicate things in the future. Think of crowd sourcing as a Google approach to writing (search, funnel, select from a pile) and Friend sourcing as a way of opening up your work to people that know you and care about your work – the Facebook approach to creating content that resonates.
This is a concept that's included in my next book, Today We Are Rich. Visit the book page and you can order a copy and receive a free eBook excerpt with an entire principle! You can also visit its facebook page too.
March 23, 2011
Authors, speakers, bloggers: Don't get caught up in the Triple Threat Conundrum.
If you can speak, soon, you are asked to write a book. If you write a business or advice book and it sells, you'll be asked to speak. If you do either, you'll be expected to blog well, terrifically Tweet and master Facebook and/or LinkedIn. Whew.
Comedian Mitch Hedberg once lamented that agents would approach him with: "You are really good at telling jokes, can you act? He said, "That's like saying to a great chef - wow, you can cook, but can you farm.?" His point, just do the one thing well and don't sweat the product or career extensions.
I've met several authors that aren't really very good a speaking, but they do it anyway (poor audiences). I've met several great speakers that write awful books (poor readers). And many of the author/speakers I know slave away over social media, wondering why their blog isn't as big as Seth Godin's or their Twitter following isn't swelling like Gary Vaynerchuk's. To them I say, relax: Just do your thing really well and you'll find a way to make a living - and a difference.
We cannot fall prey to the Triple Threat challenge (sing, act and produce) that entertainers deal with. Blogging has it's own special skill set - just ask Chris Brogan. If you are a great writer, find a way to make your money selling books and don't think that you have to hit the lecture circuit. If you get exponentially better at one thing, like Gladwell's done with writing or Tony Robbins has done with speaking - you'll be just fine.
September 07, 2010
For many fellow authors, social media is a way to sell books, a marketing platform. Same goes for many companies: It's just another sales channel. This is a shallow way to think of this opportunity.
Over the last few months, via a Facebook page, I've been sharing ideas from my next book (Today We Are Rich). In several instances, I asked my followers to pipe in on a topic or share a story. A remarkable number have eagerly participated and added tremendous info-value to my book. I've received stories, links to articles and statistics through my following. For writers, Help A Reporter Out has also offered similar services - although not to friends and colleagues.
Companies can/must do the same thing. Build up a followership by being helpful and interactive. Ask questions that honor the follower. Do something useful with the information. Keep on giving and make sure your questions are few and far between - otherwise, you might become a question-spammer that just wants to create network activity (likes, comments, mentions, etc.)
You'll also find your following happy to recommend local services, product reviews etc., in you day to day operations. In most cases, they'll be better than anything you can find on Craiglist, 800-Dentist or the Yellow Pages (remember them?). For some people, your social media network will replace Google as a way you source services, products and high level information. That's what Mark Z's vision of Facebook is: A Search Killer. Ask your friends, and they'll give you better answers than you'll find on the Wild Wide Web.
One last idea: Make sure you contribute information to the network too. When one of your friends or followers asks for help, jump in with useful insight. It's like Amazon, Yelp or any other collaborative platform - we have to feed the system to be able to get nourishment from it over time.
September 02, 2009
Jan Miller is my literary agent. She found me working at broadcast.com, put me with Gene Stone (my writing partner) and got me my first book deal (Love Is The Killer App). She's a super-agent, with a star studded stable of best selling authors, celebs and gurus.