Welcome to episode 11 of the Self-Publishing School podcast. Today, I am joined by Dorie Clark a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and contributor to the Harvard Business Review. She is the author of Stand Out Networking, Stand Out, Reinventing You, and Entrepreneurial You. Dorie is a former presidential campaign spokeswoman, and an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University. In this episode, we talk about writing books and writing for high profile sites.
Since her childhood, Dorie always wanted to write a book. In 2009, she decided to pursue her dream and make that happen. She came up with three great ideas and presented those to publishers, but soon discovered without having an established platform she wasn’t going to get a deal. That is when she decided to build a platform through blogging. She began by trying to get into some well-known publications like Forbes, Inc, and Huffington Post.
Dorie used warm leads to and referrals from friends to get an introduction with an editor and the fire publication she began blogging in was the Huffington Post. This led to other opportunities, and we learn how Dorie built a platform and her career to become the author, writer, and contributor that she is today.
[01:23] It was Dorie’s childhood goal to write a book. In 2009, she wrote three different book proposals.
[02:07] Everything ended up getting turned down because she didn’t have a strong enough platform.
[02:32] She needed a platform so she blogged for the Huffington Post, Harvard Review, Forbes and other publications.
[03:05] Following warm leads for getting started blogging.
[03:58] Michael Silver introduced her to an editor at the Huffington Post. A shortcut to being a contributor through warm leads and introductions from people you know.
[04:38] Have a short paragraph bio and links to three or four clips and prepare info about what you want to write and how frequent you would like to write. Put all of this in a packet.
[05:35] She was trying to break in and Huffington Post is the first one she got.
[07:10] After writing for Huffington Post, she began writing for the Harvard Business Review. This lead was a fluke when she met an editor while selling a bike on Craigslist.
[08:45] Have pitches and draft posts ready to go in case an opportunity arises.
[09:19] A Harvard Business Review blog post, turned into a magazine post that turned into three offers for book deals.
[11:54] How following up can help with actually getting an introduction.
[14:10] The book deal came pretty easy, after two years of writing and starting the process. The wind was at her back.
[15:04] Dorie always thought writing a book would be impressive and meaningful.
[16:01] At first, getting the publishing deal felt stressful. She listened to her publicist and ended up with a better offer.
[19:18] How we always want more. The book deal was great, but being a bestseller could be the next quest. It is a good idea to savor the moment.
[20:16] Her writing process is doing all the interviews up front, then shaping the story, then once she has the backbone she weaves it together. She wrote the first draft over a summer.
[23:12] Early purchases and preorders are important. Offer speaking deals to get people to buy book preorders. Dorie used this for her second book.
[25:03] Reach out in advance to people you know. 100 a day with a link to preorder the book.
[26:06] Killer Secret. Create a spreadsheet with a standard message and add a personal part to the message. She had a personal column in her spreadsheet. Use a mail merge function with Google sheets and Gmail.
[27:54] She ended up with about 7000 people in her personal database. Where she has some kind of personal connection.
[33:18] Dorie became a podcast guest to promote her second book. She also used warm introductions and cold calls to get the spot.
[34:58] Email signups are a great marketing tool that you can control. The best way to build a list was to have a big giveaway. Dorie created a 42-page workbook and mentioned it when she was a podcast guest.
[37:52] A physical book tour can be a driving factor in a town where you have an audience base.
[40:20] Remembering not to overstretch yourself.
[41:02] Being too slack about emails on her first book was her biggest mistake.
[42:22] Building an email list goes hand in hand with marketing.
[44:27] Have a free giveaway link in your tagline and bio when guest posting. Also, link to your books.
[45:40] Using sections from her book as blog post topics and content.
[49:49] Use the ladder strategy to ladder up to blogs with higher and higher profiles.
Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.