The Street Smarts Marketing Blog is for speakers, trainers, authors, consultants and entrepreneurs who want to influence the lives of others with your knowledge through books, information products and presentations - and make lots of money doing it. Strong emphasis on gaining visibility, market reach and credibility through effective Internet marketing.
You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to be a writer. The old saying, naïve as it is, says to write about that which you know. I had been on more than 3,000 client lunches and saw my sales increase by more than 2,000%. I knew I was on to something. I wanted to share the how-to’s of building relationships by introducing a social aspect into your business relationships with other sales people or business professionals who count on their relationships for their success. I have since learned that you can write about anything if you are willing to do the research. Still, it’s best to write about something you’ve experienced. There is nothing like having had hands-on experience to be able to tell a better story.
How many books have you written?
"The Art of the Business Lunch ~ Building Relationships Between 12 and 2" was my first book. I originally self-published; that edition came out in February of 2004. Then I sold it in 2005, doubled the word count and it was released by Career Press a full two years later, in February of 2006. Now, promoting that book as well as promoting my speaking career, writing articles, blogs, and press releases keeps me incredibly busy – plus I launched a speakers bureau last year. I have begun work on two new books – both non-fiction.
I have contributed to two anthologies in "The POWER of Mentorship" series, including "The Millionaire Within" and "For the Woma n Entrepreneur," for which I was asked to write the foreword. Don and Melinda Boyer are the publishers of the series and they are remarkable, positive people. They also invited me to be a featured teacher in "The POWER of Mentorship: The MOVIE" which is currently in production. It’s a personal development film that features about 20 teachers whose lessons are interwoven with the story of a young men and his mentor.
And I just found out that a chapter I submitted to "Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover’s Soul" has been accepted. That book will be out in November. I wrote about how to order wine when out with clients. Many times, people who are unfamiliar with fine wines become intimidated and hand the wine list over to their clients. That means they’ve given up control of the cost of the meal. It’s not necessary. I share a way to involve your clients and yet retain control of the check. I’m very excited to finally be a part of the Chicken Soup franchise.
How do you decide on their topic?
As I mentioned earlier, I was an expert at building solid, long-lasting business relationships. In fact, my clients and friends started calling me "The Queen of the Business Lunch," because the nature of my job, selling advertising, required that I stay in close touch with my clients…so I was typically booked for lunches weeks out.
What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Closing OUTLOOK! That and not answering the phone. Seriously, it gets easier when you have a task to complete. I have a paperweight that reads, "The Ultimate Inspiration is the Deadline." It’s really true. Most everyone I know who writes really works well under pressure. The rest of the time, we just need to focus on the desired outcome. I feel a strong sense of purpose and I love to write. When I can stop working long enough to write something, the time just flies.
Do you write to ma ke money or for the love of writing?
You ought to be able to ma ke a living doing what you love. While I originally dreamed of hitting it big financially with writing, (and still do!), I found that being an author was a great springboard for launching a speaking career. In fact, all speakers should have books. Most of them begin speaking first and then create a book or other product to sell in the back of the room. Personally, I wrote the book, expecting that it would be a huge success. It is, but it’s not necessarily a financial success. My book has won an award and my publisher has sold the foreign publishing rights in TEN languages so far! And there is still more interest in it. I’d say that is a huge success. My topic is a tremendous hit for training and sales conferences. I think the principles, techniques and knowledge in my book is quite timeless. I can’t see a time when it wouldn’t be applicable to business, although I can see needing to update it occasionally.
What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
I bought ads in the beginning. Of course I was an advertising account executive in my past life, so I believe in advertising. It wasn’t the best use of my resources! Speaking generates book sales, as do appearances. I have sold several hundred books at a time to incoming conventions; I am the draw for their booth, signing books for the exhibitors and attendees. That’s one of my favorite things to do, because I know that my books will get on the plane with their new owners and travel all over the country, spreading the word. Internet marketing is the most important way to get the message out now. Blogs, articles and press releases are strong. Also, it’s important for authors to network. When I speak on networking, I ask the room, "Who do you know who….?" We can expand our circle of influence by getting to know more people. It’s critically important that we know as ma ny people as possible.
What are some unique methods?
Writing columns may not be the most unique, but every time you can put your name in print it will help. My dog, an adorable shihtzu, writes a column in Lucky Dog magazine. Of course she can talk about "Her mommy" and that would be me! I get a byline in a magazine with a circulation of more than 15,000 readers. I also write a column for "Around Your Home" magazine, which goes out to 80,000 high-end home owners every two months. I have a photo and a bio at the bottom of those articles. I don’t get paid to write them, but when I’m out, I have a lot of people ask, "Where do I know you from?" Or they comment on the columns. Everyone knows Georgie, my dog, and asks about her. I also wrote a lot of columns for Hospitality Executive magazine, which goes out to meeting planners and hotel execs everywhere. And I was recently hired (yes, a REAL job!) by the Las Vegas Business Press to write a bi-weekly column on women’s and minority issues. All of this exposure lends credibility and helps me to promote myself and my books.
Do you sell through a website?
Absolutely! My website offers my books, audio books, and my services as a speaker. I don’t know how anyone could get away without having a website anymore. It’s immediate, it’s current and it’s effective.
Do you plan on writing additional books?
I hope I will always write. I have a lot to say about a lot of things. I love teaching, helping and guiding. I also consult as a life coach and I help other authors – whether they want help with their writing or if they are launching a speaking career. I teach PowerPoint and presentation skills. And, because I have self-published and worked with a publisher, I am uniquely qualified to help authors decide whether they should self-publish or sell. I have personally experienced the ups and downs of both sides of that equation. I especially enjoy helping authors so they won’t have to make the same mistakes I have made. My experience has been invaluable.
Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
I am a professional speaker and consultant as well as a writer. I absolutely love writing and speaking; I know without a doubt that this is what I was meant to do. I am also a gourmet cook. I love to play golf and work in my garden…but both of those hobbies have had to take a back seat to my career the past few years. I still indulge my desire to cook, usually by hosting dinner parties with great friends or just cooking when company stops by. I’m originally from Cleveland , Ohio and have lived in Las Vegas for more than 33 years. I have always enjoyed writing and had contributed stories to magazines in the past, although I didn’t set my sights on writing as a career until early in 2001.
This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, author of Book Promo 101 - www.nikkileigh.com/promo.htm.
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