[Life After College Book Project] Happy New Year!
Sent Sunday, January 9, 2011
New Year! I hope your 2011 is off to an amazing start. Exciting times
ahead on this newsletter -- I just added a countdown timer for the book
launch to the sidebar of my blog, and we have less than three months
until the release! 2 months, 2 weeks and 5 days, to be exact - March 29
is the official "in stores" date.
As I mentioned in a recent
blog post, I feel like I'm now on mile 23 of a marathon - this is where
I turn on the burners and FOCUS like I've never focused before. I have
so many ideas swimming around in my head about ways to grow Life After
College (the book, the blog and the business) and am happilly filling
most hours of my free time pursuing them -- things like putting together
a speaking kit, updating my coaching packages and writing an e-book
(more on the related snafu below). I've been staying in most nights and
weekends to chip away at my "Book Marketing Master Plan of Greatness"
(my 10-tab Google spreadsheet) while watching Sex and the City reruns,
eating chocolate, and indulging in the occasional glass of red wine. I know, I'm such a girl.
Thanks SO much to all of you for being here -- I'm already talking to my
publisher about special things I can do for everyone on this list. At
the very, very least - signed bookplates for all of you if I don't see
you in person to write a note in the front of your book. It still
boggles my mind that people want me to sign anything other than a
receipt...and puts a giant smile on my face when I hear that you have
pre-ordered the book! (Currently selling for a mere $9.88 on Amazon.) Keep reading for what I learned from Tim Ferriss on how pre-orders affect making bestseller lists...
Lunch with Tim Ferriss!
- I had the great pleasure of having lunch with Tim Ferriss and a few
co-workers after his Authors@Google talk on Friday (here's a pic of the two of us). Tim is the author of The Four-Hour Body
and is widely recognized as the "greatest self-promoter in the world." I
was struck during his talk by how charismatic and well-spoken Tim is.
He is SHARP - high-brow vocabulary for days, and incredibly well-versed
in his material. As for his marketing genius? He really is a pioneer.
It's incredible - he already has over 400 reviews on Amazon and both of
his books have been instant bestsellers. Sure -- at times he's brash
and a little arrogant, but it's also clear that he is incredibly
passionate about his work and committed to optimizing all aspects of his
life (and helping others do the same).
Here are some of the things Tim mentioned during our conversation on book marketing:
sure that Amazon doesn't ship pre-ordered books BEFORE the official
launch week of my book. That will severly impact any chance of making a
bestseller list. The pre-ordered books (thank you everyone who already
pre-ordered!) have to ship in the same week as launch in order to count.
I'm going to talk to the publisher next week about how we can ensure
Don't go on a traditional book tour. Spend that time
(and money) traveling to conferences and networking with other bloggers
who can help promote the book.
Don't ship directly from the
publisher. Open an account with a local UPS store, have them store two
stacks of books: signed (for personal requests) and unsigned (for
pitches). When someone wants a book, UPS will ship directly (so I don't
have to do it from my own house).
Tim's estimate is that I would
need to sell 5K-10K during the first week to make a bestseller list, but
I'll have to check BookScan for more exact numbers (and to see what
else comes out that week). Where there's a will, there's a way!
Google sabbatical - you heard here it first!
I remember last year (before I had the book deal locked in) when I
thought, "Woudn't it be nice if I could ask for a one-month leave to
promote my book?" And almost immediately I knew I was selling myself
short. I knew that what I really wanted was to ask for
THREE months off, but I just had to get up the nerve to do it. I finally
did - and my manager and director graciously approved. I've been at
Google for five years (today is actually my five year anniversary!) and
the company is thankfully very understanding about granting
sabbaticals for people with a strong justification.
My unpaid (a
little nerve-wracking not to get paychecks for three months -- but I'm
up for the challenge) leave will start in mid-March. It kicks off with SXSW
- wuhoo! - and ends June 30. I'm so excited to get some time off to
travel and structure my days as I see fit. I want to look back on the
book launch and know that I gave it absolutely EVERYTHING I've got --
while having a blast. In a future mailer I'll send more info on where I
plan on traveling -- so far the definite stops are NYC, Austin,
Portland, Seattle, LA, Las Vegas, and Portland, Maine. Because I'm
funding all travel myself, I'm hesitant to commit to more trips at this
time without knowing how much income I'll be bringing in.
E-book Connundrum: The Day of Creative Genius
was a huge success - I had four friends over and we spent New Years Eve
writing, brainstorming, chatting and generally making huge progress on
big creative ideas. My goal was to come up with a compelling e-book
topic, that I could later decide whether to sell (to support me during
my unpaid leave) or give away for free (in the hopes of building traffic
and readership in advance of the book launch). With the help of my good
friends Jamie, Julie and Ashley, I decided on the following title:
"Make $*it Happen: The step-by-step guide to accomplishing that one big
dream." I spent ALL day every day for the rest of my break working on
it, and ended up with an 80-page draft three days later.
what's the problem? I called my literary agent and she said it's a
violation of my contract to sell (or even potentially publish for free)
anything that could compete with my actual book. THUNK. It is a strange
feeling -- that I can't immediately promote something I know will be
helpful to people because of my publisher? I've never had to answer to
anyone else before about things related to my blog. It's weird...but I
understand and I know there are ways around it (like building the book
into part of an online course that I'm putting together). Still, it did
feel like a slight set-back. On that note: if you are interested in
being a "beta tester" of the book when it's ready for feedback, please
reply to this email and let me know!
The big huge UCLA pitch:
Alright y'all, I need you to send all your happy thoughts my way for a
pitch happening this week with UCLA. My Political Science professor Lynn
(the one who offered me the job at the start-up during my junior year)
had the brilliant idea of pitching my book to the UCLA Alumni
Association for a bulk order. The idea is that they would line up a
donor to purchase the book for every member of the graduating class.
They would get a bulk discount and a special page at the front of the
book, and I would just about earn back my advance (selling ~10K copies) in one fell swoop! If
this happens, it will be a miracle. Lynn (who is still down in LA) is
going to personally bring this up with them next week -- wish us luck!!!
That's all for now -- much more to follow soon, I'm sure :)
you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has
been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be
living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to
meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors
to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will
open where you didn't know they were going to be. If you follow your
bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone
else." --Joseph Campbell
in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin
line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most
gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap."
"A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for."
--John A. Shedd
"Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise."
"Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome."