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How To Get a Book Deal

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I was asked to do a last minute speech for my local Toastmasters group this week since there was a slot open. What I decided to tell them about in 5-7 minutes, was how to get a book deal.

Here are the steps I outlined. They’re vague, but I think they nail it pretty well.

1. Get a platform.

Book publishers loooove to talk about platforms, because platforms help you sell books by having a built-in audience and way to sell to them. If you’re on CNN or you have a popular blog, you have a platform. That’s why all the newspeople who write books, or those that have their own TV shows, always get on bestseller lists.

If you have a platform, they’re like a half-convinced audience that you alone have access to. That sells books. And that’s powerful.

2. Build a network.

Why is knowing a lot of people important? If you have a wide network, you have a huge leverage point to get things done really effectively. You probably know someone in publishing, and if not, you at least “know someone who knows someone,” as they say.

A wide network is important because you then have the ability to get in contact with all sorts of people– agents, publishers, other authors, etc. All of these will give you a piece of the puzzle, which will help you get closer to your goal.

3. Change the game.

We talk a lot about changing the game in Trust Agents, and that’s because I consider it a huge part of differentiating yourself, which is important for all sorts of reasons.

One reason it’s important to change the game is because books have been written about pretty much anything you can think of. No matter what your specialty is, it’s likely a book has already been written about it. But putting a different angle on it can change that dramatically and help you become the leader in your space.

When we saw that people were able to start using the web to develop influence and trust really effectively, we didn’t just write a book about it– we named it. We called those people trust agents. We made it a new idea, a phenomenon that was unique to this moment in time. This made it memorable. As Chris says, it gave the idea handles.

Anyway, don’t get me wrong, I don’t really think it’s that easy. In fact, each of these steps is in fact really challenging and will take you a long time to do right. But once you’ve gotten them, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to get a book deal.

Do we have any publishers in the audience? If so, I’d love to hear your take.

* Filed by Julien at 1:41 pm under strategy, the book


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

Check out more of my blog, my free book or add me on twitter. Also, we're hiring. Check that out.

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5 Responses to “How To Get a Book Deal”

  1. Larry Says:

    Grats on your success. Always thought about writing a book. Dad’s networking skills seem to have rubbed off somewhat. Don’t tell him I said so. :D

  2. Dr.Mani Says:

    Nice points, I’ve heard so much about the importance of ‘platform’ that I had tended to underplay the impact of ‘network’.

    Yet it is probably as, if not MORE, important than having your own platform – because if you’re wired in to someone with a huge platform, you get to ‘borrow’ it for a while, share the limelight while you promote your book.

    Of course, in the end, what you’re writing about SHOULD change the game in some way. Guy Kawasaki put it nicely in one of his books:

    “Make meaning, not money.”

    All success
    Dr.Mani

  3. Jim Duley Says:

    “Get a platform” … it reminds me of Steve Martin’s instructions for becoming a multi-millionaire:

    “First, get a million dollars ….”

    :-)

    JFD

  4. Jim Kukral Says:

    It helps if you’re a “rockstar” when you apply too. At least pretend to be one. :)

    I also have found that being a proactive marketer with BIG plans is something they’re really looking for. Start your marketing right now.

  5. George Krueger Says:

    Great post Julien. Thanks for the map! I’ll try not to trip stepping onto the platform. :)

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