Invitation – 3 Tips When Seeking Partners for Your Book LaunchBy
I first shared this story in my newsletter Creative Spirit in June. I thought it deserved to go on the blog as well, in case you missed it. Also, things changed since first publishing this story (you’ll find out in the ‘kicker’ below). Hope this gives you some useful tips on how to invite partners to your next marketing campaign.
Many of you, especially you authors, are probably familiar with the term ‘joint venture partner’ (JVP). My entire business depends upon the support from JVPs, as they are the people who help to promote my clients’ books. JVPs are the life-blood of any online business, and being a JVP can also bring a lot of business back to you. I’ve written articles in the past about the advantages of being a JVP, and how to support your JVPs. But earlier this month, something happened that proved to be a valuable lesson to in how to INVITE people to be your Joint Venture Partner on your online book launch…and how NOT to do it.
It all happened when an author named Diana Young wrote to me back on May 7th of this year (2012). Just so you know, I asked Diana for her permission to share this story with you, and to my surprise, she even told me to use her real name. Diana didn’t know me personally, but she saw my name in connection with another launch. She sent me an email that was nearly 2000 words long, asking me to be a partner on the upcoming launch of her book Financial Fitness for Beginners. While she was very polite, there were many things about the letter that just didn’t ‘work’ for me and I felt were quite ‘schmoozy’ (a word I use to describe most formulaic sales letters). In her opening paragraph I felt really put off when I read the words:
‘I wanted to let you know about another
excellent opportunity that you can benefit from…’
The next 1000+ words of the email described how she wrote the book, the many benefits of the book, and a long list of endorsements. The letter seemed especially long because it was text only, with no images or special formatting to make it easier for my eyes to scan and get to the key points.
Diana had obviously invested a lot of time and thought into this email. But if I’m honest, the letter felt invasive and seemed full of overblown sales clichés. My gut reaction was to send a short reply saying I was too busy at this time to participate (which I was), and put it off my radar.
But then, my inner voice of compassion started speaking to me. The voice said, ‘Maybe you’re reacting too hastily. Maybe this Diana person isn’t a schmoozer at all. Maybe she’s just doesn’t know how to invite people to be partners. Or worse, maybe she’s been taught to do it this way, like so many others have been.’
So, I took a few minutes to read her letter again. This time instead of reacting with my gut, I let my head and heart guide me to see if I could help Diana in some other way. When I did this, I could easily identify the problem with the letter: it lacked the 7 Graces, most specifically the very important Graces of Directness and Invitation. Each of these comprises its own chapter in my book The 7 Graces of Marketing, but in a nutshell:
- Directness is the Grace of simplicity and getting to the point. It means we avoid using hyped up or flowery language that blurs what we are actually saying, with the intention of impressing or misdirecting others.
- Invitation is the Grace of courtesy, respect, generosity and engagement. While sales letters are always invasive, they are especially so when sent via email. That’s why it’s very important to remember that when we send an email, it is no different from knocking on the door of someone’s house.
After seeing the key areas I thought could help, here’s what I wrote back to Diana:
Hi there Diana,
Regretfully, I’m not really in a position to commit to any new partnerships or promotions until after the summer is over, as I am focusing 100% on a conference I am organising in London and live stream and will need a long break after that is over!
While I can’t help you on this promotion, as I work as a marketer on collaborative campaigns all the time, can I give you 3 small tips when you “cold call” someone in an email like this?
Tip 1: Never tell people you are giving them an “excellent opportunity that you can benefit from”. It is not wise to try to “sell” your launch to your potential partners. To say it is an “opportunity” is risky, as very often people who approach others for a collaboration are doing to because want to benefit by tapping into their networks, which are often substantially bigger than the network of the person making the proposal. It is much better to approach people humbly, by asking for their help and telling them how you hope to help them back.
Tip 2: Never try to “sell” the book to your potential partners. This is the biggest mistake I see authors do over and over again. If you are writing to someone you don’t know, it’s best to start by “breaking the ice” with a very short and very direct email that says something like:
I met you through [explain how you met or know about them].
I’m launching a book called [name of your book] on [date of your launch]. I am writing to you today to see if you would be interested and available to be a promotional partner for the launch. This would entail offering a bonus gift and helping me out with promotions through your newsletter, blog and/or social media.
We’re aiming to reach [put a number] of readers through the promotions. The ideal readers for this campaign are [here describe your target audience]. Some of the features we will have on this campaign are [here if you are doing a special event or something unusual for the launch, or you have a high-profile person backing you, mention it here].
May I send you more information about the book and the launch campaign so you can see whether this might be a good match for you?
I look forward to hearing from you,
Tip 3: The goal in contacting people should NOT just be to get them to help you with your promotions on this particular book campaign, but to establish an ongoing professional relationship with them. For example, I cannot be your partner this time around, but what about on something in the future? If you come across like you are trying to “sell” me something and that you’ve got a “great opportunity” for me, it is very likely I will switch off and not pay attention to future correspondence. Fortunately, I am dedicated to helping marketers understand that these strategies don’t work, so I thought I’d write to you with tips that (I hope) might get a good response from your future partners.
I hope you don’t take this as a criticism, but rather as some guidance from someone whose entire business is based upon building collaborative relationships. AND I wish you great success in your book launch. Keep me posted on the next project.
I hit “send”, not knowing how Diana would react.
But the very next day on May 8th, I received this email from her:
I can’t thank you enough for your in-depth and thoughtful email regarding my June 12th launch. I will take all your advice to heart and re-write my “sales” email. I did just graduate from a $2,500 course with XXX on how to write these letters [Diana cited another well-known marketing coach, but I don’t think it’s fair to mention their name here], however, since my response has been less than stellar, I will incorporate all your ideas (and send you a copy if you don’t mind).
I’m glad my email prompted a new blog posting for you. If there is anything else I can do to benefit you, please let me know. Thanks again for taking so much time and giving me such expert insight – I can’t tell you how much I truly appreciate that!
Wishing you great success at your London Conference…I looked through your website and it looks excellent.
Cheers and a big “thanks again”!
Well, that was nice.
But THEN, on May 10th, Diana sent me this email…
I know you are busy… I just wanted to touch base with you again to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I got 6 yes’s yesterday using your advice (and the revamped email I did). I also got two more “maybe’s”.
Thanks for being so generous with your expertise. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!
Have a wonder-filled day!
on May 11th, Diana wrote yet again!
I can’t thank you enough. Now, I’m tempted to go back to the original 200 that I got ZERO response from and say something like…oops…I blew it and then try again with the new email. I am very happy for you to share this story with your readers so that they can avoid the bad results I got. I was following a “formula” that obviously didn’t work for me. I would like you to add this paragraph from me though if that is okay?
“As Lynn has described I am a newbie at launching my book which is on schedule for June 12th. My original JV email was a bust – however, Lynn took the time to respond to me personally and provide me with valuable advice. After I revamped my email, the yes’s started flying in to my inbox. After I thanked Lynn again she asked if she could tell this story without using my name, or details just so she could help her readers avoid the same mistake. Of course, I am so thrilled with the results that Lynn can do as she wishes, however, I asked her to use my name, for the sake of full disclosure, but most importantly, I wanted to publically thank her for being so generous and giving in her advice. We have never met and my JV email to her was my first contact. I was overwhelmed with her help – she is certainly “paying it forward” and I can’t thank her enough. This is all I asked of her to tell my “learning” story, so I could share with her readers how grateful I am that our paths crossed”.
Of course Lynn you don’t “have” to include this thank you…but I think it is important that your readers know how giving you are.
P. S. I got interrupted while writing this email and I went out for a walk. When I came back in I got two more yes’s!!!!!!!!
(yes, she really did put 8 exclamation points)
And here’s the kicker…
Wait for it…
When Diana’s book came out on June 12th it went ballistic! Not only did she have an amazing array of partners including Peggy McColl and Bob Proctor, but her book SHOT to #1 in more than once category on Amazon and was also extremely high in Amazon’s overall rankings.
What is so inspiring to me about this is that
this is a prime example of the 7 Graces of Marketing IN ACTION.
The 7 Graces are not merely lofty principles, but good, honest guidelines that can start to transform the world of business and marketing and bring us back together as people. I might not be able to be a partner on Diana’s book launch, but I’ve made a new friend.
So, after being so gracious for letting me tell this story, I really do think it’s only fair you take a moment to check out Diana’s book Financial Fitness for Beginners on Amazon:
(Gosh, I guess I ended up helping with promotions after all!)
And if you haven’t yet read The 7 Graces of Marketing, you might want to pick that one up in paperback or Kindle, too. 7 free MP3s await you when you do at: http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/book-launch/pages/launch.php
Spirit Authors are currently seeking partners for the big book launch of
Financial Alchemy by the exuberant and totally delightful Morgana Rae!
This book launch is happening on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013. If your audience is aimed at financial wellness, prosperity, Law of Attraction, business mindeset, success, etc., you might be interested in joining us. Morgana has a massive network and she’s soooo hilarious when she’s on the air (I can’t wait until our telesummit). I know it’s going to be an launch that is bubbling with fun and energy.
Partners can offer a bonus gift, be on our Virtual Blog Tour or book Morgana on your radio show or podcast (or a combination of the above). I don’t have the official sign up form for this yet, but if you would like to be on our partner list, drop me a line via the CONTACT FORM on this site and our team will contact you with details very soon.
If you don’t know what you could gain from being on someone else’s book launch, please read my Spirit Authors article 7 Reasons to Partner on Someone Else’s Book Launch NOW.
AND DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.
Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. She is the founder of Spirit Authors, a site dedicated to providing information on publishing and book promotioin for and about mind-body-spirit authors, both established and aspiring. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise. Watch for Lynn’s new book Tweep-e-Licious: 160 Twitter Tips and Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs and Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically (coming October 2012).