May 2 was the official launch date for the 2nd edition of my book Full Steam Ahead.
Although authors often invest in a comprehensive, intensive multi-media campaign for a new book, they rarely do this for a 2nd edition, especially when the first edition has already been established as a bestseller.
But I felt I needed to do something. People weren’t going to buy the book if they didn’t know about it.
We had worked really hard on the new edition, adding in new material, updating examples, and addressing new topics. The book was at least 50% different and, in my opinion, 100% better.
I decided to do an “awareness” campaign to get the word out. My intention was to get a review of the book published everyday for two weeks.
I contacted several journalists and bloggers and asked them if they would like to review my book. Most of them agreed. There’s a bit of a risk in this approach because you don’t know what the reviewer will think of your book. Most likely they won’t write a review that trashes it, but there are no guarantees they will write a strong positive review. However, I really believe in this book, its message and its power so it was a risk I was willing to take.
So that was my campaign plan….
until about 3 weeks before the launch when Lolly Daskal, a business consultant, speaker and coach who I regard highly, sat me down (virtually) for a heart-to-heart talk. Lolly told me there were a lot of people on Twitter who respect me and that I would be foolish not to allow them the opportunity to help get the word out.
It was difficult to contemplate asking people to help. I finally decided that if I were going to ask people to ask their friends and colleagues to buy my book, I didn’t want to also receive a personal financial gain.
My coauthor Ken and I decided we would donate our proceeds from sales that week to Give Kids the World, an organization we had used as an example and whose vision inspires us.
Within a week, under Lolly’s guidance and ongoing support, I had set up a page on my Web site dedicated to the book and had contacted about 10 people, asking them to send tweets with a link to the book page. And Lolly helped me write sample tweets for them to send.
That was the campaign plan.
A whirlwind week. Twitter was abuzz with tweets. Most of the people I had contacted helped. What surprised me was that many people I had never contacted sent original tweets. And many people I didn’t know retweeted. Again and again and again throughout the week.
By the end of the week, my initial goals had been surpassed. The word was out. There was no doubt people had heard about the book. We had raised money for GKTW, and every single book review strongly endorsed the book. (I hope you will check out the reviews. Links are provided on my Book Page.)
I sent thank-yous to over a hundred people who had sent tweets, and I’m sure I missed some. And I couldn’t even begin to count everyone who had retweeted. What’s more, the tweeting continues—just now I did a search for #FSAbook and discovered more tweets!
What did I learn?
Gratitude leaves me speechless.
I was blown away by the generosity of Lolly Daskal, Dan Rockwell aka @leadershipfreak, and Becky Robinson who freely gave me advice, help and encouragement, without asking for anything in return. I am in awe that so many people enthusiastically came forward to help. It’s taken me a long time to write this post because my primary learning and experience has been about gratitude, not the book launch. And honestly, I am still taking it in and find it difficult to write about.
Ask for help and you will receive it.
Ask, but don’t have expectations on where it will come from. Some people won’t come forward, but others you would never have expected will. People have their own reasons for doing what they do; and usually it’s about them, not you, so don’t take it personally.
When you’re clear about what’s important, amazing things happen.
Even though I teach this, it continues to amaze me over and over again. When I am clear about the end result I desire, know why it’s important, and let the values guide my behavior, I don’t have to plan all the details. Things naturally begin to unfold. The best thing I can do is act on the opportunities as they arise rather than try to “make it happen.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do believe that plans are very important. But I also know that we need to keep open for unexpected opportunities and be willing to adjust our plans when they arise.
Amazon is incredibly easy to manipulate in the short-run.
It doesn’t take a lot of book sales to push a book into a top selling category for a day or two. The challenge is to maintain it over time. I was glad we had decided to donate our proceeds to GKTW for a full week. But we did not raise as much money as I would have liked. I’ve decided to do an extension: if you buy Full Steam Ahead after reading this post, send me an email, DM or leave a comment and I’ll donate the proceeds from your sale.
Twitter is an amazing world.
Saturday morning I received an email….The story continues, but this post would be much too long if I tried to tell it here. To be continued in my next post.
Jesse, I have observed that you lead by the quiet, yet powerful example you set for others. Your book launch got off to a great start precisely because it was less about self and more about the message, with the added incentive of helping others. Bravo to you for a fabulous first week! -Sharon
Thanks, Sharon. You are one of those people who blew me away.
I am thrilled to see you begin to share this story. I love seeing the results of your work and the way that our Twitter community pulled together to show support to you. I also love having a front row seat to all the great things that are happening in your life.
I’m so glad to be a part of your story and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you as you continue to increase your influence and make a difference in the lives of others.
And I for one am delighted to have you in the front row cheering me on!
A lovely post Jesse – and congratulations!
Thanks, Whitney. Stay tuned. My next blog begins with your last DM to me and my response.
Love the lessons you share here, Jesse. Inspirational and hope-inducing to all of us. So happy to know that your requests for assistance with your book launch were met (and then some!) with loving help. Wonderful! You and your book deserve it…
You were one of the people who answered and then went beyond. I really appreciate your including the book in your newsletter!
The gratitude is really about you. Because you are utterly and truly amazing.
When I read your book- I loved it. I knew I was going to put my heart and soul into helping you.
Your message is an important message. The more people read it -The more people you can help.
I am so proud of you. Yes lets keep up the momentum. You Thanked me for guidance and help, I thank you for friendship and vision.
Lets send out a special thanks to our #leadfromwithin family. They played a big part in getting the message out.
Love you always
The amazing thing about gratitude is that it fills you so completely and utterly that it’s about everything – you, me, and yes of course, the #leadfromwithin community, using the definition of community from the last chat.
I’m reading the book right now and will review it on my blog this week. As you know, I’m not a fan of vision, nor am I a fan of the novel format business book; however, I’m liking what I’m reading so far. You deserve support because you did it right. YOU sent me the book personally and YOU wrote a handwritten note. That goes a long way with me. Most authors behave as if they are entitled to support and don’t put any effort into anything but their PR lackey. Personal tough always gets my attention, even if I’m slow to deliver 🙂 And with Lolly Daskal helping you – game over! Keep up the great work, Jesse.
Thanks for your comments, Bret. You’re right, it’s very personal for me. I don’t see how you can write about this unless you are living it. Vision is not about having the answers, it can be a difficult journey; but it IS about loving the questions. I’ve enjoyed our conversations because you challenge me to think. I hope my book can challenge you a bit, too. I’m looking forward to your blog.
How gratifying it must feel to have experienced this outpouring of support. We, who follow one another, search for meaning and value in our connections and engagements.
This outreach effort is a perfect example of what emanates from a belief that in helping others and expecting nothing in return, we become better people. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this wonderful achievement.
Thanks, Helen. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts. There’s something more to be learned that I haven’t got the words for yet, but it has to do with you you said about the belief that by helping others and expecting nothing in return, we become better people. It is an amazing experience to be on the receiving end of that belief.
Jesse, what an incredible story. My heart is overflowing with yours.
You were given the amazing gift of vision for a reason, and you continuously find ways to use it in the service of others. …No wonder we are all inspired and want to support your efforts!
Thank you for giving all of us the opportunity to be connected by a shared vision, and a message the world needs! …While supporting a cause we care about and working with a leader we all treasure! We have a lot to be grateful for too!
Thank you, Chery. You were one of the first to seek ways to support getting the word out, without being asked. I am deeply touched.
I have only recently stumbled across you and your site and I think it was while all of the events in this post were going on. I have to say that first impressions tell me that you are the reason for your success….not due to greed or ambition, but because you pay it forward and reach out to help others with enlightenment, inspiration and guidance. This rest has simply fallen into place around as it should. One thing I notice about people that give back and give until it hurts, they rarely realize that they too deserve to receive.
So…enjoy. Then you can get started on your next round of giving.
What lovely thoughts. Thank you so much, Doug.
For some reason and I really don’t know why, this was meant to be a success before you even knew it. The first moment that you mentioned that your book was about to be published again, it couldn’t be less than a success in the way you spread the word. The first edition was a pleasure to read and I am looking forward to read the second one. The way you handle the publicity around it and which is in your control, is something you are doing like a train that continues it’s journey in a steady tempo. Every step you take, adds up. It can’t be anything else than that you know what you are doing like a sort of inner knowing and you are committed and dedicated in your actions. It is charming to see that you are blown away by your own success. And that is the beauty of having success. I am looking forward to read the continuing story in this blog. Enjoy the results! Warm regards, Caroline
Thanks for your kind thoughts, Caroline, from way across the pond. There are some big changes in the 2nd edition. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.