The benefits of starting thought leadership ASAP. An interview with Vaishali Dialani about her…
Making your book a lifelong commitment.
An interview with Becky Robinson that originally aired on July 27th, 2022, as part of our Leveraging Thought Leadership Live series on LinkedIn.
Have you ever thought about writing a book to codify what your business does, and what it stands for?
And once you do, how long should you work to promote that book after it hits the shelves?
To discuss these questions and more, I’ve invited Becky Robinson to join me for this episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership. Becky is the Founder and CEO of Weaving Influence where she works with business book authors to build their platform and grow the reach of their work. Additionally, Becky has become her own client having authored Reach: Create the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book or Cause.
Our conversation begins with the difficult topic of measuring the ROI of a business book. Becky shares how that equation held her back from starting a book – until the pandemic hit. With some extra time, she started the journey, seeking to have her book launch coincide with the ten year anniversary of her business.
Launching a book and running a company that specializes in the book publishing field gave Becky aunique perspective. Becky discusses some of the methods she used to get her book into the world, including pushing for100 Amazon reviews in the first month. To accomplish this, she sent 400 physical copies of the book to friends, colleagues, and anyone who would get value from it. She explains how a physical copy with a personalized note and signature has a far higher return than simply emailing a PDF.
The journey of writing the book forced some additional clarity around the content Becky has used for years. She explains how she developed the four commitments, and defined the concept of “reach” in thought leadership publishing. In addition, she shares the importance of defining various terms, and the iterations authors go through in determining title and subtitle before landing on a final version.
If you’re planning to write a book, have a book coming out, or are out there supporting one – this episode is trove of advice that can help you reach your widest audience!
Three Key Takeaways:
- Online reviews are important for new books. They provide social “proof” of your insights and help create
- Your book can’t be for everyone. You’ll need to focus on the people that need your book right now.
- Don’t view book marketing as a project with an end date. It is a life-long commitment.
If you need a strategy to bring your thought leadership to market, Thought Leadership Leverage can assist you! Contact us for more information. In addition, we can help you implement marketing, research, and sales. Let us help you so you can devote yourself to what you do best.
Peter Winick And welcome, welcome, welcome. This is Peter Winick. I’m the founder and CEO at Thought Leadership Leverage. And you’re joining us on this extension of the podcast, which is where we do some LinkedIn Live. So I’m really, really excited about today. So Becky Robinson, I’ll give you just a very brief bio on her and then we’ll just dive right in because that’ll be more fun. So, Becky is the founder and CEO of Weaving Influence, which is a, I guess it’s called a Digital Marketing Agency book launch company. We’ll get to that in a little bit. And she’s actually gone to the other side from just supporting authors and such and thought leaders for a dozen or so years to being an author herself. So her new book, as opposed to an old book, I guess, is everybody’s book is new it’s called Reach: Create the Biggest Possible Audience For Your Message, Book or… Message, Book or… I can’t read my handwriting. What’s the…?
Becky Robinson Cause.
Peter Winick Cause!
Becky Robinson Message, Book or Cause.
Peter Winick Cause! Yeah, this. I have the handwriting of the doctor, of a doctor, but not the job of a doctor. So anyway, I’ve got to tell you, Becky, so Becky and I have known each other for several years, and I felt like the person at the horror movie when we used to go to movies yelling at the screen, but in a good way. When I was reading your book, like, Yes.
Becky Robinson Oh, I’m so relieved.
Peter Winick No, I wasn’t at the screen right now. I was shouting more The the hallelujah you go girl. As I was reading the book, I read it in June. I was just like the first time I traveled in forever in Las Vegas, sitting outside in the scorching heat like a lunatic getting heatstroke, reading it. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t put it down. And then my Kindle overheated. So that was not a good sign. But anyway, welcome, Becky.
Becky Robinson Thank you. And I’m so honored that you read my book, Peter.
Peter Winick Yeah, that’s why. And the first thing I did was reach out and say, okay, we got to talk about this because this is fun. Yeah, you are. So let me just sort of set – you and I have had several conversations over the years, and I think we’ve got a similar mindset perspective on terms of how you leverage things, build platforms, etc. and not get sucked into. It’s all about book sales and units and all that. So describe for folks sort of what weaving influences and what you’ve been doing the last ten or 12 years on. I want to pivot to the book side.
Becky Robinson Sure, I’d be happy to. So I founded Weaving Influence back in 2012, which is about exactly ten years the summer since I started. Although before that I was doing some freelance support of authors here and there and really figuring out how to leverage social media to get the word out about books. We have primarily been working on business books over the last decade, so you and I, Peter, are definitely in the same space, although I think the services that we provide to authors are a little bit different. We will often partner with authors about 4 to 6 months before they have a book that’s ready to come out, and we work with them from the strategic level all the way down to the implementation and execution level, providing support in key areas like, you know, web, social media marketing, public relations, content marketing, virtual and live events. You know, any of the levers that an author might want to use to get the word out about their book and expand audience for their book. We’ve been working with authors on those things over the years, and one of the other things that we’ve done is partnered with authors over the long term to build their thought leadership platforms and continue to grow the reach of their work. So the book really is an extension of that in that I pulled together all the ideas and stories and approaches that I’ve been working with authors on over the past decade and, you know, put them in this product called the book.
Peter Winick Yeah. So let me ask you, because I have so many questions. So first thing is congrats, because you have more courage than I have deliberately and intentionally not written a book and several reasons. One is I’m a pretty terrible writer, but that’s fixable with some help. But I haven’t been able to justify it from a time business and energy expense. Right. Because I know as well as most as well as you do at least. Right. That it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of energy. It’s not just the writing of the book, but the whole process, the the ideation, the writing, the marketing, the getting it out there. And I and I’ve always looked at it and said, yeah, you know, there’s lots of things I have an opinion on and a process and a methodology and from my work, but haven’t been able to justify like a book being such a mass marketing tool that it would be valuable. So and it’s early for you. It’s only been a couple of months, but what are you finding on that side, like from a from a business Are y you’re the CEO of a company that spent months of your time on this.
Becky Robinson Sure. Well, so a few things on that and I could probably talk about that all day. I will tell you that I was reluctant about a book to. And in the book, I tell this story and I’m going to name-drop. So I just will. Back in about it was 2014 or 2015. I was at a book marketing event out in San Francisco and there was like a happy hour meeting.
Peter Winick With Gen Z. This isn’t when you were going crazy or.
Becky Robinson Yeah. No, that was another Becky Robinson, I guess. And so at that event, Rusty Shelton, who owns an agency based out of Austin, Texas, I’m sure you know, Rusty, he came up to me at this kind of happy hour. He said, Hey, I know you’ve always wanted to write a book. I’m getting ready to write a book. What do you say we have an accountability deal and we keep each other accountable to get the book proposal written and the book out. And I was like, Yeah, no, no, thanks. Well, so Rusty has done a couple of books in the time that it took me to get to my first book, and he followed through. After that conversation, he partnered with Barbara Hendricks, who’s amazing, and they did a book with Barrett Koehler publishers, back, I think it was 2015 when the book came out, maybe 2016. So I had I had the same reluctance that you have, Peter, about kind of following through on my dream to have a book or my desire to put my thought leadership out into the world. And part of the reason is because selling books is really, really, really hard. It’s even harder than I imagined. And so I would always weigh in my mind kind of the cost benefit analysis that you’re talking about of, you know, is the amount of time that I’m going to put into writing and marketing my own book going to be worth the impact that the book has in the world for my business or for my ideas. So I really did struggle with that, Peter. And, you know, like others during the pandemic, when things were kind of a bit slower, I revisited the idea of doing a traditionally published book. And eventually what I got to, honestly, was the fact that my company would be reaching this decade mark. And I thought, Well, what if I time it so that I submit my book proposal and I have my book come out and it’s all around the time that my company will celebrate a decade, and then I can have these two milestones at once and have this product of value to offer. So as it relates to juggling, you know, being the CEO of my own agency and writing the book, what I’ll tell you is that I mostly did the book in my off hours time.
Peter Winick But do CEO’s really have off hours. I mean, there’s an obvious opportunity cost, right?
Becky Robinson Sure. There definitely is an opportunity cost. I would say that I did a lot of writing on the weekends. So I don’t I typically try to have a pretty boundaried life. I don’t work on the weekends now. You know, in the beginning of my company, I worked all the time. I have one client who love to meet me for coaching on Saturday mornings, Bill Treasurer, so I’m going to more name dropping. Maybe people will catch this interview as a result of me mentioning their names. So I, you know, I used to meet Bill on Saturday mornings. At a certain point on my business owner journey, I stopped working on the weekends. I realized that unless I gave myself time to refresh and renew, you know, I wouldn’t really be able to sustain the pace that. So, you know, in writing the book, though, I definitely did a lot of writing on the weekends. I did a lot of writing on Fridays that I would block on my calendar. I also didn’t take any vacation time. So if I look at my Google calendar over the years and over the time that I did the book, there isn’t a week that I took off. There isn’t like a day that I took off. The days that I had blocked were for the book. So what I basically did is I exchanged weather people might do and taking a vacation. And I use the time instead to spend on a book project.
Peter Winick Let’s go a little bit of a different direction.
Becky Robinson Sure.
Peter Winick Obviously, you know, this is what Victor Kiam, where, you know, “I love the product so much. I bought the company.” You had the company first, and then you and then you became your own client to some degree. Right. Were you a good client?
Becky Robinson Well, you’d have to ask my team that. I sure hope I was a good client. Peter. One of the cool things that we had got the chance to do in owning like a book launching company and book marketing company is that we could experiment a lot and bring our ideas to life in ways that, you know, frankly, if we tried to price what we did to market my book for a client, no one would ever buy it. It would cost too much.
Peter Winick Right? Right. So but I mean, you could write that off as an R&D or, you know, or whatever.
Becky Robinson Yeah, Well, yes. And my cost of my work force is less than what I would charge a client. So there is a bit of give and take there. But if we were to price at our client facing prices, all the work that my team did on my book, there’s no one in the world who would buy it except for, you know, maybe someone I don’t know, someone who’s not a client of mine yet.
Peter Winick So now that your what do you 60 or 90 days post-launch now.
Becky Robinson Mm. That’s a good quote. Yeah. About Yeah. About three months. It was, it was April 19th, April, May, June or July. About three months.
Peter Winick Okay. So what is the biggest learning that you’ve had, you know, or biggest surprise. And again, you’re coming at this from someone. How many book campaigns have you launched? Hundreds.
Becky Robinson Yeah, more than 150.
Peter Winick Yeah. So now what surprised you? What you learned?
Becky Robinson Yeah. So I would say there aren’t a lot of surprises. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I’ll share a few kind of insights. So one of the things that we do with authors is we drive Amazon review campaigns because Amazon reviews are really important for social proof. So I was very public, Peter, about telling people that I wanted 100 Amazon reviews in the first month. Yep. And in order to drive those hundred Amazon reviews in the first month, we sent out over 400 pre-publication print copies of my book to launch team members to colleagues to about everyone we could think of. You know, I had signed.
Peter Winick I want to ask a clarifying question.
Becky Robinson Oh, sure sure.
Peter Winick So the Amazon campaign thing I totally get and the social proof is critical because if you go somewhere you haven’t heard back this name. She’s a first time author. The title looks interesting, cover looks interesting, and no one said anything about the book. You’re probably on to the next thing, right?
Becky Robinson Yes.
Peter Winick So I think that’s key. When you said you sent out the 400 CS or the Galaxy advance copies, did you send them out physical land on my desk in a thump.
Becky Robinson I sure, I sure did. We sent out 400 print copies. Now to clarify, they were not galleys, nor were they arcs. They were finished books. So my publisher, Bakula Publishers, does ship books, finished books to authors, typically 4 to 6 weeks before the launch. So the books landed in my office around March 9th, and I physically hand signed letters and book plates, which are stickers that can go on the front of the book. We had bookmarks and stickers, and I packaged all that stuff here in my home office. You know, I do have helping people because what we’ve noticed is that you do not get the same return by sending out PDFs or E galleys of books. That uptake on people following through on an Amazon review is far higher if they receive a physical copy of the book and you have a chance to curate the experience that someone has. So the experience of opening up the envelope, of pulling out the book, of seeing that the author signed it, of reading a personalized note, you know, there is something visceral about that.
Peter Winick And the Bookplate. I’ve got to tell you, it’s maybe less than 10% because I get a lot of these in the mail solicited, mostly unsolicited. And I will actually reach out to a lot of authors. And more often than not, it’s people that I know, or know of, or whatever and say, listen, you know, sending that from your PR firm with a boilerplate letter like Dear Peter com or whatever and not a signature, not a note from you is really, really not good. And I actually have it here – Stephen M. R. Covey’s new book, right, Trust & Inspire? I got this unsolicited with a beautiful note that he wrote. And then after we had him on the podcast, another note like now, I would have read this book anyway because I’m a huge fan. But but I think the point is, yeah, Do you want to sit there for a couple nights, all night writing it? Probably not. It makes a huge, huge, huge difference because I also have a pile you can probably see over there. Well, maybe not whatever of a bunch of them that just randomly come in the mail and they go there in the pile that I’ll get to and they never seem to be gotten to. Right. So.
Becky Robinson Exactly. And think about if if all you got was an attachment of a PDF, or worse yet, if all you got was an invitation to Hey, go to that galley, Peter set up an account, download my book. Like people won’t do that. So I set this goal of 100 Amazon reviews in the first month. I took the time and care to send out these packages and unfortunately. Oh yeah. So I actually calculated the expense of that mailing. It was $6,000.
Peter Winick Yeah. So significant.
Becky Robinson The $6,000. I’ll tell you how it breaks down. My publisher did give me 250 free copies of my book. So the typical number is, I think 150. I negotiated four more. So 250 of the books that I sent out were at no cost in terms of the book I bought. On top of those 250, I bought 500 more. I’m continuing to distribute those. So the cost of the books that I had to pay for, plus the cost of the shipping and we ship priority mail. You know why? Because minimal is unreliable and then the cost of the collateral. So the book played in the sticker and the bookmark in the letter. We estimated that at about a dollar per package. And so if you add up all that money, it’s $6,000 is what I invested. I would totally.
Peter Winick Use the fulfillment house or something like that. Right? So now maybe it’s eight or nine if you. Yeah.
Becky Robinson Well, so there’s probably hidden cost there, where I have a shipping manager and her time wasn’t accounted for in the six grand, my time wasn’t accounted for. But here’s the thing, Peter, before anyone hire someone like me to help them promote their book, my deeply held belief is that distribution of copies of the book into the world, like seeds that can grow, is way more valuable than hiring any publicist get, though, and I coach people to that. Hey, look, before you decide that you’re going to spend ten, 15, 20, 30, $40,000 with my organization to launch your book, you need to first put the money into getting the book into people’s hands. Matt Holtz is a publisher and Bella, Matt, Holtz Books is his imprint. And he says there are two things that move business books, books in hands, and butts in seats. So bats and seats refers to people at events. And, you know, you may have some control over getting invited to events, but what you do have control over ultimately, as the author is can you give your book away and get it into more people’s hands?
Peter Winick Well, and stay there for a minute, because this is one of the pressures that I have around publishing, is that, listen, a publisher’s success metric is really, really simple. Number of units sold less the cost, right? So advance printing, publishing, whatever. Did we sell X number of books at some level of profit and black white, win or lose, period. Full stop. That’s it for the publisher. Now, on occasion, maybe there’s a brand builder, and they’re fighting for Obama’s book or something like that. But. But what’s parking lot Like the crazy outlier? For the most part, they’ve got to sell more, more books at a price that is reasonable and profitable, period. For an author. Almost every author and I’m certain nonfiction business, the folks that you and I work with. Book sales really are not the not the deal Like, yes, it’s nicer to sell more than less, but the revenue isn’t the point. So I would argue in your game, in your case, whether you sold 3000 books or 30,000 books, 30 is better than three. You know, I’m not the greatest math person. The better metric would probably be, Wow. Did this book help us acquire ten new clients this year or 30? Right. And my point is, people get frugal with books like get another 500 books in the right hands of bright people. Go to people and say, Hey, Becky, I love you, I respect you, I admire you. Who are three people you’d like me to give this book to write because my network is not going to be irrelevant people to that, right? Like there are things that you can do that are hand to hand combat, you know, asking people to do small things and things like that that are exponentially more impactful than some traditional PR thing.
Becky Robinson Yet I think that we overestimate people’s desire to buy our books. So one of the tactics that I’m using is every single time I have a call with anyone, you know, maybe it’s a possible collaborator, maybe it’s someone who’s on my podcast, maybe it’s a sales prospect, someone I’m trying to develop business with. It doesn’t matter who you are. If I’m on a call with you, my next follow up is Can I send you a signed copy of my book in hopes that it will add value to your journey? I think a lot of authors think, Oh, I’m meeting someone. Maybe they’ll buy my book. And they think, well, of course I you know, this prospect, you know, is considering hiring me. Why wouldn’t they buy my book? And they think that someone well, we overestimate. They’re not going to buy the book. They’ve got a thousand other things going. But if you offer.
Peter Winick The page in the 20 bucks or whatever to buy the book, it’s the effort. You have to add something else to do. And, you know, the stark truth is I’m a reader. I read a couple of books a week. I’m sure you read a couple of books. That’s not normal. Not that we’re abnormal. That’s a separate issue. Right. But most people are reading two or three books a week, so they might say, Oh, hey, I wish you well, but they’re not going to say I read two books a year or yours isn’t going to be one to write.
Becky Robinson But just the impact of sending that gift again, the personalization. So every week when I go to my physical office, there’s a stack of books waiting and I sign them all and I send them all out the door again. And I think, what percentage.
Peter Winick Of people take you up on that? I would imagine a vast majority.
Becky Robinson I would say most people do take me up on it. Yeah, there are there are very few people. You know, occasionally I’ll have someone say, Oh, don’t worry, I’ll just buy it or whatever. But for the most part, people are happy to get the gift of a book. And it’s far better for me in terms of memorability, in terms of people understanding the way I view the world. You know, the best partner for me in terms of someone who would hire my company to work with them is someone who reads and gets the approach that we’re recommending because we’re more likely to be aligned on this is what marketing is and how to do it.
Peter Winick No, and I think that’s a great point to thoughts. One is it would be an interesting sort of AB experiment for you to say, you know, over the next month, not only are we going to make that offer, but ask them if there’s somebody they’d like me to send it to on their behalf. That would be an interesting experiment, right? The second piece is, and I was going to get to this in a bit, but I’ll get to it now is. As I read your book, the many things in there weren’t a surprise to me because I know you. We’ve had conversations. Kind of know what you think and how you operate. What I love about what you just said, if someone read your book, read your book and goes, Oh, this isn’t for me. I was looking for the hack. Like, What’s the ten steps to be a best seller? Like they get it from reading your book that there are no easy ways, there are no hacks, whatever. You lay out exactly what your beliefs are, your processes, your methodologies, how you do things and why. So you don’t need to arm wrestle someone. I think anyone coming into sort of weaving influence world is going to go yeah this. Wow. Read the book and get it.
Peter Winick If you’re enjoying this episode of Thought Leadership Leverage, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about our podcast, please leave a five-star review at ratethispodcast.com/ltl and share it with your friends. We’re available on Apple Podcasts and on all major listening apps as well as at ThoughtLeadershipLeverage.com/podcast.
Peter Winick Let’s see somebody who’s got a question here. It’s my perception most people for looking for a book that solves a problem or educates them on something that they are very interested in or trying to understand or improve thought.
Becky Robinson Yeah, definitely. And you know, the way I kind of frame this in the book, Sean, is I talk about value. So if you want to contribute on topics, what you want to be clear about is the value that you have to offer and then the people who will perceive that to be important to them. So, you know, not every book is for everyone. I wrote my book for authors, for leaders of nonprofit causes, or for anyone who wants to build leadership, thought, leadership. And so for people who are looking to solve a problem of, hey, reaching more people, growing a bigger audience, making a bigger impact, yeah, the book that I wrote is educating them. So in that.
Peter Winick Stay there for a second because that’s another amazing point in that when I’m talking to clients or potential clients early on and I’ll say to them, Hey, who does your work? Who you work for? Who’s the book for? Who’s your platform for? And, you know, there’s sort of two versions of the answer to that question. One is the equivalent of, oh, everyone, that’s the one that makes me cringe. And the other is some version of what you said, very deliberate, very thought out. You’ve got a piece of nonprofit. You’ve got a piece of nonfiction authors. If I’m a romance or a kid’s author, I’m going to put your book down after page ten and go, I guess this isn’t for me. And you’re going to go, Yeah, it’s probably not. Maybe there’s a nugget or two or something.
Becky Robinson Yeah, You know, I mean, I think there is some broad applicability to what I’ve written, but so I want to namedrop again. Fauzia Burke. Because, you know, if we namedrop enough on LinkedIn, we’ll get some more eyeballs on our stuff. But Fauzia Burke is, is someone who I credit with kind of this idea of you don’t want to think about who might need your book ever, but you want to think about who needs your book right now. Yes. Because, you know, let’s face it, if you say your book is for everyone, well, you know, let’s think of something, a book about healthy eating, For example, you might argue a book about healthy eating could be for anyone because everyone needs to eat healthily. But I’m not going to go buy the book about healthy eating until I have an acute need because my doctor tells me I need to eat healthier or I’m not feeling well or some other thing. So I think.
Peter Winick Of that might be a book for healthy eating. For someone recently diagnosed with diabetes, So now they’ve got a reason to change their lifestyle, not some abstract mom and apple pie concept.
Becky Robinson Yeah, exactly. And you know, I just think that you’re setting yourself up for a world of disappointment if you think your book is for everyone. And the more specific you can be, whether you’re creating thought leadership content, you know, like a podcast or blog or whatever you’re creating or a book, whatever the content is that you’re creating, the more direct you can be and who you’re creating it for, the more effective the content will be.
Peter Winick And make it easier to write when you know, when you’re writing, you know, you have a vision in your mind of the nonfiction writer, the nonprofit cause person, etc. So you might look at something, Hmm, wow, they would really dig that or am not really sure that that’s going to be helpful to that population or sort of the constraints give you that gut check. Right, Or support that gut check.
Becky Robinson Well, and even better, if you can think of a specific person, right. You know, if you can picture who they are, you know, like I know my friend Nikki Soulsby, who’s an emerging.
Peter Winick Yeah. I need I need like a special sound for name dropping. Ding, ding, ding the name.
Becky Robinson Yeah, I know. I’m going to keep name dropping all day long, but like, so if I can think about Nikki Soulsby when I’m writing a blog post and I know Nikki has said, you know, is my content marketing a waste of time? And if I write a blog post or an article or a book that specifically addresses the frustration that I know that she feels because. She shared it with me. Then anybody who has that same pain is going to resonate with the content more because it’s very focused.
Peter Winick So we’ve been in this very positive place, which is great. I don’t want to bring this down, but any frustrations or disappointments along the way?
Becky Robinson Well, okay. So I want to close the loop on that. Let’s set a goal of getting 100 Amazon reviews in the first month. I did not make it. It took me 73 days to get 100 Amazon reviews. Okay, so that was like a learning I don’t know that I would say I was disappointed. You know, I often will set goals that are bigger than what I can achieve in hopes that just having that bigger goal will help me achieve more. So I can’t say that I was like, disappointed. I will say that every time I log into Amazon author Central and I look at the Bookscan number, which represents retail book sales, the number is smaller than I want it to be. So to the name dropping. Todd Patterson is publisher at Bard Press, and Todd says that for a nonfiction book to really break out and have a chance of having an impact over a long period of time, there’s this number of 10,000 books that you want to sell in the first year in order to be able to set up your self for success for longer term momentum with book sales. So if you can’t reach that 10,000 number in the first year, your chances of selling, you know, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 copies of your book diminish greatly. So to that, you know, in my head I have this 10,000 number. I want to sell 10,000 books. And in fact, the first print run that my publisher did was 10,000 print copies. And so, you know, a disappointment or frustration is this is hard. And I don’t know how to make it go faster. So the only goal kind of.
Peter Winick Couple of thoughts on that is I have no doubt no more nonfiction books do better year to than year one for lots of reasons. It’s just an odd quirk of the marketplace right now. And the reality is you’re not a publisher, right? So that if I were you, I’d be saying, Whoa, yeah, 10,000 or competitive, we want to get there. Whatever. But that book’s got a 5 to 7 year, you know, amortization schedule or shelf life and everything you’re doing today, every conversation you’re having, all that stuff that’s going to extrapolate over years. To me, I’d rather have a conversation in a year from now saying, Well, what did that book do for you? Say, I can attribute, you know, 17 new clients worth X dollars and conversations I got invited to have that I never would have, and even proposals I got to submit whether I won them or lost them. How did it how is weaving influence a different company, a better company one year post than it was without the book?
Becky Robinson Yeah, that would be a great conversation to have. And you know, I think having supported business book authors for a decade, Peter, one of the things that’s tricky is people will say, Well, you know, which of the marketing approaches that you took created the results you want. The truth is it’s very difficult to track. So while I might, you know, look at revenue like I could look at 2021 revenue and look at 2022 revenue and I could say, okay, well, we grew by X percent in 20 2022 compared to 2021, Right. And then in 2023. But in order to know, like how much of that was from the book, I think that part would be tricky, you know, in terms of invitations to events. You know, I got invited to this cool event coming up here in the Toledo, Ohio, area on August 30th. It’s a female author event sponsored by Owens Corning and Dana Corporation. And there will be 20 authors there and 700 women, you know, a focus on women in business, whatever. Like, I would not be invited to that event if I were not an author.
Peter Winick Right. So that’s.
Becky Robinson Why.
Peter Winick All of you wouldn’t That was an event you probably even knew existed a year ago, nor cared, nor whatever. Now it’s like there’s the velvet rope is opening to some extent, right?
Becky Robinson Yes, for sure. So certainly my book is taking me places that I could not have gone without the book. And, you know, a year post-launch, we can sit together and say, hey, look, you know, my business had X percent growth in revenue or, you know, I went to these five or six great events. Here’s another like surprise. This isn’t a disappointment at all. So I’m not going there on the negative side yet. Peter, what I’ve heard from authors is the most satisfying part of putting a book into the world is the subjective feedback that you get from people when your book has made a difference to them. And whenever I’ve heard that, I’ve been like, Yeah, that’s a really kind of like soft metric. Like basically what people have told me in the past is like, it’s the emails I get, it’s the private messages I get where people say, I read your book and it’s helping me. And I didn’t quite anticipate how fun that would be.
Peter Winick What I was going to say along that line of thinking. What about the other piece? Because I hear this from a lot of clients and listen, I don’t care if I ever sell one book, but part of that process forced me to get my thinking type. My methodology is clear. You know, things that were fuzzy weren’t fuzzy before. How much of how much of that? Holds true for you as well, because a lot of what is in your book had already been operationalized as the part of the way weaving influence runs and does things and interacts with clients. But how much how much of that was a forcing mechanism?
Becky Robinson Sure. Well, I’ll share a little bit of the journey to writing the book. There’s at least like one major aha moment that I had writing the book that I would not have had clarity about without writing the book. And that’s the four commitments that I have in my book. So in my book, I say there are four key commitments that any thought leader or difference maker has to make in order to get the biggest possible reach for their work. And I’ll say that so Rich was not the intended title of my book. So just the idea of defining reach in the way that I did in writing the book, that was brand new because I wrote the book, I would not have gotten there without me and I wouldn’t have gotten there without name dropping. Neal Mallet, my editor at Barrett Cutler Publishers, who said, Hey, look, you know, if Reach is going to be the title, we need to define it and we need to make it really crystal clear. So like, I can’t even take credit for that. It was like Neil pushing me and saying, Hey, Becky, your book is called Reach. What is Reach? We need to make you know, we need to crystallize that. So reach equals expanding audience plus lasting impact. So for me, it was really important to define reach in a different way because most people just think about REACH has like how many people are there and can I, can I?
Peter Winick I think that’s a really critical point because sometimes, you know, the word reach is not a proprietary word and it has preconceived notion. People assign a meaning to that, a something to that concept, to that. You didn’t undefined it, but you deliberately defined it your way. Right. So when you speak of reach, you mean it this way, the influence, audience, etc. not, you know, the most information to the most people for the least dollars or some other way that an ad agency might on a cost per thousand basis. So I think that’s it’s kind of cool. It gives you an opportunity to create a definition that you can really hang a lot of things from.
Becky Robinson Yes. And the other thing that I would say is the original subtitle for the book actually wasn’t that subtitle that we published was. So the subtitle that we published with is creating the biggest possible audience for your message book or cause. And the big audience thing, I think, is what sells, right? You know, people want to know, how do I reach more people? The original subtitle was Creating Lasting Impact for Your Message Book or Cause, which, if we’re honest, that’s what I care more about. And I think it’s only when you view both of those things together that it all makes sense. So it’s really like neither subtitle was the right subtitle. It’s like creating the biggest possible audience and lasting impact because you can get, you know, you can have a viral video. You know, for example, if this conversation went viral on LinkedIn and millions of people watched it, you know that.
Peter Winick Yeah.
Becky Robinson I’m probably not. I could namedrop all day.
Peter Winick And listen to this, get struck by lightning in the next 3 minutes. I don’t think that’s going to happen but.
Becky Robinson Right. But suppose it did in a way it’s meaningless unless we have a way to stay connected and bring value to those people over time. So it’s really both. And it’s not one or the other. You don’t just want a bigger audience. What you want is the ability to have an impact with that audience over time. So that is something that I would not have come to apart from, you know, the editorial process in finishing the book together, I wouldn’t have come to is The Four Commitments. And when I wrote the book initially, I called them the four factors. Isn’t that weak source?
Peter Winick Yeah, the fourth factor sounds like the physics equation or it’s so.
Becky Robinson Boring for a.
Peter Winick Band from the sixties that had like one hit. It’s a one hit wonder from the 60 users.
Becky Robinson Yeah. So again, I have to credit the editorial team for saying, Hey, four factors, we can come up with something better and commitments is what we landed on. And commitments makes perfect sense because this crap is hard. Yeah. So like, you’re not going to expand your reach, You’re not going to make an impact unless you’re committed, unless you keep showing up, you know, unless you bring value and with consistency in a generous way over a long period of time. So like the word commitments was just perfect. The other thing that we toyed with and I, I still feel like longevity. I love the word longevity because I do think in order to build reach that you need to show up over a long period of time. And Dorie Clark did an amazing job in the long game. Yeah, exactly. Now to be.
Peter Winick Going, there we go.
Becky Robinson You know, to be fair, I wrote about longevity before I read Dorie’s book, but it works. We tried for a while with using the word endurance or the word perseverance instead of the word longevity, because a commitment to perseverance, you know, helps to bring the truth to life that if you want to make a big difference, you just have to stick around. But what Dori says is, you know, it’s not necessarily that those people who make a big impact over time, they’re not necessarily better than everybody else. They just. Outlasted everybody else. And people give up way too soon.
Peter Winick Well, there’s yeah, I mean, I think a lot of people approach a book as a race, you know, like a sprint versus the marathon. It is a marathon. You know, it is a never ending marathon to some degree for many.
Becky Robinson So, yeah, so it’s so funny that you bring that up, Peter, because a couple times I’ve mentioned this, I always said it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I have a new way. It’s not either, you know, a sprint has a finish line, a marathon has a finish line. I know I’ve run ten of them. You know, eventually you stop. And what I now say is it’s not a marathon, it’s not a sprint. It’s a lifelong commitment to showing up to run. So I think that if authors can disavow themselves that book marketing as a project that has a completion date, they’ll be far more successful in sharing that book.
Peter Winick That, you know, that that. So let’s end on I maybe this thread. I think that again, this goes back to the disconnect or the lack of alignment between what’s great for the author and how the book Industrial complex work. So, what the publishing world thinks of a book and says, Hey Becky, your books are spring release or a fall release. And I’m like, What is it, a piece of fashion? Like, like, is it a wool sweater versus a bathing suit? That’s a stupid way of thinking about. I think it’s necessary for them because they can’t put in the resources in a specific book over an indefinite period of time. So they typically go oh 9 to 120 days. We’re going to really show Becky the love. And then after that, maybe we’ll answer or call it out. But PR tends to work like that book launch tends to work like that. Publishers tend to think like that. And I think the burden and the onus is going to be on the author in perpetuity to always be running that race, right? To always be looking for ways to grind and get attention to the book and their work.
Becky Robinson Yeah, sort of like a marriage commitment and I can’t remember the name to drop, but the women who founded a company called Biblio Motion, which has now been subsumed, I can’t think of their names. I heard them say one time, you have to be married to your message. And so for an author who really believes in what they’re writing about, who is like committed to sharing value on a particular topic, that’s not a commitment that ever goes away the same way that, you know, hopefully a marriage is for life.
Peter Winick And you finish that thought because, you know, it’s Jill Friedlander and Erica Heilman from.
Becky Robinson Yes. Thank you. I think Jill is the one who said, you know, are you married to your message? Gail? I’m glad that this has been helpful to you. I’m thrilled that that this has helped.
Peter Winick Thanks, Gail. Cool. So let me let me wrap us up. So thank you not only for coming on today, but thank you for writing the book, actually. And again, some of it was, you know, when somebody else says something that I believe is true, it makes me feel like either I’m smarter or I’m not the only lunatic out there saying it. But it’s but it’s well-written. Well done. I think for your target market, which is a market that we share, it’s an incredibly powerful and thoughtful book. So if you’re thinking about writing a book, if you’ve written a book, if you know someone that’s right has or you have a cause or a nonprofit, grab the book, read the book, and I guarantee you will take away three or four or five ideas that you will not be able to forget over time.
Becky Robinson So here’s an offer for people who love Peter Winick and are watching this video.
Peter Winick Oh, maybe. Say that again.
Becky Robinson To Peter Winick. I’m a big fan, so if you want to send me a private message on LinkedIn, I will send you a link where you can give me your address if you live in the United States and I’ll be happy to sign and get a book out to you. Peter, also an offer to you. You mentioned another tactic to try is, you know, ask someone who do you know who needs to read my book? Peter, send me some addresses. Up to five. Tell me who you want me to send the book to. I’ll tell them it’s a gift from you. And I want to, like, you know, actually follow through on what I believe, which is my book In More People’s Hands is going to do more good than me waiting for people to choose to buy my book just because they saw me on this interview. So send me a send me a message if my book could be of value to you on your journey, Gail, or anyone else who’s watching or watches this later.
Peter Winick So this is like our version of Oprah. And you get a car and you get a car.
Becky Robinson And you get a book and you get a book and you get a book.
Peter Winick So thank you again. Thank you so much. Thanks for sharing time with us today.
Becky Robinson And my pleasure. Thank you.
Peter Winick Write the book. Thank you. To learn more about Thought Leadership Leverage, please visit our website at ThoughtLeadershipLeverage.com to reach me directly. Feel free to email me at Peter at Thought Leadership Leverage dot com and please subscribe to Leveraging Thought Leadership on iTunes or your favorite podcast app to get your weekly episode automatically.