You may have noticed "The 4-Hour Workweek" on my recommended reading list. Written by Tim Ferriss, a kindred spirit in the very cool life department, the book is filled with inspiration and practical advice. The book will fill you with a renewed sense of possibility and I highly recommend it. Mr. Ferriss has just reached number one on the NY Times Bestseller List as his book taps into a universal desire — the desire for freedom. Not yet 30 years old, I suspect this is just the beginning for him, the whippersnapper.
Mr. Ferriss wrote that one of his secrets to success was that he contacted successful authors and downloaded whatever wisdom they offered. Yesterday I was inspired to take his advice and contact Mr. Ferriss via his blog. He had a wonderful post detailing his methods for reaching number one as a first time author — offering the kind of information I’m guessing most publishers are clueless about.
I am on the cusp of getting my first book published. I’ve waded through rejections, but I also have some people who "get" me and my message. This is tremendously exciting of course, as having this book out there would fulfill a long standing intention of mine. However, major publishers want you to have a "platform" — a TV or radio show, some way to reach large numbers of people so they can easily justify their investment in you.
Well, I don’t have a TV or radio show. Yet. I have about 10,000 readers, a substantial number of whom I would consider fans. While this is enough to support me in making a nice living, it’s not enough to get publishers jumping up and down in their chairs in Manhattan screaming, "We gotta sign this guy now!"
So, I have editors who are championing my work, but are getting push back from the marketing department who wonder who the hell I am. I’ve been told that a couple blurbs from similar authors would go a long way in sealing the deal for me. I’ve gotten one name in the industry to agree to appear on the book jacket, but I really want/need two. As I was reading Mr. Ferriss’ blog yesterday, the idea struck me.
Ask him. That’s what he did. It’s what I preach. Ask for what you want. If you do not ask, you do not tend to receive.
So I spent 20 minutes crafting a pitch. Yes, I felt silly posting it on a blog to a complete stranger and asking him for a favor. But when I thought about it, I’m actually quite proud of my work. Over the years I’ve gotten hundreds of really cool e-mails from people expressing how much they appreciated what I had written. And by asking Mr. Ferriss for help, perhaps I was just allowing him the opportunity to pay forward the gift that he recieved from other authors.
I had a friend who wrote a book a while ago. He got blurbs from Steve Martin and Dave Barry saying how funny the book was, even though it was clear neither man had read a sentence of the book. That’s not what my intention is here. I only want his recommendation if he likes my writing and feels like I have something to offer.
Two sentences from a best-selling author with a similar message as me could change the course of my life. Weird to think about that. But I have little doubt that this would convince the bean counters to take a chance on me. And once I’m in the door, I know what I’m capable of.
So, I posted the note yesterday. Much like this blog, the comment went into "moderation" which means someone reads it to make sure my comment is appropriate. I wasn’t sure if it would get through, but when I checked the site a few minutes ago, I was given passage. Even more encouraging, Tim had some kind words on my pitch.
Here’s what I wrote, prefaced by his comment.
Drew Rozell Says: August 9th, 2007 at 4:04 pm [Note from Tim: Readers should check this out. It’s a great pitch letter.] ###
Well done. Loved the book. Especially the tone. You help people remember that the coolest life is the life filled with freedom.
I also enjoyed this post very much and will spend a while taking in all the information you provided. The information is timely because my first book is under review. I am a first time author too, and I am waiting to hear from the 14th editor. She’s told me that having a couple blurbs would really please the folks in the sales and marketing department. I have a good one already, but I need another. Get ready for it… 3…2…1…. ….and this brings me to true reason for my post. I’d like for you to consider being one of those blurbs. Sorry to do it like this in front of the whole interweb and all, but I need to ask. I’ve spent my life coaching people how to remove the emotional barriers that keep them from living a very cool life and, like you, I have something valuable to share with the world. If you have 4 minutes, you can get a flavor of my writing and message by visiting http://www.drewsletter.com. If you resonate with my stuff and are feeling the desire to make someone’s day (and then some), perhaps you’d be willing to do me this great service. And even if you do not, I will continue to recommend your book (I’ve sold at least a dozen so far) and follow your progress.
Your new pal, Drew
Encouraging, right? But I haven’t heard anything more and this means too much to me to sit on my hands. People will be deciding on my book very shortly, so time is of the essence here.
So I thought I’d ask for YOUR help.
Even if he liked my ptitch letter, my sense is that Mr. Ferriss is not chomping at the bit to lend his name to some dude who posted on his blog. I would not be either. So I am feeling the desire to get creative. To stand out. To take my best shot . And that’s where you come in.
I need two sentences from this guy. Maybe 20 minutes of his time to read some of my articles that will be in the book. Not much, but not something anyone agrees to unless there’s something compelling… I am asking for your help in manifesting an intention of mine, in making a dream come true. I am asking you for two sentences.
My thought is that if I have made an impact on you — I made you think, inspired you, or just made you feel good — through my writing, coaching, etc., that you drop Mr. Ferriss a note on his blog encouraging him to consider looking at my stuff. I’d ask that any comments be cool, light, fun, and most of all, genuine.
If you would like to help me out, visit Tim’s blog http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/08/06/how-does-a-bestseller-happen-a-case-study-in-hitting-1-on-the-new-york-times/
Scroll down to post #74 and you’ll see mine.
And with all your heart, charm, wit, and wisdom, inform Tim why he would be pleased to have his name on my book jacket. If there’s an article from a past issue of the Drewsletter that you found particularly compelling, you could link to that. They are all at http://www.evolutioncoaching.com/archives.html
Of course, you don’t have to help me out. It’s easier not to. But it’d be way cooler if you did. And of course, it all comes back to you.
So fly monkeys! Fly!!! 🙂 d
UPDATE: Guess what? No need to post nuthin’. Mr Ferriss has been gracious enough to look at my proposal. Solid. I’ll keep you posted. Remember, if you want to dance with the pretty girl, ya gotta ask her.