Susan RoAne gave a fascinating interview titled "Leveraging relationships and The Power of a Room to sell 1.2 million copies of your first book (like I did)". She approached different topics from being a teacher who was laid off, going on into speaking and working as a columnist, how she got the idea of writing a book, and her writing and marketing processes. I totally related to Susan from the first moment, maybe because we're both teachers... or were. But once a teacher, always a teacher!
Some of the amazing things she said: Her first book, How to Work a Room, published 26 years ago, is still going strong, among other reasons, because it's had four editions, each one with a launch. Another one is: "When somebody tells you that you can write, give them a real big hug and thank them, because they're sending you a message". And yet another: "Follow what people are saying. Listen to what people tell you".
Advice on writing: Always name your sources, give credit where it's due, as I always say, even if they're just stories you heard. Ask the person if you can write it and cite their name. Talk with people, hear what they have to say. "Lots of ideas and 'Aha! moments' come up in informal chats. "Have your brain open and your antenna up all the time." Write in a conversational tone, as if you're talking with your reader. "Make your book a conversation." [I love this way of writing, not the academic style.] Read a lot. Consume information, because it broadens your thinking and gives you ideas and information to write about. Write a note whenever you have an idea. Susan does, in a spiral notebook. [I do too, in Evernote.]
On the marketing side she has a very curious piece of advice that I had never heard. Be nice to people, be it at a conference, a book launch, a social event of some other kind, because someone in that room that you may be talking to may just have the right relations. So her marketing theme is: "Ya never know!" [Fabulous! I think that I'm naturally nice to people, but never for the reason pointed out.]
At the time her first book came out, the publisher hired a PR firm. It was mostly PR, radio, TV and print back then. And also word of mouth. [I'd say that today it's "word of mouse". ;-)] For Susan, writing the book is the easy part. Marketing and promoting to keep it alive is the challenge. [I agree. That's been my experience with the e-dictionary. Concerning the writing, I knew what I wanted to include and had most of the materials, but marketing it has been very difficult. I still have a lot to learn about it and about using my friends, family, peers and networks.]
Parting advice for first timers: "Put your tush in a chair if you want to write." Clear your calendar of appointments and write for a certain period of time every day. And use whatever method works best for you: typing, keyboarding, writing by hand, dictating and recording.
Specific ideas about monetization? I didn't seem to hear any, but no doubt you can find several in-between the lines.
Thank you, Susan! I enjoyed every minute and just love the human touch you put in everything you say and do.
[This interview fascinated me, as I said! I relate to Susan 100%, above all and most probably, because we're both teachers. I see a lot of her in me or me in her. I was strict, but students loved me and my classes. Things I totally relate to: always name sources, write in a conversational tone, planning your book carefully, write down every idea you have, acknowledge people who helped you get where you are. Marketing is the most difficult and challenging part of a book. You said to get in touch with authors, even those in this Summit. I will certainly be getting in touch with you.]