Yesterday, I looked at the list of things to do to get ready for my book launch on April 30 and I got a little overwhelmed.
There were articles to write, interviews to schedule, review books to send and journalists to contact. It seemed like each time I crossed one thing off the list, twelve new things would pop up in its place. I felt a little anxious.
Then I experienced a serendipitous sequence of events:
- A few good friends with large reach generously offered to promote the book to their lists. And they wanted to introduce me to other people in their network who would be interested in spreading the word
- A couple of journalists I have been friendly with for a long time asked to write stories about the book
- A number of clients sent emails with suggestions for marketing the book to organizations and associations
Sitting back in my chair, I had the strong realization that the words of my mentor Guy Kawasaki, stolen from Chairman Mao, were coming true: let a hundred flowers blossom.
My interpretation of this concept is this:
- When you get to the point of spreading the word about something you have created, good will will either exist or it won’t. This good will is developed over thousands of tiny interactions, conversations, smiles, links and messages over many years with an extended network of people. If you have acted in a spirit of integrity and generosity with your work, you will see the results.
- You don’t have to know the “value” of everything you are doing to grow your business as you grow it. I always chuckle when brand new business bloggers want to know the exact return on investment of spending time commenting on other blogs, and the specific sales conversion numbers that come from blogging. Certainly, you want to have a good idea about the kinds of people and blogs you are interested in, and how they relate to the core of your business. But you also want to just try things and connect with people just because it feels good. There is random creativity and magic that happens by following your muse.
- Believe in what you create. While most people would love to see great financial success and millions of people loving their products or services, what really matters, in the end, is that you are proud of what you do. If your book or blog post or coaching hour or code or photograph or custom scarf makes one person glow with delight, you should be proud.
Grow, flower, grow!
If you try to launch a product or service too soon after planting your seeds, you will feel like you are kneeling down and shouting at the ground, drowning it in water and begging the sprouts to emerge. This will not only be frustrating, but frankly impossible, since businesses, like plants, have a natural and organic path to growth. So make sure to start planting your seeds (i.e. nurturing relationships and providing valuable information to your community) as soon as you start to work on your business.
Seth Godin recently wrote an intriguing post about how ideas spread, entitled First, Ten. He says:
This, in two words, is the secret of the new marketing.
Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…
ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it,
you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a
hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.
If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.
When I read this, I heaved a big sigh of relief. Even though I decided against a gigantic coordinated email push to drive sales on Amazon, as was popular for many years to promote books, I had flashes of doubt, thinking I needed to be working harder, bigger, faster on promotion.
Then I realized that I have my ten. Even small groups of ten. And they are warm, loving, enthusiastic, generous and optimistic people. And the book will do just what it is meant to do, one small group of ten people at a time.
Enjoy the view
My plan on April 30 is to sit back, survey the horizon, and enjoy watching flowers bloom in unexpected places.
Thanks to all of you for your support throughout the years — I am eager to enjoy seeing your flowers bloom at just the right time, in just the right places.