I dare you to try.

Every adventure is different but the invitation always says the same thing:

“I dare you to try.”

Whatever you’re supposed to do in life. Whatever dream you have. Whatever mission or moment you are in the middle of, that is the drumbeat.

“I dare you to try.”

That is what every adventure is about and this week I decided to go on one.

A few days ago, I signed a new book deal with a new publisher.

The book is about starting over, because well, I am. And a lot of you are too.

This is the logo that will be on the back cover of my next book.

Penguin

If it looks familiar that might be because you’ve seen it on the back cover of books by Seth Godin, Simon Sinek and Mark Twain.

I’ve waited since I was in the third grade to write a sentence like that.

That Penguin is going to publish my book as part of their business division, Portfolio, is crazy.

Penguin-Portfolio

Portfolio has published some of my favorite books of all time, including Tribes. That I get to publish books as part of that family is hard to believe.

And yet, in a few weeks I’ll fly to New York to meet with them and they’ll dare me to try.

And I will.

In fact, as of this moment I am already deep into the writing of the next book. Why?

Because it’s a lot of fun to try.

Thanks for being a big part of why I get to write books. May I never forget that one of the reasons I got to write my first book was because you were generous. It was your willingness to read my first blog that made my first publisher curious.

I am forever in debt to you because 6 years ago you dared me to try writing a blog. And it’s my goal to return that favor by continuing to help you with the amazing adventures you’re on right now.

So get ready, when my new book comes out you might find it says something familiar,

I dare you to try.

Big dreams take big time.

A few weeks ago, I realized something surprising.

This year marks my 16th year as a professional writer.

I stared getting paid full time to write in the spring of 1998. I am so old! That’s a crazy stat to me, but what’s crazier is the idea that there’s a magical shortcut to a dream.

There is, there are shorter ways to get to dreams, just not the ones that matter.

The simple truth is that big dreams take big time.

Will you have moments where life speeds up and you get vaulted into a great opportunity? Definitely, but you’ll have a 1,000 slow moments for every quick one. Don’t fight the process or feel like a failure if your dream takes time.

The best ones always do.

1 big reason no one is buying your book.

When I wrote the book Quitter, people initially said two things to me:

1. “I’d read your book, but I don’t want to quit my job right now.”

2. “I’d read your book, but I don’t want to be a writer.”

Both of those statements were problematic because the book isn’t about either of those things. In fact, the very first chapter of Quitter is “Don’t quit your day job.” And the advice is for all job types, certainly not just for writers.

Why did people say those things?

Because I had failed to tell them the book was for them.

That’s one of the biggest reasons people don’t buy your book. As the author, it’s your job to create on ramps to the book for would be buyers. It’s your job to communicate clearly what the book is about and why readers need this particular book above all others. It’s your job to explain why this book is perfect for the reader.

But often, authors finish their book and throw it to the world with an attitude of “Here, you figure out how this applies to your life.” Sometimes it’s because they are embarrassed to appear as if they are too self promotional. Other times it’s because they simply don’t know how to tell people about the book.

How did I fix this problem with Quitter?

[Read more...]

sADurday! Supor outdoor installation.

Client: Supor

Agency: Leo Burnett

Headline: None

The message you shouldn’t miss: Anything can be awesome. Don’t buy the lie that you need a sexy idea to create a sexy communication tool. You don’t. By putting rollerbladers dressed as food on a hidden half pipe Supor created something awesome!

Source of photo: The Ad Collector 

Supor

The secret rhythm of social media.

In a few weeks I’m headed to Phoenix, AZ to speak at ICON14. I’m doing a breakout and when I’m done I hope to take some notes from folks like Seth Godin and Simon Sinek on the main stage.

After working with Infusionsoft for the last few months it will be my first time to meet the team that’s been such a huge help to me as I figure out how to be an entrepreneur.

The title of my talk is “the secret rhythm of social media.”

The whole talk would be too long for a blog post, but I will share one of the ideas that I think drives social media.

It’s a simple word really, but I swear it took me a long time to learn.

The word is “empathy.”

In the context of social media, I define empathy as “Understanding what someone needs and acting on it.”

There’s two parts to that idea. The first is “understanding what someone needs.”

Do you know how you do that? You spend time with them.

That’s it. That’s the bottom line. I lost touch with that when I got busy and stopped connecting as much as I used to on Twitter. You can track my ability to understand how to help people with social media based in part on how often I respond to tweets. In the last 7 months I’ve tried to increase that and I feel more connected than I have at other times. There are a lot of ways to respond with social media: twitter, facebook, blog comments, instagram, linkedin, etc. For me, it’s Twitter.

The second part of social media empathy is “acting on it.” If you know what someone needs and don’t act on it, you’re using “media,” not social media. You can take and take online only so long until people figure out you don’t care about them. You’re not here for them. You’re here for you. Eventually that catches up with you.

Empathy isn’t easy.

Good things never are.

They take time and hustle.

Want to serve people with social media?

Understand what they need and act on it.

Self publishing a New York Times Bestseller.

(Today is a guest post from a great writer named Robin O’Bryant!)

I self-published my first book in shame.

I was disappointed that after two years of work with my top tier literary agent in New York, editors still didn’t think I had a platform large enough to sell a book.

So I only had a few piddly newspaper columns, and I could tell you where each one of my blog readers lived and how I knew them. That didn’t mean I couldn’t sell a book. My book was good! It was witty and funny! It made people cry! (So it was my mother and my sister? So what– they’re people.)

I pouted for months and ignored blog comments from my readers asking– When’s your book coming out?? Can’t wait to read it! –only occasionally yelling at my laptop screen, “NEVER!!”

I started reading online articles about authors who had gone rogue and self-published. These folks were making real money, but I thought the chances of me doing the same were slim. Plus, I wanted the validation a publishing house would give me. Self-publishing wasn’t The Dream, it wasn’t the way I had pictured things unfolding.

But my readers wouldn’t shut up so, I had a little comin’ to Jesus talk with myself and focused on one simple question: why did I write this book?

The answer was even simpler: because I couldn’t NOT write it. I wanted other people to read it because I thought it would help them, validate them, make them laugh out loud in the bed after long hard day of wrangling kids. I wrote because I wanted to be read and I knew that self-publishing could accomplish my mission.

I had to redefine what success looked like for me. Success wasn’t a seal of approval from some mythical publishing god. Success was putting my story out there to see what it could do.

I self-published, Ketchup is a Vegetable & Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves on November 31, 2011. For two years, I sold books out of the back of my car, packed them in suitcases to hand out at conferences, and woke up every day looking for a way to get my story into the hands of one more reader.

In September of 2013 Ketchup hit the NYT, WSJ and USA Today’s bestseller lists. By October, I had signed a two book deal with St Martin’s Press and Ketchup was taken off the market to be re-released April 1, 2014.

I can’t imagine what would have happened if I’d been too proud to redefine success. My dream came true because I was willing to work hard. When the door slammed shut in my face, I decided I wasn’t too proud to hitch up my skirt and crawl through a window.

(To read more about Robin O’Bryant and for links to purchase her book, Ketchup is a Vegetable & Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves check out her blog, www.robinschicks.com.)