How I Got a Book Deal, Part Three

How I Got a Book Deal, Part 3

Note: This is a series of posts about how I signed a deal with Wiley and Sons for a book on Pinterest marketing. Click here to see the navigation page for the rest of the series.

I was in the middle of my workday on Wednesday, February 22nd when I got an email note via my website contact form.  Here’s what the email said:

Hello, Beth.

I am a business book editor and would love to talk about a publishing idea I have. I just read your piece on CopyBlogger for how to market your business on Pinterest. Good stuff!! There is a HUGE market ready to hear what you have to say on this.

Let’s talk!

The note was signed by an editor at Wiley. This is the kind of note that bloggers dream about getting from publishers, so I had to read it several times (and look up the editor online to see if she was legit) before I let myself believe that this wasn’t just a nasty trick that someone was playing on me.

After doing a little research on Wiley (and realizing that Wiley has published virtually ALL of my favorite social media books (by authors like Scott Stratten, David Meerman Scott, Ann Handley and Joel Comm) I spent about fifteen minutes privately freaking out about the fact that a publisher had contact me.

After I spent another couple of minutes getting my major delusions of grandeur and daydreams of best-selling book glory out of system, I took a couple of deep breaths and called the editor back.

The editor was wonderful on the phone. She was clearly very excited about the idea of publishing a book on Pinterest marketing, and thought there could be a huge market for a book on the topic. She told me she had seen my guest post on Copyblogger and really enjoyed it, then asked me if I thought I would have enough material for a book on Pinterest marketing. I said yes.

She then asked me if I could write a book proposal by the following Monday morning. Internally, I groaned, knowing that book proposals are notoriously hard to write and that they are typically incredibly labor intensive.

But when an editor from Wiley is on the phone, and she asks you for a proposal, and she thinks you might be able to write a book that could really sell really well, YOU SAY YES.

So I smiled and said “Absolutely! No problem!” We exchanged a few more pleasantries and hung up the phone.

Over the course of the next few days, I also found out from Wiley that they really needed me to write the Pinterest book in six weeks.

When they asked me if that was possible, I had a moment where I consciously thought to myself, “Say yes, then figure out how to do it.” I called my friend Lori Wostl, who is the person in my life who supports me when I want to do truly insane and awesome things, and asked “I am insane for wanting to agree to this?”

She said, “Yes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!”

We talked logistics. We talked time management. We talked about quitting my day job. And in the end, we came up with a workable plan for getting the book done. So I told Wiley that I thought I could do the work in six weeks.

Then I started working on the proposal. Because of family and work obligations (I was still working 30 hours a week at a day job at this point) I had to wait until the weekend to really be able to dig into the writing. And man, did I work hard that weekend. My butt didn’t leave my chair (except to eat and sleep) for three solid days.

My agent, Kristina Holmes, was invaluable in helping me write the proposal. The story of how I retained Kristina as my agent is another epic tale, but I’ll save that one for another day. Kristina read every word of my proposal – many of them several times – and gave me great advice on what publishers look for in a book proposal and how to present myself and my platform in the best possible light.

By Monday morning, I was exhausted, but I felt like we had put together a decent proposal. I took a deep breath and sent it to the Wiley editor, saying a little prayer in my head to the publishing gods as I hit “send.”

After sweating it and dealing with very negative self-talk for several hours, I heard back from the editor and heard that she was happy with the proposal. Then she told me she was going to take my proposal into a weekly meeting that she had on Tuesday afternoon. I got the feeling this was a meeting where people pitching new ideas. I also got the feeling this was a meeting that was kind of a Big Deal.

I won’t deny it – Tuesday was hell. I went back and forth between thinking that my life was about to change and thinking that I was a crap writer who was going to fail utterly at everything I tried to do in my life.

All I could do was wait until the good folks in Hoboken, New Jersey decided my fate.

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How I Got a Book Deal, Part Two

How I Got a Book Deal, Part Two

This post is part two in my series about how I got a book deal with Wiley and Sons.

In the first installment of my book deal story, I told you about how I signed up for Jon Morrow’s guest blogging course and got my first guest posts with Problogger and Copyblogger, two of the biggest social media blogs on the web.

After my debut at Copyblogger, I immediately started working on my next guest post – an article on using Pinterest to market your business. One of the things I had learned from Jon’s course is that list posts (especially LONG lists) often make great guest posts. So when my research sparked a monster list of over 50 ideas for Pinterest marketing, I felt like I might really be onto something.  I felt great about the post when I handed it in to my Copyblogger editor.

My editor was happy with the article, and told me that Copyblogger would run it on February 14th. Valentine’s Day seemed like an auspicious date for my second Copyblogger post, and I hoped for a little comment and retweet love on V-Day! :)

The morning that the post went live (you can see it here), I responded to lots of comments and watched as my Retweet and Facebook share numbers climbed at a steady rate. I also was delighted to see tons of people signing up for the free Pinterest report I offered at the end of my post. The Copyblogger folks were fantastic hosts (as always), and Sonia Simone and Robert Bruce were very supportive as the post gained traction on the web.

One of my goals was to get over a thousand Twitter retweets for my Pinterest post, so I was delighted when the post reached a thousand by the end of the very first day.

Then things got really of out of hand.

By the end of day two, the post had reached 1700 retweets, and the number of Facebook and Google+ shares was also growing exponentially. I tried my best to keep up with the comments that were flooding in, and tried to thank everyone who shared the post on Twitter and Pinterest, too.

I had my very first viral post. And I gotta admit, it felt amazing.

But the feeling I got from watching the Copyblogger post go viral was just a warm up compared with how I felt one week later when I checked my email and spotted a very important note in my inbox.

Wiley had come calling.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my book deal story – find out how I wrote a book proposal in 24 hours (and wrote a book in just under six weeks!)

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How I Got a Book Deal, Part One

How I Got Book Deal with Book Image

This post is part one in my series about how I got a book deal with Wiley and Sons.

In order to explain exactly how I was able to sign a book deal with John Wiley and Sons (and how I finished an in-depth book on Pinterest marketing in less than six weeks) I need to start the story a couple of months before the book deal started brewing.

The story actually started back in August 2011. At that time, I made a decision to take more active steps to build my website traffic and increase the amount of subscribers to my mailing list.

I knew that guest posting on popular blogs was one of the best ways to build traffic, so decided to sign up for Jon Morrow’s course on Guest Blogging so I could learn more about how to land great guest posting gigs. I had heard great things about Jon’s course, and even though the course tuition was a financial stretch for me at the time, I knew I needed to go for it.

My goal – even though it scared the hell out of me to even think about it – was to get a guest post on Copyblogger. The Copyblogger team is known for being extremely picky with their guest posts – they only accepted posts from great writers who had outstanding, unique ideas that created high value for their audience. Lots of people wanted to write for Copyblogger, but only a few were lucky (and skilled) enough to land those coveted spots.

I figure if anyone could teach me how to successfully break into the Copyblogger world, it was Jon Morrow. Jon is not only the associate editor for Copyblogger, but he has had more posts go viral on the CB site than any other writer I know. The man seemed to have some golden formula for writing – and I wanted to learn it.

I signed up for the course and got started with the materials right away. One big advantage to taking a course that is a considerable financial investment for me was that I was highly motivated to learn all the material and follow through with the lessons. I figured if I was paying a lot for the course, I really wanted to get everything I could out of it!

The course content was top-notch. Jon led the group through a series of instructional videos that explained how to begin identifying and networking with popular bloggers in order to get to know them before approaching them for guest posting spots.  The videos also gave students a great process for reaching out to bloggers with their guest post ideas, and for writing great posts that would resonate with readers and go viral on popular sites. The videos were chock full of incredibly useful information.

The class forum was another extremely valuable part of the course. The very active forum was where students could receive feedback on their guest post headline ideas. Jon also allowed students to post the full text of their possible guest posts, so the community members (and Jon) could review them and give feedback. I posted a few articles there, hoping the forum members could help me craft something that would be a good fit for Copyblogger.

One of the posts, “7 Reasons No One Reads Your Blog (Except Maybe Your Mom)” got the approval of the forum community, but I received feedback from Jon that it wasn’t quite right for Copyblogger. He encouraged me to submit it to Problogger, instead, and said he thought it had a good chance of being published on that site.

I submitted it to Problogger, and was thrilled when they accepted it and ran it a few weeks later. The post ended up being a fairly successful article for Problogger, and I was delighted to pick up a couple hundred people for my mailing list. That was when I knew I was I was totally hooked on this guest posting thing – it was a brilliant way to get more traffic!

Then I came up with my next idea for a Copyblogger post – “The Glee Guide to Attracting a Raving Horde of Social Media Fans.” I posted the text of the post in Jon Morrow’s guest blogging course forum and crossed my fingers.

Jon really liked the post, and recommended it for submission to Copyblogger. I was elated.

Jon helped me submit the post to the powers that be at Copyblogger, and I held my breath and waited for a response. I didn’t hear anything for a couple of months, so I followed Jon’s advice and followed up after about two months. Shortly after I sent my follow-up note, I heard back from Copyblogger and got the good news – they liked the post and wanted to publish it on January 26th!

The day the post came out, I was delighted. After years of hoping to find a way to break into the Copyblogger family, seeing my name in print on the site was thrilling. The Glee post didn’t get a huge response, but I felt like it was a decent first effort for the Copyblogger folks.

I knew from the Jon Morrow course that the way to really make guest posting work for you is not just to do one post for a popular blog, but to run multiple posts.

The night the Glee post was published, I gathered up all my courage and wrote to my Copyblogger editor. I thanked him again for the opportunity to publish a guest post with them, and asked if I could submit more ideas for follow-up posts.

He wrote back right away, congratulated me on my first Copyblogger post, and said he’d love to get first crack at any new ideas I might have.

I sent the editor ten of my best headline ideas, not having any idea whether he would like any of them. I figured that if I sent him ten ideas, maybe he would like one or two that I could work on as a follow-up post to my first Glee article.

I was delighted when I got his email reply back and he told me he loved eight of the ideas! He sent them back in a list in the order that he wanted me to submit them in, so I had my work cut out for me.

The next post he wanted me to work on was about using Pinterest for marketing your business. I knew Pinterest was a really hot topic, and that Copyblogger would likely be in a hurry to receive the post, so I busted my butt writing the article and sent them the post about a week later.

Stay tuned to hear about the major breakthrough I had with this Pinterest post!

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How I Got a Book Deal: Series Navigation

In May and June 2012, I wrote a series of posts about how I got a book deal with Wiley and Sons for a book on Pinterest marketing. If you’d like to read the whole series, please follow these links:

Part One: Learning the Ropes of Guest Posting

Part Two: The Copyblogger Guest Post That Changed My Life

Part Three: Wiley Comes Calling, and the Proposal

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Are You Afraid of the Big Bad Blog (Comment)?: An Introduction to Comment Etiquette

Gray WolfNOTE: This is a guest post from Stephanie Adams, MA, LPC of Beginnings Counseling and Consulting.

Have you ever seen a blog comment that just made you cringe? Maybe it was spelled poorly. Or it might have been so absurdly off-topic that you felt sorry for the writer. Or perhaps – heavens! – it was just plain rude.

If you’re like me, you’ve seen bad blog comments before. Additionally, you may have reacted like I did, by backing off from interacting with the blog world for a while. If other people thought (incorrectly) that their comments were appropriate, what if I were to make similar mistakes? How embarrassing!

That simply won’t do!

Fear not, gentle readers. You don’t have to sit on the sidelines of the blog world! Blog commenting etiquette is simpler than you might think! Ultimately, it’s about courtesy and friendliness. With that in mind, I’ve listed some Do’s and Don’ts for you below to help you bring both to your blog communication.

DO’s

  • DO read the blog post before you comment, and make sure you understand it. I can’t count how many times I was glad I did another quick read-through before clicking “Post Comment.”
  • DO read the comments already posted before you write yours, to make sure other people haven’t already said the same thing. Is there an echo in here?
  • DO list your website if the comment box has a space for it, but DON’T put it in the body of your message, which can make it look spammy and self-serving. Okay, so that’s technically a “don’t.”
  • DO contribute useful information, which means not repeating and rephrasing the same things. It’s repetitive and redundant.
  • DO ask questions if you have them. It keeps the conversation going, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
  • DO have a photo as your avatar whenever possible. It keeps it personal! It’s not absolutely necessary that it be blue and speak Naavi.
  • DO reply to a blog comment back to you as soon as you see it, or it’s likely you will forget. Plus, people will be so impressed by how involved you are! Tip: check the box that says “Notify me of follow up comments via email.”
  • DO be complimentary – the blogger worked hard to produce this article for you!
  • DO comment back on comments others make on your own blog. Good opener: Thanks for your comment! Bad opener: O lowly blog reader, congratulations on reading my post.
  • DO comply with any posted rules, like no foul language.
  • DO politely and privately contact the blogger if you have a concern about the content or integrity of their post. This leads in to my one and ONLY (OFFICIAL) DON’T, and it’s a big one.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t argue with people in comments – your commentary will be publicly available on the web for a long, long time. Want someone looking you up for a job someday to see ranting and raving? No! It’s not cool, and it defeats the whole point of commenting on blogs, which is to have a conversation. Once people start being rude, it stops being a conversation, and becomes a fight.

I base these particular recommendations on my experiences reading blog comments and commenting myself. But keep in mind that if you just focus on maintaining a genuine connection with others, you’re already halfway to your goal.

After all, you write comments because you want to exchange ideas with the blogger. You want to contribute to the conversation – and conversation is based on connection! By using thoughtful, connection-focused commenting etiquette, it becomes much more likely that people will listen to you, allowing you to continue contributing and conversing!

As a professional counselor by trade, I have learned that when someone makes the relationship the priority, everyone wins. So with blog commenting, and with life in general, focus on connection. Other people will feel valued, and you will find yourself feeling more confident in your comment savvy. Then you don’t have to be afraid of the Big Bad Blog Comment…or of anything else!

Stephanie Ann Adams, MA, LPC is the co-author of “The Beginning Counselor’s Survival Guide: The New Counselor’s Plan for Success from Practicum to Licensure” (available now in paperback and e-book) and the owner of Beginnings Counseling & Consulting, where she provides counselor innovation consulting and life counseling for emerging adults.

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My Guest Post at Problogger!

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that my first Problogger guest post, 7 Reasons No One Reads Your Blog (Except Maybe Your Mom) was published this morning.

Progblogger.net is one of the biggest blogs in my niche, so this is HUGE! I’m over the moon.

Want to show your support? Here’s what you can do:

1. Please comment on the post. Thoughtful commentary and exuberant enthusiasm are both welcome.

2. If you’re on Twitter, please retweet this post for me. Remember, you can follow me at @bethjhayden.

Thanks so much, everyone!

Beth

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