People have often asked me how I made the NY Times Bestseller List, with my first book, and I’ve taken many phone calls with authors to help them accomplish this, so I thought I’d share the How-to’s here, in an easy reference for authors.
My associate Megan wrote an excellent article about how we used social media and article writing to generate significant buzz and sales for Likeable Social Media. What she didn’t write about in her article was the role of bulk book sales, something I’ve transparently shared whenever asked, and had advertised on my site for two year – but hadn’t written about up specifically until now.
Bulk book sales allow authors to sell more books at once. In order to make a bestseller list, you need to sell a lot of books in one week. So, many authors offer incentives to people and companies in order to sell them 10, 100, or more books in bulk. I did this with Likeable Social Media and still have offers posted for my recent book Likeable Business. Countless authors do this as well — John Jantsch, Guy Kawasaki, and Gary Vaynerchuck, to name a few. In order to be successful as an author, you have to sell a lot of books – and so the more you can sell at once, the better.
How did I generate bulk book sales? I sold to relevant organizations in exchange for my speaking and/or consulting and to large organizations with a significant interest in social media marketing. Again, these are common business practices for authors.
There are also several companies who help coordinate bulk book purchases and bestseller campaigns. For my fist book, I used Resultsource, a company who has worked with Tony Hsiesh, Ken Blanchard, Keith Ferrazzi and many other great authors. Again, this is something I talk about transparently to anyone who asks. ResultSource didn’t buy any books from me, and I didn’t buy my own books – they helped coordinate the books being purchased and distributed through several major retail channels.
Why share publicly now? First and foremost, this will be an easy reference for authors in the future. Second, unfortunately, a misguided, one-sided blog post was written about me here.
Since his blog doesn’t allow for comments, and I’m always interested in responding to the good, the bad and the ugly, I’ve decided to respond here. I realize that this gives the author of the post more attention and credibility than he deserves – but I’ve written and said many times that “No response is a response” – so I insisted on sharing my side of the story here. To BJ, and anyone else who ever felt misled or wronged in any way: I’m sorry – I had no intent to mislead you, but if you’re upset, I’m sorry you feel that way. It sucks.
Questions Related to the Above-linked post:
What is my relationship with WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association)?
My company has been a member since 2007.
How did the debate with BJ Mendelson come to fruition?
I was being considered to speak at their conference and it was suggested that I could debate a comic named BJ Mendelson on the value of social media to business.
Why did I have a conversation with BJ Mendelson before the Summit?
I was afraid the debate would end up like reality tv – and having been through that already, I wanted to talk to the guy before the debate.
Why did I mention bulk book sales to BJ Mendelson?
On his website (since removed), BJ had written that he wanted to get onto the NY Times bestseller list, so I told him I’d be happy to help him, as I’ve helped many authors with this. I shared my experience with bulk book promotions for Likeable Social Media. (see above)
Did I ask BJ Mendelson not to talk about bulk-book buying?
Absolutely not. I’ve been totally transparent about bulk book sales to anyone who’s asked. I’m not sure what bulk book sales has to do with social media marketing, so I didn’t expect it to come up the debate, but at no time did I ever ask him not to talk about it.
What happened at the WOMMA debate?
Even though I had been told that BJ was a comedian, I was surprised at how he behaved throughout the debate – mocking me, calling me names, and generally acting very unprofessionally. BJ also challenged me on how much social media really affected my book sales, and I shared transparently the role of bulk book sales. When someone asked after the debate if I thought I would have made the NY Times Bestseller list without the bulk book sales, I answered honestly, “I don’t know.” In thinking about this today – I do believe I would have made the bestseller list no matter what, but I’ll never know.
Did I ignore BJ Mendelson at the after-party and did I engage with him on Twitter?
I was upset at him after the debate and avoided him, but I was more upset at myself for having agreed to the debate, which turned out as I had feared: lowest-common-denominator reality-tv-style entertainment at my expense. The next day, I told BJ on Twitter I thought he was mean and nasty. I do think he was mean and nasty, but perhaps I shouldn’t have said that on Twitter. Perhaps he was just doing what he thought he was there to do.
Did my wife fight with BJ Mendelson on Twitter?
My wife engaged with him during the WOMMA debate, and then actually invited him to our office, where we are transparent about everything, including our strategic plan and financials.
Did I have a conversation with Jason Falls after the debate?
Yes. Jason had reached out to me prior to the debate asking me to let him know how it went, so I called him afterward to let him know how it went. I told him how silly it got and how personally attacked I felt. I think Jason used this information to ensure a better structure for his debate later that week.
Have I asked people not to share BJ Mendelson’s post?
Absolutely not. It’s one-sided, and perhaps even libelous, but I haven’t told anyone not to share the post. When I’ve seen people sharing the post, I’ve reminded them that there’s more. Now, when I see people sharing the post, I’ll simply direct them here.
Have I tried to keep WOMMA from sharing the video of the debate?
No. The video would show him attacking me personally and my guess is it would make WOMMA look unprofessional for sponsoring the debate, but I haven’t tried to censor the video.
Have I ever paid for a “fake” amazon review?
Absolutely not. All of my Amazon reviews are authentic. Any reviews written by people who know me include a public disclosure, as per WOMMA ethics code.
How did I respond to BJ Mendelson’s article?
Of course, I didn’t like it. I take my reputation very seriously and felt attacked unfairly. His blog doesn’t allow comments, so I decided to respond here. I called him up to respond more personally, but he emailed me saying he was not interested in further discussion.
How has this whole experience affected me?
I’ve been reminded that being in the public eye has its pros and cons. I’m someone who wants to be loved by everyone – but just as Bill Simmons and Rick Pitino didn’t like me when I was the Crunch n Munch guy, just as countless folks didn’t like me when I was on Paradise Hotel, there are some who won’t like me as the author and business leader that I am today. I get it. I thought a lot about not responding to this sort of attack, and asked myself what others whom I admire would do. But ultimately, given that I’ve written two books which both include a call to action to respond to your detractors, I thought it was important to do so here. I feel really bad for BJ Mendelson, who must really think I have it out for him. – that’s the saddest part of this whole thing. I won’t continue to update this post, but as always, you’re free to ask me questions, here, or anywhere online. Thanks for listening.