I Thought I’ll Release a Bestseller This Pandemic (but I Stopped)
You sit on your comfy chair, turn on your air conditioner, dim the lights, and excited, you click on the next part of the 10-part-series of how to sell a million-plus book, even before writing one single chapter.
This is by the legendary Neil Pasricha whose mother forced him to brush his teeth ten times a day that he now has a wowing six bestsellers behind his back teaching us how to show our teeth, like him. So, how can we skip the video? — Impossible!
The title and thumbnail of the video are mesmerising.
Title Says: How To Get Your First FANS!
Thumbnail highlights: GET FANS
Wow, so cool. You can’t wait to watch it.
You’re excited to learn something new and apply it right away to get fans quickly before even writing the book.
But, boom, the video, I mean Evan, the host (or maybe his Editor?) makes Neil start with: “Faaind your fans first.”
Sceptical me, I thought in this video I’ll learn how to get my first fans and not how to get my fans first.
I thought of closing the video, but Neil’s teeth got me watching it:
We have got too much content. Endless sea of free content everywhere, so no longer enough to write a book to find fans.
— Ohh. (I still feel like closing the video.)
A millions of books come out every year. If you wrote a book, you are one in a million. Only maybe 50 of them might sell one million copies. So we don’t have any chance to make a dent that we want to.
— Aah, I see. (Sad, but interesting.)
The only way around that is to: Find your fans first.
Give to them endlessly for a period of years — content that they love, that they want to share, that they are proud to be affiliate with, that they want to wear the t-shirt for and then and only then say that ohh now I have a book.
— Okay boss, got it. I’m closing the video.
But, when he started giving examples of successful book authors, it struck me.
There’s a guy he did this for last few years. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck Author, Mark Manson gave endlessly for years. Wrote incredible articles about love, relationship, purpose and meaning and when two years later he said "ohh by the way now I am gonna do a book," boom, he sold 9 million copies and counting.
Another guy that does this really well, The Obstacle Is The Way Author, Ryan Holiday— he writes too. This guy gives so much. Probably 75% of his writing is not in the book — it’s in his monthly book club list, it’s his regular articles on Medium. He is constantly giving free content everywhere and so when once in a while he has a book, people line up for it and it pops quick — sold over a million books.
The other guy that does this really well, learn from Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist Author ), former reference librarian, lives down in Austin, Texas, runs an incredible Friday email list where he just gives 10 pieces of interesting arts he finds for readers and he has got regular blog for his content and when he finally proposed a book, people says "yeah I like this guy." In fact, his post called "Steal Like an Artist" went viral and then turned into a book.
— Now it ticked me. I was almost convinced. And I kept watching. When I heard this, I was fully convinced:
“…and the way to find these fans, by the way, is to be incredibly philanthropic — give, give, give, give, give.”
He was stressing over “give” so much that it must be the takeaway. When I thought about it for some time, he was right. Without giving first, how can I get the most?
Note: the conversation Neil had was modified a little for being direct and to the point here, with no change in his actual voice.
What Did I Do Next?
Even though I already had my book title ready, my goal and my core beliefs ready, the table of contents almost ready, and somehow convinced my designer friend to finish the book cover by next seven days in turn of my mom’s hand-made cookies, I vanished my plan.
The next day after I watched this video, I finished one whole chapter that day and published it here on Medium, on November 1st. Another one after one day. The third one? On the same day.
I was never going to write the book contents this quick. One chapter would have taken me at least 10 days, anyhow.
But, Neil’s words caught me and apart from everything else, if anything, the one thing that he changed and was the only thing I needed is my mentally. When my mentality changed, my actions changed.
Now I live by this belief: give first to then get the utmost.