When I published Job Escape Plan: The 7 Steps to Build a Home Business, Quit your Job and Enjoy the Freedom, readers kept asking how I managed to get leading experts such as John Lee Dumas, Steve Scott, Nick Loper, Rob Cubbon, Stefan Pylarinos and others to provide interviews for the book. Then, when my husband Girish Kumar’s book The Marriage Mantra was published, people were once again curious about how he was able to land a foreword from Brian Tracy and interviews with Karan Bajaj, Dave Chesson and 8 other authorities.
It is a known fact that including influencers’ perspectives and testimonials in your book lends you increased credibility as an author and adds more value to the content for readers. Yet while all of that sounds fantastic, how can a first time author with no connections to these experts achieve this?
Make a list of experts in your niche
Everybody has to start somewhere. If you’re not sure who the main influencers and authorities within your niche are, start doing some research. A couple of Google searches should quickly give you an idea of who’s paving the way in your field. Once you’ve compiled a list of names, categorize the experts by their level of success compared to your own.
In order to target the ones you’ll eventually reach out to, choose those who are 2-3 steps ahead of you. For instance, if your book is about entrepreneurship – you won’t be reaching out to Richard Branson. At least not right away!
Sign up for their newsletters
Given that the people you’ve targeted on your list are considered influencers within their niche, they’ll almost certainly be publishing a newsletter, offering a free webinar, promoting paid courses or all of the above. Sign up for them! If you prefer not to pay for a course, try to connect yourself to their material in other ways by following them on social platforms – which you should be doing regardless.
Becoming a part of the influencer’s audience not only allows you to gain knowledge, but also helps you gauge whether or not the person is the right fit to contribute to your book.
Make them aware of your presence
Now that you’ve become involved in their community, it’s time to let the expert know that you exist. Comment on their blog posts, join their Facebook groups, participate in their Periscope broadcasts or retweet their content. Don’t go overboard, of course, but an important part of connecting with influencers lies in catching their attention.
If you manage to stand out from the majority of their audience members, there’s a good chance they’ll be more receptive to hearing out your request for their contribution to your book.
Introduce yourself and provide value
Once your book’s cover design is ready, send a personalized e-mail to the expert(s) you’ve targeted and introduce yourself as well as the purpose of your book, how the expert can provide value to your readers and which other leaders you hope to feature in your book. You can build instant rapport by mentioning that you’ve read their latest book or listened to their most recent podcast, but make sure not to fake it!
In addition to asking for their contribution, provide value to them. If you’re a designer, offer to design their next book cover for free. If you’re an SEO expert, offer to optimize their site. The concept isn’t necessarily “If you help me, I’ll help you”, but it’s about showing your appreciation and building a long-term relationship with the influencer. For instance, you can offer to sign up as the expert’s affiliate and help them sell their new online course on your site, provided it is relevant to your audience.
Try to offer value in return for their contribution to your book and as a sign of your appreciation. Provided you approach the expert in the right way and can show that you’re serious about your work, the concept of reciprocity will usually get the ball rolling.
Act accordingly based on their reply
If you get a reply, that’s great! Often, these experts are incredibly busy, so make sure to thank them for their response – regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. If they’ve agreed to move forward with speaking to you, schedule a call at their convenience. Alternatively, if they don’t have time for one, suggest an e-mail interview.
Don’t be discouraged if they decline your invitation altogether. Instead, try asking them if they have a friend they can suggest instead – it’s significantly easier to approach another expert via a trusted personal reference.
Follow up with them
If you don’t hear back from the expert, try resending your e-mail after 4 to 5 days. With the amount of messages they receive, it’s almost too easy for your initial e-mail to get overlooked or deleted. That being said, don’t send a third e-mail – you don’t want to seem overbearing and pushy!
Personally, I’ve found that sending audio messages over Facebook using the microphone in the mobile app is surprisingly useful. It grabs the attention of the expert, given that most people don’t use the feature. If you’ve sent two e-mails as well as an audio message and still don’t hear back, admit defeat and move on to another expert on the list you had originally compiled.
Contact them for promotion before your book launch
You made it to the finish line! Now that the writing and contribution-seeking process is done, your book is finally ready to be launched. Given that you’ve established a relationship with the expert over the course of past few weeks or months, send out an e-mail to them prior to your book being published. Be sure to include a link to where readers can buy it, as well as to any promotional dates or other valuable information you feel is relevant.
Politely ask them to share the link(s) with their audience, given that the content they’ve contributed to the book may be of value to their followers as well. I would suggest making the sharing process easy for them by inserting Facebook or Twitter share buttons in the body of the e-mail that you send.
Following these steps should result in your targeted experts becoming receptive to your requests for their contribution to your book. If you don’t initially succeed in securing any interviews, don’t give up! Perhaps the influencers you had contacted weren’t the right ones for your book, or an element of your delivery was amiss. You’ll refine your strategy as you go and will discover what does and doesn’t work for you.
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