Deposits Before Withdrawals

Every couple of weeks, an author sends me a note to ask if they can send me their book. I love books, and I love reading (which are not the same thing), but I have slowed my reading now, deciding that going deep is better right now. I am a book a month, not a book a week. Not that it matters.

The authors that write me notes don’t really want me to read their books. What they really want is for me to promote their book on this blog, my YouTube channel, or the podcast. There are generally two problems here.

First, it is very hard to promote someone’s book when they haven’t done the work to build their own platform. If you haven’t built a following by writing a blog, building a network on LinkedIn, developed a following on Twitter and Instagram, and built a mailing list, then it is going to be very difficult to promote and sell your book—even with help from people with bigger audiences.

This strategy is exactly backward. Instead of writing a book, you should write blog posts and publish on LinkedIn and Medium and other platforms that allow you to build your audience. A book used to be what you used to build a platform. Now you write the book so you can provide it to your existing platform.

Second, this strategy is exactly backward in another way, and that is “the ask.” One of the primary ways community works is that you create value before trying to claim any. The best way to ask people to help you promote your thing is to first ask them to promote their thing. You pay it forward, making deposits in the relationship account in excess of your ask.

Make deposits and make it easy for someone to say “yes.”

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