In the business of selling books and in life, we all want something. We strive for success or to sell more books and get the good things in life. We want attention, recognition, and satisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we go about it in the wrong way.

Author Bob Burg created a fictional character to illustrate the proverb, “Give, and ye shall receive.” In his book Go-GiverBurg creates a scene where Joe tries to work harder and faster to get what he wants only to find out that it doesn’t work. His sales are down, and he struggles to understand why he isn’t successful. As we jump to the moral of the story, he finds success only when he concentrates on others’ needs. When Joe learns to add value to the lives of others, the path to success lays out before him.

So what does that mean for you in the real world? Be relentlessly helpful.

Make a personal connection. The social in social media isn’t a one-way street. Ask any successful blogger, and they’ll tell you the formula: consistently generate great content that solves a reader’s problem AND connect with other bloggers about THEIR content. It’s true whether you are a blogger, author, coach, or business professional of any stripe.

Ask people what they are doing, about who they want to meet, and what they need to succeed.

And then help them.

Share a new author’s book or content with others, read the first draft of a manuscript for a fellow writer, make a virtual introduction, and think about how you can make life better even if they aren’t in a position to hire or buy from you. Call it good karma or whatever you like. An attitude of giving ultimately benefits everyone.

In his book Your First 1000 Copies, Tim Grahl speaks about Seth Godin’s pursuit of being relentlessly helpful. Godin writes one inspiring blog post a day. (I get one in my email every morning.) It’s not just a quote or a reminder of something you’ve heard before, but unique and thoughtful bits of inspiration that are bound to change the way you see things.

Both Grahl (for his book marketing wisdom) and Godin consistently feed our minds and psyche, so when they ask something of us, like to buy a book or sign up for a workshop, we feel compelled to do so. They so are generous with their knowledge and insight; we want some way to pay them back. It’s the least we can do.

After recently completing the final edits to one of my books, I left the coffee shop (my office) depleted and ready to cry because of the 15 months of hard work of research, writing, and otherwise hard work. I really needed a hug. (I know, it’s a weird phenomenon.) The regulars at the shop weren’t there, so I went home. The house was empty, too.

I could have moped, but I picked up the phone instead. I called the elders in my life who needed someone to add some light to their day. Admittedly, I had ignored nearly everyone in the final two months of writing and editing. Each person I called was so delighted I took the time. Each made me feel better in turn. Giving is the ultimate pain medication.

I recently met someone at a networking event who exemplifies the relentlessly helpful mentality. Within minutes of meeting Gary, he offered to introduce me to colleagues, be his guest at an event where I could meet likely clients, and actively listened whenever I spoke. It wasn’t a first meeting tactic. In subsequent meetings, I witnessed the attitude of giving to me and everyone he met. He doesn’t ask for anything in return. But, if he ever needs anything, I’ll be there to help.

Wherever you are on your book marketing journey, even if you are still writing ideas on the back of a napkin, consider how you can add value to people’s lives.  Your life as an author, and your life, will be better for it.

What can you do to be relentlessly helpful?


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