Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
It’s been three months since my last book diary installment.
That’s it – that’s the sin.
After doing a good job of sharing the journey via LinkedIn (see links to the previous six installments at the end of this post if you missed them), I’m finally able to reflect on the last few months.
To sum it up: it’s been a rollercoaster!
The lull at the start
After a full-on year of writing followed by several editing rounds, recording the audiobook and then finally signing off the typeset pages at the end of November 2019, I was up for a well-earned break.
I took four weeks off over the silly season, mostly to hang out with the kids and hubby.
I had intended to take another couple of weeks break for the last half of January, but succumbed to the siren call of consulting to help out a mate who needed some extra (wo)manpower.
It worked out fine as the kids and hubby could come with me, enjoying the chance to catch up with family who live in North Queensland while I worked. A nice compromise.
Then the first week of February hit. So began…
No doubt about it, Penguin’s PR team is outstanding.
I’d heard from a number of authors the world over to expect nothing. ‘You’ll have to do 90% of it yourself’ has been repeated to me again and again.
Not this time, Padawan.
My amazing PR rep Maddie worked her butt off with the help of Emily, securing media opportunities I could only dream of getting alone:
I’ve been on TV three times across Channels 7 and 9, authored an article on The Guardian (which brought ‘don’t read the comments’ home), been on numerous radio and podcast interviews like this one – I’m on the same podcast as Jimmy Giggle! – delivered a webinar on share investing for Business Chicks and had my lovely mug in a magazine.
After all that experience, I feel like I’ve moved from ‘Learner’ to ‘Provisional’ on my media appearance license.
Because this is an area I get asked about a lot, here’s my (amateur) tips for media, accumulated through years of following media trainers like Nic Hayes and Nicole Ashby and a LOT of personal trial and error:
1. Make it easy for your media friends.
I’ve seen busy people before, and media people are Busy with a capital ‘B’. Like, off the charts.
Whatever you can do to reply promptly and thoroughly to their requests will make their lives easier, so go for it – even if it feels like you’re serving them the content on a platter.
Yes, writing detailed responses is risky. I’ve had whole swathes of my writing appropriated before and it’s not fun. But 99% of the time it’s appreciated by the journos, even if they don’t use it.
2. The short email vs the media release.
I’ve been getting schooled in how to contact journos as I watch Maddie at work (she’s phenomenal).
I will be replicating her approach from now on, which is: email personally addressed to a human, 2-3 lines about what she thinks would be good for their outlet about the story we’ve got (this is always customized) and attaching the 1-page .pdf media release for more info.
I’m sure she gets a much higher read-rate on her emails as she’s coming from Penguin and has built up relationships with the media reps she’s contacting over many years, but it still looks like a good starting point.
3. Tool I use #1: SourceBottle.
Funny story – this tool is how I ended up writing the book.
I answered a call-out from Linda Moon. We did a 30min phone interview, which led to this article. My commissioning editor – who didn’t know me from a bar of soap at this stage – came across the article, clicked the link to my site, joined my mailing list, read some of my blogs then sent a message via my site contact form to ask if I had any interest in writing a book.
And here we are!
4. Tool I use #2: Margaret Gee’s Media Guide.
My fabulous friend Bec Tapp put me onto this one. It’s free via the State Library of WA via their eResources. In it you’ll find the contact details of every media outlet in the country, including names, phone numbers and email addresses. This is great for personalizing your approach if you’re reaching out to suggest a story and don’t know anyone in the media yet.
5. Potentially controversial opinion: stick to your topic.
I want to talk about money and lifestyle design. That’s my jam, that’s what I know. Anything else – unless it’s about risk management in processing plants or chemical engineering – will at best be opinion. The world does not need my opinion, as beautifully explained by Jurgen Klopp recently.
The downhill run
Having now done a bunch of media appearances, shared the book with everyone I know and implored my readers to leave online reviews (pretty please! They’re like gold), I’m finally able to take a breath and enjoy the moment.
It was a delight to celebrate with some of my favourite people on Saturday night. A huge thank-you to Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne from 7 to 1 Photography for these gorgeous photos:
‘So, when’s the next book coming out?’ is a common question.
It’s like when you’re breastfeeding your first bub and people ask ‘When’s #2 coming?’ with a nudge and a wink.
‘Not soon’ is the short answer.
I’m relishing some much-needed catch-up time.
Why is that? Well, amidst the frenetic pace of launch, I’ve been dealing with a bunch of stuff that came out of left field:
- My amazing Business Manager moved onto a new role, and I haven’t had time to recruit anyone else.
- Expiry of a security certificate on my sites that meant no one could buy anything for a week. The week of publication. Yes, that’s right – my worst nightmare came true. It’s a long story, but suffice to say my usual WordPress guru is going through cancer treatment (yay Kristy for how well you’re doing) so I had to onboard someone else while juggling the media, and they were not speedy. Still, that’s done and dusted now. Phew.
- Getting the FI Supply calculator My aforementioned WordPress guru is also leading the online calculator project. We’re still working out the kinks of the calculator to accompany the book – but it’s really close now!
- My husband went back to work for a few weeks after nine months at home. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, and it was cute training him for the role (he’s taken over where I left off with the North QLD consulting so we are effectively job sharing) but the timing was pretty tough, as it was across launch. I was working till the wee hours many nights while he was away just to get enough done that I could sleep peacefully.
Now that we’re through the intense period, it’s all about Money School and Maker Kids Club. I’m excited to spend some time developing more amazing content for our members and working out where we can have the biggest impact.
And yes, occasionally checking the rankings on Amazon etc, like that one time I was #1 in the Hot New Releases for Personal Finance Books:
…and enjoying when friends send me photos of them with my book. Always a warm-and-fuzzy feeling.
Fun times 😉
Interested in what goes into publishing a book? Here’s the links to my previous articles:
- Part 1: Getting a publishing contract and my writing routine
- Part 2: From conception to birth, books take longer to make than babies
- Part 3: Applying Parkinson’s Law to save my sanity
- Part 4: Perfection is (a) an illusion…
- Part 5: The glamorous writer’s life 😉
- Part 6: Recording the audiobook