As the Olympics come to a close, my thoughts go to two points:
1. There are going to be a lot of Olympians hitting the speaking circuit. If they thought training for the Olympics was hard, just wait until they have to clear the speaker bureau hurdles and the meeting planner high jumps! Their work has just begun!
2. What can authors and speakers learn from athletes?
1. It takes a team to get you to the finish line. If you wrote a best seller, you didn’t get there yourself (Hey, where have I heard that line before?) You need a team of copy editors, publicists, marketers, web designers as well as bloggers, social media tweeters and others to help you create your product, take it to market in a professional way and tell the world. If you think you can do it alone, you will be sorely mistaken. Getting to gold or the best-seller list isn’t a solo endeavor. The best athletes have coaches. You need one too.
2. If you stop training, someone else is gaining. If authors don’t promote their books every day, the books will not sell. There are precious few authors who don’t have to market the heck out of their books – Stephen King, Danielle Steele, John Grisham and a handful of others. The rest of the authors are unknowns and have to get PR and promote their books. According to the USA Track and Field Foundation, 50 percent of our athletes who rank in the top 10 in the USA in their event make less than $15,000 annually from the sport (sponsorships, grants and prize money). No one throws money at athletes and no one throws money at authors. You have to work for it every day. Ever hear of Vince Poscente? I rest my case. He’s an Olympian who speaks for $20K, according to a bureau website. He’s good. But 99.9 percent of the world doesn’t know his name. If he has to promote, then we all have to promote. Lets give a Gold medal to Vince for showing us that it can be done!
3. The agony of defeat. Everyone wants gold, but only one person can have it. True, there can be many #1 best sellers depending on which list you look at and what time period you look at, but maybe the best message coming from London is “Inspire a Generation.” Do you want to sell books? Or do you want to leave a legacy?
If you do the latter, you’ll do the former.