Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

The Secret to Getting Celebrities to Endorse YOUR Writing

So you’re a writer (or a painter, a singer, or an artist of any kind) and you want celebrities such as, Jerry B. Jenkins and Warren Adler, and perhaps you want to throw a mega blogger into the mix, like, say, Mr. Badass himself, Jeff Goins, all to endorse your work. So how do you do that?

Warren Adler

How do you get such big to-do names to take time out of their extremely busy schedules to not only read your work, but endorse it? And hey, why don’t we push this a little, how about getting them to write lengthy testimonials, too? I know, crazy. Right? Not so fast.

In this post I’m going to reveal how I did it and I’m also going to divulge how I landed interviews with Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki and other heavy hitters. These are secrets I have not shared before, but I warn you, this is a longer than usual post, so get your favorite beverage and let’s get at it.

Now, before we go any further, allow me to clear the air on something important: I’m no one special, I don’t have any magical powers and I work a full time day job day in and day out. I write when I can make time for it, usually from 4:30am until I go to work or when the wife gets up and is hungry for toast. (Make no mistake, I go and make that toast. And I butter it, too.)

So you see, like you, I’m not someone with a lot of time on his hands. And let’s be brutally honest, I’m not a better writer than you. Furthermore, I used to be ate-the-heck-up by doubt and stopped writing for a decade. (Yeah, read about that!)

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I want to try and help you realize that I am a lot like you, in that I don’t have any Aces hidden up my sleeves, and I’ve got to work hard for every tiny bit of success I achieve, step by step, one word at a time. Just. Like. You.

Start a Blog – Build Your Platform

I started my journey blogging a little over ten years ago. I started and folded 4 blogs before I created one to help me promote my first serious writing, a memoir I wrote about growing up with undiagnosed ADHD. The blog failures taught me what I needed to know about succeeding. Such as, focusing on honing your voice, and writing about what YOU care about. If you care about something so much, chances are others care about it too and can relate.

The blog did quite well, gathering together a community of 6,200 people dealing with similar issues that I dealt with. ADDer World (the blog) did well because I had developed my voice and I was reaching people in a way not too many others had tried to reach them before. We shared our journeys together, we learned how to deal with our struggles together, and we grew together.

Sharing my personal story was helping people far beyond my greatest expectations. It was helping people so much so that I attracted the attention of the one and only, Dr. Edward Hallowell.

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Hallowell, he’s one of the world’s foremost experts on Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder from Harvard Medical School (1983 – 2004). He’s also the co-author of Driven to Distraction, one of the most important, groundbreaking books ever published concerning ADHD. Dr. Hallowell’s efforts are a significant reason why many of us talk openly about ADHD today.

By attracting the (ahem) attention of Dr. Hallowell I took the daring leap of asking him if he’d answer a few interview questions for my blog. And guess what? He did! Although I’ve stopped blogging on ADDer World, you can still read the interview, if you like. It was my first major interview, so forgive me if it’s a bit amateurish, but you’ve got to start somewhere. You’ll be surprised how accommodating (and forgiving) people can be when interviewed.

Once I had the interview and posted it on my blog, I shared it far and wide. Well, as far as my reach was back then. And that was that. So I thought.

After a while Dr. Hallowell’s partner reached me about another endeavor they’d like my help with and I quickly did what I could to assist them. I did not ask for anything in return. I didn’t plan on asking anything else anyway, but after a while I thought I’d give it a shot to ask Dr. Hallowell if he’d read my memoir and IF he liked it, if he would endorse it.

He said, yes!

I followed up my interview with Dr. Hallowell with an interview with Pulitzer Prize winner, Katherine Ellison. (Katherine’s son has ADHD.) And yes, Katherine also endorsed my book, calling it a “Brave and moving memoir.”

So how did these two interviews and endorsements happen?

1. I built a platform and a readership via my blog, both of which are absolutely necessary for interviews. It took me 4 tries before I built a worthy blog. You can take a shortcut and write about something you sincerely care about, and/or join an online course for learning how to build a successful platform called, Tribe Writers.

2. I networked with others in my community. Dr. Hallowell and Katherine are only but two people I networked with, there are hundreds more. You start small and build-build-build.

3. I asked. You have to ask. The interviews are easier to get than the endorsements. Endorsements take time and it is a nerve wracking experience, because they will ONLY endorse your work if they consider it worthy. No high profile person is going to put their good name to anything that will come back to bite them in the butt. Seriously, do not ask if your work isn’t up to par yet.

How did I know my book was worthy of asking Dr. Hallowell and Ms. Ellison to read and endorse it if they liked it?

Great question.

Thousands of people had already read my memoir by then and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It had dozens of 5 star reviews on Amazon and I was receiving messages of support and gratitude from people all over the world. It was a similar scenario before I asked celebrities to consider Writer’s Doubt.

Never be in too much of a hurry. If your work isn’t receiving the reviews you deem qualify it to go to the next level, then revise and continue to revise until you get your work where it deserves to be. If you’re self-publishing, like I did, time is on your side.

Build a platform

Pro Tip: Get On Their Radars

Another way to work your way up to asking for interviews or endorsements is to allow the people you’re going to ask to become familiar with you first.

Yes, building a blog is a must-do, but that can take a lot of time. However, most everyone has a personal blog now and if the person you’d like to endorse you has one you can visit it to become a “known” person to them, by reading their work and commenting on their new blog posts frequently. Become a helpful member of their community.

Case in point:

I met Jeff Goins via his Tribe Writers online course. It wasn’t my goal to interview him or get his endorsement for my work, heck I hadn’t even published a book about writing yet. I just wanted to learn more about blogging so I could get better at it and build a new blog I was about to start called, Positive Writer (you may have heard of it). Tribe Writers was the perfect course for me.

While taking the TW course I realized I had already learned quite a few of the lessons Jeff was teaching, not all of them, but I would say I was a more advanced student. Because of this I started commenting on a lot of the other students work and offering helpful tips when I could. By helping fellow students I attracted Jeff’s attention, eventually he asked me if I would become one of the Tribe Writers leaders, someone students could reach out to for help. I said, yes.

To this day I continue to be a Tribe Writers leader. It’s a great course with a great teacher. Hey, I don’t mind being an elf.

Since meeting and becoming friends with Jeff, he’s read and endorsed two of my books, wrote a foreword for another one and I’ve interviewed him here on Positive Writer. We sincerely admire each other’s work, but we might not have met if I had not joined his community and helped fellow Tribers.

In fact, in a flip-flopping of roles (kind of) Jeff interviewed me on Blab the other day and he mentioned that he remembers that I was always the first person to comment on other students work.

See how lasting your efforts can be when participating in someone else’s community? I didn’t plan it that way. I just helped where I could and I enjoyed it (still do), and Jeff has never forgotten. Or maybe Jeff just has an extraordinarily good memory.

The Seth Godin Effect

Seth Godin Interview with Bryan Hutchinson

Everyone seems to want to know how I landed an interview with the greatest blogger on Earth, Seth Godin. Well, I’ve got good news. I’m going to tell you.

I met Seth Godin long before I started Positive Writer. One of his books was a great fit for my previous blog, ADDer World. The book was, The Dip. I sent Seth a short email just letting him know I had reviewed his book and provided him with the link if he wanted to read it. He not only read it, he also commented on it and in his comment he stated a little know fact about himself. I was astonished at my own, and my readers, good fortune.

Seth doesn’t like to make a big deal out of having ADHD, so you won’t find too many mentions of it directly from him online. However, having something in common and doing him a solid by reviewing his book on my blog allowed me a rare moment to meet Seth and give him a lasting, and hopefully, good impression.

Years later when I started Positive Writer I asked Seth if he would answer a few questions for an interview to help me get it rolling. In the very same email I provided him the questions (short and concise) so we would not have to go back and forth. With baited breath I waited and several hours later I received a reply with all of the answers. Boom!

The key, I believe, was that I wasn’t an “unknown.” He knew who I was and what I was about. This is important and in my opinion way too underestimated by a lot of people.

The interview was an unprecedented success and attracted a lot of people to my new blog. It started something that hasn’t slowed in the nearly 3 years Positive Writer has been online. An interview with a high profile online celebrity like Seth is equivalent to blogging gold.

We succeed when we are trusted to be the best at what we do. —Seth Godin (Click to Tweet)

Want to know how I got to interview Guy Kawasaki?

Guy had published a book in the writing and publishing niche and wanted to promote it. Positive Writer was attracting a good amount of attention and Guy reached out to me and asked if I’d help him promote his book on my blog. I asked if he’d like to do a written interview and the rest is history.

See how important it is to build your platform?

endorsement650

How about attracting someone who has sold over 70 Million copies of his books and landed on the New York Times bestseller list 21 times?

You may have already read about this part from a previous message, so I’m going to save time and copy it here:

Recently I sent Jerry B. Jenkins’ agent a copy of my book Writer’s Doubt and asked if he would ask Jerry if he’d read it and possibly endorse it IF he liked it. As I somewhat expected, Jerry’s agent wrote me back and assured me he’d forward the book to Jerry, but not to get my hopes up because Jerry will not endorse any book he hasn’t completely read and he’s got a lot of books to read.

I sighed, and thought that was that. It was worth a try.

However, Jerry’s agent wrote me back a short while later and, well, I’ll just quote his email:

{  A quick update from Jerry (already!):

“You may let Bryan know that I WILL be endorsing his book as soon as I’m finished. It is terrific.” -Jerry  }

How cool is that? As an author, especially self-published, that’s the kind of news you dream of and validates the hard work and heart you’ve put into your writing.

A day later I received the full endorsement from Jerry B. Jenkins, and if you’d like to read it just go over to my book’s page, linked here. #honored

Why did Jenkins give me the time of day?

My best guess is that I had already gone the extra mile for him. His agent had reached out to me first, I offered Jerry a guest blogging spot on my blog (he wrote an exclusive post for PW that I published last month), and I’m working on helping him with another project. If you’re a subscriber to PW, stand by for an interview I did with Jerry that will go live soon.

I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here: Platform. It helps to already be on someone’s radar.

Of course, as I mentioned, if your work isn’t any good or doesn’t meet expectations, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you have to offer. But if your work is good, especially outstanding, well, you see what can happen.

What’s luck got to do with it?

You know, a lot of people tend to think it takes a lot of luck to land the major interviews and endorsements such as what I’ve listed in this post, or maybe it takes giftedness. I’ve already debunked that. So, trust me when I tell you that DOUBT will hold you back by making you believe others have some kind of mystical magical powers that you’ll never posses. That’s just BS doubt is trying to convince you of.

(But then again, maybe I do have magical powers. Hmmm.)

Consider this:

Lightning can strike the same place twice if you’re using a highly conductive lightening rod.

Only a week ago, I acquired Warren Adler’s endorsement for Writer’s Doubt as well. I was more confident in asking a celebrity this time around, even though he’s the author of (novel based on) one of the most iconic movies of the 20th century, The War of the Roses. #wow

Bryan Hutchinson delivers a work that will dispel any writer’s doubt. —Warren Adler (Click to Tweet)

And that’s important to understand too. You don’t start out with very much confidence that you’re actually going to get the interviews and the endorsements.

No. Instead, you build something and you build some more, you make connections and you make more connections and you keep going, even when you get knocked back a few times – even if your first, second or third blog doesn’t take off. Positive Writer is my sixth. (I think.)

You Keep Writing. You Keep Building. You Keep Going.

You figure out what works, but perhaps more importantly, also what doesn’t work.

Cool tidbit: Warren was so inspired by Writer’s Doubt that he’s now making a video to help aspiring writers overcome their fear of rejection. If you’re a subscriber to Positive Writer I’ll let you know when the video is available so you can watch it, if you like.

typingdark2

WARNING:

Don’t compare where you are to where others are.

Comparisons are never fair. If you’re just starting your platform and you compare yourself to someone who has been blogging for two or three years, much less ten years, that’s just not being fair to yourself.

It’s going to take some time and it’s going to take more work than you may have thought, but that’s okay, because it’s worth it. You’re work deserves to get noticed and be appreciated.

The harsh reality is that most people want what others have achieved NOW, whether they’ve done the work and put in the time, or not. That is the #1 reason most people do not achieve their dreams and instead lament on about how lucky and gifted others are compared to themselves.

Friends, we’ve got to be wiser than that.

Sometimes, when you’ve put in the time and you’ve done the work, you’re simply missing vital know-how that can make the difference. You owe it to yourself to seek out and learn what you need to know.

I’m still awestruck by what I learn every day about this great adventure in writing. Aren’t you?

Let’s recap:

Steps to Get Celebrities to Endorse YOUR work

1. Stand for something. Believe in something. In other words write about what you sincerely care about – what you are personally invested in. Don’t spend years on work you don’t care about, such as what I did for my first few blogs which went nowhere. If you don’t care about it, the odds are neither will anyone else.

My blog, ADDer World, was where I first became vulnerable in public by talking about an issue that was close to me, but the issue also brought with it a lot of stigma. Guess what? I wasn’t alone. I’d like to think I helped a lot of people step out of the shadows. At least, I hope so.

2. Create a platform by starting a blog. This is a step too many people skip. If there really is a “secret” (not after this post), this is it. In this day and age you can write what could potentially be the best book that’s been written in the last 50 years, but if you don’t have a way to tell anyone about it (self or traditionally published) it won’t matter because no one will probably ever hear about it.

3. Develop your voice. The greatest writers tell great stories, but just as importantly they tell those stories in a voice that is sincere and instantly relatable. Everyone must develop their voice and you can only do this via trial and error, and this means writing a lot. There are tips you can learn, such as being sincere, vulnerable and genuine. But ultimately, coming into your voice, more so than developing it, is how it works best. Again, blogging is one of the best ways of coming into your voice.

You’ll know when you’re coming into your voice by how engaging your audience becomes. Are they sharing your work? Are they commenting? Are they emailing you with questions and concerns? Are you attracting critics and haters. (Yes, the haters are a good sign.) I’m certain you will notice that some of your blog posts take off while others aren’t as active. Examine your demeanor and tone between the articles that took off and the ones that didn’t. What was the difference? Were you relatable? Were you vulnerable? Did you care about the subject enough or were you just posting to post? The answers will help you develop your voice.

4. Network. As you’re building your platform, network with others. This isn’t as hard as it may seem. You can easily comment on other blogs and become a helpful, contributing member to other communities. The more helpful you are in other communities the more likely you are to get noticed. However, don’t do this just to get noticed. Do this to sincerely be a helpful, contributing member.

5. Start asking. If you’ve become fortunate enough to become a known person to people, no matter their ranking on the well-known-list, start asking. A great ice breaker is asking if you can guest post on blogs within your niche. Build your blogging portfolio and then ask bigger fish and so on and so on.

When your work starts getting noticed (because it’s awesome on its own merit) the big fish will start noticing you. As you read above, several of the big names I mentioned first reached out to me.

6. Know that this is not an overnight thing. Building a platform and getting noticed takes time and you might even fail a few times along the way. That’s okay. But keep in mind, there’s no real failure when you learn from it. Besides, I probably would not have landed my interview with Seth here on PW if we had not met on a previous blog of mine.

Now with this all said, you have to know there are some people you’ll ask who will say no and you will get rejected. It’s okay. It sucks, but it’s part of the game. Worse, there will be those who you help, but when you ask them anything they’ll be too busy for you. Those are the breaks, and one of the reasons I implore you to do what you do because you sincerely want to be a helpful contributor.

Now go, start building. You’re a writer with something important to say and we need your words.

#humbled #grateful

Have you asked a celebrity to endorse your work or for an interview? If you haven’t yet, do you plan on it? Share in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins
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  • Bryan:
    First time reader, soon to be long time fan.
    I’m THAT GUY who emailed you out of the blue for some help regarding my site. You took the time out of your day, provided immediate input and resources and …. you won me over.
    In the meantime, my site is up and running and I have you to thank for that. You don’t just push your agenda out into the world – you live it. I’m subscribed to your info and I look forward to reading your book.

    Jeff

  • Jennifer Blair

    Thanks for writing an honest description of the hard work and effort it takes to become an “overnight success”. It is both believable and reassuring to know it can be done, and what it takes to get there.

    As far as celebrities, I have three I call friends. Let me tell you about one you may have heard of. Eight years ago I took a workshop called WriteSpeak from one of my favorite authors, Barbara Sher. It was inspiring and I left there with my mind spinning. By the time I arrived at the airport, I had decided to create a conference to showcase 5 of the would-be speakers from that group and myself. I had the gall to invite Barbara as well, and sent her an email telling her of my plans. (She did not see the email until months later, but I did not know that at the time.)

    I went home and began working 18 hours a day to learn about online marketing and how to promote the conference. Every day I would report what I had learned in as summary email to the entire group, along with links and pdf files, templates and sample ads. It was lijke a free Masters course in marketing. I bought every book on the topic I could find, and lshared the best information from the best books.

    Six months later, I had five people registered. The conference was still 4 months off. Barbara had agreed to come speak. Then the economy collapsed and the government had to bail out banks, etc. (Remember the end of the Bush years?) People were scared to do anything.
    I had to decide whether to commit an additional $10,000 in deposits or back out. Several speakers urged me to cut my losses, so I ended up canceling the conference and refunding all the payments from those who had registered.

    Nevertheless, I had learned a great deal, made some great friends (Barbara included) and shared my knowledge.

    Tto this day, I am still friends with those I met and corresponded with and count Barbara as one of my dearest friends.

    BTW, she also has ADHD and talks about it freely. Maybe that is a precursor for being a creative genius? Or perhaps those with ADHD who have learned to deal with it also have the drive, discipline and determination it takes to become a success?

    • Wow – Jennifer! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s always a good thing when you make some great friends along the way, isn’t it. I haven’t met Barbara, but I’ve heard wonderful things.

  • This is incredibly inspiring and motivating, Bryan. There is no easy or ‘quick’ path to success, but armed with advice like this, it certainly becomes more obtainable. More power to your elbow, and thank you for sharing your story with us!

    • Thanks, EJ! Right. There’s no quick path. But insider tips and vital information can make the path quicker. 🙂 Agree?

  • Mdjahurul Islam

    Here is mentioned about getting celebrities to our endores writing.We can get some knowledge about some vital part of this.

    http://www.vinhtruongloc.com

  • Bryan – excellent post, and best of all, the steps you took and generously outlined to us are eminently doable, no matter who we are.

  • Pingback: Carnival of Creativity 2/21/16 | The Writing Reader()

  • Elena Tinga

    Thanks for the post. I am not sure what I care about… I mean… I care about many issues, but I have no idea how to pinpoint THE ONE for which I care most and I can handle well.