My association with them has been rewarding, fun, and informative. Among other things, Darien has taught me how to write effective Facebook ads, landing pages, and eBooks, which is particular helpful in this rapidly changing technology and social media arena. Furthermore, I appreciate SMART Growth Marketing’s commitment to excellence – not only for their clients, but for independent contractors like me. Thanks to their knowledge and expertise, I’ve developed my copywriting skills, gained valuable insights, discovered industries and clients I never knew existed, and expanded my own professional services.
I “met” Jefferson in cyberspace via Donna, when she mentioned his interest in being a host on the Writestream Radio Network. As with many other solid, genuine people I’ve met online, I developed an easy friendship with him. Having known Donna for several years (even though we’ve not yet met in person), I trusted her judgement and after several conversations with Jefferson, had no doubts about the depth of his character.
Soon after, we made plans for him to broadcast The Formula: What Is It? The show airs on the fourth Tuesday of the month, featuring entrepreneurs at various levels of experience, who reveal their unique “formula” for success.
However, as Ima stated in the interview, it’s natural in the Digital Age for people to conduct internet searches on others. I’ll admit I did that with Jefferson, mainly because I was impressed by the scope and depth of his career and wanted to know more. Intuitively, I knew I was dealing with a decent, honest person, which is why it was so disheartening to come across several slanderous posts about him.
As the owner of an internet-based business that collaborates with a variety of clients and personalities, I’m aware that anyone at any time could take to their keyboard with the intention to slander my character and harm my company’s reputation. For that reason, I save all email correspondence and document all communication with every client. I won’t pretend I don’t make mistakes; I’m human, after all. But I do my best to explain the self-publishing process, maintain a schedule, and deliver a quality product. When necessary, I own up to my errors and correct them asap.
But Jefferson and Ima’s harrowing story is definitely a wake-up call, whether or not you own a business. It’s too easy for an individual to destroy good people and companies just by taking to their computer keyboards and publishing outright lies. Because the burden of proof falls on the victim and not the cyber bully, it’s nearly impossible to remove the offensive posts — and sadly, most people are quick to believe the worst.
In Jefferson and Ima’s case, this meant a significant loss of income and clients as their business dried up. Worse, the damage to their reputations made it difficult to even find a “pay the bills” job to support their basic needs. To their credit, they persisted. I highly recommend listening to the interview by clicking below.
When I came discovered the negative internet posts about Jefferson, I recognized them as a desperate attempt to discredit a good man and his business partner. Yes, I thought about calling him up to discuss it. Then I figured he’d already dealt with enough garbage and let it go.
What was the point of dredging it up with him when I’d already concluded that this was the work of a deranged individual?
As I got to know Jefferson better over a period of several months, my faith in him was vindicated. Because I produced his monthly show, we maintained regular contact via phone conversations and text messages. I’ve also seen the multiple glowing testimonials on Facebook from happy clients who have experienced amazing results in their businesses, thanks to his expert coaching.
I support his efforts to change the laws to adjust to the Digital Age. I’m a huge proponent of free speech, but free speech should not condone personal and professional destruction by dishonest, amoral people who leverage the easy opportunity the internet provides for “revenge.” In Jefferson’s case, the perpetrator — a woman — became obsessed with him in a classic case of “fatal attraction” (though thankfully, he’s alive and well today…unlike the wife of a CEO he knows who was the target of a smear campaign, a story he shares in the interview with Donna).
Again, I highly recommend listening to Jefferson and Ima’s on-air account of their experience with a cyber bully who nearly destroyed them — personally and professionally. It’s a cautionary tale for everyone, especially business-owners who work closely with clients. Thankfully, they managed to turn things around and have gone on to achieve greater success. As a result of what they have endured, they are also determined to draft legislation and petition Congress to address this crucial issue.
I’m grateful to Jefferson and Ima for their courage, honesty, and willingness to take a stand for integrity. Circumstances reveal character, and in their case, their horrific experience at the hands of a sick individual has proven that they each possess a strong, solid, and inspiring one.
A final word of advice: question EVERYTHING you read online, do your homework, and, if necessary, confront the person with the information you find on the internet. Give them a chance to defend themselves. Don’t just blindly trust “anonymous” sources who may have nothing more than an ax to grind, simply because they can get away with it.
In the Digital Age, the Golden Ruleapplies more than ever.
In this age of advanced technology, it’s easier than ever to write and publish your book. No longer are any of us at the mercy of gatekeepers in traditional publishing houses who basically force authors to justify the existence of their books and jump through hoops to prove their worthiness as a contender for a traditional publishing house’s money and marketing efforts.
With independent publishing, you can bring your product to the market yourself, engage your audience, and keep 100% of your royalties. That’s the good news.
The “bad” news? The democratization of publishing means you must be willing to do what it takes to connect with your readers both in-person and online. In terms of social media, what is one of the best ways to do that? Seek out guest opportunities on internet radio programs that cater to your audience (more about that in another post).
If you’re nervous about speaking, you can relax knowing that neither the listeners, nor the host, can see you. As a radio host, I make a conscious effort to make my shows conversational, fun, and most importantly, helpful to our guests and listeners. While there is no one “magic bullet” to selling books, every effort you make to engage your audience is critical.
With that said, how can you prepare for an internet radio show, especially if you’re a newcomer?
1. Remember, No One Knows Your Material Like You – Years ago, a former boss helped me overcome my public speaking fears during a performance review when she stated “Don’t be nervous. You have the information they need.”
This holds true for authors of fiction and nonfiction. You, the author, have something of value to offer the listeners. Having spent countless hours writing, researching, editing, and revising, YOU are the authority on your work. Let that fill you with confidence as you step behind the microphone, so to speak.
2. Distill Your Book Into Talking Points – This was a tough one for me back in 2008 because my book has a seemingly endless list of themes to convey. But when I participated in Blurb! Talk Radio back in 2009, I was forced to boil it all down into a two-minute commercial, which felt like a drag at the time. But I realized the value of the experience, especially when I won the Book of the Week Award. Even if I hadn’t, I’d learned an important skill.
In your case, come up with 10-15 major takeaways (supported by examples) from your book. These are the most important points you want readers to ponder. To make this process easier, I send my guests a confirmation form which requests up to 15 questions I should pose on the air. Remember, this is all about YOU. Help me help you put you — and your work — in the best possible light.
3. Elaborate On Your Answers to Questions – As a radio host I can tell you there is nothing worse than a guest who gives short, one-sentence answers. Not only is it exhausting trying to keep a 50-minute interview entertaining when the guest cannot articulate thoughtful answers, it’s boring for the listeners. I once interviewed a highly successful, award-winning author who simply could not discuss her work comfortably and allow her personality to shine through. If it felt like a chore to me, I can only imagine how the listeners felt. If you follow suggestions one and two above, this one should be much easier to accomplish.
4. Be You – Since your book is a reflection of who you are, listeners want to get to know you on some level. During the interview, just be yourself. Don’t take this too seriously; view it as an opportunity to practice communicating your ideas, reach a broader readership, and yes, have a good time.
5. Dial In Early – Depending on the hosting platform, you’ll have at least a few minutes to call in and speak to the host or producer before going live. This provides an opportunity to perform a sound-check, and gives you, the author/guest a chance to relax a bit before the show. On the day of your interview, call in early to ensure the best possibly quality and your peace of mind.
6. Have Fun – Finally, just enjoy it. No one expects perfection from internet radio — and Lord knows I’ve had my fair share of technical snafus during any given broadcast. Don’t take it all too seriously. If your call drops, just dial back in; if you mess up an answer, be willing to laugh about it.
Do you have more questions about how to be a good guest? Need help with indie publishing?