I worked with Denise a few years ago to help promote her book via social media and we’ve stayed in touch. I love her favorite book marketing tip! Learn about it and more in the following interview.
Tell us a little bit about your book and business.
I have the unusual role of being a ‘thought leader about thought leadership’. I am a thought leadership consultant working with leaders and their teams on how to gain more influence and impact and build a following for their ideas. My book, Ready to Be a Thought Leader?, was published by Wiley in 2014 and became a best-seller a few years later. It is written as a how-to guide for aspiring thought leaders.
Why did you write your book?
I wrote my book to my younger self — it was the guidebook I wish I’d had when I started my own journey to become a thought leader. Earlier in my career, I co-founded and led a trade association for women entrepreneurs and during that time I became an ‘accidental thought leader’ – someone who was in the right place at the right time with an important message to share. But what I didn’t have was a strategy or a plan or any idea that I was actually trying to become a thought leader. Years later, I helped a friend advance in her career from completely invisible in her field to have the opportunity to testify in front of the US Senate, be recognized by the White House and then be headhunted by the Governor for a state-wide role. I wanted to share the steps we took and the strategy we used so others could learn from her experience, and mine, and be more effective themselves as change agents and aspiring thought leaders.
How did you publish your book? Traditional publisher, hybrid publisher, self-published?
I was fortunate to be approached by a developmental editor at Wiley/Jossey Bass. She helped me develop a proposal and land a book contract with them so I never had to get an agent or fight to get attention from a publisher. I considered other publishing models but as my book was all about the importance of building credibility, it felt right to have a traditional publisher to give me the credibility out of the gate.
How did things change for you as an author in 2020 and how did you manage to weather through the year during the pandemic?
While I had my own business for 10 years, in 2019 I shut it down to go in-house with one of my clients to work with her to get a new non-profit entity off the ground that was funded by $130M from Kaiser Permanente. I stayed in that role for a year and then re-started my business in October of 2020. Fortunately, because I had had my business for a long time and I am well-known in my field, it wasn’t that hard to begin to bring in work again, but I have spent the last 6 months in re-build mode. Just starting to see the level of engagement from clients in April 2021 that I saw in 2019. Last year was awful from many perspectives, but I was fortunate to not be worrying about starting from scratch!
What is your favorite book marketing tip?
Most important thing that I advise authors is the same thing I tell entrepreneurs of any kind — make yourself incredibly easy to help. Put in the hard work to create the following materials – a one sentence description, a one paragraph description, a one page description of your book (preferably beautifully designed) including the ‘why to buy’ for your reader. Build out a set of pre-written and compelling social media posts so people can share your book easily to their communities. Then ASK! Ask people you know to help you — even those you don’t know all that well. Likely, if you make it really easy, they will.
What are your goals for 2021?
First and foremost it is to stay healthy. I am remaining very close to home until I am fully vaccinated and we can learn more about the vaccines and the COVID variants. Next, I am focused on bringing in interesting and engaging work that thrills me. My favorite type of clients are women leaders who are really pushing to have a bigger voice, build a broader impact, make an important difference around a cause or an industry change they care about. I love helping build their momentum, confidence and capacity and seeing them fly! I am also looking to work with more organizations that want to build their reputation as thought leaders so that I can develop more first-hand case studies to potentially write a second book on organizational thought leadership next year. My LinkedIn Learning courses on thought leadership and organizational thought leadership have done very well and I have also been invited to do another course with them once they re-open filming. I just have to decide what topic that will cover! I think all of that will keep me busy on top of my personal passion projects of art quilts, archery and serving on the board of our local theater.
Where can readers find your book? Share your Amazon book page, website, social media links.
Amazon: Ready to Be a Thought Leader? – https://amzn.to/2KhyVEO
Thought Leadership Lab: www.thoughtleadershiplab.com
LinkedIn Learning Courses:
Becoming a Thought Leader
Organizational Thought Leadership
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Writing my book was the single best thing I have ever done for my business. It opened the door to teaching at Stanford Business School, creating courses with LinkedIn Learning, new clients and speaking, and amazing credibility. Plus, while it was not that fun to write a book (I have to be honest!), it was wonderful to be able to codify my ideas, get my voice heard and share important stories that mattered to me. I hope others will take the leap and document what they know and be of service to others who follow after them and/or could learn from them.
Denise Brosseau has built her reputation as a ‘thought leader about thought leadership’. As the author of the best-seller, Ready to Be a Thought Leader?, and the creator of two popular courses on thought leadership with LinkedIn Learning, Denise is a sought-after expert on topics of influence, leading change and thought leadership. Through her company, Thought Leadership Lab, Denise works with leaders, teams and organizations on their journey from leader to thought leader. She is also a popular speaker and workshop leader, working with clients like Microsoft, Convoy, Cognizant and Service Now. Earlier in her career, Denise was the co-founder of the first trade association for women entrepreneurs which she grew to seven cities across the US. She was also the co-founder of Springboard, the women’s start-up launchpad that has led to over $9B in funding for women-led businesses. Denise has been recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House and as a top 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley. Learn more at www.thoughtleadershiplab.com.