Jim Rubart

Since 1994, Jim Rubart has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Barefoot Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. His debut novel ROOMS released in April and hit the bestseller list in September. His next novel, BOOK OF DAYS released in January. He's also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world's most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn't sleep much. You can reach him at jlrudini[at]comcast.net, or visit his website at http://www.jimrubart.com/.

The Number One Secret to Achieving Marketing Success

When I teach at writing conferences, I boil what marketing is down to one simple sentence: Marketing is getting people to like you.

At its core, that’s all marketing is. Get people to like you and they’ll more likely buy your books. If you’re pre-published and an editor likes you, he or she will be more likely to offer you a contract. Agents will be more likely to sign you. Other authors will be more willing to endorse you or give you counsel. If you’re a bookstore owner, customers will more likely return to your store and buy more product.

It’s very simple. Get people to like you. (I know, you’re saying, “How?” We’ll get to that in a moment.)

Getting people to like you is what an effective radio ad does. It’s what successful TV ads accomplish, what magazine ads and Facebook posts do. They entertain, give needed information, or solve a problem. And because of these things, people are drawn to the person or product.

Have I belabored the point long enough? You get it? Great. Let’s apply this truth.

No, I’m not suggesting you do radio, TV, or magazine ads to get that reader, editor, agent, author, or shopper to like you. I want you to do something much more difficult.

Really Listen

I want you to listen to people. Really listen. Deeply care about what they’re saying. Then listen some more. Relationships are the key to the publishing business just like they’re the key in every other business. And the most effective way to build relationships with others is to care about them.

Time to get practical. Here’s how we can do it:

1. Ask the person you’re with a question.
2. Really listen.
3. Ask him or her another question.
4. Really listen.
5. Ask another question.
6. Really listen.
7. Repeat steps 1—6.

Our Desperation

People are desperate to know three things: Am I valuable? Does what I have to say matter? Is what’s inside me interesting and worth listening to? By asking questions and truly caring about the responses, people will fall in love with you.

Very few people ask questions in our society. Think about your own relationships. When is the last time a friend asked about your world, and then asked another question after you stopped talking, then another question after that, and one more after that before talking about themselves in a nonstop monologue? My guess is most of you are answering, “Never.”

Why did I state that my suggestion is difficult? (I shouldn’t have said difficult, I should have said near impossible.) Because we’re deeply ingrained in the habit of talking, not listening. We’re desperately locked into the needs I noted above and trying to get an answer to those questions. So we talk. And talk. And talk.

Often when I speak, I tell the audience exactly what I’m telling you now. They nod their heads and smile. Then for the rest of the conference I’ll watch people who were in the audience and see if they’re talking or listening. I notice how people interact with me. No one takes my advice. They keep talking.

We are so fixated on ourselves, it’s a huge paradigm shift to invest time in hearing the deep things going on in the people around us.

My challenge

Try this for a month: Commit to asking everyone you come in contact with three questions before you say anything about yourself. (“Hey, how are you?” doesn’t count as a question.) The next time you meet with an editor or an agent, ask him or her three questions before you launch into your pitch. The next time you meet a fellow writer, ask her three questions about her life. If she tries to ask you something before you’ve asked your three questions, simply say, “I’d love to tell you about that, but first, do you mind telling me a little bit more about how you came up with the idea for your book? And I gotta ask you, what kept you going when you wanted to chuck the whole thing?” Trust me, they won’t be offended. They will love you.

I have to be careful. Some of you reading this might be thinking, “Uh, Jim, it sounds like you want us to pretend to be interested in our friends or people we meet in the publishing world just so it will benefit us.”

No, I’m not saying that. I’m basing my suggestion on the belief that you do truly care about people. That you realize the primary commandment for followers of Jesus is to love on people. So do that. With no expectation of return, no ulterior motive. I think we do care about people, but we might have a blind spot when it comes to how we interact with others.

And I promise, if you start loving on others in this way, there will be a bountiful return.


Book Of Days