Edgy Conversations with Dan Waldschmidt
Dan has sold tens of thousands of copies of his book, “Edgy Conversations.” It’s hit three international bestsellers lists. Dan’s story goes from 20-year-old tech company CEO, getting parlayed into a consulting practice, and now he’s on a mission to make the entire world “edgy”. How did this all start? What’s the background behind this whole brand? According to Dan Waldschmidt, he knew that he had a unique ability to see things that other people didn’t see. After spending four years digging into that, he realized that instead of introspecting, he needed to find out how ordinary people, who are not born into rich families, achieve success. That became his great experiment and set the birth of a book in motion.
Traditional vs Independent Publishing
- Dan chose independent over traditional publishing despite getting several traditional publishing offers. The latter conflicted with his preferences, which included:
- Writing a book that was short and powerful as Edgy is a pretty thin 180-page book. The publishers wanted a 300+ page book on success because if it was heavier, it would sell more copies.
- Color, silky-smooth paper, and illustrations There’s a lot of color in and on the book. It’s full of illustrations too. The bulk of the publishers wanted to dictate having the pictures at the beginning of each chapter. Dan wanted to be unconventional and put them in the middle as well.
- Keen to detail He wanted every detail to be amazing. The cover needed a special feel. The book’s cover is actually embossed, has three different layers and the pages inside are like a magazine.
Dan managed to find an independent publisher who did not think he was crazy and actually gave him other options to make the book even more impactful. They worked to build a book that calls to you from across the room; thus the red. They wanted people to pick it up and delight in the cover that feels like rubber.
Building Up to the Launch
At some point, Dan realized that his network was limited. He had a certain sized network, like most authors who are trying to make a breakthrough. What if you could grab other people’s networks as well and get them excited about the book you’re creating?
Dan went out and created what he and his team called “boxes of awesome.” They were bright red with Dan’s logo plus “this is a box of awesome” imprinted on its cover. He then created 125 different boxes for the top 125 experts in the sales marketing business including John Jance, Keith Ferrazzi, and Seth Godin. In each box, he put brown leather boxing gloves, his book and other goodies such as notepads and calendars. Each boxing glove cost as much as $200. Next, Dan wrote 125 notes, one by one. He found a page in his book that was interesting and ripped it out. Using a black Sharpie, he wrote a note on that page out of the book and say, for example, “Hey, Ken. Dan Waldschmidt here. I’ve enjoyed your friendship and I’m so glad that you’re changing the world. I’ve written something that I think can change the world, and I’d love for you to take a look at it when you have time.”
About four weeks after sending the boxes, Dan had powerful people with huge networks sending him messages that complimented him on the book and wanted to know how they could help. The door to their audiences was open. Thanks to this, Dan generated thousands of pre-orders ahead of the launch. He had to move the launch from February to April to accommodate the pre-orders.
One of those who received the boxes introduced Dan to an owner of a major leadership company that bought 10,000 copies of the book before the launch. Everything he ever thought about scale went out the window. You have to make sure you’re working with a good publisher who can manage to print the books and have them in the right places when needed. Fortunately, Dan had a seamless launch. Dan used a strategy that a lot of people call “Dream 100.” It refers to identifying a list of people that can help your success, loving on them and sending them packages in the mail — in Dan’s case, the boxing gloves. It requires giving them enough value that they want to know who you are and keep adding to their lives without any asks so that they will in return do something for you.
Secrets to Becoming a Bestselling Author
For Dan, three things were key to becoming a bestselling author:
- Develop your own style. Dan used his blog before he wrote the book to tease out the ideas. He started blogging in 2006 and didn’t start writing a book until 2010. He had four years’ worth of writing experience earned from writing every day. You develop your own writing style. Dan’s style is very short, choppy sentences; almost a book full of tweetable quotes.
- Your Network is your Net Worth. By the time he started writing a book, he was already on popular lists. Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal had already ranked Dan’s blog as one of the top seven blogs in the world. Dan was on sales impact lists of top five sales experts along with Grant Cardone and some of the best guys in the world. He was already sharing his wisdom and insights into the world and developing relationships with renowned people. When Seth Godin wrote his most recent book, four years ago now, Dan interviewed Seth and cut the hour-long interview into five videos. Anyone who signed up for the newsletter on his website would receive the request to be sent a five-part video series with Seth Godin. It automatically created credibility.
- Get Personal! It’s important to take a personal interest in people you want to network with and for them know your name.
Free Books and Free Advice!
After selling tens of thousands of copies, Dan is giving away “Edgy Conversations.” People are only paying $7.95 for the shipping. Why would Dan do that? After selling thousands of copies, he believes that it’s time to give back. Although thousands of people have read the book, there are many more whose lives will be impacted by the chance to get it for free. In fact, Dan will probably sign it. He signs most of them. So, what’s the bottom line?
- Write a good book. Don’t be lazy.
- Build your network and following. One of the biggest fallacies out there is that your publisher will do most of the work for you. You should know that it is up to you to build your network. You may not have a network now or even have a blog and that’s okay. Sit down with a pen and paper and pan out the Dream 100. What are 25 gurus in the space that you’re writing? What are 25 authors? What are 25 leading consultants? What are 25 famous speakers in your space? Write their names down and then begin to learn a little bit about them, message them, reach out to them, ask for their help. Build relationships with those people now so that when it’s time to launch, you’re ready to go.
- Save for Future Investment. Publishing and marketing can be expensive but don’t skimp through it. It costs real money to write, publish and market a book. Fact is, you have no chance of being successful if you’re not willing to invest in your own success.
You can pick up your free copy of Edgy Conversations at freeedgybook.com