I had the pleasure of working with Cara Bradley on her book proposal for On The Verge: Wake Up, Show Up and Shine and introducing her to her literary agent, Rita Rosenkranz, as well as her editor, Kelly Malone.
In the process, I witnessed how willing Cara was to take my coaching, as well as Rita’s, and keep improving the proposal, deepening the writing, working on platform. So, it’s no surprise to see how much attention the book is getting. Still, the specifics carry an element of suprise. It thrilled me to hear from Cara that four pages of her book would be featured on the Oprah Network.
Lisa: It’s every author’s dream to be discovered by Oprah. How did it feel when you first heard that four pages of your book On The Verge would be featured by the Oprah Network?
Cara: Time slowed down. Upon reading it a second, third, and fourth time, time stood still. At first I was confused. What does this mean? How did the folks at Oprah.com get my book? How is this possible? What’s going to happen next?
Amidst my questions, a light began to shine through. “Yes, Dear One,” my wiser self said to my confused mind, “It’s true.”
In realizing I’d been granted every author’s dream opportunity, the floodgate opened and the tears poured out.
Lisa: Tell us more about the experience. What did you learn from it and why do you call it “a pivotal moment,” beyond the idea that it is every author’s dream to be discovered and shared by Oprah?
Cara: There are pivotal moments in life when time stands still, the world seems to pause and everything goes quiet. These moments seem to last forever, for better or worse.
These moments grab your attention. They wake you up. Pivotal moments are often our gateways to directly experiencing the undeniable brilliance of being fully alive.
Minutes after realizing what I’d read in the email was true, there were tears of joy mixed with pent up exhaustion of months and months of book promotion. The emotional release was fueled by the vulnerability hangover of putting myself “out there” in countless interviews, blogs and podcasts, endless and oftentimes uncomfortable Facebook posts and Tweet after Tweet after Tweet.
I cried, shedding the small setbacks since my book launched, the minor disappointments, the unanswered pitches. I cried, laughing at the little victories, the emails from readers, the unknown awards, and the spike in book sales here and there. Lastly, I cried for whatever may come, for I have no idea.
Could the post on Oprah.com be the “big break?” Sure, it could. But I’m also savvy enough to not count on one post to do anything but give me the drive to keeping sharing my passion.
My pivotal “Oprah” moment shifted me. It’s given me confidence to trust that my hard work carried my book to the folks at Oprah.com (and maybe even Oprah herself).
Lisa: I’m so thrilled for you. Having worked with you on your proposal and seen all you were willing to do to make your proposal, sample chapters, platform, promotion plans—everything—be compelling to agents and publishers, I knew you had he persistence and resilience to make things happen. You’ve put in a ton of work to get the word out there about On The Verge. I’m sure that played a role in being discovered by Oprah. Do you know how they found you?
Cara: I have no idea.
Lisa: I guess that’s kind of fitting. When you put in the work and keep stepping out in faith, you don’t have to worry about how things happen. You trust. And you still don’t know the mechanics behind it. Your shining, miraculous moments happen. That’s what matters. You do work hard though. How many hours do you put in a week on average to get the word out about your book?
Cara: Since my work is intertwined with the message in my book it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I’m in pure book promotion mode. I am, however, pushing content out daily in the form of blogs, Vlogs, podcasts, videos and social media posts.
Lisa: What activities have you participated in to promote On The Verge?
Cara: My biggest promotional expense (and time burner) was creating a free app to support my book. I find it easier to suggest someone download my free app instead of asking them to buy my book. The most satisfying (and free) activity I participate in is my weekly podcast called On The Verge. It’s been a great platform to share my message, it’s easy to promote, and I have a blast recording each episode.
Lisa: I always encourage authors to develop a sustainable model for their book promotion efforts—that there’s a business plan behind it. What activities are you doing that bring in income in addition to book sales?
Cara: In addition to running my business, Verge BodyMind, I earn additional income teaching sports teams, schools, corporations and speaking at conferences.
Lisa: What percentage of your time is spent on activities that bring in income like speaking, teaching or consulting and how do you see those activities also supporting book sales?
Cara: Everything I do supports book sales in some capacity. Last week I agreed to speak at a corporation for free which is something I don’t often agree to as I make my living through teaching and speaking. After the talk the group asked to buy 75 copies of my book.
Lisa: Wow, that’s terrific. What book promotion activities have seemed to have the biggest impact on book sales?
Cara: I saw a big jump in sales when the print versions of Mindful Magazine and Oxygen Magazine reviewed my book. While it’s challenging to get magazines to cover books, I’m creating monthly bodymind video column for Mindful’s digital version.
Lisa: What are some of your favorite ways to share the message of On The Verge?
Cara: I love the podcasts.
Lisa: What activities have not really paid off or have taken too much time and energy for the effect they had?
Cara: During the launch of my book I said yes to every interview request regardless of the scope and size of the show. While doing so gave me valuable interview experience I don’t think they provided much of a boost in book sales.
Lisa: What advice do you have for authors who are just putting together a book marketing plan? When do you suggest starting? What should they do and not do?
Cara: Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a natural verbal communicator then look for ways to promote your book through live videos on social media or starting a podcast. If you’re a natural writer then a blog may be how you promote your book. Whatever you choose to do, however, be consistent. It’s the only way to build a platform that cares about your work.
Lisa: Excellent advice. What are some of the biggest surprises in launching and marketing On The Verge?
Cara: Those you think are going to be your greatest assets are not. Those you never considered would be able to support you will surprise you.
Lisa: What are some of the things you’ve heard from readers about your book and its impact?
Cara: I heard from at least a dozen people that On The Verge sits on their bedside table and provides support to them either upon waking or just before they fall asleep. This brings me incredible joy. I’ve also heard from more than a few CEO’s who have been inspired by my book.
Lisa: Wow, that’s exciting when you think of the difference it can make in a company to have that kind of mindfulness and consciousness come from the top. What an impact your book can make! What else would you like our readers to know?
Cara: While writing On The Verge was one of the most challenging periods of time in my life, I would do it again. I love what came through me during that time. I love the message of my book and if my words can help one person wake up, show up, and shine then it will have been worth the challenge.
Lisa: Beautifully put. Any parting advice?
Cara: If you feel the impulse to share your story, just do it. Get it documented any way possible. Write your insights on a napkin, record them into your phone, take a quick video. Share your wisdom. The world needs you to.
Cara Bradley, author of On The Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine is an innovative leader of bodymind training, founder of the award-winning Verge BodyMind Center and mental strength coach to CEOs, corporations, universities, and sports teams. You can find Cara’s bodymind practices on her weekly podcast and free app both called On The Verge. For more info visit www.carabradley.net. You can also follow and engage with Cara on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.