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DORIE CLARK: FROM HBR TO THE LONG GAME

Dorie Clark was fired by her first literary agent after every publisher she pitched turned her down and told her she needed “a platform.” Not one to back down, when the front door was slammed in her face, Dorie says, “I went in the window instead.”

Dorie began pitching business publications to build a name for herself, and through the sale of a bike on Craigslist, got connected to an editor at the Harvard Business Review (HBR) and was able to contribute a few articles. Then HBR decided not to publish her work anymore, but a last-minute cancellation by another of their writers led to the print version of HBR publishing one of Dorie’s articles, and the rest is history.

Listen to Dorie tell the story behind her four books, including her latest The Long Game: How To Be a Long-Term Thinker In a Short-Term World. You’ll learn what Dorie has picked up over the years about how to build an author platform, market your book, and leverage it to grow your business.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Welcome to the Published Author Podcast, where we help entrepreneurs learn how to write a book and leverage it to grow their business and make an impact. I'm your host, Josh Steimle. Today, my guest is Dorie Clark. Dorie is an adjunct professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and the author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the number one leadership book of 2015 by Inc. Magazine. But Dorie's latest book, The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World comes out September 21st, 2021. So, pretty much before you're listening to this for most of you. She's a former presidential campaign spokeswoman and the New York Times described Dorie as an expert itself reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives. And there's a lot more that I could tell you about Dorie and her accomplishments and awards and all this stuff, but we'll let her talk about that a bit. Dorie, welcome to the show.

Dorie Clark:

Hey, Josh. So, good to be here, talking with you.

Josh Steimle:

So, good to have you on. So, give us a little bit of that background because you've had quite the storied career and you've accomplished a lot. Take us back a little bit, how you grew up and how you ended up where you are today?

Dorie Clark:

Oh, wow. Okay. Well --

Josh Steimle:

Give us the whole story.

Dorie Clark:

I'll try to be pithy. Yes. So, I have done a lot of things. Mostly because I kept getting doors slammed in my face. So, I had to keep coming up with new things to do. So, for the past 15 years, I've had my own business and so there's kind of the array of pieces that I do along with it. The way that I describe my work is that I work to help individuals and companies get their best ideas heard in a noisy and crowded environment. And I do that through my teaching at Duke. Writing books, as you talked about, I do a lot of speaking and consulting and coaching and things like that. Before all that, I went to Divinity School and I thought I was going to be an academic. I thought I was going to be a professor, but I got turned down by all the doctoral programs that I applied to. I thought I was going to be a journalist and then I got laid off from my journalism job. And then I thought I was going to work in politics, but all my candidates lost. So, I definitely had to do a lot of reinvention in my career that brought me to the place that I am now.

Josh Steimle:

Although the interesting thing is that you're doing a lot of these things now, you are teaching, you've got these books, you've accomplished a lot of the things that you set out to accomplish just in kind of a roundabout way, it seems like?

Dorie Clark:

It is very true. I'm very much the close the door and I'll go in the window type.

Josh Steimle:

In fact, I think I became familiar with you in the beginning through your writing through HBR, which you've had a column there for quite a long time now, right?

Dorie Clark:

Yeah. I started writing for Harvard Business Review in 2010. So, it has been over a decade now that I've been writing for them. That was actually born of some initial frustration as well too. In 2009, I decided that I was going to write a book. I was definitely going to write a book. I was going to sell a book that year. And anyway, it didn't quite work out that way because I tried writing multiple proposals, which no one wanted because I was not famous enough I discovered. And so I was told I kind of needed to go back to the drawing board and “somehow build my platform.” So, I decided, I guess I needed to start blogging, not that I really wanted to. But I was on the prowl for places to blog for. And I had been trying largely unsuccessfully for a lot of different business publications. HBR really wasn't even on my radar, but I was pitching a lot of places, not really having much luck. And I was living in the Boston area at the time, which I know you recently moved from. And as it happened, I ended up selling my bike on Craigslist to a woman who is a kind of junior staffer at the Harvard Business Review. And so through her, I was able to recycle some of these pitches that had not gotten traction other places and eventually break in at HBR.

Josh Steimle:

All right. Selling your book on Craigslist is definitely not a traditional way to break into the publishing world, right?

Dorie Clark:

Yes. Yes. And to be clear, not, I didn't sell a book. I mean I sold a bike and she bought my bike.

Josh Steimle:

The bike, yeah?

Dorie Clark:

Yeah. But selling the bike did lead to selling the book eventually that took a few years, but it all worked out.

Josh Steimle:

So now you said you didn't necessarily want to write for HBR, but you've kept up doing it. You must enjoy doing it at this point?

Dorie Clark:

Yeah. Originally what I wanted and I feel like probably a lot of your listeners might be able to relate is I just wanted to write a book. I wanted to write a book because I want to write a book, and all these other things that you sort of had to do in order to “earn the right” to write a book. It was kind of frustrating to me because it felt a little off topic from what my ambition had been. But I have learned that there's a reason that publishers want you to build your platform. You do actually get to practice your writing, which helps make you better. That is true. You do actually get to see what people are interested in, which is helpful. And it is fun after a while to get a response from readers and get an opportunity to connect with people. So, the virtues of blogging manifested themselves to me over time.

Josh Steimle:

Now, at this point, when you wanted to write your first book, you already had your business, right?

Dorie Clark:

I had started my business in 2006, so yes, actually my, you know, again, like many of your listeners, my goal in writing a book was first of all, just that I thought it would be cool and I wanted to do it, but a close second was that I wanted to find a way to attract more interest and more leads to my business.

Josh Steimle:

Okay. And so what were you, were you doing the same thing in your business then that you're doing today? I mean, I know we tend to pivot a lot as entrepreneurs and our businesses can change over time, but what were you doing at that time? And then what were you thinking about for the topic of the book that you wanted to write that you felt would help your business?

Dorie Clark:

So, when I started my business, I was doing, I guess you could say a variation of what I'm doing now. I was primarily consulting for organizations rather than individuals in the past number of years, since my books have come out and they've been all aimed at individuals, I've started to do more executive coaching and more online courses. But early on, pretty much all my business was consulting to organizations around, many of the things that I talk about now, like marketing and communications. So, I was originally thinking that, I mean, I was a little unfocused with my original vision. I was kind of so desperate to write a book. I was just like, you know, anything that I thought I could write? I'm like, well, I could write that. And that would be good. Of course now retrospectively what I realized is that ideally if you want to be using a book as a calling card to drive people to your business. The book and the business should be relatively aligned. This is not necessarily rocket science, but it was not really on my radar. And so I was pitching books about like different generations in the workforce. I was pitching a book idea about applying communication techniques from politics to business. I mean, these were not like terrible, they were not like crazy off topic, but it was not a straight line to my actual business.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. I went through the same thing with my first book too. I wrote it because I thought I can write this book. I can do it. So, I'll do it and it should be good. And then I wrote it and I thought I could have done a lot better though with that time. So, your first book, then tell us about the first book when you actually got the deal then, because then you got connected with HBR, you got your writing out there, you built your platform. At what point were you able to go and get the book deal that you had been searching for?

Dorie Clark:

So, I actually was able to get the book deal relatively soon after writing for HBR. Although it had been a journey. I had been pitching publishers in the summer of 2009 and, you know, ultimately to no avail to the point where my agent fired me, because she's like, yeah, no, we can't sell this. There's nothing happening. So, I was pretty much back at square one and I was a little depressed about it. So, I was just trying to break in at different places. And so eventually I managed to finagle and introduction at the Huffington Post, which was kind of a cool place to be writing for at the time. And so I started writing for them, but what I realized was they were not known for business, they would publish business things, but that was not their specialty. So, I continued to look for a more business publication that I could write for.
And so eventually, you know, we're now over a year later, eventually I was able to break in at HBR and get this connection through the woman I sold the bike to. And I had done a few articles, literally just a handful of them. And I also kind of had this like near miss where HBR essentially kind of “fired me” because I had written a few pieces for them. And at first they were very enthusiastic and they were like, oh, this is good stuff. Like maybe we can make you a regular columnist. And I'm like, oh, fantastic. But, you know, I submitted more pieces and then they didn't like those. And then they're like, yeah, well with no, probably not. And so I was feeling a little down about it, but it was really a lucky break. One of my earliest pieces, like the second one I had ever done for HBR was this piece about reinventing your personal brand? And it had done, I guess, reasonably well on the blog and had somehow caught the eye of the editor.
And right around Christmas time. I mean, this is always when the opportunities come as like, as, you know, the super least convenient times, someone who had promised them an article for the magazine backed out somehow or, you know, there was some problem either it wasn't good enough or they didn't do it or something. And so they had, you know, essentially a news hole, they had space that they had to fill and they needed to fill it really fast. And so the editor, the main editor was like, oh, hey, wasn't there that story about reinventing your personal brand. Let's get that, let's get that woman to expand it. And so the editor that I had been working with was like feeling really bad because he had basically just fired me.
And so he reached out and he's like, hey again, hi. Would you be interested in actually doing something for us after all? But I was on vacation in Costa Rica, so I wasn't checking my messages because it was Christmas. And so he, I think thought I was offended or like playing hard to get. So, when I finally did check my email, there was like this stream of like increasingly gravelly emails that were in my inbox, which was actually very satisfying. But eventually I did write back to him and say, yes, I will do this. So, I had a week to turn around this article. But I did it and I turned it in and submitted it and then kind of miraculous, they came out a few months later and that week three different literary agents approached me and said, oh, hey, have you thought about turning it into a book? So, it was a very long ride to get there, but then the process got pretty fast once the HBR piece clicked in.

Josh Steimle:

That's a fantastic story. So then that book, what was the process like for that? You got a traditional publishing deal on that, which publisher did you go through for that?

Dorie Clark:

So, I actually ended up selling it to a Harvard Business Review press.

Josh Steimle:

Okay. So, it went through HBR press, and then this was your first book, so what was that experience like and how did it match expectations?

Dorie Clark:

So, the process for the first book was actually really pretty good. HBR, as you might imagine, has good thoughtful editors that I was able to work with. I feel like over time, like all publishers are probably putting a little bit less of a fine tooth comb on things. I think that's just sort of the way of the world over the past decade, but certainly for my first book there were multiple drafts and, you know, very sort of thoughtful comments from the editor. And I appreciated that. And HBR actually has a, I would call it a weird and strenuous kind of stressful process, but, you know, ultimately to the good, which is that because of, you know, they're not an academic press, but because of their sort of academic adjacency, I guess they actually do something that more traditional academic presses do, which is that they actually have a peer review process.
So, in addition to sending it to their own in-house editors, they identify typically for outside readers that, you know, sometimes they'll ask the author to suggest people, but often they send it out to these blind anonymous readers that they think would be reasonably knowledgeable about the topic. And then they get their feedback. And, you know, the goal is to basically make sure that people aren't missing some huge thing and it actually can be quite helpful. Although it does honestly feel weird to have these anonymous people reading your book and, you know, possibly dissing it. But I've now gone through that process three times with them. So, it's not so bad and it actually can be quite helpful at times.

Josh Steimle:

That's interesting. Applying part of the academic peer review process to the book publishing world. That's a little bit different than I think any other publisher does.

Dorie Clark:

I haven't heard of other non-academic publishers doing that.

Josh Steimle:

Quick break here. Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to write a book that will help you grow your business? Visit publishedauthor.com, where we have programs to fit every budget programs that will help you write and publish your book in as little as 90 days starting at just $39 per month, or if you're too busy to write your book, we'll interview you and then write and publish your book for you. Don't let the valuable knowledge and experience you have go to waste, head on over to publishedauthor.com to get the help you need to become a published author. You've already waited long enough, do it today. Now back to the show. Yeah. So, that first book came out, and then what was the reception like? What was the reaction from the general public from your audience like to that book?

Dorie Clark:

The response was actually really, really good. I think the biggest change for me, I was not, you know, like every first time author, I had no idea what to expect. I tried to have conversations so I could like grasp it, but you don't even know what to ask. So, I just felt constantly pummeled by my first book, because there were just things that came up where people needed things or whatever. And I was like, you know, why didn't I know about this? And so, you know, you'd be staying up all night to get the blah-blah-blah together. But the biggest and most helpful change, I think actually was that I feel like having the book this, you know, reasonably well received commercially published book opened up the speaking business for me, which was not something that I had been able to do before.
I had spoken a lot, but probably like a lot of your audience, I had spoken for free as lead gen. And that's great. And certainly did get the right leads from it. It can be quite lucrative, but I never actually been paid upfront to speak as kind of a thought leader. But when you write a book, all of a sudden you are considered knowledgeable in some unique way. And so I was able to actually start getting money to speak and I didn't have to be begging so much, people would actually invite me to things. So, that was cool. And I didn't necessarily anticipate that that would happen.

Josh Steimle:

That is nice. Isn't it? You think, gee, I would do this for free, but if you're going to pay me then great, I'll do it.

Dorie Clark:

Absolutely.

Josh Steimle:

So, with each book that's come out, how has that helped your business to grow? How has that generated leads or led topper to other opportunities outside of speaking for you?

Dorie Clark:

So, one of my goals, which, you know, I don't, this was probably in retrospect not necessary, but I was very paranoid that the publishing industry was going to collapse and that it was going to collapse imminently. And so because of that, I thought, you know what? It is going to be really hard to reach people when there's no publishing industry. Like, you know, the fragmentation we have now is going to get even worse. So, I'm like, let me get an under the wire and publish a bunch of books so that I can just kind of zip under the door before the door closes. So, I made it an explicit goal for myself that I would publish three books in five years so that I could get a kind of critical mass of intellectual property out into the world. So, that was the goal. You know, I think that was fine. I think it was probably not necessary. I don't think the publishing industry is actually going to collapse now.
But what I am doing differently for this book incidentally, is rather than the idea of creating a huge amount of content very quickly with these three books in five years, I am actually making a plan now, making a commitment that this one book, The Long Game, I am going to be promoting this for five years. This is going to be the key cornerstone of the intellectual property that I'm putting out and the message that I'm putting out for the next five years to really drive it. Because I think I probably abandoned the marketing of the previous books too soon. So, that's a change. But overall, Josh, to answer your question in terms of how it's benefited my business, I think certainly with each book, I mean, there's no rule about this or whatever, but I personally felt more entitled at least to raise my speaking fees.
You know, I'm like, well, I've written two books, not one book. So, I'm going to create, you know, raise the rates another five grand or whatever. And so I would use that as kind of a, you know, forcing function when I was releasing something new to think about my rates for coaching or for speaking or whatever, and adjust them upward. So, that was good. And certainly it has been helpful because having these additional books, it gives you a lot of content that you can draw from. I feel like there's a million modules in my head now, so I'm able to make connections pretty smoothly and nimbly, and whether it comes to being able to pitch someone or close a deal, or kind of give an impromptu remarks or speak on a podcast or a panel, or what have you. There's a lot of information that I have to draw from that just makes all of the pieces a little easier.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. Now with this last book, what did you feel like was missing from the first three books that you really wanted to cover in your new book? The Long Game that's coming out?

Dorie Clark:

So, The Long Game for me, the first three books that I wrote, which was Reinventing You, Stand Out and Entrepreneurial You. I kind of refer to them as a trilogy in some ways, because it's charting. I mean, frankly, it's sort of charting the questions that I wanted answered to figure all this out. I mean, first it's like how do you Reinvent Yourself into the career that you want, Stand Out is about how do you then get well-known and get respected in the field that you're in, and then Entrepreneurial You is how do you monetize that and how do you become economically successful? So, those are all really important questions, but I feel like in some ways it forms a bit of a complete hole. I think that for the new book, The Long Game, I was looking at a different question, which is one, certainly at various times in my life and in my business I've experienced, but mostly I began to see it, I've run an online course and community called Recognized Expert. And I've worked with, you know, 600 plus people. So I've seen a lot of examples of how people progress in terms of trying to get their ideas out there and trying to get their ideas heard.
And I just really wanted to dive into this question of, well, how long does it take? Like, what does patience mean? What does the process actually look like in order to become “successful”? You know, whatever. Whatever that means exactly. But, you know, to become prominent, to grow your platform, to have your ideas for it, to become the recognized expert you want to be. I think that a lot of that process is kind of cloaked in mystery sometimes because it actually is constantly changing and confusing. And sometimes because people want to hoard that information and they get a little selfish or grabby and all of that just annoys me. I wanted to make as much of it transparent as possible. And so I wanted to write a book about what it actually looks like and what it really takes for people to achieve the kind of success that they want.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. I love this. I remember years ago I read a blog post from Neil Patel and somebody had asked him, how long does it take to become a thought leader? And he said two years. And at the time I remember thinking, oh, two years, I don't have two years. Like I can't wait that long. And I started down my own thought leadership personal branding journey back in 2013. That's when I started writing for Forbes. And now here we are in 2021, I feel like I'm just starting to figure out who I really want to be. And I'm kind of getting a sense of, okay, this is what I really want to focus on. So now I'm coming up on 10 years here in a year or two. And I think by 10 years, I may have figured out like where to start. And so it really is this long game. It really does take some patience because very few of us know what to even focus on or what to do out of the gate. And then you have to still do all the work after that.

Dorie Clark:

Totally. And aren't you glad you started in 2013 and not like, you know, now?

Josh Steimle:

Yeah.

Dorie Clark:

I mean, because we need all of that time. It's, you know, it's like that sort of famous proverb that the best time to plant the tree is 20 years ago, but the next best time is today. It's like, we need to start because the time is going to pass anyway. And, you know, to your point, something that I mentioned in The Long Game, I mean, I'm going to agree and disagree with Neil Patel. What I've found is that two to three years is a useful benchmark. But to me, that's the benchmark where you're actually only just starting to see signs of progress. It's like, literally you do something for like two years and like nothing happens.
And then finally two or three years in it's like, oh, I guess maybe a thing is starting to happen, but, you know, in no way shape or form, or you're like, oh yeah, I've made it as a thought leader. You're like, no, I guess I'm seeing a sign because like Adam Grant retweeted my thing, or like, whatever, whatever it is, but it's like, oh, it's progress. And then actually it takes a few more years after that. I would ballpark it at around year five that you would start to see what I will call meaningful or demonstrable progress in your quest that you've created a little bit of a moat for yourself. But, you know, the thing is most people are not willing to do that work. So, if you are, it's going to happen anyway, and you really can put a distance between yourself and other people.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, exactly. So, what are some of the things, if you could go back to when you were starting to build your platform, starting to build your personal brand, what are some of the things you wish you would have started with? I know for me, I wish I would have started an email list earlier because I started blogging in 2001, but I didn't connect an email list to my blog until 2015 or something. And I'm always thinking, ah, I could have had like a 100,000 emails on my list if I had just put that on my blog earlier. But what are some of the things that you recommend for the people you work with in terms of personal branding, building that platform to do it now, rather than later?

Dorie Clark:

Josh I'm with you. I think literally everyone's answer is the email list because the email list is just the most valuable thing you can have, like bar none. And so I think there's a lot of people, even clients of mine, they're very resistant. Like, it feels complicated like, oh, but you know, they get (inaudible), but I don't know if I should be on Mailchimp or what's this ConvertKit. It's like, they get so caught up in the mechanics that they get paralyzed and it's like, it doesn't even matter just like do something it's really important and it's better to do something than nothing. So, yes, I think email list all the way. I also did not really start at all on list building until say 2015, I guess that was the universal time when the world woke up. But beyond that, the other thing which I started to do about a year ago and I did this because I noticed a colleague doing it and I was like, oh, that's brilliant. Why did I, why did I not? You know, why did I miss this until now? I had been so focused on the email list, which, you know, again, if you have to be focused on one thing, that's the thing to be focused on.
But I had been sort of ignoring or failing to connect the dots with other social platforms because I basically was like, okay, once I get them on my email list, then that's all I need to do. But what I realized is that actually people who are on your email list, they might also be interested in following you on other channels. And so the innovation that I stole from my friend, Bob Glazer, is that in my email auto-responder sequence, I now periodically not every message because I don't want people to get numb to it, but I will periodically put a PS in there and have links so that people can connect with me on different channels like LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or YouTube, etcetera. Because you know, if they're on your email list, presumably they like your stuff and they may have a favorite channel where they also want to follow you. And so having that has enabled me to grow my social following additionally, even though the priority remains on growing the email list.

Josh Steimle:

Got you. Yeah. You hear Gary Vaynerchuk and a bunch of people talk about, oh, you got to build the email list because you never know when one of these other platforms will go away or be yanked from you or something, but while it's there in living, you might as well cross-pollinate these things because it's not like people are going to leave your email list to follow you on LinkedIn. They're going to stay on the email list and follow you on LinkedIn. So, you might as well harvest that, right?

Dorie Clark:

Yeah, absolutely. It just gives more touch points. It gives them more opportunity to kind of get enmeshed in your world and also more potential for sharing because you know, well, it's true that sometimes people might forward an email it's actually, you know, kind of more common, I think for people to think about sharing things on social media, that if they see something cool on LinkedIn, they're like, oh, I might just click the share button, you know, or something like that. And it's just sort of automatic and incentivized.

Josh Steimle:

So now with your newest book coming out and these other books behind you, what are some of the lessons you've learned from one book to another? That again, if we could go back in time, if you could go back in time to writing your first book, what are some of the things that you are doing on this latest book that you wish you would have done on the first book?

Dorie Clark:

Well, when it comes to the writing of the books, I've actually changed it very little. It's all the truth. My process has remained relatively static in terms of just interviewing people, assimilating that and writing the book. I think that largely that was set for me because I got my start. I'll be it, you know, ultimately an ill-fated one. But I got my start at for about a year working as a journalist. So, I learned how to do larger stories. Then the big part that has changed quite a lot is my marketing of the book, which for the first book, I honestly had no idea. I really tried and yet I spectacularly failed to understand how one marketed a book. So, also to be fair, I mean, certain technologies were not a thing then, like I know I did some webinars for my first book, but it was 2013. I mean, like people weren't even on camera, then everybody was like, oh, but nobody has the bandwidth, you know? So, it was very different podcast. I mean, again, I know I did a handful of podcasts in 2013, but not very many. That was not a big thing. By 2015, it had become a big thing. And I ended up doing 200 or I ended up doing 160 podcast interviews for the release of my book Stand Out.

Josh Steimle:

Wow. That is a lot of speaking.

Dorie Clark:

It was a lot. I did up to six in a day, which one thing that I learned was that that was a mistake. So, This Go Round (ph), I have told my assistant, even though it sort of stretches things out that I am to do no more than three podcasts in a day, because on those days when I was doing six, I not infrequently would have sort of pause in the middle and have this like terrible kind of quasi Alzheimer's moment where I was like, did I just tell that story on the same podcast? Like, was it? Did I tell it twice on the same one? That would be bad. And I just couldn't remember. So, I realized three, I can keep separate in my mind six. I definitely cannot. So, that's one change.
There's other things that I have gotten much more organized about, like for instance, creating a launch team for my book This Go Round, partly of course it's easier because my list is larger. So, there's, you know, more people to work with, but I've systematized it a lot better. Like I actually, you know, I had a thing, you know, the way that I set it up, I was rather proud of myself, Josh. I had a thing, I sent out an email, like, hey, do you want to join the launch team? If so, click this email so that they would click it and then they'd be tagged and it would set them up for an auto-responder sequence and the auto-responder sequence would give them the information about, you know, so what we ask people to do is to pre-order a copy so that hopefully everyone in the launch team would at least have bought one. And then we would give them access to an early copy so they could read it and be prepared. And then it would give them instructions about where and how to post, you know, their honest reviews. So, all of that was just sort of coming out, you know, systematically set it up once reaching everybody. So, you know, it will go smoothly on actual launch day because for Amazon, you are not able to post the reviews until the official launch, but we're getting people teed up for all that.

Josh Steimle:

Oh, perfect. So, what has been, what do you think is the most valuable? What do you think will be the most valuable for this book The Long Game? Is it the launch team? Is it doing the podcast interviews? Is it PR? Is it other things? Where do you expect to get the biggest bang for your buck?

Dorie Clark:

Well, I would say it's a lot of, you know, sort of both ends, right? So podcasts it's funny, like you talked to some like super famous authors and they're like, oh, you know, don't bother with the small podcasts, you know. And it's like small as like anything smaller than Tim Ferriss. Like, okay, well, I'm happy for you, but that’s, you know, in my case I do a lot of podcasts and I think actually it depends on your business model, right? Because, and it also depends what you're comparing things to because in the old days, what people often would do is they would do a book tour, right. If you're in a bookstore, Josh, 50 people in a bookstore is a lot of people. And, you know, you're probably, you're not going to sell a book to everyone, maybe you sell 30 copies or something like that. You know, that's a great hall.
Even like the world's smallest podcast is for sure going to have more than 50 people who listened to it and it's up forever, you know, it's incredible long tail. So, as long as the podcast is reaching people in your target demographic, I don't see a reason not to do it because you are building relationships that are perhaps going to buy the book, but also you know, especially this is probably relevant for your audience, they might buy the other things that you sell. And so if you have a backend, it can be extremely valuable for you to be exposed to those folks. So, even if, you know, it's “meager” numbers for the podcast if it is squarely in your demographic, I think it actually is a worthwhile investment of your time.
Something that that is another change is I have really pursued a bulk order strategy for The Long Game. Entrepreneurial You, given that the book was kind of about entrepreneurial things, it was not the best fit for corporate purchases. And so I just didn't bother because I'm like, yeah, that's, you know, they're not going to go for that. But The Long Game is I think hopefully interesting and relevant to both entrepreneurs and people working inside of corporations. And so I've made much more of an effort to try to reach out to companies and get them to pre-order it. So, that's been a push that I've been pursuing. And yeah, I would say that ultimately, so, you know, a lot of podcasts pre-orders launch team.
Another thing that has been taking time for me is writing articles and doing excerpts and things like that. I mean, ultimately all you're looking for is how can you give people who don't already know you a way to discover you? And so it's great to do your own thing. Of course, if you have your own podcast or your own column or whatever, but, you know, and you want to mobilize those people, because they're already your fans, but the real juice is going to come from getting more new fans. So, I have been spending for months, you know, all my weekends, trying to write articles for different places in different venues about the book. So, that hopefully it's a line in to grow my audience.

Josh Steimle:

Now you mentioned developing this backend for your book. Now you've got speaking engagements, you've got consulting that you do, but you also have some courses, right?

Dorie Clark:

Yeah, that's right. And in many ways the sort of, you know, it is a logical connection because in The Long Game, I actually profile a huge number of people who are part of my recognized expert community. That's the online course that I run. It's great. It's great for me, because, you know, over the past five years, I've really gotten to spend a lot of time and get to know these people pretty well. And as a result, I have become very familiar with their stories, there are people from around the world, which has made my book much more global than I think any of my previous books as well. And it's created a sort of reservoir of really interesting stories to illustrate some of the key points that I make. So, yeah, it's certainly my hope that people who read the book and, you know, they feel that they resonate with some of the lessons in it. Hopefully, they might be prompted to check out, you know, some of the different things, whether it's private coaching or speaking, if you know, again, they're part of an association or corporation or some of the online courses that I offer.

Josh Steimle:

Now, what is The Long Game for you? Where do you want to take your business and these books in the long run, what are you looking to five, 10 years down the road? What are you building here?

Dorie Clark:

I would say there's a few goals. So, one of them, which, you know, I'm kind of operating on the semi near term, but, you know, this is sort of a long game thing too. I came up with a goal a while ago that I wanted to get at least half of my income from passive revenue sources. And so I've been steadily working toward that. And so now I, in fact, I do get more than half of my income from online courses or things like that, which is great. And the good news, I didn't, I did not realize this as I was optimizing for it, but that really helps in a pandemic. I was not preparing for a pandemic, but it was helpful in a pandemic. I was mostly thinking about ways that I could, you know, just hopefully achieve a better work-life balance in the future. But that's one piece of it.
I would say the overarching professional goal for me is that within the next 10 years, I'd like to try to, you know, build up the work that I do and the impact that I have such that I am viewed as, you know, one of the let's call it handful of top business thinkers in the world. I think I've been doing a decent job and I would like to amp it up even more. And then I also have been operating on a 10-year goal, which I created in 2016. So, I'm now halfway through this 10-year goal of and this is kind of my 20% time. This is a concept that I talk about in The Long Game about, you know, what's your sort of side play as it were. And so I had this 10-year goal to try to write a musical that would get on Broadway. And so I am working towards that. So, I have in fact written a musical, I have, you know, gone through a very prestigious musical theater training program, and I'm working to get this show on Broadway for 2026.

Josh Steimle:

That's the first time somebody’s brought that type of thing up as a side hustle. That's interesting. What's the play about?

Dorie Clark:

It is a sexy lesbian spy-thriller Josh.

Josh Steimle:

That’s different too.

Dorie Clark:

A future of theater.

Josh Steimle:

Interesting. Well, this has been so great to chat with you today Dorie. Where's the best place for people to reach out and talk to you if they want to connect, if they want to follow you?

Dorie Clark:

Thank you, my man, I appreciate it. The best place to reach me is through my website. It's dorieclark.com, and I also have a free long game strategic thinking self-assessments. So, if folks are interested in downloading that for free, they can get it at dorieclark.com/thelonggame.

Josh Steimle:

Awesome. Thank you so much for being here with us today Dorie, sharing all these tips from your books and from your experience and everything. It's been great, and this is a perfect fit for our audience. So, thank you so much for coming on. Especially since we know that you're doing so many podcasts, we are privileged to that you chose ours to be on today. Thank you so much.

Dorie Clark:

I was thrilled to get to be on yours, Josh, and to speak with you. So, thank you so much.

Josh Steimle:

All right. Have a good one. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe. And if you want to spread the word, please give us a five-star rating review and tell your friends to subscribe too. We're available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. And if you're an entrepreneur interested in writing and publishing a non-fiction book to grow your business and make an impact, visit publishedauthor.com for show notes for this podcast and other free resources.

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