I was fortunate to meet Gary Vaynerchuk at the start of his non fiction book writing career. He came and spoke in Tampa to a room “full” of about 40 people because we had a visionary business group leader who agreed to buy a certain number of Gary’s first book, Crush It (thanks Chris Krimitsos!)
None of us really knew about Gary at that time so we were just going on Chris’s word that Gary was going to be cool (he was). Onto today when he is a multi-millionaire and world class speaker…why so little love for the Vee man?
Why I Don’t Think There Is Anything Special About Gary Vee
So, if you look at the public version of events, Gary “scored a major book deal” in 2009 after he was seen on Conan O’Brien in August of 2007, promoting his new book, 101 Wines Guaranteed To Inspire, Delight and Bring Thunder To Your World. Shortly thereafter, Sept 2007, he was on Ellen, making her taste funny things and generally being delightful and charming.
These appearances lead to a March 2009, 10 book deal with HarperStudio Publishing (so far he has written Crush It, The Thank You Economy and Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook). One has to imagine that it was at least a seven figure book deal and that Gary has done all right for himself as he is now getting five figures (or more) to do keynotes plus has launched a a major marketing firm that works with corporations to increase their social media visibility.
So one of the first clues about why Gary isn’t special is that his first book, The 101 Wines thing, was published in 2008 by Rodale Inc. who seems to have some decent name authors like Al Gore and his Inconvenient Truth, but honestly, they aren’t a HarperStudio, Big 5 publishing house.
All of this is nice and all, but WTF? Why did Gary get so “lucky” to score a spot on Conan? Probably he was just sitting in his wine store, wondering how to make more money…or not! What Gary had done was start a weekly wine show in February of 2006. EVERY DAY he would talk about wine, spit into a Jets bucket and discuss whether the bottle in question tasted like heaven or stinky sweat socks. The funny thing about Gary is that he probably tasted stinky sweat socks so he could be accurate!
So let’s think about this, a wine library show a day, let’s assume he took Saturday and Sunday off, from Feb 2006 to August 2007…that is about THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY wine shows. I believe him when he says that at the start no one was watching. Why would anyone watch an internet “show” about wine in 2006. The big YouTube revolution had not taken off yet and for God’s sake, he was publishing them on Vimeo instead of on YouTube anyways. But he just kept doing them and adding people who became addicted to hearing about wine (Vaynerites) and who spread the word about the crazy guy tasting wine and making it understandable to the common man.
Next clue, he had a video camera and a store full of wine at his disposal (oh and a spit bucket). He did not have amazing intros and outros, fancy sounds or anything else. Just a guy in front of a camera telling about what he knew.
But let’s look at why he was tapped to write 10 non fiction business books. Before he was TV or Internet famous, he took his father’s discount liquor store and turned it into a wine library and increased profits to the tunes of MILLIONS annually.
Final clue, if Gary hadn’t been a businessman first, wine weirdo second and hadn’t leveraged all that knowledge when his big break came, he wouldn’t have gotten the big book deal or be writing amazing non fiction marketing books today!
We Don’t Have To Be Special Either
If you have been on the site at all, you know that we are writing a non fiction business book a week for a year to sell on the Kindle format of Amazon. While we know that is one BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal), it definitely doable, it just means that some other things have to go. We had planned on doing a local networking event twice a month before we knew about our book goal…unfortunately that doesn’t fit in to the plan anymore so we are stopping it.
As of this week, our assistant knows that Mondays are for writing only so Tara can get the rough draft done and over to Rebekah for additional content and proofing by Tuesday. If an opportunity comes up that needs a Monday appointment, it is going to have to be missed, at least this year.
We have had some haters who say that we are just putting out crap books weekly instead of taking the time to write “real” books. What they are not considering is that we have “cleared the decks” and made this our ONLY goal this year so many of our work cycles are being taken up with book writing, editing and promoting. It takes well over 20 hours each to produce one of our Ebooks that sells for under three bucks.
The other clue to our success is that we have over 30 years of combined experience doing marketing. Screw Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, we have decades of doing nothing but marketing morning, noon and night. Before we started officially writing together, we met weekly for over a year to talk about marketing for hours at a time.
We have also worked out good systems for who does what, understanding that Tara is a great first draft writer and a great blogger, but she is never going to write polished, spell checked copy worthy of a book. Rebekah’s skills are better served editing, filling in the blanks and promoting the hell out of our stuff.
Additionally, we are super excited to figure out new marketing concepts and understand how to sell more Ebooks and make more money (but it is really a by-product of the process). At the end of the day, all we want is to stake a place in the Kindle marketplace now, while there are still bookstores, so that when there are no bookstores and everything is bought online, we have a backlist of books ready to go.
Thus far, no one has noticed. We have published 6 books, have the 7th written and ready to post and have an outline for the 8th. Writing these books is time consuming but not hard. We are talking about marketing concepts that we have taught and written about for years so putting them down in book format according to an outline just requires brainstorming outlines on Tuesdays and time in a chair typing the following Monday.
Why You Don’t Have To Be Special Either
So Gary did a wine show a day 1,000 times and we are writing 52 books in one year. The reason you don’t have to be special is simply that most of success is 1) showing up and 2) doing something worth other people noticing.
Someday someone will buy one of our books who matters. They will be influential and share the great Ebook they read with their audience and will launch us onto the map (if you want to help promote our favorite book tweet this)…
- OR we will accumulate enough books that the Amazon algorithms will start kicking in and we sell more books
- OR we will get a marketing channel set up that will make serious business people who want to know about marketing flock to our books
- OR something else amazing will happen that we can’t even conceive of right now
What will make NOTHING happen is if we die with all our marketing books inside our heads or give up because people say mean things. People will always say mean things and all that success requires is that you DO something.
What is a goal that you can set for yourself as the top priority? Think in terms of a month, or a quarter or a year. Set it in stone and don’t let anything else sway you from achieving it. Don’t stop just because it is hard or no one notices.
If you are setting a goal and want to make it “real”, please leave a comment below then swing back around when it is done and let us know!!!
The M&M Monsters
(Tara Jacobsen and Rebekah Welch)