156: Avoid the Ravenous Monster of the Bestseller Game: Interview with Elizabeth Marshall

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that traditional publishing and hitting the bestseller lists is a game. You don’t write a bestseller so much as you launch one. And yet, for those who want their work to endure, the question hangs in the air: is the game worth playing?

156: Avoid the Ravenous Monster of the Bestseller Game: Interview with Elizabeth Marshall

As a writer and five-time author, I’d be lying if I told you that hitting the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller lists meant nothing to me. Honestly, it feels good.

But you know what?

The two books that hit the list were released very differently.

With the latest title, Real Artists Don’t Starve, I was mostly hands off during launch week while the first book, The Art of Work, I was relentless in knocking on as many doors as possible to ensure it’s success.

Two different books. Two different launches. Two opposite stress levels.

Same result.

This week on The Portfolio Life, author and platform consultant, Elizabeth Marshall, and I talk about key differences between an expert and a thought leader, paths to mastery, and avoiding the allure of bestseller lists in exchange for an enduring message.

Listen in as we discuss the stages of a thought leader, why your message doesn’t always translate across all mediums, and how opportunities lead to more opportunities.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Elizabeth and I discuss:

  • Exploring what it is you’re uniquely called to share
  • Why knowing the “bookshelf” your work belongs on provides necessary clarity
  • Challenges of translating workshop principles to book form
  • Developing habits of consistency and ubiquity
  • The value of creating a content strategy
  • 10 different elements of a platform
  • Knowing when to say “no” to enticing offers that don’t align with your purpose and vision
  • What it takes to become a recognized leader in certain industries
  • Keeping the message relevant and maintaining fresh connections across your platform
  • Reaching the stage of unconscious competence
  • The “charge neutral” nature of marketing tools and best practices
  • Why chasing a badge of success is an insatiable monster

Quotes and takeaways

  • Finding your purpose is more of a path than a plan.
  • “Becoming a thought leader is not for the faint of heart.” –Elizabeth Marshall
  • You have some control over whether your not your ideas and message endure.
  • “There is no cookie cutter blueprint that guarantees you’ll be recognized as a thought leader in your industry.” –Elizabeth Marshall
  • If you don’t know what stage you’re at, you can misapply strategies or try things that you and your audience aren’t ready for.
  • “Messages have a path of their own. If we’re not listening and open, we might miss some of the greatest trajectories it might take us towards.” –Elizabeth Marshall
  • If you feel like your message is for everyone, you need to spend more time incubating it.
  • Be grateful for the opportunities you’re given. No matter how small.
  • Be present in the moment and make the most of it.
  • The best relationships are not based on transactions.
  • Becoming a New York Times bestseller doesn’t happen by accident.

Remaining in service to a greater calling keeps a rampant ego in check.

Jeff Goins

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Click here to download a free PDF of the complete interview transcript.

Do you consider yourself a thought leader? What stage are you at? Share in the comments