Three years ago, Seth Godin published his book Linchpin. Since I follow Seth’s books and blog as a personal and professional challenge, I read it and was inspired by it’s concepts.
In it, Godin speaks about some of the new realities in business relationships. There used to be management and those who were managed. But now, he says, there is a third group…linchpins. These are people who make unique contributions to an organization, solve problems and make the organization better.
To be clear, a linchpin is not someone who knows all the computer passwords and won’t tell anyone else, or the only one who knows where to find the key to the petty cash drawer. In fact, a person who bases their “indispensability” on a lot of little things is actually just the opposite…even potentially dangerous.
If you are already published or want to be published, you should think about what sort of relationship you want to have with the publisher.
How would you become a “linchpin author” who inspires the best work from a publisher? Other than the obvious of writing a bestseller and making them and you a lot of money, here are some ideas:
- Know something about the publisher. Read about their history and know who is important and what motivates them. If you were interviewing for a job, you would learn something about the company, right?
- Follow through on commitments. Hit deadlines. If you can’t, tell the publisher well in advance. Communicate even if the publisher doesn’t.
- Make relationship deposits. At some point you will need to make withdrawals and there needs to be something in the account.
- Minister to the publisher. If you are a marriage counselor, offer a free marriage seminar to the publisher staff. If you consult ministries, offer it. Look for a unique thing you can freely give from yourself without strings attached.
- Be cost-conscious. Publishers are, you should be too. Let the publisher decide to spend $300 on dinner.
- Contact the head of sales and marketing and ask if there anything you can do to help. And mean it.
- Find a book from the publisher that you really like (not one of yours) and promote it with no strings attached. You are a team player.
- Pray for your publisher without telling them.
If you haven’t been published yet, it is never too early to devise a relationship strategy that makes you a linchpin author. You spend time developing your marketing platform…would make sense to find ways to keep a publisher working hard for you.
Finally, in the end, your book needs to sell well in order for a publisher to continue working with you. But publishers make decisions based on money along with relationship. If sales are borderline, the relationship might be the deciding factor.
What ideas do you have to make yourself a linchpin author?