Here's a strategy for reaching and engaging top author influencers that I've used to some degree in the past. But my friend, Greg Pesci, has made it into a veritable art form. I've known Pesci throughout his corporate career, which he left in 2015 to create a freelance platform, Spera.io. As part of that effort he developed a Freedom Economy Report that he has succeeded in getting a surprising number of influencers to share on his behalf.

So I asked his secrets for getting some of the world's most renowned influencers to share his projects with their followers. You could do this as well.

Book Release Bargaining: A new take on the oldest trick in the "book"

As the founder of a scrappy startup, instead of going directly to the world's great minds such as Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferris and Neil Patel, Pesci has perfected an approach that's allowed him to engage with a surprising number of "greats."

He calls it Book Release Bargaining: First, do some research and reading to discover which are most aligned with the audience you want to address. How to read so many books? Here are some ideas:

  • Josh Steimle, influencer and author, reads a new book every week.
  • "Zentrepreneur" executive and life coach Randy Scott subscribes to the "five hour rule" espoused by Oprah Winfrey and others in which you dedicate five hours each week to study a desired new topic or learn a new skill.
  • Best-selling author Garrett Gunderson engaged three like-minded friends to select books and join him once a month for an hour-long phone call. They share what they've learned with each other in a 15-minute report.

Next, distill your list to the set of 20-25 influencers you admire most. Follow these leaders and engage them with comments and tweets.

Finally, note the leaders who are about to publish a book. For the level of leaders you're seeking, it's a sure thing that at least a few will have a book in the works. Find out the date of release and search online to see how the author is advancing the book.

The desire that unites every author

There is a universal truth among authors. Every writer, no matter how mighty, is hoping their book will sell well. In order to gain early momentum, they need a spike in sales during the early release. This is where you can help.

  1. When you've identified the author, reach out. Find an email address or a contact form. Contact someone on their team and search online to see who's leading the sales. Most of all, find any site they may be using to promote the book. If there is one, it will list the ways to buy books.
  2. Decide how many copies you are willing to buy and what you would like in exchange. Typically the site will list a number of books and a corresponding reward. Make the selection that seems best (such as 10 or 20 or 50). In doing this, be sure you are choosing a book and theme that is genuinely applicable to your own purpose. Do not make it a gratuitous act.
  3. Now you bargain. As you consider your plan, don't be afraid to ask for what you would like in exchange. This is your chance to barter politely. An author Pesci loves, for example, was offering wine in return for a bulk purchase of books. But Pesci doesn't drink, so he sent an email to see if he could select something else. The author responded with the Golden Question: "What else would you like?" Pesci made a request (and in making a request, of course you would select service or mindshare over material goods).

Perhaps the author would be willing to read an eBook or report you are writing and if he likes it, would mention it in a future blog post or Tweet. Or perhaps he'd be willing to do a short video podcast with you. (Yes, this has happened.)

In one notable case, a local influencer used this strategy to get a highly-known author to give a speech in Salt Lake City in exchange for the guaranteed sale of 1,000 of his books.The event sold out immediately for an amount that far exceeded the cost of the books.

In Pesci's case, the author granted his request and Pesci has now assisted him with two additional books. Over the last several years Pesci has received the following from Book Release Bargaining:

  • Free consulting calls
  • A myriad of introductions from the author to people who have helped his business
  • One-on-one meetings
  • A video from the author to Pesci's customer base
  • Inclusion for his company in the author's online book
  • Several ongoing and enjoyable influencer relationships

The ROI Pesci achieves for the books he's purchased is gratifying, he says. Furthermore, the books have been welcome gifts to share with customers and others in his professional realm.

Pesci stumbled upon his bargaining strategy by accident. I suspect the reason it has served him so well is that his interest is genuine, even though he's refined the approach into an actual system.

"Don't be afraid to try," he says. "Even famous people need help, and most are sincerely grateful."

It's a marketing win-win.