159: “Using a Contest to Promote Your Book and Skyrocket Your Sales” with Kevin Rizer

Behind the Scenes of a $20K Dream Home Office Makeover

“Get them excited about what you’re doing. Lead with the value you want to provide to them.” – Kevin Rizer

As authors, we try to figure out what our readers need and want. How will our book help them? What can we do to serve?

For Kevin Rizer, he was already comfortably working from home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit — but quickly realized it was harder on some of his peers who found it new and scary. And so, the book he wrote, “Always Wear Pants: And 99 Other Tips for Surviving and Thriving While You Work From Home,” is specifically for them.

Through practical advice, he shows us that whether you’re working remotely because of the pandemic, or have been all along, you can be successful — while actually enjoying working from home.

On this week’s episode of “Authors Who Lead,” Kevin joins me for a conversation about adapting to a new workspace, finding work-life balance and how anyone can snare media attention for their book launch by hosting an amazing giveaway.

The Secret Behind Working From Home

When we first begin working from home — either by choice or due to pandemic restructuring — it can feel like winning the lottery. We can wear whatever we want, we have autonomy to get our work done, and we only have that “10 step commute,” as Kevin puts it.

But most of us don’t consider what that really means. Ergonomic chair and desk setups are not at the top of our minds, and neither is work-life balance or work culture. Not at first, anyway.

The pandemic found many people working at kitchen tables, on couches, and in the corners of their bedrooms. We are adaptable as human beings and can make do with what we have. But, in the long run, working successfully from home means you need a dedicated workspace. 

Even if you don’t have a home office or an extra bedroom, Kevin suggests that you find a quiet space that is separate from day-to-day life — and once you do, there are ways to make it both comfortable and productive.

Because Mandela Tree Press published Kevin’s book, I had the opportunity to read it early and have already implemented many of his ideas and practical tips for my own home office, and find myself feeling more like the professional I am because of them.

How to Reclaim Your Work-Life Balance

Work is about more than emails and Zoom meetings. It informs who we are and how we feel about ourselves. And the environment we create and the mindset we have both affect our productivity. 

One of the downsides of working from home is that there are no clear lines of when our work stops. This is where the dream of working from home can become a nightmare. Work-life balance can get blurry and some people find that they actually work more hours and enjoy less free time even though they’re at home.

Drawing that line when you work from home can be a challenge and, in his book, Kevin provides many suggestions on reclaiming work-life balance. Equally important to finding ways to be more productive at home is seeing what we do with the time we free up.

Build Your Own Work Culture

At a traditional job, we see our co-workers every day, we celebrate birthdays together, and there’s a sense of community and connection. This is work culture — and it’s entirely absent when working from home.

When we work by ourselves, day after day, even the most introverted miss that human connection — and there are ways to foster it, even from afar. Remote work can have Casual Fridays happy hours. Try delivering your colleagues’ lunch during a Zoom work session to boost morale. We don’t need to sacrifice community and connection just because we’re working from home.

Focusing on Equity and Intentional Support

I asked Kevin what he thinks the world will look like once businesses and companies start opening up and bringing employees back on site. He imagines companies will utilize hot desks and shared spaces more, as well as hybrid offices.

For the workers that remain remote, Kevin says that businesses need to do a better job at supporting them. This means more than ergonomic desks. It’s also a sense of humanity and connection with them, and not expecting them to work constantly just because they’re at home.

Equity is also a key issue for Kevin, in that management needs to be more aware that everyone doesn’t have the technology or internet service that’s available in the United States. In order to make remote work more equitable, companies should make access to tech a priority for their workers.

Going Behind the Scenes of a $20K Giveaway

A $20K dream home office makeover giveaway was a creative and exciting way for Kevin to draw attention to his new book by giving value to his readers — more than a PDF or sample chapter could have done.

When Kevin had a podcast in the e-commerce space, he learned that companies are hungry for your target demographic. When you create something of value that is specifically targeted at a group of people, there are always companies willing to partner with you to get exposure for their own products.

This collaboration is a win-win-win scenario — benefitting the reader, the author and the company donating the goods. To get started:

  1. Poll the audience. Ask people what kind of giveaway items, related to your book topic, would excite them. People love winning free stuff.
  2. Think about all the creative products or services you could include in the giveaway.
  3. Research and make a list of companies that offer those products or services.
  4. Reach out to them! Explain the giveaway and what’s in it for them.

And as you market your book, keep in mind my three biggest takeaways from my discussion with Kevin:

  1. In marketing, it is important to find a win for the reader, the promoter and the author.
  2. Make it newsworthy. Your giveaway should be exciting enough to share.
  1. Even if you’ve started with a great book idea, you need to build your marketing around it with your assets in mind.

What was your biggest takeaway from the episode? What kind of creative marketing or giveaway ideas can you come up with for your book? Share in the comments below!

That’s all for this week. The best time to start thinking about marketing is before you’ve finished writing your book. So if you already have, start today!

Episode Resources:

Website:  https://alwayswearpants.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-rizer-95537829

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alwayswearpants

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/alwayswearpants

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