Thursday, March 20, 2014

Interview With Master Networker Susan RoAne

Learn networking secrets from a best-selling author

I have known Susan RoAne since working at my first job in publishing a quarter-century ago. She was one of the first authors that I promoted to the news media – and one of the .best ones I have ever worked with. She has a promotable topic, promotable credentials, and a promotable attitude. We can all learn from her. I reconnected recently with her and interviewed her here:

1.      Susan, as a best-selling author, what advice do you have for today's author? Marshall your forces….and your network. You are in for an extended "ride"! Do your "due diligence".  You don't need formalized focus groups; just ask questions, listen, pay attention to what people say they need/want, are their issues, want solutions. In summation, write books that people want to read, not that YOU Want them to read.  Do the research…beyond "googling".  Read a variety of sources and make sure you know what the market and the research are saying. Go to a bookstore and a library. Spend the time thinking, planning, assessing and drafting a SUPERB Table of Contents. Best Way to do this is to think about the timeline process of what you're subject is.  That's how I parsed How To Work a Room, What Do I Say Next and my other books.

Save money to hire a book publicist.  Be very aware of and include the relevant research. Be sure to attribute all ideas, themes, research correctly.  (DO NOT LIFTor BORROW, ETC).       Write as though you're talking to that one person reading/listening to your book.  Make it conversational. LIST your chapters in a logical progression.  Give them a topic/title.  Write one page about each chapter.  Gather stories/vignettes/anecdotes that support inform and support your points of wisdom. Make sure your book has an index if it's non-fiction.  The initial version of How To Work a Room did not because of a cheap publisher. We sent the indexable terms to him but he wouldn't go the extra.  I made sure every book since has one. Use a professional indexer. Know that no-one loves or cares about your book as much as you do! My best advice:  DON'T write or self-publish Dreck.

2. The Silver Anniversary Edition of How To Work A Room® is out. Did you ever imagine being so successful with this book?   I may have been naive but I never thought it wouldn't be a bestseller.  Being relevant for over 25 years…that is a stunner!  I gave my book a 10th Birthday party, a "Book Mitzvah" complete with a cantor and Chopped liver flown in from NYC and at 21 it has a Champagne lunch as it was "legal".  I hosted these events to celebrate with friends, give them a chance to meet each other and honor the milestones. Almost all of those people are still friends! The updated Silver Anniversary Edition is important because it speaks to our world today!  I hosted a smallish dinner to celebrate the actual anniversary month with 3 of my dearest friends…including my best friend from Mobile. 

3.      You are the master at networking. what are some strategies you can impart with us?   Knowing how to "work a room" and "Networking" are 2 separate skills.  I know because I wrote 2 completely different books of 250 pages per.  (The Secrets of Savvy Networking).  " You can be superb at circulating, socializing, mingling and be a lousy networker: no follow-up skills.  And you can be wonderful networker who follows up, supports and shares and still find the thought of walking into a roomful of people to be daunting.  Together these 2 skills are synergistic!"

 To Work a Room:

Strategy One:  PREPARE   self-intro (7-9 second pleasantry), conversation (read a local and national newspaper or news aggregator), and Attitude. GO EVERYWHERE with the intention to meet people and have a good time and you will.
Strategy Two:  Don't wait…initiate.  Walk over to people who are standing alone and pay attention to them. Introduce them to other people.

Strategy Three:  Act like a HOST not a guest (attribution to Dr.Adele Scheele, who wrote this in 1985 in Success mag.)
  (plenty more in the book and audio book).

To build a network, show up.  Talk to people at events. FOLLOWUP with them after. Be NICE to Everyone you meet! Stay in Touch!

4.      Where do you feel the future of business books is heading?   The change in 7 years, let alone 25, has been dramatic. The plethora of books…especially the tsunami of self-published books... has had an impact on the ability to garner even a tiny corner of media attention. Books that deserve some print coverage don't get it. There will always be books and book lovers …or so I hope. But the good news is that now there are options: audio/digital and print.  I'm old school and prefer to read a book in hand but I want people to read books…in whatever modality best suits them.
5.      What are you working on these days?  I'm working on getting my "First Born" launched, covered in the media, publicized via social media, print and electronic media. And of course, speaking about the book to promote it as well as being hired to keynote speak for clients who want their team, staff, partners etc to know how to mingle, connect,converse and how to be a SAVVY networker. That is my speaking business. I also coach would be writers and people who need to gather some "Mingling Moxie" and strategies. Of course, I've been a blogger for 9 1/2 years so I write. And I've been on twitter for almost 6 years so I write…in 130 characters (to leave room for Retweets).

6.      How are social interactions in the digital age different or similar, in principle, to what is done in person?   First, we must remember to RSVP  and SHOW UP for face to face events and behave accordingly.  We must know the culture of each online "room" and behave accordingly.  in.  We need to know the rules of Tweeter, linkedin, google plus etc.  Online rooms are also about connecting/being part of the conversation. In face to face opportunities, DON"T KEEP YOUR SMART PHONE on. That would be a dumb thing to do.

For free and interesting info and posts, see and check out infographic.
You can connect with her on Twitter @susanroane or @howtoworkaroom


The best blog post on time management!

Excellent speaking toolkit for authors

Can you write a book that never ends?

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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