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Co-authoring a book with an all-star team (featuring Kami Huyse)

Have you ever thought about writing a book to leverage as a tool for demonstrating your expertise and building the profile of yourself and your agency?

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Have you ever thought about writing a book to leverage as a tool for demonstrating your expertise and building the profile of yourself and your agency?

Kami Huyse, CEO of Zoetica Media, teamed up with a group of talented communicators as a co-author of The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever. In this episode, she explains how it all got started, the process they followed, and what she has taken away from the experience.

She also offers up advice for others thinking about writing a book, especially with collaborators, and talks about how the book can be helpful to her, not just in terms of marketing but also the professional development that it has fostered.

Key takeaways

  • Kami Huyse: “One of the things I learned during this is that it’s a lot easier to sell a book if you’ve already written one.”
  • Chip Griffin: “Agency owners and leaders, they’re thinking about writing books, but part of the thought should be how can I leverage this for my own business?”
  • Kami Huyse: “The publisher doesn’t really do anything for you except give you credibility.”
  • Chip Griffin: “We exist in a society where certain things make you seem more expert than you probably are. Having written a book is one of them.”


About Kami Huyse

Kami Watson Huyse APR, CEO and Founder of Zoetica Media, is a national leader on the topic of public relations and social media strategy. A 20-year-veteran of public relations, she speaks at social media events and conferences all over the country and her work in social media has earned her two Society for New Communications Research Social Media awards and IABC’s Gold Quill of Excellence Award.

The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.

Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Chats with Chip. I’m your host, Chip Griffin, and I am delighted to have with me today a very frequent contributor to, well, all of my podcasts that I’ve pretty much ever had in any business for, I don’t know, the last 15 years or so. Kami Huyse from Zoetica Media.

Welcome back to the show, Kami.

Kami Huyse: Hi Chip. It’s so great to be here as usual.

Chip Griffin: It, it is always good to have you cause I know that we’re gonna have a good time, but we’re also gonna have lots of insight to offer in our conversations. And, and today I’m particularly excited to talk about a project that you’ve been working on recently and that is writing a book with, with not one author, not two authors, but a whole pile of them and, and marketers at that. And, and so herding marketers and all of that and, and promoting it. And, and I’m just, I’m really curious about how the whole process came together. So why don’t you share a little bit about yourself for someone who may not have, have come across you on my show before or somewhere else.

And and then we’ll talk about the book.

Kami Huyse: Excellent. Nice to meet you, whoever you are out there. My name is Kami Huyse and I am a marketer and public relations professional for close to 30 years now. Crazy stuff, but a social media marketer for 16. So I have a social media marketing agency called Zoetica Media, and you can get in touch with me at kamihuyse.com.

K a m i h u y s e.com and I’d love to talk to you about social media, about how to build your brand. Those kinds of topics are on my menu every day.

Chip Griffin: And, and you have all sorts of good content that you put out. You put out videos and blog posts and all that kind of stuff, so it, you’re a great person to learn from, but tell me about this book because, you know, I, I’ll admit, I’m one of those folks who’ve always thought about writing a book and have never gotten around to it. I’ve started a few drafts of ones, but then I get distracted by some other shiny object and, and never follow through on it. Mm-hmm. So, I’m, I love that, that you did this and I, and I love the, the story about how it all came together, not because you all set out to write a book, but because of some other community activities you were involved in.

Kami Huyse: Yeah. Thank you. And I was the same. I’ve written a chapter in about three or four books now. I wrote a really small ebook one time, so yes. I’m like, you Chip. I was like, mm, I need to write a book. I have a book in my head. I’ve done some outlines just like you. And it just felt like it wasn’t happening.

And so a couple of years ago Mark Schaefer created a new community called Rise, and he based it on the rally coin called Rise too. And Rally is no longer available or around anymore, as far as a platform, but it was a really good opportunity for me to dive into sort of the Web3 kind of style of things and learn, because I’ve been hearing about it for years.

I was telling you, Shel Holtz and others, and you too, I mean, just lots of people have talked about blockchain and, and Metaverse and I’ve done some things. I mean, I ran a meeting in social in Second Life 10 years ago. I don’t know if you know that, but I did. And so you know, I’m interested in it, but I’ve just not really been dabbling in it much recently.

And so I saw it as a great opportunity to do that. Once I got inside, there was so many people in there that are already amazing thought leaders, subject matter experts that are part of that group that people started looking around and thinking, we should do something with all this knowledge. We should, you know, do a conference, which everybody’s like, no, let’s do a book.

And that was such a great idea because all it really was is each one of us could write about our subject matter expert. And writing one chapter in a book is so much easier than writing a whole book.

Chip Griffin: It, it is. But at the same time, you all had to come together and agree on who was going to write what.

And you know, I, I know a lot of marketers, I’ve been around a lot of marketers. I am a marketer. I, we all have our egos and our thoughts about, you know, what we’d like to talk about. So, so how did you sort through that process? How did the group come to a consensus as to who was going to write what?

Kami Huyse: We all have those thoughts, right?

Well, Mark Schaefer was the arbiter, so he was the final say, but people put in a bunch of ideas about what they could write about and then they took that group of ideas and they reorganized them into something that looked like a book. And so a couple of people stepped up and said that they would be happy to be editors in the book, and they there’s three of ’em and they were amazing editors and that that really helped us to get that organized. And then they came back and they put those topics down. And then the people who were you know, in there, they, we, we went in and we chose a topic. And if somebody else wanted that topic, we would have a conversation about who was probably best suited for that topic.

I chose future proofing your social media strategy. I, I picked social media strategy because I do social media across a lot of different buckets and for brands, and I just feel like strategy is my strength and nobody actually challenged me for that spot. So I don’t know, but I think there was others that did, they talked through it.

There was a couple of ’em that were written by two authors in one chapter, which must be an interesting conversation. One was a husband, wife team, and the other one were people that didn’t know each other. But one was a real writer and the other one was more of the subject matter expert.

So yeah, I think, I think we, it was, it went really smoothly considering.

Chip Griffin: And so then you all sort of coalesced around writing the book, but then you had to promote it. And I know that’s, that’s something you took a leadership role in and came up with some, I think, innovative approaches to promoting the book that at least I hadn’t seen before.

So why don’t you talk a little bit about how you then brought this book to market.

Kami Huyse: Sure. Yes. So everybody wrote their chapter and recorded our chapter for Audible. I just wanna put that in there because it might have been the hardest thing, even though I’m great. I have a podcast mic. I thought I was gonna be so easy.

That was probably the hardest part because on the audible book, each voice is the author themselves. So it goes from chapter to chapter with different voices, which is really cool. And the audio editor did a great job. I mean, it just sounds really good. So anyway, that being said yeah, we did need to market the book and there are 36 ideas about how to market this book in this group.

And so Mark and I sat down and one of the things that came up right away is that the, the group decided to call this The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever. It’s the name of the book. Very audacious title, very audacious title. So I, as I was thinking about the strategy for the, for the marketing, two things.

Number one, I wanted to make sure that we picked a, just as amazing marketing, you know, you need an amazing marketing launch for a amazing marketing book. And so that was one of the things I wanted to do is make sure that it was something big and huge and like, Impossible not to see. So two things that we did.

The first one was to bring people in early. So Frank Prendergast did the AI for the front cover. So the front cover is created by Midjourney and then overlaid with text and stuff with photoshop as you would. And so we wanted to bring some Web3 types of thing elements into the book because it’s part of the book, the whole in last, you know, section is about Web3 and all of that.

And so we put out three different concepts to the group. And the group came up with the concept. So the group wanted all these different kinds of ideas, like superheroes, maybe somebody said circus, and somebody else just wanted like an explosion of ideas. That was sort of the idea. And Frank went and he created three different Midjourney prompts that brought out these different pieces.

And it took forever, by the way. Might have been easier just to design it ourselves. But anyway.

Chip Griffin: That’s, that’s been my experience with Midjourney as well. Sometimes it comes up with some good stuff, but sometimes you could just go to a stock photo site and find what you want, just like that. Or design something as you say.

Kami Huyse: Yes, sir. So I’m not saying it was perfect but

Chip Griffin: I mean, it still has its value. I’m not, I’m not putting down Midjourney, I’m just saying it is not as quick and easy as, as you might think.

Kami Huyse: No it isn’t. And learning how to write prompts is really critical. Yeah. And that was part of what Frank was doing too, is he was becoming an expert in writing prompts by doing this, you know?

So I think he could do it faster now, because he learned a lot about that. So you do, I think, need to take on a project if you wanna learn these things. And that’s what’s great about this book is that we all took on these projects that we kind of knew, but we by like, by being in them and actually delivering them, you learn a whole lot anyway, so we had those three ideas and so I thought, you know, I am a community builder at heart.

That’s just who I am and that’s why I joined this community because I’m into communities, right? And so I thought, you know, we need to get a following for this book and the best way to do that. We have 36 people that know a lot of people. Let’s get it out there and let the audience decide what our cover is gonna be.

So that was the first thing we did, is that we did a cover Poll, I guess is the best way to put it. And we put it out on all of our social media channels everywhere. And I connected it with Typeform. And that’s how I did it, was with a Typeform. And, and we built and, and connected it to MailChimp and we built an email list.

Just like that. So we built about a thousand people on the email list right in that first before we even published the book. Mm-hmm. So I think that was really helpful too, to have that email list. And we are still using that email list to this day to let people know about the book, what’s going on with it.

And probably some things coming up, which are gonna be kind of exciting. So we’re not done with marketing. And then once we had that list, then I thought we should have like a whole day, kinda like the conference idea of the amazing marketing, you know, minds, minds talking. So my, my shower moment was like, let’s do 24 hours of amazing marketing because there’s 10 different countries represented in this book. So it’s an international launch. It’s not just a US or North America or even North America/Europe launch. It’s like worldwide. I mean, we have somebody in Sri Lanka, one of our editors, she, she lives in Sri Lanka, so we have people all over the world. And I thought, let’s do 24 hours, because then we can kind of, you know, pick that up. And we have somebody in Australia, we have somebody we have everywhere. So yeah, it was audacious, it was huge. But we have Ian Anderson Gray, who is really well known for being like a huge you know, multi streamer and yeah, we had a really great team.

We pulled it together and we did this 24 hours of amazing marketing. And by the way, you can go grab, you can go watch it. You know, look at the different parts. I created a Searchy which is a really great tool playlist for you where you can go in and even just search what you want to look at on this.

Mm-hmm. On this 24 hours of amazing marketing. So now we have an asset and we continue to grow the email list with that asset. Mm-hmm. So, yeah.

Chip Griffin: That’s great. And so, You know, what has the reception to the book been?

Kami Huyse: It’s been incredible. It’s been incredible. So if you go to Amazon, we have last time I checked, we’re probably above that now. We have about 40 reviews. Mm-hmm. Already. And by the way, that is the lifeblood of a book is a review. And right now we have some publishers looking at possibly publishing it in multiple languages. So our goal is to get up to 50 reviews because the reviews kind of trigger that. Like, you know, they look at the reviews, they look at the reception.

We’ve had a lot of fun things happen. We have a parody of the book. The book was parodied by Ryan, Anderson. So Ryan Anderson did a fun little you know, The Greatest Showman parody for the book, which is amazing. So funny.

I’ll have to check that out. I haven’t seen that.

Yeah, you’ll have to check that out.

And so we just have like a lot of people starting to re, you know, make sure that it’s being seen. So, you know, we are all on podcasts. That’s one of our main marketing thing is we’re trying to get on podcasts and talk about the book. So thank you Chip. You’re part of the marketing machine here and you didn’t even know it.

So our goal is to get on as many podcasts as possible as individuals. About our book chapters and you know, get out to our audiences, what’s going on. But as a group, can you imagine like if everybody pulled their weight 36 authors, you can do a pretty big boom, like a sonic boom. But it is hard because a lot of us aren’t followed because our, we’re book authors, right?

So like, you know, we’re kind of building an audience around the idea of, as that we’re an author now.

Chip Griffin: Right. Well, and it is, I mean, I suspect it is a, a bit like herding cats when you’ve got all different marketers because everybody’s kind of got their specialty, their way of doing things and, and while that’s all good, you also do need to have that coalescing around.

You know, the, the overall goal.

Kami Huyse: Yeah. And I forgot to tell you this too, so we did, we used old school stuff too, so I also have stickers and notepads and books. So we all ordered these books and yeah, so we’ll, we’ll, we can get those out there like when we’re speaking, you know, when we go places, we have little amazing marketing book stickers.

Yeah, we’ve done a lot of really cool stuff.

Chip Griffin: Well, that’s a great segue because I think, you know, a lot of people think about, particularly the, the agency owners and leaders who are probably the, the main listeners to my podcast. Yeah. You know, they’re thinking about books as well, and, and part of the thought is how can I leverage this for my own business?

And so my question to you is, you know, how are you or some of the others leveraging it for your own business and, and, you know, moving the ball forward there.

Kami Huyse: Thank you for asking that question. And actually I have a list right beside me because in a few minutes I’m gonna be meeting with all the authors and I have tips.

Add it to your email signature. Pitch your topic to speak at conferences. Add it to link your LinkedIn profile. There’s a lot of great ways you can do this. Create a mini book around that particular topic because then, then you have more than one book out there that you can talk about. By the way, that was one of the things I learned during this is that it’s a lot easier to sell a book if you’ve already written one.

Right. So we used obviously Mark Schaefer’s platform. So if you wanna find the book, it’s in his author profile on Amazon. So all of us now need to go out and write our own books. We have our own book in our own author profile. So in his profile, when you open up, I, I found this out. I didn’t know this was true, but you can only add 10 authors to a Amazon author profile. Like, you know, if you a book, any particular book, interesting. You can only add 10. Just fyi, if you’re thinking about doing a group project, 10 is a good idea. Just putting that out there.

Chip Griffin: So, so did that lead to some, some gentle battles amongst the 36 to figure out who would be the 10?

Kami Huyse: There’s just no, there’s, it’s just Mark. That’s how that works. Works. Oh, just, I see. There’s no battle. And you can’t do that. The solution was don’t, don’t pick 10, it’s 10. Its like picking children. How do you do that? You can’t do that.

Chip Griffin: Come on. Everybody I know can pick a favorite.

Nobody has a favorite.

They, they, they may not say it publicly, but everybody does.

Kami Huyse: I have three children. I do not have favorites.

Chip Griffin: I bet at different times you have favorites.

Kami Huyse: I tell them I have favorite things I like to do with each of them, so that I think we have things that we enjoy doing with each other. I love my children. They’re awesome. They’re fun and they’re fun for different reasons.

Chip Griffin: I love my children too. But, but I, you know, at various points in their lives I’ve had favorites. It, it has gone back and forth over the course of their young lives. But anyway, it’s what it is. So so what are the, the plans for the, the, the future with this book? And, and do you have plans for your own book at some point?

I know you’ve, you’ve mentioned that now it’s easier to do it because you’ve been part of one.

Kami Huyse: Yeah, it does help. It does help you to kind of know what the process is if you’ve been through this. That’s one of the cool things by doing it as a group is you kind of learn together. Also doing it with a already published author is pretty helpful because he’s got a pretty good handle.

But he did, he did all the other work. Like he put it on to Amazon, because it’s his Amazon account, right? So he put it on, he did all that part getting the ISBN all that. So there’s things that. We would have to still learn, but I think I know what the process is now. You know, I know you need one. I know you need that.

I know you need. You know what you need and when you need it. I’ve got a really good sense of the timeline, a really good sense. So doing this is really helpful, I think. Yes, I do have a book in mind for sure. I did get somebody reached out to me recently also asking about me possibly co-writing a book with them.

That just happened in the last couple weeks. I don’t know if I’ll write my book first or that one. It depends on if that works out. But you know, when you get that kind of visibility, that begets more offers more opportunities, just more people are paying attention at that moment. Sure. And also more people will think of you when you’ve written a book.

It’s not that the book itself is gonna make you bunch of money, the book itself doesn’t really usually make that much money. You’ll probably spend more. You know, publishing a book, then you’re gonna make off of that book. But you can use that book to leverage all of these other opportunities and getting a, you do need a marketing plan though, after the book launches to make sure that it’s staying in front of people, because most people would love to support you in your book.

Like, you have to remind them and remind them and remind them, like, you know, they’ll say, yes, I’ll write you know, and they’re great friends of yours that they say, I’ll write a review. But then you just need to remind them like, Hey, can you write that review? It’s, and it feels like it’s gonna feel a little icky to you to do so, because it feels like you’re just asking too much of people, but generally people don’t mind, you know? Mm-hmm. As long as you, you have that relationship built with them in advance.

Chip Griffin: Yeah, absolutely. And, and I think that, you know, it is, you know, because books are so valuable, it is important to try to get people to help you get the word out about them.

And it, it is funny. We, we do exist in a society where certain things make you seem more expert than you probably are. Mm-hmm. Just by virtue of having it. A book, for example, is one of them. The other is being a consultant versus being in-house. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been brought in as a consultant to organization said the exact same thing that the in-house staff said, and the client listens to me and not the in-house folks.

And, and I’ve been in the opposite position where I was in-house and we brought in a consultant who said what I’d been saying for years. And, and the bosses are like, yes, that’s absolutely a great idea. And I’m like, but, but why did we have to pay so much for it? So, I mean, but books are definitely one of those things.

And so you, you obviously want to do everything that you can to leverage it, particularly because of all the work that you’ve described that goes into the, the process.

Kami Huyse: So much work. And it is a lot of work. So I will say that as far as a marketing technique, it is not It’s, it’s just a lot of work. So remember that like it’s not, and, and if you expect to make a ton of money off of it, like I know some people are making money off their books and doing a great job with that.

If that’s your, if that’s your area, that might be more, if you’re like a, a trainer or somebody who use, you know, like is in the education space, like that’s what you do, that’s where you make your money is off education. Self-publishing will make you more money than having a publisher and usually – PS dirty little secret.

The publisher doesn’t really do anything for you except for give you credibility. Right. And that they do, they do give you credibility in that area. But they’re not gonna sell the book for you. They don’t do that. You have to sell the book. And if you don’t sell the book, it won’t get sold. Yeah, that’s just as simple as that.

And you could do, and

Chip Griffin: I, I think, I think most people don’t pay all that much attention anymore to who the publisher is. I, I think, you know, 10 years ago it was a bigger deal to have a traditional publisher and it got you credibility. But now that, I mean, nobody is going on Amazon and saying, okay, wait a minute, who, who is the publisher of this?

And, and most of the self-publishing presses have names anyway, that unless you are in the game, you don’t know that they’re not a traditional publisher.

Kami Huyse: That’s interesting. So anyway yeah, so yeah, I, I agree. And so I think that’s true, except for if you’re trying to become a New York Times bestseller or like sell your book in an airport or there’s some, there’s some reasons to have a publisher.

Yes. And if you’re going all mainstream like that, you probably want one because they do have those, those distribution channels and deals already in place that you would have a really hard time getting. So it depends on what you’re trying to do with the books. So I think you need to sell, like, I don’t know, I think it was like, I heard 10,000 books to get to the best selling level within a certain period of time, right?

So it’s, it’s a lot. We actually topped, but I will tell you, we were the number one hot, our number one new release on advertising and also on self-employment for a couple of weeks. So we, we did pretty well on that. And we continue to like, linger in the self-employment list and the advertising list.

We are also on the marketing list, just a little bit lower down, but yeah, you’re on like some really big names and stuff whenever you’re on the marketing list, so I feel good we’re even on the list and we were. And actually we were in the number one spot for a couple of days in the marketing list too, so not bad.

Chip Griffin: That’s great. And it’s it is the kind of thing that will live on for quite some time because I know you wrote it in an evergreen fashion. And, and that will really help as far as everybody who contributed to it, having something that they continue to use for speaking, for clients, for all of that kind of stuff down the road.

And, and obviously a great resource for anyone who’s interested in these topics. So I would encourage you

Kami Huyse: it’s the Swiss Army Knife of marketing books.

Chip Griffin: Excellent. And, again, the name of that book so that folks can find it easily on Amazon. And of course we’ll have it linked in the show notes as well. Thank you.

But, but, but for people who may not want to go back to the website and look at the show notes.

Kami Huyse: The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever, and you can find it on Amazon, in Kindle paperback and Audible.

Chip Griffin: Excellent. And Kami, can you remind folks where they can find you if they’d like to learn more about you and follow you?

Kami Huyse: Yes, you can follow me at KamiChat or Yeah, I’ll do KamiChat. It’s easier to spell k a m i c h a t.com. If you go there, I have a link to all of the places you can find me and also to my live streaming, to my smart social mastery program to all of the things that I’m doing. I would love to connect with you, especially on LinkedIn.

It’s a great platform to do that and but I’m everywhere else too, so reach out.

Chip Griffin: And I would encourage folks who are listening to get a copy of the book, follow Kami. She’s got lots of great insights, whether you’re looking at the operational side of your agency or the substance side of marketing.

She just has all sorts of useful tips, tricks, and tidbits for you. So go ahead and hop on over there as soon as you’re done listening. And actually, that’s a perfect segue because we’re at the end of this episode of Chats with Chip. So I’m your host, Chip Griffin, the founder of SAGA, the Small Agency Growth Alliance.

I’ve been delighted to have as my guest today, Kami Huyse of Zoetica Media, and I look forward to having all of you back and Kami. I look forward to having you back on the show again probably very soon, because you know, I just, I can’t resist inviting you to join me. So on that note, we’re done today. Have a good one.

Thanks for listening.

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