Rockstar author David Meerman Scott talks about seeing big picture patterns, always writing in the morning and the stories in his books
Rockstar author David Meerman Scott, best known for his international bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR, recently took time out to speak with the Beta Authors enrolled in my 8-week book writing program.
I’ve known David for years so it was intriguing to ask him more about his writing process and where he gets the ideas for his books. Our conversation was wide-ranging and offers a rare glimpse into how David approaches his writing and speaking.
In addition to The New Rules, which has sold 300,000 copies and been translated into 26 languages, David is the author of seven other books including Realtime Marketing & PR, World Wide Rave (currently free on Kindle, Nook and Kobo) and Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead.
We talked first about his 2006 PDF manifesto, The New Rules of PR, and how it launched the eponymous The New Rules. To be different and more distinctive, he had the manifesto professionally edited and designed. His designer, whom he has worked with for years, is the marvelous Doug Eymer. Doug has also designed some of his book covers.
Then, to be contrarian, David posted the PDF to his blog as a free download with no email address or registration required. After the manifesto was mentioned by Seth Godin and Steve Rubel (then the most popular PR blogger), it was downloaded 50,000 times in the first 30 days. Not surprisingly, that drew the attention of publishers.
Note: you can download all of David’s free manifestos here.
We also talked about David’s writing process. Over a period of months he sees “big-picture patterns” in what he’s writing about on his long-running and popular blog, Web Ink Now. He dumps those blog posts into a Word doc and uses that as a starting point for a new book. He works with a personal editor to get feedback on “chunks” of his writing before submitting his manuscript to Wiley, his publisher.
And yes, like many successful authors, he always writes in the morning.
I asked him about his speaking career and how it relates to his books. Each book contains 30 to 50 “stories” he told us. They are little known stories of online marketing success that he collects and uses to illustrate bigger points. He bases his presentations on the stories.
David also talked about:
- Why he uses the word “cool” a lot when he’s writing
- Procrastination and how he deals with it
- His outline method (he doesn’t use one)
- Sending chunks of his writing to an outside editor before submitting to his publisher
- Putting a period at the end of a book manuscript at some point and saying, “It’s done”
- Realizing that the real audience for his book wasn’t marketing departments but business owners and entrepreneurs
- How he finds the stories that he includes in his books
- Why he still works with a speaking coach
- His speaking career (his primary source of income) and how it has taken him to 33 countries
Thanks hugely, David, for taking the time to speak with us.
Note: Those enrolled in my Beta Authors program get an edited PDF transcript of this interview.