9 Lessons for Authors from the Author Shark Tank

I confess, I was hooked on ABC’s Shark Tank from the night it debuted. It gives a variety—and I mean HUGE variety of entrepreneurs at every stage the opportunity to pitch their company to five entrepreneurs who have been enormously successful in their individual endeavors—oh, you can rest assured that they have had some detours and potholes along the way.

If the pitch “hooks” them, the lucky, and very nervous budding entrepreneur gets a partner. The cost—part of his or her company. As I’ve watched over the past several years, there have been many of the pitches that I thought the Sharks were fools to bypass. And, because millions are watching, other angels are out there who track down the entrepreneurs post the show turndown and take them to the next step.

Whoever your angels are, there are core ingredients Sharks are looking for. They include:

  1. Know your pitch—get it smooth and quick. OK, you probably aren’t going to be on the TV show Shark Tank, but you are out in the waters all the time. At a neighbor’s BBQ, a wedding, the airport, a conference … ANYWHERE … you have the opportunity of talk about your book. That’s a myriad of opportunities. Time after time, I cringe when I simply ask, “Tell me about your book …” and the other can’t.  “Tell me who your book is for,” and they either say “Oh, everybody.”Stop it. Get your author act together. Books are not for everybody. If your book solves a problem, say so. Who does it solve a problem for? Get clear and concise in a response that will leave me with “Tell me more.” It’s the #1 thing that authors repeatedly screw up.
  2. Get off your tush and demonstrate what you and your book are made of. The phone isn’t going to ring or email isn’t coming in unless you make the first move. Get over it. Show that you are the expert and that you have the solutions. Throw out freebees that you are a hoot (or a spook or a …) of a story teller. Be absolutely clear what the value you bring to your reader … and for that matter, who exactly your reader is.
  3. Be passionate. Whether you are pitching to your readers, the passion for your book, your characters, your all, should be evident. If you want to be a successful author, you better love what you’re doing—no exceptions. Otherwise, it won’t keep you going when you hit the hiccups of the authoring and publishing life. It’s the core of what drives you and your book.

Is your book, your idea, a must-have for a niche audience? If you write nonfiction, you are solving problems of some sort—you are relieving pain. Oh, what a happy dance to be at.  If you are a fiction author, your books create some type of entertainment. Again, it’s a happy dance for the reader who finds you. You, dear author, need to know WHO that reader is—imagine they are directly in front of you every time you look up—write to them … speak to them with the words that they want to hear.


Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 43 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book PlatformsSnappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon and her historical fiction debut Secret Journey. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences. 

Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.

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