Visit bookstores where they carry your book. Tell the people who work there about your book. Sign your books. Care about sell-through.
As a part of our series about “How To Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shel Pink, founder of SPARITUAL, a vegan beauty care brand based on the rituals of self-care, pioneer of the Slow Beauty movement and Author of SLOW BEAUTY, Rituals and Recipes to Nourish the Body and Feed the Soul.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what motivated you to become an expert in the particular area that you are writing about?
My passion for health, beauty, well-being and self-care started for me when I was a young girl. Growing up my mom instilled in me the mantra “Health is Wealth” and exposed me to knowledge that made me aware of using discernment when choosing what to put on my body and in my body, minimizing environmental toxic exposure, and looking to what was considered “alternative” therapies at the time for preventative self-care practices to maximize health benefits and vitality. I continued on this path when I went to college and after I graduated and went out into the world. When I had the opportunity to create my own self-care brand, I wanted to create a brand with a mission and vision to help educate people on how to care for themselves in deep and meaningful ways in order to best care for others and the world around them. I am very motivated to educate and help people set boundaries around the adverse effects of this 24/7, high stress world we live in, using beauty care rituals as one way to help alleviate stress and feel nourished.
Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?
The term Slow Beauty came to me when our family was caring for my son’s class pet Torti the Tortoise, and I couldn’t help but notice the slow, intentional way this creature moved around our house. It was as if he was in a constant state of meditation. This was also when social media was just taking off and there were more platforms available, more ways for us to access people and for people to access us with limited boundaries. I realized that the world was demanding us to respond faster and faster, and I knew it just wasn’t sustainable for our nervous systems. The term Slow Beauty came to mind as a kind of epiphany, and I realized that this was what I had been practicing since I was a young girl and the term helped me frame the narrative and a philosophy to help people think of and implement ways to develop their own personal self-care approach — one that was in accordance with their own natural rhythm and beauty standards.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?
I am currently working on all of the content for the relaunch of the Slow Beauty blog. In a certain sense it is like writing another book, only this time it will all be available online. The content will be organized around seasonal self-care concepts.
And… At SPARITUAL we recently launched our Nail Wellness collection, and Dry Body Brush and we have a few exciting new products launching later this year.
Thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you please tell us a bit about your book? Can you please share a specific passage or story that illustrates the main theme of your book?
“Slow Beauty encapsulates such ideals as inner beauty, self-love, self-care, self-compassion, and joyful living.” The book is divided into four pillars: Philosophy, Rituals, Recipes and Mapping, and is a seasonal approach to developing a genuine, natural, simple and effective self-care focus to help set boundaries around the 24/7 world we live in and provide moments of regeneration. This approach is meant to be simple, effective and meaningful. The rituals and recipes in the book are tools and resources for how to nourish our nervous system that is being constantly aggravated by the demands and distractions of our postmodern lifestyle.
You are a successful author and thought leader. Which three character traits do you feel were most instrumental to your success when launching your book? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Creativity, Passion and Tenacity have been the leading character traits that have been most instrumental in all aspects of my life — not only in writing my book but also in launching SPARITUAL.
Creativity. I had a story inside of me that I needed to share, and a creative drive to create it and make it happen. The book in a sense is on the one hand a guide to help people become aware of the importance of consistent self-care and its cumulative effects, and on the other hand is my well-being autobiography. I share the tools and resources I’ve tried on myself over the years and encourage people to identify what they are already doing to care for self.
Passion. I have always felt passionate about making healthy choices in life and more importantly about having healthy choices to choose from. When I launched SPARITUAL in 2004 self-care, veganism, cruelty free, and clean, conscious beauty were not popular. I knew there was an enlightened consumer out there and they would want and demand healthier options not only for themselves and their families but also for the environment.
Tenacity. It is important to never give up. I was told that the green beauty movement would be a fleeting trend and remain niche, that natural products are less effective and do not work, that people will always want quick fixes and instant results, not a slower approach to beauty. They were wrong.
In my work, I have found that writing a book can be a great way to grow a brand. Can you share some stories or examples from your own experience about how you helped your own business or brand grow by writing a book? What was the “before and after picture?”
Writing a book, especially one that addresses the deeper layers of beauty, seeing it through a philosophical lens instead of only a product focused lens, and the importance of rituals adds another dimension to a brand. The beauty industry traditionally has been heavily product and beauty standard focused. Writing and publishing the Slow Beauty book helps to tell the SPARITUAL brand mission in a deeper way and helps people understand that beauty is not only about the products we apply to the skin. Nourishing formulas are important and so is elevating the care and the intentions behind how we use the products incorporating more ritual and less mindless routine.
What were things like before, and how did things change after the book?
Writing the book opened up an additional platform to speak about SPARITUAL, helped open more spas and more retail, deepened the credibility of SPARITUAL and the Slow Beauty movement.
If a friend came to you and said “I’m considering writing a book but I’m on the fence if it is worth the effort and expense” what would you answer?
I would say that if you have a story to tell then absolutely — we want to hear your story and your perspective. Writing a book takes a lot of effort and discipline and it is worth it!
Can you explain how writing a book in particular, and thought leadership in general, can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?
I believe writing a book helps a brand to grow and reach new audiences and adds an additional layer of credibility to the brand and more opportunities to reach more people. I am frequently invited to speak about Slow Beauty, and I inevitably speak about SPARITUAL too. Thought leadership helps keep a brand relevant and newsworthy.
What are the things that you wish you knew about promoting a book before you started? What did you learn the hard way? Can you share some stories about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?
I didn’t realize how much the author is responsible for the promotional part of the book. I learned that I would have planned farther ahead and had more consistent book signings. Nevertheless, the book launch events I did have and the mailings I did to influencers helped tremendously.
Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging an expert?
I think an author definitely needs to have a PR person solely focused on the book launch to generate as much press as possible at the beginning of the launch. Pre-sales are very important, so it is imperative that the author send out email announcements and let as many people know prior to the launch to pre-order the book. A solid pre-sell helps create momentum for success. Engage an expert at least 6 months prior to launch to help set up a multi-pronged strategy for pre-order, launch and post-launch.
Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experience and success, what are the “five things an author needs to know to successfully promote and market a book?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Have a solid pre-order strategy. Make a deep list of everyone you know — friends, family, colleagues, influencers, acquaintances, and ask them to pre-order your book. Ask them to purchase multiple copies to give to people as gifts and ask them to tap into their network to promote your book. Do not be shy about it!
- Book as many Launch Events on behalf of the book as possible. Do research both on your own and if you can, with the help from an expert to identify where you can speak about your book and book as many speaking opportunities as possible to promote your book. Look at book clubs, schools, organizations both non-profit and for profit, panels, get creative. Do not be shy about it!
- Visit bookstores where they carry your book. Tell the people who work there about your book. Sign your books. Care about sell-through.
- Have a solid social media strategy. Feed the machine with content — from your book, from your heart.
Do not be shy. Often writers are writers because they are shy, and sometimes there are writers who have the gift of gab. If you are one of the shy ones you will need to get out of your comfort zone and become an extrovert for a while. It is a noisy world, and many people are writing and publishing books now. If you want to get noticed, you need a differentiating point of view and you need to be loud about it to break through.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Yes! I’d love to have a private meal with Elaine Welteroth. She is just amazing.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Please follow me and visit me on IG @shel.pink and @sparitualist and we are relaunching slowbeauty.com on June 21, 2021.
Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success with your book promotion and growing your brand.