Getting A Publishing Deal From Your Online Platform With Jim Hopkinson

In this lively interview, Wired’s marketing guy Jim Hopkinson talks enthusiastically about his publishing experience and marketing ideas.

Jim Hopkinson is the marketing director for and the author of Salary Tutor, a business book on salary negotiation. Jim is also a prolific podcaster at The Hopkinson Report, the marketing trends that matter. (See below for video interview)

In the podcast you will learn:

  • How Jim’s career has shaped up so far, working for ESPN and then Wired magazine as the marketing guy. He’s also passionate about career development and found that there weren’t many books on salary negotiation so developed the book based on his own experience
  • Jim’s experience in the publishing industry. He did intend to self-publish the book and went ahead writing, editing and producing it. But then others urged him to look into getting a traditional publishing deal so using contacts he made through his podcast, Jim investigated. Having nothing to lose, he went for it and got a book deal just like that!
  • The book deal happened because of Jim’s existing platform. He started a marketing podcast for Wired magazine and really just gave it a go in terms of starting it up, and found a presentation style that suited him (enthusiastic!) Podcasting tip: Find your voice – Jim’s podcast has been called “audible caffeine”. After 150 episodes, it’s all about consistency and excellence in production to make an impact. This platform gave Jim the authority and platform that publishers looked at when he pitched his book.
  • Marketing the book Salary Tutor. All the usual stuff re interviews , blogging, social media. An interview on Yahoo Finance made it to the Yahoo front page. Jim credits the publicist which is a good part of having a publishing company produce your book. He is now gearing up for the paperback launch as ebook was launched first (and is available now on Kindle). Jim is also looking at these marketing ideas:
  • Search Engine Optimization. Looking to dominate “How to negotiate salary” and other keyword search terms. He will be optimizing the webpage to get more traffic to
  • Speaking – will be aiming at college students, job-search groups and try to speak to bigger audiences
  • iPad app. Jim has kept the rights to do an iPad app so he has some ideas on that for later this year.
  • On managing time. You have to know what you will give up in order to write and market your book. It definitely takes a big personal investment.
  • On how the industry is responding to digital publishing. Conde Nast now have a full suite of magazine apps so they are responsive. It is a shifting market although magazine sales remain, despite newspaper readership going down.
  • Personal branding and standing out in the crowded social media market. Get yourname URL. Even just set up About.Me page. It’s free – there’s no excuse for not having this anymore. Start somewhere, make a business card, do a basic page. You can get a free blog on Tumblr, then move to wordpress. Start slow and work your way up.
  • On the podcast. “Just do it!” Don’t think about it too much, don’t worry about the name or anything – just get started with the content. There is some initial setup, but once that is done, it’s easy to get it done weekly. You can come up with ideas easily when you’re running or doing other things. For interviews, recognize super-connectors who can introduce you to other people.
  • On Salary Tutor – it’s not just a job search book, it’s fun and uses story and case studies to make the points. It has practical advice to answer the questions you face at interview e.g. “so what do you expect to make for a salary”. Basically, it could make you more money. Jim’s research includes FBI hostage negotiation techniques that will help you control the situation.

You can find Jim’s book at or on Kindle

His podcast on marketing is at:

You can also follow Jim on twitter @HopkinsonReport

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  1. says

    Thanks for the great post Joanna! It was so much fun being on your show.

    And for the fans out there that just can’t get enough of The Creative Penn (ie, everyone), Joanna was nice enough to come on my show as well. I called it “How to write, self-publish, and market a religious thriller that kills on Amazon (even if you work in IT).”

    Thanks everyone.

  2. says

    Great post Joanna and Jim. My day job is that of an engineer and I am tempted to buy Jim’s book on salary negotiation…LOL. It is interesting that you decided to accept the offer from a traditional publisher Jim. I am sure that with your negotiation skills, you must have gotten a good offer from them (maybe which is why you accepted).

    I wish you had self-published though, as the ebook would perhaps have been cheaper than the currently priced $9.99. Low prices would have attracted more readers, and the greater % of royalty would have benefitted you [Jim] as well.

    I am just about to self-publish my own non-fiction book. I am not quite sure though if I would accept an offer from a traditional press at this point when I almost have a finished product. In fact, when I received a rejection letter in mail recently from a medium size publisher who I had submitted my work almost 6 months ago, I was overjoyed to see the rejection! I am so enthusiastic about self-publishing where I dont have to worry about them (publishers) interfering with cover design, content etc. :)

    Thanks again,

  3. says

    I enjoyed this podcast, and I’ll check out Jim’s podcasts as well.

    I had the good fortune of partnering with chef who has a significant platform (2 turns on Bravo’s Top Chef). She was able to get a deal with a major publisher, and I’ll be the writer for her 1st cookbook. As for my own work, platform building will be more challenging. I have 2 blogs, one for fiction and one for my food writing, but I’m fairly introverted, so social networking can be challenging. Podcasting may be a tool I can use.


  4. James says

    I’ve been searching for well-documented case studies or examples of writers who have developed successful (and profitable) writing “platforms”. Ideally, I’d like to see actual examples, from beginning to current. I’m not finding them, though–but there are lots of books written by folks who don’t provide specifics, but provide vague “follow these six steps” advice that’s too general to be useful.

    Can anyone point me towards case studies or examples like this? I’d be grateful.


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