Interview with the World’s Most Successful Book Promoter Michael Drew: How to Predict Society Wants and Needs in the Next 30 Years


A conversation with Marketing Guru Michael Drew on How to Become a Bestselling Author, The 12 Steps to Building Lifetime Relationships with your Customers and Predicting what your Customers will Want in the Next 30 Years

If there is anyone in the world today who knows how best-sellers are made, this would be Michael Drew. He is considered a modern ninja of the publishing business, feared and admired at the same time by the top publishers, as from a young age, he succeeded in getting 74 books on best-seller lists, either New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Business Week  or a combination of all of them.

He is rightfully considered one of the most successful marketers and brand building experts in the world and I had the honor to interview him on the occasion of the publishing of his new book Pendulum, a book that I believe every Entrepreneur or Marketer today should read. Find out more about how to get a Free copy of Pendulum here.

Also, as a special gift to the readers of my blog, Michael is offering full FREE access to the Pendulum in Action Fundamentals Program (Valued at 147 USD), a series of must-see training videos that will help you build your business giving customers exactly what they want, according to the current and future trends in society. Get your access to the course here.

Michael Drew Interview: Full Transcript


Pavlina:            Hi this is Pavlina Papalouka and today I am interviewing a very special high-achiever: Michael Drew, who is known as the world’s most successful book promoter with an impressive track record of launching 74 consecutive books into best-sellers! Hello Michael!

Michael:          Hello Pavlina!

Pavlina:           Thank you for this opportunity.

Michael:          It’s my pleasure.

Pavlina:           When I found out about your work a couple of years ago, I thought that you are a person I definitely want to learn from!  I am impressed by all your achievements and the knowledge you bring as you are one of the living legends in the publishing world, in the marketing world and the in personal development industry. I have your new book Pendulum right here with me and we are going to talk about it in a while. I personally believe that anyone who is in business or marketing today should own a copy of Pendulum.

 Before we start, can you give us short background about you? You are only 34 years old, correct?

Michael:         That’s correct!

Pavlina:           And you have been working in the publishing industry since you were 19, setting some very impressive records. I want you to tell us a bit more about your work and your background.

Michael:          Well you know it’s funny when you mention book publishing, Pendulum and Personal Development. My actual story is what basically attracted personal development and also why I’m attracted to personal development.

I’m a high school drop-out. At the age of 18, I was married and managing a Burger King and my wife at the time, who is now my ex-wife, but my wife at the time was smart and said ‘you know Michael you’re too smart to manage a Burger King, you have to go do something better than that, something that utilizes your brilliance and your intelligence’. So I went and got a job at a magazine publisher, in south Provo, Utah called ‘Executive Excellence’, which was a division of the Covey Leadership Center.

They were selling the magazine and within three months I became the number three sales person there which was only significant because number one, two and four and five sales people had been there for 5 plus years and I was there for three months and was number three, meaning I was bringing a new revenue, whereas the other sales people had been there for five years or more and they were just renewing old subscriptions they’d build over the previous five years.

About that time, the merger between Franklin and Covey occurred and Stephen Covey gave Ken Shelton the executive editor of the magazine, the magazine because Ken was the ghost writer of  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
and Stephen Covey was basically paying him for his good work for 7 Habits by giving him the magazine.

Ken came to me and he said “Michael, we publish wants all these really great authors in our magazine, why don’t we start publishing their books?” And as a young, naive 18 and half year old, I said “Sure, let’s go and do that”, and failed miserably for about a year. But I learnt a lot about publishing in that time frame and I also impressed some pretty important people in the industry.

There was a woman by the name of Miriam Bass, she is now deceased  she’s a legend in the book industry. She was the first woman buyer at a major retail chain in the United States. She was then working for the distributor that represented Executive Excellence and also was a representative for another publishing company called ‘Bard Press’ in Texas. And while we failed pretty miserably while I was at Executive Excellence, I learned a lot and impressed Miriam, and Bard Press was just coming off with a huge success with their book “Nuts! Southwest airlines crazy recipe for business and personal success”.

Miriam had recommended me to Ray Bard, the owner of Bard Press and Ray offered me a job, which I took. My first day on the job Ray Bard said to me “Michael, we publish business authors, and what authors want more than anything else in the world, is to be a New York Times Bestselling Author. What I want you to do is go and figure out how the bestseller list works” and as a naive young now 19 and a half year old, I said “sure why not, I can do whatever I want to do’ and that’s what I set out to do .

The very first book I worked on, was a book by my now co-author Roy H. Williams, he’s known as the Wizard of Ads, author of  The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words into Magic and Dreamers into MillionairesMagical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads: Tools and Techniques for Profitable Persuasion,  Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads: Turning Paupers into Princes and Lead into Gold and a number of other books and he owns the fourth largest buyer of radio advertising in North America.  He’s a much bigger legend than I am in marketing and advertising.

So I work on the book and we launch Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads to number 1 on the Wall Street Journal, and number 3 on the New York Times bestsellers list as my first book out of the gate.  I worked with Ray Bard in Bard Press for three and a half years where I launched 19 consecutive books onto the bestsellers list and then I moved from Bard to another publisher in California called Entrepreneur Press, a division of the Entrepreneur Magazine.   I worked there for a year and then I got the entrepreneurial spirit and left and started my own company.

We worked on a total of 20 books while I was a publisher and since then I put an 54 additional books – a total of 74 books – on to the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and New York Times bestsellers lists.

What I learned at a very young age was the need to be able to leverage the assets that God has given me to go out and make things happen and to never question myself and to just believe in myself.

I’ve been able to get books on the bestsellers list, because I didn’t question my ability to do that, I just said ‘How can I make that happen?’ and I did and that’s I have been so successful into placing 74 consecutive books on the best sellers lists, because I never questioned ‘Could I do it?’ I simply said ‘How can I do it’.

 Pavlina:           That’s a very powerful message, but to be a high achiever like you, do you think it’s only about believing in yourself or it also has to do with talent and luck or it’s a combination of everything?

Michael:          You know there’s a number of books in the science of luck and the science of accidents and those kind of things, mathematically speaking. There’s a reason why in most States in the USA they don’t call them car accidents anymore,  because the reality is that at some degree while one party may be more to blame than the other, most car accidents is actually a combination of both parties not being aware of what’s going on.

The Science of Luck says that really it’s an issue of what you’re open to see.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the little video that says ‘Count the number of times, the team in white passes the basketball’, and they pass the basketball and at the end they say ‘the number of times they passed the basketball was 19 BUT did you see the gorilla walking through?’, and that’s in the middle of the video.

What happens is, we get so focused on one thing that we don’t see the periphery of what’s going around us. So the science of luck is not that people are more or less lucky it’s that they’re more open to seeing things and being able to make connections with those things, it’s an issue of access to the right hemisphere of the brain versus being stuck in the left hemisphere of the brain.

So I don’t know that I was lucky, I’m a high school dropout, I don’t think that I have more or less talent than most, I think for me it was simply being open to the possibility and then going and doing it.

I believed that I could do it and then I went and took action. Obviously, the problem with the book ‘The Secret’ isn’t that it’s wrong that you should first believe that you can do something but that’s not sufficient, the prime requisite is that you have to then go and do the thing. So I think for me it’s been my belief in myself and my willingness to go out and make the thing happen, go out and take the action to do it.

 Pavlina:           Do you have a formula with certain traits that you look for in a book or in an author that’s going to be a bestseller, something you’ve developed through your experience?

 Michael:          Well lets be really clear about what a bestseller is, a bestseller doesn’t mean that it’s the best content, a best seller doesn’t mean that it appeals to the widest number of people; what it means that it sold a lot more copies, that’s it!  The only requisite to being a bestselling author is being able to sell more books.

Now the reality is that we would hope that books that are well written that appeal to a wide audience would be a bestseller, but that’s not what actually happens. The reality is, it’s the best marketed books that sell.  You know in publishing you hear people talking about self-published authors and vanity press and I would dictate and indicate to you that, in the industry its always been about the ego somewhat, it’s always been about the vanity. My question is, was it the author or was it the publisher whose vanity we were talking about.

At the end of the day, what it boils down to is the author’s ability to drive traffic into stores to sell their book.  Retailers don’t care about the quality of the content; they only care about the publishers and authors ability to drive traffic into their stores to sell your book.

Pavlina:           So is it more about marketing then and promoting than content?

Michael:          Unfortunately in the short term it is, I look at a book in terms of its ability to engage and create conversation.  Now a bestseller is simply a function of sales.  Getting a book published and distributed at the retailers is simply a function of marketing, and what I call platform. 

A platform has three elements; 1) Your audience and your tribe, 2) your monetization system and 3) what bridges technically those two first elements together.  So you must have a solid platform in place to be able to effectively to make your book a best seller. 

 That doesn’t mean you can’t have the content, that doesn’t mean your book can’t help build tribe long term, but in terms of being a bestseller what it means is, technically speaking your book has to sell more than other books that are not making it onto that list.

Sales is simply the criteria that dictates whether your book is bestseller, and nothing else. Now the quality of the content is important when it comes to building relationship with your audience.  I can’t say that content isn’t important in terms of your goals as an author or as a business owner but it’s only about sales when it comes to making your book a best seller.



Pavlina:           Great and I know you have a company called ‘Promote a book’ and you help authors to reach these goals. 

So now is the time where you’re creating your own best seller ‘Pendulum’, as we talked before, with Roy H. Williams which was your first author that you promoted at 19, and I have to admit I literally got Goosebumps the first time I watched the one and half hour Pendulum video.  It was before I read the book and the information is just phenomenal.  It helps to connect the dots and to come to so many realizations.  So tell us a bit more about what Pendulum is about.

 Michael:          My co-author Roy H. Williams and I are both marketers, he owns an advertising agency, I own a platform building agency that promotes books and other forms of leadership.  As marketers we’re always looking at giving our clients a competitive advantage.  Well how do you do that in marketing? You do that by being able to predict what our customer’s clients want before they want it, before their competitors know that they want that.

How do you predict what your customers want, before they know that they want it? Well in science it’s called the Chaos Theory.  The chaos theory states not things are chaotic but rather than there are patterns, larger than what the left hemisphere of the brain can understand. And so what we said is that, if chaos theory is true in all of science, why is it not true for human beings?

We’re a byproduct of what happens in the universe so the chaos theory should also apply to human beings.  So there must be a pattern in the way that society thinks and how it changes from one modality or mentality to another.

So Roy and I went back and researched the last 3.000 years of recorded western civilization looking for a pattern on how society changes its modality, and what we found was that there is an 80 year cycle. We call it Pendulum because it starts off at point zero, it swings into one mentality, one ideology and when it gets to its high or its extreme, the youth of society reject that extreme and become the gravity that pulls it back towards the other direction, and the momentum created in the downswing of that movement creates the movement up into the upswing. The youth inserted down and then become the majority that take that new mentality too far and their children then reject that mentality and become the gravity pulling us back down the other way and back and forth, back and forth.

So what we found is that are these two forty year old cycles; the forty year cycle of ‘Me’, about the individual and the forty year old cycle of ‘We’, about the community. And neither cycle is better or worse than the other, but as human nature we always take things too far. So Pendulum discusses the psychological pattern or system that society uses in shifting from one ideology to another from “Me” to “We” or “We” to “Me”.

Pavlina:           So as you say, in Pendulum you describe how society moves in these Forty year “Me” and “We” cycles.  So in a “Me” cycle it’s all about big dreams, and standing out as an individual and it was in the 70s, 80s, 90s and mostly the 80s which was at its peak and then we swing to “We” cycle when everything is about community, authenticity, helping others and making the world a better place.  Pendulum got me thinking on how to best plan my business projects for the next 30 years because I can now predict and talk to society in a way that they will really listen to me. 

In Pendulum you describe how you can actually predict people’s and society’s reactions likes and dislikes during each period based on this forty year “Me” and “We” cycle that society goes through. So provided that we are now in a “We” cycle, what are the main steps that someone who is in business, or all of us can take to do better in business, or financially or as leaders in this “We” cycle?

 Michael:          So in a “We” cycle it’s not about big dreams, it’s about small actions, it’s not about going to the moon, it’s about going across the street and giving that poor homeless guy something to eat.

Our currencies in a “We” cycle are authenticity and transparency, when we’re faced with the truth we speak it.  One of the tools that we use in our organization with our clients is the application of 3 criteria.   We ask is what we’re doing Real, is it Raw and is it Relevant? If it’s not real, raw and relevant we don’t do it.  What’s important to note in a “We” cycle, is that people aren’t just buying what you’re selling, their buying who you are. 

There’s a reason why we have the explosion in social media and YouTube, there’s a reason why people like Paris Hilton get famous and why we have Reality TV.  Reality TV and Social Media is a byproduct of this need within society for what’s raw, real and relevant, for building community.

So the first thing you need to know is that your customers in today’s cycle, want to build a relationship with you.

 In a “Me” cycle, culturally we believe that we can be bigger and better than we actually were and we wanted, those that we work with to push us to be bigger and better than we were. But in a “We” cycle it’s not about posing and faking, it’s not about faking your way to success, people will see right through that.  Rather it’s about owning who you are, it’s about owning your strengths and your weaknesses.  It’s about going out and celebrating who you are and who everyone else is, and coming together to build a community. 

That’s why you have social media and because social media is about bringing people together, it’s about building a relationship. It’s important to note that in a “Me” cycle it’s about push, push marketing.  In a “We” cycle it’s about pull, in a “Me” cycle it’s about transaction.  In a “We” cycle it’s about relationship, in a “Me” cycle it’s about seduction, in a “We” cycle it’s about intimacy.

Pavlina:           Interesting and provided now we’re 10 years into a “We” cycle and we have 30 more years to go until we switch back to the “Me” cycle again, what do you predict will be the main trends in society in the next 30 years and specifically I also want to ask about the role of social media, and how it will develop? Do you see it becoming bigger or becoming less popular as we move through this cycle?

Michael:          Well here’s the thing; I think people look at social media as ‘That’s what’s changing society’ and I would argue that it’s not true. Social media exists as a technological reflection of the needs of culture and society and its going to maintain at least for the next 20 years as a mainstay within western culture and society.  I think that social media is going to expand over time.

The reality is that social media does a really great job of creating pseudo relationships, creating pseudo connections and pseudo community.  For those of us who are introverts the internet is a beautiful medium to be able to create those communities without having to extrovert those relationships which we would have to do in the real world. 

 I think what you’re going to see in business and society as a whole, that businesses who are going to be successful over the course of the next 30 years, are those who are going to be able to create community by defining not what they stand for but what they stand against. 

Stating what you stand against and defining yourself about what you stand against will be more important in the next 30 years than stating what you stand for.

Pavlina:           Excellent!  So you also have a course, it’s called Pendulum in Action I just want to mention it for people who are watching and are interested.  The course compliments the book with video and workbooks and I’m going to have a link under this video.  I’m personally thrilled with the information; I’m learning and applying through this course.  Who can benefit from Pendulum? Who would you recommend it for?

Michael:          When we wrote the book it was meant for business owners and marketers, but it’s certainly applicable outside of that, it really talks about all of culture and society. We recently have a lot conversations over the US presidential election about these trends, because it has broader cultural implications.

 But it terms of the Pendulum in Action training that comes along with the course, the audience that would be best suited by this information would be entrepreneurs, small business owners and marketers.

Certainly it would be applicable to all business owners, even big business, but my heart is with entrepreneurs and small business owners. The reality is that small business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers have a smaller ship with a big enough rudder, to be able to shift quickly enough with these changes that are happening, whereas as big business will more slowly see and apply the information that we teach, so really it’s meant for entrepreneurs, small business owners and marketers.



Pavlina:           In the Pendulum videos you describe the 12 steps to creating intimacy with your clients, what is described as relationship marketing which is something that you’re also a globally recognized expert in; can you share briefly some of the most important steps that entrepreneurs need to take to build intimacy with their clients?

 Michael:          It’s a really great question.  It’s important to know in a “Me” cycle it’s about push, in a “We” cycle it’s about pull, in a “Me” cycle it’s about transaction, in a “We” cycle it’s about relationship, in a “Me” cycle it’s about seduction, in a “We” cycle it’s about intimacy.

One of the things that you do with business topology, is you pull from other non-related industries to be able to solve problems within your own industry.  Typically speaking, if you look inside your own industry or your own business for a solution to a major problem that you’re having, you are probably not going to find it.

So Ford utilized this idea of business topology when inventing the assembly line. He went out looking for a solution to be able to build cars more quickly and what he found was that meat packers had something that had worked for them for generations. In meat packing for a cow they would have multiple different butchers that would cut just one piece of the cow off, so one would take off one the legs, one would do the head, one would do the guts and so on and so forth, and it would go down this line and they would do all pieces.

So Henry Ford said ‘’let’s do that only let’s just do it in reverse and let’s create cars with one person specializing at one thing at a time’’.  And that’s how the assembly line was created, by inversing the business topology, what meat packers had done for generations.

Because I’m in marketing and because I have been a student of advertising and direct marketing for my entire career, as business development and personal development have dropped down to close to 80% less than where they were a decade ago, and the industry has dropped down dramatically, I’ve looked outside of this industry for solutions to be able to increase the effectiveness of what we’re doing.

Of course if Pendulum is correct, when we’re in a “We” cycle and it’s about building relationships through intimacy, well there’s an industry that’s been dealing with that for many generations which is psychology. Psychologists back in the 1960s said that ‘when it comes to marriage and interpersonal relationships, we believe that problems that exist over years go back to one very fine eyed point in time.  At the very beginning of a relationship where a small seed was planted and that one small seed slowly grew and grew and grew until it became that major problem that it is in the relationship’.

So they went back and said “when developing intimacy with a partner, what is the process, the foundation for properly developing intimacy?” and what they developed was called ‘The twelve steps of intimacy’.

 And according to psychologists, if you skip more than just one step in the development of the relationship in those twelve steps, your probability in that relationship being a long term relationship is less than 5%.  It’s the difference between having a one night stand versus having a long term relationship.  If u start off with a one night stand the probability of that one night stand being a long term relationship is very very small.

So psychologists said ‘let’s define what the 12 steps of intimacy are’’ and what I said using business topology is “Let’s look at applying psychology to building business relationships’. So we took the 12 steps of intimacy as developed by psychologists for marriage counseling,  and said here are the 12 steps that need to be taken in business to develop a relationship.

What happened in a “Me” cycle is that business owners to get to revenue would skip steps within that process. So when they skiped steps within the process of trying to build relationships, while their intention was to build the relationship because they wanted to interact so quickly, they automatically went from relationship to transaction, they went from building a relationship to having that one night stand with the customer and that’s not to say that you can’t build a business or make money doing that, but then you get on that hamster wheel of getting lead after lead after lead.

In business development and personal development the drop off rate in lists is between 60 to 80 percent, year over year for most marketers. What that means is most of these marketers are simply looking for the short term transaction, the short term sale, that one night stand and they’re burning their list to get those sales so they have to continue to go out and build list, build list, build list, burn list, burn list, burn list to get revenue to build list, to build list to burn list, burn list –  so they get on this ongoing hamster wheel of transaction versus relationship.

And the reason why business and personal development are down today, is because customers don’t want that one night stand anymore, they don’t want transaction, they want the relationship. This is one of the trainings we put in to the Pendulum in Action Fundamental Program that you get fourteen days for free when you pay for the shipping and handling of the book, it’s just shipping and handling, we don’t charge for the book just shipping and handling. So when your audience clicks on the link below they’ll get access to this full training on of the 12 steps of intimacy.

Now what I’ll tell you is the first 3 steps in the 12 steps of intimacy are the: eye to body: I see you, eye to eye: we see each other and then voice to voice: we have a conversation.

What normally happens in most marketing with most businesses is they get to voice to voice and then they want to jump to step 8 kissing. What’s important is before you ever ask for a single financial transaction there are literally 8 steps before you get there, most companies want 1,2,3 they want to skip to 8 and then want to skip from 8 to 12,  but psychologically that’s not how humans work, we don’t psychologically process relationships in that capacity.

I have a client out of New York, he consults a very specific type of practitioner and his promise is, if you spend 50.000 dollars with us to this industry, we will guarantee an increase of your bottom line by 250.000 dollars in one calendar year, and he does it.  He successfully does this for his clients over and over again, and he’ll get between 80 and 100 clients per year paying 50.000 dollars and he delivers this increase for 250.000 dollars.

The problem is that his sale process is so transactional, it’s ‘Hello my name is so and so, now let’s jump into bed’ that the view of the customer is that this is transactional.  You deliver service you do exactly what you say, I get in and I get out and the number of referrals that this customer of mine received in the last three years was literally one.

Not because he doesn’t deliver a good service, he does but because the mindset of the company going in wasn’t about building a long term relationship, it was “I want your money now so I can deliver an end result’’.  The feeling, the psychology of the relationship to the customer was, this is transactional not relational and so didn’t get referrals even though they delivered exactly what they said. I can tell you that this happens over and over and over again.  This is because we’re not dealing with robots with our customers; we’re dealing with human beings that have underlying psychology to how they think and how they act.

So it’s important when you’re building relationship with your customer, to understand that it’s about the relationship and if you go in with the intent of not building a relationship and getting revenue, your customer will feel that just like you would feel that Pavlina if I came up to you in a Bar purely with the intend to take you home that evening versus with the intend of wanting to get to know you. If you know that my intend is that I want to build a relationship, whatever that means with you, you’ll feel differently about me than if I come up to you purely with the  intent of creating in a transaction.

Pavlina:           Ok so do not go for one night stands with the clients, build a long term relationship that will lead to marriage, this is the message here.

Michael:          Correct.

Pavlina:           But it sounds like such a long process to build this relationship, the 12 steps, to building this relationship with the client.

Michael:          Well it is a long process, building relationships.  I mean ask in your real world, throwing business out, how long does it take to build even friendships with someone, it takes time.

But hat is the long term value of building out that relationship? Now you have a real relationship, it’s not like “Hey we just had fun, now we’re done”.  You’ve got hopefully a relationship that will last for years or even a lifetime.

And again as I mentioned earlier, what most business owners and people in the business and personal development industry do, is they want to jump to revenue so quickly that they violate any ability to have that long term relationship and so they have that attrition rate where they’re going over and over and over again to find a new customer and then burn through that customer, find a new customer and burn through that customer.  Whereas here it takes longer to set up the relationship and once you have that relationship set up, the lifetime value of that customer is much, much longer and much, much greater because it took the time to build out that relationship.

Pavlina:           Great, so for anyone who wants to start building a relationship with you and knowing more about Pendulum I will have a link under this video and they will get free videos just by ordering a copy of the book and paying just the shipping.  Thank you very much for your time; it has been very, very interesting and will probably catch up in the future with more of what you do because I have a lot of questions to ask you still.

Michael:          I would love to come back, thanks so much for having me.

Pavlina:           Thank you Bye bye.

Secure your Free copy of Pendulum together with Free access to the Pendulum in Actions Fundamentals course here

Michael Drew

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