My name is Davis. I am spending a year reaching out to my role models. Here’s why.
My friends used to (and probably still) laugh when I mentioned how much I enjoy reading Nicholas Sparks novels. But I still remember those summer days in middle school reading The Choice or A Bend in the Road at my local library. Sparks’ beautiful language and attention to detail would keep me at the library from when it opened at 9 am until the security guard would ask me to leave at night.
Since my middle school days, Sparks has achieved mainstream popularity especially with the movie adaptations of many of his more famous books: A Walk to Remember, the Last Song, Dear John, and The Notebook. And I’ll admit I’ve coughed up $11.25 each time to see these movies, but none of them have been as good as what I remember reading in the novel all those years ago. From the moment I read my first Nicholas Sparks novel, I aspired to write as beautifully one day.
I’ve always wanted to meet the man who gave me so many hours of reading pleasure during my pre-teen and early teen years.
Mr. Sparks has a new movie (The Longest Ride) coming out next year. I’d like to give him a platform to speak on his personal journey and promote his movie if he wishes. The event would be in New Haven and open to anyone who wants to come. I would figure out a way to raise money for transportation, lodging, and meal expenses for Mr. Sparks.
Connecting with Nicholas Sparks
Last year, I invited a role model of mine (Jenny Blake from Life After College) to speak in New Haven (the give was that Jenny was developing a talk for recent graduates and wanted an audience to practice on and I have plenty of college friends who wanted advice Jenny had to offer and willing to give her feedback). While Jenny has a large following , reaching out to her was easy Jenny sends her bi-weekly newsletters from her personal email. I just had to make sure my email packed enough value to warrant a response, but I knew at least Jenny would get my email in her inbox.
I was not able to find a direct email for Mr. Sparks. Immediately after I started thinking about ways to get into direct contact with Nicholas Sparks, I ran into the same roadblock: given how busy he is, I understand why he would redirect inquiries to agents who handle them so he can have time to write and work on other projects.
Given that I do not have a direct connection, I decided to use what I did have: a link to the various agencies that represent Mr. Sparks. I reached out to Mr. Sparks’ Speaker’s Bureau and found this list of contacts (this was on their main site from the link I followed on Nicholas Spark’s main page).
This list is a diamond mine for me (or at least a potential one). With a list like this I can do what I do what I do best: try, fail, and maybe eventually succeed. I’ll reach out to each of the people listed by phone, explain my value proposition, and hope they will find enough value in my proposal that I will be redirected to the right person (or maybe Mr. Sparks himself).
When reaching out to someone for the first time, your most important tool is your value proposition/give. A poorly thought out will fail and having a great one you get you in the door.
Sometimes you just have to put on your salesmen hat and be prepared to get rejected multiple times before your value proposition is heard. I don’t like cold calling as much as anyone else, but what do I have to lose?
On Friday (12/12/14), I was contacted by a VP from the Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau to discuss having Nicholas Sparks coming to New Haven. Nothing has been confirmed or committed, but getting on the first phone call later this week is a great first step. Still a long shot, but at least we made contact!
I will update as our talks develop (or end).
I will be home for Christmas break Friday and will reach out to my Congressman, David Scott (D-GA 13th District). Since my freshman year of college, I’ve kept a list of areas where I believe my home district (Georgia 13th) can improve.
The Congressman and I have never had a chance to talk (we came close one time at a luncheon, but I was unable to attend the event due to exams) so I’ve never been able to share my ideas. My ideas might prove to be silly or non-feasible but I want to make sure they are at least heard.