Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Get Yourself on Telly - The Power of Networking

Richard Flewitt is this week celebrating the launch of The Book Channel on Sky TV (channel 166).....and it all came about through networking.

Richard explains:

Do you want to hear a story about networking - working?

I’m excited and proud to announce the launch of a new venture, The Book Channel TV show - The place to be for book lovers and writers. I came up with the idea along with a networking colleague about a year ago and the first programme aired this week on Sky channel 166 and Freesat channel 402.

So why blog about it?

Firstly I’m immensely proud of the programme, entirely produced by my production company New Edge - It’s great to be back to our roots making television programmes.

Secondly, there is no way that I would be here announcing this today if it wasn’t for networking and in particular the Black Star community within Ecademy, which I joined about two and a half years ago. Let me take you through the chain of events.

I joined Black Star on the premise that you get out what you put in, and it really is a lifetime membership where relationships are nurtured before any real business takes place. I began to attend Black Star meetings and started on a journey of many, many 121 meetings.

Approximately 18 months after first joining, I was invited by a Black Star, who I’d had a 121 with, to attend a VIP networking event on a boat on the Thames. There, as promised, he introduced me to ’someone I need to know’, I spent most of the evening talking to this guy over champagne and far too much red wine,realising the synergy of our approach to communications, and in particular video. That relationship then developed with a couple of meetings, and more introductions.

Meanwhile I discovered that within Black Star there were a community of specialists who help people make the most of their expertise by writing books. The problem at this smaller end of publishing is that the best sellers and big publishing houses eat up most of the national promotional opportunities, and it’s a real struggle to get books noticed.

I had another meeting with the man from the boat, who also happens to have a past in publishing and we came up with an idea... to make a specialist programme for all book lovers and writers, uncovering the story behind the story in a book and hearing some extracts read by the author. Broadcast the programmes on Sky and Freesat, and make all the programmes available to watch online. Additionally allow the authors and publishers to stream the programmes on their own websites providing them with a promotional video for their book. The result is The Book Channel.

The guy on the boat was Fred Perkins, owner of Information TV and a number of Sky channels - now one of my business partners at the Book Channel. Our three experts who guide viewers through the book writing world from inspiration to publication are Mindy Gibbins-Klein, Sue Richardson and Tom Evans - all Black Stars from Ecademy.

Our presenter is Tina Bettison, another contact who found me through Ecademy.

We have filmed the first three programmes and the launch was on Monday 20th April, to coincide with the opening day of the London Book Fair. Authors and publishers are invited to submit books for selection in future programmes through the website,

So there you are. In a nutshell my networking contacts have provided the inspiration, the application and a great deal of the content in the pilot shows

Who says networking isn’t worth the investment? Like all good thinhgs, it just takes time and energy.

I often talk about the misconceptions of networking events only leading to meetings with small businesses and the mistake people make of chasing 'low-hanging fruit'. If you have ambitious dreams, the people in your network can help you achieve them. If only you'd open yourself to the possibility.

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