Here's the final section of the article on 21 things a self-publisher needs to know. And once again, I want to thank the source of these suggestions:
About the Author:
James Altucher can be found at jamesaltucher.com
where he spills his guts and talks about failure, success, more failure, a
little bit of death, and hopefully some life. And his latest book, "Choose Yourself!" (foreword by Dick Costolo,
CEO of Twitter) comes out this week..
21. Marketing 201
I almost hate the word “marketing.”
It feels to me like, “what gimmicks
can I do that will get people to talk about my book and then buy it.”
I wanted to make sure any marketing
I did was integrated with the actual message of the book, which is that in
order for people to succeed, they need to “choose themselves.”
This is not only a choice they need
to make economically, but a choice they make internally, with their physical,
emotional, and spiritual health.
And the actual message of the book
has some marketing possibilities …
The middle class is dead, every
major corporation is systematically firing all of their employees, and we all
are going to have the choice of whether or not we want to be
artist/entrepreneurs or temp staffers.
So on some of the blogs and sites I
guest post on, I will be writing up that story.
I’m a big believer in the message. I
give techniques for how I think people can be happier given that the
economic landscape has turned upside down. We are all struggling with money,
with happiness, with loneliness. Choose Yourself! tells my story of how
I failed, got up again, failed, got up again, and then stayed up.
And I wanted to spread that message
I found a post by Kevin Kelly
that suggested a marketing
idea of paying people back who read your book. Kevin got a bit technical in
terms of figuring out if the person actually
read the book or not. He
wanted an ereader that could figure that out.
I decided to trust the actual
reader. So, I put together an offer that would pay people back, those who could
prove to me that they read the book. How they proved it to me was up to them,
rather than resorting to technical means on my part.
Why not just give the book away for
free? And why not just rebate if they bought the book?
- People — in
general — do not value things they get for free. I wanted people to put
the money out, read the book, and only then would I pay them back.
- Most people
buy books, but do not read them. This was an incentive to actually read
I don’t care if I make any money on
The message is very important to me.
That’s why I’m willing to pay people back … if they can prove to me they read
So this was marketing that wasn’t
just a gimmick but woven into the fabric of what the book meant to me. But I
still needed a way to get the message out if I was going to do this marketing.
I called Ryan Holiday, who’d
marketed the books of Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene (48 Laws of Power),
Tucker Max, John Romaniello, all of whom had hit #1 on the New York Times
Bestseller list. He literally had 100 ideas for marketing the book. First we
came up with several ideas like the one I just laid out above.
One idea that popped up was that I
would become the first author ever to pre-release a book for bitcoin
buyers only. We did this, and it was covered by SF Gate, Media Bistro, CNBC,
Business Insider, and other places.
Bitcoin is a “choose yourself”
currency. It’s not dependent on a government, a person, a country, etc. and its
use is getting more and more widespread. The week I released the book on
bitcoin, my pre-orders on Amazon spiked so much I became the #1 kindle book for
Entrepeneurship, a full month before release.
Prereleasing on bitcoin also means
that I now have several hundred people who have (hopefully) read the book, and
many of them have already told me they will be reviewing the book on Amazon.
Having many reviews on Amazon straight out of the gate helps Amazon know that
your book is one they should feature.
In two days I’m going to announce
another adventure that is tightly integrated with the message of the book that
I think will also generate interest.
Ryan also suggested various joint
content plays (a podcast, for instance) I should do with various bloggers who
had large email lists.
This is all still in process (the
book is coming out today) but compared with my last book, this book will
probably be seen by an extra million (or more) people over the next week.
The first step in marketing is what
I described above: build your audience. The second step is a cliché but you
have to do it: write a good book.
But for a specific book, come up
with ten firsts based on the content of your book that nobody has ever
done before. And then make sure the media becomes aware of it.
Hiring a marketing expert allowed me
to continue focusing on what was important to me — the writing and the
message — while he coordinated more than 100 media sources for the various messages
I was putting out about the book.
Why are you self-publishing a book?
Because you are an addict. Like me.
But there are some other reasons.
Take pride in yourself and in your
work. You are all talented and smart people, else you wouldn’t be reading Copyblogger
and working on your own art and creativity.
Some of the things I describe above
cost money, some don’t, and some can be done super cheap.
Take your work very seriously.
This is your child you’re letting go
out into the world. You want to do it right. Enlist the help of a team. Make it
team-publishing instead of self-publishing.
Your book will, of course, stand on
its own merit. The only way to have a truly successful book is to have a
well-written, unique message that stands out among the cacophony of
But everything I describe above will
lend credibility, authenticity, and ultimately audience to the effort:
- Building the
platform and trust with your audience way in advance.
- Writing a
strong story while at the same time delivering value.
all the dots on editing, design, title, print version, audio
- Having many
strong marketing messages and a way of delivering those messages.
Making sure the messages aren’t gimmicks, but real ways that show you are
living the message you write about.
professionalism into every aspect of the process. The goal here is not to
publish as easily as possible. The goal is to publish professionally in a
way that leaves the traditional publishers in the dust.
You are your own publisher.
You are the one who believes in the
message and your art and now want to share it with others and ultimately it is
you who is choosing yourself to deliver that message. A message that, when
properly packaged, will be a delight to the reader to receive.