A Lesson in Marketing

I first wrote about using Kickstarter to fund a publishing project back in September 2010 (see Creative Funding for Publishing a Book). In a nutshell, Kickstarter is a fundraising website where authors and publishers can try to raise funds to publish a book (or fund another type of project).

Just how successful are authors and publishers at raising money using Kickstarter?

The answer depends on who you talk to.

Kickstarter reports that they have over 7,000 projects posted on their website that failed to generate a single pledge. On the other end of the spectrum, more than $215 million dollars have been pledged on the site to successfully funded projects. Seven projects have even raised more than $1 million dollars.

As for authors and publishers using Kickstarter to fund a publishing project, less than 32% of these projects actually get funded. That means that close to one-third of all publishing projects do get the money they need to proceed.

Seth Godin is one of the successful ones. Seth is a very popular marketing guru who has written a number of books. Recently, he posted a publishing project for a new book titled The Icarus Deception on Kickstarter. The book he wants to publish is about “the mythology of success (and failure) and how our economy rewards people who are willing to stand up and stand out.”

Seth Godin’s goal was to raise $40,000. In less than three hours after he posted his project on Kickstarter, he raised that amount of money, and by six hours after he posted his project, he had raised over $90,000 ($50,000 more than his goal). With 22 days to still go in his campaign, he had raised over $232,000 to publish his book.

So, what does Seth Godin have over the 7,000 projects that didn’t get funded?

I can define it in one word: Marketing.

Whether you post a project on Kickstarter or you just fund your own publishing project, both require marketing to sell. Seth Godin is a master marketer. He knows how to develop a fan base and create a tribe (people who are not just fans, but natural promoters who spread your message).

Marketing is essential not just for selling books, but for selling ideas also.

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Adding Spice to Your Marketing Efforts

Good marketing involves grabbing people’s attention. That is why shocking headline catch our attention.

Did you ever notice that often what is shared in an article is not as awful as the headline led you to believe? Journalists use shocking headlines to catch your attention. Writing a shocking book title to catch a reader’s attention is only one strategy for catching readers’ attention.

For those of you who are currently marketing a book using press releases, interviews, and blog posts, one great strategy to grab your audience’s attention is to present interesting news items, facts, or stories that tie into your book.

If you are marketing a book with a wedding theme, knowing some strange wedding customs to talk about is a great way to engage your audience. People love weird and bizarre stuff.

If you are marketing a cookbook or health book related to food, knowing weird things people actually eat can be used to gain attention. For example:

“While some Americans indulge in the practice of eating road kill, I don’t encourage my readers to get protein this way. There are many healthier methods for finding cheap protein to add to your diet. My book …”

Are you looking to liven up your next interview or blog post with interesting facts or stories? Check out Listosaur.com. This website runs lists related to politics, sports, health, history, food, and more. Listosaur.com’s lists include many interesting lists like “10 People Who Lived After Death” and “6 Persistent Myths and Superstitions.”

Head on over to Listosaur.com to get your creative juices flowing and add some spice to your marketing efforts.

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A Glimpse of a Trade Show

If you have never attended a book industry trade convention such as BookExpo America (BEA) or the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), your first time attending can be pretty daunting.

The vast number of books, authors, gimmicks, and people can be overwhelming. However, book trade shows offer a great learning opportunity for any publisher or author. They are also great venues to network with others in the industry.

To get a small flavor for the 2012 BEA, which was held last month, check out this video made of the sights seen and the sounds heard while strolling the aisles.

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Marketing Gimmicks

Dictionary.com defines gimmick as:

“an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.”

We, as consumers, are exposed to marketing gimmicks on a regular basis.

How many pads of notepaper, pencils, water bottles, and magnets do you have with company names on them? Novelty items are marketing gimmicks.

How often do you see a costumed figure holding a sign outside a pizza establishment in your neighborhood? These mascots are a marketing gimmick.

Sales are another marketing gimmick. Sales such as “buy one get one free” are designed to attract customers’ attention and their money.

Many publishers and authors also use gimmicks to attract attention to sell their books.

One new publisher member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is using a very interesting gimmick to draw attention to his books.

Dr. Chris Stephens, has authored two books: The Climb of Your Life and The Plan of Your Life. Notice that he is already beginning to brand his books, “…of your life.”

For The Climb of Your Life, Dr. Stephens, attached a rock climbing tool, a Carabiner, to each book cover through a hole punched in the top left corner of the book. Dr. Stephens other book, The Plan of Your Life, has the title written on a removable CD on the cover of the book. This CD contains all the worksheets in printable PDF format from the Appendix in the book.

These gimmicks certainly caught my attention. I am sure they will also catch many potential readers’ attention.

What gimmicks have your tried in your book marketing efforts? Were they successful? I would love to hear about your experience.

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