Terms of Engagement–Amazon and IPG

Amazon has withdrawn from sale Kindle versions of IPG client publishers’ titles after IPG, the second-largest independent book distributor, declined to accept new selling terms that, as IPG Mark Suchomel said to IPG client publishers, “would have substantially changed your revenue.” See coverage in Shelf AwarenessPW Daily and Crain’s .

IPG President Mark Suchomel pointed out in a bulletin to IPG client publishers that “Amazon.com is putting pressure on publishers and distributors to change their terms for electronic and print books to be more favorable toward Amazon. Our electronic book agreement recently came up for renewal, and Amazon took the opportunity to propose new terms for electronic and print purchases that would have substantially changed your revenue from the sale of both. It’s obvious that publishers can’t continue to agree to terms that increasingly reduce already narrow margins. I have spoken directly with many of our clients and every one of them agrees that we need to hold firm with the terms we now offer.”

Suchomel  urges IPG clients to “support accounts that support your business. Ask the organizations you support to do the same. Remind family and friends of the value to our society of independent voices and ideas, and that independent publishers and bookstores need to be supported or they will go away.”

He goes on to say “Remember that Amazon continues to be an important account that sells a lot of units. This is a business decision on Amazon’s part, and hopefully they will soon decide to reverse it and buy at our standard terms.”

Certainly independent publishers value their relationships with all trading partners, but that relationship can’t be at the expense of their livelihood. We at IBPA are especially concerned with the impact that ever-declining profit margins have on the smaller independent publisher who is least able to absorb it. We commend IPG for its support of the independent publishing community and for shining the spotlight on this critical issue.

We welcome comments from our members and others.

50 Literature Ideas You Really Need to Know, By John Sutherland Faulks on Fiction: Great British Characters and the Secret Life of the Novel, By Sebastian Faulk

50 Literature Ideas You Really Need to Know, By John Sutherland Faulks on Fiction: Great British Characters and the Secret Life of the Novel, By Sebastian Faulk

For many readers of John Sutherland’s 50 Literature Ideas You Really Need to Know, I suspect that the title could more accurately read: 50 Literature Ideas That You Have Forgotten Since Finishing Your English Degree.

It will undoubtedly be read by Eng-Lit geeks, but it should be enjoyed by any engaged reader of fiction.

Sutherland describes this round-up of ideas from Allegory to Textuality (via Hermeneutics, Plagiarism, Translation et al) as a “toolkit” for readers. Each idea is squeezed into only four pages, including a timeline, quotes and a “condensed idea”. I’d call it an epic task, if I hadn’t just read the succinct explanation of Epics, from Gilgamish to Star Wars. A couple of cases, such as Deconstruction, prove to be uncondensable – but anyone who ever battled with J Hillis Miller’s “The Critic as Host” will probably forgive a little haziness in that chapter. As an introduction to how to read, and why we read, it is a remarkable success. “Literature is ultimately there to give pleasure,” Sutherland writes. “Read intelligently, it is one of the very highest pleasures life has to offer.”

As a former student of linguistics and literary theory, I admit that I’m favourably inclined towards anyone who makes jokes about “linguists’ jokes”. And, in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, with its inevitable “most romantic reading” lists, I am grateful to anyone who shares my (apparently unfashionable) view about Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” (or “To the Virtuous Woman I Desperately Want to Screw but Don’t Want to Marry”, as Sutherland retitles it). On the other hand, his “How Well Read Are You?” quizzes won’t win many fans among people who think they are. Generally, though, it is intriguing to be gently questioned about what reading is and should be. To understand Hamlet better, would you: 1) Travel forward millennia, to when the last word of Shakespearian criticism has been written? 2) Travel back to the Globe Theatre, London, in 1601?

A well-read person in Chaucer’s England had maybe six books on his shelf. Now, millions of books are available. Do we have more knowledge in 2011, or more of which to be ignorant?

Sutherland stands on the shoulders of giants to bring us this history and future of literary theory, and is not above quoting its heroes and villains (Sir Frank Kermode and Ronald Reagan in quick succession) to add grist to or gently mock his endeavour.

“Authors tend to dislike critics who … presume to discover more about their (the writers’) creation than they ever know themselves. Some authors positively detest these lice on the locks of their literature,” he writes, backed by a scathing Nabokov quote.

It is a bold move by Sebastian Faulks, then, to act as a louse on the locks of some of our best-loved literature, but that’s what he does in his book (to accompany the TV series), Faulks on Fiction. Faulks is fed up with modern journalists and critics caring more about the author’s biography than about the work, and so he concentrates here on each character as if he or she is real. Unfortunately, he must then apologise for putting so much of himself into the book (he did a lot of blubbing as a 14-year-old reader, it seems) and blame the bigger boys at the BBC for making him do it. It’s hard to see, then, why in a chapter supposedly about James Bond, we must learn all about how and why Faulks wrote his new Bond book. Or why he interviewed so many of the (living) authors whose work he writes about (it turns out in the acknowledgements).

The book works well as a history of the novel and its uneasy relationship with society. It is less successful when Faulks starts diagnosing characters: Tom Jones’s Lady Bellaston is “a cougar”; Heathcliff fears abandonment; Darcy is depressed; Lovelace a sociopath; oh, and, re Lady Chatterley, “Repeated rhythmic penetration is what some women like best.” Psychoanalytic literary theory is nothing new; but this theory – that most things in literature basically come down to bonking – just might be.

It is interesting to read this book in the light of Sutherland’s lessons about who “owns” a narrative. It is a tribute to the skill of the writers whose work Faulks cites, I suppose, that he feels he “knows” their characters better than they or other readers do. But I’m still not sure that a lengthy and robust legal defence of Alec D’Urberville, concluding that “the balance of evidence at this point would not be enough to secure a rape conviction”, is a useful form of literary criticism.

Faulks is caught in a paradox: he is writing for intelligent readers who know and love literature just as much as he does. They cannot help, then, but hate much of what he writes.

Marketing Literature Ideas

 

Marketing Literature Ideas thumbnail
Reach potential consumers through innovative, well-written reading materials.

The key to effective marketing literature is in strong writing and images. Business owners hook consumers with innovative campaigns, and inventive approaches to style and language, to create interest in a brand. When creating a line of marketing literature materials, consider the voice you want to carry through to your readers. If you want to a sense of humor, string that kind of humor throughout all the letters, slogans and giveaway materials.

  1. Targeted Materials

    • Create a line of business cards and printed brochures for separate target markets segments. For example, if you run a photography shop, make target-specific literature for students, professionals and graphic designers who use photographic images. Write the literature using an authoritative but friendly voice that draws readers to the personality and competency of your business.

    Giveaways

    • Design posters, calendars, creative note-cards or stationary to give away to potential customers. Instead of giving away pens and tins with just the printed name of your business, offer other free items that are useful or of significant value. Keep the materials useful and consistent with your company’s service and reputation. For instance, if you run a hotel business chain, give the public free posters with images picturing exotic destinations where you have hotels. If you run a private magnet school, write and print booklets describing the attributes and benefits of your school system. Make the books attractive and expressive to guide parents into considering your school as an option for their child.

    • Sponsored Links

    Creative Mailings

    • Direct mail, sent to a previous or potential consumer’s home, communicates messages directly and personally. When creating a direct mail campaign, be creative. Invent a innovative, artistic, loud and ambitious mailing series. For instance, consider using different kinds of paper, and a whole new tone of voice to attract a reader. Hook them in the first line with a powerful opening sentence speaking directly to them and their needs.

    Samples

    • Appeal to consumers by sending free samples by mail. If you operate an interior design business, send sample fabrics and color images of the work you have accomplished in previous client homes. Include testimonials from previous satisfied customers. Ask these past clients if you can quote them and show a picture of the rooms you remade. Testimonials add a real-world appeal and back up your claims.

Navy SEAL’s book will describe raid that killed bin Laden

Aside

By Julie Bosman

A detailed first-person account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, written under a pseudonym by a member of the Navy SEALs who participated in the mission and was present at bin Laden’s death, will be released next month, the publisher said on Wednesday.

The book, “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden,” which is scheduled to be released on Sept. 11, has been a tightly held secret at the publisher, Penguin. It promises to be one of the biggest books of the year, with the potential to affect the presidential campaign in the final weeks before the election.

The author’s name will be listed as Mark Owen by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin. For security reasons, he used a pseudonym and changed the names of other SEAL members.

A former member of SEAL Team 6, the author was a team leader in the operation that resulted in the death of Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011. According to a description of the book provided by the publisher, the author gives a “blow-by blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death,” and is “an essential piece of modern history.”

Penguin officials would not say to what extent the book was vetted by government agencies. Colonel Tim Nye, the chief spokesman for the military’s Special Operations Command, said he would reserve comment until he had an opportunity to read the book.

The author also recalls his childhood in Alaska, his grueling preparation to become a member of the SEALs and other previously unreported SEAL missions. He completed 13 combat deployments since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and retired within the last year.

A co-writer, Kevin Maurer, is the author of four books and was embedded with Special Forces in Afghanistan six times.  

The book could get caught up in the politically charged arena of the presidential campaign. That’s what happened with another planned narrative account of the raid, a film by Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty.” That film was originally scheduled for release in October, but was moved to December after Republicans said it would help dramatize one of the president’s signature achievements right before the election. The project also prompted complaints from some Republicans that the administration had provided improper access about the raid to the filmmakers, a charge the White House denied.

In August 2011, The New Yorker published an account of the raid that was so detailed it included information about what the pilot of a Black Hawk helicopter was thinking as the aircraft was on the verge of crashing. That article relied on interviews with officials who had debriefed members of the SEALs team, not with the individuals themselves.

Bookstores were first given a few clues about the book last month. One independent bookstore owner said in July that she was told only that Dutton had added a “big, major book” written by an anonymous author to its fall list.

Members of Dutton’s sales staff were given a detailed description of the book during a conference call with executives on Wednesday.

The publisher is expecting a major best seller, with a planned print run of 300,000 copies in hardcover, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Because the book is written under a pseudonym, the author will appear in disguise during television interviews to promote the book. At least one major network prime-time appearance has been planned, a person familiar with the plans said, and during interviews on television and radio, the author’s voice will be altered.

Thom Shanker contributed reporting from Washington.

This article, “Navy SEAL’s Book Will Describe Raid That Killed Bin Laden,” first appeared in The New York Times.

Copyright © 2012 The New York Times

Crowdfunding site pays authors to release DRM-free e-books

Crowdfunding site pays authors to release DRM-free e-books

A new site from New Jersey-based Gluejar uses crowdfunding to pay authors to “free” their work as e-books published under a Creative Commons license.

alttext

United States6th August 2012 in Media & Publishing.

E-books may have opened up a whole new medium for enjoying the world’s literature, but the DRM – digital rights management – technologies they’re often coupled with have also imposed new restrictions on the way that literature is shared. Enter Unglue.it, a new site from New Jersey-based Gluejar that uses crowdfunding to pay authors to “free” their work as e-books published under a Creative Commons license.It’s up to rights holders to start an Unglue.it campaign for an already-published book they own the rights to, including setting the amount required and a deadline by which time that needs to happen. Book lovers, meanwhile, can visit Unglue.it to browse through the site’s active book campaigns; if they don’t see one for a book they care about, they can add a title to the Unglue.it wishlist. Either way, just as on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites, participants can pledge toward a campaign’s goal amount, and they pay only if the target funding goal is achieved. When a campaign succeeds, Unglue.it will deduct a commission of 6 percent of the funds raised. Then, the book is published electronically DRM-free, meaning it can be shared and read on any device for free worldwide.

Since the site’s launch in May, one book has already been successfully “unglued” on Unglue.it and will be published soon. There are currently four other active campaigns on the site. Authors and rights holders around the globe: time to set your own creative works free?

Website: www.unglue.it Contact: faq@gluejar.com

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photoDon’t worry, the Kindle hasn’t yet killed all brick and mortar bookstores or set Fire to the business. Independent bookstores still have their own Nook in the world of retail.

Despite the significant changes in book selling over the last few decades, technological changes have only fueled the development of these stores. The Internet has expanded the ways through which independent booksellers market themselves, and blogging about books has become one of the most important methods of doing so.

The following are a few examples of bookstores blogging in unique ways about books in order to promote their independent businesses.

1. Politics & Prose Bookstore & Coffee Shop has a blog for every occasion

It’s a little surprising that most bookstores don’t even have a single blog, but Politics & Prose is the over-achiever in this category. The Scoop from Brad & Lissa fills everyone in about goings-on at the store, while you can find book reviews in Barbara’s Byline. They even have a Graphic Novel Blog. This bookstore could inspire you all on it’s own with a hundred ideas for your own blog, so I definitely recommend checking it out.

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photo

2. Bookstore Yet-To-Be-Determined might blog outside the box

Taking into account that the printed book industry is slowing down, you might think of taking into account the many other ways to promote what you’re selling. For example, there are lots of creative ideas that Etsy artists are coming up with using books.

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photoIf you don’t feel like it’s too sacrilegious, you might want to try out blogging about how people can use your books in other…fashionable ways too, perhaps if you have a dollar bin of books that haven’t sold for years and possibly never will.

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photoHeck, you might even find a new niche on Etsy selling “vintage instant libraries“.

3. Vroman’s Bookstore is turning their readers into listeners with podcasts

In every way, Vroman’s Bookstore of Pasadena, CA has created a blog that is thriving on the web. For the newbie blog creator, Vroman’s blog should be a well-referenced example on how to create a successful book blogging site.

But what really makes this blog unique is the use of online podcasts. Vroman’s audio files include interviews with popular authors and other important people in the book industry.

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photo

Not enough blogsites are taking advantage of this cool online medium. Just as readers enjoy the occasional audiobook of their favorite classic, using podcasts retains the interests of established readers, they also invite new blog-goers and listeners too.

4. Also, Vroman’s creates topic-specific book lists

In addition to podcasts, Vroman’s comes up with blog posts based on groups of books surrounding a topic. For example, in a post called For the Love of Cuteness, one of their employees writes a post about all of her favorite cute books and toys (most items sold in the store).

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photo

5. Lemuria Books brings on the guest posts

The blog for Lemuria Books is like the attending a digital social gathering. They have guest posts contributed by everyone from authors to booksellers to their third-floor neighbors. Does it get any friendlier than that? Even better, the diversity of posts and bloggers makes for a very unique, thoughtful and exciting blog.

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photo

6. WORD Brooklyn chose the right blog platform for their bookstore

6 Ways Independent Bookstores Can Blog About Books to Increase Sales photo

WORD Brooklyn has expanded their horizons about where they host their postings on the written word.

Their original webpage is still accessible through WordPress, but their last post on the blog directs readers to a Tumblr blog (it’s that hybrid Facebook-Twitter blogging site you’ve probably heard about from your hipster cousin).

Lots of businesses use blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress, or even Livejournal to document happenings, and there are many other viable alternatives out there for hosting your bookstore blog.

Too many options? Think about your objective. What do you want your web platform choice to say about your blog and your business? Tumblr is attractive to some for its up-and-coming vibe and its user friendly feel, but others find it too casual or image-based for their means.

A Tumblr blog is great for quickly featuring things like books and authors, but might be too compact for lengthy book reviews.

Changes in technology shouldn’t scare away independent bookstores. In fact, the only way to better your business and further its reach is to embrace the changing times and use as many new digital resources to your advantage.

Each of the above businesses have utilized their blogs in interesting ways and that raise good points for others looking to follow in their footsteps. Take some time and consider some of these examples. Which is right for you blog? Try it out and watch the “likes” pile up like a stack of worn paperbacks at the bedside.


Just a note: The key to customer loyalty in small business is to reward your best customers. Luckily, 93% of people already have your loyalty card in their wallet, find out how.

About Amanda MacArthur, Managing Editor, Swipely

Amanda MacArthur collaborates with small businesses across the country to bring together best practice blogs and success stories that come with running a small business. As a Partner at BuzzFarmers, Amanda has consulted with some of America’s largest media companies on their digital marketing strategy and has published dozens of marketing research reports across numerous industries.  If you’re a small business and have a marketing tale to share, please contact Amanda via Email.


Contact Amanda:  @amaaanda  | Amander.com | LifeorDepth.com |


The Tim Ferriss Effect: Lessons From My Successful Book Launch

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If you had a book coming out, and you were considering how to get people excited to buy it, read it, and talk about it, which would be most valuable to you:

1) a 3-minute segment about your book (which is long by TV news standards), including a close-up shot of the cover, on primetime CNN. . .

2) a 1,000 word piece you wrote on a topic related to your book, published in the Sunday opinion section of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, which reaches the #6 most emailed piece on NYTimes.com within a day. . .

3) a guest post you wrote, published on the blog of one lone dude in SF obsessed with fat loss, female orgasms, and lifting Russian kettle bells?

If your goal was to cause a lightning storm of book sales, you should pick #3. I know—I did all three.

Today, I want to write about something I’d like to call the “Tim Ferriss Effect.” It’s not exclusive to Tim Ferriss, but he is I believe the marquee example of a major shift that has happened in the last 5 years within the world of book promotion.

Here’s the basic idea:

When trying to promote a book, the main place you want coverage is on a popular single-author blog or site related to your topic.

The most pertinent words in that previous sentence, aside from “popular,” are “single-author.” No, not as in romantically unattached (Tim has a girlfriend now, and I know who she is, but I’m not telling!)

What I mean is, a blog—or other online audience such as an email newsletter—centered around one person who has major influence over a large, loyal audience.

In previous times, before the Internet, this was called the Oprah Effect. And don’t get me wrong, I’d still leap at the opportunity to share my message on cable with arguably the most persuasive person who ever walked the planet. (Producers—you can reach me via my website!)

But as more of our attention (and our book buying) shifts online, its only natural that the mantle Oprah held for a quarter of a century in introducing readers to new books, shifts to a digital native.

And in my opinion, the digital native who has taken up that mantle in the book world, is Tim Ferriss.

I had the fortune of being introduced to Mr. Ferriss well before his storied first book came out. Our mutual friend Doug Price introduced him to me as “this crazy dude you need to know.”

For many years, our relationship consisted primarily of him emailing me from various places he was traveling, and asking me to send him digital music, as he knew I was a connoisseur of Cuban salsa, which he was starting to get into. I knew him as a proprietor of a sports nutrition business, with a penchant for travel and a rather crazy book idea that had been rejected by major publishers 20+ times.

Tim and I developed a friendship, and over the years, I watched him transform himself from Tim Ferriss to Tim Ferriss: the Silicon Valley guru for whom—it seems—everything he touches turns to gold.

Fast forward many years to my recent book launch for The Education of Millionaires. This was the most important moment of my professional life. I had published one book before, which I was proud of, but this was my first career-defining book: a hardcover release, on two topics of current national discussion (career development, in the middle of a nasty economic downturn, and higher education, in the middle of a mounting debate over the value and cost of higher ed.)

I was scrambling to do everything I possibly could to get the word out about this book. I had no idea what I was doing—I had never done a national hardcover book launch before. A lot was riding on this for me.

I tried everything. I basically made the launch up as I went. I released the Introduction and Chapter 1 of my book to my (then exceedingly tiny) email list and Twitter following, hoping that would “go viral.” (It didn’t.)

I did interviews with various radio shows and even some national business websites. I’d do those interviews again—but I didn’t notice a huge spike in Amazon sales after any of these.

(By the way, my main metric in all of this story is Amazon rank, because that is the primary real-time gauge of sales available to authors, allowing you as an author to see the hour-by-hour impact of each specific piece of publicity that gets released. You’ll only ever truly understand this sentiment below, which I posted on my Facebook, until you’ve done your own book launch.)

Before launch day, I did teleseminar interviews with several of my friends who had email lists. I received an enthusiastic response from their audience, for which I was extremely grateful, and I would welcome the opportunity again—but in general their audience wasn’t of the size that would move the needle significantly on Amazon rankings.

By September 28th, 2011, the eve of my book launch (when I posted that Facebook comment), after weeks and weeks of promotion along these lines, my Amazon ranking was up to this:

Pretty darn good. But not earth-shattering.

Then, the next day, around 3:30 PM eastern on official launch day, Tim Ferriss logged onto his WordPress control panel, and pressed “Publish” on an 8,000-word guest post I had worked on over the previous several weeks, for his blog.

The post opened with Tim briefly explaining how he knew me, endorsing me as a person, and describing the book (with a link to my book.) It then went directly into my guest post– there was not even an explicit call to action to buy my book or even any positive statements about my book.

An hour later, this:

I was astonished. To see something with my name attached to it, selling on Amazon at a rank in two digits.

Here was another a fun screen-shot from that day:

I beat Tim (often called the Dale Carnegie of the digital age) and Mr. Carnegie himself, for a few days, thanks largely to Tim.

Now, I know, it wasn’t a New York Times bestseller. It wan’t #1 on Amazon. It wasn’t even Top 10 on Amazon.

But also I know a lot of authors who would die to reach #45 on Amazon on launch day. (Including me.)

For the next two months, I tried to day everything and anything to regain the Amazon ranking crack-high that that guest post gave me (unlike crack, the high lasted for weeks, as I stayed in the Top 100 for the next few weeks.)

Never got it back though.

I did all kinds of press in the subsequent weeks after Tim’s post. (If you want to, you can see some samples here.) I’m proud of this press, I’m grateful for the outlets for giving me the opportunity, and I would welcome the opportunity again. No complaints there.

But even the big opportunities that came my way didn’t ever have the effect on my book promotion that that one post on Tim’s blog did.

I had the good fortune of being able to write an opinion piece for the New York Times, related to my book. Now, the editors of the op-ed page of the New York Times don’t give a damn what effect their editorial choices have on an author’s book sales, nor should they. They’re there to provoke national discussion on important topics, and I believe the piece I wrote (with their very helpful editorial suggestions) did exactly that.

But no author in the world is going to avoid at least hoping that coverage in the nation’s newspaper of record might also unleash a torrent of buyers, landing him on that paper’s famed bestsellers list.

The op-ed reached the #6 on their “Most Emailed” ranking on their site. There were two or three days when it seemed I could not log onto Facebook or Twitter without seeing a river or retweets or Facebook shares of my piece.

I thought, with my piece getting to #6 on the “Most Emailed” list, and the s***-storm of social media action the piece was getting, there was no way this thing wasn’t going to hit bestseller list.

But instead:

That was the highest the book ever reached in the days after the New York Times piece and the crazy wild storm of social media sharing it received (up in rank from #1,301 the day before the Times piece went live.)

Similar pattern: A week later, I was on primetime CNN—OutFront with Erin Burnett—talking about my Times piece and my book. That’s a slot any author in the world (including me) would covet, and I’d leap at the opportunity again.

Yet even primetime TV coverage didn’t afford me the break into that under-100 Amazon-ranking I was so jonesing to re-experience:

Nothing to sneeze at—but I still wasn’t able to break under 100 again. Nothing, it seemed—not even major mainstream national media and a social media feeding-frenzy–could match that Amazon-ranking high that a single piece on Tim’s blog afforded me.

What was going on here? Why did one piece on a single blog work such wonders in comparison to major national media?

Next: The Tim Ferriss Effect explained

 

If you had a book coming out, and you were considering how to get people excited to buy it, read it, and talk about it, which would be most valuable to you:

1) a 3-minute segment about your book (which is long by TV news standards), including a close-up shot of the cover, on primetime CNN. . .

2) a 1,000 word piece you wrote on a topic related to your book, published in the Sunday opinion section of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, which reaches the #6 most emailed piece on NYTimes.com within a day. . .

3) a guest post you wrote, published on the blog of one lone dude in SF obsessed with fat loss, female orgasms, and lifting Russian kettle bells?

If your goal was to cause a lightning storm of book sales, you should pick #3. I know—I did all three.

Today, I want to write about something I’d like to call the “Tim Ferriss Effect.” It’s not exclusive to Tim Ferriss, but he is I believe the marquee example of a major shift that has happened in the last 5 years within the world of book promotion.

Here’s the basic idea:

When trying to promote a book, the main place you want coverage is on a popular single-author blog or site related to your topic.

The most pertinent words in that previous sentence, aside from “popular,” are “single-author.” No, not as in romantically unattached (Tim has a girlfriend now, and I know who she is, but I’m not telling!)

What I mean is, a blog—or other online audience such as an email newsletter—centered around one person who has major influence over a large, loyal audience.

In previous times, before the Internet, this was called the Oprah Effect. And don’t get me wrong, I’d still leap at the opportunity to share my message on cable with arguably the most persuasive person who ever walked the planet. (Producers—you can reach me via my website!)

But as more of our attention (and our book buying) shifts online, its only natural that the mantle Oprah held for a quarter of a century in introducing readers to new books, shifts to a digital native.

And in my opinion, the digital native who has taken up that mantle in the book world, is Tim Ferriss.

I had the fortune of being introduced to Mr. Ferriss well before his storied first book came out. Our mutual friend Doug Price introduced him to me as “this crazy dude you need to know.”

For many years, our relationship consisted primarily of him emailing me from various places he was traveling, and asking me to send him digital music, as he knew I was a connoisseur of Cuban salsa, which he was starting to get into. I knew him as a proprietor of a sports nutrition business, with a penchant for travel and a rather crazy book idea that had been rejected by major publishers 20+ times.

Tim and I developed a friendship, and over the years, I watched him transform himself from Tim Ferriss to Tim Ferriss: the Silicon Valley guru for whom—it seems—everything he touches turns to gold.

Fast forward many years to my recent book launch for The Education of Millionaires. This was the most important moment of my professional life. I had published one book before, which I was proud of, but this was my first career-defining book: a hardcover release, on two topics of current national discussion (career development, in the middle of a nasty economic downturn, and higher education, in the middle of a mounting debate over the value and cost of higher ed.)

I was scrambling to do everything I possibly could to get the word out about this book. I had no idea what I was doing—I had never done a national hardcover book launch before. A lot was riding on this for me.

I tried everything. I basically made the launch up as I went. I released the Introduction and Chapter 1 of my book to my (then exceedingly tiny) email list and Twitter following, hoping that would “go viral.” (It didn’t.)

I did interviews with various radio shows and even some national business websites. I’d do those interviews again—but I didn’t notice a huge spike in Amazon sales after any of these.

(By the way, my main metric in all of this story is Amazon rank, because that is the primary real-time gauge of sales available to authors, allowing you as an author to see the hour-by-hour impact of each specific piece of publicity that gets released. You’ll only ever truly understand this sentiment below, which I posted on my Facebook, until you’ve done your own book launch.)

Before launch day, I did teleseminar interviews with several of my friends who had email lists. I received an enthusiastic response from their audience, for which I was extremely grateful, and I would welcome the opportunity again—but in general their audience wasn’t of the size that would move the needle significantly on Amazon rankings.

By September 28th, 2011, the eve of my book launch (when I posted that Facebook comment), after weeks and weeks of promotion along these lines, my Amazon ranking was up to this:

Pretty darn good. But not earth-shattering.

Then, the next day, around 3:30 PM eastern on official launch day, Tim Ferriss logged onto his WordPress control panel, and pressed “Publish” on an 8,000-word guest post I had worked on over the previous several weeks, for his blog.

The post opened with Tim briefly explaining how he knew me, endorsing me as a person, and describing the book (with a link to my book.) It then went directly into my guest post– there was not even an explicit call to action to buy my book or even any positive statements about my book.

An hour later, this:

I was astonished. To see something with my name attached to it, selling on Amazon at a rank in two digits.

Here was another a fun screen-shot from that day:

I beat Tim (often called the Dale Carnegie of the digital age) and Mr. Carnegie himself, for a few days, thanks largely to Tim.

Now, I know, it wasn’t a New York Times bestseller. It wan’t #1 on Amazon. It wasn’t even Top 10 on Amazon.

But also I know a lot of authors who would die to reach #45 on Amazon on launch day. (Including me.)

For the next two months, I tried to day everything and anything to regain the Amazon ranking crack-high that that guest post gave me (unlike crack, the high lasted for weeks, as I stayed in the Top 100 for the next few weeks.)

Never got it back though.

I did all kinds of press in the subsequent weeks after Tim’s post. (If you want to, you can see some samples here.) I’m proud of this press, I’m grateful for the outlets for giving me the opportunity, and I would welcome the opportunity again. No complaints there.

But even the big opportunities that came my way didn’t ever have the effect on my book promotion that that one post on Tim’s blog did.

I had the good fortune of being able to write an opinion piece for the New York Times, related to my book. Now, the editors of the op-ed page of the New York Times don’t give a damn what effect their editorial choices have on an author’s book sales, nor should they. They’re there to provoke national discussion on important topics, and I believe the piece I wrote (with their very helpful editorial suggestions) did exactly that.

But no author in the world is going to avoid at least hoping that coverage in the nation’s newspaper of record might also unleash a torrent of buyers, landing him on that paper’s famed bestsellers list.

The op-ed reached the #6 on their “Most Emailed” ranking on their site. There were two or three days when it seemed I could not log onto Facebook or Twitter without seeing a river or retweets or Facebook shares of my piece.

I thought, with my piece getting to #6 on the “Most Emailed” list, and the s***-storm of social media action the piece was getting, there was no way this thing wasn’t going to hit bestseller list.

But instead:

That was the highest the book ever reached in the days after the New York Times piece and the crazy wild storm of social media sharing it received (up in rank from #1,301 the day before the Times piece went live.)

Similar pattern: A week later, I was on primetime CNN—OutFront with Erin Burnett—talking about my Times piece and my book. That’s a slot any author in the world (including me) would covet, and I’d leap at the opportunity again.

Yet even primetime TV coverage didn’t afford me the break into that under-100 Amazon-ranking I was so jonesing to re-experience:

Nothing to sneeze at—but I still wasn’t able to break under 100 again. Nothing, it seemed—not even major mainstream national media and a social media feeding-frenzy–could match that Amazon-ranking high that a single piece on Tim’s blog afforded me.

What was going on here? Why did one piece on a single blog work such wonders in comparison to major national media?

Next: The Tim Ferriss Effect explained

 

There is a key distinction that I haven’t seen talked about much in the voluminous verbiage out there devoted to how to promote things:

There’s a big difference between being exposed to a large audience, and being exposed to a comparatively smaller (but still large) audience which is ridiculously passionate.

The former is very nice; the latter is priceless.

You know the oft-observed phenonmenon in politics, that a passionate minority can have influence far beyond a diffuse, apathetic majority?

That is the essence of the Tim Ferriss Effect—which goes way beyond Tim Ferriss. It’s better to be exposed to a comparatively smaller group of people who are engaged, devoted and passionate, than to a much larger group of people who are casual readers.

In the past, Tim Ferriss has (for example) recommended that his readers take regular baths in tubs full of ice water. You can bet that, after he recommended that publicly, male and female nipples across America were hardening,submerged in bathtubs full of ice water.

He’s also competed against traditional media directly. In a competition to benefit  education non-profit DonorsChoose.org, Tim outfundraised Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report) 3-to-1, and beat out TechCrunch and Engadget combined.

All of this has led a handful of brands—including American Apparel, Audi, Sonos, and others—eager to do co-promotions, events, and more for his audience.  But the list remains small, because the bigger brands still go after the largest “impressions,” ignoring the most important factor of all: measurable impact.

Even if the total number who receive the message is smaller than on national media, the percentage taking action is so much higher, it can dwarf the effect you’ll see from national media.

So what’s the relevance of all this for everyone else? Is my lesson “get introduced to Tim Ferriss, and send him salsa music over the Internet, before he’s famous”? That’s not very actionable advice!

(Tim is, by the way, notoriously cagey about promoting books and other products that come in through unsolicited pitches.)

But I do think there are two interrelated lessons to be learned from my experience here, which have wider applicability far beyond me or Tim:

#1) Whatever field your book or product is in, I guarantee you that there is a blogger or other “thought leader” out there who has a sway over your specific field as powerful as Tim has with his own audience. Find those people: in my experience, they are way more powerful for promoting your book than even national exposure on mainstream media. Their (comparatively smaller) audience is much more concentrated and passionate, and will thus take action in much higher numbers. This can result in surprisingly greater results than national media.

#2) The best way to reach these bloggers and thought leaders who can implement this “Ferriss Effect” in your own field is to develop relationships with them over long periods of time. I’d known (and partied and stayed up in late-night bull-sessions with) Tim for years before I ever asked him to do anything for me. This is not a game for people who want results in 2 weeks. This is a game for people who want results in 2-10 years.

This is a game best suited for people who think that many, many evenings out eating, drinking and building relationships counts as part of your “work;” if you’re inclined to think such ways of spending time are a waste, then this is not the game to play, and instead keep sending out those cold pitches to strangers, hoping they’ll promote you, and see how far they get you.

Next: The Million Dollar Question: How do you get on high profile bloggers’ radars?

To get some more perspective on the power of single-author blogs, I asked some other authors of well-known, influential single-author blogs to chime in. Here’s what New York Times bestselling author Ramit Sethi had to say:

“In the past, it was a clear path. If you wanted exposure for something, you went to the mass media. Over time, the ‘TV industrial complex’ grew more and more complicated, more and more fragmented, and there were tons and tons of channels. Now there are channels upon channels.

“So, in a world of infinite choices, if something is not directly personalized to us, we close the window and we’re on to something else. For example with Tim’s site, you have a highly passionate audience of people of a very similar demographic who have really similar goals. If anybody wants to post anything about lifestyle design and get attention, it’s more effective to be on Tim’s blog than to be on the Today Show.”

Ramit used this concept when launching his own book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which became a bestseller. “There was basically a book review put up on virtually every major personal finance blog. We could track and see exactlywhich blogs were sending the most traffic and the most sales, and it was actually quite surprising. Some of the largest blogs did not send some of the most sales. So the beautiful thing is that you can now track what’s effective and what’s not. On a recent launch, we actually prioritized one single-author blog higher than a huge newspaper and a huge TV show with millions of viewers that everyone in the country has heard of.

“You want to find an audience that is highly targeted. I would rather be able to reach 5,000 people who are exactly interested in my topic than let’s say 100,000 who are only marginally interested.

“I was on a national morning TV show and I had a pretty prominent segment where I held up my book and I discussed everything. It was very positive. However, if I had shown you the traffic numbers from that week, you would not have been able to guess which day I was on the morning show. Seriously.

“The Holy Grail is a single-author blog with a large audience that is highly focused, and the author loves your stuff. If you can make friends with them and show them that your stuff is great and relevant to their audience, that can really propel you from one level to the next.”

I asked Ramit the Million Dollar Question: let’s say you’ve identified this Holy Grail blogger. How do you get on his or her radar?

“Here’s the worst way. The worst way is to send one email with a ton of content saying, ‘Hey, I would love for you to review my product. I think it’s great. I think your readers would really love it’ and then it’s just a bunch of gibberish markety stuff.

“Guess what? Any big blogger gets at least 50 of those a week. I wish we could answer all of them, but they just get deleted. The more effective way is to take a long-term approach. The real misfortune is that nobody else does it. So people will nod and say, ‘Yeah, I should really do that,’ and then they don’t.

“You want to focus on the idea, ‘I’m going to add value to this person over time.’ The first thing you could do is leave some thoughtful comments on their blog. Next, you could send them some email saying, ‘Hey, that was really great, but I thought you may have missed this one point. Here’s an interesting article with a different perspective on it.’ If you thought it through and did some research, the author will think, ‘Wow, thanks very much!’ and you arenot asking for anything.

“All of a sudden now you’ve differentiated yourself first by adding value. You are not going directly for the kill. Eventually, you could reach out and say, ‘Hey, these are a couple of things I noticed you’re doing that I think that I could help with. I’d love to connect you to this person, etc.’ Then eventually, you can ask, ‘If it’s okay, I just want to ask you for about 60 seconds,’ and ask them about your thing and say, ‘Do you have any advice?’ and ‘Do you think maybe this might be interesting to your audience?’

“No pressure. One mistake people make is they often have a ‘one shot and done’ attitude about this: ‘If I don’t get my pitch in, and they don’t like it, it’s over.’ Wrong. It’s really about building a relationship over the long-term. Sounds like a lot of work? Good! Because 99% of people will not do that. That’s why they will send one email, it will be rejected and they’ll complain that, ‘Oh this blogger’s not nice,’ or ‘Oh, it’s too hard to get media. If only I had connections.’ The point is to reach those people, it’s not about luck ormagic, it’s about being really thoughtful and systematic about how you can help them first.”

Ramit has not only been on the receiving end of the power of single-author blogs promoting his stuff—he also now bestows these effects on others. He recently published a piece about microloan charity Kiva. A representative from Kiva later wrote that Ramit’s post “led to our biggest loan volume day ever. . . . I realized, this is just ridiculous. The biggest loan volume day ever, and Kiva.org has been mentioned in various international news sources (BBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal).”

Next: Noah Kagan, AppSumo founder, answers the Million Dollar Question

I also spoke with Noah Kagan about the surprising, disproportionate power of focused blogs for promotion.

Noah Kagan was an early employee of Facebook, then director of marketing at Mint.com, and is now the founder and CEO of AppSumo. He writes his own influential blog as well. He told me:

“AppSumo has been featured in TechCrunch, Venture Beat, ReadWriteWeb—all of these places where start ups and entrepreneurs are really hoping to get featured on. Not to take any of that for granted, but I would take Lifehacker—which is not something that’s mainstream for startups to consider—any day over those guys, because it’s the most effective for the right audience.”

I asked, “What do you see as attributing to that effectiveness?”

“I feel that TechCrunch and a lot of these other sites are more for casual browsing. It’s people reading snippets. Whereas, as a site like Lifehacker, the audience is there to actually engage and take action from the content that’s produced. So we saw magnitudes of differences as far as subscribers and the quality of people coming from Lifehacker. In a like manner, my own guestpost for Tim’s blog was the one of the most popular drivers of traffic to AppSumo in the company’s history.

“One big aspect of this is that certain authors, such as Tim and Ramit, have built a lot of trust with their audience around the products they recommend. They give a very clear message to their audience: ‘Here are products I’m recommending that you should actually pay for.’ Implicit in that message is, ‘Paying for something is actually a good thing.’ Someone said to me about AppSumo recently, ‘Some of the stuff you put out, you can find online.’ I say, ‘Yes, you can find it online, but we curate and condense the best information everywhere via the products that we are going to be promoting.’ People begin to trust your taste over time.”

I couldn’t resist, and again asked Kagan the Million Dollar Question–once you’ve identified the specific bloggers you’d like to reach out to, how do you actually get in touch with them?

“Just in self-reflecting right now, who are the people that I actually responded to today? 99% of the people who email me are just like, ‘Hey, gimme.’ Or, ‘Hey, I’ve got this problem, I need motivation, I need help with my business, I’m struggling with this. . .’ But whom do I actually respond to and help out? One guy sent me underwear. He knows that I talk about underwear a lot, so even before we started talking, he’s like, ‘What’s your address, I want to send you something.’ I didn’t know him, and I think that’s a little awkward frankly. [Laughter.] But that got me! People have sent me custom hot sauce. People have sent me different things like that. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be an item that costs money.

“The first email you could send to someone is just a flattering email. Flattery is the killer that no one uses anymore. Email someone and say something like, ‘I don’t really have any other motivations right now, I just want to tell you that I love your stuff and you’ve changed my life,” and then explain exactly how it has changed your life. That alone is an easy opening for me to just be interested in you because you have benefited from my stuff, which makes me feel really good.”

Next: The namesake of the Tim Ferriss Effect speaks out

Of course, I couldn’t write an article on the “Tim Ferriss Effect” without getting a few quotes from the man himself. Here’s what he told me over the phone.

With Tim’s permission, you can listen to the recording of my full phone interview with him here. (NSFW, as we tend to get foul-mouthed when we rap together. The transcript has been edited.)

TIM FERRISS: “People have two unfortunate broad labels that they use which can be very misguiding. Namely, the differentiation between ‘journalist’ and ‘blogger.’ The reason I was successful in launching my first book with bloggers is this: I assumed that I should spend as much time on a blogger with a million-person readership as I would pitching an editor of a publication with a million person subscription-base.

“That’s a point that sometimes gets lost when people are considering pitching media outlets. They’ll spend more time pitching a national magazine that in reality only has a 100,000 person subscriber base (even though they have allthese inflated bullshit numbers based on pass along in dentists’ offices.) They’ll spend an entire week agonizing over the email that they’re going to send to that editor. And then they’ll send a 3-sentence spam email to 100 bloggers of equal power as that editor: ‘Hey, I thought you’d really love the book. It’s perfect for your readers. Here’s an excerpt and here’s this and here’s that. Thanks for sharing with your audience.’

“It’s astonishing to me how standard this mistake is. If you take a print magazine with a million person circulation, and a blog with a devout readership of 1 million, for the purpose of selling anything that can be sold online, the blog is infinitely more powerful, because it’s only a click away. Thetransition from interest to purchase is one click, whereas if someone sees something on Good Morning America, as wide as its reach may be, they need to write that down, and/or capture it in a device and then go online, search for it and purchase it. So the abandonment rate is so atrociously high. Many of the startups I advise have been on national television, and they barely registered any blip, if at all, on their Google analytics.

“But with a feature from some D-list blog, they’ll sell 100 times more. You are not after the biggest audience possible, you are after the right audience. That’s not a qualitative question, it’s also a quantitative question. You always want to hit the right thousand people.

“I always point people to the article ‘1,000 True Fans‘ by Kevin Kelly. If you choose your thousand ideal customers or readers properly and find the single author blog that targets that audience, you never have to do any more marketing. You’re done. That is a lesson that very few product developers and marketers have learned, and it’s unfortunate.

“People don’t trust entities. People trust people. Therefore, if someone reads, say, CNBC, they are reading a conglomerate of largely nameless contributors who are secondary to the content. When somebody reads Ramit Sethi’s blog, when someone reads Perez Hilton, when someone reads Ree Drummond, they are reading and trusting a single person as opposed to an entity. That personal level of trust is a very large responsibility, but it’s also a high-leverage point of influence. That is something that no amalgamation of a hundred or a thousand writers could ever match person-per-person.”

I asked Tim why he thought more people were not hip to this concept, and why everyone seems so focused on getting in general-interest national media over more focused, niche online media.

“I think there are a number of causes for this. The first is that it’s easier to pick out the national media targets than it is to pick out the high-value bloggers. If you walk into any bookstore, you can look at the newsstands andyou have to match your message to that audience.”

I continued: “What tips besides living in San Francisco? What actionable advice do you have for people who want to take this approach, besides becoming friends with Tim Ferriss, which is harder to do now that your dance card is pretty much full. What actionable advice would you give people to follow this strategy?”

Tim told me: “I would say, #1: email is the most crowded channel for communicating with anyone. Telephone is usually an annoyance which leads to an in-person meeting. So if you are serious about developingrelationships—not transactions, but relationships with people whom you can share ideas and cross-pollinate audiences with, meet them in-person. Spend the 300 bucks to fly to South-by-Southwest. Spend a week in San Francisco, spend a week in Nashvilleif music is your thing. Whatever the topic happens to be. If it’s fashion, go to New York City.

“If you are not willing to invest that time, you’re going to get a poor return on your investment. Life will be much less interesting on top of that. I look at those people who spend years and years publishing one book per year and who never quite get to where they want to get—I’ve given people my exactblueprint for pitching bloggers, yet, they still spam the shit out of hundreds of bloggers randomly with template emails.

“The bloggers who actually have dedicated audiences are getting pitched a thousand times more than you think they are. If you think that you are just going to waltz in and they’re starving for content with an audience of 200,000 people, you’re wrong. You’re probably late to the party so don’t walk into their living room and f***in’ kick off your shoes and put your stinky feet on table and yell at their significant other to go grab you a cold beer, because it’s poor etiquette.”

Tim himself has been quite open about how this relationship-building over time (rather than spammy pitching) is how he got his start. In fact, he was a beneficiary of the “effect” I’ve named after him, which in this case should be called the “Robert Scoble Effect”.

Robert is another person who can create these kind of effects for people/products/services he endorses, far beyond what national media (with a much larger audience) could do. Tim credits a great deal of his early success to this short post by Scoble.

How did Tim build a relationship with Scoble? By sending him a cold pitch?

“I met him after meeting his wife at CES in Vegas. More accurately, I never made it to CES. Instead, I went to the nearby Seagate-sponsored lounge called the ‘BlogHaus’ and simply had drinks with bloggers for two days. Robert’s wife, Maryam, was checking people in, and we hit it off. When interacting with everyone else, mostly bloggers, I asked a lot of questions about their craft and never pitched them the book. Only if they asked about me would I mention working on a book. Only if they pushed further would I even go into the topic. Then I would offer, if they were interested, an early copy with 15 pages or so selected specifically based on their interests, making it clear that ‘I don’t think you’ll like the whole book, and I certainly don’t expect you to do anything promotional, but I do think you’d enjoy the 15 pages I have in mind.”

Since my own book launched, I’ve had the opportunity to see examples of the Tim Ferriss Effect play out in other contexts beyond Tim or my book.

Another figure who exercises thought leadership with a large, loyal, concentrated audience, and who has the power to create massive successes if he thinks that audience needs to hear about something, is Brendon Burchard, founder of Experts Academy.

When Brendon told me that one of his favorite authors was Paulo Coelho, I decided to nominate myself for the chutzpah award of the century, and contact Paulo (a man who has sold roughly 140 million more books in his writing career than I have) and ask him if I might offer him an unsolicited marketing suggestion for the launch of his (then) upcoming book, Aleph. “You need to let Brendon expose you to his audience,” I wrote to Paulo, explaining who Brendon was and what his track record was. Coelho wrote back and said he’d be delighted, I connected the two via email, and this is what resulted, a live public call between the two of them.

My understanding is that tens of thousands of people registered for this call. That is tiny compared to the circulation of a major newspaper or the viewership of a primetime TV show.

But here’s the difference: Brendon’s audience (like Tim’s) is passionate, concentrated, and loyal. So when he told them they needed to check out Paulo’s new book, thousands of them did—all at once. When thousands of people buy a book at once, that get’s you to #1 territory on Amazon very fast. Here is what happened for Paulo within hours after the interview:

Paulo Coelho, one of the most successful authors of all time, has taken notice of this sea-change in book promotion. He told me: “I am trying to tell my publishers world wide that I don’t need to give interviews in major media to sell books. This is a big shift for them, but they are coming to my point of view. I decided to give no major media interviews with Aleph’s launching, and the results were astonishing: the book made the bestseller lists all over the world, except UK. Intuitively, I was investing a lot of time in my blog, and I can reach peaks of over 200k viewers per day.

“Now I am starting to record weekly podcasts on writing books. I just posted the first one, talking about Aleph, and we are over 48.000 in YouTube (less than 3 days).  It had no editing, it was a test, but it worked beyond my expectations.”

Brendon told me: “It’s all about the depth of the relationship with the audience. Traditional outlets don’t have influence, they have impressions. What makes the individual blogger or newsletter owner so powerful is that (a) people subscribed to hear from them, (b) they’ve added real value to theiraudiences over the long-term, (c) they have a strong point of view and their biases are clear and transparent, and (d) they’re making direct calls to action for people to click a link or purchase something.

“I think we proved this with Paulo’s campaign for Aleph. When the front C-Section article on Paulo came out in the New York Times, in both print and on the web, it never even broke Aleph into the top 100 on Amazon. Our campaign and interview took Aleph to #1 on Amazon that week and #6 on the New York Times the following, with a clear majority of sales for that (tracked through Bookscan) coming as a direct result of our interview. That worked because people have loved Paulo’s previous work and posts, and because I have a very loyal audience.

“But there was one more thing we did. A key reason we could take Aleph to #1 is that we captured reader’s contact information. They gave us their name and email to get access to the interview, which allowed us to intelligently add value to them and then mobilize them to take action later on. This was critical. Mainstream outlets never do this.

“Getting all the traffic and attention from bloggers is critical, but authors who do not capitalize on the attention to capture leads, add value, and make sales will continue to be frustrated. I’m always making the comment that, from a marketing perspective, one of the worst things that could happen is that you get on Oprah, but you don’t have a website and campaign sequence up that can capture and convert all that interest.

“Same thing for getting on blogs—they might drive some initial sales, but to keep it all going an author needs to have in mind the bigger picture of their brand and business, they need to keep capturing and adding value to their audiences, and they need to be in it for the long haul.

“Authors and bloggers are storytellers. They have the same language and make their living by sharing perspectives and stories, which is why their audience match better. If an author hopes to win in today’s world, be a great storyteller, find other great storytellers.”

As I’ve been saying all along, it’s all about developing relationships.  That’s where it’s at. Learn to become a great networker (here and hereare my Forbes articles on how to do so), identify the people who can create “Ferriss Effects” in your field, and build relationships with them over a long period of time.The results may astound you.

***

Michael Ellsberg is the author of The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late (Penguin/Portfolio). Ellsberg spent two years interviewing some of the world’s most successful people who don’t have college degrees, and who instead majored in “street smarts,” to find out their secrets for real-world success and share them. Michael sends manifestos, recommendations, tips, and other exclusive content to his privateemail list, which you can join at www.ellsberg.com. Connect with him on Twitter @MichaelEllsberg or subscribe to his public updates on Facebook.