Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Seth Godin

Cleaning Out The Drawer ~ A Bouquet of Posts


Periodically, I break my usual routine of writing single-topic posts and dig into the long list of saved, potentially useful articles I’ve tucked away.

I use Google Alerts to find potential posts from other sites and, daily, I add to the drawer.

When it starts to jam on opening, I pull a few choice picks out and share them

First, an article in The Atlantic called, The Amazon Paradox: Coming to Terms With Publishing’s Colossus, where Peter Osnos explores the phenomenon of people buying more ebooks but feeling a touch guilty that they aren’t helping bookstores.

Then, there’s A City Without Bookshops, by Peter Schoppert, on e27—from the Frankfurt Bookfair to Singaporean authors and books and bookstores to Amazon to some ideas he’s working on to capitalize on the disruption in the publishing trade.

Next, from IndieReader, is Amy Rogers’ post, Everything You Wanted to Know About Publishing But Were Afraid To Ask. She gives a remarkable survey of all the many flavors of publishing available.

Digital Book World has Jeff Rivera interviewing Seth Godin about a number of aspects of the changes in the book world in Libraries, Literary Agents and the Future of Book Publishing as We Know It. This one has a fascinating collection of reader comments.

Want some insight into how statistical manipulation makes solid information on books published or sold nearly non-existent? Read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics—eye-opening, to say the least.

O.K., I’d better stop there so I have a relatively full drawer for my normal blogging and so you aren’t off reading other blogs and miss my post tomorrow :-)

Plus, it seems I actually, sort of, potentially created a single topic—posts from my drawer that all have to do, in some way, with publishing.

But

If you have any hot recommendations of posts you’ve read, please put them in the Comments.
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What if I’m A Writer But I’m No Good At Marketing?


Many writers are finding out that even the Traditional Publishers want much more of the promotion or marketing to be done by the writer themselves.

Many writers feel they are incapable of this kind of work

Well, perhaps my guest post for Joel Friedlander, Virtual Book Promotion and Word of Mouth, can show you that radical creativity can come to a writer’s rescue—writers are highly creative, right?

But, my personal solution to marketing promotion may not be what you want to do.

You may have to use that creativity to produce your own brand of promotion

A free book that could be your catalyst for producing your own author’s platform is Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Idea Virus.

This excerpt from Wikipedia sums up Seth’s views very well:

“Godin believes that the end of the ‘TV-Industrial complex’ means that marketers no longer have the power to command the attention of anyone they choose, whenever they choose. Second, in a marketplace in which consumers have more power, he thinks marketers must show more respect; this means no spam, no deceit and a bias for keeping promises. Finally, Godin asserts that the only way to spread the word about an idea is for that idea to earn the buzz by being remarkable. Godin refers to those who spread these ideas as ‘Sneezers’, and to the spreading idea as an ‘IdeaVirus’. He calls a remarkable product or service a purple cow.

“Advertisements on television and radio are classified as ‘interruption marketing’ which interrupt the customer while they are doing something of their preference. Godin introduced the concept of ‘permission marketing’ where the business provides something “anticipated, personal, and relevant’.”

I should add that many writers’ methods of using Social Media could be called “Interruption Marketing” :-)

Yeah, I know, that Seth guy uses the dreaded word “marketing” a lot; but then, that’s what he’s an expert at and a huge number of people who are not writers just love the man.

Which brings up the concept that writers can find lots of stuff to use when attempting promotion by “translating” what those “nasty business folk” read—product = book, consumer = reader, factory = writer’s cave

So, if you’re a writer seeking a readership, I hope you download and read Seth’s book and I hope you’ll also translate what he says in this video :-)


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Getting Published Is Easy ~ Getting Readers Is Hard Work


My New Year’s Resolution will be Steady As She Goes

I have a new novel published and two companion books in the works

And, I have a somewhat unique way to find Readers

Past posts in this blog about Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing can, hopefully, help a few writers make a few decisions about which path they want to trudge

I published my novel, Notes from An Alien, for a total of US$200.

If you need to pay an editor (mine did it just to be acknowledged in the book) and a cover designer (NASA provided me with an image, gratis), you could use something like Kickstarter to generate a few thousand dollars.

For some insight into using Kickstarter, check out, The Challenges of Using Kickstarter to Fund a New Novel.

So, you get published. Where are your readers?

Even traditionally published books can languish in the arena of readership and many a traditionally published author has had to do their own work to build an audience.

And, while traditionally published authors can wait years for a finished book to hit the shelves, it may only be on those shelves for a few months.

Digital shelves bring up the concept of the Long Tail—books selling “forever”—“…the cultural benefit of all of this is much more diversity, reversing the blanding effects of a century of distribution scarcity and ending the tyranny of the hit.”

Still, the author with print or ebooks on a digital shelf needs readers

That Long Tail article addresses some of this but an author will still have to build an Audience or Platform to get the “recommendation tools” of the digital shelves working for them.

Seth Godin in the article, What I Learned In My Year Of Revolutionizing Publishing, says something profound about what he calls Permission Marketing—having a “tribe” of readers who have given you permission to let them know what you’ve done (this is the modern way to “sell”):

Permission is still the most important and valuable asset of the web (and of publishing). The core group of 50,000 subscribers to the Domino blog made all the difference in getting the word out and turning each of our books into a bestseller. It still amazes me how few online merchants and traditional publishers (and even authors) have done the hard work necessary to create this asset. If you’re an author in search of success and you don’t pursue this with single-minded passion, you’re making a serious error. (See #2 on my advice for authors post from five years ago, or the last part of my other advice for authors post from six years ago.)”

Is all this talk about the hard work of finding readers going to make you give up?

If you have a book, in your head or written out, does its Life justify lots of hard work?

Does it seem unfair to you that sensitive, creative people need to roll up their sleeves and build a sustainable author platform?

What do you think is the most important attribute authors need to develop to be successful?

What is “success”?
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The Publishing Wars & Avoiding Them


Back in May, when I published Notes from An Alien, I knew I was making a choice based on my needs and the book’s needs—we both wanted it to be read sooner rather than later

The dance routine for pursuing traditional publishing can take a seeming eternity to produce a book. Self-publishing can be done swiftly.

Even with all the gatekeeping rituals of traditional publishing, lousy books are produced. Self-publishing can create books as good as any big house.

In June, I wrote The Complexities of Publishing and featured a post by Joel Friedlander that touts traditional publishing’s strong points.

Today, I want to feature the ideas of Seth Godin.

Long before I began writing Notes from An Alien, I’d read a free copy of Seth Godin’s book, Unleashing The Idea Virus.

It helped bolster the idea that I could handle what it would take to do all the promotion for any book I wrote—assuming I’d be willing to cultivate the friends and acquaintances who could spread the word

Seth is a modern-day genius in marketing, computer-awareness, book promotion, tribe-building, and providing creatively simple and profoundly practical advice.

Here’s a short video with Seth talking about Traditional vs Self-Publishing:


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Do Pre-Publication Promotion And Sanity Go Together ?


So someone writes a book and wants other people to buy it.

The day that book comes out, there will be at least 2,000 other books seeing the light of day.

Hence, all the talk about pre-publication promotion, author platforms, and a writer’s audience.

If you try to do everything that everyone says to promote a book you’ll evaporate in a cloud of angst.

My book will be published in late May and I began pre-publication promotion about a year and a half ago–long before I began writing the book. I took the idea and themes of the book and shared them as widely as I could. It gave me some valuable information on the small percentage of people who would be interested in the book I would write :-)

There are not as many people interested in a book that tells the story of going from seemingly interminable war to an enduring and noble peace as there are folks who would rather escape reality with a good vampire story.

I’ve got nothing against anyone’s reading appetite but I do need to be clear about my book being potentially hard to sell.

So, for months now (since the book was being written and through the editing processes), I’ve been trying various recommended ways to promote it.

I learned early-on to steer clear of people and sites that were trying to sell me some amazing method they claimed would guarantee  sales of my book when it’s released. I guess I’m just an Eskimo and those folks are trying to sell me snow

The key approach I’ve learned is called, by some, Relationship Marketing:

Let people get to know you, share your goals and philosophy, give them support in what they’re doing; then, maybe they’ll be interested in your book…

And, even if they don’t want your book, they may know someone who does.

Before I learned some of the finer points of relationship marketing, I was introduced to Seth Godin’s book, Unleashing The Idea Virus (buy it here or download it free here).

Very basically, he talks about finding “hives” (or tribes) of people and unleashing your idea, thereby “infecting” people with it. The best thing that can happen is for the tribe to have a lot of “sneezers”–people who naturally share anything they like as widely as they can.

Relationship marketing contains elements of Godin’s ideas plus social networking.

I tried, as hard as I could, to utilize Facebook and Twitter but I’ve pulled my involvement in both way back; the signal to noise ratio is just too heavily weighted toward “noise” for a book like mine to make much impact.

During the months I was trying to use those tools, I slowly became quite temporarily insane :-)

Luckily, I also started this blog and worked to build friendships with other writers with blogs…

I’ve also been using the virtual world, Second Life, to build a network of friends who might like my book. You can read more about that here and here.

Now, here I am, a little over two months from book launch, brain-frazzled, but willing to forge ahead and work my way back to sane coherency in my promotion efforts.

I’m also going to try to squeeze in more time on the forums at BestsellerBound :-)

My methods and mistakes are certainly not a guide for any other writer. Each of us has to evaluate the potential pools of readers and how best to approach them; each must select their own set of tools.

One bit of advice I think could apply across the board is to incorporate relationship-building into your promotion efforts. I think you’ll find the results will last a lot longer :-)
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