I recently interviewed Guy Kawasaki on MBA Crystal Ball, a blog that focuses on topics related to business and management education. The discussion revolved around his early days at Apple (working with Steve Jobs and being one of the key reasons for the success of the Macintosh), his life as a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Don’t worry, I’m not going to regurgitate the content from that post here.
As the release date for my MBA book (titled ‘Beyond the MBA Hype’) was just around the corner, Guy’s latest project in the publishing world got me interested. Apart from the phenomenal track record he’s had in the business sphere, there’s another domain that he’s excelled at – writing and publishing. He’s been scaling the same pinnacles of glory in a very different field. And this is no flash in the pan story as he’s been hitting the bull’s eye consistently with amazing accuracy.
So I thought it might be interesting to review some of his techniques that he uses with such devastating (in a positive way, of course) results. For new authors and writers (like myself), I thought there would be some ideas to pick up.
It would be difficult to cover all the evangelism (maybe the Apple role helped fine-tune this skill) that he does for his books – from choosing the topic and infusing a lot of heart and soul into his topics (irrespective of whether they are business related or about self-improvement or motivation). What we can focus on, is his marketing strategies, though it might only be one of the factors that contributes to the magnitude of sales that his books achieve.
For starters, the biggest impact could probably be attributed to the way he leverages his platform of loyal fans and followers. His latest book Enchantment is a good case in point.
The cover of his book was result of a ‘crowd-sourcing’ experiment. He threw a challenge to his creative and the not-so-creative fans across the world tapped into their right brain capabilities to come up with a concept for the book cover. The winning concept, in an adapted format, finally found its way on the cover as an Origami butterfly.
The buzz around his latest book started months before it was formally launched. Guy is the founder of Alltop.com, a collection of the best blogs from around the world on a wide range of topics. [Just for the record, my MBA blog features in the top education blogs list :-P]. That database gives him indirect access to a BIG global audience. And considering the theme of his self-help book (some have referred to it as the modern day version of Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to make friends and influence people’), it cuts across demographics with ease. Many friends, supporters and bloggers on Alltop.com list got a sneak peek at the book. A huge (informal) army of bloggers was waiting in the wings with book reviews ready to hit the ‘Publish’ button after the book was officially released.
The whole mechanism, which I’m sure was a whole lot more complicated than it appears here, worked like a well-oiled machine. The result – within a week the book stormed into 3 bestseller lists – New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly. Not bad, eh?
Of course, what we’ve talked about here is just the conceptual part. Having the resources and the capability to execute the gameplan to perfection, well, that’s a completely different story. But always good to learn from the masters of their craft.
Are you aware of any interesting, unconventional book marketing ideas that were adopted by other authors? What was the result?
P.S. This wasn’t meant to be a promotional post for the book, but I guess talking about it automatically promotes it indirectly anyway. The power of the buzz!