Great Product Is the New Marketing

It used to be that great marketing was the difference that made a good book a bestseller. As a publisher, all you had to do was demand sufficient shelf space in the bookstore, get your author on some big-time media shows, and then spam the target audience with advertising messages until they succumbed and bought the book.

People Waiting to Buy the New iPhone 4

In the old world, if the book succeeded, it was because it was an obviously brilliant book. If it failed, it was because the publisher didn’t spend enough on marketing.

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But those days or over. Good is no longer good enough.

Why?

Because readers have millions of options—literally. Over one million new books are published every year. That doesn’t include all the books that have already in print and sitting on bookstore shelves.

Suddenly, the publishing world has become very crowded and terribly noisy.

Yes, it helps when the author is highly visible. It helps when you have an arresting book cover. It also helps when you score a major media hit. But great marketing only makes a mediocre book fail faster.

Why?

Because of word-of-mouth. In the age of Twitter and Facebook, everyone has a megaphone. The voice of ordinary citizens is amplified. If they don’t like your book, your movie, or your art, they are not afraid to say so. Bad news travels faster than ever before.

But good news also travels fast. Apple spends less on marketing as a percentage-of-revenue than any other consumer electronics company. They don’t have to spend more, because the remarkable products they produce are the marketing. People are willing to spend hours in line on launch day just to get their hands on them. Their customers are their sales force.

This is also why authors like Ron Hall and Denver Moore, Eric Metaxas, and Sarah Young—authors you probably have never heard of—are selling more books than many of the tried and true authors of yesteryear. Just sample their books, and you’ll see why. They are truly remarkable.

So what can you do as an author to have a shot at the bestsellers list? I suggest three things:

  1. Start with a compelling topic or story. This will win over great writing every time. I am not saying it’s either/or. It should be both/and. But if you don’t have the right idea, no amount of polish will save it.
  2. Write the best book you can. Don’t “phone it in.” Don’t settle for mediocrity. Push yourself. Above all, listen to your editor. It’s better to stumble before an audience-of-one than fall flat on your face in front of a crowd.
  3. Build your social media network now. I have seen some authors try to do this when the book launches. Forget it. You build a loyal audience over time: one post, one tweet, one status update at a time. You have to build it before you need it.

Once you’ve done these things, you’re in a great position to demand that your publisher step up to the plate and partner with you. Until you’ve done these things, you’ll never get the marketing push you think you deserve.

Question: What are some of the most remarkable books you have read this past year? Did you tell others about them?
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  • http://www.jenniferlynking.com/blog JenniferLKing

    Thank you for this excellent post, on the publishing world's successful combination: a great idea and a great story, with great writing, polished to excellence. A focused reminder of what matters most as I begin work on my next novel. Thank you, Jennifer King

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Jennifer. You have the right priority!

  • http://www.monumentpublishing.com Chris Jeub

    A gem of a statement: "Great marketing only makes a mediocre book fail faster." Content is still king (always has been). Thanks for the great post!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s actually a modified version of advertising mogul David Olgilvy’s statement, “Great advertising only makes a bad product fail faster.”

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  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    100% agree. A great product sells itself and is by far the most important part of the "Product + Marketing = Sales" equation. Great marketing just helps to speed up the process and open up new windows of opportunity (which can launch a good product or kill a bad one as you've said). I've also seen plenty of great products sit on shelves because no tipping point was reached with enough of a base to catalyze and tell others with any degree of scale. Works both ways but product quality far outweighs marketing in the mix.

    For authors specifically, no question that the game has changed. Supply directly impacts demand and authors need to take special care to stand out with great content, but alas… great content is so subjective. That's the hardest part.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great point. Marketing increases the velocity of the ultimate outcome.

      Agreed, on the the subjectivity of great content. But most of us know mediocre content when we see it. Thanks.

  • http://donaldjamesparker.com Donald James Parker

    Great article!
    Remarkable books in the past year: I just have put the finishing touches on my review of The Best of Evil by Eric Wilson. I’ll be posting on Amazon and The Christian Pulse and various blogs.

  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    This is really informative. This is what I love about what you do.

    The most remarkable books that I've read this year are: Plan B by Pete Wilson because it is such message of hope, Permission To Speak Freely by Anne Jackson because it really inspired me to try some different things, and Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell because it is such an interesting concept.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I love Pete and Anne’s books, too. I have not read Rob’s but it is now on my reading list, thanks to you. Best.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony J Alicea

    I just recently read "Experiencing Father's Embrace" by Jack Frost. It's not a new book but I finally got around to reading it after tons of recommendations.

    This book rocked my world and changed my whole paradigm on my relationship with the Father. I can't recommended it highly enough. So yeah, I guess I've told people (a lot) about this one.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t even heard of this one. I’m adding it to my list. Thanks.

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    One of the most remarkable books I've read this year is "Hope Unseen." It's the true story of Scotty Smiley, the Army's first blind active-duty officer. He lost his eyesight to a car bomb in Iraq and the book follows the journey of faith, struggle, and redemption that followed for him and his young family. Scotty has since climbed Mt. Rainier, surfed, skydived, earned an MBA from Duke, taught leadership at West Point, and commanded the Army's Warrior Transition Unit. His life is a such a testimony to what God can do when we turn to Him – no matter what.

    This is actually a book I was going to recommend to you personally, Mike; I thought it would be right up your alley. Thanks for providing the opportunity for me to share it with everyone else. As always, thanks for all the value you add with these posts!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Geoff. I find those kinds of books very inspiring. I will check it out.

  • John Navin

    Great thoughts, thank you. Agree the story is becoming the most important part, the authors, businessman, preachers story. Sharing with people who you are so they can relate and connect. Most products in the market place all sound/look/are the same, it is the person providing them, and their story that makes the difference.

    • http://modernservantleader.com/ Ben Lichtenwalner

      That is a great point John. In addition to having great content, I think another way many authors are "selling" today (online or off, literally or figuratively) is by being themselves, transparent and candid. The power of social media creates greater awareness and demand for authors who bare themselves. Thank you for sharing.

      • John Navin

        Thanks for sharing. I think we are also (perhaps could just be me) becoming more transparent because is becoming chic to do so. As we age the need for others approval disappears, allowing more people to be themselves.
        Thanks for your insight Ben!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree with you and Ben both. Great story plus authentic transparency is a winning combination. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/stacey29lincoln @stacey29lincoln

    I am a new follower Michael and already I have learned so much! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with the ordinary citizen like me!

  • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

    I’m working my way through “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett for two reasons: 1) he wrote the sequel 20 years later after his fans kept demanding a second book (which did just as well as the first best seller), and 2) lots of those fans crossed my path in person or online. Never saw anything from the publisher on it, but sure did hear a lot from readers.

    PS :: it’s awesome, just as they said.

  • http://twitter.com/sahanabose @sahanabose

    Excellent post Michael. Helps newbies like me to grow my insights in the arena of Marketing.
    Thank You !

  • Brad

    As a consumer I want the best. As you stated one time though new is not always better, especially when it comes to books. When something is great, it will tip the scales and take on a life of it's own. It no longer needs the publisher or the author to actively manage it, consumers will take care of the advertising for you.
    Thank you for the insight Mike.

  • http://www.thecreatorscure.com Rebecca Womack

    This year I came across Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I told my mom, who was struggling with cancer, that this was a "must have" for her to help her remain focused on Jesus' love for her. She bought the book and immediately loved it. She purchased at least 6 of them for her friends. I have purchased 4 for my friends. Not one of these people had heard of Sarah Young or the book prior to receiving the book. Althought the Lord graciously lifted my mom in love to be with Him in heaven 5 weeks ago, the pressing in of love and hope from Sarah's book is a daily reminder to continue to focus on Jesus' calling. It's the calling to love, hope, and peace that became the catalyst for me to want to share this beautiful book with so many others.

    Great article by the way.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your business and for this encouragement. I have given a ton of Sarah’s books away, too. I think my wife is president of her fan club.

      (Also, I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I’m sure that was difficult.)

      • http://www.thecreatorscure.com Rebecca Womack

        Ha! Cute about your wife.

        Thank you for your thought regarding my mother. It really was difficult as we were incredibly close. I consider it a gift to be able to say that! I am so very greatful for the intimacies shared by God through the experience. I created a website (linked to my name) to help others remain hopeful in such circumstances, and I am thankful that God was my Helper in this. Cancer can really stink. :)

        Sarah's book exemplifies exactly what you were discussing in the article. I have recently come across your blog and appreciate the thoughtful way you respect your writers/supporters. Rarely do you find bloggers that reciprocate in the way you do. That is something to be respected!

        God's richest to you.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Three books come to mind that really made a difference in my life. The first was "The Way We're Working Isn't Working," by Tony Schwartz on a recommendation from you. This is a book that tied together a lot of loose ends in the personal development area. Instead of trying to create habits, I now create rituals that have a start and end date, a dedicated focus time each day, and a person to hold me accountable for the outcome. Tony's book was different than most as he had hands-on data about what actually works and what doesn't. This book has been the foundation of numerous posts and goal oriented templates on my blog.

    The second was discovering the books of Andy Andrews. Andy is a modern day Og Mandino, and his book the Noticer is a classic. I loved the main character Jones and his ability to notice things that make a difference in peoples lives. Andy is a master storyteller and his books really come alive through the eyes of amazing characters and uplifting plots.

    The third was the fiction writing of Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series. Lee's writing style with short quick sentences draws you in and then he envelops you with detail through an omnipotent third person narrator. The Jack Reacher character is larger than life, yet believable. As a novice fiction writer I have learned so much from reading these books and learning how to grab a reader's attention and hold it throughout the entire book. And as you said above, writing a compelling story is what makes the difference in today's marketplace.

    I appreciate your book recommendations, Mike. I've gained a whole new appreciation for some of the writers you have headlined. I can't wait to see what the new year brings.

    • http://modernservantleader.com/ Ben Lichtenwalner

      I second the appreciation for Schwartz's "The Way We're Working Isn't Working". For me, I especially like the framing of regular breaks rather than long-hauls. So many of us are far more creative and productive in 90 minute chunks than in all-day marathons.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Ben, I've used 48 minute focused periods for years, but I really like Schwartz's idea of scheduling focused time. As he says, If you don't schedule it, you won't do it.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          So true. I schedule these periods on my calendar, too. I call them “The Alone Zone,” which I picked up from the book Rework.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Tony’s book was one of my favorite’s this year, too. I also love all things Andy Andrews. (By the way, I is a terrific person as well.) I will have to check out the Jack Reacher series. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    You're so right, Michael — we talk about the books we love. Some of the best I've read this year are Ron Hall & Denver Moore's Same Kind of Different as Me, Carla Stewart's Chasing Lilacs, and Mary DeMuth's Daisy Chain. And yes, I've told others about them through word of mouth, my blog, and/or Facebook status updates. People definitely listen to book recommendations, me included. I keep a list of books I want to read because I've heard others talk about them.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We have been working on our strategic plan at Thomas Nelson for the past 90 days. I cam across some interesting data about recommendations. It is the single most effective method of marketing. I wish I had the data in front of me; I would cite it. Needless to say, I found it compelling—and true.

  • http://www.validleadership.com James Castellano

    Golf's Sacred Journey, by David Cook and In the Zone, Joe Pettigrew (this was from book sneeze). I recommend these to everybody. Both are fantastic.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com Colleen Coble

    I totally agree, Mike! And the listening to the editor is crucial. Too many authors grouse and complain about the editor's input. We're too close to see the work clearly.

    Word of mouth works the opposite way too. If we have a favorite author who suddenly disappoints us, we tend to be so shocked we talk about it. Word of mouth is huge in the fiction realm. At least with non fiction the book is often filling a felt need. With fiction, word of mouth is all we have going for us. LOL

    I saw that whole word of mouth thing this year when the family went to St Croix together. My daughter in law Donna read The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. She told my daughter she HAD to read it. Kara read it then passed it along to me. I thought I wouldn't really like it but it was a great story. LOL When Donna got home she was telling everyone at work about it. Fun to watch that kind of thing in action!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are THE model for working with your editor. The respect you give is returned in spades. My people love you!

  • mcsaint

    Michael, thanks for this post. This affirms what we are doing as a faith-based high school in NJ- focus on building the best school "product" and avoid the temptation of a silver bullet marketing campaign.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you! It is easy to succumb to Silver Bullet Thinking. (Don’t ask me how I know this!)

  • http://kellysinging.com KellySinging

    No pressure or anything! I've been slowly building relationships on twitter one by one rather than following hoards of people with little to no real connecting. I am wondering, however, if you would recommend one follow dozens or even hundreds at once?

    • http://modernservantleader.com/ Ben Lichtenwalner

      Kelly, I have a very similar question for Michael. It seems to me, getting thousands of followers, particularly on Twitter, would be relatively easy. The proliferation of "follow-back" mentality is such that if you find lists of people remotely tied to your area of interest and follow them all, you'll quickly see your numbers jump. In practice, I've avoided the mass-follow, as evidenced, in part, by my mere 350 followers. However, I know that quality is high – they are most likely following my content fairly closely.

      Should social media connections, especially Twitter, for authors be numbers game? Should authors try to amass as many followers as possible or does the quality still play a more important role than quantity?

      • http://twitter.com/flowingfaith @flowingfaith

        I am curious about the same thing. How to measure the social media effectiveness. Are you using the Klout score or Hubspot analysers? Because Klout score is much more than the number of Twitter followers. For example, I'm still a bit short of 2000 Twitter followers but I have a very tight engaged group of followers and my Klout score is in the upper 40s & my Hubspot grade is 98. What is good enough social media presence? I'd be interested in seeing another blog post about this. Thank you, Michael, for always blessing your followers with relevant information and insights.

      • http://lauradroege.wordpress.com Laura Droege

        I have the same question, though I use Facebook and not Twitter at this point. I dislike being friended by someone with hundreds or thousands of friends; at that point, they aren’t following me at all. It’s all about them, and if I think the author is using their connections ONLY for self-promotion and not offering me anything in return, I am less inclined to pay attention to them and buy their book. (One author I blocked for the entire month of her book release.)

        For myself, I try to keep up with most of my friends on Facebook; the more I personally connect with people, the more interest I see in my work. I also only have 169 friends, so I can keep up for now, and I’m aiming for quality relationships and showing that yes, I actually do follow what’s going on in your life.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I used to recommend auto-following everyone. It makes private messages possible. I segregate my followers by family, friends, employees, authors, etc., using HootSuite. I don’t give everyone the same attention, obviously. However, I do try to read all DMs and Mentions.

      However, I turned off auto-follow about a month ago. Mainly because I was auto-following porn accounts. Yikes! I don’t mind them following me—I will influence anyone I can—but I don’t want to follow them. Unfortunately, I am probably inadvertently following hundreds of them. WIth 85,000 or so, I don’t have time to go through and manually clean up the list.

      I think that if I had to do it over again, I would be more selective and only follow a few hundred.

  • http://www.therextras.com BarbaraBoucher PTPhD

    "It used to be" – very important to keep current in the market, and you help us all by contextualizing trends in time and history. Thanks, Michael.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

    This is why I think I'm possibly on the cusp of good things. I write books people can't put down, thankfully. I have a social media platform. But I balk at "Demand that your publisher step up to the plate and partner with you." Not because it's incorrect advice. It's correct. But I don't see publishers really, truly wanting to take this kind of risk. I've long believed that part of a publisher's strategy should be going out on a limb for new talent, new books that resonate, but often most of the marketing and publicity dollars go toward that which is already known and will already sell.

    I would love to see you post about this, particularly you house's strategy to promote great writing from unknowns. Is there a rubric of risk you take a project through?

    As to what book stood out this year, I'd say The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun. It's a memoir about a Chinese Christian's years of persecution and imprisonment, yet filled with so much hope and joy and challenge that I came through on the other end completely wrecked (in a good way) for the Kingdom.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mary. I will consider writing a post about that.

      At Thomas Nelson, we are really focused on identifying, developing, and building the next generation of writing talent. We can’t afford to take risks on everyone, but we do take significant risks on a handful we believe in—especially when we get an incredible manuscript. We are also fairly patient, realizing that you don’t build a career or a bestseller with one book. It’s a process.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

        I've seen that, Mike. I'm doing my best to become "that author" who writes the kind of manuscript a publisher would risk marketing dollars on. It's a good goal.

        I do hope you write a post about this someday.

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  • sbarkley

    As a small business owner, two books that have impacted me and that I have recommended to others are The Starbucks Experience and Raving Fans. (I have also enjoyed your blogs on The How of Wow.)

  • http://faithfictionfunandfanciful.blogspot.com/ Lynn Squire

    The best book I've read this year was one I read last year as well (which says a lot because I rarely read a book twice) and that was Siri Mitchell's Love's Pursuit. I was very disappointed when it didn't receive a Carol Award this year.

  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Ben Lichtenwalner

    Recent favorites and how I've shared them:
    Tribes by Seth Godin – Purchased them as gifts for my team at the office
    Wisdom of Our Fathers by Tim Russert – Shared it with my family and friends
    DeRailed by Tim Irwin – Referencing in writing and sharing at work
    Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham – Posted my strengths at the office and shared with the team

    Another great post Michael, thank you for sharing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m re-reading Tribes now and have found it even better the second time through.

  • http://larryhehn.com Larry_Hehn

    When I hear about a book three times within a week via word of mouth, I know it's time to pick it up. I've never been at a loss for something to read. Francis Chan's Crazy Love was one of those books that springs to mind. Within two days three separate people in three separate conversations mentioned it to me. Same thing with Pete Wilson's Plan B.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I need to read Crazy Love. (So many books, so little time.) Plan B is well worth it.

  • http://www.LaurindaOnLeadership.com Laurinda

    I just started "the Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande last night. The Introduction was so convicting/convincing I got on Facebook immediately to share. I picked up the book because as a project manager in the airline industry I'm always using a checklist or creating one for someone else. I had little expectation that the book would be exciting to read. But his experience as a surgeon brings wisdom to the need for checklist. He argues that the balance of ignorance to ineptness has shifted over the past century to ineptness. I'm excited about finishing this book and sharing it with fellow project managers at work!

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      The Checklist Manifesto was really eye opening. How could something as simple as a checklist be so powerful? Yet Atul's examples of airline pilots and surgeons proved the point that our mental focus is limited at best. In those professions, one thing forgotten can mean the difference between life and death. Great book!

    • kkinnison

      Laurinda –

      I just started reading The Checklist Manifesto yesterday as well. It is fascinating, and reinforces how important having checklists and systems are for things we think we know intuitively. I can only imagine how many "little" mistakes I make when I'm on auto-pilot.

      Two other books I've really enjoyed recently are I Dare You To Change by my pastor, Bil Cornelius and Spark by Dr. John Ratey. I get to hear Pastor Bil every Sunday, and the book really helped me to apply the principles he'd been teaching. And Spark explains how exercise is the new "wonder drug" of this century using stories and studies that are almost unbelievable because the results are so striking.

      I've definitely shared the word (and several copies) about each of them.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I guess this is another one I will have to add to my list. Man, there are some great suggestions in these comments!

  • http://thatguykc.wordpress.com ThatGuyKC

    You are writing another book, right?

    Thank you for the sound advice. I'd like to write a book one day, but for right now am focusing on establishing a network (#3).

    The best book I've read so far this year was John Maxwell's Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. Definitely been an "evangelist" for it and shared with friends & coworkers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am. In fact, I have two manuscripts that are 90% done. I just need some uninterrupted time to finish.

      I’m glad you liked Maxwell’s book.

  • http://adaptationsoflife.com Jack Heimbigner

    Great post! Makes a lot of sense with the changes in the way people communicate. I was observing that this summer in a much smaller scale, which I thought it might have been something to itself. Anyway, great post I look forward to learning more from the future.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole hahn

    So true. I do book reviews to build my online presence. But I also found what a great ministry it is to “have” to build an online presence. Pretty soon it becomes a “want to” because you begin to care about your readers.

  • http://twitter.com/todd_nett @todd_nett

    This is spot on! And you’re right…if a book affects us deeply we almost can’t help but say something about it! And now through Facebook and Twitter it’s more than just telling a friend we know reads books…it’s telling ALL our friends and acquaintances and even total strangers through Facebook or Twitter or blogs.

    The best two books I read this year are “Where Men Win Glory” by Jon Krakauer and “Colombine” by Dave Cullen. Both books affected me: they made me think and ponder and wrestle with ideas. (And both depressed me a bit in different ways.) And in both cases I felt the need to share, which I did on my blog (“Glory” here: http://toddnettleton.blogspot.com/2010/05/hero-mi… and “Colombine” here: http://toddnettleton.blogspot.com/2010/06/story-y…. It was remarkable when Cullen read my thoughts on Columbine and complimented my review with, “You really captured what I felt was important about the book.” He also tweeted a link to his followers…continuing the circle from author to readers and back. How amazing is a world where an author can personally address an individual reader, and connect different readers together?

    I’m reading Metaxas’ biography of Bonhoeffer now…and it’s definitely going to make this list too.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The Bonhoeffer book is amazing. This is a bestseller that we didn’t see coming. Yes, it is very well written, but I wasn’t sure the market would get excited about a $30 hardcover, particularly in this economy. It just goes to show you that people will pay for books they find valuable.

  • http://twitter.com/AndreaAresca @AndreaAresca

    My best book of the last year (even if not recent ones), how I knew about it and/or what I did after:
    – "Sacred Parenting" by Gary Thomas, suggested by a friend
    – "The Dip" by Seth Godin, stumble upon on the web, suggested to a friend who read it in one night
    Yes, if it is a great book, you will certainly talk about it to your network!
    Thanks for make me thinking of the dynamics of books in my life as a reader.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have The Dip on my Kindle now. It’s next on my list!

  • http://www.brianhinkley.com Brian Hinkley

    I sometimes wonder while browsing in the bookstore how one book becomes a bestseller while the other doesn't. Many books have the same information and most of it we have read before.

    Is the marketing, networking, timing or something else?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If I could solve that mystery, I would be a very rich man. ;-)

  • frankaviola

    Great post and dead-on. I believe in the personal word of recommendation so much that I just created a MUST-HAVE-IN-YOUR-LIBRARY Book List: http://www.ptmin.org/library

    I'd like to see others do the same.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’ve done a similar thing with my blog’s bookstore. Amazon makes it super easy to set this up.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    I definitely think it is parallel.

  • http://betterlifecoaching.wordpress.com/ Darren Poke

    Seth Godin’s “Tribes” has been the standout for me as well so far this year.

    I’m currently reading Bill Hybels’ “Axioms” and am enjoying his terrific leadership insights.

    As for telling others, I can’t help myself.

  • http://www.rowentree.com April Rowen

    Alright, note to self: Self, build network NOW while writing book, not LATER. And self… make the book amazing, OK?

    Thank you for your simple, clear steps – they are very helpful and encouraging.

  • http://betterlifecoaching.wordpress.com/ Darren Poke

    I recently read Seth Godin's "Tribes" as well and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also re-read Paulo Coelho's "Alchemist" earlier this year and loved it just as much the second time around.

    I'm currently reading Bill Hybel's "Axiom" (amongst others) and am getting a lot out of it.

    I certainly tell people if I find a great book, I just can't help myself.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I loved the Alchemist. I listened to it as an audio book. It was excellent.

  • http://jodyhedlund.com Jody Hedlund

    Excellent post. And I agree with your three points whole-heartedly. I've particularly found that having spent time before publication building online relationships is helping me tremendously now that my book is on shelves. Those friends are interviewing me, writing reviews, spreading the buzz. I'm not bugging them about it, but they're asking me how they can help. They've been a blessing. But utlimately, as you said, it comes down to the book itself. They genuinely have liked my book and feel good about spreading the word.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Jody, I am a regular reader of your blogs and you have done an excellent job at this. I can see that your “tribe” is growing!

  • http://inkscrawls.blogspot.com Shelley

    A great post – thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TimothyFish Timothy Fish

    I'm currently reading "Whosoever Will" from B&H Publishing and yes, I've already told people about it. I didn't even get through the introduction and the first chapter before I decided that just what it said about John 3:16 was well worth the expense of the book. It's a book that everyone ought to read and then go back and read it again.

  • http://www.godhungry.org Jim Martin

    Mike, I read James Bryan Smith's, The Good and Beautiful Community. (Vol 3 of the series) It was an outstanding book. I told a number of people about it and spoke about it on my blog. As a result, a number of people have asked me a week or so later, "Now give me the author and title of that book again. I want to order it today." I also read Reggie McNeal's, The Present Future (not a new book) and yet, I have told a number of people about that book including our entire church.

  • http://www.hearthope.org Olga Wright Griffin

    Thank you for the encouragement to keep on blogging.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

    you are exactly right in your question.
    Any book that I read that I find of worth I immediately tell my tribe about it.
    It sticks with me and I want others to experience that as well.
    But it starts with a good book or story

  • http://www.michaelkreynolds.com michaelkreynolds

    It's amazing how we went away from old fashioned lemonade. It was so embraced because it was authentic, lovingly prepared and satisfied a great need on a hot afternoon. One of the real benefits of the recession is all of us returning to the roots of elementary supply and demand. Despite the difficulties of the market, if you write a great book that fills a great need, you'll experience all of the success of your dreams. A sensational book will find its readers.

  • Cindy Graves

    Wise words indeed!
    This Spring I read "66 Love Letters," Dr. Larry Crabb – told EVERYONE I know to read it (even purchased 2 copies for those resistant). Also read "Hinds' Feet on High Places" for the very first time – CLASSIC, recommended to everyone as well. If I read a really great book I turn into a walking book report…

  • http://true-small-caps.blogspot.com Derek

    I really enjoyed the memoir by Karen Armstrong (A History of God, The Case for God), The Spiral Staircase. And yes, I mentioned it on my blog. But equally, I mentioned my dissatisfaction with one of her other books.

  • joshbishop

    The best book I've read recently is The Fiddler's Gun by A.S. Peterson. It's a young adult adventure novel — orphans, pirates, blunderbusses, &c. — that I wish I had read when I was 12 years old. Fantastic. I can't wait until my son is old enough to read it for himself. And yes, I tell pretty much everyone about it.

    On the other hand, I sooner tell people about books that I *didn't* like. It's a bad habit, I know…

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  • http://www.travisfish.com Travis Fish

    Well said. "Word of mouth is everything." So true. Whenever I am looking to buy a book, I ask friends, twitter it, and check amazon reviews. Just the other night I had a friend who I haven't spoken to in a few months call me for book suggestions and reviews.

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  • http://www.fourfecta.com Mitch Ebie

    Thanks for the tips. I have been "building it" for a while now, and I would love to eventually "need it."

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  • Lynn

    Great post, but as a self-published author (without the might and main of a traditional publishing house behind me), I spend most of my time just getting my face and name recognized in some way. I blog, so I blog…a lot! In some ways my blog is becoming more "successful" than my books. I use social media, but mostly I interact with brilliant authors (traditional and self published) who continue to mentor me throughout the process. I interview these authors on my blog, Francine Rivers, Kathi Macias, Suzanne Woods Fisher to name a few and I read and post book reviews for Max Lucado and others. (I love your BookSneeze program by the way!) It's a lot of work, but it has so many benefits that don't always translate into hearty book sales for me, but grow me as a follower of Christ. I'll take that kind of success any day!

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  • http://bobhamp.com Bob Hamp

    Michael, I have said something very similar to friends of mine who are writing these days…marketing can no longer fool people when the web connects people directly and immediately. For the same reasons a great or unique book cannot remain hidden long even without marketing. I saw in your comment stream and in one of your recent re-posts the interest in which books become surprise hits (The Shack…etc.)
    I know a lot of this post and feedback is about content. One commenter said “we have heard it all before”. It strikes me that the thing that makes certain books take off is not as much about content as it is about perspective. Taking a look at something we have all heard, but seeing or describing it from a new or unlikely perspective is stimulating to bored minds. People who are overwhelmed with the sea of new products, or bored with the stream of “heard this before” are intrigued when something comes along to make them think differently about the same old things.

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  • Stan Markowski

    Michael,

    This was very valuable and encouraging for me to here. I have a question that might deserve another post, but a response hear would be great. I think it is something that other people are wondering too.

    I have been trying to find literary representation and received several rejections at this point. So far the only reason I have been rejected is because of my age. When I have dialogued with the agents, invariably they have said they enjoyed my work and thought it was very good. One even said it was better than 95% of the stuff they usually see either in chapters or in the book proposal itself. Yet I still keep getting rejected.

    Now i assume part of your answer will be that I need to build a platform, so that is my next goal. So I recognize that.

    My question is, if a great product is what matters these days, why are agents turning down projects they believe are great because of issues like platform, age, and what have you. Would you say that they are simply just being polite and in actuality turning me down because of bad writing or what?

    I hope that made sense. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    I love “Jesus Calling” (Sarah Young). I received my copy as a gift and I’ve given away many copies and at least one of those recipients has given away many copies. That’s not as a result of any marketing campaign but personal witness to the quality of the book.

    Personally, I’m working to establish my social network as I go through the “now what” post-manuscript phase.

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  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Some of the most remarkable books I have read this past year:

    — “The Elephant Paradigm” by ‘Gurcharan Das’
    — “Be a people person” by ‘John C Maxwell’
    — “Developing the leader within you” by ‘John C Maxwell’