(Photo: E. Murray)
The most frequent question I get is:
“How did you hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list?”
Historically, I’ve answered with “That’s a long, long story.” If pressed further, I would explain that I couldn’t go into the details until I hit #1 a second time. Alas, in publishing and in life: once you’re lucky, twice you’re good.
Now, I can finally share the inside baseball of all I’ve learned (and witnessed) over the last five years.
For the first time, I’ll be deconstructing the biggest hits in publishing, including the preparation and execution of launches for my two books, both of which hit #1 New York Times:
The 4-Hour Workweek… (published April 2007)
#1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 BusinessWeek
Called “The most surprising self-help hit of the decade” by Men’s Journal
More than 1,000,000 hardcovers sold in the US alone
Nearly four years unbroken on the New York Times Business Bestseller List
Sold in 35 languages, 60+ printings
An Amazon Top-10 Reader Favorite of 2007
AdAge “Best Product Launch for 2007”
Digital sales: 4.8% of total units
Advance paid: < $100,000 (signed before publication)
The media were kind in 2007, with quotes like “best self-promoter of all time” (Wired) and “branding wunderkind” (FastCompany).
But it wasn’t me. Not at all. It was due to process. To wit, the 2010 release of The 4-Hour Body:
The 4-Hour Body… (published December 2010)
Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, #1 six out of the first eight weeks
Nearly 500,000 books sold in the first four months
Selling at FIVE times the rate of The 4-Hour Workweek
The #1 most-highlighted book of all time on Amazon (screenshot here)
[Note: The 4-Hour Workweek is currently #5, just below the Bible]
First business author to jump non-fiction categories and create another instant #1 hit
Digital sales: 30% of total units, 90%+ of which is Kindle
Advance paid (largely based on the proposal’s marketing plan): $2,000,000+
For the first time, I’m going to explain how my team did it all, ranging from flexible first principles and guidelines, to trench warfare and exact wording in pitches and partnership proposals.
It will be covered in a single seminar —
OPENING THE KIMONO®
Repeat Engineering of #1 — The Future of Book and Content Marketing
Dates: August 19 – 21, 2011
Location: California wine country, confidential retreat location. Details sent upon sign-up.
Available spots: Limited to 200 people.
Policies: No media coverage, no Twitter, Facebook, or other coverage of the event, and no recording whatsoever.
Who is it for?
Authors — Increase both advances and bestseller probabilities
Publishers/Agencies — Know which authors to bet on, sign bigger authors or win auctions, and increase your homerun ratio
PR/Marketing Professionals — Attract and retain the best clients who believe digital execution is the future
Anyone who wants to compete with (and learn from) the newest generations of whiz kids, rather than be defeated by them.
This seminar is not about buying your way onto the lists or the latest social media fads, though we’ll explain how people do the former. This seminar is a roadmap for the rarest of recipes: a repeatable and ethical content-creation and launch process that will put your product at the top and keep it at the top.
In sum: We’ll cover all of the most important lessons I’ve learned (and witnessed) over the last five years — and discover how to find elegance in the chaos.
The experience will include exact details of:
- Building marketing into content creation, and the value of working backwards
- First principles and overarching strategies in a digital world: the core of testing
- Timing of PR and phased outreach — exact calendars and e-mails
- How to build a high-traffic blog in minimal time, plus fatal mistakes
- Borrowing approaches from movies, and the art of the calculated tease
- How and when to use pre-sales (almost no one gets this right)
- Tools and tricks for project management without micro-management
- Secrets of the “Lean Launch” model
- Review copies and advanced copies — viral approaches
- Uses and misuses of Twitter and Facebook (I’m an investor in both)
- How to test high-leverage contrarian approaches without betting the farm
- How to combine offline with online, and when not to
- Dozens of real-world case studies
- Special guests seldom or never seen in the book world
- Much, much more…
It will also include fine wine, extensive Q&A opportunities to address your specific situations/challenges, high-level networking, and, of course, the beauty and wonder of wine country.
Once this event is sold-out, it is sold-out.
Just like TED and similar high-end events, flights and hotel are not included, but numerous surprise goodies will be provided on-site.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT HAS ENDED. PLEASE DO NOT FILL OUT THE BELOW FORM.
I look forward to meeting you and sharing a glass of Malbec. This will be an event to remember.
Posted on: April 12, 2011.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.