Updated: 1 day ago
All of us in the book world can learn something from master marketer and best-selling author Seth Godin.
The latest learning opportunity is the launch of The Carbon Almanac: It’s Not Too Late, which he edited. The oversized 8 ½ x 11 paperback has 352 pages of facts and illustrations about climate change. It’s based on an international collaboration of writers and has an official release date of June 21.
Some of Godin’s 30 published books about marketing have been on The New York Times best-seller lists and have been translated into 37 languages. His blog with more than 8,000 short daily posts is one of the most viewed blogs in the world with more than 1 million faithful followers (including me).
Now, he’s using the blog to recruit a volunteer team for a multi-faceted book launch on a massive international scale. I learned about it in his May 17 blog post, which contained this compelling call to action:
We’re inviting you to join our worldwide group of volunteers as we prepare to launch the Almanac in June. Our launch team is forming now, and it’s a chance to be part of something and make a difference. Please check out this page for the details. Thank you.
I clicked that link, which went to a video message from Godin. Then, I immediately clicked to join. The primary reason I joined his volunteer launch team is because I want to see EVERYTHING Godin is doing to launch the book. Learning from a master marketer helps me understand options for promoting books, and I’ll share some insights with people who read my articles.
As you might expect, his publisher Penguin Random House is concentrating on print sales for the book launch. That’s what publishers do. Here’s what Penguin says about the book:
The Carbon Almanac is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between hundreds of writers, researchers, thinkers, and illustrators that focuses on what we know, what has come before, and what might happen next. Drawing on over 1,000 data points, the book uses cartoons, quotes, illustrations, tables, histories, and articles to lay out carbon’s impact on our food system, ocean acidity, agriculture, energy, biodiversity, extreme weather events, the economy, human health, and best and worst-case scenarios. Visually engaging and built to share, The Carbon Almanac is the definitive source for facts and the basis for a global movement to fight climate change.
But Godin is going beyond what the publisher is doing. Here are a few quick takeaways from his efforts to build a volunteer launch team:
· He is sending short daily email updates to launch team members with progress reports. The updates ask team members to take specific actions, such as posting about the launch on Facebook and Twitter and other social media. I agreed to do that.
· One update urged all team members to pre-order the Kindle version, which I did.
· One update urged team members to contact independent bookstores and ask the bookstores to stock the print version so they can buy it when it’s officially released. I’m interested in facts about climate change, so I’m going to contact my indie bookstore in Maryland and order a print version as a gift.
· One update asked team members to suggest more ideas to promote the book. I suggested that all of us mention the book launch in our blogs and newsletters and articles we write online. (I’m probably not the first to suggest that.)
IMAGINE THE IMPACT of the international launch effort if thousands of people help promote the launch, and if many of us pre-order the Kindle version of Godin’s book or buy the print version as soon as it comes out.
I’m guessing the impact may make Godin’s latest book another bestseller, and I’ll try to get some screenshots of sales for his first week. Meanwhile, I look forward to his daily progress updates for launch team members.
Personal perspectives: I’ve seen hundreds of book launches in the past 10 years. This is one of the few times anybody has asked me to suggest ideas and help launch their book. I’m pumped.
Some authors alert me to forthcoming releases by using their blogs and newsletters, which sometimes ask followers to comment on cover design. A few authors I know offer to send me Advance Reader Copies and ask me to post reviews when the book is released. Other authors just post something on social media saying the book is available for pre-order.
However, most authors I know don’t tell me anything until the official release date.
Godin doesn’t know anything about me, but he used his blog to ask me and other followers to help with the launch a month before the official release date. His short video hooked me. That’s very effective marketing. And he’s using short daily email updates to keep me engaged in the 30 days before the official release.
His techniques for launching his new book are stimulating my thinking about book launches.
I have about 700 followers on social media, most of whom are writers. And I have about the same number of followers on LinkedIn and Medium and Substack combined, almost all of whom are writers.
That’s not enough to have much impact on a book launch. But my Excel worksheet has email contact information for almost 1,000 of these people, and I'm developing a monthly newsletter. Many writers already have far more followers and email contacts than I do.
So, here are some questions stimulated by my thinking about what Godin is doing:
· How many people would be willing to join me in a “book launch network” by subscribing to the newsletter I’m developing?
· How many would be willing to read ARC versions by authors in the launch network two or three months before publication, and then post reviews on Amazon or Goodreads as soon as the title is released?
· How many would agree to use social media and blogs and newsletters and articles online to promote the launch of books by authors in the network?
· How many would share other suggestions for promoting book launches?
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. One way to find answers is to begin reaching out to my contacts, starting with this article. If you have comments or questions, post something here or send an email to email@example.com.
If you’re interested in learning more about promoting books, I hope you’ll click here to join my network by subscribing to the monthly newsletter I’m developing. I’ll discuss some more thoughts about book launches in the June newsletter.
P.S. Book marketing professional Tim Grahl specializes in book launches, and he has a FREE webinar scheduled on Thursday, May 26. I’ve learned a lot from participating in his webinars and reading his books about how to sell the first 1,000 copies.