What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part I
So, without a doubt, one of the main influences in my career over the last decade and a half has been Seth Godin. If you’re not familiar with Godin, go listen to his podcast, go buy his book Linchpin or his new book This Is Marketing or any of the 19 best-selling books that he has written. he is widely considered one of the greatest marketing minds of this generation. and I first heard of them, Ironically, while listening to the Dave Ramsey show about 14 or 15 years ago. You talk about serendipity or luck, but I heard his interview by Ramsey just weeks after we decided to start our first business. So, the timing was perfect because I knew nothing about marketing. I knew nothing about business. I probably would’ve been influenced by a lot of people that would not have taken me down the same path as I did from following Godin. When I listen to him speak, I realize the generosity, the authenticity, the intelligence and the incredible amount of knowledge that this man had. I knew this was somebody I am going to follow.
So, this was at the point that we are broke and desperate. We do not run a business. We were struggling with our jobs and I hear this guy that sounded so eloquent and yet at the same time so down to earth, so I went right over to the library in Evansville Indiana, a downtown library just hoping that I’d find a book from Godin. I realize there were at least eight books by him staring right at me. And I’m thinking, how did I not know this guy? The books are in the library. Apparently, New York Times best-selling books. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. So, I woke up, kind of from a stupor two weeks later because I was so much in the library so much over those two weeks that I had read five of his books just sitting there. I am feeling a little guilty that I hadn’t bought any of his books yet. I was reading for free at the library, but I guess that is what the libraries are for.
As each subsequent book came out, when he wrote Tribes in 2008, Just Consume It and then Linchpin around 2011, 2012, which completely reshaped my mind on business and marketing until his most recent one, This Is Marketing. In my opinion it tops Linchpin with that one. I am not a fan boy over many people, but this is one of the few people that I felt almost like a rock star like when I was a kid. like this really real person. Is this for real because so much of what he said resonated with me in good times and in bad times. But I never had the opportunity to meet them. So ironically, Dave Ramsey hired Elizabeth and I. He hired our company to do photographs for his company when they came to Pittsburgh for a couple of live events. And at that conference, I met a man named Chris Medford who generously gifted me a ticket for the Business Gets Personal conference that Dave, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk were doing together in October in New York City. They gifted me a VIP ticket and what I didn’t know was they gifted us two VIP tickets. I only thought they’re giving us one, so I made the trip to New York and Elizabeth is home with the kids. I had a VIP ticket for her, and I didn’t realize until I got to the Rose theater that day that there were two tickets for us. So, I frantically called a couple of friends in New York. None of them can get out in time to get to the conference. I had to eat that one ticket.
At that conference. I got to hang out with Dave, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk, asked them questions and go to the VIP dinner, the whole thing. It was a couple years later where Seth offered a live Q&A in New York City. It was $1000 ticket. And in blink, I bought the ticket in a heartbeat, got a ticket from my friend Ken ____ who desperately wanted to go as well. We went to New York City together because I have one question that I wanted to ask him. That’s the reason why I went.
So, Ken and I got there early. We sat in the front row because it is a rule of mine when I go to conferences and Seth started the Q&A. And I honestly missed probably about 1/3 of what he had said because I was so busy trying to frame my question the right way that I was daydreaming and thinking and trying to figure out what’s the best way I can ask this question because it is my one chance to ask this. And as you hear, it is a vital time for me to ask the question.
Now this is in December. My book was being published a year from then so his advice was going to weigh heavily on how I approached that year in terms of marketing the book and getting the word out and what I should do what I shouldn’t do. And I’ve done my research, I know about Seth, so I knew that he was good friends and had a great deal of respect for Jay Conrad Levinson who wrote Grow Marketing. I also knew that Jay was friends and he is going to work with David Hancock for Morgan James publishing. And Seth talks about freelancing all times. It was actually part of my book when Seth compares freelancing to entrepreneurs, and I put a lesson that he taught at that conference in New York couple years earlier in my book. I put that story in there. So, I knew freelancing was something Seth talked about a bunch and had a feeling that he might have an understanding of who Morgan James publishing was.
So, when I finally got my chance. I try to take advantage of every moment that. I said Hi Seth, my name is Vincent. My book Freelance To Freedom is being published by Morgan James publishing next January. Then I asked him what mistakes am I gonna make now that three years from now I will wish I didn’t make? He told me that it was a good question which totally ease my nerves and he said there’s two things you’ll do now that you wish you would’ve done. One, you will wish you didn’t count on Morgan James to market your book for you and two, you would’ve wished that you would gotten the book into 10,000 people hands. And I don’t remember if he said to give it to them for free but there was no indication that he said you need to sell 10,000 books. It was, you need to get this book in the 10,000 people’s hands because if it’s a good book and if it resonates with those 10,000 people and they tell 10,000 people and then they all tell 10,000 people. Now you got something. And just like that, I got exactly what I was hoping for out of going there and so much more. The money that I spent for those tickets was now just an absolute bargain because he allowed me to completely reshaped with a bit in my head, and he allowed me to actually create a plan for what I can do for the upcoming year to prepare for the book launch. And for the next 30 minutes, people asked question after question and I didn’t hear any of it. I didn’t hear one question. I didn’t hear one answer because I sat there with my pad. I sat there with my pen and I daydreamed. I took the information that he gave to me and within that time I was sitting there, I devised the strategy would be for the book launch going forward.
I am going to stop right there ad come back to you tomorrow with part two of this and explain how his advice and his suggestions led to a different approach to marketing the book, led to an approach that built the grassroots campaign that fueled our book launch. I’ll be back with you tomorrow with that story.