How to Turn the Publishing Industry Upside Down

The video below is taken from an interview that Motley Fool analyst Brendan Byrnes recently had with Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception. Godin is also a talented public speaker, marketing guru, blogger, entrepreneur, and respected thought leader.

Seth's forward-thinking and contrarian views are critical considerations for finding success in life, business, and investing.

It's the same approach our own chief investment officer, Andy Cross, took when selecting The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013. I invite you to uncover his market-beating thinking in this new free report. Just click here now for instant access. 

Brendan Byrnes: Hey folks, I'm Brendan Byrnes and I'm joined today by Seth Godin, the author of The Icarus Deception. First of all, thank you so much for your time.

Seth Godin: Pleasure.

Brendan: Before we get to the book, I wanted to ask you about an interesting way that you raised money for this book, or what you called "organizing your readers" for the book. How did you do that?

Godin: A lot of people have heard about this new service called Kickstarter. The idea, apparently, is that you can go to folks and say, "I'm an artist. I want to make something. Put up some money so I can get it made."

What really happens is, most of the public is willing to do it if they get a prize in exchange, so you can say, "You'll get a copy of my vinyl LP," "I'll come to your house and put on a concert." Different amounts of money get you different prizes.

I saw it growing and resonating with people, but what I realized was it's very difficult to get a stranger to show up and say, "Yeah, I'm going to fund your work." I also knew that the hardest part of book publishing is the first 10,000 copies. Getting the first 10,000 people to touch the book is really hard, but then if the book is good, it will spread.

I went to my readers and I said, "I'm doing this Kickstarter. There's all these different prizes. The cheapest price is $4. You can get a preview of the book when it's done, digitally, and the most expensive prize is hundreds of dollars and you'll get eight copies of this and a big copy of that, and this..."

In four hours, I hit my goal and in three days we sold out of everything. People say, "Wow, that's an overnight success." Well, no. It took seven years of building an audience that wanted to participate.

I then spent every penny I got, plus a little extra, to make the stuff. I came out with four books at the same time, which was thrilling to do, but from a business point of view what's interesting is I was making books for my readers, as opposed to trying to find readers for my books. That turns the entire industry upside down.

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