Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Creativity Trumps Following the Rules (Guest Post From Ernie J. Zelinski)

Here's a guest post from Ernie J. Zelinski, which actually originated as a comment to a previous post about the business of publishing. I don't usually re-purpose comments that way, but I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to read his thoughts.

Ernie Zelinski, author of The Joy of Not Working and other titles

Fact is social media is not even necessary to promote a book, even though so-called social media experts will be in total denial about this.

I am very successful as a self-published author. I have been in this game since 1989 (a true pioneer and not like a lot of the impostors out there) and making decent money at it ever since my first book was self-published.

Print Sales Are Not Dead

My How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free will sell about 9,000 copies on Amazon in its print edition this year. In fact, this title will likely sell the most copies this year in its print edition since it was first self-published in 2004. It has already sold a total of 15,000 copies and should reach 17,000 copies by the end of the year. (This proves that people who say "print is dead" are either lying of just plain brain dead.)

Yet my three Kindle titles have only sold 12 copies this month. Why does my How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free sell so well? Because I don't rely on social media. As marketing guru John Reese (who was the first person ever to make $1-million dollars in one day marketing on the Internet) says, Social media is vastly overrated.

Creativity Trumps Platform

I notice that true best-selling authors like Brendon Burchard, whose The Charge has sold 80,000 copies in its print edition in the last 8 months, don't rely on social media. They have much better and more creative ways to sell books. So do I.

I am amazed at the lack of true creativity and ingenuity in this world. People use the word "creativity" because it sounds nice. They have no sense of the meaning of the word, however. They certainly don't show it in their actions.

Years ago I cut copies of one of my books in half and mailed either the top half or the bottom half of them to corporations with a creative letter that said if they wanted to purchase the book, they had to purchase a minimum of 10. This promotion led to revenues of over $15,000.

I can give several more examples of my own "unique" creative book-marketing tactics that I have used to have my books sell over 750,000 copies worldwide but I won't simply because consultants such as Brendon Burchard and Joe Polish charge up to $3,500 an hour for their consulting and coaching.

Here is a quotation about creativity that also applies to creativity in book marketing:

"What Is Your WOW Factor?
This applies to both the service
that you provide to the world
and the way you market it.
Make it edgy, make it snappy,
and make it punchy.
Even make it raunchy — but
make it different!
Real different!"
— from Life's Secret Handbook

Social Media vs. E-mail

In short, a great author platform does not require any social media at all. You don't heve to be on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to be more successful than 99.9 perent of authors regardless of what social media and book marketing experts tell you.

As John Reese said, "RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, BLAH BLAH BLAH. Yes, those methods can generate leads. Yes, those methods can generate some sales. But time and time again little old e-mail marketing kicks their butts — by a long shot"


Ernie J. Zelinski is an international best-selling author, speaker, and prosperity life coach who helps adventurous souls live prosperous and free. Ernie is the author of the international bestsellers The Joy of Not Working (over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages) and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free (over 175,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages). Check out Ernie's two quotation websites Sensational Quotes for Smart People and the Retirement Quotes Cafe for more great quotations on a number of topics.


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Check out these other helpful Not Bob posts:

Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author
by Chuck Sambuchino

If you want a book that covers platform in all its variations, this is the title for you. Chuck Sambuchino is the author of humor titles such as How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack and Red Dog Blue Dog, but he's also behind Guide to Literary Agents and Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript. In other words, he's been there, done that, and lived to tell about it. Chuck covers social media, blogs, newsletters, public speaking, and more. Click the link above to check it out today.


Lara Britt said...

First I can't believe I'm in the Hawaiian Time Zone, and therefore last to get this in my email inbox and yet I'm the first to comment on this post? Can't seem quite right.

Second, I spent last April being challenged to build my author platform on this same blog.

Third, although guest poster Ernie J Zelinski disparages all forms of social media with the exception of email ...which is *ahem* social media. And you get email addresses from *ahem* social media, he only gives a severely outdated anecdote that is surely not replicable. It sounds more like a frat house prank than an example of genius marketing.

Fourth, he claims to have the best of his advice behind door #3. Why should he tell us when people are paying thousands of dollars for these pearls of wisdom.

But it is December 11th, otherwise known as Madoff Day. Could this be the blogging equivalent of April Fools?

Unknown said...

This is certainly some interesting food for thought. As I'm reading Mr. Zelinski's thoughts, it does make a fascinating point that creative promotions can do far better than "traditional" social media ... perhaps because the traditional route (tweets, Facebook posts, etc.) can get lost in the sea of everybody else doing the same thing.

I was just reading another article, I regretfully can't recall where, that was pointing out that many modern authors, bloggers, etc. feel the need to be a part of every social media outlet out there--when in fact actively engaging just one could be more useful than semi- or pseudo-actively engaging ten, or five, or two. I think Mr. Zelinski is reiterating, if not creatively subverting, that same idea--it's better to be creative and stand out than to "follow the rules [of social media or modern marketing]" and simply be like everybody else.

Really interesting share, Robert, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great input!!!

Anonymous said...

Great input!!!

Mariya Koleva said...

I am sure this article can bring about a huge discussion and give rise to some "creative" ideas. But, overall, it sounds petty and spiteful.
It reads somewhat like a: "I know ways, but I won't tell you, NANANA-NANA" with the sayer making funny faces to us. "You are not creative enough, so go to hell."
Please, this tone is just too childish, to be taken seriously.
Otherwise, the topic would be interesting and informative to discuss.
Best, MK

Sasha A. Palmer said...

I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm happy for the author. Obviously, he has, or believes he has, a recipe for success. However, to me it all boiled down to being rude, rather than creative.
I'd find it offensive to receive cut up copies of books along with a demand for money. I'd never read those copies.
I would not even bother to consider marketing emails: they are immediately marked as 'spam' and deleted.
I dare think there are people in the publishing industry who would feel and act the same way as I would.
It's sure good to be different, but the author failed to convince me of his own success at that. There's plenty of rudeness out there. Being polite suddenly feels refreshingly different and creative.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I think what got my attention with this comment is that spirit Khara mentions in her comment above: the need to be creative in marketing/promotions/engagement.

Do I think there's absolutely no place for social media/blogging/etc.? Of course not!

But I do think it's helpful to push beyond the "comfort zone" and try to find creative ways of engaging your audience from time to time.

J. B. Everett said...

I think the important message is this -- the vehicle is not the thing. The content is the thing. There are a million ways to spam someone, electronically or not. There are also some great methods to actively engage with your audience and provide value electronically or not. They require more work and yes, creativity. It also necessitates knowing your audience. One man's marketing genius is fodder for another woman's spam folder or circular file.

Craig said...

Terrific post, and I certainly hope it's true. I have a few projects I'm considering doing as ebooks, and it's the fear of all the shameless self-promotion I'd have to clog the Twitterverse that's in part kept me from taking action. Nice to hear that creativity is valued and that there are other approaches that are working for some authors.