Your Book Is A Start Up: Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Chef, And The BitTorrent Publishing Model

As a former iterative project manager in publishing, I love this marketing model from Tim Ferriss. Social echo mechanism is something we should explore in another post soon – it’s how we all should market in my opinion. But for now, this from Bit Torrent.

If you’re a writer, here’s what you’re up against. No other industry has as many new product introductions as the publishing sector. No. Other. Industry. And your industry is in decline. Adult nonfiction books peaked in 2007, and have fallen each year since then. Bookstores are selling less books. In fact, average book sales are incredibly small. The typical US nonfiction book sells fewer than 250 copies per year, and under 3,000 copies in its lifetime. Think you’ll see your next book on shelves? Good luck. Because each new book has less than 1% chance of being stocked in an average bookstore.

Now, imagine your book has been boycotted by Barnes & Noble. Now you’re in Tim Ferriss’ shoes.
The author’s latest installment in The 4-Hour series was available on Amazon, but not in stock on major retailer shelves. Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Chef essentially had no physical footprint. How then, did his book go from boycotted to the best-seller lists, winning a Gourmand Cookbook Award along the way?

Simple. He stopped marketing The 4-Hour Chef as a book. Instead, he marketed it as a start up; relying on an iterative release schedule and spreadable, targeted content. Ferriss let usage drive product upsell, and users drive book seeding and distribution. He built in mechanisms for reward and social echo throughout the promotional cycle, mobilizing potential readers to act. Here’s how you hack publishing in sixty days or less.

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