Are you hitting all the stepping stones?

Steppingstones I don't know who started the concept, but many authors attempt to sell their books by giving away their books.  Charles Sheehan Miles did it.  Wicked author Gregory Maguire did it.  Cory Doctorow did it. 

And of course, Seth Godin did it.  (Click on their names to find out how you can get your copy!)

Crazy?  I don't know.  But smashLAB's Eric Karjaluoto is giving it a shot. 

His new book, Speak Human, can be bought on Amazon for about $20 or you can download it for free (a chapter at a time) by visiting this site.

So how does giving it away encourage purchase?  I don't think it's necessarily about getting someone to download the free one and then turn around (out of guilt or adoration) and buy the same book.  It's more about:

  • Creating a fan base
  • Getting your ideas out to a wider audience
  • Creating buzz (through posts like this)
  • Encouraging word of mouth (free readers read it, love it, talk about it)
  • Securing clients, speaking gigs, etc.

The truth is, most business book authors aren't going to get rich off book sales.  But they can get rich off of the consulting and speaking opportunities that their ideas/books can create for them. 

The path to riches (a relative term) for most authors is not a linear one.  You have to do many different things that are like stepping stones in a pond.  You know where you want to go, but you have to hop from step to step to get there.

That's not just true for authors.  I'm guessing it is true for your business as well.  Are you sure you're hitting every stepping stone? 

Maybe you can see where you want to go but can't figure out how to get there…do you need to add a few more stepping stones and just worry about the next step?  Sometimes that's more effective than focusing on the vast chasm between where you are today and where you want to be.

Have you purposefully built your stepping stone path?  Eric Karjaluoto seems to have his in place.

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10 comments on “Are you hitting all the stepping stones?

  1. The truth is, most business book authors aren’t going to get rich off book sales. But they can get rich off of the consulting and speaking opportunities that their ideas/books can create for them.

  2. Rennell says:

    That is a good marketing strategy but the problem is you have to be financially capable to go the distance. Giving away your product can give benefit over time. But not always. You have to decide if it is the right marketing strategy for you. Thanks for the post.

    Rennel

    Savannah GA Advertising
    Albany GA Advertising

  3. Richard says:

    Hi,
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    YASH Technologies is hosting a live webinar on March 23, 2010, where this
    renowned author will speak on the topic “Discover the blueprint to a billion’s on 8th essentials –Technology.“

    It can greatly help a lot of people and companies. You can register for this webinar at http://www.yash.com/news-events/webinars/yash-webinars.php

  4. Rennel,

    Giving away part of what you do is different from giving away everything. Eric works at smashLAB so he’s not giving away his salary or his day job work.

    He’s giving away his book, with the intention of getting more people to talk about and buy his book.

    In this case, it feels pretty safe.

    Drew

  5. Tessa,

    It can be a remarkable strategy. As Rennel suggested — you can’t give it all away. But, sampling has always been a rock solid winner!

    Drew

  6. Akash Sharma says:

    Hi Drew, As soon as started reading this post, a post from Seth Godin on pricing of books got in my mind which is a classic post http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/12/the-magic-of-dynamic-pricing.html, he has discussed the path from being free to a valuable entity.
    You are right that there are different things which one should focus upon while designing the success strategy specially in small business marketing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts….

  7. John says:

    Being an author, it is a hard concept to get my head around giving away my hard work for free. Iget what your saying, and having an online presence helps my situation substantially. I’ll have to let the idea sink in and then work out how I’m going to get started. Thanks for the tip.

  8. John,

    Maybe you don’t give away the entire book… maybe you give away the first few chapters. Or offer something else for free of value — to promote the book.

    Don’t think you have to do it exactly how Eric is doing it.

    Drew

  9. Avnish —

    I think the business model today involves being confident enough to willingly share your expertise before you sell your expertise.

    When you think about it — it is a cost of marketing or doing business today.

    Drew

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