What Authors (and others) Can Learn About Marketing from the Achievers and George Takei
Part 1: Your Core Audience
How does a star of a television program that aired in the late 1960’s rise in social media to have 3.8 million followers, sell out a musical performed at the Globe in San Francisco about Japanese citizen interment in the United States during World War II, and influence opinion nationwide about marriage equality and LBGT rights?
How do Will Russell and Scott Shuffitt go from tattoo vendors at a convention in 2002 to international sensations by 2009, hosting conventions centered around a movie released in March of 1998 with minimal success and a small cult following?
You’ve written a great book. The people who have read it that are not your
brother, sister, cousin . . . you get the idea, have told you so. Not enough of them have read it though. How do you get it noticed? How do you go from a small book with a
small cult following to an international sensation? What can we learn from the two examp
Disclaimer: I am not a master marketer. I am just learning some of these things myself. I don’t have 3.8 million followers, and I haven’t filled a convention center in Las Vegas with 4,000 people to watch an old movie together and quote movie lines. I’m just a writer like you, trying to tap into the mystery.
What George and the Achievers have in common: Both started with a core group of fans, gathered around a single idea. George started with Trekkies. Basically a core group of geeks who followed one television series. (Yes, I am one. So what?)
The Achievers began as two guys who loved the movie The Big Lebowski and started quoting movie lines back and forth at a tattoo convention. They noticed they weren’t the only ones quoting lines, and decided to have a party at a local bowling alley, where fans could bowl and watch the movie while drinking White Russians. By 2009 there were gatherings around the world, and fans were traveling thousands of miles to “official” conventions.
The secret? They both started with a core group of fans, centered around one thing they had in common. When those people gathered, they found they had other things in common. George expanded his audience by embracing one of his passions. It may have alienated some, but it gained him a great following.
So how do you do the same thing? Ask yourself: what do all of your fans have in common? What is a passion they all share, that would also appeal to other people and draw them to your work?
A hint: the common factor is not your book. Not yet. What’s the theme of your book, the central idea, that would draw people to read it? Why did you write your story, and why does it resonate with others?
Of course, this is only the first step that both George and the Achievers took to build a fan base. We will look at the next step next week. Until then, you have homework. Follow George on Facebook if you don’t already, and watch what he posts and when. Second, watch the documentary The Achievers and watch their idea take off. Here’s a link to the trailer. Now write on!