Book marketing lessons from Tim Ferriss

While walking this week, I listened to a  podcast interview with The 4-Hour Workweek best-selling author Tim Ferriss, who complained that authors aren’t taking advantage of his book marketing lessons on how to create a best seller.

“I have specced out exactly more than anywhere else on the web . . . how the best seller lists work, how to write a best seller, how to launch a best seller, step-by-step what to do . . .  . And people do not – they’ll launch a book and they won’t do any of it,” he told Pat Flynn on the Smart Passive Income podcast.

Ferriss noted that one of his best blog posts on the topic, “12 Lessons Learned While Marketing “The 4-Hour Body,” is one of his most useful of many posts about book marketing. It is excellent, and I want you to jump over there and read it, then come back here and discuss it.

Why aren’t you taking his advice?

As I read it, I had a few ideas about why more authors aren’t following his advice. I suspect that the average author has obstacles, limitations, or roadblocks that someone like Ferriss might not take into account.

While thinking of the authors I meet and work with regularly, I wondered:

  • Did reading his list of “must-dos” make you anxious because you felt so many of the tactics were simply beyond your reach?
  • Do you lack the financial resources to create something like a killer book trailer?
  • Are you uncertain about how to get lots of pre-publication Amazon reviews?
  • Do you find that being a perfectionist is over-rated?
  • Do you find the concept of offering irresistible purchase incentives so complicated, overwhelming, or unrealistic that you can’t add that tactic to your plan?

In other words, are there steps or tactics on his thoughtful and comprehensive post that you might struggle with or that seem beyond your reach? Or do you simply think they aren’t worth doing?

What’s your opinion?

I’m curious because knowing more about what holds you back might help me connect you with resources that might propel you forward.

With that in mind, let me know what you think about Ferriss’s recommendations after you read his post. Please leave a comment below telling me what you think of his list and which of the 12 items don’t seem like a fit for you and your book. 

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  1. This is brilliant information. My first book has been out for awhile and I only just did a book trailer. I can incorporate much of this for my next book, but here are some obstacles to my duplicating his plan:
    #12: Amazon overload: takes money to send out books for free. But a friend priced his ebook at 99 cents and asked buyers to leave an amazon review. Doable.
    #7: incentives: that would be a challenge. Not enough contacts and finances to arrange.
    #5 is totally doable since I’ve had a blog for awhile. I actually started blogging two years ago because I read that his blog was one of the keys to Tim’s successful book sales.
    #4 is mind-boggling. It seems to take many more contacts than I have.
    But so much of this can be done! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    1. I’m glad it was helpful, Nancy! I think that doing what he has done at his level would be challenging for many of us, but doing them in a smaller way might work out fine. For example, acquiring $4 million in donated giveaways might be unrealistic but a few hundred $$ worth of bonus materials? Probably doable. Re. #12, could you send PDF review copies via e-mail?

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share specifics here — it’s so helpful!


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