How to Go Tribal and Sell a Truckload of Books

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As anyone who read my post on PR Gone Bad a few weeks ago knows, the world of book sales and book marketing has changed in a profound way.

And, it’s a world I care deeply about.

As a blogger, marketer and recent author with an insatiable quest to understand the book marketing process, I’ve spent hundreds of hours studying how other well-selling authors have been doing it right over the last 48 months…and how the vast majority of authors, publicists and publishers have been missing the boat.

And, I’ve turned all this knowledge into an extensive online report, called The Truth About Book Marketing and posted it for everyone to read at

Here’s the Table of Contents:

  1. The Truth About Book Marketing
  2. Lies, Damn Lies and Book Deals
  3. The Great Book Advertising Death Spiral
  4. Old School Book PR: Down For the Count?
  5. Email Book Marketing, Santa Claus and Amazon Bestsellers
  6. Book Tours, Megastores and Big Snores
  7. Tribal Authors Take Charge Online
  8. Case Studies
    1. Case Study: Chris Brogan
    2. Case Study: Seth Godin
    3. Case Study: Gary Vaynerchuck
    4. Case Study: Jonathan Fields
    5. Case Study: Darren Rowse
    6. Case Study: Tim Ferriss
    7. Case Study: Leo Babauta
  9. Bringing it Home: Tribal Author Power
  10. Now What?

If you have any interest in the book business, getting a book deal, book marketing, sales or promotion, head on over and give it read.

No e-mail required, no fee, no games or hoops to jump through…you can just dive straight in.

Then, share it with anyone else you know in the book world.


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11 responses

11 responses to “How to Go Tribal and Sell a Truckload of Books”

  1. Dan Holloway says:

    Hi there Jonathan.

    Yup, it’s amazing how many authors not only get it wrong. But get it wrong and then moan that the system’s stacked against them!

    Well it’s true there are lots of hurdles, and theer are genuine obstacles some people have to face, and a huge part of it is luck. BUT it’s inteersting the people who moan most are those who do least right in my experience. I launched my book as part of the Year Zero Writers group at the start of this month, and I’ve pledged over at my blog ( to give readers 100% transparency about our figures and everything we’re doing so that anyone who wants to try it out (we’re fiction writers, and I notice most people on your list aren’t) can learn form what we get right, but more important, can learn not to do what we get wrong. What we need is more case studies that haven’t been fudged by authors trying to make themselves look more successful thanthey are. I’m happy to look an idiot so others can do better. And I might have known if I wanted a great series of case studies, you were the place to come for it!

    Thanks for yet another great post

  2. Londo says:

    I think that desktop publishing and viral marketing is also a viable means to publish your book. It takes more time and a nice investment, but it can be done. Also, there many boutique publishing houses that help new authors get noticed. Do you think the NYT list holds any weight?

  3. You know, its funny that you post this, because I’m in the process of finishing and getting ready to launch my first “real world” book. This is so a propos for me, and I appreciate the time and effort you put in to get this out there. Will definitely have a read and take it under consideration, as I really need all the help I can get.


  4. Claudia says:

    Thank you for posting that advice. The video interview with Peter Shankman that you recently posted also offered a hint: go to HARO! I love their work.

    Since I’m writing my book, this information is more than timely for me. There is a new world out there and it’s us, self published authors, who’re paving the way.

  5. Jon says:

    As an author of one book with 3 new ones coming out in a few weeks time, I look forward to reading your report John. I’ve decided on the self-publishing route so that I avoid a lot of the hurdles involved with having too many cooks in the kitchen.


  6. Beth says:

    Thanks for all the work you do like this. It’s encouraging to see that people really can be so successful (no matter how you define the word) thinking and working outside the box. I stumbled across this site on twitter today and it made me think of your PR gone bad article and the impact of leveraging the power of the internet

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ferrisswatch, Ankush Narula and Kelly's Gone Again. Kelly's Gone Again said: Interested in a book deal? Dig in. How to Go Tribal and Sell a Truckload of Books (via @jonathanfields) […]

  8. My partner Jerry and I are both presenting at a seminar for authors this weekend here in Sacramento: Learn How to Make Money as a Writer. Thanks for some great info to pass along.

    I’ll probably remember to credit you . . .

  9. That’s an amazingly detailed and informative report so thanks for taking the time to write it. What interesting times we live in and what a huge shift of power is going on.

    I wonder if people like you, who have large numbers of follower to call on and market their books to, will eventually go on to be publishers themselves of other people’s books?

    Much of the power shift is for the best since authors can earn much more and have more creative freedom by self-publishing. But on the other hand, authors now also need to be expert at marketing themselves and their products, so it may be possible that decent authors with many fail to sell their good books because they don’t have a handle on the marketing process.

    I’m following this with interest. Keep up the great work!

  10. Well I think you know I”ll be reading this 🙂

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