Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, an expose of our media system which the Financial Times called a “disturbing, astonishing book,” Growth Hacker Marketing, and The Obstacle Is The Way (all published by Penguin). His books have been translated in 20 languages and his writing has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Entrepreneur and Fast Company.
He is formerly the Director of Marketing for American Apparel, where his controversial and groundbreaking campaigns generated international attention and recognition. In his career, he has ghostwritten, marketed, or advised on dozens of bestselling books including projects with Robert Greene, Tim Ferriss, Tucker Max and many others
Writing and Marketing Books
By the time he was 21, Ryan Holidays research had been used by #1 New York Times Bestselling authors like Robert Greene, Tim Ferriss, and Tucker Max. Was he a slave to study? Did he have to become a library hermit to accomplish this? No, he did it all in his spare time —on the side, often with just a few hours of work a week.
Though authors are unquestionably helpful to each other, they don’t always give the best advice. Think how many times you’ve heard this old trope: Just put your butt in the chair and write. It’s true, but that doesn’t help you right now, does it? Ryan Holiday doesn’t give you advice like that. Instead, he shows that there is a way to publish prodigiously while baking the marketing into your work.
So many people attempt the easy way out when creating books for passive income. Their goal is often quantity over quality. And this is understandable, especially if you are trying attracted to the kindle model over other income streams that involve a bigger time investment. Ryan Holiday points out the flaws in this marketing strategy, arguing that “the most important marketing phase of a book actually comes while you’re writing it. If you don’t realize that now, it’s a big missed opportunity.” It’s a must read post, regardless of what type of book you are marketing.
In 2014, Ryan Holiday did an experiment. He joined forces with Tim Ferriss, publishing the audiobook under his new imprint, and featuring the book as part of the book club he was starting?It turned out that this little decision was probably the single biggest direct driver of book sales that Ryan had in his career. IUn this post, he takes you behind the scenes of that collaboration and launch—numbers and all. This is for the curious, the about-to-be first time writer, and every author out there looking for some untraditional ways to put their book in front of readers.
Once you break out of the shackles of antiquated notions of what is or isn’t marketing, the whole field becomes cheaper, easier, and much more, scalable. The game changes forever. Another great Ryan Holiday post.
As readers and as writers, it’s not quotas we should be chasing. It should be truth. And very rarely does what is featured in the author photo—or in the case of ancient books, the classic bust featured on the back—have much bearing on the truth of the work.
“The déjà vu is not accidental. Numerous leaders of the alt-right movement read the book I published in 2012, which outlined exactly how this media strategy works. Several have told me Trust Me, I’m Lying is their bible. It’s a sad irony for me, since I wrote the book as an explicit warning about how broken our media system was and why it needed to be fixed. As I would say in interviews, the strategies that I used were designed to market books and clothes for companies like American Apparel, but I was exposing how they worked because I worried how others might soon use them to sell something more nefarious.”
This post is phenomenally useful. I’ve signed up to his reading list and always end up making a couple of purchases.