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What It Takes

What It Takes

Crowdfunding, Part Deux

By Callie Oettinger | Published: August 15, 2014

For the past few weeks, Steve’s interviews with Jeff Simon have been appearing on this site. The last one ran just before Jeff’s Indiegogo campaign ended — fully funded I’d like to add (with a congrats to Jeff and Team Abercorn).

I shared a bit about his campaign via the post “Why You Need to Know About Crowdfunding,” with lessons from crowdfunding that crossover into outreach, for sharing our work.

A few additions to that piece:

If Mozart Could Do It . . .

Alexander Pope did it. Mozart did it. And . . . The “American Committee” (thank them for the base and pedestal of the Statue of Liberty) did it.

And, the three did it without the ease of a computer that could put them in touch with millions around the world.

Yes, they all had known names, but . . . Their outreach was similar to the word-of-mouth outreach that still starts at the local level today.

In Justin Kazmark’s article “Kickstarter Before Kickstarter,” you’ll find Mozart’s experiences in crowdfunding, as well as the stories of the other three:

In 1783, Mozart took a similar path. He wanted to perform three recently composed piano concertos in a Viennese concert hall, and he published an invitation to prospective backers offering manuscripts to those who pledged:

“These three concertos, which can be performed with full orchestra including wind instruments, or only a quattro, that is with 2 violins, 1 viola and violoncello, will be available at the beginning of April to those who have subscribed for them (beautifully copied, and supervised by the composer himself).”

Alas, not all projects reach their funding goals, and Mozart fell short. A year later he tried again, and 176 backers pledged enough to bring his concertos to life. He thanked them in the concertos’ manuscript:

Mozart's crowdfunders. Image credit: Cornell University Library.

So, if you’re looking for other examples of crowdfunding that would work in the realm of outreach, to share your project, consider going local for examples. We don’t know how Mozart got the word out, but the image below offers a clue to what the “American Committee” did. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

“The Game of Numbers”

By Steven Pressfield | Published: August 13, 2014

Last week we were talking about Rory McIlroy’s “trigger words” from his victory in the British Open a few weeks ago—”process” and “spot.” We were saying that the principle behind these concepts was equally applicable to writing and to entrepreneurship.

My copy of "The Game of Numbers"

What is that principle?

It’s the idea of detaching yourself emotionally from the ultimate outcome of any enterprise (“I gonna win the Nobel Prize!” “I’m going to humiliate myself in the eyes of everyone I love!”) and focusing instead upon one simple, controllable object (“I’m going to sit down this day and work for three hours.”)

I want to introduce you to a book that articulates this concept better than any I’ve ever read.

It’s called The Game of Numbers by Nick Murray.

(Full disclosure: Nick has become a great friend and I’m a huge fan of all his work. Second full disclosure: Nick’s book costs forty bucks.)

The Game of Numbers is not about writing. It’s about “prospecting.”

Nick Murray is a guru and mentor to financial advisors. He writes a popular newsletter, as well as magazine articles and books. “Prospecting,” in the sense that Nick employs the term, means looking for clients. Cold-calling. It means approaching strangers and asking for their business.

Know that, for the purposes of this book, there are only two states of being [for a financial advisor]: prospecting and avoiding prospecting.

Is this starting to ring a bell? Hint: where Nick uses the word “prospecting,” substitute “writing.”

This is not a how-to book. It’s a how-to-not-stop book. Or, if you prefer, it’s not about prospecting; it’s about the fear of prospecting. And how to defeat that fear.

What I call Resistance, Nick calls Avoidance. There’s no difference between the two. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays

What It Takes

What It Takes

The 10,000 Reader Rule

By Shawn Coyne | Published: August 8, 2014

The sum total of my twenty-two years of experience in book publishing comes down to the number 10,000.

What is a book publisher’s job?

Is it to get a writer on The Today Show?

Is it to buy a full-page four-color advertisement on the back page of The New York Times Arts and Leisure section?

Is it to make sure a book is on the front table of Barnes & Noble for its first two weeks on sale?

Is it to entertain every cockamamie marketing idea an author has…Why don’t we have an ice cream social in Times Square to promote my book about William Howard Taft?

I’ve contemplated all of these tactics over the years as an editor at the major book publishers, an independent book publisher, as an agent and even as an author for a Big Five publisher myself.

What I’ve concluded is that a book publisher’s job is to get 10,000 people to try the book.

Ideally, those readers will give their full attention to at least its first paragraph. If they like what they’ve read, they’ll read the second paragraph…and so on.

That’s it.  Get the book to 10,000 people who will sincerely give it a try.

I know, this pronouncement seems glib and just more headline fodder for Buzzfeed, but think about it.

There are three major trade book-reading generations in the United States today.

1. The Baby Boomers (75 million)

2. Generation X (50 million), and

3. Generation Y (75 million).


Posted in What It Takes
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