Monday, March 2, 2009

Innovative Marketing Idea

“Exposure and attention make a work famous - the more you talk about it, the more attention it gets, the more validity it achieves.” -Andy Warhol

In my opinion, writing a novel is the easiest part of an author’s multi-tasking career. As an introvert, becoming a confident, creative marketer is by far the most difficult. Therefore, I am always looking out for new and original marketing ideas.

At, I ran across this innovative plan. Last year, Tao Lin offered a ten percent share of the royalties of his unfinished second novel for a mere $2,000 to six investors. He thinks the novel will sell at least 13,000 copies and that investors should turn a profit within 40 months. Not only will selling shares bring him immediate income, but he thought it would boost his motivation and help him focus more on the unnamed novel.

According to Lin’s blog, he did this because he was quitting his job. He also thought it was an idea which would have people talking and that in itself is promotion. The six investors would also have incentives to talk up the book and promote sales. The book should be out by fall 2009 or spring 2010. As though it’s an extra incentive to investors, he promised not to kill himself within five to ten years.

In trying to find out if there were any updates on this story, I ran across an interesting interview with Tao Lin on The Urban Elitist written by David Nygren. I particularly liked the summary at the end of the interview. The first item, “Even with media attention most writers would kill for, it is still very difficult for a writer to earn enough to live on through book sales alone.” I’m sure this is the reason Lin is forced to come up with such interesting marketing ideas. According to this article, Lin has also tried to sell selections from his Twitter account in an effort to raise funds.

Lin sounded like a gregarious entrepreneur to me so I was very surprised when I read the following in an article by Sam Anderson in the New York Magazine. “When I visit him in person, in his Bushwick apartment, he is almost catatonically shy—he looks like he might actually die, just wither and expire, under the force of direct human attention.”

Whether the stock idea works (the Guardian said Tao Lin sold the 6 shares within 6 days), Lin has managed to stir up quite a lot of talk. Though I am not ready to take follow his lead by selling stock in my works in progress, I do admire the impressive manner another introvert is managing to obtain name recognition.

Would you consider buying stock in an author’s unpublished manuscript? What about selling shares of your unfinished manuscripts?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Warhol, Tao Lin, marketing, introvert, name recognition


Anonymous said...

Interesting concept. I'm not sure if I would buy stock in an unpublished book, I guess if I KNEW the author had a HUGE potential for sales, but then if that were the case he or she wouldn't need to be selling shares.

Hmm - dunno. But interesting.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Quite a unique idea! Don't think I would want investors, though.
Most can't live on books sales alone, though - fortunately there are many other ways we can make money.
And still do what we love!

L. Diane Wolfe

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jane, I seem to be following Marvin around the blogosphere today-but you're on my blog list- I promise... ;)

Thanks for this very interesting blog. I read in the sunday Tribune that someone got a six figure advance to create a book out of the most interesting tweets he's someone is selling their tweets.

This is such a bizzare business- I'm never bored.

Morgan Mandel said...

No, I wouldn't buy stock in someone else's book, nor would I offer it for my own. I'm too possessive of my books and wonder about people who aren't.

I might consider collaborating on a book with someone, but that's it.

Morgan Mandel

Sharon said...

I find this idea a little bit incredible. But in this day and age anything is possible. I certainly don't think I would go this route.

Sharon Reece

Anonymous said...

What an interesting idea. Not sure it's how I would do it though.

Joan De La Haye

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world