Alternative Comics Artists Express their Grief and Support

The terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 touched people worldwide, and cartoonists turned to art to express their grief and support. This comic book project to benefit the American Red Cross features some of the comic world's leading talents. From legendary creators such as Will Eisner and Harvey Pekar to new talents on the cutting edge of the comics medium such as James Kochalka and cover artist Frank Cho, over 80 cartoonists gave accounts of their experiences related to the tragedy. DC and Marvel also have published tribute titles.At $14.95 and at 208 pages, 100% of the profits from the 9-11 Emergency Relief trade paperback are donated to the American Red Cross. (ISBN: 1-891867-12-1 - Alternative Comics)

See 9-11 Emergency Relief online.

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Feature

Greg Godek and the Wisdom of "Extreme Publishing"

Putting Together the 1,000-Piece Puzzle
Greg Godek is a self-described "former PR/marketing guy" who stumbled into publishing ten years ago because he decided to "follow his heart instead of his head." Today, Greg has no qualms about saying he can teach authors and publishers a thing or two: 3 ways to get on Oprah, 4 ways to finance a publishing firm, and the 5 secrets of publishing insiders. Not only that, but he claims to know the 7 myths of publishing and 27 ways independent publishers can outsmart Random House!

Impressive numbers, but where does all of this knowledge come from? Godek is a bestselling author (12 titles, with sales of over 4.2 million copies), a former publisher (Casablanca Press--"The small press playing hardball in the Big Leagues"), a keynote speaker, seminar leader, and publishing/marketing consultant. As an author/marketer, Greg practices what he calls "extreme publishing," is famous for coming up with "out-of-the-box" marketing ideas, and as a consultant he brands clients through the creation and promotion of bestselling books. His firm BestSeller Management works with authors and publishers who want to take a serious run at the New York Times bestseller list.

"You've heard of the book (by Apple Computer evangelist Guy Kawasaki), How to Drive Your Competition Crazy: Creating Disruption for Fun and Profit? Well, I live that," says Godek. "I call it 'guerilla marketing with an attitude.' The heck with Random House and the way 'Big Publishing' does things. Get a bit crazy in your thinking - that's where the real ideas come from."

Godek originally made his mark with his own two-million-copy bestseller, 1001 Ways To Be Romantic, a self-published, self-promoted phenomenon. His straightforward approach to romance was perfect for both rookies and those needing a refresher course. No one had ever combined such a huge number of practical tips with just the right amount of psychology.

Starting with the book, a Winnebago, and a dream, he and his wife set off on a cross-country book tour that set the book promotion world on its ear. Since then, he's been sharing with other independents his own version of the publishing game, teaching them how to bend the rules, create new rules, and maybe even cheat a little...

Greg speaks from experience, having self-published his first six titles (his company was bought by SourceBooks in 1997). Besides being known as "The Romance Coach," he is also known to be a marketing maniac, rating himself second only to Mark Victor Hansen in his creative approaches to marketing books. (Although Mark hasn't yet sold his house to travel the country full-time in a custom RV to promote his books!)

He has taught romance on Oprah; counseled troubled couples on Donahue; and also appeared on Jenny Jones, Montel and Good Morning America, where he launched the biggest booksigning tour in the history of publishing. Greg has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan, Redbook and the National Enquirer. He has served NSA as a Board member of the New England Chapter, led NSA's Writers & Publishers PEG, and has presented publishing and marketing seminars at the American Booksellers Association conference, at NSA conferences, and for a variety of industry organizations.

"The most common and frustrating questions I get are, 'How do you create a bestseller?' or 'What's your secret for success?' or 'How did you get on Oprah?' There really are no secrets or quick answers to these questions, except maybe this: The 'gestalt' or totality of all the aspects of your book and your publishing career has to fit the situation at hand. For example, there's no way that Chicken Soup for the Soul would have become a mega-hit if it had come out in the Reagan-era 1980s. Instead, it came out in the New Age 1990s, when the times and the culture had changed, and America was ready for it."

"So, the problem is that I can't answer that what's the secret question about your book, because there are so many variables, from the content, to your personality, to whether or not there's a terrorist attack on New York. All I can do is describe what worked for me, and maybe you can apply some of those lessons to your own book."

"We need to look at our books as if they are jigsaw puzzles, each with about 1000 pieces. The title is one piece, as is the cover, the back cover, the budget, the timing, the social context, and on and on and on. To be successful, you have to put all those pieces together the best you can. But believe it or not, even after I explain it this way, somebody will still say, 'But what was it really?' 'Was it the title?' So I say, 'Yes, and it was this and it was that,' and list about a dozen of the thousand pieces that it really is."

"As much as Americans want to buy over-simplicity, I won't sell it. I'm unwilling to give the simple answer, because it's not a simple process. I know because I've done it, and I've had to put all the pieces together. I've done everything but run the darn printing press." Part of Godek's success comes from the fact that doesn't have a pet theory that he insists you accept, in romance or publishing. He is highly conscious of the diversity of human experience, of the infinite variability of the human personality, and of the uniqueness of every individual and situation.

"There's an underlying assumption that there is a secret to be shared, and that it's being hidden. But you have to find your own set of circumstances, your own time and your own place. Nobody can read the future - you just have to make your best guess, and go to work. When someone asked Art Linkletter, 'How do you get where you've gotten today,' he said, 'Get famous.'"

"I like that idea, and I've always played it 'from the top, down.' I've always gone for it all, starting big and then moving down the scale. Getting the word out about yourself and your book -- 'getting famous' -- is all about creating 'buzz.' 'Buzz' is all about word-of-mouth, and the really difficult and delicate thing is creating a real buzz that people feel good about, that is genuine. If you're sitting behind the scenes manipulating it, you've got to be careful, and keep it real."

"One quick marketing idea is this: Give away lots of books. Why? Because books cost a dollar apiece, while press kits cost five. And because word-of-mouth is the most powerful communication medium on earth. You do the math."

Godek doesn't pretend it's easy to achieve success in publishing or that there are easy answers to many of the problems publishers face. And that honesty may be the best reality check today's author or publisher can receive.

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Greg Godek will be the keynote speaker and a presenter at an upcoming workshop presented by the Jenkins Group. The 2002 Independent Publishing and Strategic Marketing Conference will be held in Chicago on September 30th and October 1st. Visit the website, or call 1-800-706-4636, x1000 for more information.

Here are 10 of the 1001 Ways to Create a Bestseller: A Guerrilla Marketing Guide for Authors/Speakers/Publishers

By Gregory J.P. Godek
Author of the 2-million-copy bestseller "1001 Ways To Be Romantic"

1. Get famous.
2. Jump off the cliff.
3. Write a great book.
4. Re-define your "best."
5. Be the first. Or the best . . . the biggest . . . smallest . . . funniest . . . or weirdest.
6. Realize that writing the book is the easy part.
7. Spend all of your time, and more than all of your money.
8. Learn the Rules of the game.
9. Play like a pro.
10. Know why you're writing the book.

For more of the other 991 tips in Greg's bag of tricks, attend our Chicago workshop!
2002 Independent Publishing and Strategic Marketing Conference


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