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John Kremerís Book Marketing Update
Behind the Bestseller: How Robert Kiyosaki turned RICH DAD, POOR DAD into an information empire. Selling 10 million copies of the original book was just the tip of the iceberg.From Book Marketing Update.
Robert Kiyosaki is no overnight sensation. Many people first heard of his bestselling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money -- That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! when he appeared on Oprah a couple of years ago.
The book is the story of Kiyosaki's "two dads" and what each taught him about money. The Rich Dad was Kiyosaki's best-friend's father, and the person most responsible for teaching him what the rich know about managing money. Kiyosaki's Poor Dad, his own father, was a government worker who struggled with his finances his entire life. Before that big break, Kiyosaki had put in years of practice learning how to sell himself and his message quickly and effectively. He honed his skills on radio programs, TV programs and by presenting on stage. As Kiyosaki's Rich Dad said, "If you want to be successful in business you MUST learn how to sell."
While Rich Dad, Poor Dad is probably his best-known title (10 million copies in print, translated into almost 35 languages), Kiyosaki has slowly built an information empire with other titles that focus on a variety of specific economic concepts, as well as board games, audio and videotape series and a line of Rich Dad Advisor products. Here's how Kiyosaki built his empire.
* Create controversy. You might think that part of becoming a bestselling author involves cultivating an adoring public. But that's not the way Kiyosaki sees it. In fact, he says that if you're doing your job right, only about 33% of the public is going to love you, with the other two-thirds split evenly between hating you and being indifferent. The reason is because one of the keys to success is to create controversy -- and that is necessarily going to mean ruffling some feathers and making some people downright antagonistic to your message. But controversy makes for a good story, good stories attract media attention, and media attention sells books.
* Kill the sacred cow. How do you go about creating the kind of controversy that grabs the media's attention? Take a generally accepted belief and challenge it. For example, while most homeowners view their house as an asset, Kiyosaki argues just the opposite. In his Rich Dad's world, anything (like your house) that doesn't produce income and that requires you to make payments on it every month can only be considered a liability. As you can imagine, there are plenty of people who didn't like hearing that about the biggest investment of their lives. As Kiyosaki puts it, marketing is like "drawing a line in the sand" -- people are either going to agree with what you're saying or they won't. But either way it's going to attract attention.
* Make it simple. In a nutshell, the harder you make it for people to understand the message, the less likely they are to want to buy your book. Kiyosaki's forte is taking the complicated and making it simple. (Most people do just the opposite). Kiyosaki has found that this also makes your message more appealing to the media. If you can't convey the essence of your topic and your most intriguing points in just a few seconds, most people aren't going to wait around to figure out what you're trying to say. And remember, the media loves sound bites.
* Appeal to a person's spirit. Kiyosaki's message is powerful for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it appeals to one of the most deep-seated desires of most of us -- to be financially independent. Kiyosaki has often said, "it's not about making money, it's about being free." It's obvious Kiyosaki has hit an international chord with Rich Dad, Poor Dad making the bestseller lists not only in the United States but also in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, South Africa, etc.
* Focus just as much on your marketing as on your writing. Kiyosaki stresses that he isn't a "best-writing" author, he's a best-selling author. In fact, Kiyosaki doesn't consider himself a particularly talented writer at all. But what he can do is sell. In his youth, Kiyosaki took a job hawking copiers to overcome his fear of selling. It's a skill that pays off to this day. Think about what you do to market your books -- you sell yourself to the media, to bookstores, to reviewers, to producers and on and on. Knowing how to write is one piece of the puzzle, but knowing how to sell and market your message may be even more important.
* Be ready for Oprah's call. According to Kiyosaki, about 99% of authors aren't ready for the dream phone call from one of Oprah's producers. As a result, even a guest shot on one of the most widely watched TV shows in America won't catapult them to bestseller status. The only way to get ready for that call is to practice your media skills, your presentation skills how to get your message across most effectively. Kiyosaki has done hundreds of radio and TV interviews, many of which were a result of ads he placed in Radio-TV Interview Report (for free info call 800-989-1400 ext 408) and spoke to live audiences throughout the world in preparation for the day when he got his shot on Oprah. That chance came when Kiyosaki was on vacation in the Australian outback on a hunting expedition. After getting the call, he immediately hopped on a plane and flew directly to Chicago for the appearance. Because of the time he spent practicing and his willingness to go the extra mile (or extra few thousand miles in this case) Kiyosaki attributes selling a million copies of his book as a result of his first Oprah appearance.
* Create high profit spin-offs. We've stressed this point a number of times before, but it's so important that it bears repeating. It's much, much easier (and cheaper for you) if a single customer buys several products of yours instead of you constantly recruiting new customers to buy just one product. In other words, if someone buys your $19.95 book and likes it, there's a good chance they'll be interested in your $99.95 audiotape set, or your $199.95 videotape set. Kiyosaki is a believer in this system and created his spin-offs (also known as back-end products) before he ever wrote his book. Essentially, he wrote his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad to help him sell a $195 game called Cashflow 101. Don't stop with just one product. If people are responding to your message then why not offer them additional products that give them more information while simultaneously increasing your profit margin.
* Zero in on niche markets. When Kiyosaki learned that multi-level marketing companies (MLMs) were buying his books and encouraging their associates to read them, he contacted various MLM companies and asked them what they wanted. As a result he wrote an entire book for them, entitled The Business School for People Who Like Helping People and sold hundreds of thousands of copies just to various MLMs. This is taking the concept of the "special report" several steps further. If you can identify a niche market that would benefit from a specialized version of your book, why not create something tailored just for them? It might be a booklet, a training manual, a tape series, or, if the market is big enough like it was for Kiyosaki, an entirely new book.
* Build a brand. The Rich Dad brand is, if not a household name, at least known by enough people that Kiyosaki has been able to expand on his initial product line to offer specialized titles on the subjects of real estate investing, sales and tax strategies written by other authors but published under the "Rich Dad" umbrella (the Rich Dad Advisor Series). Like all brands, these products are all instantly recognizable as being part of the same family. Thus, if you liked what Kiyosaki had to say in Rich Dad, Poor Dad, chances are you'll be interested in these other topics.
For more information about Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, or any of his other products, visit www.richdad.com
This article originally appear in John Kremer's Book Marketing Update, a twice-monthly publication that reports on book publicity and sales opportunities, as well as case histories of successful book promotion campaigns. For only $1 you can get a trial subscription to the newsletter, along with a transcript of their recent telephone seminar, "What Bestselling Authors Do Differently." Go to http://www.freepublicity.com/transcript/?10010