How Seth Godin Leveraged His True Fans to Publish his Latest Book

IMG_5926The Icarus Deception is as interesting for how it came to be published as it is for the content of the book itself.

Seth Godin wanted to use Kickstarter to demonstrate the potential of a hybrid method between the slow and stagnant traditional publishing model and the immediacy but intangibility of digital publishing.

He made a deal with his publishers that if he could raise $40,000 from his tribe to fund 3 new books (The Icarus Deception, V is for Vulnerable and The Behemoth), they would also be willing to invest their resources into publishing and promoting the books to a wider audience.

The Kickstarter project for The Icarus Deception went on to raise a little more than the intended $40,000 - $287,342 to be exact. That amount was contributed by 4,242 backers, so each contributed way more than the cost of a single book ($67.73 each on average). I think it’s fair to say that most of those backers (including myself) could be described as ‘true fans’ of Godin’s work.

From the outset, Godin explained that Kickstarter is the way to leverage your tribe of fans/true fans – not to build that tribe. Godin already had the fans, thanks to the impressive body of work he has built using his blog, his previous books, and his other projects. Just like Amanda Palmer already had a tribe to leverage when she raised $1,192,793 to fund her latest album, art book and live tour.

For you and I, Kickstarter is unlikely to produce such massive results – but that’s not to say that with the right idea, a small and supportive tribe, the right rewards and price points for backers, and some good old fashioned hustling, we couldn’t achieve success. A couple of my WDS pals have done just that. Nathan Agin, who I interviewed recently, raised over $10,000 to create his new TV show about travel and healthy eating, and singer-songwriter Kim Jennings raised almost $4,000 for her new record.

My full review of The Icarus Deception is coming next. You can still enter the competition to win a copy (deadline has been extended until midnight on Monday 21st January).