Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a first-century Roman philosopher who has been credited with saying, “Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.”
As a photographer, I live by this definition. If I get up at 3:30am, drive an hour to a location, then hike in 5 miles with 30 pounds of camera gear so I am set up in time to catch the sunrise… it is not lucky to get a beautiful shot, it is preparation. The luck comes in when the rising sun lights up the sky as though God personally painted the sunrise purple and orange just for me and I am able to get an epic photograph (not just a beautiful shot).
But as a solo-preneur, who wanted to publish a coffee table book of my photographs, my luck didn’t come getting a lucrative book deal, or from finding a powerful agent, or even knowing an influential person in the publishing world… my luck came from not knowing ANYTHING about the publishing industry at all.
That may seem counterintuitive, but the fact that I didn’t know I was breaking every rule along way was actually my lucky break. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t succeed by making a ton of mistakes (and I made a ton) from not understand the publishing world, I succeeded by creating my own path to publishing a book by using an entirely new set of tools.
I am not saying that the traditional publishing world is broken or doesn’t work anymore, what I am saying is that for me (and I bet for thousands of people just like me) the traditional approach to getting published isn’t necessarily the best way to approach your own success story. I am saying that by taking a totally new approach to publishing my book, other authors may find my story just what they have looking for to help them reach their own goals.
I am the most unlikely author you will ever meet. And for that reason I love to tell my story of how I went from a completely unknown photographer, to a published author that hit Amazon’s Hot New 100 list in my category and sold out inventory on the first day of release. My book hit those milestones in spite of the fact that it retailed for $99, and in spite of the fact that nobody knew who I was (my name isn’t even in my book!), and in spite of the fact that it was a self published effort by someone who just 1 year prior had no idea how the publishing world actually worked.
Even more amazing is that today, just 10 months after my first book, I did a limed released of my second book to the market and sold just over 2,000 copies on the very first day (by limited release I mean that it is not available in any book store or on Amazon or B&N).
I am not giving those stats to brag, I am giving those stats to show how truly improbable it is to be where I am today.
My story is one that combines the tribe concepts in Seth Godin’s books, the business acumen that Michael Hyatt is know for, and mushes it all up it in power of current social media, emerging social media and the possibilities of crowd sourcing. I was also lucky to get some outstanding guidance and a ton of encouragement from a true agent of change, Jon Dale. Each of these people, their ideas and concepts had a big influence on how I approached my book project, but there was one tool that people are just starting to talk about, and was the game changer that brought my book to the market , Kickstarter. I believe this is a game changer not just for me, but for the entire publishing world.
This is blog post, not a step-by-step how to book on publishing or what Kickstarter is; it is the beginning of a conversation on the subject… so I will wrap up my message.
If you ever thought your dreams of being published were impossible, re-evaluate your doubts.
After carving out my own path through the maze of new possibilities and actually seeing some success, I believe that anyone can achieve the same and more. I encourage everyone who aspires to be published to consider crowd sourcing and look into Kickstarter, and maybe even forget everything you thought you knew about the publishing game.
As one of Kickstarter’s all time highest funded projects in my category, and a published author because of it… I hope I have something to offer to the conversaion, and encourage everyone who is reading this post to ask me the how and why behind this success.
Shaun was kind enough to provide me with ten copies of the new soft-cover version of his beautiful coffee table book, 365 Days of Pikes Peak – The Journey to give away to my readers. Congrats to all the winners. If you don’t hear from me then you didn’t win.
Question: Why would you like a copy of Shaun’s book? You can leave a comment or ask Shaun a question by clicking here.