Best-selling author Tim Ferriss opened the 2009 mediabistro Circus telling the crowd at the Times Center theater how he is able to keep up a 4-hour workweek.
Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” told attendees, “There’s never been a better time to reinvent yourself than right now.” The audience, made up primarily of the mediabistro.com community of journalists and writers, and professionals from the PR, advertising, design industries ate up Ferriss’ practical and, at times, in-your-face advice — telling PR professionals, “Don’t be lazy;” suggesting those who Tweet for professional purposes to use Tweetvolume.com and he broke news on a yet to be revealed analytics site called Kiss Metrics, “It’ll be like Google Analytics on steroids,” he said.
So how does a guy like this make money?
It’s not from the book, he says, where the margins are only so great. And aside from an occasional Amazon.com ad, he doesn’t have advertising on his blog. The blog helps sell books, and the book sales help keep Ferriss a hot commodity on the speaker’s circuit, and that’s where the money is made. “High 5-figures” for an event like the Circus. (An updated version of “4-Hour” is due to come out around Christmas with additional material that comes from Ferriss’s blog community.)
Ferriss talked about how he marketed “The 4-Hour Workweek,” now in its 41st printing, starting online then to print, then TV and national radio and then longform print. A Today show booking, the holy grail for most authors, put Ferriss’ book at #12 on Amazon.com for a few hours. But a mention on Robert Scoble‘s popular blog put him at #3 for the whole day.
Ferriss says its that kind of Web traffic and the recommendations from sites like Digg and StumbleUpon that will can make or break a new book launch. “I’d rather be on the homepage of Digg than on the homepage of The Wall Street Journal,” said Ferris.
Ferris says he spent $25,000 to get the word out about “4-Hour.” “I spent $18,000 on a PR firm which was a big waste of money.” The other $7,000 was spent on sending galleys and meeting in person with influential bloggers. “Buy them alcohol,” he advised.