If you’re a creative person who wants to make stuff that will last for more than a week, you should think carefully about how you create your work and how you market it.
That’s the top level of the new book “Perennial Seller” by Ryan Holiday, a 30-year-old author, marketer and self-proclaimed media manipulator. On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Holiday said creators should be thinking of making and marketing as “two consecutive marathons,” and that too many creators over-value a strong initial launch.
“Most creators — especially writers — that I deal with think that ‘writing is the thing for me,” Holiday said. “‘I go off in my cave, I come back with my brilliant work of staggering genius ...’”
“And I hand it over to a marketer,” Kafka said.
“Yes. Actually, there are a number of decisions you’re going to make in the creative process that are going to have very large marketing implications, or are going to determine your ability to sell in the short term, or in the long term. Who is this for, how are you titling it, how are you positioning it, what are you making?”
The minority of books that make back their advances, Holiday explained, do so because they spread to tens of thousands of readers over the long term. And they don’t have to be No. 1 at the beginning: “Star Wars,” he pointed out, lost the box office in its first weekend to “Smokey and the Bandit.”
It’s worth noting that when he’s not writing books or selling stoicism, Holiday has a marketing business called Brasscheck, which has advised Google, Tony Robbins, Complex Media and more. But he said that his book does not suggest bringing in outside marketing help for everyone.
“I’m saying what I try to do in my own career, even if it deprives me of clients in my marketing business,” Holiday said. “I would rather be honest than try to sell someone on something.”
He pointed to his time as American Apparel’s marketing director, starting at age 21.
“We outsourced nothing,” Holiday said. “We did all marketing in-house. The reason that became a company whose reputation and size was far outsized compared to its business was because we weren’t outsourcing it to someone who didn’t actually care about any of the things.”
“The reason it was brilliant at marketing is that the same brilliant people making the stuff were also responsible for marketing it, and they didn’t see one as being an inferior task to the other,” he added.
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.