Is Your Marketing as Good as Your Art?
How a single comment from “Rich Dad” Robert Kiyosaki changed my approach to my writing
By D. Eric Maikranz
I decided to self-publish my novel The Reincarnationist Papers in 2009, but a chance reading of motivational and self-help giant, Robert Kiyosaki, (author of Rich Dad Poor Dad), sparked an idea that changed everything. In Rich Dad Poor Dad, Kiyosaki relayed a conversation he had with an author who was struggling to break in and get published. The author lamented that she felt her writing was good enough and her novel and characters were interesting and compelling enough, but she kept getting rejected. Kiyosaki told her that what she needed to focus on wasn’t her art, but her marketing.
At first, Kiyosaki’s statement that marketing was equal to or potentially more important than the art itself infuriated me. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. At the time, my job involved designing software by collaborating with end users; I decided to collaborate with my readers in the same way. I eventually came up with the idea to let my readers help me market the book by offering them the agent’s commission. On the first page of my novel, I included a reward notice:
As the author of this work, I offer you, the reader, the opportunity to redeem a cash award for introducing this work to any literary agent, publisher or producer that offers an acceptable contract [to the author] for this work. The reward offered is 10% of any initial book advance or option contract for film up to a maximum of $10,000.00…
I wanted to empower and incentivize my readers into helping me introduce The Reincarnationist Papers to a Hollywood producer who would adapt the book into a movie. The unorthodox marketing idea of putting a cash reward to readers on the first page of the book seemed like a crazy marketing plan—right up until it worked.
It didn’t take long for the first queries from readers to trickle in, but the breakthrough happened on Thanksgiving Day, 2010, when, Rafi Crohn, an assistant to a Hollywood director found The Reincarnationist Papers in a hostel in Katmandu Nepal while traveling.
The assistant rang me and, via a scratchy call from Katmandu, he told me that he loved the book, the idea of the reward, and that wanted to see the book made into a movie. I was ecstatic when I received his call. I felt validated that my idea had worked.
When he returned to Los Angeles, he set about getting The Reincarnationist Papers adapted into a motion picture, and true to his word, he brokered an option to Bellevue Productions who contracted a screenwriter to adapt a screenplay. It took Rafi a few years and there were times when the project looked dead, but in 2017, Bellevue sold the adapted screenplay, INFINITE, to Paramount Pictures. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg, Dylan O’Brien, and Chiwetel Ejiofor and is scheduled to premiere on September 24, 2021.
I often think back to that reading of Rich Dad Poor Dad and Kiyosaki’s advice on marketing. His simple message of focusing on the marketing as much as the art has made all the difference for me.
Are you focusing as much on your marketing as you are on your art? What is your plan for getting your art to a wider audience?
Author D. Eric Maikranz has led a multitude of lives. As a world traveler, he was a foreign correspondent while living in Rome, translated for relief doctors during a cholera epidemic in Nicaragua, and was once forcibly expelled from the nation of Laos. He has worked as a tour guide, a radio host, a bouncer, and as a Silicon Valley software executive. “The Reincarnationist Papers” is his first novel and has been adapted into the Paramount Pictures film, “Infinite,” starring Mark Wahlberg. He is also the author of two travel books, “Insider’s Rome,” and “Insider’s Venice.” Learn more at https://ericmaikranz.com.