PyroMarketing- The Secret of Book Marketing Success

November 23, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Entertainment News
PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – Book marketing professionals know the secrets of success that drove sales of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” They understand that sales of both blockbusters were driven by techniques outlined in a new book called PyroMarketing by Greg Stielstra. Stielstra was the marketing director for The Purpose Driven Life, the best-selling hardcover book in history.

“PyroMarketing embraces an idea that really has been in use for some time – niche marketing,” says Scott Lorenz, president of Westwind Communications, a marketing and public relations firm specializing in book marketing and book publicity. “Stielstra lays out the principles with a new, crystal clear message that is so compelling that it is a must-read for anyone who wants to promote an idea, service or product.”

In a nutshell, PyroMarketing involves finding the “driest tinder” (customers most apt to buy), touch it with a match (customers experiencing a benefit), and fanning the flame (customers word-of-mouth marketing), and save the coals (keeping a record of customers).

As a book marketing expert, Stielstra found the driest tinder by tapping into the Christian faith community in America to market Warren’s best seller. An initial six-week campaign for Purpose Driven Life involved 1,200 people who read the book each day, listened to sermons each Sunday, and met with friends each week in book study groups. At the end of six weeks, 400,000 people were intimately familiar with the book. Within four months, 2 million books were sold. More than 5,000 churches signed up during the fall 2004 campaign.

“From the first campaign and for the next couple years,” explains Stielstra, “it seemed that for every book sold at a discount to someone in a church-based campaign, five more books were sold through retail stores. By focusing on the driest tinder within the church and encouraging them to spread the word, we were rewarded with many more sales to people beyond its walls. Fanning the flames didn’t just double the campaign’s impact, it multiplied it by a factor of five!”

Film producers wouldn’t touch “The Passion” and so Gibson employed PyroMarketing techniques to generate $500 million to become the top-grossing R-rated movie of all time. By the fifth day alone, the film had earned $125 million in box office receipts against only $45 million in combined production and marketing costs.

“While it’s amazing when you look at the success of Warren and Gibson,” stresses Lorenz, “we are not looking at hidden secrets being suddenly discovered. I recommend anyone read Stielstra’s book, PyroMarketing: The Four Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them For Life, because I also have experienced success promoting authors using the same basic principles.”

In book marketing, a book cannot be promoted without first identifying who the readers are in advance of a single sale, stressed Lorenz. “Find the reasons why that reader will read that book and then craft a message to be conveyed to information sources that reader relies upon,” adds Lorenz. “Don’t bombard the market with propaganda but send out promotional information to selected streams that reach specific persons. That approach has always worked and always will. Salesmen know that you can’t sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo because he has no need of one, but you’d have a shot at selling him thermal underwear.”

Lorenz explains how he finds the niche a client can go after and how that specific media is pursued. “Getting media coverage is all about creating interesting ‘angles’,” Lorenz stresses. “I try to find out everything I can about the author using a questionnaire that even asks about fraternities or sorority membership, roommates in college, and other tidbits about them personally and about the book itself.”

To successfully market a book, Westwind determines who will read it and then targets that media directly. “By way of example, one of our clients has published a book of poetry,” says Lorenz. “Now the average person won’t buy a collection of poetry. However, certain people love poetry. So we aim our book marketing efforts for this client to poetry magazines, poetry web sites and poetry societies who are the “driest tinder.”

The reason most authors seek book reviews is that the people reading them represent the “driest tinder.” You don’t read book reviews unless you are looking for a book to read or give. So, it makes sense to target reviewers at media outlets. Furthermore, people will tell their friends about a book review they read in a magazine or newspaper, see on television, or hear on the radio because the media is a third party, disinterested source disseminating the information. That’s why getting book reviews is so important in starting the “word of mouth” every successful author desires. The problem says Lorenz is that these reviewers are bombarded with hundreds or thousands of books every year and it takes skill to cut through the clutter to get a book reviewed.

“For any author, we make sure galleys and the finished books are sent to the reviewers at major publications and broadcast outlets,” adds Lorenz. “We write and send press releases, pitch letters in an electronic press kit, and make follow up phone calls to media outlets encouraging reporters and reviewers to write about our client’s book. Being reviewed by The New York Times, Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and USA TODAY are major goals. In fact USA Today has 4.3 million readers every day. Furthermore, it gets more notice from the other media than the other four newspapers combined. That's a major reason why we will make a concerted effort to get our authors noticed by USA TODAY.

“We also contact national magazines and others that may be interested in the author’s ‘personal’ story,” says Lorenz. “Sometimes the media is more interested in the author than the book itself and that is just one more angle we’ll use to promote our client's book. We contact TV and radio outlets. Every day thousands of interviews are conducted on TV and Radio stations across North America and several hundred are with authors. We have developed relationships with many producers over the years and those contacts combined with well-thought-out pitches produce results.”

Lorenz goes to major media events in New York City where he has face-to-face meetings with journalists, editors, writers and producers from top national magazines, newspapers and radio/TV programs. He has successfully pitched such media outlets as 20/20, Prime Time, CNN, People, Good Morning America, Newsweek, Time Magazine, Dateline NBC, The View, Oprah's O magazine, Cosmopolitan, Fox News, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek to name a few.”

Details on Stielstra’s PyroMarketing approach are given at Learn more about Lorenz’s book marketing approach at