A couple of decades ago I found a good working definition of the difference between advertising and marketing: Advertising is an attempt to find someone to buy your stuff. Marketing is finding out what people want, and helping them to get it.
By that definition, best-selling author Cindy Cashman understands marketing.
Cashman’s first book, Everything Men Know About Women, has been perpetually popular, selling over a million copies since its first printing in 1988. She used the pseudonym “Dr. Alan Francis,” claiming a “landmark book on men’s understanding of that most complex of creatures: woman. Based on years of research and interviews with thousands of men from all walks of live, he presents the most complete picture ever revealed of mens’s knowledge of the opposite sex.”
The book is 150 blank pages. It sells for $3.95.
Cashman decided not to let Everything Men Know About Women get lost amid all of the titles in most bookstores, so she sold it at women’s clothings stores where it’s price made it an attractive impulse item.
Since then, Cashman has written ten more books (with text) to become one of the most successful self-published authors in America. Her titles include, Bedtime Stories For Dogs, The Book Of Smiles, Mr. Eaves And His Magic Camera, and Life’s Lessons For Women, which has been translated into seven other languages, and is being sold in ten countries.
“I don’t consider myself a writer,” says Cashman. “I’m a marketer. And the more educated people are the harder it is for them to understand what I do. I have a concept. I write the press release. I write a three-page summary. I write the beginning, a bit of the middle, and the end. Then I hire a ghost writer and a graphic artist to write the text and design the cover.”
Where does she get her ideas? From ordinary people.
“I used to go out in my boat and jot down title ideas. When I had a number of them, I’d gather ten women together. I’d mix ’em up: an attorney, a housewife. Then I’d give the ladies the list of titles and ask them which books they’d be willing to buy. I didn’t ask if they’d like to read them. I asked which ones they’d be willing to pay for. If I found a title that consistently got seven out of the ten to say they’d buy it, I knew I had a winner.”
She also asks “Is this what I want to be known for?”
Always attuned to the fickle attention of the marketplace, she got the idea for two titles three weeks before the finale of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. You’re Hired: Unofficial Lessons From The Apprentice, and You’re Fired: 17 Things You Can Do To Help Speed Up The Process.
“I got the idea Sunday afternoon, and pitched it to a publisher first thing Monday. They loved the concept but passed on the book. They said the book would take too long to bring to market, and there were only two episodes of the show left. I immediately wrote the press release, hired a ghost writer, hired a cover designer, and we all went to work. Within seven days of the first idea, the books were written, and my son had them up on the web site as e-books.”
Find out what they want, and help them get it.
Yeah. Cindy Cashman understands marketing.