Seth Godin sets a great example

Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change. You can read more about him here, but that’s not why I say he sets a great example.

Seth practices what he preaches. He promises people what he intends to give them and then produces what he promises. He is not afraid to create remarkable content and then share it freely. He even organized a team of interns to create a non-profit platform,, for giving other people’s ideas a wider audience.

I am one of the fortunate beneficiaries of his largesse, because his team took my book and made it available in e-book form so thousands of people could download it.

One month ago, I could Google "Danger Quicksand" and would find a reference to an obscure paper written several years ago about pools of muddy water. Now, I Google the same phrase and I see page after page of links to my websites and favorable reviews of my still-unpublished book.

Because of Seth’s imagination and generosity, thousands of people have a more realistic view of what their employment situation is and what they can do about it. Sure, I may appear to be the primary beneficiary, because I am getting publicity on a grander scale than I ever expected, but my book was written to help hardworking people deal with the circumstances of their employment. Because of Seth’s help, thousands now have free access to information that can change their lives.

I originally made my book available as a free download, because I read about Seth and one or two other authors doing so. They all reported that the free downloads did not appear to hurt sales.

There has been some concern amongst my family and friends that continuing free downloads did not make sense while I was soliciting pre-orders for the book. Since I was getting pre-orders, but not in the flood that I expected, I began to wonder if my decision to continue free downloads still made good business sense.

I wrote to my contacts at suggesting that we change the downloading arrangement so as not to hinder sales. To my surprise, I received an email from Seth Godin himself. He was willing to go along with any decision I made, but he made the following comment which encouraged me to stay the course as I had originally envisioned it.

He wrote:

I gave away my Unleashing the Ideavirus book and had precisely the opposite reaction. The entire book (much longer than yours) is still free online and has been downloaded and passed along about 2,000,000 times. But I sold plenty. The more it spread, the more it sold.

I was touched that Seth took the time to reach out and encourage a first-time author. I could do worse than to follow his counsel and to emulate his example of helping others to succeed.

As a result, the free downloads will continue and are available in three different versions.

For more insight into Seth’s unique marketing viewpoint, read his post, Shortcuts. His weblog is required reading if you plan to market anything successfully on the internet.

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0 Responses to Seth Godin sets a great example

  1. I found your site only yesterday from a link in another blog. I have found it inspirational and rejuvinating.

    As a self-publisher, I’ve been dealing with the frustration of doing business with independant booksellers and Amazon dot com, and marketing my cookbooks over the Internet, with varying degrees of success.

    But your story–nearly identical to my own–has inspired me to begin offering one of my cookbooks for downloading at no charge. To proffer a phrase going around the blogosphere, I think I “get it.” And I owe that to you (and perhaps to Seth Godin).

    As I said in my own blog, I love my book. I love the recipes, and I loved my grandparents. Your blog posts have reminded me that beyond being a cookbook, mine is a story I wanted to tell. And I’ll do it for free if that’s what it takes for people to hear it.

    I wish you overwhelming success with your forthcoming book, and I look forward to reading your continued progress on your blog.

    Best regards,
    Skip Lombardi

  2. Met Seth a couple of years ago in Washington at a lunch where he discussed Purple Cow. The book became my manual for marketing what was then my emerging photo studio and digital printing business.

    His enthusiasm was infectious and we all left the lunch re-energized by the prospects of putting his ideas to work.

  3. Alex says:

    I first read about Seth Godin in college and thought he was absolutely nuts. As he continues to count his money and I toil away in corporate America I guess I was wrong. His ideas are truly revolutionary and it’s tragic that more people don’t recognize the talents of one of America’s great minds. is one of the best sites on the internet today, allowing people to freely, honestly and peacefully exchange ideas they believe in. What a concept!

    Thanks Seth and thanks David for recognizing him…

  4. vikk says:


    Great post and inspirational as usual. I’ve been to Seth’s website and he does great stuff. I, too, have read of a number of folks who have followed his example on the free downloading and swear it hasn’t hurt their sales.

    Along those same lines, I’ve had other writers and editor friends make comments about blogging, particularly if you’re blogging about a specific area as I do with regard to writing, and how it’s writing for free and they don’t see how it’s going to get me anywhere and really can’t translate the idea of blogging into their own plans. I blog about writing because it’s who and what I am: a writer who writes about writing. I love the craft, love reading, love writing, and like to talk writing. I like to share what I discover. After all, I’m putting in the time to learn and sift and think about all these things, my blog allows me to share what’s on my mind and what I discover with others. If I’m lucky, other writers return and I build a readership.

    I look at blogs and free downloads, etc., as a very indirect way of marketing and building a platform for future ventures. It sounds to me like you’re doing some sound modeling.

    BTW, what about folks who can’t be in the normal workplace? I just lost a job which gave me tremendous flexibility, something I’ve needed because I have two elderly parents (88-90) that require my attention. I’m an only child. I really can’t take on a job that is probably what you’d call a more normal one. I have to handle hospital visits, doctor visits, etc. Have you accumulated any info on types of work that allows such flexibility?

    You do a great job. Have faith.

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