3 reasons why launching your book with a bigger brand is a better strategy—The Shawshank Story

This post is written with authors/books in mind. However, it’s relevant for a launch of any kind (an idea, business, church, non-profit, product, etc.) I had to learn the hard way that launching with a bigger brand is a much better strategy. In this post, I tell you WHY we partnered with the Shawshank Redemption 20th Anniversary. In a future post, I’m going to share HOW to partner with a bigger brand so you can launch your next idea with style. If you stumbled across this post and want more helpful content like this free, I’ll tell you how at the bottom of this post.

Are you launching an idea or just birthing one?

Launching a book is a big deal. It’s kind of like launching your baby into the world. (Tweet this or Share on Facebook)

I’m sure birthing a kid takes work. (It’s called LABOR after all.) But in our context I’m talking about sustained impact.

Too many authors think their book release is a single event. They see themselves as birthing their book into the world. One day of effort—then it’s over. Because of this, they put all “their chips” on one event:

  • A book signing
  • A book party
  • A book reading 

These types of events take effort and they do produce results. But with limited time and money, you need to be strategic. You need to invest in actions that provide the greatest return.

3 platform options: buy, build, or borrow

According to one of my mentor’s Michael Hyatt, a platform is the ability for your message to be seen and heard. Without one, your message will never get the attention it deserves.

So how do you get a platform?

  • You can BUY a platform.

In the industry this has been traditionally called PAID MEDIA. For a fee, you can get on shows, lists, and websites. Seth Godin calls this type of strategy interruption marketing. It’s costly and it’s the least effective form of marketing.

With Day Job to Dream Job we did some small paid advertisement in the form of ads. Our ads were specifically directed at audiences that expressed a natural interest in our topic area. (We teach how to do this type of strategy within our Dream Job Bootcamps.)

  • You can BUILD a platform.

Simple Platform PlanBuilding a platform is better, but it takes time. And remember not all platforms are built equally. A good platform utilizes strong posts and strong planks. I’ll use the Simple Platform to illustrate my point. (This is 1 of the 9 steps in The Dream Jobber Plan found within the Day Job to Dream Job book.)

I included this illustration for you. I was blessed to have my friend Mike Rohde as my illustrator. Mike is the author of several books, including his latest—The Sketchnote Workbook.

For the Day Job to Dream Job launch we built a platform specifically for this initiative. We had over 200 DJ’s (Dream Jobbers) join our VIP launch team. These guys and gals are superheroes. We’re incredibly indebted to them for their kindness. As a result, we rewarded them with a robust toolkit and 6 VIP training calls:


These calls are recorded. You can still get these recorded calls now until September 9th, 2014 by joining the VIP team. All the details are here

  • You can BORROW a platform.

Borrowing is the most effective strategy for getting a platform—and also launching your book. Seth Godin calls this permission marketing.

Borrowing a platform is just what it sounds like.; someone allows you to stand on their “stage.” Because of their permission, they naturally edify you to their tribe. Traditionally this is referred to as EARNED MEDIA.

With Day Job to Dream Job we were fortunate enough to have many people share their stage with us. Nearly 50 are featured here. These included guest blog posts (example: Michael Hyatt), podcasts (example: Jared Easley of Starve the Doubts), and articles (example: Catalyst).

In addition, we also threw a Dream Job Party. Rather than the focus be about me or the book, I turned the spotlight on my Dream Job Mentors. I made these 6 mentors the stars of the show. I served as the host and they taught my tribe on the subject matter—going from Day Job to Dream Job.


Notice how we used all 3 strategies with our launch. We bought, built, and borrowed platforms. Clearly though, borrowing a platform was the most effective.

This leads to our partnership with the 20th Anniversary of the Shawshank Redemption. We had no idea 6 months ago, that this event would be featured in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and many other major media across the world. I am honored to be one of the keynote speakers at this event. I am leading an experience called Church at Shawshank built around my passions:

(Tickets hereproceeds donated to local food bank.) 

3 Reasons why to launch with a bigger brand

  1. It’s not about you. As creators, we can easily think our idea or book is about us. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your book/idea is a gift to serve others. It’s also a solution to solve a problem. Perhaps it creates humor or clarity or hope. When you launch with a bigger brand you realize very quickly, you’re not the main star of the show. This is good for the ego and it helps you impact more people because you come ready to serve rather than to sell.
  2. It’s a long-term campaign. Your book/idea is often the new kid on the block. A bigger brand is the trusted, proven product. When you can share the stage with a brand that aligns with yours, much of the heavy lifting is already done. One of my mentors, Dan Miller—author or 48 days to the work you love—saw this effect when he launched his book. Dan knew his audience was already familiar with the 48 hours. When he named his book (and subsequent business) 48 days, “It was like someone poured gasoline on the little fire I had going.” Dan loves the number 48, even including 48 mints in the box of books I ordered from him.Warden_Norton_w._Bible_web
  3. It’s fun. I am having an absolute blast launching this book with bigger brands. I am meeting some incredible people, including the Bob Gunton— the Warden. It’s much more fun when you launch with others. Enjoy this FUN brief 5 minute audio from my interview with Robert D. Smith, one of my Dream Job Mentors.

I hope you found this post helpful. If so, please let me know some other ideas and thoughts you have in the comment section below.

In a future post I’m going to talk about HOW I was able to partner with Shawshank. This post was focused on the WHY. To make sure you get that future post and all the ones I write, click here. The page will bring you to the Igniting Souls assessment (bottom right). By taking the assessment, not only will you be subscribed for future updates, you’ll also get a pretty sweet assessment with customized, confidential results.

And finally, if you want to jump on a free Q and A call with me grab your spot.

And may your next launch far exceed your expectations.