How to Market Your Book Like Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has become a music superstar in scarcely a year. She has 3 million followers on Twitter and more than 5.6 million fans on Facebook. While many in the industry write her off as being a little too garish, industry veterans such as Simon Dumenco comment that “Lady Gaga understands viral marketing better than anyone on the pop scene today.”

So what can an author like you do to promote yourself and market your book like Lady Gaga?

1. Exaggerate your eccentricity:

Lady Gaga has done a fantastic job in exaggerating her eccentricities. While most pop and rock stars like to stand out, Lady Gaga has taken such behavior to extremes. She’s turned up for events wearing a bird’s nest hat (see picture), a hat that depicts the solar system and a pair of shoes without heels. Other stars such as Miley Cyrus and Christina Aguilera are being viewed as copycats with Rolling Stone magazine recently dubbing them as “Gaga’s Shameless Apprentices” (June 2010 issue.)

2. Be authentic

In spite of being so over-the-top, Lady Gaga still comes across as being authentic. Living her life 24X7 in a fish-bowl like atmosphere can be quite challenging. And if she were not fully authentic,Lady Gaga’s fans would pick it up in a heartbeat. With Lady Gaga, you get to see all parts of her personality and life. For example, she admitted in an interview to being borderline positive for lupus. And her followers on Twitter learn about Gaga’s problems with hairspray and get updates on her father’s recent heart surgery. And she’s not afraid to cry in public. Exposing such vulnerabilities gets her fans to relate to her.

3. Be consistent

Part of Lady Gaga’s appeal is that she continually pushes the envelope. Every time she steps out, Lady Gaga will surprise, shock or at least get you to look. Love her or hate her, you just can’t ignore her. The day Lady Gaga shows up in a staid, regular dress is the day when her star appeal begins to wane. And Lady Gaga works particularly hard in order to maintain her image as the queen of shock. Check out this video to understand how hard she’s working to keep the attention of the world on her.

4. Treat your fans like royalty

Most people in the creative fields realize that they need fans to survive and thrive. They respect them, love them and show that they care. But Lady Gaga goes farther than most. To begin with, she has replaced the word fans with the phrase “Little Fame Monsters.” And to emphasize the point, she’s got the phrase tattooed on her arm. And when she won at the Grammy’s she tweeted,

We won big tonight little monsters. I am so proud to make music for you. I hope I continue to inspire you the way you inspire me. You’re everything.”

5. Share the limelight and pursue collaborations

Lady Gaga does not hesitate to share the limelight. She’s secure in the knowledge that she has her own unique position well carved out. She sells headphones priced at $350 a piece in collaboration with Dr. Dre. She’s appeared on stage with Sir Elton John. You can find the Lady Gaga app on the iTunes marketplace. And she played a piano painted by Damien Hirst – claimed to be the richest living artist to date. Through all these collaborations Lady Gaga builds goodwill and draws new audiences to her. For example, if you are a fan of Damien Hirst, you will hear about Lady Gaga and maybe listen to her music.

Authors who are marketing themselves using these principles

Undoubtedly, talent is the foundation and without a good book, everything else you do is useless. But assuming that you’ve got two equally good books, the book written by the more colorful author will succeed. Some authors who are using the Lady Gaga principles include:

1. Seth Godin

Seth is the author of several books some of which have been bestsellers. Seth markets his personality along with his ideas. His trademark is his bald head. Visit his blog and you’ll see a photo of only the top part of his head with the message “Click on my head.”

Number of business book authors with hair on their heads? Thousands.

Number of business book authors without hair on their head and flaunting it? Just one!

2. Malcolm Gladwell

If Seth Godin is known for a shiny pate, Malcolm Gladwell, another very insightful business book author is known for his shock of unruly hair. In fact, there are blog entries devoted to Malcolm Gladwell’s hair. For example, in this post, this blogger says, “And since he’s got this bearing of intellectuality I’m saying that the hair is his Blink signal. It makes him look a little bit like a mad scientist …” Malcolm’s hair even becomes a talking point for the author himself. The author of this same blog quotes Malcolm, who writes

“Believe it or not, it’s because I decided, a few years ago, to grow my hair long. If you look at the author photo on my last book, “The Tipping Point,” you’ll see that it used to be cut very short and conservatively. But, on a whim, I let it grow wild, as it had been when I was teenager. Immediately, in very small but significant ways, my life changed. I started getting speeding tickets all the time–and I had never gotten any before. I started getting pulled out of airport security lines for special attention. And one day, while walking along 14th Street in downtown Manhattan, a police van pulled up on the sidewalk, and three officers jumped out. They were looking, it turned out, for a rapist, and the rapist, they said, looked a lot like me. They pulled out the sketch and the description. I looked at it, and pointed out to them as nicely as I could that in fact the rapist looked nothing at all like me. He was much taller, and much heavier, and about fifteen years younger (and, I added, in a largely futile attempt at humor, not nearly as good-looking.) All we had in common was a large head of curly hair. After twenty minutes or so, the officers finally agreed with me, and let me go. On a scale of things, I realize this was a trivial misunderstanding. African-Americans in the United State suffer indignities far worse than this all the time. But what struck me was how even more subtle and absurd the stereotyping was in my case: this wasn’t about something really obvious like skin color, or age, or height, or weight. It was just about hair. Something about the first impression created by my hair derailed every other consideration in the hunt for the rapist, and the impression formed in those first two seconds exerted a powerful hold over the officers’ thinking over the next twenty minutes. That episode on the street got me thinking about the weird power of first impressions.”

3. Kevin Daum

Kevin Daum has written a book on sales and marketing called “Roar.” Kevin stands out from the thousands of business book writers in a very creative way. He’s got the words “New York Times Bestseller” tattooed on his chest! The words are in reverse so that Kevin can read it in the mirror. On his website, you’ll see the words “the definition of commitment: something you see in the mirror every morning.” His goal is to make his book into a New York Times bestseller. With this kind of commitment, Kevin is well on his way to achieving his goal.

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Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Follow him on Twitter
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