How To Partner With a Best-Selling Author To Launch Your Product (And Why I Failed)

partner with author

Imagine you could have a best-selling Author recommend your product to his list. How good would life be?

You could have targeted buyers that buy right away. Your product would have instant credibility. You wouldn’t need to spend thousands of dollars running ads to acquire customers. Or spend hours writing blog posts to bring them in.

You could piggyback overnight on years of hard work spent by the author.

But right now, here you are. Struggling to run ads that generate a profit. Or writing blog posts that nobody reads.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

There’s a way you can tap into someone else’s audience.

I will show you how I tried doing this.

And how I failed.

Being The First In A New Category –
And Then Having it Swarmed with Competitors
 

Quick Background: I launched my first product and eCommerce store in November 2014. At the time, Coconut Oil was starting to gain mainstream popularity. People were using it as a cosmetic but were still going to Whole Foods and buying it out of the cooking aisle.

Around the same timeframe, I had also read the book 22 Laws of Marketing. Law #2 states it’s better to create a product in a new category than entering as another product in an existing category.

This gave me the idea to launch a new product as the World’s First Cosmetic Coconut Oil.

I went out and found the world’s best supply of Coconut Oil. The product started out selling very well, gaining notoriety within the beauty industry.

You might think this sounds great, but at the same time, the market became flooded with hundreds of competitors.

Six months after launching, Shopify sent an email to approximately 25,000 entrepreneurs. In this email, it demonstrated how “coconut oil” would be a great product to sell because of its high number of monthly google search.

Overnight I went from being the only one to having trouble differentiating from the rest.

Not only this. As a startup and new entrepreneur, I had very little money to spend on marketing. Research data shows the average cost to acquire a customer in the “consumer goods” category is $22. Our product was selling for $24.99.

Yes, you read that right.

Not good.

Tapping Into
Someone Else’s Distribution
 

So, after ruling out PPC Marketing or Facebook Ads, I was stuck thinking of other ways to sell our product.

To begin, I started looking at who else had direct access to our target customer.

The way I approached this was to answer the following questions:

  1. What blogs, books, or newsletters do our target customer read?
  2. Who is the leading authority or influencer in our category of business?
  3. What problem does our product solve for our customers? Who has written a blog post or book on solving this problem?
  4. Who has a great front end book or product, but lacks a back-end product to sell to their customers?

After answering these, there was one person is stood out like a sore thumb:

A best-selling author who had written multiple books on the topic of coconut oil.

Now, people who read books on the topic of coconut oil are either:

  1. Trying to gather more information before they started using coconut oil for themselves.
  2. Learning about how coconut oil could directly solve their problem.

Bingo.

With this in mind, I then came up with a list of ways we could approach this author for a joint venture

“You can have everything in life you want,
if you will just help other people get what they want.”
– Zig Ziglar
 

Now, there is one more point I need to make…

I knew if I were to effectively form a joint venture with this author, I knew I had to have one mindset…

I knew every idea had to be on how the author would benefit.

NOT how I could sell more of my product.

BUT how the author could put more money in his pocket, or find other ways to serve his customers.

Got it? Good. Let’s move on.

So, here are the six ideas I came up with:

  1. Mail their list and recommend our product.

One reason why many authors make a great target for joint ventures is because they have a great book for bringing in many front end customers. But they do not sell any back-end products to their list, nor have ever thought about doing this.

Many are leaving thousands of dollars on the table because they fail to recognize this.

A quick solution to this would be to mail (or email) their past customers.

Example: They could say they have personally reviewed every coconut oil on the market, and the one they recommend is ours.

We would write the letters, pay for the costs to send, and then split all profit generated from his customers.

  1. Inserts in his book recommending our product with a coupon code.

A second way would be for them to insert a coupon in each book they send out. This could be by having a separate page at the back of the book that recommends the product. It would include where to buy it and a coupon code for a discount on their first purchase.

This would be easy to track and once again we would split the revenue 50/50.

  1. License his name on our product and give him a royalty for every product sold.

Mary-Kate And Ashley Olsen sell a line at J.C. Penney. Miley Cyrus has a Wal-Mart line. Selena Gomez has a “Dream Out Loud” line for Kmart.

For our product, it would be: “XXX’s Coconut Oil”

I would use the name of the author on our product, and he would receive a 5 percent royalty fee for every one sold.

This works because he has spent decades building the credibility of his name.

For us, it would instantly establish credibility to our product because it’s attached to the name of the leading authority.

He would never touch the product and would sit back and receive checks in the mail.

  1. Sell the Book And Product as a Package.

The book and coconut oil would be a packaged (bundle) deal. People would get a great deal, and we would assume the preemptive position by giving them the full solution to what they are looking for.

  1. Give Away The Author’s Book For Free As Lead Magnet.

Now, for us, this would be gold. We are giving away a high perceived, high dollar book as a way to get leads. We could then turn around and sell them on our coconut oil.

This would be great for the author if they have a great back-end product or service. It would increase the awareness of their book. And we would give him the names so he could contact them for other offers.
We could compensate the author for the hard cost of the book – which would be a few dollars. And since we are giving our prospects this book, it would give us social proof and a testimonial for associating with the author.

In our case, the author had no back-end so this would not be very appealing to them.

The Pitch

Below is the mail of the letter sent.

Surprising, it was very easy to get the author on a phone call.

partnership email template

The Result

Well, the result did not go as planned.

The author was very polite and welcoming of the pitch.

The author’s objection was that when they published the first book on the topic years back, they faced some initial backlash. Many accused the author of association with the coconut oil industry. The concern was that the book was only written to raise awareness for industry.

In reality, the author was writing about their own unbiased research.

From there on, the author vowed to maintain independence from affiliated with other products and brands.

What I’d Do Over?

First, the one silver lining I was able to walk away with from this joint venture attempt is to prepare in the future for this objection.

On the call, I could not come up with anything that would have gotten him to change his mind on maintaining independence.

I actually agreed with him.

This took away all 6 of my ideas.

Looking back, the other alternative to solving this problem would be to publish a book on the subject. This is a very powerful tactic used by many to become an instant authority (See book: Book The Business) in their niche. An example of this would be Russell Brunson using his book as a front end for his ClickFunnels software.

Overall, it was definitely a joint venturing worth attempting. I will be using this tactic with other products and services in the future.

P.S. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share the results and problems I face in attempting Joint Ventures with the hope that others could respond with suggestions or improvements on what could have been done. So, if you have any ideas or suggestion on what I could have said to close the deal with the author, please write them in the comments below:

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