Content Marketing, Youtility

25 Secrets – How I Wrote and Marketed a New York Times Best Selling Business Book

How_I_Wrote_and_Marketing_a_New_York_Times_Best_Seller-2Jay Baer Blog PostOne of the key theses of my new book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype is “radical transparency.” Today, when a majority of prospective customers have access to high-speed Internet access in the palms of their hands, what’s the point in trying to hide? Why are you holding back?

No Secrets

In Canada, McDonald’s has an amazing example of this philosophy. Called “Our Food. Your Questions” the program enables Canadians to ask any question about McDonald’s food, and get a straight answer. Someone asked “what’s in the Big Mac sauce?” And instead of saying, “we can’t tell you, because it’s a secret” McDonald’s had their chef create a video showing how to make the sauce at home.

If the creator of Secret Sauce has no more secrets, why should your business?

You need to give away information snacks, to sell knowledge meals. (tweet this)

NY Times BadgeAnd that’s my philosophy here. I created “26 Truths About Me and Convince & Convert” a while back, and in that same spirit I give to you this presentation. It explains exactly how I wrote and marketed Youtility, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times best seller list.

Whether you’re an author or not, there’s lots and lots and lots of tips and ideas in there that I hope you’ll benefit from in your own work. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below – like McDonald’s.

And most of all, I hope you feel this presentation is a Youtility – marketing so useful, people would pay for it.

(And remember, if you haven’t bought the book yet, check out the juicy free excerpt at and then decide if it’s worth your money. and if you have read the book, I’d love an honest Amazon review. Thanks for your support).

  • Jessica @ The Mom Creative

    Jay, thank you so much for your transparency in this post. I am so excited to dive into your book.

    • jaybaer

      Thanks Jessica. Right up your alley!

  • Ville Kilkku

    Very nice presentation Jay, and you certainly put in a lot of work in the book. Judging by the early versions of covers and names, the hard work at editing definitely seems to have paid off.

    One question: Given that you did a big marketing effort yourself, do you see self-publishing become more viable in the future?

    Your current rationale for going with a publisher seems to be that their name on the book improves credibility and that’s about it. If that’s all there is to it, I wonder how long publishing industry can remain viable with their current operating model.

    • jaybaer

      Thanks Ville. Yes, I can see self-publishing down the road. Absolutely. Especially for shorter books, and I see that as the trend as well.

  • Jill Rowley

    +1 Jay. I’d love to get you in front of the Marketing team @ Oracle. #Transformation

    • jaybaer

      Jill, I’d be delighted. let me know.

  • Adam Dukes

    Awesome presentation and thanks for sharing, Jay! I cannot wait to dive into my copy as I know I’ll learn a lot.

    • jaybaer

      Thanks Adam. Enjoy!

  • Todd Wheatland

    Very nice share. I also never liked the wrench, but it’s not hurting anyone. Definitely think you made the right call on the title, especially given how many touches your target audience has had of it over recent months – relevant, unique and memorable wins.

    • jaybaer

      Thanks pal. I am naming the wrench, the “Todd” in your honor.

  • Josh Grossman

    Jay – great presentation. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michael Hyatt

    I’m curious, Jay, did you run the sales you made through your store back through retailers? If not, I am not sure how they counted toward the NYT list (slide 31). Thanks for sharing this valuable information!

    • jaybaer

      Yes, back through retailers. A ton of work (as you know)!

      • Michael Hyatt

        Yes, indeed. It could take a small army!

      • John

        Thanks for this Jay! Your trailblazing is invaluable to us following behind. How did you do this?

  • Mike Hale

    Just started reading it and I’m really enjoying it so far. I don’t mind the wrench at all, but the “o” bugs me, because the wrench is just going to slip. It can’t turn that “o”! Good thing I’m reading it on the kindle or I might not be able to finish it. (Kidding of course, but that was the first thing I thought of when I saw the cover)

    • jaybaer

      Ha! Yes, we tried a couple versions where the “o” looked more like a nut, but it didn’t really work.

      • Mike Hale

        Sometimes you look like a nut… Sometimes you don’t!

  • Eric T. Tung

    Hey Jay – thanks for practicing the Youtility mantra yourself. This post will be very useful to many. Do you have any additional tips for “smaller scale” books – i.e. PPC and retargeting can exceed many advances quick!

  • Graciousstore

    You lose nothing if you share the secret that has made you successful.

  • Hugh Culver

    Brilliant must-read. There is so much in this slide share I need to take notes. I especially liked how you scaled back on the advertising spend and ramped up the personal contacts to drive pre-sales. Thanks for this Jay – really valuable of all authors.

    • jaybaer

      Thanks Hugh. A ton of work, and learned a lot myself!

  • Matt Sergej Rinc

    Nice book, will read it when I get it. By the way – is the Mobile Internet Usage chart same in the book as in Slide 25? From presentation point of view mobile icon and legend text should be in red and desktop in black – to be consistent with line color.

    And bottom of the slides covered by e-mail button sometimes covers important text (it’s advisable to not have slide text all the way to bottom edge).

  • Trent Dyrsmid

    Jay, thanks so much for the share. TONs of valuable advice in there for me.

  • KellyeCrane

    What an amazing resource, Jay! I love seeing how you strategically thought through every step in the process. It’s also a great illustration of the huge investment (of both time and money) that’s needed to create this level of success. Thanks for sharing.

  • FlairMedia

    Just rediscovered in an open tab and enjoying all over again. I wish I’d worn something cuter (slide 38) :) #youtility