Capitalizing on peoples curiosity isn’t new. P.T. Barnum built an
empire with assorted oddities and curiosities, and insightful marketing. For decades the mainstay of the carnival and circus was the side show where people could gawk at the albino, the bearded lady, the Siamese twins, the fat lady, and in 1896, the Duryea Motor Wagon, America’s first production automobile. The successful author, fiction or non fiction, to a degree, has to harness the curiosity factor if their books are going to sell.
A primary goal in my projects, be it books, feature articles, podcasts, the video series developed in partnership with MyMarketing Designs, or presentations is to add depth and context to the ordinary. To accomplish this I have learned that it is crucial to first pique the curiosity.
As an example, consider the Checker cab. Even though it hasn’t been manufactured since 1982, it remains such an integral part of the urban landscape in America that it appears in video games, movies, and commercial photo shoots. Still, after writing a book about the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, I sat down for an interview with Jay Leno and the quip was made that he had purchased one of the five copies sold.
Even though the book sold in modest numbers, surprisingly sales remain steady more than a decade after publication. In part this is due to the curiosity factor because the book chronicles the companies early history that includes corporate intrigue, the firebombing of the company founders home, bloody street battles for dominance of the lucrative taxi business in several cities, and some surprising innovations such as a four wheel steering, four wheel drive Jeep prototype in 1940.
Have I piqued your curiosity yet? How about these little tidbits. The first pedestrian struck and killed by an automobile was a gentlemen named Bliss. He died in 1898, in New York City, after being struck and killed by an electric taxi cab. The “taxi wars” in Chicago during the 1920’s included running gun battles, full scale military assaults on taxi company headquarters, bombings, murder, and even a fellow named Al Capone.
Recently I wrote a book entitled All Is Fare In Love & Taxi Wars, that chronicles the often violent evolution of the American taxi industry. Chapter one entitled Blood In The Boardroom details the corporate intrigue, hostile take overs, and stock manipulation that was a hallmark of the battle for dominance of the taxi industry in the first decades of the 20th century. Rather than seek a publisher, or even make another run at self publishing, I decided to offer this as an exclusive to patrons, the folks that are signing on to help fund my various community promotional initiatives.
Tapping into the curiosity factor underlies episode two of Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66, which interestingly enough is entitled Roadside Attractions, Oddities & Curiosities. Produced by MyMarketing Designs, the video is now available to order through Promote Kingman.
I will have copies of episode one and episode two, as well as my latest book, 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Die at the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Joliet, Illinois, October 20 and 21. To ensure I have enough copies on hand, and as a way of saying thank you to supporters, I kicked off a bit of a promotional campaign through the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page.
“Folks, have I got a deal (or two) for you! If your attending the Miles of Possibilities conference, pre-order a copy of my latest book and the cost is just $15 (a savings of $3.00), pre-order episode one or two of the new video series for $12 each, or both episodes for $20 (a savings of $10). The deadline for ordering is October 12. And if your NOT pre-ordering, can I get a head count on who wants copies to ensure I have enough on hand in Joliet? To pre-order – paypal.me/JamesHinckley 😁Please include email address. If you are unable to pick up your copies in Joliet, a shipping charge will apply. We hope to see you there! If you would like a copy delivered during our travels, that would require special arrangement to coordinate schedules. Drop me a note!”
To wrap this post up, we are getting the homestead ready and finalizing plans for another adventure. The pantry is stocked, a live in caretaker has been retained (aka our son), most reservations are made, the rental car arrangements are made, and the schedule finalized. A full schedule of the book signings and presentations is on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page. Our weekly Facebook live program made possible through sponsors and patrons, will be made on the road. There will also be a few special programs. So, stay tuned for details.
Here is an example of our community development Facebook live programs. This was the broadcast of September 29.