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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Authors Can Sell Out Concerts Like The Beatles


A half-century ago history was made when a young British rock group invaded America and sold out the first large-scale sports stadium concert in the country. The Beatles, now a legendary group that has set many records while making many records, performed on August 15, 1965 at New York City’s Shea Stadium, home to the New York Mets. I write about this not because I love the Beatles, though they certainly were a great band, but because the event’s anniversary should remind us that book publishing can launch its rock stars before large venues too.

Okay, so most authors couldn’t fill a McDonald’s parking lot, but certainly some could scale beyond a bookstore signing, library appearance, or a convention room holding a few hundred people.  Why can’t some authors command a large space, such as a 15,000-seat basketball arena or even a sports stadium?

I don’t understand why a popular best-selling author like JK Rowling or EL James don’t try to sell tickets to an author concert at a place like Chicago’s Wrigley Field.  They have each sold over 100 million copies of their books.  Couldn’t they get 30,000 or more people to hear them speak for the admission price of a book purchase?

What if a large publisher, like Penguin Random House, took four or five of its stud authors and created a slate for the ages and allowed each one to speak for 30 minutes at Yankee Stadium?  You could break up all of the talking with local music acts or amateur comedians or circus acts.

The closest I’ve seen this happen was at some arenas, including Madison Square Garden and Miami Arena, where a theme was picked, something like SUCCESS or WEALTH, and there’d be six to eight speakers, some of whom happened to have books but writing wasn’t what made them famous or successful.

When the Beatles came here, the idea of a huge stadium concert was foreign to Americans.  But look at what’s happened since then.  Some bands and musical acts may sell out a whole week’s worth of concerts in a big city venue.  It’s normal to go see a musical act with 50,000+ fans but back then it was an unusual experience.  But someone had the idea and took the initiative to say “let’s do this.”

We need that kind of leadership and initiation now. Think of all the books you’d sell – and of the media coverage it would yield.  Think of the great social impact such an event would have on society in general and the reading public specifically.  Heck, how about a hybrid concert - one part music, one part author?  Now, that would be a sell-out!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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