Sweetness: Advice sought ...
Bears fans ...
So, if you didn't see my post from a few days back, my name is Jeff Pearlman. I was a longtime baseball writer for Sports Illustrated, and I'm now a columnist for the website, SI.com. I've written four books and my fifth, "Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton," comes out October 4 (but can be pre-ordered everywhere now—sorry for the shameless pitch).
Anyhow, I come here seeking—in all sincerity and humility—advice. I would love to hear your takes on the best way to reach out to Bears fans; to figure out how to market and promote the book in the most, uhm, impactful manner. Seriously, I know the New York and Dallas and San Francisco markets very well (from past books), but Chicago is relatively new to me. I mean, I LOVE the city and have spent much time there. But all fanbases are different and unique.
Please, help a guy out ...
Also, to be sorta shameless here, please consider following me on Twitter (twitter.com/jeff pearlman) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jef...12078882147346). Also, starting Monday I'm breaking out a revamped jeffpearlman.com, OVERLOADED with Payton images, videos, songs (yes, songs), memories, etc ...
I put more into this book than any project I've ever worked on—nearly three years, 678 interviews, thousands upon thousands of articles, etc ... etc. It's become my passion.
Any help/guidance/wisdom hugely appreciated.
PS: Here's my latest video log about the book process—the (very odd) music of Walter Payton ...
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First of all, thank you for choosing a Chicago legend to research. In the eyes of many people, not just Chicagoans, Walter Payton was the greatest football player of all time.
This may be a silly question, but have you had contact with Jarrett Payton, Walter's son? He runs the Walter Payton FaceBook page and updates it frequently. He also co-hosts Chicago's Game Night with Jonathan Hood on ESPN 1000. I'm sure if you had Jarrett's backing, this would help get the word out.
This is undoubtedly a Bears town. I would bet that the people of this fine city would eat up anything Bears and especially anything Walter Payton. Have you contacted any of the local radio personalities? Word spreads and I will do my part to help out.
Thanks for checking out our forum.
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I think the Bears' fan base is very knowledgeable about Payton. Most know about 'the hill' in Arlington Heights, stories about his kindness, and so on. I would figure out what sets your book apart from other documentation about Payton and what new information it brings forth about him. Present that to the demographic.
I think landing spots on the two sports radio stations (670 the score and AM1000) is a good start. However, in my opinion message boards and AM radio shows are medias seen (or heard) by the most die hard of fans. If you combine the ratings of the 2 sports radio stations, you're not even in the top 5 in the market. (http://www.stationratings.com/ratings.asp?market=5) I think if you want numbers for this book, you'll have to find a way to bring attention to the casual fan. I'm not a marketing expert so I don't know cost effective ways to do it. If I had the money and thought it would be a wise use of it, I would maybe try to get it commercialized during a game either on TV or the radio, especially around the Holidays. I know a lot of fans in the area mute the TV and turn on Joniak and Thayer on 780 AM. I think attacking the gift angle might be a good idea around the holidays. If I had to blanket Chicago people with generalizations, I would say they are very practical, but most definitely willing to spend money on sports related items if it seems worth it.
This town is incredibly nostalgic about the 85 Bears and very nostalgic about former Bears legends. If present something new to them about a legend from the 85 Bears, I think you'll have a strong sell.
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I wish you would've have posted before me so I didn't feel so one up-ed. Lol
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Agree with everything thats been said thus far, especially this. Payton is to Bears' fans what Jordan is to Bulls fans (and the city of Chicago), a legend and always something that can sell to fans. However, it also has a double-edge sword, since he is a figure who is so loved, there have already been a multitude of books published on Payton.
Originally Posted by Butka
So, one key thing to do when discussing your book with radio or tvs shows or online is to differentiate your work from other books on Payton. If you acquired some original interviews that other authors did not put in their books, or have some correspondence of Payton's that fans havent seen, then stress those points. Im not sure what your content is, but if you have some never before seen material, it will help sell your book.
Two things you would need are cliff notes for people like bigclaws and two probably tie it to any foundation in the name of Walter would give people the incentive to read yet another takr on Walter
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Do a video of yourself running the same " hill " Walter did in Arlington Heights and post it . Wouldn't be a bad touch to reference the honest complaints that he had about this ..... and point out that he wasn't shy about stating ( to the press ) how much he hated training camp and all the HELL he had to go through .... preparing for ... and getting through ... a season. Tie it in with how music inspired him to get through . Those of us who love it will know what you mean ( I pity those that don't ). Lastly ... just go to Bears home games and pound the pavement out in the parking lots. Rent a tent . Let people know how many people you interviewed, and about the effort you put into it.
What should you call any : Fumble , Hold , Interception , Three and out , or Sack ?
A " F.H.I.T.S " ? or a J'Marcus ?
The Hill has been gone a while now.
Wow. Great ideas. Really, really great.
A few thoughts ...
1. I'm not saying it's the greatest or worst Walter Payton biography in the history of the world—but I assure you, there'll be TONS of new, fresh, unique information. Someone on another blog said, "We all know everything there is to say about Walter Payton ..." to which I reply, "Not really." He was a very guarded, extremely private man.
How guarded and private, you ask? (Please ... ask). Here you go ...
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Interesting video. If your book is filled with stuff like that..bits of information about Payton that most fans are unaware of or simply never knew about him, then it definitely goes towards separating your book from other Payton biographies, which is a good thing. The best biographies always have a little bit of scandal to them, thats what makes them interesting. And something as benign as him having a different year of birth then what everyone else seems to believe is a bit of scandal for sure, piqued my interest (im just hoping your source or reasoning is 100% accurate, nothing like making a claim only to be wrong about it in the end).
Originally Posted by Jeff Pearlman