The Shiva Trilogy – Cracking the book Amish Tripathi, Bestselling Author The Shiva TrilogyWhile categories like FMCG and automobiles seem to have a legacy of marketing initiatives behind them,a category like that of books is still new in the marketing arena. Until now, the need for marketing bookswasn’t felt. However, with the number of books being released per year reaching a number as high as8,000, it becomes imperative for an author to make his/her book stand-out in the clutter.The ChallengeMarketing an undermarketed product such as a book remains to be the key challenge for authors.Another challenge in this category is that the content cannot be based on consumer insights as thishinders the creative flow of writers. Thus the book can be viewed as a product only after the content isready.The StrategyThe dearth of marketing professionals in the book publishing sector makes the marketing scene of thecategory rather dull. The marketing initiatives are limited to posters and with the advent of the digitalrevolution, get stretched to websites and social media. Tripathi, however, went beyond the basics andplunged into marketing his first book, ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ big time. One of his strategies was to usethe cover to give the audience a glimpse of the story. He also released a sampler, three weeks prior tothe launch of the book to stir curiosity amongst the consumers. Video trailers for the book were alsoreleased for the same purpose.The ImplementationFor Tripathi, the cover was the equivalent of the packaging of a product. It was the key positioning statusfor his book. The cover was meant to make people inquisitive and conveying the crux of the book in fiveseconds. The visuals of the book were also meant to motivate people to pick up the book frombookshelves.Communicating to people about the launch of the book was another challenge for the author. To combatthis challenge, Tripathi released a sampler, which was a printed copy of the first chapter of the book withthe cover of the book. This also solved the problem of newcomers not getting a strategic place in leadingbookstores. The sampler was kept at the cash counters where one could pick it up for free. Tripathi alsomade sure that the cashier, who was the point of contact for all information regarding new books was wellaware of what the book was about.The author also released a trailer film for the books which was an elevator pitch for the product. It workedat the surface level as well as at a deeper level for people who would move a step ahead of just beinginformed. After a month of being launched on Youtube, the video received around 60,000 hits. For hissecond book, Tripathi released three versions of the film which were customised for multiplexes and theweb. The reason behind the release of a video for the multiplexes was also to generate curiosity amongpeople who usually do not walk into a bookstore.ResultsThe first book hit the bestseller chart in the first week itself. In 2010, The Immortals of Meluha was thesecond highest selling book. In 2011, Nagas was the highest selling book in the beginning and graduallybecame the second highest selling book. A Hollywood agency has signed on Tripathi as a client and thewriter is in talks with various Indian and Hollywood producers for a film adaptation of the book.