‘The Secret’ is Out (of Stock)
In fact, Curr says the biggest challenge posed by the scope of the book’s success has been the ongoing struggle to keep it in book stores. And she couldn’t be more pleased. “They’re getting cake for 5 million copies,” she says of her staff. “You have to mark these occasions.”
So how does a self-help book turn an entire overcrowded market of self-help books upside-down? For one, “The Secret’s” genesis is a bit unconventional.
Bucking the more recent trend of spinning a successful book into other forms of media (e.g., movies, video games, etc.), “The Secret” actually got its start as a DVD. Byrne produced the documentary in April 2006, interviewing dozens of professionals about the law of attraction and the power of positive thinking. The DVD was among Amazon’s top five best sellers during the week of Christmas and by February was at the top of the site’s DVD chart.
The idea for a book actually came from a dinner conversation in Portland, Ore., between Cynthia Black, publisher of Beyond Words Publishing, and a teacher featured in the DVD. Black, who already had a co-publishing arrangement with Curr on a number of other titles, was immediately convinced “The Secret” would make for a compelling book. She found a willing partner in her colleague at Atria.
“I looked at the [DVD’s] site and thought, ‘This is fantastic. … This would make a perfect book … because it’s not just going to be replacing the experience of watching the DVD, it’s actually going to enhance the experience.’ … You really need a book to [complement] the DVD. [Publishing the book was] not just an opportunistic thing, it’s actually part of the whole ‘Secret’ experience.”
The only advertising dollars Curr spent on the campaign went toward marketing the book within the DVD itself. “It was really all a big word-of-mouth campaign—using the DVD, sending people to the Web site and talking about it all the time,” she says.