The people in charge of publicizing my new book have asked me to ask you to help them out with some market research. They want to know where they can advertise the book most effectively. What magazines do people who read my stuff read? What websites do they go to? What kinds of things convinced them to read Hardcore Zen?

If you have any bright ideas abnout how to market the book, please leave them in the comments section of this article. Thanks!

And remember, next Saturday (Dec. 23, 2006), Tonen O’Connor of the Milwaukee Zen Center will be at the Hill Street Center. So if you’re around, come and hear what she has to say. We’re also doing a sitting today (Dec. 16) at 9:45AM.

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75 Responses

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  1. Todd A
    Todd A December 16, 2006 at 8:36 am |


    My two cents is this: market it on the web. I received a review copy of Hardcore Zen when I was running a punk rock webzine. It took me a couple of years to get into Buddhism but when I did, I wrote about your book on my weblog. On the basis of that, Wisdom Pubs sent me several other books that I’m writing about as I complete them.

    I also do most of my other reading and researching of Buddhism on the web. Your publisher could just start link-hopping and find sites where they can advertise or get the book reviewed.

    I’m a freelancer and I’d love to read and review the new one.

    Best of luck,


  2. Brink Craven
    Brink Craven December 16, 2006 at 9:14 am |

    Google Google Google

  3. Infernon
    Infernon December 16, 2006 at 9:57 am |

    I saw the book on the shelf at the local bookstore and blew by it tons of times because it didn’t fit in with what I would have considered to be genuine advice from a real ‘zen master’. It took about a year before I realized how much I was missing when I read a copy.

    As a side note, Brad, I think that it would be really cool of you to explain the whole Suicide Girls thing for those of us who are having a hard time understanding why you’d write a column there. I’m not trying to start a flame war and I think you’re a great guy (your blog has helped me answer a ton of tough questions about my zen practice, and that’s even more important because I don’t have a teacher), but I always thought that you wanted to avoid the whole ‘cult of personality’ deal and never took you as someone who wanted to make money. I’m also having trouble with the whole morality thing surrounding the issue.

    I was just hoping you could shed some light on the situation for those of us who may have missed you doing so before (I only read your blog and occasionally visit Nishijima’s).

  4. Waylon
    Waylon December 16, 2006 at 10:04 am |

    I haven’t bought a magazine in years….I always liked Giant Robot though, I would imagine that an ad there might be helpful. But I would think that the web is the best way to go. I really only frequent here,, for the MMA group there (book might go over well there) god knows the Mixed Martial Arts crowd could use a big dose of ego check and myspace….maybe a couple of yoga groups too.

    What does your publisher feel about the regular buddhist rags?

  5. Waylon
    Waylon December 16, 2006 at 10:09 am |


    almost forgot about my new found reason to visit the SG website 😉

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 16, 2006 at 10:27 am |

    I think a couple of super bowl commercials would sell a few books.

    if you can’t manage that, put an ad in scene magazine.

  7. Element
    Element December 16, 2006 at 10:40 am |

    I would like to see it in a
    Skateboard Magazine:
    Trasher, Big Brother, Transworld Skateboard Magazine ??? don’t know if that is realistic, but there are a lot’s of young people who search for something.

    I found Hardcore Zen over a Web review

  8. Siren
    Siren December 16, 2006 at 10:48 am |

    Internet marketing. Online I read Slate, and visit Treehugger, BBC News, CNN…etc…I also have a subscription to ‘Tricycle’ and pick up ‘Shambhala Sun’ from time to time- occasionally I do actually like to read stuff on paper. I knew about ‘Hardcore Zen’ because I stumbled on Brad’s little personal site, somehow, years and years ago…and just kept following his writing.


  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 16, 2006 at 11:49 am |

    Get it associated with juicy enough stuff on net and drop the link to IRC. Spreads like wildfire.

    Now that waylon mentioned GR, I’ll have to plug in Giant Robot, the band,


  10. Steve
    Steve December 16, 2006 at 12:21 pm |

    Don’t know if this will help you, but I found your book through Nishijima’s blog and through reading your blog, etc. I went looking for it and found it easily at Border’s.

    As for magazines, I suscribe to National Geographic, Smithsonian and Popular Science. Don’t know how much bang for your advertising buck you’d get out of those, but you asked so I answer. Most of what I read is fiction, though; I’m a fiction junkie.

    Good luck with marketing the book. I found it entertaining and informative, and having read it I enjoy going back to select chapters now and then for a refresher. Thanks!

    — Steve

  11. Sean
    Sean December 16, 2006 at 1:26 pm |

    I think Paste Magazine would be a good choice. It’s a big favorite of mine and of the people I know (college graduates, mid-20’s age range) who responded most positively to “Hardcore Zen.”

  12. Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf December 16, 2006 at 2:17 pm |

    I saw Hardcore Zen in Shambala Sun. I would advertise in the buddhist magazines as well as punk magazines. Fangora, or whatever that magazine is called with the horror movies, because I bet alot of those people are into Japanese monster movies. You can send me an early copy. I will show all my friends, feed them juicy tidbits, then tell them to go buy there own damn copy when it comes out lol.

  13. rchinn72
    rchinn72 December 16, 2006 at 3:10 pm |

    I stumbled upon your book at a bookstore. Profound, I know. Actually though, What made me want to read it was the cover and one or two of the one-liners that I read while flipping through it.
    Some things will end up speaking for themselves, I guess….

    Hope that helps,

  14. rchinn72
    rchinn72 December 16, 2006 at 3:16 pm |

    Oh wait, I read that completely wrong! They want to know what I’m into…..let me think about that.

  15. rchinn72
    rchinn72 December 16, 2006 at 3:17 pm |

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. rchinn72
    rchinn72 December 16, 2006 at 3:17 pm |

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 16, 2006 at 3:43 pm |

    I think I stumbled upon your website, sit down and shut up, searching on Google for Zen a couple of years ago. And then there was an article about you in the Metropolis magazine in Tokyo.
    So Google in general and Magazines for foreigners in Japan.
    What convinced me to read it? The unconventional style of it. Looked different from other stuff I’d read on Zen.

  18. Drunken Monkey
    Drunken Monkey December 16, 2006 at 3:49 pm |

    Online I read; Yongfook blog, Outpostnine blog, both successful blogs that cater to a wide audience of Japanese culturalists.

    I would like to see your book publicised in major music mags (:D) such as NME, MOJO and others including those that pertain to a punk outlook.

    I in particular read the newscientist and T3 (gadget magazines). I get all my music information from the websites of the magazines in the above paragraph.

    All buddhist magazines should be covered as standard, especially the most popular ones like the tricycle.

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 16, 2006 at 4:19 pm |

    Since you already have a blog, you could do the “viral blogging” thing that is hip these days. You give great content away (maybe a chapter of the new book, or of Hardcore Zen) and let that know to other bloggers, who will blog about that and submit your website to digg and etc. This will get you lots of visitors to your website, a portion of which will probably buy your book, another portion will refer you to their friends, who may buy your book.

  20. drishti
    drishti December 16, 2006 at 4:45 pm |

    NYT (web only), Slate, Shambala Sun, Tricycle.

  21. eachminuteatreasure
    eachminuteatreasure December 16, 2006 at 8:32 pm |

    I don’t buy things I’ve seen advertised or reviewed. I’m strictly a shelf browser. I have to pick something up and look at it before I’ll buy it.

    And even though it ruins my appetite, the book’s cover is what caught my attention. I was looking for something out of the mainstream, something that cut to the marrow, and the toilet scene certainly looked promising in that regard. Scanning a chapter or two confirmed it was just what I was looking for.

  22. sonnyblue
    sonnyblue December 16, 2006 at 9:17 pm |

    Why bothers? Remember Rocky 2? There is no need to advertise your new book. If it’s as good as the first one, I can almost guarantee the same amount of books will be sold without you spending a dime on marketing. Let the word-of-mouth (= the internet) work its magic, as in the true spirit of Zen.

  23. BlueWolfNine
    BlueWolfNine December 16, 2006 at 10:34 pm |

    sounds like the next book is right around the corner to me…

    as for your question brad, hmmm… lemme think for a moment….

    that’s kinda a retarded question for them to ask you to ask us. (nothing against special nedds folk)

    i dunno me myself i’ll read whatever kinda magazine simply cause i’m bored and sitting on the can or waiting for an appointment or something. i read em all hell, it really makes no difference to me.

    okay i know, i’m not really giving the kinda feedback you may be looking for.

    how bout the punk rags for starters. you know a quick little brad warner of zero defex slash zen dude with a new book out. you know just have em slip it in. because honestly if they’re looking for a specific market, they might as well hit them all up. everything zen!!! woo hoo!

    there’s always the buddhist rags too…..

  24. BlueWolfNine
    BlueWolfNine December 16, 2006 at 10:35 pm |

    ahem, thats special NEEDS. whatever, you know what i meant.

  25. BlueWolfNine
    BlueWolfNine December 16, 2006 at 10:39 pm |

    and yeah yeah yeah, i agree with anonymous: give us a free chapter (pleeease). you know, to TEASE us with.

  26. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 16, 2006 at 11:44 pm |

    buddhadharma and/or myspace

  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 12:03 am |

    Market on

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 12:06 am |

    Market on

  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 12:09 am |

    Market on,,

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 12:18 am |

    Market on,,

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 12:54 am |

    Your book was first recommended to me by someone in the zen_buddhists community at livejournal; after looking at the writings on your website, I was already grateful enough to make buying your book a priority. The community later listed Hardcore Zen with a very few other books on the community’s info page.

    News of a new book will spread pretty fast online, I think, without having to do much besides mention it here, and remind people about the writing you contribute on your website.

    Don’t know that that’s very helpful…;)

  32. DB
    DB December 17, 2006 at 2:28 am |

    What works best for me is a display in the actual bookstore. Like rchinn72 said in his first comment, I noticed your first book because the title attracted me, and then the blurbs on the back sounded interesting, more so than the bland crop of crap Zen books that hog the shelves.

    While it ain’t exactly earth shattering to think of marketing a book inside a bookstore, I think the audience there is a ripe one. Certainly at least you know they’re readers, which is rare enough. Simply getting the book turned around where one can see more than the spine will help, assuming the cover is catchy enough. I’d almost suggest something loud and bright to really stand out since most Zen books tend towards black and white covers.

    Other than that, word of mouth, word of mouth, word of mouth.

  33. ryunin
    ryunin December 17, 2006 at 4:08 am |

    I learned about Hardcore Zen at Buddhist e-Sangha (lioncity) forums where the thread was something like The Zen Book You Recommend. Most people recommended Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner and I was surprised I had never heard of that name so I checked out your website and read a part of Hardcore Zen at Amazon. The monster costume at your website and the part I read led to ordering the book. In the Czech Republic you cannot buy it off the shelf.

  34. Matt Ryan
    Matt Ryan December 17, 2006 at 5:47 am |

    well if you forward me a copy of the book – I’ll have a read and let you know the best place to market it

  35. Matt Ryan
    Matt Ryan December 17, 2006 at 5:52 am |

    well if you forward me an advanced copy of the book I’ll have a read and let you know the best place to market it.

    Isn’t the Dharma supposed to be free anyway

  36. zenkrak
    zenkrak December 17, 2006 at 8:13 am |

    The book found me as a suggested add-on when ordering Dharma Punx on last year.

  37. orlando
    orlando December 17, 2006 at 8:25 am |

    i’d recommend usenet / (yahoo-)groups and alike – certainly those groups with some kind of spiritual/philosophical topic. That’s how I came to know HZ (else i’d never even knew it existed in that small&german; speaking european country i’m living….)

  38. Esmerelda
    Esmerelda December 17, 2006 at 8:32 am |

    Found it on a table at Barnes & Nobel. Mostly it was the cover. Zen, monster movies and Punk Rock is just a perfect fit for me. I subscribe to Yoga Journal, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Natural History Magazine, Reptiles Magazine and I read NME, Punk ‘zines, the New York Time. Yeah I buy stuff I read book reviews about and sometimes things Amazon suggests or friends like, never from ads. When it comes out, we can all review it on Amazon that should help sales somewhat.

  39. Sarah
    Sarah December 17, 2006 at 8:40 am |

    Bust! Ladies like the zen.

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 11:45 am |

    An endorsement by Ken Wilber saying “This is the most important book about Zen written by an American since Alan Watts’ The Way of Zen” and then an appearance on David Letterman’s show would do it;-) And why not an interview in Andy Cohen’s magazine?

    Maybe the wrong people and places, but it’s stuff like that that sells books.

  41. Gesus
    Gesus December 17, 2006 at 12:54 pm |

    What got my first intrest in Hardcorezen was the title. Suppose, me beening a member of the “alternative” subculture, i identifed with it more, than a say ‘airy fairy spirtual book. (althought the cover did suck)
    And the reveiws on amzon clinched me to buy it.

    Thinking internationaly (as most people here are) a web apporch would be best in may uneducated mind.

    Releasing a chapter, (as meantioned above) would be good. But making the chapter controvional, would be better.

    Now, which topic has generated most comments on brads blog lately?
    Yes, relgion (Jesus post)

    Futhermore,interfaith website’s like beleifnet, could be attracted to run a piece on the book. Causing hottly discuuss debates on messages boards. Or ‘a buzz’ as advertising types would say

    Yes, i know! this is just blanted adverting gimik. Using the mordern taboo subject of religion, and your book may have nothing to do with Jesus or religion in it. But it would work……

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 1:36 pm |

    Deepleaf Productions and Maybe Logic Academy at

    This may also be a great opportunity for you to teach a “Hardcore Zen” on-line course.


  43. cromanyak
    cromanyak December 17, 2006 at 2:33 pm |

    You could start walking around hitting random people with your Kyosaku, and yelling WAKE UP!!!

    Just an idea.

  44. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 3:06 pm |

    If you have any bright ideas abnout how to market the book, please leave them in the comments section of this article. Thanks!

    Create more suffering!

  45. Jinzang
    Jinzang December 17, 2006 at 3:34 pm |

    The tried and true way of marketing a Buddhist book is get an excerpt or review in one of the big Buddhist magazines and the Snow Lion newsletter. I’m sure your publishers already know this. The most recent Buddhist book that did a big marketing push was Rangjung Yeshe’s “Blazing Splendor.” They set up a weblog and did a lot of touring.

    I bought your book after reading your website. I had originally passed it up after seeing it in the bookstore thinking it was another crass attempt to cash in on Buddhism.

  46. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 17, 2006 at 8:38 pm |

    Wow Brad, Are you accepting money from the Sucide Girl people?

    This Buddhist thing is really working out for you.

  47. smarmyswami
    smarmyswami December 18, 2006 at 1:45 am |

    Brad go for a publication with a BIG circulation.I would suggest MOJO the music magazine.Also get an endorsement by someone who is both respected and famous and have their quote in the advertisment.THINK BIG.

  48. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 18, 2006 at 2:34 am |

    the daily show! everyone loves the daily show! the onion (cos its fun and free!)punk planet (obviously, perhaps a nice big interview even?). i found hardcore zen while searching through the eastern religion section at a barnes and noble. most of the rest of the books were touchy feely stuff, not my thing, then i saw your book and lacking any cash i shoved it in the waistband of my jeans under my hoodie and wandered out of the store. so i owe you some money, um, hope you dont mind too much.

  49. Ilias (Elias) Biris
    Ilias (Elias) Biris December 18, 2006 at 2:52 am |


    I stumbled upon a reference to your book in Orkut, specially the Soto Zen community. Though Orkut can be a lot of crap these days, mainly because stupid people (mostly from Brazil) infest the message boards with messages for pr0n sites it can be a way to reach lots of folks.

    best of luck to you,


  50. mike
    mike December 18, 2006 at 6:17 am |

    Comic books. That’s about 85% of my weekly reading.

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