365 Days of Pikes Peak – The Journey

This is a guest post from Shaun Dagget (aka The Pikes Peak Guy). Shaun is best known for photographing Pikes Peak every single day for a year as a result he’s somewhat a of legend in this part of the country. He launched a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign and has gone on to release a series of companion products to his original coffee table book (which he’s just released in a softcover version). His story is amazing and has huge implications for publishing specifically and business in general. Shaun is a perfect example of the kind of entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau talks about in his new book The $100 Startup.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a first-century Roman philosopher who has been credited with saying, “Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.”

As a photographer, I live by this definition. If I get up at 3:30am, drive an hour to a location, then hike in 5 miles with 30 pounds of camera gear so I am set up in time to catch the sunrise… it is not lucky to get a beautiful shot, it is preparation. The luck comes in when the rising sun lights up the sky as though God personally painted the sunrise purple and orange just for me and I am able to get an epic photograph (not just a beautiful shot).

But as a solo-preneur, who wanted to publish a coffee table book of my photographs, my luck didn’t come getting a lucrative book deal, or from finding a powerful agent, or even knowing an influential person in the publishing world… my luck came from not knowing ANYTHING about the publishing industry at all.

That may seem counterintuitive, but the fact that I didn’t know I was breaking every rule along way was actually my lucky break. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t succeed by making a ton of mistakes (and I made a ton) from not understand the publishing world, I succeeded by creating my own path to publishing a book by using an entirely new set of tools.

I am not saying that the traditional publishing world is broken or doesn’t work anymore, what I am saying is that for me (and I bet for thousands of people just like me) the traditional approach to getting published isn’t necessarily the best way to approach your own success story. I am saying that by taking a totally new approach to publishing my book, other authors may find my story just what they have looking for to help them reach their own goals.

I am the most unlikely author you will ever meet. And for that reason I love to tell my story of how I went from a completely unknown photographer, to a published author that hit Amazon’s Hot New 100 list in my category and sold out inventory on the first day of release. My book hit those milestones in spite of the fact that it retailed for $99, and in spite of the fact that nobody knew who I was (my name isn’t even in my book!), and in spite of the fact that it was a self published effort by someone who just 1 year prior had no idea how the publishing world actually worked.

Even more amazing is that today, just 10 months after my first book, I did a limed released of my second book to the market and sold just over 2,000 copies on the very first day (by limited release I mean that it is not available in any book store or on Amazon or B&N).
I am not giving those stats to brag, I am giving those stats to show how truly improbable it is to be where I am today.

My story is one that combines the tribe concepts in Seth Godin’s books, the business acumen that Michael Hyatt is know for, and mushes it all up it in power of current social media, emerging social media and the possibilities of crowd sourcing. I was also lucky to get some outstanding guidance and a ton of encouragement from a true agent of change, Jon Dale. Each of these people, their ideas and concepts had a big influence on how I approached my book project, but there was one tool that people are just starting to talk about, and was the game changer that brought my book to the market , Kickstarter. I believe this is a game changer not just for me, but for the entire publishing world.

This is blog post, not a step-by-step how to book on publishing or what Kickstarter is; it is the beginning of a conversation on the subject… so I will wrap up my message.

If you ever thought your dreams of being published were impossible, re-evaluate your doubts.

After carving out my own path through the maze of new possibilities and actually seeing some success, I believe that anyone can achieve the same and more. I encourage everyone who aspires to be published to consider crowd sourcing and look into Kickstarter, and maybe even forget everything you thought you knew about the publishing game.

As one of Kickstarter’s all time highest funded projects in my category, and a published author because of it… I hope I have something to offer to the conversaion, and encourage everyone who is reading this post to ask me the how and why behind this success.

Shaun was kind enough to provide me with ten copies of the new soft-cover version of his beautiful coffee table book, 365 Days of Pikes Peak РThe Journey to give away to my readers. Congrats to all the winners.  If you don’t hear from me then you didn’t win.

Question: Why would you like a copy of Shaun’s book? You can leave a comment or ask Shaun a question by¬†clicking here.


30 thoughts on “365 Days of Pikes Peak – The Journey

  1. Todd Nagel says:

    I grew going to Pike’s Peak and have some great memories from there.¬† I also love outdoor photography and can spend hours looking at God’s creation.

  2. I love it when real people make real stuff and have real success because selfishly, that’s what I want too. Thanks for going where no one else had gone. Now there’s a road we can walk down and tell ourselves your story to stay motivated along the way. Keep shipping. Well done.

  3. Archie says:

    I would like a copy of Shaun’s book because I love to read life changing inspiring stories, and get to know all the “real” world changing people on this Earth that I possibly can while I am here. That way I can personally encourage them to keep rocking at what they are winning at!¬†
    Another key reason I would like a copy is; I trust Jon Dale’s recommendation on ANYONE’S work! But quite possibly the most important reason is; my wife loves beautiful pictures! Got’a keep my lady happy. 🙂

  4. I would like Shawn’s book because I think that it is a reminder of the beauty in Woodland Park. This book takes an icon that I see everyday and captures its glory in a myriad of different angles. I would also like this book because it does not just glorify the beauty of a natural monument, it is vesel for a story. It’s a story of a man who was willing to follow his dream until it became a reality. A man who not only ¬†would take a picture everyday for a year, he would also do whatever it took to insure he was taking the best picture ever.¬†

  5. Shaun is absolutely right. And knowing him, it is all about preparation. I hope he can autograph the copies you’re sending out. I don’t have any of Shan’s artwork yet and I’d love a book for our living room.

  6. Got to love stories like this, simply inspiring. The possibilities in cultivating a community and supplying what they actually want are endless

  7. For me Pikes Peak (heck all of the 14’rs ) represents awakened dreams in my life. In my journey there have been many times that the iconic summit has been in view. It is a reminder that God is always up to something big. I’d love to have the book as a reminder to never give up on my dreams as well as a way to help other not forget theirs.

    I loved watching your story unfold as you went for the goal of self-publishing. Here is to your continued unconventional success!

  8. arch1960 says:

    I believe so, Jon. She appreciates the finer things in life (that said, how I got her, I’ll never know! Just another one of God’s major blessings in my life. 🙂

  9. Mike Loomis says:

    Any photographer that can use the words, “Godin”, “Tribes”, “Mountain”, and “Carve out my own path” has GOT to be remarkable, and so must be this book!!¬† Thanks for sharing this. Very inspiring.

  10. arch1960 says:

    WOO-HOO! NOW life just got… EVEN… better!!! Thank you, Jon. YOU sir…are the man!¬†
    And by the way, I REALLY do “like” every comment on this page!¬†

  11. Hey Mike, did you fill out the form? http://www.jondale.com/request-365-days-of-pikes-peak/

    I’ll need your address to send you the book.

  12. Svrandolph says:

    I just arrived at my parents home and they showed me your book, 365 Day of Pike Peak, The Journey, that someone had sent them.  It came with a letter and on the page marked Day 328, a dedication in memory of my brother Maj. Charles Ransom, USAF. He was killed in Afghanistan last April.  This books has some wonderful pictures, especially the one dedicated to my brother.

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