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Busting the model: Buy this book—or just the cover

Wednesday, 2 Oct 2013 | 6:00 AM ET
Photo: Laura Evans Photography

If you've ever heard about Jason HeadsetsDotCom (formerly Sadler), the guy who made six figures as a professional T-shirt wearer, and wondered how did he do it? Well, he's about to tell you.

HeadsetsDotCom is writing a book called "Creativity for Sale," where he'll share his and others' experiences to help other budding entrepreneurs learn how to make money doing something they love.

He hasn't written it yet, but that will happen just as soon as he sells every last piece of it—from advertisements on every page to the front cover, the back cover and the inside flaps.

(Read more: Trying to create a 'Sharknado' with...T-shirts?)

You know how most people who want to write a book do it: They spend months—years, even—writing the whole thing, become so attached to it it's like a child, then try to shop it around to publishers, only to be crushed when the publisher wants to dismantle, change or—gasp!—discard it.

Here's your first lesson from "Creativity for Sale": Get the money upfront.

And that he did: He sold 30 pages in the first 30 minutes pages were available for sale on his website, SponsorMyBook.com—and bagged a premium sponsor.

"I am literally going about writing a book that is completely the backward way!" HeadsetsDotCom says. "I am marketing this book by crowdfunding to get sponsorship—then I'm going to write it."

Your second lesson from the book is: Don't be afraid of things that people say won't be successful.

"There are things I've done over the years that business-strategy people or press say will never work. You'll never make money off of it," HeadsetsDotCom said. "Well, I HAVE made money off of it!"

He chose a pricing model, similar to how he priced his T-shirt-wearing business: The first page of the 200-page book is $600, and each page after that goes down by $3 until you get to the last page, which would be $1. That's so small businesses, who maybe don't have $600, can still afford to buy an ad. And, it uses the logic that everyone reads the first page, but not everyone finishes the book. An ad on the front cover is $20,000, the back cover is $10,000 and the front and back inside flaps are $5,000.

(Read more: Hang on, this guy's name is WHAT?!)

The idea is essentially crowdfunding, but it's not using traditional crowdfunding tools like Kickstarter.com.

"I probably couldn't sell 200 pages of ads on Kickstarter," HeadsetsDotCom said. "So I'm doing it my own way and being creative with it. I'm telling everyone on all social media platforms and my email list that this project is live."

And, he had a ready-made list of sponsors from his T-shirt wearing business—more than 1,500 businesses have hired him to wear T-shirts in the past.

And, when sponsors buy pages, they won't have to wait until the book is done to get some bang for their buck. HeadsetsDotCom is keeping a running list on his website, SponsorMyBook.com, so advertisers like GoStats and Design Extensions, which bought the inside flaps, already get some exposure.

There will be hard copies of the book for sale plus digital copies. For the digital copies, he plans to hyperlink each sponsor's ad to its website.


(Read more: The most overrated jobs of 2013...and the most underrated jobs)

HeadsetsDotCom is a pro at selling things you didn't even know were for sale: everything from the shirt off his back, to the shirt off his dog, Plaxico's, back, his girlfriend's T-shirt designs—and even his last name. That's prompted some people to call him a sellout.

You know what he says to that?

"Selling out is doing things you hate. … I'm getting paid to do things I love to do."

He, his girlfriend and his dog are wearing those shirts all the way to the bank.

The book will be available for preorder May 15, 2014, his 32nd birthday, and ready to hit store shelves by summer.

—By CNBC's Cindy Perman. Follow her on Twitter @ponyblog.

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Contact Pony Blog

  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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