The Chief Means of Marketing

Marketing fascinates me. Once upon a time I would have disowned such a statement. I could never foresee being interested in such a “commercial enterprise.” The thing about the book business however, is that sales represent number of readers. Not perfectly, but it’s the closest thing an author has to understanding the scope of his audience.

Speakers can look out over those in attendance and know at once if they have a full house or not. But writers? It’s a lot of guess work, but sales open a window on the size of an author’s readership.

How is it that readers find one author and not another? In one group I’m in, an individual asked for recommendations of science fiction or speculative titles to present to a book club. Many suggestions came in. But some names and titles were left off. Why? A lack of awareness? A thumbs-down response to the book?

Shifting gears for a moment, I just started reading Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz, a book I won in a contest Brandilyn Collins held on her blog Forensics and Faith. The first point Sernovitz makes is that word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is effective because it isn’t generated by paid professionals.

Why am I discussing marketing, you might wonder, since I don’t have a book to sell or a readership to tabulate. For one thing, I hope to have a book one day. But more immediately, I refer to the CSFF Blog Tour as a word-of-mouth organization. Consequently, I want to understand how WOMM really works.

An ironic story. While I was writing this post, an email came in announcing an opportunity to put an ad in a certain organization’s program, and I considered it! 😮 Why is that ironic? Because I had just read the following from WOMM:

And please, I beg you, stop for a minute before you buy more advertising. Think about how much money you are about to spend. Think about how fast you, and everyone else in the world, flip past hundreds of ads without even noticing them.

The lure of “getting your name out there” is powerful. And the truth is, if an author’s books are to sell, his name does need to get out there. For Christians this is often an uncomfortable line of discussion, seemingly in conflict with the life of humility and neighbor-focus we understand God wants us to live.

Surprise, surprise. Most of what I’ve read so far about WOMM actually lines up squarely with the life a Christian should lead. It’s quite exciting. Hopefully this discussion over the next few days will answer the question why some books get talked about and others forgotten.

In the meantime, I encourage you to join the discussion about Donita K. Paul’s latest release, DragonLight (WaterBrook). Only thirteen days until her official CSFF Blog Tour. 😀

Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 10:58 am  Comments Off on The Chief Means of Marketing  
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