poor results

now browsing by tag


“I want to sell a million copies”


I hear this sentence at least three times a day.  A million copies. The magic number.  Just thought I’d throw a few more magic numbers out there….

Here is a brief run down of Stephen King’s latest marketing program for his last book from an October 2011 Wall Street Journal Article.

Mr. King and his publisher, Scribner, face an odd challenge as they unleash an elaborate marketing campaign to promote “11/22/63.” How do you rebrand one of the world’s most famous and successful living authors? Scribner is targeting history buffs with book-giveaway promotions on bio.com and history sites. To reach news junkies, the publisher bought ad time on 11 p.m. news programs in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The 30-second ad, which will also run on the CNN airport network and on the A&E and Syfy networks, shows archival footage of Kennedy’s Dallas motorcade, with a voice-over that says, “What if instead of justwatching history, you could change it?” Mr. King’s book tour will include appearances at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston and at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, the site Oswald fired from. The Dallas museum is preparing to host 1,000 people.

So what do we take away from this?

Mr. King has a huge following and decades of New York Times Best Sellers behind him.

He was on the road for weeks doing events in high-profile locations.

His publisher purchased ads on CNN, A&E the 11pm news in major markets.

Scribner also launched a multi-platform online campaign that gave away over 3000 books.

The magic number since the book released last November?  According to Bookscan, Mr. King has sold 576,361 copies across all formats.

One of the best-selling authors of all time spent over a hundred thousand dollars on marketing with his publisher and even with eBook sales included, did not reach a million copies.

What is the real magic number?

It starts with the amount of time you spend getting the package of your book right

It is followed by the number of months you spend planning and orchestrating your launch

Right behind that is the number of ads and programs you participate in.

But that last number does not count much unless the ads and programs are in top venues (USA TODAY, PEOPLE, CNN…)

Next up is the number of PR and marketing professionals you are working with.

Then is there are the amount of reviews you get

A BIG number is how many retailers are getting your marketing and PR information to convince the buyers to buy your book.

Finally, there is the elusive “tipping point” number.  How many people have to love and recommend your book before it takes on a life of its own?

So what is the answer to the question “what are the right numbers for my book?”.

It is different for everybody, but start with THOSE numbers and THEN tell the world how many you plan on selling.  If you are going to spend 20 hours and $4000 on sales and marketing, your book will not “catch fire”.  The stories of books that grow from nothing and become huge successes have enormous numbers behind them. Numbers of hours, numbers of dollars, numbers of supporters…. the ratio varies, but the totals are the same.  At least a million….


You Are What You Think


Okay everyone… I mean it. It is time to turn off CNN and stop obsessively reviewing every news feed about the economy.

I know the book industry (and most other industries) are in the crapper and that there are huge losses being reported every day.

But it’s time to get down to business. I’ve had enough of the hand wringing. I am sick of the culture of panic that we have all agreed to live with.

If it is true that we are what we eat, that we become, in large part, a sum of what we put in our bodies, than I believe that it is also true that we become a sum of what we put in our minds. I am not a huge fan of mind-body-hooey and can promise you that I will never read The Secret, but I do know this: We create our own reality.

If we spend all of our time being afraid of the future, we will not have the energy to improve that future. If we spend hours each day talking to cohorts about how bad things are, we are wasting opportunities to make them better.

I plan on spending some time each day working on ways to help my small, fledgling business survive this “down-turn”. Not only do I plan to survive, I plan to thrive.

People are going to need books and companies will need help coming up with creative ways to make and market books.

I can spend the next few months blaming everything on the market or I can start believing that every day hold new opportunities, even in a recession. I can either wallow in depression and accept defeat before it has arrived, or spend my day happy and excited, doing my best.

How are you going to spend your day?