BIBLE GUY is what one the top execs in Christian publishing called me at the annual book conference last week.
Surprised the dickens out of me.
He rattled off the names of earlier Bible Guys. Gents I knew by their top-selling Bible reference books.
What surprised me is that I thought I was flying under the radar.
I mean for heaven’s sake, a fellow interviewing me for an article to be posted on the website of a denominational publisher of mostly boring stuff asked me how I could sell so many books and remain so invisible.
I referred him to the marketing department of my publisher.
In fairness to marketing departments, unless they’re a denominational publisher of mostly boring stuff, they have to pick one or two books for special promo—from hundreds of titles each year.
It doesn’t matter that I may have spent an entire year of my life working full-time on the book. To the publisher, it’s just one of hundreds they have to process.
If I’m lucky enough to get tagged for the spotlight—as I have been a time or two in my life—initial sales get the burst of a blastoff. Stores selling books take their cue from the publisher, puffing the books that the publishers puff.
Which begs the question, “What are the publishers smoking?”
Occasionally, that works on two levels.
Kinda like the Bible’s most cerebral Gospel: John, full of layered meanings. You read one of his sentences one way, and you know he meant it another way, too.
Most of the time, though, sales of my books stand on their own merits, drawing from what little marketing I’m able to do through social media such as this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth that begins with my saintly mother—may she live many more years since I don’t plan on retiring anytime in the foreseeable future.
It takes time for word of mouth to get the message out. But it certainly seems to be the most effective form of marketing, for my books at least. Some of my bestsellers got almost no marketing beyond word of mouth.
So whoever out there is listening to my mother, keep your ears on. I’ve got more books coming.
Two nearing the end of being written. And a third being hatched from an idea I managed to pull from thin air…or maybe from an idea that got poured into my empty head. It’s impossible to tell which.
About the Bible Guy thing, maybe the exec was stretching the truth a little. Or a lot. He was standing only about a foot away from my face, and I was at a meal that his publishing company was hosting. So perhaps he felt compelled to say nice things to his guest.
In which case I would like to thank him very much.
Whether he’s right or wrong, I should probably tell my mother what he said.
I need to make a phone call.