Blogger: Rachel Kent
Sometimes a book hits big because the timing of the release is just right. Some sort of event happens that directly relates to the topic of your book and causes sales to skyrocket. It’s hard to force this kind of natural marketing, however, because it’s hard to predict the future. 🙂
I saw an example of this serendipitous marketing this week. I bet you have read in the news that the alleged Golden State Killer was captured using DNA from a popular ancestry website. I do not want to go into any details about the horrors this person committed, but a true crime book following this case was release in February of this year. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara came out on February 27. She wrote most of it, but passed away before it was finished. Her husband, Patton Oswalt, finished the book on her behalf. It was a popular book at release and reached the NYT bestseller list. The reviews have been outstanding and I’m even intrigued by this book–but I hadn’t heard about it until the arrest was made. I went to Amazon.com that day and saw that the book had reached #2 of all books for the sales ranking. The only book selling better on Amazon was Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines. I wasn’t constantly watching the sales ranking of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, but it could have reached #1. I wouldn’t be surprised. Because there was the giant break in the case, McNamara’s book got a second, HUGE wave of marketing–and it was completely out of the hands of anyone in the book industry. It was all due to the book release right before the suspect’s arrest.
What should we take from this example of “natural” marketing? I’m not sure beyond realizing that despite everything we do to market a book, the path to the book’s success isn’t always in our hands. Does this mean we shouldn’t try to market? No! Anything we can do to get your book out there will help sell copies. The more exposure, the better!
Have you ever experienced this kind of serendipitous timing with a book release?
Or do you have any other examples of this that you have witnessed in the past?