The Greatest Book (Ever) on Sales & Marketing

by Jim Rubart

Today’s guest post is from Jim Rubart. He and I first met at the Mt. Hermon writers conference where I infamously rejected him (see #10). A bit about Jim. Since 1994, Jim has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Barefoot Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. His debut novel Rooms released in April 2010 and hit the bestseller list that September. His next novel, Book of Days released in January. He’s also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world’s most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn’t sleep much. Visit his website at


What’s the best book you’ve read on sales and marketing? I’m guessing that if you were to list your top five favorites,Green Eggs and Ham probably wouldn’t be in the mix.

But it should be.

Immortal Sam I Am is one of the greatest marketing men ever. Here are two reasons why:

1. He markets his product to his potential buyer sixteen times before he gets a yes.


The average salesperson asks twice. (And if you are selling a product—your book(s)—you are a salesperson whether you want to be one or not.)

Sam knew the average sale is made when the customer is asked five times. To make this applicable to us authors, the average reader needs to hear about your book three to seven times before she or he will decide to buy it.

• They see a post from you on Facebook
• They see it in a bookstore
• You list your novel on a book club site
• Their friends mention they’ve read it
• You write an article and mention your novel in your byline
• Someone sees a four- or five-star review on Amazon
• You tweet about it
• There’s a review on Goodreads
• There’s a flyer in their mailbox
• They hear you on the radio
• You’re on someone’s blog talking about your novel

Then—after three to seven exposures—they buy your book.

2. Sam knew that simply promoting the same way again and again wasn’t enough.

That’s not marketing, that’s being a pain in the backside.

The Key

Sam came up with sixteen options, ideas, new ways of thinking about green eggs and ham.

“Would you like them in a box? With a fox? In a house? With a mouse? In a train? In the rain? Here or there?”

Cheesy sales trainers love to spout, “Ya gotta remember ABC! Always Be Closing!” But what does that mean? Hammer on people till they give in? Let us hope not.

Some people on Facebook and Twitter think this is the way to promote their novels. They give the same message over and over, believing that will sell books.

It doesn’t. It turns people off.

If you’re going to market your books, get creative in the way you present them to potential buyers (and the way you promote yourself, because you are the brand, but that’s a topic for another column).

And promote with passion. It’s obvious Sam believes in his product. Do you believe that passionately in your novels? Attitudes are contagious—are yours worth catching?

You want to sell more books? Be like Sam.

Did you know a Random House editor bet ol’ Ted Geisel $50 he couldn’t write a book using only fifty words? Green Eggs and Ham was the result.

(It is entirely possible to read Rooms, Book of Days, and The Chair in a house, with a mouse, here or there, and on a train, but I’d skip the rain unless you have a really good umbrella.)

This article originally appeared in the Christian Fiction Online Magazine. We highly recommend you subscribe. It’s free!

And check out Jim’s latest novel Book of Days!

8 Responses to The Greatest Book (Ever) on Sales & Marketing

  1. Donna Pyle August 8, 2011 at 5:11 am #

    Thanks for a great post, Jim! I never considered Dr. Seuss as a treasure trove of marketing tips. Hahahaha! Great way to start out the day with my mind racing in that area. Blessings!

  2. Judith Robl August 8, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    No wonder I love Dr. Seuss.

  3. Sandra Ardoin August 8, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Genius, Jim. Guess I’ll need to start in the children’s section of the bookstore when I’m looking for marketing ideas. Can’t wait to see what can you do with The Cat in the Hat.

  4. Rhonda Gibson August 8, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Green Eggs and Ham is one of my all time favorite books. I would read it to my babies… ok they were kids at the time… and my husband would tell me I was working them up because we’d get so loud reading it. LOL

    Now BOOK OF DAYS is on my list of books to buy next time I go to the book store 🙂

    Thanks for the great post, Jim.

  5. V.V. Denman August 8, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I may set my copy of Green Eggs on my desk for daily inspiration. I’ll never look at the book the same again. Love it!

  6. Ralene Burke August 8, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    I knew there was a reason Dr. Suess has always been a favorite in my household. 🙂

  7. Angela Breidenbach August 8, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Love it. Having just read this book to my grandson, Jim, you have driven the message home on a bus, on a train, in a car, on a plane… 😉 Now to creatively share my message…

  8. Sally Apokedak August 9, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    Great book and great post. Thanks.

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