Unintended Results

I recently read an interesting story about an author. Following is the condensed version. If you wish to read the full version titled “Why I Write Books Even Though I’ve Lost Money on Every Book I’ve Written,” you can read it on the author’s blog here.

James Altucher’s book was not selling as well as he wanted it to. As an author desperate to have people buy his book, he began resorting to tactics some authors consider but few actually carry out. James’ book were published by a large publishing house, so at least one copy of his book was stocked in most bookstores in New York City where he lived.

Determined to show that his book was worth buying, James went around to every bookstore in New York. He would find his book in the store and write notes on the inside of each copy of his book and then put them back on the bookshelf. His notes included things like, “You are the smartest person in the world for buying this book.” Inside one book he wrote, “I Love You.”

Fast forward a few months. James Altucher had a new girlfriend. She agreed to meet him at the Penn Station book store. From there they would take a train to her house so she could cook dinner. While waiting for James to come, the girlfriend saw his book in the store and picked it up. Opening it, she read his “I Love You” inscription. She thought it was planted there and that James was watching her. In fact, James was running late, and she was reading the unsold book he had inscribed a few months earlier. A little over a year later the two got married.

Besides being a great story, I think this tale has a moral for every author.

Your marketing efforts frequently will not yield the intended (or hoped for) results. However, we serve a loving and compassionate God who “works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28). So, while your promotional efforts may not yield more sales, they will reap good for someone somewhere. Sometimes the recipient of that good will be you. Other times it will be someone you do not know—and won’t know until you get to heaven.


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