In March 2006, Thomas Nelson published a book titled Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry. At the time, Akiane Kramarik was a ten-year-old prodigy. At age four, she had visions of heaven and began painting beautiful pictures.
Because of her unique story and incredible paintings, Akiane received much professional media coverage. However, while the book that Thomas Nelson published featuring her fascinating story, her artwork, and her poetry sold well (after all it has 108 customer reviews on Amazon), it was not a bestseller.
Enter November 2010. Thomas Nelson publishes a book titled Heaven is for Real. The book is about a four-year-old boy, Colton Burpo and his experience in heaven. Heaven is for Real became a New York Times Bestseller (and has over 2,000 customer reviews on Amazon). The book references a painting that Akiane painted of Jesus when she was eight years old.
Now, the book, Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry, is beginning to appear on ECPA’s weekly bestseller list.
What does this data suggest?
I think the suggestion is important and one that every publisher (and author) should be aware of. Any activity that directs attention to a product is marketing. This activity does not need to be overt, it can be subtle (as in this case).
People who are reading Heaven is for Real are interested in learning more about Akiane’s story due to its similarity to the Colton Burpo’s experience. After being introduced to Akiane in Heaven is for Real, readers are seeking to learn more about her. A search of Amazon reveals that Thomas Nelson’s book is the only one readily available that tells Akiane’s story. As a result, readers interested in more are buying it.
Consider carefully what you put in your next book. Should it sell well, it could help another book sell.