A Marketing Snafu

A large number of books by small publishers and independently published authors cross my desk each year. On the positive side, overall the quality of the books published by this group has improved over the decade I have been rubbing shoulders with them. On the negative side, many do still contain slip ups.


These blunders come in the form of things like poor cover design, the spine printed upside down, or the lack of a BISAC subject on the back cover of the book. Once in a while, I come across a misstep that I have to comment on. This error was in the form of a marketing snafu. However, this foul-up was an epic marketing mishap.

The book I am talking about was produced by a small publisher. It is a devotional written by two unknown names. There are no endorsements listed on the book’s cover. Imagine my surprise when I opened the book and discovered that it contained a Foreword by Lee Strobel. In case you are not familiar with that name, Lee Strobel is a prominent, best-selling Christian author of books like The Case for Christ and The Case for a Creator.
Did you catch that? The book had an endorsement by a well-known Christian author.

Nowhere, I repeat, nowhere on the book’s cover did it mention that the book was endorsed by a prominent author. The authors of the devotional I am discussing missed a huge—no, a gigantic marketing opportunity.

A book’s cover is its number one marketing tool. The cover of this book should have contained, in large letters, the wording “Foreword by Lee Strobel.” I can guarantee that wording alone would have caused people to buy the book.

Just to be certain that I did not have an older version of the book, I checked on Amazon to see if the cover of the copy I had matched the cover being sold. It did. While checking, I discovered that the publisher also failed to list in the book description that the Foreword was by Lee Strobel. Again, nowhere in the Amazon listing did it mention Lee Strobel or even quote him as telling people to read the book. Furthermore, I discovered that the book does not contain one single review on Amazon—which is another marketing snafu I won’t discuss today.

I urge you, don’t make this marketing mistake. If you take the trouble to get a well-known personality to endorse your book, use that person’s endorsement to sell your book. Otherwise, you will have just wasted your time.

With my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, I had Sally E. Stuart, the founder of The Christian Writer’s Market Guide, write a Foreword. On more than one occasion, I have had people drawn to purchase the book because her name was listed on the cover.

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1 thought on “A Marketing Snafu

  1. You are not selling a book. You are selling a reference only by selling people on the idea the book may be good and to take a chance, gamble less on spending your money, it might be good because some well known person says so who “may” have read the book. If the book is good it should stand on its own. It is the author’s sole marketing responsibility to prove the book’s merits and establish his own writing qualifications. Using a well-known person to give the book credence is a highly questionable tactic. The references received on my writings are unsolicited.


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