A wise man once told me that every promotion needs to start with this question: “Do you want to get attention or make sales?” He was talking about book launches.

I’ve seen this be true for authors without a business, small business owners, and know it’s discussed by big brands when allocating marketing funds.

I’d like to share one example where we proved how fast you can create attention and make sales.

The Six Week Holiday Book Launch

10 years ago, I created a promotion for a training company with annual sales under $1 million. They were ready to grow by adding new leads to a process that was set up to handle the growth.

The company had a good reputation in the industry and was ready to expand. We created a book from material that had been taught by the founder of the company in seminars. We found a publisher who got the book printed and shipped to online bookstores just before Christmas.

The promotion was scheduled for the last day of the year, which was a Saturday. Our hope was to get publicity with an offer that all proceeds would go to charity from sales of the book and overcome the bad timing of the New Years weekend.

The books arrived at Amazon but were not checked in. The Amazon listing showed the book as “not yet in stock”

Since we had lined up hundreds of partners ready to endorse the book through email, I moved the destination link to the Barnes & Noble website where some books were already in stock. We told some of the partners. Word got out that we were selling early and we were the #1 best-seller of all books (not just a category) within a few hours.

Beyond the Bestseller 

We didn’t want to lose momentum so we called for a rush shipment of books. I created an independent bookstore listing on Amazon, expecting we would have the books in stock in time to ship them.

On Saturday, the 10 million emails went out. People came to the promotion site and saw 427 downloadable gifts they could choose from when they ordered one book. 

In the middle of all this, we started getting calls from other companies wanting to get in on the promotion. We let them 🙂 These new partners sent out more email endorsements, reached more clients, sold more books, increased the donation for the charity. 

Amazon sales rank was #1 among all nonfiction books and #2 overall (behind a novel recommended by Oprah that week) with a listing that still showed the book was out of stock.

Attention AND Sales

By the end of the first week of January, the company had hired extra people to handle the phone calls coming in and all the leads created by the promotion. Thousands of people registered to get our newsletters and our promotion partners started asking when we could do a book for them. A couple of them reported leads worth thousands and two of them got together and created a new business.

First-month book sales were over 6000 copies. The proceeds were given away and thus the book could be considered a money loser. I have a hard time calling it that because sales went up 300% in the month of January… Then doubled again in February. Overall, the company more than tripled sales revenue for the year and went on to become an eight-figure company a few years later.

The average business book sells less than 100 copies EVER. So please don’t think that writing a book is a surefire way to get rich. It is, however, the best thing that can happen to your career and business.


  1. When you have a good idea, decide to get it to market as soon as possible. And then do it.
  2. Networking and brainstorming with partners pays off. In the two years prior to this “overnight success” we had attended conferences, shared ideas, endorsed others’ products We knew the industry and they knew us.
  3. Everything we did here was before social media. Most of the contacts were made by hardwired phone calls and considerable travel. 
  4. When your idea looks doomed, it’s time to get creative. There were many points beyond what I’ve mentioned here where we were told this absolutely could it be done. We didn’t let that stop us.
  5. Be ready for a hit. You don’t know exactly when it will come.

Some businesses come to me with a finished product, no connections or installed base. You can start from wherever you are, but understand that building these relationships takes time. As you progress, your promotions will get better results.

This promotion was one of a kind. Most of the best ones are.  I hope you found inspiration and ideas to consider and seek out unique approaches from ideas that I’ve shared.

What’s your outrageous promotion idea?

We set up this promotion in a matter of weeks. Since then, I’ve told startups, growing businesses, authors and major corporations one thing that works better… If you want to maximize results, start lining up resources and developing a market NOW.

It starts by building a team. I can help. You can book time with me here.