My Marketing Plan: Book Sales vs. “the Cause”

My Marketing Plan: Book Sales vs. “the Cause”

My memoir has been available for purchase now for three months so I am frequently asked “how’s the book going?” and for the most part the question really means “how are sales?” Those of you are authors or know anything about the book publishing process probably understand that this is a very difficult question to answer for a variety of reasons which I will explain. I can say, however, that I am very heartened by the five Amazon reviews I have received so far with four of them rating it 5-stars. You can read some of them on my Amazon book site. Additionally, my first book signing was at Barnes & Noble in Pittsford, NY on January 22nd (reference the image above) and that went very well on a busy Saturday afternoon.

My direct response to the sales question would be a “few hundred” so far including e-books but that is a pure guess. Why? Amazon and Ingram Spark, my print-on-demand company where Barnes & Noble, other bookstores, libraries, etc. submit orders, will only start to provide reports to my publisher starting in late March. So, I am left with interpreting some preliminary sources in addition to what I have sold myself.

Enough said about this part of marketing since there is a second dimension to my overall plan that is even more important; i.e., promoting and acting upon what I call the “cause” of racial justice which is the focus of the memoir in the first place. This “cause: can best be described in my aspirational mantra as follows:

As a Servant Leader, strengthen and broaden relationships within a prayerful, vulnerable, inclusive, loving, nonviolent, forgiving (“70×7”), yet relentless “Jesus” spirit of allyship and solidarity in my never-ending pursuit of racial justice for the “common good”!

As a relevant example of putting this ambitious statement into action, at the January book signing I talked to a couple of dozen people who either bought the book or who had already read it. Those discussions resulted in one subsequent conversation with the League of Women Voters book club and two forthcoming meetings with a statewide non-profit organization based in Rochester and a well-known, local Methodist Church. There is one other faith community pending scheduling in addition to several more in the works primarily with faith-based communities but also a May adult education program at the Pittsford, NY public library.

Both aspects of my marketing plan are integrated such that a book signing event (promoting sales) cannot help but amplify my primary focus of discussing the racial justice “cause” as noted in my mantra. I have developed a PowerPoint presentation to help facilitate and some of the group discussions will be in an interview and/or “Q & A” format similar to what can be found in the Media tab of this website.

Essentially if anyone buys the book as a result of these discussions, I consider that a bonus and an endorsement of my memoir’s key messaging which is to inform about my life long journey from oblivious American to an evolving racial justice activist … and how others can learn from my experiences and consider “taking up the cross” as well.

Lastly, I wanted to share another important development that I would not have predicted a month or so ago.  As can be noted in the book, a prominent thread through the decades of my life was my Catholic upbringing, education, and how that was all foundational and significantly influenced my adult life. However, and as outlined in the book, I have reached a point in my life where much within the Institutional Church is not providing much of substance for the laity to grow and learn from regarding even its own racial and social justice policy.

For example, its “pro-life” stance heavily leans and favors being anti-abortion vs. the many other “life” issues including most importantly (in my opinion) racial justice. I feel that “pro-life’ should be promulgated in the broadest possible context and not simply interpreted as an anti-abortion issue which it is by and large by Catholic laity. Otherwise, don’t label being against abotion as “pro-life” and call it what it is.

A few weeks ago, I was recently encouraged by my Parish’s Social Justice Committee to forward a copy of my book to the pastor in light of a recent possible book signing event(s) request that they had forwarded to him. So, I did that and added the extra step of forwarding one to the Bishop as well. This has led to some correspondence among us which has now reopened a discussion of some of the work I did at the parish over two years ago on the U.S. Bishops’ 2018 document “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.”

I shared some of this correspondence with my primary book reviewer as it was being developed and who continues to be a very important resource, mentor, and advisor. She feels that this new, refreshed dialogue with the Bishop provides a path to move forward on for a broadened discussion among other Parishes, faith communities, as well as the Diocese at large.

So, this week I communicated to several Catholic leaders at all levels about this developing conversation with the Bishop (and just this week with the Parish Pastor) and, within the spirit of my mantra, offered any assistance I could provide within their communities and spheres of influence. More to follow on this development since the “news is still breaking”!

In closing, three other items:

  • I have begun to dabble in both Twitter and Instagram to add to the overall marketing of the book and I ask anyone engaged on these platforms who might see messages from me for your patience with my “learning”!
  • Fr. Dan Horan, O.F.M., the well-known theologian, author, and National Catholic Reporter columnist, will be making a presentation at Nazareth College’s Otto Shults Community Center on March 6 at 7:00 PM. He will be speaking about his recent book ‘A White Catholic’s Guide to Racism and Privilege’. Having read the book, his message is compelling.
  • A good friend of ours, Rev. Marilyn Cunningham, a local Senior Pastor of a Black church in Rochester, made the following appeal for your consideration:

Hello my dear friends and colleagues.  As I prayerfully contemplate the reopening of Graves Memorial CME Church; I need your help! I am reaching out to friends/colleagues who might be able to provide assistance with volunteers. 

We are a small church and I have loss many members to death and sickness.  Yet, I believe God has called me to this neighborhood at this most opportune time/moment to ministry in our city.

We have been closed for two years; my hearts’ desire is to return to our church and continue being that “beaconing light” in our community/ neighborhood.

I need your help! If you are available. I need volunteers!

A list of priorities Graves Memorial CME will benefit from:

CDC updates-checking station, thermometers and tracing logs, signs of directions for congregants.

Recent Water damage to sanctuary/foyer inundated with water from burst pipe.

Rugs in the foyer, bathroom sitting area, guest/hospitality rooms need to be ripped up due to water damage.  Chairs might have to be removed.

Raccoons infiltrated -pulpit, kitchen and dining areas; floors need to be deep cleaned and sanitized. Drop ceiling tiles need to be replaced because of water damage.

I am asking volunteers planning or can help; join us on the following days: 03/05, 03/12, 03/19, and 03/26/22. Please bring any or all tools available that will be useful to assist in the work to be done.

Please Note: Any supplies or materials that can be contributed/donated will be greatly appreciated/tremendously valued.

Materials needed: Dry wall. Wood, Dry wall screws, Drop Ceiling tiles-large rectangle shape (24 x 48?)

To adhere to workable/flexible opportunities; I’ve included the following dates for maximum help and hopefully this project can be placed on your schedule.

As stated above, the following start dates to commence, Saturdays: 03/05, 03/12, 03/19, and 03/26/22.

Two 4-hour work period/shifts: 9am – 12pm or 12pm – 4pm.

I have a projected date of Easter Sunday 2022 for our “Grand Reopening.”

God has blessed me with my good friend/colleague, Lentory Johnson, she has agreed to help facilitate and manage planning for best results.

Respectfully submitted Graciously,

Rev Marilyn Cunningham,

Senior Pastor


Please do whatever you can!

Signing off for now and in Peace … Bill Wynne

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Comments ( 4 )

  • Bob Volpe

    Great progress report sharing wonderful incremental news on several front we can build on this in our call this week regarding your feelings about what are the most significant steps for you personally and where you have hope for future developments that might guide your time and commitment priories.

    Keep talking and walking!


  • Marie Peterson

    This is after the fact of work dates for the church. I’m wondering if more is needed, and what I can do to volunteer.

    Marie Peterson

  • W.E.Wynne

    Bob … sorry I missed your response going back to February! …. many thanks for contributing your thoughts!


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