Dr. Rost provides services as a pharmaceutical marketing expert witness. For more info see: Drug Expert Witness. Dr. Peter Rost email. Copyright © 2006-2013 InSync Communication. All rights reserved. Terms of use agreement, privacy policy and the computer fraud and abuse act.


Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as a medical device and drug expert witness and pharmaceutical marketing expert. Judge Sanders: "The court agrees with defendants' view that Dr. Rost is a very adept and seasoned expert witness." He is also the author of Emergency Surgery, The Whistleblower and Killer Drug. You can reach him on rostpeter (insert symbol) Please read the terms of use agreement and privacy policy for this blog carefully.

How to Sell a Book.

I've been getting lots of very kind suggestions about how to market "The Whistleblower."

But actually, the key to be successful with a book is word of mouth. That means you guys. Without you this book would go nowhere. And thanks to many of you this book is off to a great start, in fact we have sold more books during the first four weeks, than the blockbuster "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," sold.

Here is what my publisher recently told me:

People buy books because of word of mouth. It's the nature of the product. It was the old conventional wisdom and the new conventional wisdom--the internet simply eases the process of one friend or trusted interlocutor "speaking" to another.

So book promotion basically entails triggering as many word-of-mouth actions as possible, in order to achieve a critical mass. All books that sell well over the long run do so because the word-of-mouth engine is humming.

Overall, my publisher has cut back on the number of e-mail blasts, because folks weren't acting on them. Reading them sure, but not acting on them in terms of reviewing a book, interviewing an author, running a feature...

Contrariwise, publicity like NY Post, MM&M, CNN/Glenn Beck, Lenny Lopate, Bloomberg, Fortune, local radio and such, is so key because they've got a loyal audience--Beck and Lopate are like trusted friends to their fans--the folks Rush Limbaugh used to call his ditto heads. Oprah's genius is not her ratings which are lower than a lot of primetime and breakfast stuff, but rather the kind of bond she has with her audience, one that is intimate and shared, and a word from her about a book traverses that intimate bond...the less intimate a bond, the less effective the statement "this book will speak to you personally"

Consequently, my publisher's focus has been on generating that kind of publicity, and we've been plugging away with that stuff all along, actually. But the process is like really bad baseball, one hit in every 15-20 at-bats. But it's not something one can give up on, it's something that we have to keep pushing, sending books to radio producers, magazine editors, websites, every day another dozen copies of the book go out to new folks, and that's the process that has borne greatest fruit over the long run: "The Whistleblower" is a David and Goliath story and is timeless, so we expect to keep doing this for a long time to come.

One particularly noteworthy thing is that we've not yet been covered by the progressive press, and they will be key to the book over the long run: Many of the blogs, CNN, Bloomberg, Fortune, BrandWeek are all in the news/opinion/business sphere. The good part is that this means there's a whole universe of stuff waiting for us there. Now that said, we've got many, many copies of the book out in the progressive world, but they're slow. The magazines are quarterly or bi-monthly, the websites are way understaffed.

As for libraries, as some of you have be reviewed in BOOKLIST, they need to get the book 4 months before publication. We couldn't do that for various reasons, but this is not the type of book they review anyway. They review, on average about one quarter of my publisher's books, mostly fiction. Also, it takes a starred review to get orders above 500 units from libraries.

This is a long way of saying that the difference for this book will be made by YOU. In the end it is what YOU say to your friends and YOUR action that makes a something happen . . .

And if you can't afford the book, but want to read it, ask your library and they just may buy it...remember $10 is about as cheaply as you can get any book today.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Rost,

To light the word-of-mouth flame, engage the local 'hand-selling brigade' amongst the book-selling community with a free, hand-signed copy of your book, a handshake, eye-contact and your smile. When this important group of book-sellers are introduced to your BOOK and your MISSION they will, in turn, read it themselves, and recommend it to their regular customers. Such a targeted effort towards independent book-sellers will, over time, result in ever-increasing 'word-of-mouth' sales and will, over time, trigger demand for additional printings. This, in a complex way, leads to increasing ranks on regional and national best-seller lists. Read Olivia Goldsmith's 'The Bestseller.' It's hilarious and right on-target.

You're great.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above has a point - I've already got a copy but I'd pay again for a signed copy!!

Any chance you'll sign the one I've got if you are ever in England?

Blogger Peter Rost said...

Of course I'll sign if I'm in the UK!

I'm thinking how to handle this . . . I guess if you send the book to me and included addressed and stamped return envelope . . . but I'm not necessarily comfortable putting my address out on the net.

Any good suggestions?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but I'm not necessarily comfortable putting my address out on the net.

Any good suggestions?"

Unless you've made a change of residence since Dec. of last year, you might be feeling uncomfortable. There are links in your very first blog installment that lead right to that information.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. you are still talking AT us.

We don't owe it to you to buy your book anymore than we owe it to a billboard to buy their product.

For a marketer, your marketing to me is kinda sucky ('no, really, all you people I insulted last time via my 'snarky mask', they tell me that you seriously will need to buy my book and tell your friends, so, please do that now.)

Blogger Peter Rost said...

Dear Anon, feel free to move on to a post you enjoy more.



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