Print Friendly, PDF & Email


We’re $4 away from hitting our next Patreon goal. With this level we will start providing full transcripts for each episode. We just need one person to back at the $5 level to push us over the edge.

Just as a reminder, $5 Patrons receive:

  • Warm feelings, knowing you’re keeping Thomas and James on the air
  • Access to the Patron Only Community Discussion
  • Monthly Resource Archive
  • 20% discount on back cover copy writing.
  • 25% discount on the MyBookTable Pro, MySpeakingEvents Pro, and MyBookProgress Pro, WordPress Plugins
  • 50% discount on The Five Year Plan to Becoming a Bestselling Author
  • 50% discount on The Tax & Business Guide for Authors
  • Exclusive Monthly Q&A Episode. We answer every question.
  • Special Monthly Episode Bundle where we package several popular episodes on a specific topic and give you private access.
  • Ebook of your choice of one of James’ novels, Rooms, Book of Days, or The Chair

Intro: This idea comes out of the brilliant mind of one of my mentors, Roy Williams, back in 2001. He asked a group of us what we thought the best marketing book ever written was. There were myriad answers, but none of us picked the one Roy had in mind. So we’ll give you a second to think of the one you’d put on the list, before we reveal Roy’s pick.

Ready? Drum roll, Thomas. Green Eggs and Ham. Yes, Dr. Suess.

Immortal Sam I Am is one of the greatest marketing men ever. There’s two reasons why:

  1. He markets his product to his potential buyer sixteen times before he gets a yes.

Sixteen! The average salesperson asks twice. (And if you are selling a product—your book(s)—you are a salesperson whether you want to be one or not.)

Sam knew the average sale is made when the customer is asked five times. To make this applicable to us authors, the average reader needs to hear about your book three to seven times before she or he will decide to buy it.

  •  They see a post on Facebook
  •  You list your novel on a book club site
  •  Their friends mention they’ve read it
  •  You write an article and mention your novel in your byline
  •  Someone sees a four- or five-star review on Amazon
  •  You tweet about it
  •  There’s a review on Goodreads
  •  They hear you on the radio
  •  You’re on someone’s blog talking about your novel

Then—after three to seven exposures—they buy your book.

  1. Sam knew that simply promoting the same way again and again wasn’t enough.

That’s not marketing, that’s being a pain in the backside.

The Key

  • Sam came up with sixteen options, ideas, new ways of thinking about green eggs and ham.
  • “Would you like them in a box? With a fox? In a house? With a mouse? In a train? In the rain? Here or there?”
  • Cheesy sales trainers love to spout, “Ya gotta remember ABC! Always Be Closing!” But what does that mean? Hammer on people till they give in? Let us hope not.
  • Some people on Facebook and Twitter and other Social Media think this is the way to promote their novels. They give the same message over and over, believing that will sell books. It doesn’t. It turns people off.
  • If you’re going to market your books, get creative in the way you present them to potential buyers (and the way you promote yourself, because you are the brand).
  • And promote with passion. It’s obvious Sam believes in his product. Do you believe passionately in your novels? Attitudes are contagious—are yours worth catching?

You want to sell more books? Be like Sam.

Did you know a Random House editor bet Ted Geisel $50 he couldn’t write a book using only fifty words? Green Eggs and Ham was the result.

We have a new segment called MailBag, but first we have a

Featured Patron

The Land Without Color (Affiliate Link) by Benjamin Ellefson

A captivating middle-grade story where the Kingdom of Color has gone gray, and Alvin is the only one who can restore it to its former glory. It’s a dangerous adventure. Scary. Impossible! But for Alvin, there’s no turning back.

Mail Bag

Great episode as always, guys! I followed your advice, wrote a short story a few weeks back and put it on Bookfunnel. I gained about 40 subscribers wherein I used to get one or two a month. But, as you suggested, I made a great cover and wrote an enticing blog. BUT, I also added it to MyBookTable! So it is there, on a popup, and I put it on social media. Thanks for all of the great novel marketing advice. I’m telling everyone about you and I know of several who have signed up as a result.

Liked it? Take a second to support Thomas Umstattd Jr. on Patreon!

Want more help?

Get a weekly email with tips on building a platform, selling more books, and changing the world with writing worth talking about. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!