I attended a seminar once a long time ago in a life far removed from here, and the speaker said something that I thought was profound. He said, Algebra is life.
Now, before all you non-math people groan and click away, let me explain.
In Algebra, we balance equations and solve for the unknown, which is pretty much what we do in life. Figure out what we know, what we don’t know, and try to chart a successful course between the two so that our life balances out.
I thought it would be
marketing + promotion = sales (m+p=S)
Except, as any marketing department can tell you, it’s not that simple. Oftentimes
marketing + promotion ≠ sales. (m+p≠S)
You need a really great book too. So maybe this is more accurate:
(great book) (marketing +promotion) = sales (gb)(m+p)=S
If you’re lucky, your publisher will be so wildly behind your book that they will do a significant amount of marketing and promotion for it.
(great book)(marketing + promotion)3 = SALES!! (gb)(m+p)3=S
Or perhaps your book will generate a lot of buzz on its own through word of mouth. In that case, the marketing and promotional efforts have only to build on that, rather that cut a path to your book in the first place. However, the truth is, in today’s market, you probably need a little bit of everything to be successful so my guess is the correct equation is this:
(marketing + promotion) (great book)buzz= Sales (m+p)(gb)buzz=S
Bottom line: Look at the equation. Isolate the variables. Select what you can control and work on that.
Moral of the story? Publishing makes math look like a cake-walk.