July 16, 2017
An intriguing opportunity came my way a few months back, one that I consider intriguing in two aspects. I was interviewed for an article in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin (the monthly house-organ for Oregon’s attorneys) about lawyers who are also writers.
This interview was an enjoyable opportunity to discuss writing. As usual with this sort of thing, an hour conversation was whittled down to a few paragraphs. But the conversation was still worthwhile.
Now, I said I considered intriguing in two ways. One, the chance to promote my work is always interesting. People won’t buy a book if they never hear of it, right? So, while I’m not overly comfortable with publicity, I recognize its necessity. Second, and perhaps more interesting, is the narrow market the article addresses. Lawyers. And lawyers in only one State, and a relatively unpopulous one at that. This intrigues me because it explores whether a tightly focused outreach to what is not necessarily a target demographic can have any practical impact on sales.
The day the issue of the OSBB dropped, I checked the Amazon ranking of the novel of mine that received coverage. Then I checked again every day after for the next week or so. Other than a single spike in sales one day, I noticed no unusual activity. And, as a matter of fact, the spike was not really anomalous. I can neither tie it to the article nor prove it unrelated.
So, given the scarcity of altered sales activity, at this point I’d conclude that outreach to an audience with no specific affinity to science fiction or fantasy is unlikely to impact sales of a science-fiction or fantasy novel. Hardly a groundbreaking revelation, but interesting as a practical, real world result.