Book Of Days
Jim Rubart

James L. Rubart is the best-selling, and award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing, helping authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, water skis and take photos. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at Or e-mail him at:

Quantum Marketing

Brilliant Marketing at ICRS 2012

As you know, one my marketing mantras is that we must shock Broca’s area of the brain to stand out and burn ourselves into editors’, agents’, and readers’ minds. We must be different. We must be unique in everything we do. Because if we can’t get past Broca’s area, we won’t get our ideas and branding to the prefrontal cortex, the seat of emotion, planning, and judgment—the area where people choose to take action. We will be ignored. (Click here to get the triple-scoop info on Broca.)

At ICRS (the International Christian Retailer’s Show) Broca’s area of my brain was by-passed at warp speed. By what you ask? A product that created instant word of mouth. What did the manufacturer do to create this word of mouth? What was at the heart of its marketing brilliance?

The most powerful marketing in the world cannot help promote a product no one will talk about. This company started with the product itself, making it something that will stick in people’s brains (and possibly stomachs—but more on that in a moment) for a long, long time.

When a friend told me about it, I wasted no time in passing on news of the revolutionary product to the next person I met. We couldn’t believe it. We had to see it with our own eyes. This is, of course, the goal of all marketing. Get buzz going. Get that video to go viral. Get everyone telling everyone else about your product.

The product that captured my attention and stood out among all the other offerings at ICRS? Those of you who attended the show have already guessed: the Chessus!

The Chessus is a grill that toasts a picture of Jesus into your bread. No, I’m not kidding, and it’s too late to buy the Chessus, toast Jesus’s face into your favorite multigrain slice of bread, sell it for gazillions on eBay, and enter it into the “Jesus appearing in a spread of guacamole” hall of fame.

The marketing lesson is, of course, that it’s possible to shock Broca in a way that might create a great deal of buzz, but not buzz you necessarily want.

On the other hand, I might be wrong about the Chessus. Some people might think it’s a great gift. And what have I done with this column? I’ve advertised the Chessus at no cost to the manufacturer, and I’m guessing a few of you will now tell your friends about it. Some of them might actually purchase the Chessus in hopes of making a smashing impression at a White Elephant gift exchange this Christmas.

(If you’re the creator of the Chessus, I’m sorry, I mean you no personal harm. But while I have had my head bitten off by various bosses over the years, and a few times I’ve lost my temper and bitten off the heads of others, somehow I can’t picture myself biting off Jesus’s head.)

Next month: Signing books at ICRS and how to do it correctly, there and anywhere else.


The Chair