Jim Rubart

Since 1994, Jim Rubart has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Barefoot Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. His debut novel ROOMS released in April and hit the bestseller list in September. His next novel, BOOK OF DAYS just released this month. He's also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world's most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn't sleep much. You can reach him at jlrudini[at]comcast.net, or visit his website at http://www.jimrubart.com/.

Who Are You?

“Who are you, again?”

I sighed inside and shifted my weight as I stood at the info counter at the Redmond Borders bookstore.

“James L. Rubart. I’m here to sign stock. My publicist set up an appointment with you for one p.m. And I’m doing a book signing here in January as well.”

“She did? What’s your name again?”

“James L. Rubart.”

“Hmmm, not sure about that signing stock thing. Let me look up your book. What’s it called?”

Rooms and Book of Days.”

The lady at the counter typed Rooms into her computer and a few seconds later turned with a smile.

“Oh, I know who you are now. I didn’t recognize your name, but we know your book. It’s selling really well.”


“But, we don’t have any stock for you to sign. Your book is sold out.”


She glanced back at her computer. “But don’t worry; we’ve ordered more.”


She told me she’d set up a display with Rooms and The Shack (a lot of people see similarities in the two books), which is one of the reasons Rooms was sold out.

For the next five minutes we chatted about my books. The manager asked for reader copies of both Rooms and Book of Days so her staff could read them and then recommend them to customers. She was kind, accommodating, and took a genuine interest in me and my novels.

You’re ahead of me, I know. So let’s talk about the marketing lessons we can learn from my visit:

1. Personal touch. There’s nothing like looking a store manager in the eye. Once they get to know you (and hopefully like you), the rules change. They’ll do more for you and be happy to do it.

2. You’re just another author. Unless your initials start with J.K. or the like, they won’t be ready to kiss your pinky ring. I could have been put out that they didn’t have stock, which made me take a trip for nothing, and simply left without

engaging the manager in conversation. That’s the point. It didn’t turn out to be nothing. It started a relationship I bet will translate into more book sales and a better than normal book signing in January.

3. Come loaded for bear, even if you don’t think you’ll get the chance to shoot. I was only there to sign stock, so I could have walked into the store with nothing but a Sharpie. Instead, I brought three posters, bookmarks, and postcards (thanks, B&H). The manager was thankful and said she’d start using the pieces right away.

4. You’re not omnipresent. I realize you can’t do this in every bookstore across the country, so do it in the ones you can. Whenever I’m driving around the Puget Sound area, I’m figuring a way to drop in on a store and say a quick hello. And I’m ready whenever I travel. In November I was in Grand Rapids recording the audio version of Book of Days. Before I flew home, I stopped at Family Christian Store and a Barnes & Noble. Keep bookmarks and collateral in the back of your car and in your carry-on when you’re out of town. Once you start looking for chances to spread the word about your book(s), more opportunities will pop into your brain like, well, popcorn.

As always, if you have a marketing question you’d like me tackle in this column, shoot it my way. And I promise I’ll remember your name.

Editors note: Jim’s second novel, Book of Days, just released from B&H Fiction. RT Book Reviews gave it 4 ½ stars and Publishers Weekly says, “Rubart has created a page turner.”


Book Of Days