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Friday, September 23, 2005

First the Grassroots Get It...

A couple of nice reviews of Winning Results with Google AdWords, one by noted online marketing authority Ralph Wilson and one by the folks at Vertster.

I've watched with interest (OK, I've been secretly thrilled) as John Battelle's The Search has risen high in the Amazon rankings and has now broken onto the WSJ's business bestseller list. The last breakthrough for a search book that really amazed me was when Google Hacks made it onto the NYT paperback business bestseller list.

It wasn't so long ago that Battelle was professing to be excited that his book was ranked 50,000th "even though it wasn't out yet." #86 (where it's ranked as of this writing) is a sight better than 50,000th!!!

Winning Results hasn't yet been reviewed in any major media, nor have I appeared on The Daily Show like my archrival Alan Alda (with his new release Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, which appears to be selling like hotcakes). Yet recently it managed to get up to #66 on Amazon.com and #17 on Amazon.ca. This is pretty good for a trade book. Hmm, maybe my publisher shouldn't have assumed that it was "just a trade book", eh? :)

One advantage of working with a big publisher is that the book is distributed widely around the world. Maybe by next year a translation or two will be in the works? (Little known fact: my original AdWords Handbook was translated and sold in Japan.)

I'm going to consider Battelle to be like a big blocking fullback, knocking down the skepticism of the world at large, and leaving me, the shifty tailback, to trot to daylight just behind him. And please don't tell me I can't celebrate when I score the six points.

The book game is endlessly fascinating. Yep, there's a lot of talk about the Long Tail in books. But the extent to which it's a Winner Take All market is a bit surprising. If you look at Amazon's top (updated hourly) sellers, you'll see established books on the list where new ones should rightly be making most of the noise.

Unless you've got Oprah, Jon Stewart, or an outraged American public on your side (or a lot of direct-marketing chutzpah, ahem), you're going to have trouble breaking through. But it looks like once you do, it gets easier.

It's interesting that The Tipping Point is outselling Gladwell's more recent effort, Blink. Blink's good, but the Tipping Point is great. There's 99% of the reason right there.

And as sad as I am to be trailing Alan Alda in the current standings, it saddens me as much that a mere trade book like mine could outsell great literature like Alice Munro's short stories, if only over a short period of time. I justify it this way: the more people learn about how to make more money with less effort, the more time they'll have to read great literature. Long-term advantage: Munro.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

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