Sunday, March 15, 2009

Was it a pre-pub sales promotion?

Was It Just an Advertising Device
By Wade and Smyth & Helwys?

There are certainly different and crafty ways to advertise books for sale, especially those that are not yet released and thus not available to be examined by a potential customer before deciding to make a purchase. This is known in the book publishing industry as "pre-publication advertising."

One pre-publication device is to generate controversy about a book beforehand, hoping to seduce potential purchasers to order the book in advance. It seems now that this was perhaps the device used by Wade Burleson and his publisher, Smith & Helwys, for promoting advance sales for his "Hardball Religion" book. Even this article on this blog which mentions the book was written due to this device, as I would not be writing it but for the past few days of attention to Wade and his book.

I am suggesting this as being what Wade and S&H had in mind all along in view of the fact it has lately been brought to light that S&H has already been engaged in sending digital copies to certain parties. This has the marks of a pre-publication promotional sales effort. In fact, S&H even offered to send me, Bob Ross, a digital copy and invited me to review it on my blog.

Vice-President P. K. Gammons of Smyth & Helwys wrote, "I would be delighted to send you a digital copy for your review. We welcome you to review the book on your blog and let us know what you think." (Email of March 11, 2009).

It has recently been revealed that S&H has already sent digital copies to some others, inviting their reviews. Wade himself is apparently now feigning ignorance about the matter, particularly complaining somewhat that these digital copies were sent "free"! He does not seem to be a bit unhappy that the copies were sent, however; his only gripe seems to be that there won't be any money made off of these copies.

It all seems to indicate that this was probably a pre-publication device for the purpose of getting some attention for the book to the point of generating pre-publication orders.

So why has S&H not sent me a copy? I turned down their initial offer, but later I twice sent an email to P. K. Gammons accepting the invitation for S&H to send me a copy. They have not responded; they have not sent the digital copy which they offered me in their first contact. Why not? They have sent copies to others . . . why not Ross?

I may be overestimating the significance of my recent posts, but nevertheless the thought has somehow crossed my mind that S&H now may realize that they have a potential "dud" on their hands. In fact, a "little bird" has whispered in my ear that S&H is taking the position that "the less Bob Ross has access to the book, the better for pre-publicaton sales"!

In other words, S&H fears that a negative review by Bob Ross would possibly inflict damage upon the advance sales of Wade's book. Such a review would possibly influence some potential customers to take a "wait and see" approach, meaning they would wait to examine the book after it is released rather than making an advance purchase.

If that is not the reason why S&H has thus far evidently reneged on their offer to me, what is the reason for their not fulfilling their own offer to me and not responding to my acceptance of their offer?


  1. Ian, my colleague, wrote me:

    I am including a link to Tim Guthrie's review of Wade's book. HERE

    I was unaware of it until reading a discussion in the comments section of Wade's blog where Tim informed him he is not surprised Peter was called because S&H had contacted him (Tim), weeks ago, asking him to do a review. . . .

    I see Tim has caught Wade's error on Landmarkism.

    Bob's comment: It seems obvious that S&H has been sending these copies for review, hoping it might help generate advance sales. Yet they have thus far withheld sending me a copy! Why?

  2. Bob:

    If Landmarkism is one of the allegations against the IMB, and if you are the only authority whom the author used in the book, and if Smyth & Helwys are aware of the exchanges on the Reformed Flyswatter over the last few days in which you called into questions Mr. Burleson’s understanding of Landmarkism, then the book’s credibility flies out the window. It is likely not good “pre-publication advertising” that the expert whom the book’s author quotes approvingly states publicly that the author does not understand Landmarkism. After all, if the author is mistaken on Landmarkism, then where else is he mistaken? I think this might discourage sales.

    Drawing upon you as an expert on Landmark, it seems, has had the adverse effect than that purposed by Mr. Burleson.

  3. Bob,
    This whole thing still is shocking to me. The email sent to you is exactly worded the way mine was. And for Wade to not know? I cannot answer that one.

    It may be marketing. That is one of the things that made me reluctant to write the review.

    Keep up the good work!

    Tim G

  4. Boy, When you guys set out to destroy someone, it is amazing how low all of you will go. NO matter, if it is that obvious to me, it will be obvious to others, and I guarantee you or your money back that it isn't Wade that is looking bad.

    My only problem is that I did not realize the extent of the deceitful in the SBC. Now that I know, I almost wish I didn't.

  5. Dear Debbie:

    I am posting this one in which you make allegations, but offer no evidence to support them. You have a right to your opinion, but --

    Next time, if you don't offer evidence of your accusations, I may not be in the mood to let you utter them here. I think you can put this kind of comment over on Wade's blog where he doesn't seem to mind having allegations without evidence.

    Remember, too, Debbie that it was your Pastor who used my book without conferring with me beforehand as to whether or not it would be appropriate to use it to imply some type of support for his view on Landmarkism.

    I don't mind anyone's using my writings, but if they misappropriate them, that is not acceptable.

  6. One other thought, Debbie --

    It was called to my attention that you evidently regard me as "SBC."

    Will you please pass that along to your pastor who has alleged that I am a "non-Southern Baptist"? That would be your "good deed" for the day.

  7. Debbie:

    I trust you will also convey disappointment to Mr. Burleson for going after persons and tarring them as Landmarkist when Bob Ross, the expert on Landmarkism upon whom he drew to substantiate his claims, has demonstrated on this blog that the Landmark claims are false. Surely applying an objectionable term like Landmark to someone is not very nice when the person is not Landmark. One might even say this could destroy a person thus accused since many hearing it may be uninformed about the Landmark teaching and assume the charge to be true.

    By the way, Debbie, I replied to your comment on Peter Lumpins’ blog in which you said Charles Spurgeon preached at Moody’s church, in case you missed it. I hope the information in comment helps.

  8. Debbie,

    I liked your previous post over at your place where you said you were a more gentle individual.

    Wade is wrong here. There is no deceit! I have been contacted by another Pastor seeking to misuse my words that someone else quoted and he is trying to contribute the edited form to me in a book.

    That is what is wrong! I know you admire and love your Pastor - I applaud you for that! I really do. But he is wrong here - BIG TIME!

  9. I don't know much if anything about Debbie, but I wonder if she is representative of the type of females Wade seems to favor for leadership roles?