Marketing Lessons from My Father - Writer's Digest

Marketing Lessons from My Father

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By Rob Eagar

Marketing and sales are in my blood. That's because I come from a distinguished line of salesmen. My grandfather was in sales. My father was in sales. In college, I tried to buck the trend by majoring in landscape architecture. But, my inability to recall the Latin names of deciduous trees stymied that plan and put me back on the family path.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending Father's Day with my dad who's now retired. However, he still uses his sales and marketing skills as a volunteer to raise money for a major non-profit organization. He's just as successful today as he was in his working days. One reason for his success is based on a story he told me. 

When I was little, my father was hired for a new sales job and went to the company's corporate office for two weeks of initial training. During the training period, he inadvertently received a memo written by one of the managers who stated that my dad was unqualified for the job and would never help the company. In that situation, my father faced two decisions. He could let this rejection ruin his motivation and assume he'd lose his job. Or, he could use the negative memo as fuel for motivation. He chose to let it propel his desire to show the skills he offered. Against the manager's prediction, my father went on to secure his job, receive several promotions, and enjoy a successful 20-year career with the company.

There's a lesson here for you and me as authors. Rejection comes with the territory. For example, you might have received a lot of rejection letters from publishers. Maybe your books got some negative reviews. Maybe your book sales haven’t met your personal or publisher expectations.

One of the unseen traits of a successful author is the ability to use rejection as motivation to reach your goal, rather than deter you. This is why I consistently harp on the idea that effective marketing must rest on the belief that your book can truly help other people. When you believe that you've got tangible value to offer the world, then rejection just becomes a temporary speed bump on the road to success.

Some people will snub your book, ignore your requests for promotional help, and recommend other authors instead of you. Rejection is inevitable. The question isn't whether it will happen or not. The question is how will you respond? I'm thankful for a father who persevered through rejection. If father knows best, we could all learn this valuable lesson from my dad.


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Rob Eagar’s new book from Writer’s Digest, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, is now available in print and e-book formats. This is the bible of book marketing for authors and publishers. Get 288 pages packed with advanced information, real-life examples, and tips to start selling more books immediately. There are specific chapters on social media, word-of-mouth tools, Amazon, and a chapter dedicated to best practices for marketing fiction. In addition, get over 30 pages of free bonus updates online. Get your copy today at: or

About the author:

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Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and is author of the new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at:


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