Getting Your Books to the "Tipping Point"

September 2003
by Stephen Blake Mettee

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I was at the William Saroyan Writer’s Conference recently when another presenterJack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fametold me that I needed to read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. People are always telling me to read this book or that book, but I figured Jack probably knew a thing or two that I didn’t. So I ordered the book and read it on the plane coming and going to sales rep meetings in New York City. I think it was probably good use of what might have been wasted time.

In The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Gladwell shows that three factors, or “rules” as he calls them, combine to raise an idea, a trend, or a social behavior to a threshold that, when crossed, causes that specific idea, trend, or behavior to spread like wildfire.

Gladwell calls these three rules “The Law of the Few,” “The Stickiness Factor,” and “The Power of Context.” His rules may be applied to our industry when we are trying to understand why one book and not another equally good seems to reach the public’s collective consciousness and becomes a best-seller.


The Sticky Stuff & the Current Context

Because it seems basic and is perhaps the most important of the three, let’s skip to Gladwell’s second rule, The Stickiness Factor. This rule suggests that something people hear or learn about a book…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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