Authors often hire outside marketing firms to help them sell their books, but one marketing firm, ResultSource, reportedly buys up an author's book to get him or her on national best-seller lists.
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Several authors told the Wall Street Journal in 2013 that they paid ResultSource thousands of dollars to purchase their books in a specific way that would get them onto the best-seller lists.
However, secular authors are not the only ones using ResultSource, which is frowned upon by best-seller lists, book sellers, publishers and Amazon.com.
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According to psychologist and blogger Warren Throckmorton, Christian authors David Jeremiah, Les and Leslie Parrott, Pastor Perry Noble and former Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll have all hired ResultSource to get them on best-seller lists.
Throckmorton also revealed the contract between ResultSource and Mars Hill Church (on behalf of Driscoll's best-selling book "Real Marriage").
"Essentially the author pays ResultSource to purchase a large quantity of books which ResultSource will send to addresses supplied by the author," Throckmorton writes. "If the author doesn’t provide enough addresses in the right geographic areas, then ResultSource will supply them. ResultSource deliberately uses methods which overcome obstacles 'to the reporting system' (i.e., deceives the bestseller list)."
Throckmorton also contacted three Christian publishing companies about ResultSource.
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Tyndale House said they would have to get back to him later, and HarperCollins Christian offered no response. But Justin Taylor of Crossway publishing told Throckmorton, "If an author, agent, or publisher intentionally tries to subvert or distort the intended purpose of the bestseller lists, we believe this would constitute an ethical violation, in terms of standard ethical norms, but even more so in terms of Christian ethics."
When asked by WorldMag.com about a company that buys books up for authors to get them on best-seller lists, Christian author David Jeremiah responded: "The bottom line is you’re selling these books, and they’re just not getting noticed. If you want the books to be noticed so that you can reach more people with them, you’ve got to figure out how to do that."
"I don’t know all of the ramifications of it, but I know that you can’t just write a book and say I’m not going to have anything to do with marketing," added Jeremiah. "If you don’t care enough about it to try and figure out how to get it in the hands of other people, nobody else is going to either."
Sources: Warren Throckmorton, ResultSource.com, Wall Street Journal, WorldMag.com