I don’t know if Christina Peaden thought of herself as a “writer” one month ago, but she certainly took advantage of a huge opportunity to make a name for herself with her first published project: Triumph over Calamity.
According to an article over at the Houston Chronicle website (Galveston woman already published book about Triumph), Christina Peaden kept a journal about her family’s recent vacation on the Carnival Triumph, which as you probably know ended in spectacular failure.
When Christina finally got home, she decided to self-publish her journal as an eBook on Amazon to give one person’s account of what happened. The Houston Chronicle claims “at least 850 people have already purchased it,” although they don’t state where that number comes from. I would assume from the author since Amazon.com doesn’t really release sales information.
So, assuming Christina picked the 70% royalty rate (and why wouldn’t she have?) and assuming those sales numbers are true, she’s made $1,768 in sales in the first seven days. Not bad for a 80 page journal she had been writing anyway.
I have no idea how well the book is written and edited. I’m also not sure why she used the clunky and hard-to-remember pen name C.A. Peaden. She’s giving her real name to the media and it’s a perfectly good name for an author. Maybe she feels her publishing name needs to be gender neutral, but that’s more of a “genre problem” so that doesn’t really explain it.
Christina’s marketing angle for her book is that faith in God will help you triumph over any circumstances. Whether or not you believe what she believes, I’m sure you can recognize there is a HUGE market for books promoting that view. There are also ample opportunities for speaking tours, etc. What I’m saying is, she has a chance here to launch a serious career if she makes the right moves.
I have no idea who Christina Peaden is. I don’t know if she’s charismatic or if she speaks well on camera, but I do know she saw she could be the “first to market” with a first-hand account of what happened during a major news event that recently consumed the American public’s attention. If she has the right internal make-up and she plays her cards right, she should be able to use this as the launch to something bigger.
By “internal make-up,” I mean, does she have a natural instinct for self-promotion and marketing and a natural drive to build on this opportunity, or did she essentially just get lucky by thinking, “Hey, I should publish my journal for other people to read!”
Author Joe Konrath, for example, has a natural drive to self-promote that is part of every decision he makes for his career. Most authors don’t know how to market their work the way Joe does on a very instinctual level. He’s always thinking of new ways to promote himself. Selling his work just comes naturally to him.
The difference between Christina Peaden being a one day story and Christina Peaden being a well-known inspirational writer for years to come might hinge on her ability to “make something” of this first publication while there’s still time. Strike while the iron is hot.
Ultimately, what Christina probably needs right now is a high level publicist who can prep her properly and make some media events happen fast while there’s still interest in this story. (And for all I know, maybe she already has a publicity team hard at work on her behalf.)
So what do you think? Will the publishing world be talking about Christina Peaden a year from now? Or will she fail to capitalize on this huge opportunity?
(P.S. If you have the time, go and read all of the customer reviews of her eBook on Amazon. It seems her view of the cruise isn’t universal and some of the other passengers are writing their own rebuttals via their reviews/comments, which are just as interesting to read in many cases. For extra credit, check out how many of the reviews are written by people who have never reviewed anything else on Amazon. It’s almost as if there’s a PR battle being waged in the review section for this book.)