Measuring success. The Callaghan Quotient

Let’s imagine a couple of scenarios:

1 – you spend twenty three hours a day for a week promoting your novel on Goodreads and after seven days you have sold one book.

2 – you spend five minutes a day for one day promoting your novel on WordPress and at the end of the day you have sold ten books.

It’s obvious the WordPress campaign was more effective. Time spent in relation to books sold is far more ‘energy efficient.’ Let’s imagine two more scenarios (apologies for the advanced science and analytical processes involved here. I got a CSE grade 1 in maths in 1981 and I like to put it to good use.)

1 – one hour spent on Twitter for five days causes five book sales.
5 hours = 5 sales. A ratio of 1:1

2 – one hour spent on Facebook for five days causes ten book sales.
5 hours = 10 sales. A ratio of 1:2

With this in mind, a ratio of 10:1 would be bad (ten hours of promotion per sale). A ratio of 1:10 would be good. (one hour of promotion per ten sales, or six minutes of promotion per sale). I’m wondering what this ratio might be called. For simplicity’s sake let’s call it the Callaghan Quotient. (Named after the Liverpool midfielder, Ian Callaghan, who would spend a lot of time racing around the pitch trying to look busy, and making a song and dance about the simplest pass to a team mate.)

It could be used to measure the effectiveness of various ‘promotional channels.’

Twitter might have a Callaghan Quotient of 1 248 556:1
Goodreads – 486 112:1
Article in the Times Literary Supplement – 1:13
Interview on BBC1’s Meet the Desperate Unsigned Author – 1:125

Of course academics might muscle in and start talking about compound quotients. Whilst Twitter on its own has a Callaghan Quotient of 1 248 556:1, when combined with Facebook the compound quotient drops to 944 672:1

And the same eggheads might introduce external factors that act as a controlling matrix on the quotient’s outcome. So a thriller might have a matrix of 0.5, which halves the Callaghan Quotient because thrillers are more popular than the geriatric vampire rock genre, which has a matrix of 4.8, thus making novels in this genre virtually unsellable.

This all leads inevitably to those chancers and opportunists who, for a fee of $1200, will offer to improve your Callaghan Quotient and refund your money if you fail to reduce it to 1:1 within 14 days using their proven methodology. The Callaghan Quotient will take over from SEO as the holy grail of effective sales and marketing techniques.

Every website will eventually be obliged by law to display their Callaghan Quotient. Poorly performing cash rich sites will swoop to take over more effective smaller sites until eventually there’s only one or two big players left in the game. And then overnight, every author will be trying to promote their work through one or both of the Big Two, along with several million other authors and the Callaghan Quotient displayed on the sites – updated in real time – will become a blur as they go from 1:5 at 8am in the morning to 67 976 433:1 by mid-afternoon.

And the whole sorry saga will start all over again, until some Harvard student wakes up one day with a great idea. . . .

Chris Harrison is the author of the rock novel We Are Toten Herzen Available on Kindle from Amazon. cover-WATH 3rd ed


2 thoughts on “Measuring success. The Callaghan Quotient

  1. One or more fans come from multiple platforms = one sale… That sounds like another controlling matrix on the Quotient! But yes, I see your point, which ties in with what you say about each platform being part of a wider ‘campaign:’ saturating coverage improves the chances of capturing the individual sale. What is it marketing professionals say? You have to repeat something seven times before people remember it.


  2. Nicely written up. I’ve never really thought of each platform separately in relation to book sales. I’ve always thought it as one big campaign with followers from one platform intermingling with the other platforms, which in turn lead to sales. One interesting tidbit, if we call it that: What if one or more fans come from multiple platforms? They will always be one sale–at least I think it is, unless they purchase the paperback! What do you think?


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