Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting to #1 in One Day

The following note was posted by Joely Black, author of Amnar: The Awakening, in a forum on the Book Marketing Network (

When Amnar: The Awakening launched on, the only real promotion it received came from my blog and using Twitter (where I'm known as TheCharmQuark). Two days later, it was the top most downloaded audiobook, and today it's at No.2. This is very impressive as I'm going into negotiation with software and games developers and it presents a very good case.

Twitter has to be used in the right way to make it work, and I know it intimidates a lot of new users. If you're prepared to do the work to keep talking to your fanbase and build up a good reputation it can really work wonders for you.

John's comments: Online promotion can work. Even the minimal effort that Joely has done so far has resulted in sales.

You have to know what you are doing. Scattering effort over many sites, or not doing the right promotion won't produce the results you want. You have to create the right relationships -- with your partner websites as well as with your potential customers (or fanbase).

For more on that, check out the Relationships Matter Marketing Program

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How to Sell Your Book Locally

Here are two tips that Bob Sanchez shared at the Book Marketing Network ( I thought they were very good tips for helping you to sell some of your books locally.

One thing that's helped me is to always keep copies of my two books in the back of my car. Then when someone says "Where can I buy a copy of your book?" you can tell them they can get it from you right then and there.

Also it helps to have business cards with you advertising your book. One thing I have tried is tacking one up on any bulletin board that seems friendly to local businesses. Does it help sales? I have no idea, but it can't hurt, and the card costs me only a penny or so. Sometimes people will come up to me at a book signing and tell me they've heard of the book but can't remember where. Just getting your name and the book's title out there is helpful even when it doesn't result in an immediate sale.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

200 Copies of a Novel Sold in One Venue in 8 Months

The following post tells how one author sold 200 copies of a self-published novel in one venue in less than 8 months. Steve Miller, author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It, posted this story in a forum on the Book Marketing Network (

I have a friend who self-published his first novel and has sold, in the past 8 months, over 200 books in a local (not chain) restaurant. A check-out person said, "Here's how I see it working: people are waiting in line to check out. One starts thumbing through the book. The person behind him says, 'I read it. It's great!' The person buys it."

Outcome: Maybe we should take a harder look at local, non-bookstore possibilities for selling our books. After all, there's no competition with other books in that restaurant. If someone's just finished a book and is looking for the next read, voila!

I recommended that he try to place it in similar restaurants (locally owned, where lots of locals eat) in nearby towns. He can tell the owners, "It sold over 200 copies in this other restaurant, making them this much money." Businesses are looking for extra income these days. If he found 20 restaurants that could sell 300 per year, he'd sell 6,000 per year.

Steve's recommendation to his friend is on target. If something is working for you, expand in that direction. Offer the same deal to more restaurants. Start local, then go regional.

200 copies is more than most self-published novelists sell in 8 months in all venues. Congratulations to the novelist for finding a good place to sell his books. Now he should go out and replicate his success.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marketing Novels: One Man's Experience

The following post was written by Earl Sewell in a forum at the Book Marketing Network (

What’s working for me is setting up events where I have an audience. Also having an act when speaking to groups helps a great deal---for example, I write fiction, and instead of just reading the work, I turn it into a dramatization and get the audience to participate. The Call and Response method works great for me. This also helps me to sell myself as an entertainer.

Have Mercy by Earl SewellTwo weeks ago I did a book release party with a book club in DC. I ordered 100 copies of my book from my publisher and let the book club pre-sell Have Mercy. Since Have Mercy is an erotic thriller, part of the program included a lingerie fashion show. About 35 people showed up and when it was my turn, I put on a great show for my fans. The book club kept the remainder of the books and hand sold all of them for me.

During my book signing in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I asked a local book club there to join me at Waldenbooks. I asked them to wear their book club t-shirts and walk around the mall handing out my promo cards. They did this for me and for the first time, I got a crossover audience. The ladies, whom I’d known for three years, told every woman in the mall what a great writer I was and they came over. Some purchased books while others were just curious.

I also write Y.A. fiction. What’s working for me there is dealing directly with high school librarians. They’re always looking for great books to purchase for their students. I also do creative writing workshops and publishing workshops. I charge a nominal fee for doing this plus I get the schools to order the books at a discount from my publisher.

In addition I have a special website for my Y.A audience. Staying in direct contact with them has helped because they tell their friends about the book and then get them to join my website. I have contests and prize giveaways for them.

However, even with all that I do, I still can’t get my sales numbers to soar the way I’d like them to. It’s a very very tough market out there and getting a name brand to stick without a large marketing budget is no easy task. However, this is my passion and no matter what, I’m going to keep moving forward. 

John's Comments: Earl is clearly creative and working hard to promote his novels. Obviously some things are working. I love his go-to-it-tiveness.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

What Publishers Can Learn from the Web

The following post has been contributed by Caitlin Smith . . .

The internet has become a valuable marketplace for booksellers, a great community resource for readers, and an essential marketing tool for publishers. Successful ventures of all kinds have exploded on the web in recent years, from blogs to new formats for buying and selling media. Why not tap into some of these ideas for your own work? Here are some lessons that publishers can take from the success of the web and apply to their own practices.

Make reading a social experience. The internet creates the perfect environment to make reading more social. Online communities are great places to bring readers together and get them talking. One way to take advantage of this is to set up online book clubs and forums, letting these customers come together and enjoy reading as a group rather than just as individuals and letting them say what they loved about a particular book, basically selling it for you.

Use social networking for marketing plans. Want to know where the fans and potential audience for your author’s works are? Social media can help you create targeted marketing plans and organize book tours where turnouts will be significant. Whether you employ a social networking page or just track subscribers to an author’s blog, these tools can help you get a much better handle on where and how to market.

Find untapped talent. The Internet has turned out many celebrities in recent years that became successes from relative anonymity. Finding new talent for your publishing company may be a little easier if you monitor places like blogs, where humor, good writing and other important skills can come to light. Better yet, you can subscribe to blogs and follow your potential finds to see how they evolve.

Use electronic formats. These days keeping manuscripts in paper only format just doesn’t make sense. Using both print and electronic means to get your book out there can be smart and will allow you more flexibility in how you promote the material. Releasing small sections of the book to fan blogs and on your own site can be an excellent way to build up anticipation about an impending publication.

Make it to buy online. It’s estimated the Amazon’s Kindle format will sell millions of digital publications this year. As electronic books grow in popularity both in text and audio format it’s essential that you keep up and make your books easy to acquire through online means. Paper copies should be easy to buy from your site as well, increasing easy availability to whatever format your customers like best.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Teleseminar for Authors: Today, July 2nd

Tonight (Thursday, July 2nd) at 9 pm Eastern time, Alex Mandossian will describe how he JV'd with Jack Canfield, Donald Trump, Stephen Covey, Harv Eker, and others to create real value and generate income:

In just 90 minutes, you'll learn how to market like a pro.

This special teleconference is designed for authors, information marketers, and small business owners.

Note: This teleseminar will cost you $20.

Alex Mandossian also has a clever way to capture emails and provide real help at the same time: Check out his website. His Ask Alex website is an interesting way to start creating a real relationship with people via the web.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Chelsea Green Launches Library Wish List Gift Registry

Chelsea Green has just launched a Library Gift Registry, which encourages librarians to select new books from the publisher's list and send their patrons to Chelsea Green's website to buy titles at a 40% discount and free shipping to designated libraries.

Peg O'Donnell, sales director for Chelsea Green, notes that "Libraries have been struggling in these challenging times, and this is one way we can help them stay competitive and current, especially with sustainability and green living titles."

Librarians who sign up for the program between July 9 to 15 will qualify for a raffle of $500 worth of Chelsea Green titles.

Check out their new registry at
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