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.
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