The following post was written by Earl Sewell in a forum at the Book Marketing Network (http://www.thebookmarketingnetwork.com).
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.
Two 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.