The Nitty Gritty Hard Work of Selling your Book - 2 Steps Toward Success

By Deb Toor

                           "...The grass is greenest where it is watered.”

                                       -- Robert Fulghum

How do most successful authors generate book sales? Are they just lucky?  More talented?


But as Albert Einstein said “Genius is 1% talent and 99% Hard Work." Most successful authors toil and sweat to sell their books.

Ready to get some results? It's time to roll up your sleeves and plunge into the nitty gritty hard work of selling your book. This blog focuses on two actions that will help you connect with your potential customers: Collecting endorsements and participating in or staging a community event.

1. How to find endorsements for your book:

Featuring the expertise of Carolyn Howard-Johnson, promo guru and author of The Frugal Book Marketer,

Quality endorsements, testimonials and reviews will show your niche audience how your book can help them to reach their goals. Carolyn suggests the following steps:

First, identify the professionals who are connected with your book’s theme, such as teachers, people in your field of expertise, associations, and fellow authors you know.

Next, send letters requesting their testimonials. What to include:

      - why you are asking for their endorsements, why you value their testimonials

      - why they are a good fit, explain the connection

      - a synopsis about your book

      - how they will benefit (such as community recognition)

      - a sample of an endorsement with the assurance that they are welcome to use their own words

Be prepared to send a copy of your book to interested contacts.

Carolyn recommends that you include endorsements in the following:

       -  media kit, teasers in mini-biographies

       -  e-mail signature lines

       -  query letters or the footer of stationary

       -  promotional postcards, business cards, bookmarks

       -  above the book cover art

       -  signs, posters, banners for trade shows and book fairs

Be sure to keep track of your correspondence records.

For more of Carolyn’s tips on gathering endorsements and other promotional nuggets, check out her book How to Do it Frugally.

2. How to link your book to a Community Event:

Featuring the expertise of Deborah Riley-Magnus, Author & Success Coach,

Deborah advises authors to connect their book to an appropriate charity. For example, if your book is about a pet, or cancer, or drug abuse, just identify a charity to support.

   Plan to attend an event held by your selected charity or create your own. At the event, you can sign and sell your books. To make it more appealing, Deborah suggests holding a raffle and awarding the winners with fun prizes. Donate a portion of your sales to the charity.

My own suggestion: How about a fun trivia contest based on your book? If your book is nonfiction, trivia questions could focus on facts presented in your book. If your book is fiction, trivia questions could focus on a character, the plot, etc.

Make sure to keep your book separate from the charity. "The key is to create connections with an audience that relates to your book. THAT’S how to create book sales,” she says.

Find out how promote your connection to your selected charity:


Additional resources:
This blog offers a free service to authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like more exposure, and readers who want to praise books they've read.
Named in "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this blog provides a forum for readers and writers.

Deb Toor  is a nonfiction writer and freelance blogger.  She is the author of Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures, a suspense-adventure story for grades 4 to 6 that is based on peer-reviewed science. She is also a ghostwriter for a health blog.

Check out Deb's book at: Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures


Karen Cioffi said...

Deb, these are two great steps to selling books. I have both Carolyn's books, The Frugal Editor and The Frugal Promoter and they're jammed-packed with doable tips on writing and book marketing.

Unknown said...

I agree. Advice from a seasoned pro will help writers to use their time efficiently and GET RESULTS. Books and blogs abound with marketing advice. Believe me, I know! The learning curve for book marketing is high. I have spent valuable time searching for marketing expertise. Carolyn's blogs and books have provided me with the coaching I need.

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Deb, your post is very helpful. Thank you for this valuable info.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

@Deb Toor, excited to be putting a special thank you in the next issue of my SharingwithWriters newsletter. It's not too late for people to subscribe to see all the other tips, articles, and publishing news that are in it. (-;

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Thank you for your off-the-cuff endorsements, Karen. They mean so much!

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Came to this late but so useful, Deb. Shall put this into practice this month. And yes, Carolyn's books are the best for me too.

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