Carol Denbow is the founder of Plain & Simple Books and the author of three books herself, including, A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story.
Karen Zemek: Welcome Carol. I can’t wait to talk about marketing today because I’ve personally had a difficult time finding mine! How does an author connect with their market?
Carol Denbow: Karen, you’re not alone. Most authors generally look to the “book” market (Amazon.com, B & N, etc.) to sell books, But that market, although obvious, shouldn’t be the only direction to look for sales. For instance, your book, My Funny Dad, Harry is a heartwarming and cute story about your father and the funny things he did during his full life. Your market may include somewhere such as assisted living homes where others in Harry's same age bracket might relate to some of his “quirky” habits. Since your book also includes some other funny characters—that is, your dad’s many cats, you might find interested readers where cat lovers are. For my newest book, A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story, I look to places where writers are, such as writing forums and writer’s groups. Authors need to look inside their work for the most appropriate market.
Karen Zemek: Okay, that makes sense. So are you saying authors shouldn’t rely so much on Websites like Amazon.com to sell books?
Carol Denbow: Well I would never put all my eggs in one basket, especially if I just sit on them waiting for them to hatch. I see a lot of authors who, once they list their book on Amazon.com, just sit back and expect that’s it—their done. Yes, Amazon is a good listing and definitely every author should have their books there. But there’s more to Amazon.com than just your initial listing—that won’t sell many books. Your audience needs to find you, and Amazon has many options to help them. I would strongly encourage authors to join the “Search Inside” program (cost—1 book), and ask their readers to post reviews. Also, make sure you have added relevant keywords, listed a book description, and any editorial reviews you have. If you can’t figure out how to do this, just ask. Amazon is good at answering questions; usually in one day or less.
There are numerous other Websites where you can list your book for sale. Authors! Use the search engines!!! They are your friend!
Karen Zemek: Books stores always seem reluctant to stock my book. So other than the Internet, how to I find my customers?
Carol Denbow: Karen, I know you are uncomfortable talking to people face-to-face, and I am too. Very few of us have the gift of gab, and I’m sure many of your blog readers aren’t any different than us. But really, that is the best way to sell books. Face it, nobody cares about your book as much as you do—you are your best market! You are passionate about your story, and nobody can tell it better. Authors need to scoop up the courage and get out there. I sell books at our local festivals, and believe me; here on the Oregon coast we have lots of them! The day of a new event, I get horrible butterflies in my stomach. But if I can fester up the courage for a split second, the passion erupts and boom, I’m talking up my book like a pro. On occasion, I think people will buy a copy just to shut me up. Once that first book sells, I lose the fear and am ready to sell books. I can sell more books in one day at a festival than I do on Amazon.com in a year’s time!
Karen Zemek: Well I will try to get over the fear. I do believe readers would enjoy my book My Funny Dad, Harry and I am passionate about the book, so hopefully I can “connect with my market.” So where can a person find your books?
Carol Denbow: My books are all available through my Web site at http://www.freewebs.com/authorsbox, Amazon.com (of course), and wherever fine books are sold.
I also have an information site for new writers and seasoned authors at A Book Inside.blogspot.com.
Karen Zemek: Thanks for stopping by today and good luck with the rest of your book tour.
To see where Carol’s tour is taking her next, visit her Web site. If anyone would like to leave a question for Carol, or a comment regarding this interview, please use the “comment” link below.