Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Interview With Carol Denbow About How To Sell Your Story

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 (, 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 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, 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 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 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, (of course), and wherever fine books are sold.

I also have an information site for new writers and seasoned authors at A Book

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.


Donald James Parker said...

A very relevant topic for discussion. There are a zillion authors out there - all trying to sell their wares to a seemingly shrinking number of people who actually purchase books and read.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
Donald James Parker
author of Reforming the Potter's Clay and the Masterson Family Series

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment Donald. In fact there are an estimated 30 new books published every hour of every day! That's a lot of competition. The good news is, if you know where to find the readers who are already interested in your type of book, you eliminate a ton of that competative number.
Best wishes with your series!
Carol Denbow

Anonymous said...

I hit upon the festival solution too, and I've seen many other authors at some of them. Couldn't get my books into stores or libraries, one day I saw a sign for a school fundraiser and that's where it all started. Eventually I created a business as my own bookstore, carrying nearly all the books my publisher, Echelon Press, produces in paperback. I'm the only author I've ever heard of who does that.

Anonymous said...

Well you see Marc, you're thinking "outside the box," and that's where it's at!
Authors! Quit thinking "bookstores" so much, and start thinking about your book itself. Who will be your audience, and where will you find them? Then get on the track.
There will always be people interested in your book, but if you're looking for your non-fiction readers at your fiction venues (or vice-versa) you're looking in the wrong place!
Thanks for sharing your ideas Marc!
Carol Denbow

Unknown said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing this with us, Karen.

I'm looking forward to uploading an interview on my blog this Friday, in which Carol interviewed me. It was her first time to serve as a show host and she did a great job! Listen at Friday 10-24-08. Karen was also on my podcast and you can listen to her interview there now.

Great tour, Carol.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Yvonne! To all blog visitors today...Yvonne's comment shows us that networking can really improve your books exposure; more exposure--more chance of sales. Take what you can from that and go with it!
Carol Denbow

Ailurophile said...

Some very interesting points. Yep they all make sense and I hope they help budding authors. Maybe I'll write a book some day too. This post will prove very helpful then :)

Carol said...

Well Cats, If you have a good story, I hope you attempt a book too! It's very rewarding.
I would like to thank all who stopped by Karens blog today. What a wonderful and inspiring group you have been and I appreciate all the positive and encouraging replies.
Thank you Karen Zemek for hosting this tour stop, you are a wonderful hostess!
Don't forget to take a look at my latest release, A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story.
Anyone who might wish to take a "virtual book tour" themself, please visit
Thank all!
Carol Denbow

Karen and Gerard said...

I'm glad to host this interview and hope it is helpful to anyone who has either written a book or is intending to. Thanks for all your comments.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that success is being found for great books and writers of said books. We need to see more of these wonderful books out where more people have access to them.

Anonymous said...

Karen is sooo right! There are so many wonderful books out there that remain undiscovered for lack of the author knowing how to get exposure for their book. That's why I'm loving this virtual book tour. I suggest all authors "give it a try!"

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.