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Writing Books/Book marketing question



With my brother, I created two books of artistic depictions of cliches, puns, etc.  I submitted the idea to 3-4 agents, with no luck.  I submitted to a few publishers who accept submissions without an agent.  Again, no luck.  I self-published.  

I am at the point now of marketing the books and I am not quite sure where to start. My goal is to have the books picked up by a "real" publisher, but to continue to sell them and get as much publicity for them in the meantime.  Either way, I'm wondering if you have any advice for me.  (I do have a website up  

Hi, Jennifer!

Well, the trick with this is that the more books you sell as self-published, the more you're diluting your potential buyers when published commercially. There's an invisible line, from the editors I've talked to, after which the publisher might feel that there's a broad audience available for a self-pubbed book. That number is around 10,000. Any sale between about 1,000 and 10,000 is a detriment. Sales up to 1,000 don't really matter to a publisher either way. After 10,000 and you'll have them beating down your door.

Publicity is the trick. You're probably looking at the gift book market, so your best bet for publicity is to try to get them placed in privately held gift shops that carry books and hope that word of mouth takes off. Look around your home town first, and then expand outward to larger cities. If the puns are "clean" you can also try the Christian gift stores, where it could do quite well. Keep in mind that the books will probably be on consignment, so you'll have to buy them up-front and then offer them to the store with enough of a discount (around 40%) that the store can also make a profit. It's a good season to try to slip them into stores to restock sold-out products, so I'd recommend you start immediately if you have some copies of the books available to take around. See if you can find some display stands that hold books and see if they'll place one copy at/near the register for people to glance through.

Hope that helps, and good luck!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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