Some Tricks of the Book Selling Trade

What’s the one question authors ask me most frequently?

How long do I have to market my book?

I never deviate from this answer: Only for as long as you want to sell it.

That quote—guaranteed to disappoint authors who want to move on with the rest of their lives—is from Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound in a recent column for The Book Designer online magazine.

Screenshot of a Bias Busters series recommendation in Pretty Progressive
This screenshot from Pretty Progressive online magazine shows a recommendation we got for a volume in our Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters series. Our book ranked No. 3 out of 11 books they recommended. We saw a direct bump in sales ranking on Amazon as a result. Pretty Progressive first learned about these books because I responded to a HARO request for information. (Click the screenshot to read the entire Pretty Progressive story.)

As Marketing Director of Front Edge Publishing, I have the advantage that our publishing house was founded with the motto: Good media builds healthy communities. Our authors write books that explore issues they are passionate about discussing nationwide. They’re eager to reach out, speak to groups coast to coast, and find opportunities to amplify any news about their books.

But, even the most passionate authors raise that same question Joan Stewart often hears: How long do I have to maintain this energy in support of my book?

Marketing books is a life-time job.

I spend time every day looking for opportunities for shout-outs in the media for our books. As an author who wants to sell books, you too need to be scouring the world for opportunities to spread the news about your book.

Here are a couple of sources that I use and that I encourage you to use as well.

Recommended Sources

Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

HARO is a sourcing service that connects journalists and bloggers with relevant expert sources.

Three times a day, Monday through Friday, HARO emails out source requests from journalists and bloggers relevant to specific industries, expertise or personal experience. If I have an author who writes about a relevant subject, I either submit a pitch myself on behalf of the author, or I forward the opportunity to the author for them to respond. If the journalist is interested, they’ll reach out.

Several FEP books have been mentioned in various articles in response to a HARO request. Some for articles here in the U.S. and some internationally. In almost every case we have seen a bump up in sales following the articles publication.

Google Alerts

I wrote about Google Alerts and how helpful they can be in notifying you when your author name or the name of your book appears on the internet.

Setting up a Google Alert for the topic of your book is also a great way to find out who else is currently writing about your topic. Perhaps the journalist or blogger or podcaster would like to hear from an ‘expert’ for a follow-up story? Google Alerts have lots of great uses and are easy to set up and become your window into your book and its topic. The process is easy to set up—and to change or cancel if you don’t like the results.

The Book Designer

Joel Friedlander, our colleague in the publishing industry, shares our core value. He believes in helping writers get their books published—because good books make a better world. Joel publishes The Book Designer, which is his news-filled web portal. Each month Joel gathers together the best self-publishing book blogs and organizes them into The Carnival of the Indies.

The staff of Front Edge Publishing often submits our own blog posts to Joel for inclusion in the Carnival. Having our columns featured in Joel’s Carnival, in turn, helps our FEP authors. It brings attention to our website and to the authors and books that we publish. I encourage our authors to always be looking for opportunities within their own specific industries or areas of expertise to share their writing and therefore share news of their own books.


When I first wrote about Goodreads in early , there were approximately 65 million registered members. The latest figures now indicate that there are 85 million registered members—also known as readers!

If those numbers don’t get you to run to my blog post and learn how to sign-up, I don’t know what will. It’s a community of people who love books. You belong there.

Find your people. Communicate with them and remind them often that you wrote a book and that is available to be read and reviewed. Goodreads has lots of helpful information for authors. Here’s an article about Managing Your Goodreads Author Settings.

Go on over to Goodreads. There is a wealth of information, just waiting for you.

Right Relevance

I recently attended a marketing webinar and learned some new tricks. One that I’d like to share with you now is Right Relevance.

Right Relevance helps you find targeted content and also the influencers who are writing about it. I recently used it to search for content about one of our books topics. Dr. Anni Reinking’s book, Not Just Black and White is Anni’s emotionally and intellectually moving memoir of her life as a white mother raising a black son in multiracial America.

I put Raising black children in the Right Relevance search bar and came up with a new article about a public pool that has banned dreadlocks in the pool, in effect, segregating their pool. This article is an opportunity for Dr. Reinking to comment on the situation in her public writing and on her social media. Front Edge Publishing has also commented on it in our social media—bringing fresh attention to the book.

It’s about Connection

Two of Front Edge Publishing’s 10 Principles of Publishing, which we first posted online in on our first day in business, are It’s about connection, not competition. Our messages should call people together, not divide them and Inspiration moves through community. It’s been true for thousands of years. Good media builds healthier communities.

I hope that by sharing these resources with you we’ve demonstrated that we are serious about our connection with you, our readers and colleagues, and that we have inspired you to go out and sell some books!

About Susan Stitt

Susan Stitt is marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. Over the years, she has guided many authors through the challenging process of launching books and developing strategies that will grow readership. She also has worked widely with nonprofits. Now, she shares her expertise twice each month on our Front Edge Publishing website.

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