How I Built Sales from the Ground Up

December 2008
by Maggie Anton

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How I Built Sales from the Ground Up

by Maggie Anton

Although thousands of good, maybe even great, novels are published every year, and most of them quickly disappear from bookstore shelves—assuming they ever reach a bookstore shelf—my self-published historical novel, Rashi’s Daughters: Book One—Joheved, generated over a thousand fan letters and sold over 26,000 copies in six printings, after which Penguin Books bought the rights to my next two titles in the series.

Why was Joheved different? Why is it still selling well three years later? I think it’s because I did everything I could at the beginning to launch my book properly.

First and foremost, I wrote a good story, the book I wanted to read. Then I hired a book shepherd to ensure a package (cover, interior, printing, etc.) that met the highest standards. My publicity goal—to get buzz going, to create a critical mass of readers eager to spread the word—required an excellent product.

We all agree that nonfiction authors should know their target audiences, but this is also important for fiction. I knew that my historical novel, about the daughters of the great medieval Talmud scholar, would appeal most to a niche audience of Jewish women. I also knew that this group reads, and buys, …IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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