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BookSurge Author Drives Sales Virally

Media attention is a surefire way to sell books, and executive CNET editor David Carnoy is using a multitude of online news channels to drive traffic to his book, Knife Music. A review in the Kirkus Discoveries newsletter, a published article on CNET and an unexpected second edition of his title have helped him sell hundreds of printed copies of the book and encouraged thousands of free downloads of the eBook edition of the title in the Apple App store. Now, Carnoy is concentrating the power of his existing readers to promote Knife Music, push the boundaries of traditional book marketing and shed some light on self publishing for amateur authors.

His initial publishing efforts led him down the path of mainstream publishers, but when positive feedback from agents and publishers failed to translate into a contract, he investigated the possibility of self-publishing Knife Music. A graphic designer helped David achieve a great looking book with a cover to rival those published by mainstream publishing houses, but developing a marketing plan that would help him reach his sales goals took more time.

Creating a multi-point strategy, he broadly divided his efforts across a variety of channels. "The plan should have at least five avenues for you to pursue because chances are, you're going to strike out on a couple of lines of attack," he recommends. Several of his pursuits were fueled by marketing services offered through BookSurge, including the Buy X, Get Y Pairing Program on and the Kirkus Discoveries Review Service. His book and a glowing review were featured in the Kirkus Discoveries newsletter in December. A successful Buy X, Get Y pairing in this month also helped launch his sales rankings.

Following the growing trend of making content available in the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPods, Carnoy formatted Knife Music into an eBook to be downloaded and read on mobile devices. His application was initially rejected citing his use of colorful language as an objection, but he did not let this derail his plan. Undeterred, David revised Knife Music by substituting the expletives in the content and was accepted by the App Store. The news of his revised edition sparked conversation among internet readers and drove downloads of the free eBook. Knife Music ranked as high as number 7 among the top eBooks available for download in the Store and has been downloaded by several thousand Apple users. Currently, he plans to expand the eBook offering by making Knife Music available to download for free on other wireless reading devices.

In December 2008, he published the article "Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know" on CNET, and while he focused on conveying his experience in self-publishing, he still took the opportunity to promote Knife Music to his habitual readers. The response thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, and sales of the book are steadily on their way to achieving his goals. Competition in his genre is fierce, but with persistence and creative marketing strategies, David Carnoy has managed to help Knife Music be heard above the market's noise.

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