Sixteen Unusual Book Selling Strategies

These are extracted from the full list at

Lynn Grabhorn sold 18,000 copies in six months of her book, Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting, out of her garage with no returns. Rather than go out and speak on the road, she sent letters to 400 metaphysical bookstores offering each 20 free copies of her book. Most took her up on her offer. Then, when they sold out, they had to reorder. After selling 18,000 coipies, Lynn sold the rights to Hampton Roads, who gave the book a national launch.

According to one source, John Grisham self-published his first novel, A Time to Kill. My understanding, though, was that the novel was published by a smaller publisher. Nonetheless, Grisham was actively involved in promoting his first novel, selling many copies out of the trunk of his car as he traveled around the South.

Canadian author Peggy McColl, the Diva of Destiny, made $25,000 in 48 hours following her own advice. McColl, self-publisher of On Being...The Creator of Your Destiny, teamed up with Marketability to take a slow-selling title and make it an instant bestseller.

Karen Okulicz has sold more than 151,000 copies of her valuable book, Try! A Survival Guide to Unemployment, most of them to state governments. She expects to double sales in the next year. Web:

Two and a half months after self-publishing their book, Conversations with Millionaires: What Millionaires Do to Get Rich, That You Never Learned about in School!, Jason Oman and Mike Litman used Loverage™ to jump their book to #1 at Read more about how they did it by checking out this web page:

18-year-old Christopher Paolini self-published the first book of his fantasy trilogy, Eragon, with the aid of his parents in February 2002. He spent a year hawking the book at various festivals, schools, and bookstores, often selling 100 or more copies. When the book began attracting a lot of attention, Paolini sold rights to the entire trilogy to Knopf Books for Young Readers in a major deal worth half a million dollars.

Business consultant Tom Peters self-published In Search of Excellence and sold more than 25,000 copies directly to consumers in the first year. He then sold the rights to Warner, whose edition has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies.

Dan Poynter self-published his classic Self-Publishing Manual in 1979 and has gone on to sell more than 130,000 copies over eleven editions. He calls it “the book that launched a thousand books.’

James Redfield sold over 80,000 copies of his self-published book, The Celestine Prophecy, from the trunk of his Honda and then sold the reprint rights to Warner Books for $800,000! The book, the #1 bestseller in 1996, has gone on to sell 5.5 million copies.

Carl R. Sams II self-published his children's book Stranger in the Woods to great acclaim. They won the 2000 Benjamin Franklin Award for children's picture book, the 2001 Children's Crown Gallery Classic Award, finalist for the 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year, 2001 International Reading Association, and the 2002 Early Childhood News Director's Choice and Judges Awards. Their video Stranger in the Woods: The Movie has won many awards as well, including the 2002 Videographer Award for humor, children's, voice-over talent, and original music; the 2002 Award of Excellence from the Film Advisory Board of Hollywood; the 2002 Kids First! Endorsement, the 2002 Dove Family Seal of Approval, the 2002 Telly Award Finalist (children's and nature categories), and finalist for the 2002 Wildscreen Panda Awards. The book made the New York Times bestseler list for 12 weeks.

    “We are just a bit excited about being nominated for Book of the Year! You know it all started when Denise and Cari took your Book Marketing Blast-Off workshop. Since then we won the Ben Franklin Award for Children's Picture Books. We spent 10 weeks plus on the BookSense bestseller list and for two weeks at Christmas we were #4 putting us ahead of the two of the four Harry Potter Books. We have spent 12 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list and have gone as high as #2. We have won the International Reading Association Young Readers Award for fiction. What we are most proud of is that we have raised over $50,000 for wishes for kids and for protecting special places with the Nature Conservancy since the book was released. Thank you setting us off in the right direction. Carl R. Sams II

In 2000, Penny Sansevieri published her first novel The Cliffhanger via By sending out a few postcards to the right people, she got her book at the top of

Asha Tyson self-published and got national media attention for her book on How I Retired at 26. She had to reprint eight times in seven months. In the fall of 2002, her book hit the Essense Bestseller List. She follows the rule of 10 (John Kremer's rule of 5 doubled), since she figured she had to work twice as hard to be successful.

Joe “Mr. Fire!’ Vitale ( has done it all. After having several books published by mainstream publishers, he got fed up with their poor marketing efforts and self-published all his next books. Turbocharge Your Writing went though 13 editions and sold 25,000 copies. The Seven Lost Secrets of Success went through 9 editions. And Spiritual Marketing is his #1 bestselling book at Amazon.

Joanne Watson originally self-published How to Help Your Husband Make More Money, So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom and then sold the rights to Warner Books.