How I Sold 75 Books in One Day By Roe W. Van Fossen, Author of Dak’s Sisters

After I received my copies of Dak’s Sisters from my publisher, Booklocker.com, I approached Schuler’s bookstore in Grand Rapids, Michigan to see about getting some books on their shelves. Booklocker.com did a great job getting the book printed and their cover lady, Cathi Stevenson, designed a remarkable cover for me. Seeing the book in print, Schuler’s readily agreed and took ten copies on consignment. Those sold rather quickly, so they took another 10, and then set up a book signing for me for a Saturday.

I read the “how to” for book signings in Writer’s Digest and formulated a multi-step plan using the article as a guide, as well as Sue Merrell’s input. Sue is the Drama Critic for the Grand Rapids Press, a good friend, and up on these things.

I prepared a list of names and addresses of friends and family, about 30 in all for Schuler’s to mail out. They did a mailing with a card inviting the recipients to visit the author at the appointed time and place.

I called all my friends and family and told them to come to the book signing. I told them that they did not have to buy a book, but to at least come and visit with me so I would not have to sit there all alone.

I had bookmarks made up to pass out with my novel, Dak’s Sisters, including the title, a picture of the book cover, and my name, as well as the web sites, http://www.roes-stories.com and http://www.booklocker.com.

Sue wrote a story about my novel and me in hopes of me getting it printed. I took her article to a local weekly paper called The Advance. They took the information from Sue’s article and wrote a nice story of their own, but unfortunately it only ran in the northeast area of Grand Rapids.

As my novel centers on India, I asked my great Indian friend, Prasad Reddy, and his wife, Sobha, to come to the signing dressed in their native clothes. To create the right atmosphere my friend’s wife and her friends made Indian snacks for the buyers to sample.

The area that Schuler’s allotted for the book signing was small, just inside the main door, but it was a good “traffic” location. I was advised that I would probably sell “no more than 25 books.”

However, here is the letter I received from Schuler’s following the signing:

“On behalf of Schuler’s Books & Music I am pleased to report that your book, Dak’s Sisters, was our top seller for the week ending April 12, 2003. Our records show that Dak’s Sisters sold 75 copies! That is a record number for any local author in our area.

Congratulations, Roe, on a successful novel and book signing. We look forward to the next one. You are a dynamic self-promoter and we are confident that you will have continued success.”

My goal is to find an agent/traditional publisher to pick this novel up and run with it! Not being able to obtain an agent to-date, I am following the John Grisham method by taking my novel to the independent bookstores and will create a demand, just as he did.

Roe W. Van Fossen has traveled extensively throughout the world both in business pursuits and personal enjoyment. He was the founder of a computer software company dealing with the apparel industry. He is fascinated by India’s beauty and customs, as well as poverty. He is now retired and living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dak’s Sisters (ISBN 1-59113-278-9) is available at or can be ordered from your favorite bookstore. Visit Roe’s website at: http://www.roes-stories.com/

Booklocker.com’s submission guidelines are at: http://www.booklocker.com/getpublished/published.html