Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cook Up Some Book Sales

Gloria Teague’s book, Saturday Night Cocoa Fudge, is all about the type of people she grew up with in Tennessee. The title of the book comes from the treat they always had at the end of the week. Gloria was smart enough to include a recipe at the end of the book and guess what she serves at her book signings? (Put your hand down, Vern, that was a rhetorical question.) This prompted Gloria to set up a book signing at a candy store in the mall. She’ll gave out samples of the store’s cocoa fudge and sell her own books. Everyone’s happy with this arrangement. The candy store owner, Gloria, and the folks that will sample the cocoa fudge.

If you can tie your book to some type of food, you may have an easier time finding a different target audience for your book.

Of course, some books are easier to do this with than others. Mitchel Whittington turned his chicken wing cookbook into a novel, Uncle Bubba’s Chicken Wing Fling. This was an easy book to identify with food. Every chapter has at least one chicken wing recipe. There’s an index of all the recipes in the back of the novel. It’s easy for Mitchel to attract people to his table at book signings because he always has 2 or 3 sample recipes of chicken wings made up ready to serve along with napkins so they don’t smear grease on the book.

Not quite so obvious for a food tie-in was Alice J. Wisler’s novel, Rain Song. Some of the characters in the novel made an old family treat, pineapple chutney. The recipe for pineapple chutney was included at the end of the book. Alice used this theme to do a big open house in her home to announce the book. Everyone enjoyed the refreshments – including pineapple chutney – and purchased a book. This also led to a couple of the people buying multiple copies of her book to do a canning party with pineapple chutney. See the complete story here:

Sally Jadlow had to work a little harder at finding a food theme in her book, The Late Sooner, the story of a family of homesteaders in early Oklahoma. One part of the book deals with a long drought that besieged the state. The only thing that would grow were turnips. So Sally started handing out turnip recipes to attract people at her book signings. “Do you like turnips?” is one of her icebreakers. I suggested another turnip tie-in to her. Eastham, Maine and Wardsboro, Vermont both have turnip festivals in the Fall. Go where the turnip lovers hangout to sell your book.

Some books may not lend themselves to a food theme. When promoting their book, Chic~Lit for Foxy Hens, the four authors (self-proclaimed foxy hens) would dress up with feather boas and have a large bowl of chocolate kisses on their table. “Come get a kiss from a foxy hen!” They attracted a lot of attention and sold a lot of books.

Finding a food tie-in to your book might be the way to fire up your book sales. After all, what could be better than a good book and a bit of comfort food.


  1. Aw heck, thanks Dan for mentioning me & my book. Good article there, buddy! You'd think you do this for a living or something.--Gloria

  2. Great post! It keeps me thinking of what I can connect my book to in order to get it known and generate sales.

  3. Good article, Dan. Thanks, for including Rain Song!

    You know pineapple chutney has made its impact on others when you get a jar from a friend as a wedding gift!

    ~Alice J. Wisler