Interview: Shel Horowitz

Have you entered our giveaway for Shel Horowitz’s Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers yet? What are you waiting for? You only have until October 29th, so hurry and enter.

In the meantime, enjoy this interview with the author of Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers, Shel Horowitz.


You’ve got several wonderful books on how authors can market themselves as frugally as possible. What kind of feedback have you received? Why did you decide to write about this subject?

Feedback on all my marketing books is extremely positive. I actually have pages and pages of testimonials–Principled Profit alone has something like 83 testimonials right now. Since about 1995, people would read my marketing books and tell me I really ought to do one just for authors and publishers. I finally took their advice and am very pleased with the result.

Tell us about Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers. What do you hope readers take away from it?

Book marketing is really different from marketing other types of things. The bookstore system, the ability to partner, and the wonderful news that most people want to buy several books on a subject and not just one–and the wacky way inventory and returns are managed–all are very different than other industries. So this book focuses on how to market books. I recommend getting it in tandem with my earlier book Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, which covers certain areas like copywriting and trade shows in far more depth.

One interesting thing about Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers: about 40 other authors and publishers shared their success stories and examples, so it covers a very wide range of techniques.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

To make a difference in the world with my writing. My eighth book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green (co-authored with the legendary Jay Conrad Levinson, inventor of both the Guerrilla Marketing Brand and the Marlboro Man), comes out next year. It’ll be my first time with a big NY publisher since 1993.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Out of the thousands I’ve read you want me to pick just one? For today, I’ll say Phillip Pullman’s His Dark materials trilogy, for its fascinating explorations of the complexities of good and evil. Tomorrow I might say something different.

Favorite authors?

Here’s the list of my favorite books form my Facebook page. The authors of these books are among my favorites: Harry Potter, The Color Purple, The Golden Compass, Hug Your Customers, Love is the Killer App, Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, Revolutionary Nonviolence, Co-opetition, The Company We Keep, Values-Driven Business, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?, The Success Principles, Small Is Beautiful, Principled Profit, The Great Formula, Influencer, Javatrecker, The Publishing Game, Cash Copy, Anastasia Krupnick, A Wrinkle in Time, Escaping into the Night, Playing Dad’s Song.

Book you’re currently reading?

Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith; Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. All of them brilliant, very different from each other.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

I work in short bursts, on and off from 6 or 6:30 a.m. to about 10:30 p.m., with lots of time off.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

No. If I’m blocked on one project, I turn to another one, or answer e-mail, or do a little professional reading for a few minutes. Between myself and my clients, there’s always stuff to be written.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

Someone who successfully communicates the core message.

Advice for other writers?

Write clearly and concisely, know your market and your marketing plan, be ethical and friendly in your dealings with others. And make sure it’s fun.

Where can we learn more about you?

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