Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on John Knoerle

John Knoerle began his creative endeavors in the early 70s as a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre, a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams.

Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.

John Knoerle’s novel, A Pure Double Cross, was the first volume of a late 40s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder. The second volume, A Despicable Profession, was published in 2010. Knoerle’s latest book, The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, has just been released.

Visit his website at www.johnknoerle.com.

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, John.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book, The Proxy Assassin?


It’s titled The Proxy Assassin and it’s the third book the American Spy Trilogy, the character-driven story of former OSS spy Hal Schroeder. In book three he is summoned to D.C. in late ’48 by Frank Wisner, the CIA’s first covert ops chief. Wisner wants Hal to parachute into the mountains of Romania to liaise with an anti-Communist resistance leader. Hal, who has survived two previous suicide missions, is not interested. At first.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

We had a whopping book party at our home in Chicago, hired a chef and handed out autographed copies. The highlight was a staged reading of a scene from The Proxy Assassin with myself playing Hal and an actress friend playing Julia Hammond, intrepid girl reporter.

After that, what happened?

For the previous two books we concentrated on bookstores and book groups – targeted mailings and book giveaways. But we realize the bookstore is fading fast so we concentrated on the digital realm this time. We created a new website, set up Facebook and Twitter fan pages, advertised on FB, Goodreads and Red Room and did this blog tour. And of course we produced eBook versions of all three titles.

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

Blue Steel Press sprung for the production of a video based on the scene we read at the party. We shot it at my fave hangout, Club Lucky, a great old Italian restaurant and bar. As of this writing the video has had over 40,000 hits on Youtube.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?

We haven’t seen much response from our blog tour so far but it’s early days yet. Having done blog tours in the past I’d say the payoff is more long term than short term. Interviews and posts I did for A Despicable Profession over two years ago still pop up on Google.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  Do you find it is or isn’t?

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, social networks are here to stay. The help get the word out, no question. My only words of wisdom would be don’t deluge your ‘friends’ with too much hype. Nobody likes a pest.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I have a mailing list from previous titles – bookstores, libraries and book clubs. I will send out a promotional postcard. If you want to go whole hog on a mailing, Stamps.com has a thing they call Photo Netstamps that allows you to customize stamps. You can make a stamp out of your book cover!

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

Nothing beats word of mouth of course. Start inside, with your circle of friends, family and neighbors, and expand outward through social media, blog sites and websites like Librarything that will do targeted giveaways. Get the word out, do a little networking every day. And be patient.

What are your experiences with offline promotions such as booksignings?

At the last book signing I attended there were more authors than audience members.

Thank you for this interview, John!  We wish you much success!

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