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How Karen Inglis Sold Over 250,000 Book Copies

Karen Inglis is a marketing guru. She’s sold over 250,000 copies of her children’s book “The Secret Lake”.

I spent this week analyzing her marketing strategies and what I found out was mind boggling.

Here are 5 marketing strategies she leverages:

Marketing Strategy #1: Word-of-Mouth

Karen started by focusing on local marketing efforts. She distributed flyers with her book's cover in local cafes frequented by parents, mentioning that the book was available at libraries and bookstores. She also asked people to leave a review of her book on Amazon to help her online marketing efforts.

Marketing Strategy #2: Author Visits

Author visits have been crucial for Karen. She offered free events initially to build confidence and gain experience interacting with readers. Once established, she started charging for events. She knew that doing visits would generate word-of-mouth momentum among children, parents, teachers, and librarians.

To contact schools, Karen contacts the literacy coordinator or relevant staff via phone before schools finalize their budgets for the following year, offering reduced fees in exchange for book sales opportunities. She then emails the relevant point of contact, introducing herself and her books, and including a link to her website. Her website contains information about her books, reviews, and testimonials. She also mentions that she is willing to pre-sign and dedicate books for the children. She then follows up with a call incase they don’t get back to her.

Marketing Strategy #3: Traditional Media

When her book "The Secret Lake" was first coming out, Karen contacted the local press to let them know the book had a local connection since the front cover of The Secret Lake was inspired by a pond called Still Pond in Richmond Park, close to where she lived. She also spoke to magazines in Notting Hill.

Marketing Strategy #4: Email Marketing

Karen has built a mailing list over her author website, which she uses to recruit a small advance team of children, teachers, parents, and other children's authors for her book launches.

She gave out the first 3 chapters of her book "The Secret Lake" in form of an ebook as an incentive for email sign up which is a smart strategy because it increases the likelihood of converting email subscribers into paying customers by getting them invested in the story.

She emails every three months, engaging with her audience.

Marketing Strategy #5: Amazon Ads

Karen has mastered Amazon ads by learning and experimenting, leading to massive sales. She targets keywords related to her book's genre and similar successful titles.

Imagine keywords as search terms people type into Amazon to find books. By understanding what words and phrases people use to search, Karen can target her ads to those searches. This way, her book ad is more likely to appear in front of readers who are interested in the kind of book she wrote.

There are two main ways Karen targets keywords:

  • Targeting general genre type words: This means targeting keywords that describe the genre of your book. For example, Karen might target keywords such as "chapter book for age seven," "early reader funny book for boys," or "book for girls age eight."

  • Targeting similar titles: This means targeting keywords that are similar to other successful books in your genre. Karen mentions that she does this by researching successful books similar to hers and then targeting those titles' names or keywords related to those titles.

Marketing Strategy #6: Blogs

Karen actively blogs updates about her books, events, and interviews.

This helps her stay connected with her audience. By regularly updating her blog, she keeps readers engaged and interested in her work. This engagement is what leads to increased book sales and a loyal fan base.

Marketing Strategy #7: Social Media

She engages her audience on social media with updates about her books, author visits, and fan feedback.

Engaging her audience on social media with updates about her books, author visits, and fan feedback allows Karen to build a strong online presence and foster a sense of community among her followers. This interaction not only helps her stay connected with her audience but also creates opportunities for word-of-mouth promotion as fans share her content with their own networks.


If you think marketing is tough, you're right. Karen's strategies show that to succeed, you need to keep learning, tweaking, and, most importantly, stay consistent.

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