Author Carolyn Parkhurst asks: How Much Book Publicity can $150 Buy?

You may remember Carolyn Parkhurst for her hysterical video riffing on author swag. She's back, with an even more intriguing project involving $150 and a loopy website called Fiverr, for which she has published thirty days worth of results. This you must see. —Sarah P.

By Carolyn Parkhurst

I’m very pleased to report that my novel The Nobodies Album has been a huge success in every respect except for the one in which people buy it.

If you follow any writers on Faceplus or Twitbook or Googler or whatever, then you’ve certainly heard them talking about the difficulties of promoting a book in today’s market.  It’s not that people aren’t buying books; it’s just that it’s a lot less clear than it used to be how to convince them to buy your book in particular.  We go on and on about it; it’s our favorite thing to talk about: The rules are changing!  It’s a new frontier!  Should we just beg? and so on.
Day 28: Custom Fortune Cookie

I recently made the acquaintance of a site called  On Fiverr, people from all walks of life offer to do any variety of things—some useful, some demeaning and some just odd—for the low price of five dollars.  And I thought: Hmm.  If I paid thirty of these people to perform various services in the name of selling my books, I’d have a month’s worth of book promotion for only $150!
Day 7

So I began to comb the listings.  I’m not going to tell you yet which 30 items I chose, but here are some of the awesome offers I did not purchase:

“I will play your favorite childhood theme song on the trumpet.”
“I will turn you into a Simpsons-inspired cartoon character.”
“I will teach you how to write a book in 40 hours.”
“I will tell you over 15 ways to chop an onion without crying.”
“I will find and protect you in case of zombie attack.”
“I will give you Steve Buscemi eyes.”
“I will have my pug have breakfast with you via Skype.”

In any case, I ended up with 30 small works of art–some really cool, some funny, some goofy, and some… just odd.  
Day 9

For the most part, I was thrilled with the results; if there were any cases where I wasn’t (and I’m not saying there were), I reminded myself that I’d only paid five freakin’ dollars and resolved to post them anyway.

You can see (the rest of) the results on Carolyn’s Blog.


  1. Dear Carolyn,
    Thanks. Your blog post gave me a hearty chuckle this morning. I plan to include a link to your article in my weekly Saturday email of 5 or 6 articles to my email list.

  2. Absolutely freakin love this. Thank you for sharing. I MUST check out Fiverr!