Former Sports Writer Turns Marketing ‘Guru’

The Visionary Behind National Book Conference

By D. Aileen Dodd Contributing Writer | 7/31/2013, 4:27 p.m.
Curtis Bunn, the Russell Simmons of urban fiction marketing, became a best-selling author when he quit his dream job to ...
Curtis Bunn, sports writer turned fiction author

His social networking led him to the living rooms and dining rooms of book club hosts. Reading excerpts and discussing his book’s characters in a personal way helped him to sell “thousands”. insight about his characters. Bunn said the outreach helped him to sell "thousands".

Industry experts say there are 100,000 black book clubs in the United States.

"That is a lot of readers," Bunn said. "Even if you have just one book club read your book, that is 10 sales as opposed to one individual person buying it."

All this inspired Bunn to organize a national book club gathering to connect more Black authors with readers on a grander scale. The first National Book Club Conference was held in Atlanta in 2003. The convention, now in its 11th year, continues to attract nationally recognized authors who sign autographs for fans and discuss their work in depth.

Panelists over the years have included such New York Times best-sellers as McMillan, Eric Jerome Dickey, Cornel West, Iyanla Vanzant and American Book Award-winner J. California Cooper.

"Curtis Bunn is a fabulous writer and a wonderful person," said Ella Curry, a Maryland-based marketing specialist who hosts the Internet broadcast, ‘The Black Authors Network Radio Talk Show’."

“He has the best literary event in the industry. Every author, no matter whether they are self-published or a household name, needs to be there. If it wasn't for him creating this event, we often would not get to see our megastars."

Bunn said he’s regained the feeling that work isn't really work.

Nine months ago, he released his fourth novel, "Homecoming Weekend," which is set on an HBCU campus. His next book "The Truth Is In the Wine" – which portrays a family trip to Napa Valley -- hits the shelves in October..

He has a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster that will keep him busy through 2015.

Rightfully, Bunn has no regrets about leaving his newspaper career behind.

"I am following my dream and fulfilling it," he said.