Promote and Sell Your Book

Writing and printing a book are the basic steps in publishing.

The key to success in publishing is the marketing. This is the area where most self-published (SP) authors and providers fail.

This article will help you market your book.

Major Booksellers
Most authors think if they can get their titles listed with Chapters, Amazon, or other large booksellers, they will have it made. Unfortunately this is wrong. Unless you pay a lot of money to have your book placed on special tables or special display racks, your book is just one of thousands. You will get some sales but not as many as you think or like.

Major booksellers charge a great deal to sell your books--the cost can be 40% to 55% of list price. If your book is not priced correctly to look after all levels, including yourself, you can actually lose money by selling through major retail outlets.

Getting listed on Amazon, etc., is not difficult--just go to the web sites and look for a section called "Authors' listings" or something similar. It's usually just a matter of giving them some basic information. You will definitely need a bar code to sell retail. (It's a good idea to have one, anyway, as it makes your book look more professional.)

Free Publicity
The best way to sell your books is to get free publicity. There are many creative ways to this, or you can just use the good old-fashioned method of sending free copies of your book to reviewers. The reviewers can be designated by the media you select, but the best way is to send it to a person in the media that has or potentially has an interest in your topic. This requires some basic research on your local media. It is recommended you try your local area first. You live there and it's nice to get known as an author, you can offer signed copies of your book (which may have some appeal to customers), and it should be cheaper to mail or drop off your book locally. If you sell some copies locally, it is easier to finance the more-expensive mailings to national and international media.

Book Placement on Retail Premises
If your book appeals to a special user, like computer users, go out to the local computer stores and provide them with consignment copies. You'll split each sale so that it makes sense for the store to cooperate with you. (The split should be 30% to 40% of the list price.) Make sure you sign a straightforward and simple consignment agreement--if it's too complex the proprietor will not be interested. All it has to say is: "Delivered 10 copies to store name on consignment, 40% of sale goes to store, balance paid to author. Store is responsible for damaged or lost copies." (The latter clause can be awkward with some proprietors but try to get it in, as copies will be damaged or soiled as people handle them.) Go once every two weeks and check on the sales--any sooner could be a hassle to the store.
You can approach local bookstores--not major chains--and see if they will stock your book. Some will but most won't--don't get upset with this.

Clubs, Colleagues, Friends, and Relatives
If you belong to any clubs or associations, make sure you carry copies in your car. Talk about your book; perhaps give a reading or a seminar (where you can also sell your books afterward). If you are embarrassed about talking to and trying to sell your book to friends, relatives, and acquaintances, you have to question your commitment to your book and yourself. If you know many people, and have a good book, they will be more than interested in knowing about it and buying it. Try not to give away your book; you can offer a discount, but don't give it to them free (well, perhaps to your mother). "Free" has a very negative connotation in the minds of most consumers--plus you worked and spent money to produce your book!
Most groups have local, national, and international branches. Start locally but always look at how you can reach the other branches--it may be a lot easier than you think.

Internet Groups and Email
You should join Internet groups, writing as well as speciality, depending on the topic of your book. You should make it known that you have a book and encourage group members to review and buy it. Whatever you do, don't spam--it's unethical, inefficient, and dangerous. You can push your book by adding a signature--listing your book title and or topic--to every email you send. If appropriate, try to word responses that would mention your book, "I wrote a book on the fundamentals of biochemistry and I think your point is right," etc., etc.

Michael Moore, the author of the recent Stupid White Men, is very aggressive in his selling. He sends out emails, appropriately and carefully written, to tell people about his work. He actively cooperates with his publishers to go to bookstores, do readings, and attend interviews. He makes it his job to sell his book and so should you. But if you are like most first-time writers, you need to have someone direct you on the right path.

Create a Web Site
It is an excellent idea to create a web site devoted to your book. Tell the readers enough to make them interested and allow them to get back to you as easily as possible.
Some authors have done advertisements in local papers and magazines. This can be very expensive and is unlikely to achieve any meaningful sales.

Give Readings and/or Seminars
Clubs and institutions like to invite speakers. Make sure you are on any list of speakers available to clubs--one usually has to contact each club to get information. Reading your book at bookstores and coffee clubs is a time-honoured method that can be fun and very effective--just make sure you bring plenty of copies of your book and money to make change.

Parting Thoughts
Remember that your marketing is not a chore or difficult, but you do have to do it to succeed--or get someone else to do it. Be proud of your work and make sure people know you are an author.

By A. G. Landel

A. G. Landel's web page is at Article Source:

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