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Sales and Marketing

You need to ensure your book is available through the Trade so that any bookshop or internet site can order it using the ISBN number. 

As you prepare your book for publication, consider the following:

-   Where are you going to sell your book?

-   What percentage will you give any shops you approach? (be prepared to negotiate)

-   Try local craft shops, charity shops, post offices, local book shops, local library and specialist clubs you may know of.

-   Some Supermarkets will take local books (it depends on the Manager) but if the book has had some local publicity, they are more likely to take it. Supermarkets are very open to promoting local events.

-   Look to give talks in your local area to promote your book (eg Women’s Institute, library)

-   Books should be available through the Trade.

-   Ensure a book launch is arranged to promote your book.

-   Contact local paper(s) and give an interview on your book, advise launch date.

-   Local radio(s) may also like to interview you.

-   Review copies are important to send to organizations relevant to the book. Most prefer to have the book a few weeks prior to publication. A review letter should cover the following:

With compliments – for the favour of review

Title

Author

Publication Date

Price

Publishers Name & Address

-   Local book shops may be willing for you to hold a signing session on their premises. Contact Managers to discuss possibilities.

-   Various websites will stock your book. Many get picked up because of the ISBN registration (eg Amazon). Different discounts will apply depending on the web site.

-   You could set up your own web site to promote your book. This can be linked to paypal.

-   There may be other web sites that deal in your type of book that you may be able to put your book on. Some will charge a fee for this, some don’t.


Marketing Campaign

 

For your marketing to be successful an author needs to be actively involved in the promotion. No one is able to sell the book quite as well as the author as they know everything there is to know about the book and have the passion to promote it. If you are someone that hates media appearances, then you will need to spend more time with indirect publicity and direct mail type approaches. As people see more things with the title of the book and the author’s name, they begin to believe in the credibility of it. Have a common theme for all your promotional material and this will help people to think – I’ve seen this before, it must be good. Be prepared to invest time and energy in this. Promoting your book must be done consistently if you want to keep those sales coming in. Don’t expect everything you do will be 100% successful. Sometimes it takes a while for things you do to convert into sales.

They say that 90% of marketing is wasted and you never know which 10% is effective!

You need to ensure you know who your readers are and where to find them. Decide how you will reach your target readers – online or more traditional routes.

Different types of books need different types of marketing. A romantic novel and a book that promotes business needs require different marketing approaches. Ensure that you work out how to reach your market.

  • Highlight what the reader will gain from your book
  • Does it have any unique qualities?
  • If your book is a novel, emphasise the book’s pace and exciting storyline
  • Use reader endorsements
  • If you have won any awards, let the audience know
  • It is becoming more important to market yourself as an author rather than your book. Stories of you that can link to the book are good - how you came to write the book and how this has changed you. Try and find something that makes you stand out from the crowd, it doesn’t have to have any direct connection to the book but an interesting fact people can understand; perhaps you spent time travelling when you were younger or lived through a harrowing time that has made you want to tell your story. Something personal that no-one else will have. Create an angle for your story, make it come to life.
  • A press release should be prepared but ensure you modify it for different papers/magazines to keep it relevant. Remember these companies usually prepare their publications months in advance.

It is nearly impossible to obtain a review of your book in the national media. Note which books get one and see how many books are published each week. You will notice that the ones with reviews are usually with big named publishers who have longstanding relationships with literary editors.

Local papers and radio are open to new writers, particularly if there is a topical link or the subject matter is about local people or for local people.

If your subject matter has a relevant magazine(s) make personal contact and see if you can submit a review in to them. You are more likely to succeed when the book and magazine have a common theme. Don’t send a copy in if it’s not been asked for as it will more than likely end up in the bin. Do be patient as it can take several months for an answer.

If you make your book available to the Trade this means that ANY bookshop can order it using the ISBN number. You will see that it appears on Amazon as they are part of this Trade group. What you do often find is that it appears as ‘Not In Stock’. Try and get someone who has read and liked the book to put a review on (anyone can do this).

Another option is to become a member of their Advantage Program. This is where Amazon will hold a stock of your book (1 to 5 copies) so it will show as ‘In Stock’ on the web site. They charge an annual fee of £23.50 and will pay you 40% of your list price (fees as at 2012). You are responsible for sending the books to Amazon and will need to pay the postage costs. You will still need to promote the book yourself.

You can set up your own web site, blog, facebook page, twitter etc and write how the book came about it and why people should buy it. Look for networking opportunities everywhere; at the gym, on a plane journey, at a conference, trade shows, online discussion groups…

Allocate one day each week for marketing your book: ring shops/magazines; write letters; work to get your book out there so that people can find you.

Review your marketing strategy regularly, see what’s working and what’s not compared to how much time and effort you are putting in. Continue with those that are producing results and look to change/stop those that aren’t.