For most authors, book sales is the gauge by which success is measured. If you sell a boatload of books you pretty much think you’re a huge success. I’m not going to argue with that approach. I will suggest that there are definitely other ways to measure the success of your book project, but we’ll save those for another post. This week, let’s consider how to increase those book sales.
Tradition suggests that you do one or a combination of the following:
- Offer your book to local bookstores to sell.
- Do a book tour and sell to those who attend.
- Keep a box of books in your vehicle and be ready for the sale at a moment’s notice.
- Set up an online store and direct people to purchase your book there.
- Ask your family and friends to sell your books to their friends and colleagues.
These are all good ways to get your book sold, most likely in small quantities. However, you didn’t write your book for the one-off sale; you wrote it to get it to the masses, right. So you have to be creative in your approach to book sales. Assuming that you have taken the time to hone in on your ideal readers and figure out who they are, what they like, where they go, what they do, and the best ways to reach them, here are several other ways to get your book sold:
- Teach a class and offer your book as part of the enrollment fee.
- Speak to large audiences and sell books at the event or include your book in the attendance fee.
- Partner with complementary businesses and bundle your book with their services or products.
- Place your book where your audience is. If your book is a memoir about your adventures cycling across the country, sell it at cycle shops, travel stores, boat and RV trade shows (these people enjoy travel), luggage stores, or college bookstores.
- Tie your book to a holiday or a national observance. Does your book address the importance of family? Build a promotional campaign around Family Day, the fourth Monday in September.
- Connect with a non-profit or membership organization. Sell books to the group at a reduced rate and suggest they offer your book as part of their membership fee, as a thank-you gift for donors, or as gifts for their board of directors.
- Offer a portion of your book sales to a popular charity for a limited time. People enjoy knowing that they’re giving to a good cause and getting a great book in the process.
- Post articles online, comment on blog posts, and request to be a guest blogger on sites related to your book topic or your expertise. Include your book title and ordering information in your bio.
- Sell your book in non-traditional locations such as gift shops (hospitals, hotels, etc.), coffee shops, restaurants, wellness centers, wineries, craft shops, souvenir shops, grocery stores, senior centers, beauty salons, consignment stores, or day spas.
Some of these ideas might seem a bit unusual, but that’s because they are. If you want to sell lots of books you have to think outside the bookstore. There is a world of opportunities for book sales, but you have to be open to trying something new.
Post your ideas to increase book sales and be entered to win a free autographed copy of my book, Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You've Been Wanting to Write, available in May 2011. Two winners will be announced at the end of April, so check back to see if you've won.