You’ve spent hours researching, writing, and self-publishing your book. Now, you want to reap the benefits of selling it yourself, but where do you begin?
Here are five simple tips to help you get started.
1. Figure out your market.
“Bookstores are lousy places to sell books,” says self-publishing guru Dan Poynter in USA Weekend. “Find the places where your audience gathers and sell directly to them. If your book is about cats, go to pet stores.”
To start selling your book, take the time to research your target audience. Who will be interested in purchasing your book and sharing it with their friends?
Once you know your target market, look at the places they shop and spend their leisure time. What media venues do they watch, read, and listen to on a regular basis?
Create a list of all potential organizations, businesses, and groups. This will give you a good understanding of the online sites and brick-and-mortar locations where you need to focus your marketing efforts.
2. Spread the word.
When you are ready to start selling, don’t be shy. Talk about your book, carry a copy around with you, and look for every opportunity to mention it. Also, be ready to give copies away to influential people who will build buzz about your business.
If you are a good speaker, try to give presentations to groups catering to your target audience. You can partner with various organizations to promote your appearance and build word-of-mouth. This may include issuing a press release, giving books away during radio or television interviews, or getting involved with charitable activities.
“Speaking to local, target audiences is a great way to start building buzz about your products and services,” says Melanie Rembrandt, small business PR expert and owner of Rembrandt Communications, www.rembrandtwrites.com. “But in order to build credibility, you need to offer valuable information pertinent to your book’s subject without being sales-oriented. You can always have a book signing after your presentation to sell your books and meet potential customers.”
Another trick is to leave a copy of your book at your local bookstore or library. If visitors pick up the book and read it, they will ask for a copy of it. Then, the person at the counter may contact you to purchase additional copies.
3. Venture outside your target market.
After you’ve pursued all venues focusing on your specific audience, start marketing your book to other groups outside your target market.
Look for secondary sources that may be interested in purchasing your book as a gift for a friend, co-worker, or family member. Perhaps you can partner with a business, charitable organization, or hobby group related to your book topic?
Think “outside of the box” and try to let as many people know about your book as possible. You can issue a press release, offer special discounts, and create newsworthy events to draw attention to your book. And these activities don’t need to cost a lot of money. You just need to think of some ways to stress the unique benefits of your book and take the extra time and effort to plan, coordinate, and follow through with your ideas.
4. Take advantage of business relationships.
If you used an online publisher in developing your book, advertise on their site. If you used a local printer, ask if you can leave a couple of copies at their front desk.
Visit all of your local establishments and leave some kind of information about your book. If you are a regular customer, most of these businesses will be happy to help you and the local economy.
And when preparing these “leave-behinds,” think about the benefits for the business and customers. Perhaps you can print up small calendars, checklists, quick tips, bookmarks, and other items that advertise your book while offering something of value to potential readers.
You may even be able to partner with various businesses to offer special joint coupons and discounts. Use your imagination, but always keep the benefits for the customer in mind.
5. List your book online.
This may be obvious, but you really need to list your book online to reach the broadest possible market and increase “buzz.” Review your target audience and try to get information about your book posted on all of the pertinent sites they visit.
Also, create a simple website. And don’t worry. Today, there are many services that offer cost-effective or free websites to self-published authors. You don’t need to be a technical genius or have a lot of money to take advantage of these services and create an online presence.
However, in your online copy, be sure to stress the unique benefits of your book and provide customer testimonials (for credibility). Also, include some information about your background to help you stand apart from others in your genre.
Once your site is up and running, research free, press-release posting sites. Also, look for online organizations that may be willing to post reciprocal links to your site to help build search-engine optimization.
These are just a few, simple tips. There are many ways to sell your self-published books. But you can start by focusing on your target audience, work the business relationships you already have and be creative. And soon, you’ll be well on your way to being a top-selling author!