Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Selling A Book

Selling A Book

1.Determine Your Market: For my book, I see it as readers 35- 65, public libraries, character and values courses for students, discussion groups

2. Books to Help You:
The Self-Publishing Manual –Dan Poynter
1001 Ways To Market Your Books - John Kremer
Sell Your Book on Amazon – Brent Sampson
Plug Your Book – Steve Weber

3. Things To Do

  • – Go to: Publisher>General Trade> Add or Update Your Information in “Books in Print”. List your book information as early as possible.
  • News Releases – Send to newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and include in your package mailings, along with a flyer, bookcards, etc.
  • – Amazon is the world’s largest seller of books.
  • Amazon Advantage –Sell books directly through Amazon Advantage (Click all the way down at the bottom of the Amazon home page to sign up). They will tell you how many books to ship to them initially and subsequently for re-orders.
    Set up to supply them through "Lightning Source". They will order the books they need to fill orders without any involvement from you. They are supplied quickly. (You need to tell them you will be doing this.)
  • Your job is to pull orders through the system with your own promotion. The better the book sells, the more they will promote it.
  • Amazon "Search Inside The Book" – Sign up for it. Readers want samples.
  • Amazon "Buy X, Get Y Program": For $750 for a month, you can have your book paired with a selected book ranked in the top 2000 or so, where both books can be obtained at a discounted price. (Make sure the cost of both added together is over $25 so the buyer qualifies for free shipping.) It is not worth it. For more, they will pair you with a book in the top 1000.
  • Build Your Amazon page - Working with Amazon is not as easy as it should be. It is not easy to contact the right person and very difficult to speak to anyone. You just have to muck through it. You create your own book page, author profile, blog, submit editorial reviews, try to stimulate customer reviews, do book reviews of other books, create book lists, etc. It is very time consuming. When you request people to do book reviews for you, they must submit them themselves. You can’t do it for them. With Amazon, you’re very much on your own and not infrequently have difficulty getting answers to questions.
  • Getting Reviews – Good reviews can’t hurt, although they don’t guarantee sales. You want five star reviews.
  • Review My Amazon Page:>Books>Your Unfinished Life
  • Barnes and Noble – Set yourself up with them also. You send reviews to them and they will post them. Go to “Publisher and Author Guidelines” at the bottom of their home page. They are not always efficient in listing what you send, but at least they usually do it.
  • Borders, Books-A-Million, Powell Books - List your book information with them.
  • (Down at bottom, click on “Information for Publishers and Authors”, then on Google Books Partner Program: Promote your books on Google for free. You provide book information and the front cover to Google and they list your book and make it available through links to major vendors. It’s a no brainer.
  • Shows book availability at libraries and also has ordering link to your book from major retailers
  • Create A Website for Your Book – (about $120 a year includes many pages and e-mail boxes.) There are cheaper ones, but I have found them good to use. Get the stats package also, so you can see how many hits you are getting and where they are coming from. Drive people to the site through other promotion such as book cards and other promotional items, articles, links from other sites (usually reciprocal links which you should select carefully). The idea is to increase your page rank on Google and Yahoo. You can pay to be listed, but I wouldn’t do it unless you have to.
    - Web Page Optimization is a topic unto itself. Try to think of all the search terms that would be used related to your book, then try to increase your ranking on that term on major search engines. After you think you have thought of everything you could, go to or similar sites. You will get many more suggestions there. The top search terms are highly competitive as you might expect.
    - Paying for keywords: You register with sites where you can bid for keyword placement, such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Marketing and others. The best terms are usually too expensive, so you need to try some of the less popular ones. Based upon trials I conducted, the keywords will cost you more that what you can typically make on most books.
  • Write Articles- Write a related or unrelated article. At the end you can mention yourself and that you are the author of: (Title of your book), a brief description of it and where it can be purchased:
    - One of the largest article publishing sites. Free, but you have to wait for article review before the article gets posted. It normally takes about a week. -Author' A very interesting site to visit. There is an annual fee, but they publish your content almost instantly. You can submit information on your book, submit articles, post events. Contains other useful features.
  • Book Reviews – Give a copy of your book or proof to friends and ask them if they would review it on for you. Reviews can and should appear in advance of the book’s publication date .
  • Ask authors whose books you have reviewed on Amazon if they would be willing to review yours. I reviewed books positively because I liked them, not because I had any future expectations. I was fortunate enough get two very nice reviews from noted authors. Anyone who is well known in the field you are writing in would also be good to ask. These can also be used for cover testimonials if you get them enough time in advance.
  • Kirkus Reviews – A recognized reviewer of books for libraries. Send them a copy of the book with accompanying information and they may review it. Pay them $400 like I did and they will review it under their “Kirkus Discoveries” Program. Once you get it, you should not list it as Kirkus Reviews. I’m pretty sure most readers, except librarians, don’t make the distinction. They gave the book a nice review.
  • Reader Views – They review for $75. I got a good review from it.
  • AllbooksReviews – $50. They review and send it to Barnes and Noble and others.
  • Local Media – I sent two different books to our regional newspaper. They reviewed both of them.
  • Sending Sample Copies of Books
    Advice books suggest addressing padded book envelopes in advance so you can send bound galley proofs or completed copies to media, review services and others as soon as the book or galley proof is available. Some sources will not review books unless they are received well in advance of the publication date. For this reason, list the publication date out into the future. No one will know or care if you have “back of room sales” prior to that date, but once some reviewers see that the book is available for public sale, they won’t review it. (This can easily be checked if they look on Amazon and B&N and see that you have it for sale before the publication date.)
    - Be more selective in sending out sample copies than I’ve been. Often, they either get dumped or someone takes it and lists it for sale on Amazon or other sites and they become competitors for your books.
    - Read each review source's rules and get addresses for whom you might send books to in Dan Poynter’s book and others. I would send one to:
    Publishers Weekly – No self-published books
    Library Journal
    Foreword Magazine
    Kirkus Reviews or Kirkus Discoveries
    Your Local Newspaper – (Sending a review copy to lrge national newspapers, like The NY Times or the LA Times, or to Oprah is probably a waste. Many will only review books from major publishers. Many others do not review books any more.
    Choice – Division of the ALA
    Midwest Book Reviews – They gave me a nice review which I did not pay for. When they send you a review, they do request that you send them some stamps in return which helps them with their costs.
    Other than these, I would write first, include promotional information about your book and promotional plans, and ask them if they would like to receive a review copy of the book when you send it write on the mailing envelope “ Review Copy You Requested”
  • Book Distributors:
    Ingram, Baker and Taylor – Not reviewers, but major wholesalers to the trade and to libraries. Ingram also owns "Lightning Source" so if you get to be part of that program, they should have you listed. Baker and Taylor – you need to keep pecking away. Submit to other distributors as you go along, but they are the big two.
    Quality Books – Not a reviewer, but a representative who can sell your book to libraries. ( Check with them first to see if they would be interested in a title like yours.
  • Stamping Books
    Books often advise that you stamp review copies with “Review Copy Only. Not For Resale”, which I did. In retrospect, it’s just better to send the book. It looks gamey and defaces the book and also implies that you don’t trust the recipient to do the right thing with it. Stamping it also does not stop second hand booksellers from selling the book, nor does it deter most buyers from buying it. When in doubt, send a review copy. It is the best and cheapest form of promotion you can get.
  • Other Promotional Items
    - Pencils: Probably a waste of money.
    - Bookcards: Cheaper than brochures. Use business size cards with book and website information on them as handouts to lead people to your website or vendors. The use of a calendar or other useful information on the other side gives you a reason to give the card to someone and gives them a reason to hold on to it. It is impossible to gauge the usefulness of them, but it gets the book’s name out there fairly cheaply. (123 Many varieties of cards to choose from.
    - Flyers: Printed these to send in a Cooperative Library Mailing though IBPA (International Book Publishers Assn. – Membership about $125 a year. Had the flyers printed in Texas, then shipped to California for mailing.) I don’t believe either of these were worth it for me, although IBPA sponsors events, special mailings and provides a periodic publication to help small publishers. (Print for flyers. Kim Townsend - A gem who’s as helpful as anyone could be, with the patience of a saint.)
  • Envelopes - (Intuit Printing – 800-548-0289)
  • E-mail Signatures - Put them at the bottom of all the e-mail you send:

Best wishes,
Lawrence J.Danks
Author of: Your Unfinished Life (ISBN 978-0-615-24207-1)
Find happiness, personal fulfillment,increased self-esteem and peace of mind
Features chapter samples, positive reviews, author interview and message
Available through:, Barnes&,all leading booksellers

  • Blogs – Good for those who know how to use them well. Consider putting the whole book in a blog, chapter by chapter. (If you’re trying to help or inspire people, what difference does it make if they buy the book or not. Some authors have said that it definitely helped their book sales.)
  • Social Websites – Twitter, Facebook, My Space, etc. Obviously if you can create a viral buzz about your book with tweets or a video, it can help.
  • Post Office Box – Wait and see if you really need it. I didn’t.
  • Personal Appearances – Do book seminars, not book signings. These require preparation and are labor intensive. It is not something I am willing to do a lot of. If you want to sell books however, you need to be willing to do more of it than I’m likely to do.
  • Try to do book singings at local bookstores. An author who was doing one told me it doesn’t sell many books, but it may get you on the shelf in the bookstore which may help in the long run. Publishers set these up for authors willing to do them. There are more than 800 B&N stores. Even if they had just had two books in each one, that’s over 1500 books. It’s not easy getting on the shelves though. You have to demonstrate by previous sales and demand that you belong there.
  • Sell cases, not books - churches, organizations, individuals, businesses. Offer them as source of fundraising.

Let Your Unfinished Life help you find happiness. Many readers have told me they found it inspiring and helpful to their lives. Try it yourself or give a copy to a friend who could use more happiness in their life.

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