Hometown Book Sales


– By Nicole Riley

Once you have a completed book in your hands, it’s time to get out there and show it to your hometown.

The first step is to be vigilant. The key to direct selling is to look for opportunities everywhere.  Very few places will be as excited about your book than the area where you live.


Remember, people in your hometown will be more receptive to hearing about your book than those that have no connection to you. Sell your book to friends from church, work, local bookstores, local places you shop, the local gym.   If your town holds any festivals or fairs, rent a booth there to promote your book as a local author. If people from your area like your book, they’ll tell their friends and a ripple effect will form.  You might want to volunteer with organizations with whom you identify. Get involved and your customer base will grow.  Civic Organizations are often looking for speakers in various topics.

Try not to be scared of giving copies of your book away. 

Donating is a great way to build a name in the literary community. If appropriate, give copies of your book to local schools or reading organizations. Those who get a copy of a book for free may enjoy it and recommend that their friends buy it. Some customers may be reluctant to buy a book they don’t know.  Word of mouth is a valuable effect of direct sales.

  • There are a few suggestions for you to follow when visiting your local bookstore.

  • Visit your local store between the hours of 10-11 or 2-5.  Avoid busy traffic times such as lunch time.

  • Identify the shelf your book may fit on.  Is there a section for your category?  Is there a local author section?

  • Each book store and buyer will have its own personality.  It is important to evaluate and adapt to the stores culture before speaking with the person in charge of ordering.

  • When dealing with retailers always remember to look and act professional.

  • Identify the person you may need to speak with.  In Independent bookstores it may be the owner or the book buyer.  In a chain store such as a B&N you may want to ask for the Community Relations Manager or the store manager.

  • Have promotional material and a copy of your book at your fingertips.  Promotional material may include a Sales Sheet or a Press Release.  Make sure any material being given includes correct contact information.

  • After identifying the appropriate person to speak with introduce yourself as the author, and offer a copy of the book and materials for review.    Be confident but not pushy.  You will be asked where your book is available.  You will need to provide availability and ordering information.

  • Ask if the store participates in any type of author events or book signings.

  • Ask when and if, following up with them would be appropriate.  Making a follow up connection is much different than being overly harassing.

  • Be considerate of a store’s right to turn you down, and simply move on to your next location.

Now that you have the basics to selling to your hometown, please do not be discouraged if you are not receiving desired feedback. New Shelves Publishing Services is dedicated to being a resource for you throughout this process.  We can sit down and brainstorm ideas that will help you stick to your goals and stay focused.  Good Luck!




3 Comments to Hometown Book Sales

  1. […] anyone who will listen.  Word of mouth is powerful! Piggybacking off of  my hometown book sales blog post when I said there will be no one more interested in you and your book than your hometown, […]

  2. Excellent advice, Nicole. It’s easier to begin book promotion efforts with people you already know. With a little practice under your belt, approaching others isn’t quite so scary.

    Michele DeFilippo
    Owner, 1106 Design
    Author, Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing (coming soon)

  3. Udo Wahn says:

    This is right on! Really important to get to the sore early before folks get busy. I have been fortunate to be a core volunteer for Surfrider Foundation. My friends there have been super helpful in spreading the word about my children’s books with aloha for the ocean-minded child. The books are educational, inspirational and contain sound environmental messages. I donate partial proceeds to the Surfrider Foundation and that has also been helpful. I also donate to The Helen Woodward Animal Center and they in turn help market my books.The tough part of being an author is the marketing. The tips in this blog will help any author.

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