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So You Think Your Book Belongs in a Store?

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It is every writer’s dream to see his or her book in the front window of the local bookstore. It is fun to imagine tall, colorful stacks of your books surrounded by throngs of curious readers flipping through the pages while others rush to the cash register with their copy. Feel free to continue this fantasy as you pound the keyboard, but if you’re interested in turning the vision into reality, then stop writing for a moment and read on.

The Four Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before your Finish your Book:

1. At what retailers do your readers shop?
Are you SURE? (Don’t guess – go to those places and make sure.)

 
Too often, I find myself assuming that I know something to be true because I believe it to be true. Things that used to be fact a few years ago may not be anymore… but I forget to take that into account. I have learned the hard way that before I make any plan that involves other people or money, I need to CHECK to make sure that what I THINK is actually SO.

2. Do those retailers buy books like yours?
Are you SURE? (See above)

3. How many of your types of books sell each week?
If you are going to be looking for a publisher or publishing yourself, you need to know what books like yours sell for. You also need to know how many units sell each month. That data will be KEY when presenting your book to an agent, a publisher, or a retailer. “I want to sell a million copies” is not a sales plan.  It is a fantasy.  If I told you that business books helping managers become better leaders only sell 23 copies a month at one of the major airport bookstore chains, what does that do to your financial plan?  You NEED the facts to make a solid plan… data, not wishes makes for a successful book.

4. Is your book as good as the ones already there? (Be honest and really LOOK at what is on the shelves already)

  • Is your cover as good as the ones on the shelves?
  • Are your priced competitively?
  • Does your book offer something new to the market?
  • Do you have the amount of reviews and endorsements that the books on the shelves do?
  • Are you going to spend the same amount of money on promoting your book that their publisher did?
  • Do you KNOW what the author and publisher did to promote their book and are you able to give it a similar amount of time and energy?
  • Do you have several good reasons why a buyer should risk their profit margin on an unknown author or book when they have proven successes already on their shelves?
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Summer Reading

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Have the perfect beach read? As we head in to the Memorial Day weekend, summer is just around the corner. If you are a publisher or author with a book that’s perfect for summer reading – for adults OR kids – now is the time to make sure that your Amazon page is ready to go and you have a marketing and sales plan to get the word out about your book over the summer.

Here are 5 things you can do to get the word out!

1. Amazon Optimization and Top Review Campaign – Can readers find your book on Amazon? Do you show up in the first several pages? Do you have recent reviews. Now is the time to make sure that your Amazon page is ready to go for the summer. If there hasn’t been any recent activity on your book page, make sure that you are updating your tags and information. New reviews are also important. Don’t let your book page languish during these key summer months.  If you want help setting these up, take a look at The Cadence Group.  They do a terrific job.

2. Get Reviews – If you have the perfect summer read, you want people talking about your book. A great way to do this is to approach book reviewers, book bloggers and category bloggers and ask if they are willing to read and review your book. Always be respectful! If a reviewer or blogger doesn’t have time to read and review your book, offer to write a guest post. Most book people are willing to help get the word out – even if they don’t have the time to do it themselves. The more that people are talking about your book, the more buzz you will create. Get people talking today!

3. Visit your Local Book Store – If you think your book is appropriate for a summer read, visit your local bookstore and ask if they would be willing to stock a couple of copies of your book for the summer. Dress professionally and have a sales pitch. If they say no, thank them for their time and move on to the next store. A lot of local bookstores are willing to support local authors. Don’t be afraid to ask!

4. Launch a Giveaway program – Nothing sells a book better than a book! Spend the summer months doing giveaways. You can do this online as well as offer free copies of your book to local book clubs, libraries and other organizations. Commit to giving away your book to as many potential readers as possible. Just one free book could result in a recommendation that could increase your sales. Don’t discount word of mouth!

5. eBook – Do you have an eBook? Is your ebook available on the eBook sites at Amazon.com, and  BN.com? If not, it’s not too late! You can get an ebook created and uploaded in just 5-10 business days. More and more readers are choosing eBooks – unlimited books at their fingertips and all they have to carry is the eBook reader of their choice

 

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Why is Everyone Selling My Book Except Me?

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This week I have received a number of questions from a client who has seen her book for sale on Amazon’s Marketplace, B&N’s used book page, and other used and cheap book sites.

“Where did these come from?” she asks.  Her next question was how to hire a lawyer to stop the sale of her book from which she gets no recompense.

After phone-pouring her a stiff drink, I explained where they came from and why there is nothing she can do about it.

First off, several of the sites that list a book do not actually HAVE the book.  Computer bots have scurried around the book websites and grabbed new book information as it is released. The bots then send the book info back to their host computers who post the book automatically. I love seeing one of my clients $16.95 books on sale for $203.50 at a used book site.

But other than that, the books you see ARE real.

Smart authors print pre-release copies of their books, Advance Reading Copies or actual book copies, to send to reviewers and jounalists during the early months of a book’s marketing campaign.  Dozens or even hundreds of copies of these books are sent out to reviewers and editors asking for some attention.

Bethany Brown of The Cadence Group says: “We here at the Cadence Group always sticker the books we send out with bright orange stickers stating that the books are for review only and not for resale.  But even with those stickers, the books always show up for sale on Amazon, B&N, and other used book outlets. It is the reality of the review world.”

Once a book is reviewed, the reviewer is well within their rights to do whatever they wish with it.  A LOT of reviewers have a local used bookstore that will take boxes of books each  month.  These used bookstores, having bought the books legally, put them up on their Amazon and other retail marketplace pages.

I will say here what I said to my now-no-longer-letigious client.  Let it go.  A few used copies bought cheaply will only help get your book out there.  The more people who read it the better!  If you sent out 100 books, then brace yourself that 86 will be sold as used or almost new.  That is 86 more readers than you would have had.

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