online book sales

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Radio Interview with Author U founder Judith Briles


I had a wonderful time speaking with Judith Briles about the state of self publishing and how to market books in the coming year.  Click here to listen:



Why is Everyone Selling My Book Except Me?


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.


Social Media and Online Book Marketing


We had a wonderful time today talking to Sherrie Wilkolaski about Social Media and Marketing your Book Online.

Here is a recording of her great advice for authors:



eBook sales on the rise!


According to this morning’s PW Daily, eBook sales saw a significant jump in May 2010.

In fact, PW reports that eBook sales rose 162.8% in May to $29.3 million at the 13 publishers who report results to AAP’s monthly sales report.

With so many areas of the publishing industry in decline, this is some great news for hump day.

Happy Wednesday everyone!


What Happens Next?


A client of mine has just crested 4000 units sold into the “traditional” book market. She has sold to bookstores, online and libraries. She has made no money. The cost of manufacturing and promoting her book to GET 4000 sales has far outstripped what she has made.

Another client pre-sold 3000 copies of each of her three books into a national chain. She has yet to see a dime for books sold 8 months ago. The big retailer does not need to pay the little guy.

Returns are killing the creative publishers, slow-to-pay wholesalers are crippling the small houses and the shipping costs are climbing at a dizzying rate.

I would suggest that a fully executed, well marketed sales campaign handled totally on line makes some sense. Shoppers look for information on the web now. Why not offer them the books they need while they are on line?

Amazon and others buy in small, appropriate quantities, rarely return any books and pay monthly.

Are stores the wave of the past? Is brick-and-mortar dead? Dying? Is there any reason to stay with actual bookstores?

Booksellers will say that they provide a valuable community service, that they can recommend and nurture a wonderful gem of a book in a way the internet cannot.

Total Crap.

Yes, bookstores are a lovely place to spend an hour and they are a community resource, but in this economy and with time at such a premium, the average reader can get the exact same services from a trusted book review blog.

Word of mouth has moved on line. It may be time for book retailers to do the same.