Ten Selling Tips: A Checklist from a Distributor
by Randall McKenzie
1. Define your niche and cater to it in design and marketing planning.
2. Make your design, inside and out, as good as designs from Avon or Random House. Amateur covers get turndowns.
3. Don’t stray too far from the norm. Although you want your book to stand out, you don’t want it to stick out in a bad way. Find books that are similar to yours and books that are shelved where you would like to see your book shelved, and get a feel for what is similar among them. Customers have expectations within different genres.
4.Spend time working on the spine of your book. In most bookstores, many books are on shelves with only the spine showing.
5. Be sure there’s a selling blurb beneath the title—words that will help sell your book during the 15 seconds or so that a potential customer takes to look at it.
6. Get a big-name endorsement to put on the cover. Write to the leading authors or authorities in your field requesting one; you’ll be surprised at how often they’ll respond.
7. Create a professional-looking press kit that your distributor’s sales representatives can use to bolster sales efforts and that you can use with media and when you’re setting up signings and interviews.
8. Start local. Plan programs and signings in your hometown and surrounding areas to create a buzz and then expand as your marketing budget allows. Aim for a regional bestseller list first to get on the radar of national chains.
9. Use a variety of media outlets. Combine television, print, radio, and Internet campaigns for a comprehensive marketing program.
10. Go visit bookstore buyers yourself. The more a buyer sees a book, the more likely the buyer is to buy. Whether it is through print, radio, television, or Internet marketing, through a visit from a sales rep or a visit from the author, the more your book is out there, the more likely it becomes that the book will be on the buyer’s mind.
Randall McKenzie is national sales manager of AtlasBooks. The company offers services including trade bookstore initial documentation and editing, page layout and cover design, trade sales, fulfillment, warehousing, printing and binding, and 24-hour order-taking. To learn more, call 419/281-1800, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.bookmasters.com.