When I self-published my first book, it didn’t dawn on me at the time that I was becoming a bookseller. Even those who publish with a traditional publisher, are still responsible for having a marketing plan and promoting their books. Writers tend to be a little introverted. Salesperson is not exactly the best word to describe many of us. However, if you want to become a bestselling author, you’ll have to learn to sell.
The biggest thing you have to sell is not really the book itself, but rather the concept or big idea the book represents. There will also be a lot of selling of yourself. My degree is in Theatre. I learned all of the technical, management and playwriting aspects of theatre because I hate auditioning. I was young , and didn’t know how to handle rejection. As an actor, I thought if I’m not chosen for a part that, I’m being rejected as a person. Whereas, if my script is rejected, I can re-write it and make it acceptable.
Fear of rejection is the number one reason the average person is terrified of sales. There are a select few who manage to never take it personal and as a result excel in the sales arena. To be a successful bookseller, here’s a few habits you’ll want to foster in your life.
- Tell Everybody Often: We are often timid about telling people about our book or what we do. Or we tell them once and expect that to be enough. Research shows it takes on average eight presentations before a marketing message is received by one person. Find ways to keep your book or service before them.
- Remember It’s a Numbers Game: Track your numbers and know the odds. If it takes talking to 20 people to sell one book. Then you know if you want to sell 10 books you must reach 200 people.
- Know Your Audience: If you know your audience and what they need you can tailor a message that will intrigue them. You can explain how your book or product solves their problem. By targeting a specific group of people who are favorable to your message you increase your odds. You can now sell one in five people.
I’ve found it’s nice to make your books available online and get them in a bookstore if you can. However, the book won’t sell itself, you still have to let people know where they can find it. You should also be prepared to sell books out of your trunk if you have to.
Until Next Time,
Nicole D. P. McLaughlin
- Amazon’s attitude to small presses gives a glimpse of the future (guardian.co.uk)
- Sale or return in bookselling: Friend or enemy? (teleread.com)
- Some Thoughts on How Readers and Booksellers Can Support Debut Authors (boxesofpaper.com)