When I first met Julie Merberg in the '90s, she was an editor at Perigee Books. Since then, I’ve enjoyed watching her journey from editor to book packager and then to publisher. In 2005 Merberg launched Downtown Bookworks, where she’s now doing children’s books in innovative formats and says: "Children should be reading from books and not from screens."
The returns are in on sales for Amazon and Barnes & Noble from the holiday sales period. Remember that “surge” that I mentioned in my last blog? Like the song says “it ain’t necessarily so.”
On the one hand, Amazon had its biggest holiday season ever, with the Kindle Fire being its number one product—specifically the “#1 best-selling, most gifted and most wished for product."
Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble sales were down almost across the board—in stores, on-line and sales of Nook. Revenues were down 12.6% from the previous year. The good news is that sales of digital content were up 13.1%, “indicating that at least those who own Nooks are using them to buy content.” While B&N would not specifically break out Nook sales they did say that after Black Friday sales “fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday.”
While you are planning your New Year’s Resolutions why not consider some that can help you sell more books? Here are a few that you might consider.
1) I will regularly plan my work before taking action, and then assess the results of my efforts. Book marketing can be as simple as PIE if you Prepare before Implementing your plan. Then Evaluate your progress and make necessary changes. If you missed my December webinar about planning, the recording of How to Create a Functional Marketing Plan for 2013 is at www.premiumbookcompany.com/private/Planningfor2013.wmv
What if there were a way to make your book known to every potential buyer—for free? There is, and it is called word-of-mouth advertising—people talking to people. It is the most inexpensive and productive way to spread the word about your books. People singing your praises removes the aura of commercialism and instills a sense of objectivity about their recommendations. Here are 30 ideas for stimulating word-of-mouth advertising for your books in places other than the Internet:
Stop selling your books… and start selling ways in which corporate buyers can use your book to help them sell more of their products. Here are six ways in which corporate marketing professionals could use your book to increase their sales:
In some ways, books are like humans. They enter the world as babies, full of potential and opportunity, with proud parents boasting great visions for their future success. But as they grow, something happens and very few become the success their parents hoped they would be.
When the same thing occurs to books, their authors usually never fully understand what went wrong. But you can improve the chances of your offspring's success by using a checklist to predict if a particular book has a chance of becoming successful.
Below are some general characteristics of a potentially winning title. How does your title match up?
“Awesome,” should be the headline to describe the features and analytical power of the new AAP/BISG sponsored Bookstats report on industry sales and trends, for which the analytical work is managed by Bowker. It is especially so when one looks back on the decades during which BISG struggled with data gathering and data analysis tools that were short of the task—resting on a lot of intuitive extrapolation; and the AAP contented itself with industry reporting that used actual returns from participating publishers and no extrapolations; and neither included most of the emerging vast universe of independent publishers. And publishers had two sets of figures to work with.
During an interview, Duncan MacNaughton, Chief Marketing Officer at Wal-mart, U.S. said, “We are a pretty big company and our size can be daunting to potential vendors, but that isn’t true. We are constantly challenging our buyers to help us be relevant and local. And smaller suppliers play an important role in that. So if you think your company it too small to sell to Wal-mart, think again.”
Wal-mart is open for business and you can sell to them. What does it take to get on their shelves? You do not have to be a large publisher to sell your books to them, but you have to know what you are doing in order to be successful. The submission process is outlined on their website. Follow their guidelines and if your product looks promising, a buyer will contact you for a direct conversation.
You can be more successful selling to corporate buyers if you have an ally on the inside. Find an employee who can provide you with the information you need to succeed. This information may be on purchasing procedures, buying needs or about colleagues who are for or against your proposal.
You should not seek private data or anything illegal; only relevant facts that you can use to support your position and close a sale that is in the best interest of the people and companies involved. People with the following characteristics are most likely to successfully promote your cause internally:
Significant benefits accrue to the astute publishers that grow their businesses through non-bookstore marketing. Here are 10 reasons to sell books to these buyers:
- Increased revenue. Increase your sales in a marketplace somewhat larger in size than the bookstore market. You could double your sales with additional marketing effort directed to non-bookstore markets.