“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.
As you plan an upcoming vacation, you probably give it a lot of forethought. First, given your budget and schedule, you would choose the destination and dates. Then you would decide the price range for the hotels, restaurants and attractions you would prefer. Then you would make reservations at specific places and be on your way. That is the same sequence of events you incur when planning to sell your book.
Sometimes a thought-provoking question that disrupts status-quo thinking is necessary to get you started on the path to selling your books in new ways and in new places. This concept of disruptive innovation purports that the most successful innovations upend existing practices to create new products, markets and opportunities. When a company pursues growth in a new market rather than an established one, the odds of success are six times higher and the revenue potential 20 times greater.
Every publisher wants to increase book sales through bookstores. However, sales through other retail outlets can also increase the volume and velocity of your revenue. These include discount stores, airport stores, supermarkets, gift shops, specialty stores, pharmacies and many others. Each of these segments has a pre-ordained distribution network, and you must work within that structure to get your book on the stores’ shelves.
It is difficult to make a living as an independent publisher if you view yourself as a purveyor of books through bookstores. Typically, when one responds, “I’m an author,” to the question, “What do you do for a living?” the inquiring party usually follows with, “But what do you do to earn money?” However, if you reply, “I’m a publishing professional,” you are usually received with nodding understanding. The difference is as enormous as it is subtle. A publishing professional runs a business, relying on multiple streams of revenue for maximum income.
Relying exclusively on book sales can limit your income. This wall might be reached because of seasonal demand for your content, or your reliance on sales only through bookstores: bricks and clicks. You may have a small target market, inadequate planning or insufficient funds for promotion. The list goes on. But the fact remains that a variety of circumstances can conspire to limit the sale of your books, and subsequently your income.
What makes a book a winner? There are several critical factors that cannot be missed. Discover how you can avoid the top mistakes most untrained authors make.
- Successful marketing starts with a high-quality book. Use professional designers and copy editors, even if you have a relative or friend who can do it less expensively. Good marketing will kill a bad book quickly.
- Find a need and fill it. Your content should address a market need. A conversation that begins “I read about a new trend…” will usually yield a better product than will a conversation beginning,” I saw a great manuscript today.”