Monday, June 29, 2009

How Do You Sell Books?

How do you sell books? I know I've asked this question before in various forms, but now that I'm coming up to the date of Killer Career's release on August 15, I'm wondering what's the most effective approach.

Tell me, please. What do you do to sell books?


  1. Anything & everything?

    I'd make sure my fan base knew way in advance - emails & snail mail announcements. Offer them something if they purchase that day or week. I used to mail out bookmarks & signed promo photos to anyone who sent me proof they'd purchased it that day, plus they'd get a e-copy of the first chapter of the next book.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. Anonymous9:15 AM

    I'm new at this game, but have sold close to 300 books this year. Not bad for a self-published newbie. I first look for free advertising. Example: I contacted my alma mater regarding a writeup for my book in their monthly alumn newsletter. The online magazine reaches 230,000 people and came out yesterday. You can check out the link at my blog today.

    Book signings are free and I sell some books, but more importantly, meet scores of people. I give them business cards and they walk away knowing my name and the title of my book and what it looks like.(hopefully they'll remember).

    I continue to build my base, send out bi-monthly newsletters, and word of mouth helps as does carrying copies of my book everywhere I go. I'm still sending a professional query letter to agents too. One day, someone with the right connections is going to say "yes."

    - Stephen Tremp

  3. I guess you know what my answer is!

  4. Well, I left a brilliant, thoughtful, and oh-so-helpful post which seems to have been eaten up by the ethernet.

    Bottom line: Anything and everything, because there's no way to analyze which specific promotional means resulted in which sales, especially if you write for a publisher with a sell-through before royalties, and then twice-a-year payments.

    I like making chapter books to hand out, and offering the first chapter on my website. In the end, it's the writing that hooks the reader.

  5. Thanks for the tips. I have two books out on Lulu but have yet to sell either.

    I keep trying to build my platform with my blog though.

  6. ahahahahha...this is a bad advise...

    Selling them cheap but remember the profit.

    Or give them an idea about the book, write a review recommending it.

  7. I do much of the same things you do, anyone can look at the list of events where you plan to be and can see how busy you are with your promoting.

    I do a monthly newsletter too, telling people what I've done, what I'm going to be doing, and about whatever my latest book happens to be.

    Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

  8. Only half of what you do for marketing is any good, but no one knows which half. So I've done it all: web site, blog, networking via social spaces and professional associations, alumni magazines, postcards to colleagues, church members, Christmas list, direct mail to bookstores with media release, sell sheet and bookmarks with phone follow-up ("John who?"), signings if I can get them (don't sell much but having a relationship with the manager is good), events like fairs and library talks, book clubs, features in newspapers, radio interviews, blog tour (need to set one up for Fall/Winter) - almost everything except door-to-door. I keep copies in my car trunk and have sold from the car at times. I give a card to everyone, including cashiers at the supermarket. I produced video trailers and posted them everywhere, like FaceBook and YouTube. I've solicited and reviews and my publisher will do some of that. I asked Amazon for an author page but they haven't responded yet. I attended "Love is Murder," I'm attending Bouchercon in October, and another writers conference (not mystery-specific)in August. I think it all comes down to word-of-mouth somehow and a little luck. I hope there's some sort of buzz by the time BLEEDER comes out in August. -- Best wishes with "Killer Career."

    John Desjarlais

  9. (darn typos) "I've solicited blurbs and reviews..."

  10. Becoming a known presence on the Internet helps. You do that by Twittering, facebooking, following and commenting on various blogs, having a good easy to get to blog and/or web site, subscribing to various newsgroups like Murder Must Advertise and DorothyL, by getting into public arguments with your publisher.(you have to be careful with this one). You also sell books by making sure you always have a few with you when you go anywhere. Find free publicity locally, by cooperating with other authors, by cultivating bookstore workers, by participating as much as you can in the community of writers.

  11. I also do anything and everything. I just updated my website to include info on my book already out and the one coming in September as well as both anthologies I'm in. I'm in just about all the social networks - Facebook, blogspot, MySpace, Goodreads, Crimespace, Red Room, etc. I also take my books to my doctor's and dentist's office and have sold them there. I tell my boss's associates. I've done the book signings, online, radio and TV interviews, and just signed with BookWhirl which promises to send out 200,000 email advertisements.

  12. I've been trying to figure out the answer to this question since my book was released last August. I, like others have said, try to participate in everything I can find. But, I am still unable to determine what works and what doesn't.


  13. Thanks, everyone. You reminded me of a few things I have to put back on my list. Also, mentioned a few I hadn't thought of before.

    Morgan Mandel


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