Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Using Shoping Malls To Sell and Promote Books

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Readers of Writers on the Move may know that I spent nearly 30 decades as founder and operator of my own chain of retail stores. That experience was invaluable when it came to all kinds of publishing advantages and I like to pass them on to you when I can. Time magazine ran a piece on how shopping malls are changing in their regular section on the economy.
Many upscale malls are doing very well, but middle-of-the-road malls have lost tenants like crazy. They are filling their real estate with all kinds of businesses like ice rinks, museums, health clinics, and even churches. They also (though this isn’t new) fill empty spaces with temporary rentals. I got to thinking how this could be a trend that could benefit your book because those spaces can be gotten very cheaply by mall standards. And I also figured they would be open to just about any ideas an author came up with.

Here are some ideas you could approach your local mall with and yes, this is the time of year to do it:

~Go in with your critique group or other writing organization to open a mini bookstores for the holiday season. It could carry all of your books and any associated merchandise (called spinoffs by the publishing industry) that participants might have. You could hold holiday readings, seminars, etc. in it. And I can imagine the coverage you’d get in the local press with this idea—maybe even the national press that has business pages like USA Today.

~If there is a store window in a space that hasn’t been leased, rent it for the season to showcase your book.

~On a smaller scale, ask the mall administration about their kiosk or cart programs.

~Make your new well-trafficked space into a money making venture. Rent out space for readings, how-to demonstrations, children’s hours, poetry open mics, even to bloggers who want to increase their visibility. And, of course use the space for your own events.

~How about a one-week or one-day rental. Say you have a cookbook. How about a week of cooking demonstrations and book sales before Mother’s Day.

~Capitalize on any big promotion ideas you are already using. I met a man who outfitted a huge motorhome as a rolling advertisement for his book. He could easily use that promotion as the centerpiece for his temporary holiday store. BTW, you may have seen C-SPAN, CNN, etc use a similar idea a tradeshows like Book Expo America.

Hint: My book A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques (http://budurl.com/RetailersGuide), will help you with these projects. .
Note: This idea can be done quite simply or on a large scale. If you have a big idea, start now for your 2013 promotion. And you may not want to wait for the December holiday season. Mall business is excellent around Valentine’s, Mother’s and Father’s Days, graduation time, etc. If you have a book that involves politics, put your thinking cap on for a bash on the Fourth of July.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor


Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Carolyn - What great ideas. Thanks

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, this is thinking outside the box. Thanks for sharing this great book marketing idea with us. It's something I never thought of.

Magdalena Ball said...

Oh goodness these are exciting fresh ideas. I love the idea of grouping up with a local critique or writers group to open a mini-bookshop (and then hire it out to pay costs). A friend of mine has started a local writers group which I'm a member of and I'm going to suggest we do this (maybe next year as it's getting a bit late for this one...).

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