Showing posts with label book sales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book sales. Show all posts

Give Local Book Sales a Try

We even had a table at my very first Comic Con!

By Linda Wilson   @LinWilsonauthor

A group of fellow children’s authors and I have formed a loosely-knit group of book sellers extraordinaire in our hometown, Albuquerque, New Mexico. We keep each other informed of upcoming sales and fairs by having our names on the lists of local events. One person fills out the application, and if accepted, those who want to participate share the cost of the booth or table(s). When possible, we carpool to the events.

The events include retirement communities’ arts & crafts fairs, church fairs, and high school and college fairs. Other participants at these events are vendors selling their hand-crafted wares, such as jewelry, hand-sewn and crocheted items, canned goods, and about any other hand-crafted item you can think of. Aside from being fun, especially around the holidays when sales are at their peak, a lot of effort goes into participating. Ideas gathered from my own background as an elementary teacher and grade school volunteer, and the many clever displays by vendors I’ve observed, I’ve come up with “The List” of items I need to make sales. I hope these ideas will help you avoid some of the pitfalls I first fell into before I became an experienced book seller entrepreneur. 

The List 

Set-Up 
  • After applying and being accepted to an event, check the rules to see if tables, chairs, and tablecloths are provided. Also, for outdoor sales some organizers offer canopies. There are also rules about where you can park to unload, and where to move your car when done. If you need your own tables and chairs, I recommend purchasing portable folding tables with handles. I own two 8’ tables which turn out to be necessary for most sales, and a folding chair. We usually are able to rent a 10 x 10’ space. 
  • A collapsible folding utility wagon cart can help cut down on the number of trips you need to make for setting up your supplies. 
  • Rectangular black tablecloths show off your wares in style. A spiffy table scarf shows off the theme of your books and/or the season. Since we live in New Mexico, we use Southwest scarves, or scarves for the season. 
  • Often, depending on the number of authors sharing the space, room on and around the tables is limited. So, any seasonal decorations need to fit. Around holiday time I’ve draped a Santa hat on my book display, or have decorated with a sprig of holly, etc. Bright colors are a good idea for attracting potential customers to your table. 
  • A canopy for outdoor sales is a good idea. I purchased a blue Crown Shades 10x10 pop up canopy and have been pleased with it. US Weight Tailgater Canopy Weights helped keep our canopy from harm at one outdoor sale that was extremely windy.
Display 
  • Many different types of display stands are available on Amazon. I chose one (pictured below) that would allow customers to see the books at eye level so that they could browse more easily than if the books were simply stacked on the table.
  • Two-three 8 x 10” picture frames make a professional appearance for displaying special certificates your books may have been awarded, your price list neatly typed and easy to read, and also a photo or two of the characters in your books.
  • A banner, which can be created and purchased from local graphics shops or from a company such as VistaPrint, is a terrific way to draw people to your table.
  • Also, large posters of the front covers of your books can be made at Staples and displayed on stands near your table. Floor stand-up signs are a terrific way to advertise yourself and your books. A lack of space would be the only thing that would prohibit this type of advertising, but floor stand-ups are very effective.
Mobile Payments 
  • Be ready for sales made with good old-fashioned cash by going to the bank and having plenty of change. Square is a popular way to collect payments, or Square’s many other competitors.
  • Purchase a receipt booklet for customers who want a written receipt.
  • Purchase bags, found inexpensively on Amazon, which are appreciated by customers for your books and their other purchases.
  • Keep a supply of pens.
Incidentals
  • Every sale is different, and often you won’t know what to expect about what your space is like until you actually arrive. You will be glad you kept a supply of incidentals, which include:
        Hanging your banner: Often you pin your banner to the tablecloth at the front of your table.                     Sometimes you can hang it behind you if there is a wall or open space. Large safety pins for                    pinning your banner on your tablecloth through rivets on four corners of the banner
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape and stronger tape, bungee cords and plastic ties, and a step ladder for hanging your banner behind your table
  • Various size clips
Other incidentals 
  • Sharpie markers
  • A table-size white board for various notes, and dry-erase pens
  • A phone charge
  • Don’t forget your lunch, snacks, and water!
Last but Not Least: Ideas to spruce up your sales
  • Before each sale, I go through everything and to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything, and pack it in the easiest way possible. I take plenty of books. Extras that aren’t used for display are kept underneath the table.
  • I make sure I’ve put stickers from awards my books have won on each book.
  • I have purchased bright colored fabric bags and tissue paper for people who buy my books in bundles of four or five books. This idea has worked beautifully. Customers seem happy to have the fabric bag in addition to the books. The bright color bags are attractive displayed on the table as well. Selling books by the bundle has been a terrific sales approach.
  • I have also purchased bags for people who buy one or two books.
  • I have purchased, and in one case created, small swag gifts to go with each of my books. Here’s the breakdown: 
A Packrat’s Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift: A small owl, which is a character in the book.
Cradle in the Wild: I found a craft idea for making a bird’s nest online, which is the subject of this book purchased the materials, which include Spanish moss for the nest, small pom pom balls and wiggle eyes to look like birds, and packed the materials in zip-lock bags to hand out to customers who buy this book.
Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery: A pen with a fluffy, fuzzy top, to encourage writing in a diary.
Tall Boots: a four-leaf clover to signify 4-H. 4-H has endorsed this book. Membership in 4-H is encouraged.
Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me!: A small rubber duck.

Swag giveaways, such as bookmarks and flyers are always a good idea to keep handy for customers to take with them who aren’t ready to buy but want to stay in touch with you. Now, off you go on making local sales! What I enjoy most by making local book sales is reaching out to my local community and meeting my readers. This approach has been very rewarding for me in my quest to write articles and stories for children. I hope you will find your own reward in this approach, too.
Our book display stand
under our canopy at an
outdoor book sale

Linda Wilson is the author of the Abi Wunder Mystery series and other books for children. Her two new releases are Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me! (2022) and Cradle in the Wild: A Book for Nature Lovers Everywhere (2023). You’ll find Linda on her Amazon author page, on her website at LindaWilsonAuthor.com, and on Facebook.

Click the links for free coloring pages and a puppet show starring Thistletoe Q. Packrat. While you’re there, get all the latest news by signing up for Linda’s newsletter.  Connect                                with  Linda: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Gives Writers Nine Reasons To Love Amazon



Nine Big Reasons To Learn To Love Amazon

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, 
author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugallySeries of books for writers

 

Remember the little greeting card girl who looked like Pipi Longstockings? She put her hands on her hips, stamped her little foot, glowered out of the card at her audience and said “Get Over It!” That’s a little like I feel when I hear an author complain about Amazon. Not that I don’t understand their complaints, even sometimes agree with them. What worries me is that sometimes these authors resort to boycotting Amazon which leads to their selling their books out of their garages…or worse. Though what you might have heard about Amazon may be true, but we authors still need to take the advice of Pipi’s look-alike and “get over it.” For the good of our books. If you are one of those authors, here’s why Amazon is good for your book and by extension, good for your peace of mind, and, yes, good for your book sales

 

1.     Amazon sells far and away more books than any other online 
bookstore. And far and away more books than all traditional bookstores in the US combined.

2.     Amazon provides easily accessed associate sites from Japan to the UK that let you sell your books overseas—even if you haven’t sold foreign rights to your book.

3.     Amazon provides a search engine arguably second only to Google’s—especially if you view this statistic from the standpoint of an author or publisher. Your prospective reader can find you by typing your name, title, or important key words like your genre into the search window.

4.     Promotion packages like Amazon’s Vine Program are available for getting reviewed by their top reviewers. Some are free, some are costly, but they all work.

5.     Amazon offers an author profile. You can even feed your blog and Twitter stream to it and so your readers know more about you instantly. If you don’t have a profile page, go to AuthorCentral.com and explore how you can add all your books to it and a knock-out biography, too.

 

Tip: I include a shortened URL in my e-mail signature that takes my contacts directly to my Amazon author profile.

 

6.     Amazon offers all kinds of ways to promote your book on a dedicated buy page where your readers get to buy your book, often with one click. That page includes:

o    Add-on features that let you highlight your credentials by choosing the best categories and subcategories for Amazon’s logarithms to find and rate your sales numbers against other similar books. (To make the most of these, the author must promote bestselling ratings when they achieve them—perhaps on Twitter.)

o    A new feature is available on your Kindle buy page. It is called “Amazon Plus.” Either the author of a book or its publisher may add five enticing quotations from your book and illustrate each with an arresting image of your choice for entry. Find the A+ entries my publisher (Modern History Press) added for the Kindle version of The Frugal Editor or any of the other books in my HowToDoItFrugally series to get ideas for your own book(s). (It works equally well for books of fiction.)

o    There is a place on your buy page to install an author- or book- related video.

o    The “What other customers buy after they’ve reviewed this item…” feature may feel uncomfortably competitive, but it connects your book to other top sellers on Amazon as well as others’ books to yours.

 

7.   7.  Amazon’s Kindle Select marketing program is free if you can see your way to committing your book as an Amazon exclusive for ninety days. After that period is up, you can publish at Smashwords or anywhere else you want to and you can make marketing hay with the Select program when your book is released.

8.    8. Amazon offers an annual contest for e-books in partnership with some of the biggest names in publishing.

9.   9.  When you publish new editions, Amazon offers a widget (gadget) for your backlist book’s buy page that directs readers to your new editions. See how one leads you from the second edition of my The Frugal Editorto the new third edition at my buy page. (Find it a little below the title of the book at the top of the page.

 

Tip: You may enter some typical “back of the book” features on your buy page yourself. That includes the more about the author, your favorite review, and more. Do watch this important page for changes. Amazon adds features to it and also taketh away. (It’s also the place that lists your book sales ratings. 

 

Don’t Forget: When your book becomes a bestseller in the ratings (or highly rated in its genre!) that news can become highly convincing marketing material for your book. You’ll find a screen shot of one of the ratings Modern History Press recently made for me during the release of the third edition of The Frugal Editor at the top of this blog page.

###

About the Guest Blogger

 



Cover image supplied by Amazon on their new Series Page

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a frequent contributor to this #WritersontheMove blog. Her The Frugal Editorwas just released in its third edition from Modern History Press. It is the second multi award-winning book in her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. Find it on Amazon in paper, hard cover, or as an e-book at the new Amazon page especially for series . (That’s a new Amazon feature, too!) This new edition has been fully updated including a chapter on how backmatter can be extended to both help readers and jumpstart book sales.

If you liked this post, you’ll find more on marketing books in the third edition of Carolyn’s The Frugal Book Promoterthe flagship book in her how-to series for writers.

Children’s Writing and Publishing Process - The Traditional Path



Children’s books fall into one of three categories: picture books, middle grade, and young adult. There are genres, like board books and easy-readers, but I'm sticking to the first three I mentioned.

Along with this, children's writers need to take the necessary steps to achieve success whether aiming at traditional publishing or self-publishing.

In regard to traditional publishing, there are four steps in a writing career: writing, submissions to agents and publishers, book sales, and a writing career.

1. Writing

Actually writing, and all that it entails, is the basis of a career in writing, whether writing books, articles, becoming a ghostwriter, or copywriter. And, each of these career goals takes a number of steps that involve time and effort. But, we’re focusing on writing for children.

A. The first step is to write, but in addition to writing, the new writer will need to learn the craft of writing, along with the particular tricks of writing for children. Children’s writing is more complicated than other forms of writing. The reason is because you’re dealing with children.

Rules, such as age-appropriate words, age-appropriate topics, age-appropriate comprehension, storylines and formatting are all features that need to be tackled when writing for children.

Within the first step rung, you will also need to read, read, and read in the genre you want to write. Pay special attention to recently published books and their publishers. What works in these books? What type of style is the author using? What topics/storylines are publisher’s publishing?

Dissect these books, and you might even write or type them word-for-word to get a feel for writing that works. This is a trick that writers new to copywriting use – you can trick your brain into knowing the right way to write for a particular genre or field. Well, not so much trick your brain as teach it by copying effective writing. Just remember, this is for the learning process only – you cannot use someone else’s work, that’s plagiarism.

If you need extra help writing your story, check out my book on writing for children: How to Write a Children's Fiction Book.

B. The next step, number two, is to become part of a critique group and have your work critiqued. Critiquing is a two-way street; you will critique the work of other member of the critique group and they will critique yours. But, there are advantages to critiquing other writers’ works – you begin to see errors quickly and notice what’s being done right. This all helps you hone your craft.

C. Step three on the writing rung is to revise your manuscript according to your own self-editing and critiques from others. It’s also recommended to put the story away for a couple of weeks and then revisit it. You’ll see a number of areas that may need revising that you hadn’t noticed before.

D. It would also be advisable if you budget for a professional editing of your manuscript before you begin submissions. No matter how careful you and your critique partners are, a working editor will pick up things you missed.

2. Submissions

Before you think about submitting your work anywhere, be sure you’ve completed the necessary steps in number one. You’re manuscript needs to be as polished as you can possibly get it.

Submissions can fall into two categories: those to publishers and those to agents. In regard to submitting to agents, in a Spring 2011 webinar presented by Writer’s Digest, agent Mary Kole advised to “research agents.” This means to find out what type of agent they are in regard to the genre they work with and the agent platform they provide: do they coddle their authors, do they crack the whip, are they aggressive, passive, involved, or complacent. Know what you’re getting into before querying an agent, and especially before signing a contract.

Here are a couple of sites you can visit to learn about agents:

http://agentquery.com
http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/

The same advice works for submitting to publishers also. Research publishers before submitting to them. Know which genres of children’s books they handle and the type of storylines they’re looking for.

Whether submitting to a publisher or an agent, always follow the guidelines and always personalize the query. There may be times the guidelines do not provide the name of the editor to send the query to, but if you can find that information, use it.

According to Mary Kole, it’s also important to know how to pitch your story. This entails finding the story’s hook. Agents and publishers also want to know what the book’s selling points will be and what successful books it’s similar to. In addition, they will expect to be told what your marketing strategy will be. It’s a good idea to create an online presence and platform before you begin submissions; let the agents and publishers know you will actively market your book.

Along with the story’s hook, you need to convey: who your main character is and what he/she is about; the action that drives the story; the main character’s obstacle, and if the main character doesn’t overcome the obstacle, what’s at stake.

Kole recommends reading “the back of published books” to see how they briefly and effectively convey the essence of the story. This will give you an idea of how to create your own synopsis.

When querying, keep your pitch short and professional, and keep your bio brief and relevant. You will need to grab the editor or agent and make them want to read your manuscript.


3. A Contract and Book Sales

If you do your homework, your manuscript will eventually find a home. Don’t let initial rejections, if you receive them, deter you. A published writer may not be the best writer, but she is definitely a writer who perseveres.

After you sign a contract, you’ll be ‘put in queue’ and at some point begin editing with the publisher’s editor. From start to actual release, the publishing process can take one to two years.

A couple of months prior to your book’s release, you should begin promotion to help with book sales. After its release, you will want to take part in virtual book tours, do blogtalk radio guest spots, school visits (if available), and all the other standard book promotion strategies.

Be sure to also create your Amazon Author page and fill in everything you can to make readers aware of you and your books.

And, don't forget to get reviews. Book reviews help sell books. You can find out more about getting and using book reviews effectively with  How to Get Great Book Reviews by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

4. A Writing Career

Now, you’ve got your book and you’re promoting it like crazy (this is an ongoing process). The next and final step is to repeat the process. You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, so hopefully you’ve been writing other stories. If not, get started now. On average, an author writes a book every one to two years.

Along with keeping up with writing your books, having published books opens other writing opportunities, such as speaking engagements, conducting workshops and/or webinars, and coaching.

There are a number of marketers who say your ‘book’ is your business card; it conveys what you’re capable of and establishes you as an expert in your field or niche. Take advantage of these additional avenues of income.

 Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting and rewriting business and welcomes working with new clients.

For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact her at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

You can follow Karen at:
LinkedIn 
Twitter 

Check out Karen's newly revised How to Write a Children's Fiction Book.


MORE ON WRITING

Are You Too Busy?

Writing Tips from Story Genius

Overcoming Writing Distractions


 


Traditional Book Publishing - Contract to Sales to Career


You’ve chosen to write books, possibly children’s books, and you’ve done it right. You did your homework and learned the craft of writing. You created a polished manuscript and submitted it to publishers.


And, knowing it’s not necessarily the best writer who gets published, but the one who perseveres, you were steadfast and didn’t let initial rejections and lapse of time prevent you from moving forward.

Now, it’s finally happened - all your hard work paid off. A publisher accepted your book and you’re on your way.

But, this is far from the end of your writing journey . . . this is just the beginning.

After your book is accepted for publication, there are three steps you will go through on your writing journey . . . if you intend to make writing books a career.

1. The Book Contract

Once you get a publishing contract, you may want to sign it as soon as you can. 

DON’T DO IT!

Be sure to read the contract carefully before signing it. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. Once you’re sure everything in the contract is okay and you agree with it, sign away.

After you sign a contract, you’ll be ‘put in queue’ and at some point editing with the publisher’s editor will begin. This will most likely involve revisions to your manuscript. This is okay. It’s part of the process.

Keep in mind that the publisher wants your book to succeed as much as you do. Everything they do is to make it better.

After the story is revised, edited, and proofed, it’ll be ready to go. Depending on the genre you’re writing in, if it’s a children’s book, the publisher will have illustrations created. Your book will also need a book cover.

From contract to actual release, the publishing process can take around 18-24 months.

2. Book Promotion

Once you’re in the submission phase of your manuscript, even before you have a contract, you should begin creating an author website and platform. This will help you create visibility for you and your book. And, publishers want to know their authors are capable of promoting their own books.

You need to become a ‘blip’ on the internet radar. To create and maintain this ‘blip,’ you’ll need to post content to your site on a regular basis and use a number of other strategies to extend your promotional reach. This will include using social media.

After your book’s release, you will want to take part in virtual and real book tours, do radio guest spots (online and off), do school visits, and all the other standard book promotion strategies. You can do this on your own or you can hire a book promotion service or publicist, if it’s within your book marketing budget.

There’s much involved in book promotion, so if you can afford it make use of professionals. Just be sure to ask around for recommendations. You want to use a service or individual who knows what they’re doing and who will give you value for your money.

TIP: Book promotion generates book sales.

You can check out these articles for book marketing tips:

Book Marketing – The Foundation

What is an Author Platform and How Do You Create It?

3. A Writing Career

Now, you’ve got your children’s book and you’re promoting it like crazy (this is an ongoing process). This is super-exciting and the beginning of your writing career.

To have a writing career though, you need to repeat the process. This means you need to write and publish other stories. Ideally, you should have been writing a new story or stories when you were waiting to get a contract for your first manuscript. 

If you haven’t been writing new stories, get started now.

Keep in mind though that it’s not about quantity. It’s about quality.

You want to write good books. You want to take your time to make sure you create books that will engage the reader. Books that the reader will want to see what happens on the next page.

This will establish you as a good writer.

But, a writing career can also be about more than just book sales. It can open doors and lead to other writing opportunities. These opportunities include: speaking engagements, conducting workshops, teleseminars, webinars, and coaching. 

Summing It Up

Writing books, whether children’s books or other, is about learning the craft. And, if you’re taking the traditional publishing route, it’s about submitting to publishers and getting contracts. Then it’s about book marketing and repeating the process.

Keep your focus on your goal and persevere.




What Is More Valuable Than Fame

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) Many writers believe writing a book will make them famous. They believe getting their book into the market wi...