We speak often about special sales but few authors understand what that means or what it entails. So today let’s talk about selling your book in bulk. When you can sell a large quantity of titles outside of bookstores or library markets that is what is called specialty sales.
But how can an unknown author do that?
Step 1: Research
You have to find the right people to contact. Some corporations and most large retailers have book buyers that will make such decisions. But some companies may leave such decisions to their event and human resource managers. It depends are who you are targeting. For example, if you have a romance novel that might make a great Valentine’s Day promotion you might want to contact flower shops or candy stores. If it is a privately owned business, you could contact the manager of the store directly but if it is a large corporation like Godiva or Pro Flowers it will be harder to track the decision makers. This is where research is helpful. You will have to do some online investigation and probably make a few phone calls before locating the right person.
Other things to consider in doing your homework:
• Who is your audience?
• How can you package your book to benefit the buyer?
• Can you offer a large discount and still afford printing costs?
Step 2: Contact
Have a kit ready to pitch, mail or handout. You will need a one-page sheet about the book, and a color copy of the cover. The one-page should include an author bio, book description, and your 13-digit ISBN of your book. Make things easy for the potential buyer, provide them with the information they may need to make a decision and don’t forget your contact details.
It could take up to 3 months to hear about your query. Follow up after a reasonable amount of time if you don’t hear back but don’t pester. Also keep in mind that buyers are making purchase decisions up to nine months out.
Finally be open to rejections and learn from them. For instance, if a buyer says they liked the product but hated the cover, ask if you can resubmit the book with a new cover. If price is their concern have a backup cost to offer.
Step 3: Focus on Nonreturnable Sales
Special Sales can become expensive. Know your costs. Keep in mind that large chains like Target or Wal-Mart will be seeking a 55 percent discount on your book. Catalogs seek even higher discounts and some charge a fee to list your book. But if you can find markets to order several thousand nonreturnable copies of your book, even at a large discount and printing costs, you could make a nice profit.
If you don’t know how to negotiate to make these types of sales on your own, there are companies that for a fee or percentage will do it for you. APSS members can ask Brian Jud, our director, as this is his field of expertise. But if you want to tackle it on your own, I would suggest starting out small and then build up. So if you have a book about trains, make a list of all the places that might be interested in such a book: Museums, Amtrak, Travel Agencies, or Train Clubs.
Find the right person and try to strike a deal – remember nonreturnable is what you want to pitch.
Other things to consider:
• Offer books that will appeal to the widest audience in your niche
• Be creative – be open to other opportunities and services you can offer or package with your book and that will be beneficial to the business you have teamed with
• Don’t over commit and don’t underprice
As you can see, special sales are not easy but can be very profitable. As always here’s to your success and here’s hoping for BIG SALES. Good luck.
By Laura Dobbins – author of Global Ebook Winner for Book Marketing: Sell more Ebooks – How to increase sales and Amazon rankings using Kindle Direct Publishing. Dobbins also operates Kindle Book Promos, a site dedicated to promoting authors and their work: http://kindlebookpromos.luckycinda.com