Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How to Sell Books in Bulk

Most authors have dreams of making their book an instant bestseller...seeing their book fly off the shelves of bookstores and selling their books to throngs of fans at book signings. However, the average signing at a bookstore results in about six copies sold. That's right, six.

But what if I told you it is possible to sell hundreds, perhaps even thousands of copies of your book without stepping foot inside a bookstore? Authors are doing just selling their books in bulk.

I'm not talking about selling books out of the back of a truck, although that might work for you, too. No, these are sales directly to major companies which will use these books at premiums or "freemiums" for their employees and customers. A few examples:

1. If an author has written a book about personal finance and money management, they could approach a chain of banks or credit unions about the possibility of purchasing a quantity of books at a discount (probably 40-50 percent off the cover price) and giving those books to new customers who open a savings or checking account.

2. Perhaps the book is about time management, or leadership, or effective work habits. The author could approach major companies about purchasing a copy for every manager or employee in their company. If it's a large company, the quantities could number in the hundreds or thousands. Again, you would need to offer the books at discount.

3. If the book is educational in nature, such as a Bible study book, the author could develop a course to go along with the book and offer it to churches around the country. Of course, the book would be required reading for the course. You could develop the same type of strategy for books about money management, getting through a divorce, better communication with your spouse, etc.

4. If you do public speaking and you are active on the speaking circuit, but not yet getting paid for your speeches (or aren't commanding high fees yet), tell organizations that instead of charging for the speaking engagement, the cost of attendance is the purchase of your book, which of course is tied to the topic of your speech. Tell them their members are getting the "organizational discount" of 20 percent off the retail price. The books could either be purchased at the door by attendees or in bulk by the organization itself (you can sweeten the deal by offering a bigger discount if they buy in bulk). If they have 500 attendees at the speech, and your book's retail price is $10, you'll stand to make $4,000 off that speaking engagement if attendees buy books at the door.

5. If you have a book about dieting, try to partner with weight loss organizations or gyms. You could cross promote with the businesses by giving them books at a discount to give to their new customers for free when they sign up for a membership, and when you are selling books at other events you could agree to place a small ad for the gym or weight loss organization inside your book (a card some other type of insert would do). When customers sign up at the gym with that card, they would get a discount on the membership.

These are just a few ideas, but it gives you a starting point. Perhaps you have some similar ideas of your own, or you could develop some that would work specifically for your book. Instead of trying to sell a handful of copies to each retail store around the country, target a few large companies or organizations which will purchase your book in bulk by the thousands. It will require some sales skill on your part, and you will have to show the companies and organizations how YOUR book will benefit THEM. They must see value in what they are buying. For the authors that can strike these types of partnerships, the rewards can be great.


Beka DeWitt said...

Great tips! I'll definitely have to work on this aspect of selling. I enjoy reading your blog.

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