Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Exhibit at Book Industry Tradeshows

BookExpo One of the best ways to promote a book to bookstore buyers and librarians is for them to see the book in person at a major industry tradeshow. Read on for information about the most important shows and tips on how to participate on a budget.
There are several large shows in the U.S. geared toward booksellers and librarians, including:

•  Book Expo American (BEA – geared to booksellers)

•  Christian Retail Show (CBA)
•  American Library Association Annual Conference (ALA)

•  American Library Association Midwinter Conference (ALA)

•  Public Libraries Association (PLA – in even-numbered years)

•  Association of College and Research Librarians (ACRL – in odd-numbered years)

•  American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

•  Texas Library Association (TLA - the largest of the state shows)

•  Other state and regional library shows

The major international book shows, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair, focus largely on international book sales and the sale of foreign and translation rights to books. For the national and international shows, nonfiction books probably have a higher chance of success.

How to Exhibit at Book Shows
The expense of exhibiting in person at the major shows is usually prohibitive for independent publishers, however it may be beneficial to participate in your state library association show, especially if it’s held nearby and you are able to share a booth with one or two other publishers. Be sure to find out if show management permits booth sharing, and don’t be shy about asking if your book would be a good fit for their audience. For example, I have found that there are a lot of children’s and young adult librarians in attendance at the Texas Library Show.

The most economical way to participate in the major shows is through a co-op booth, where books from a number of different small and independent publishers are displayed together. You pay a fee (typically around $50 to $100) and ship your book to the booth sponsor. They take care of shipping the books to the show, displaying them in the booth, staffing the booth, and providing literature to the visitors. These organizations provide co-op display services at a number of national, international and regional shows:
•  Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

•  Combined Book Exhibit
•  Jenkins – Global Book Shows
•  Association Book Exhibit In addition to library shows, Association Book Exhibit participates in some other professional association conferences. If you're a nonfiction publisher, check out their list of conferences to see if any match up to your book's topic.

If a book industry tradeshow is being held near where you live, it’s a great learning experience to attend the show. Contact show management to find out if authors or publishers are allowed to attend.

For tips on how to sell more books at book fairs and tradeshows, see these articles:

The 12 Commandments of Selling Books at Book Fairs, Conventions and Festivals by Terry Cordingley

12 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events by Penny S Sansevieri 

Photo credit: through Flickr Creative Commons.
Drawing on her 16 years of publishing experience and degree in marketing, Dana Lynn Smith helps authors learn how to promote their books through her how-to guides, one-on-one coaching, blog, and newsletter. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter and also get a free copy of her latest ebook, Savvy Book Marketing Secrets: 52 Experts Share Insider Tips for Selling More Books

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guest Post: Selling Books to Schools

Selling Books to Schools

Selling Books to Schools

By Barbara Techel

As authors, part of our goal is to sell books, and as children's book authors, selling books through school visits is a wonderful way to do this, though it can have its challenges.

Some schools for various reasons, will not sell books. Period. Some reasons are that it is not fair to those kids whose parents can't afford to buy them or they may just not know how to organize a sale.

So how do authors make it easier for schools to sell their books? Because as we know, we feel an autographed copy a child receives inspires them to be a reader, as well as helps them to grow.

Some schools may feel it is a hassle, so it is up to authors to eliminate that hassle. As an author, as well as independent publisher, I've designed a custom order form to make it easier, which any author can do whether self-published or published through a publishing house.

I instruct the organizer, which is typically a parent, teacher or librarian that the book order form should be sent home two weeks before my visit. They handle taking care of collecting the money and order forms. Three to four days before my visit I call or email to see how the book sale is going so I have an idea of how many books to have with me the day of my visit. This also helps if a large quantity is pre-sold that I can inscribe my personal message inside each book before my actual visit, which helps save on time.

After my presentation, I handle signing sold books. I place the order slip in with each corresponding book sold to make it easier for the organizer to distribute. I always carry 100 books of each of my titles in the back of my car. If a school sells more than 100 copies of my books they know beforehand from my information I share with them that those will be drop shipped to the school and name plates will be forwarded within 5-10 days.

Some schools may want to arrange an actual book signing with kids lining up to get their copy personally signed by you. This is a wonderful way to connect with kids during that autographing session. But if this is not possible, or selling books two weeks before your visit is something the school is against doing, encourage consideration of having your books in the library as well as a copy or set in each classroom.
Often times, especially given the tough economic times, I don't pre-sell many books even with the help and enthusiasm of the school and organizer. So to encourage more book sales, I ask if the school is willing to send out another notice after my visit and I will pay for shipping of books to the school. Quite often I have been pleasantly surprised with many more orders.

If you don't carry inventory of your books, you can still help the organizer's task easier in helping sell your books. When you send out your contract you can send a list of booksellers in their area. Supply them with the title of your book, the ISBN, the price and a brief synopsis. If they choose this route, offer them a copy of your book order form so that they can customize to their needs for collecting orders in this way.
Books can also be ordered through the publisher which offers schools the best discount. All you will need to do is provide the organizer with your publisher's name, phone, and or email to make it easy for them to contact the publisher.

So the key is being proactive in helping make the job of the organizer's as easy as possible to help sell your books. By doing so, your books will have a great chance of becoming a permanent part of a young child's library and life.

For a sample of a book order form send an email request to

Barbara Techel is the award-winning author of the Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog book series. She has shared her story of hope and inspiration about her dachshund, Frankie, who is in a wheelchair, with thousands of children and adults since 2007. Barbara is also a speaker and publisher. Barbara and Frankie are also avid volunteers as a therapy dog team and routinely visit a local hospice community, hospital, and senior assisted living facility. To learn more how to sell more books through author visits visit

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