Number 1 tip for selling books

Following my high praise for my best book stockist yesterday, today I have experienced the other end of the scale – my worst.When I sold out of Write About Me books over a month ago at this particular bookstore, I was quick to replenish supplies. As part of my regular follow up to my stockists when some get low I found out today that the books were still sitting behind the counter. It’s impossible to sell books if they’re under the counter.

So although it is bleedingly obvious, my number 1 hint for bookstores to sell more books is: Put them on the shelf.

bookstore

 

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The art of selling books – hints from an author and her best stockist

I am still new to the fiction writing market. Although I’ve been writing my whole life through my journalism career and media business, I am a debutante self-published author. Since launching my debut novel Write About Me last year, I have stumbled and raced at rapid speed around the steep learning curve of selling books.

Today I had an enlightening conversation with my most favourite stockists of Write About Me as I hand-delivered their 8th order of books in 6 months. This has prompted me to share with other bookstores and stockists of books the art of selling paperbacks for new authors. 

Selling books is not rocket science, but the reality is that books don’t sell themselves unless of course you are Jodi Picoult, J.K. Rowling or Hannah Kent. But until an author reaches global domination, they need to be continually working with their stockists at how to best reach their target market – readers.

MJP_FB header Feb 14Hint 1. Just because you are stocking a fantastic book which is a #1 bestseller, has been seen on television, in newspapers, magazines and every social media platform known to man (as is the case with Write About Me) – doesn’t mean your customers will have heard of it. Talk to your customers about the book, let them know you have a #1 bestseller in your store. This will immediately get their attention.

Hint 2. Ask the author for signed copies. If a customer knows it is personally signed they will be more inclined to purchase.

Hint 3. Keep in touch with your authors. Know what they’re up to. Follow them on Facebook, twitter, Instagram or whatever social media platform is your favourite. That way you can share with your customers all the excitement that’s happening around that book and any future books they’re working on.

Hint 4. Read the book. Know what it’s about so you can tell your customers a little bit more about it. Share some of the highlights and pass on what others are saying about it. Write a review and stick it to the shelf in front of the books. Invite your customers to submit reviews and stick them to the shelf.

Hint 5. Be realistic about how many you can sell. If you’ve genuinely made the decision to stock the book, it is in your best interest to sell as many as you can so you can collect your commission. But don’t expect every book to sell out on the first day. Just because your author is not Bryce Courtenay or Stephen King, doesn’t mean their book is not a great read. It just takes a little more effort to spread the word.

It makes sense for stockists and authors to work together to sell books – it’s a win win for both. You never know, your debut author might be the next big thing to hit the book scene. And you can be rest assured, it will be the stockists who went the extra mile to sell 50 books that your author will remember when she’s selling 50,000.

 

 

Australian stockists of Write About Me

Thank you to all the wonderful stockists and bookstores of Write About Me. It is very exciting to see it on the shelves next to other favourite books of mine, and to get your calls asking for more books!! Bookstores have to work very hard to keep books on their shelves, so please support these independent stores by buying your very own copy! And don’t be afraid to ask for a signed book  – I’d be more than happy to sign one and send it to your favourite bookstore for you.

Follow this link for a full list of stockists and keep your eye on this blog for profiles on some of these great independent bookstores!

Related articles – although two of these articles are from the US, I believe they ring true no matter where you are in the world: