I used to think that marketing and sales were the same thing, but they are not. Marketing is where you introduce someone to a product and answer their questions about that product. Sales, on the other hand, is where the individual actually picks up your product. Sales are where you actually make your money from writing books. Sometimes marketing and sales can occur at the same time. For instance, it can occur at the back table after a conference. Another example is the display racks at the checkout stand in a store. Most of the time, however, marketing takes place separate from the sales.
Selling at Retail Stores
I have discovered that there are enough people who still prefer to read printed books that it makes sense to me to sell physical copies of my books in various types of places. You do have to watch pricing though. Often stores want 40% which can cut a lot into profits. Others want you to sell on consignment.
Bookstores-Through my online printer, I can get my books into book catalogs in stores like Barnes and Nobles. This way if someone wants to buy one of my books, they could buy it through them. If I want, I can get my books into independent book stores around the country. In addition, I could also contact these independent bookstores about having a book signing in their stores.
Mom and Pop Stores-It is virtually impossible for anyone to get their self-published books in the big box stores like Walmart or Target, but you may have luck with Mom and Pop stores. You might have to sell on consignment though.
Cooperatives and flea markets-For a small monthly fee and a commission, you may be able to sell your books in one of these places.
Tourist locations-If like me your book takes the reader to a specific location in place or history, consider going to sell your book at tourist places in that local. Ask at a bed and breakfast or small locally owned motel if you can offer a couple of your books for sale, with a commission for them, of course.
Restaurants and truck stops-If you are at a restaurant or a truck stop that sells books like yours, ask to speak to the management about selling your books there too.
Airports-I don’t know if I would be able to do this, but I have always wanted to try to get my books into airports.
Hospitals Sometimes hospitals have gift shops that sell books. If you have one that does, it never hurts to ask.
Churches-Some churches have libraries and if your book is appropriate, perhaps they will buy a copy of your book(s).
Regarding direct sales, it is important to remember that you will be required to charge sales tax just as retail outlets do. In most states (including the one where I live), it is the law.
Out of the trunk of your car– Don’t laugh. I have done it several times. If someone asks me for a copy of one of my books, I always want to have a few available for sale if someone asks.
Libraries-Different libraries have different protocols. Email individual ones to discover how to proceed.
At back tables at speaker events Never let a speaking opportunity pass you by that you don’t try to sell a few books at the back after your speech.
At local festivals or farmer’s markets-some are picky about what they are willing to let you sell, but it never hurts to ask.
Places To Sell Online
Barnes and Noble nook
Smashwords-On smashwords you can put your book into almost any e-book format that is currently available. You can even create your own store on this site and help sell books for others as well (with a commission, of course.) You could even solicit others to put your book on their site if you put their book on yours.)
Your Website– You could sell using pdf or some other format directly from your own website.
Clickbank-for some people it works for others, not so much.
Other people’s websites
Where To Never Try To Sell Books
Directly On Social Media– market on social media, but never try to sell. That’s just tacky. (And it doesn’t work either.)
At your brother’s wedding or your father’s funeral (actually, I gave away a couple of books at my brother’s funeral to one of my cousins, but that’s different.)
At Work– unless someone asks you for a copy and you do it on your break. Don’t however solicit at work, you might have to depend on writing as your full time job sooner than you anticipated.
Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.