Writer Wednesday—Selling Books

Some book promo sites want you to have X number of reviews or stars in order to list your book. It’s a chicken-egg thing: how do you get the sales and the reviews so you can promote your book?

Places to sell books:

  1. Bookstores
  2. Other retailers
  3. Restaurants
  4. Professional offices
  5. Grocery stores
  6. Toy stores
  7. Kids’ event venues
  8. Teens event venues
  9. Any event venues
  10. Your place of work
  11. Fairs
  12. Festivals
  13. Farmers’ markets
  14. Museums
  15. Gift shops
  16. Mall kiosks
  17. Bowling alleys
  18. Roller rinks
  19. Ice rinks
  20. Your front yard

Yes, the list is a bit redundant, but the idea is to get you thinking. I knew an author who carried a table, chair, and a box of books around in her trunk and could set up a booth in two minutes flat. And it worked.

The next step, of course, is getting permission to sell books at any or all of these places. You have to actually talk to someone—I know it’s hard, but it’s the only way.

Many of them, you can simply call; they’ll have a policy about these kinds of things and they can tell you right away if it’s allowed.

For most of them, it’s better if you just go there. In person. Come out of your home or office or shell, put on pants, and go. Make a list first and map out your locations and do them all in one or two or seven days. Keep a calendar with you so you can write down the bookings you get. Yes, you’ll get some. Be optimistic!

Sure, it’s a lot of work. You have to call and visit and talk and plan and carry a box of heavy books. And you have to have change and, preferably, a way for book buyers to pay via credit card. Google that.

Is your career worth it? Or is it enough to have written and published the book? If it’s the former, get busy! If it’s the latter, please speak to your publisher and ask if he or she is okay with you sitting on your butt. Go ahead. I dare you.

Another way to sell books is to blog regularly—at least once a week, but not constantly. Pick what works for you and just do it already. However, you also must have topics that are pertinent to your writing career or to your books. Don’t just slap down posts, willy-nilly. And make sure they’re all around 500 words, minimum. Okay, 400. Just don’t do three sentences and call it a day. That’s not a blog post, that’s a status update.

And as long as we’re mentioning status updates, puh-lease—a few a day is fine. Constant posting is annoying. I’ve un-followed established authors for this. Their so-called pearls of wisdom are more yawn-inducing than anything, and they keep me from seeing more interesting stuff.

Also, don’t link all your social media accounts. That accomplishes exactly the same thing—an overflow of stuff from you. First, we get something on Instagram; then LinkedIn; then Twitter; then Facebook; then Pinterest. All coming down one newsfeed. Over and over.

For Pete’s sake, who wants to read your book after they’ve heard you yacking all day already?

And finally, make yourself an expert. In what? I don’t care—pick something. Pick several somethings, just be sure you can back that up. Did you write historical fiction? You’re a history buff. Romance? Whisper sweet nothings. YA? You know about teens.

Add a page to your website or blog and advertise your speaking services. Yes, people will pay for that. Yes, you can almost always sell books wherever you’re speaking, such as schools, business meetings, clubs, and so forth.

Note: I really wish I could find some substantiated statistics on how many sales it takes to garner one book review. If anyone has a link, I’d appreciate it!



2 comments on “Writer Wednesday—Selling Books

  1. Girl, your style cracks me up. I remember when I made arrangements to drive down to meet you for the first time at the store. No idea what to expect. I couldn’t have imagined that day the friendship that would grow from that first meeting. 🙂


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