During the next several weeks we’re going to dig into some marketing insight, tips, and insider advice to help you sell more books! Are you ready?
First I want to clear up one misconception:
THE BIGGEST MISTAKE AUTHORS MAKE WHEN MARKETING THEIR BOOK IS MARKETING THEIR BOOK….
No, you didn’t read that wrong. You should never, ever, ever market your book. You should only market what the book can do for your reader.
All of the things we’ll show you during the next several weeks will help you leverage into that form of marketing and, make you more successful in the process. Don’t believe me? Give these tips a shot and see for yourself. If you do them all as they are outlined, they are guaranteed to work. No kidding.
How to Sell More Books at Events
So you got a book event, great! Now you want to maximize it, right? You’ve heard your writing buddies (or perhaps read online) about the lack of attendance at signings so figuring out how to maximize the event, regardless of the numbers might be tricky. While I spend a lot of time addressing online marketing, the offline component is one you shouldn’t overlook and if book events are where you want to focus, then bringing in some ideas to help you sell more books is something you should consider.
If you have an event coming up, consider these ideas before you head out:
- Marketing: First and foremost is the marketing of your event. But I’m not talking about the marketing you do in the media (though that is great too) I’m speaking of in-store marketing, this is what most folks seem to overlook. This is where you supply things to the store to help them market your event. Because the first phase of a successful event is driving people to it. Here are a few thoughts.
- Do bag stuffers: You can easily do this in your favorite computer program, do two up on a page, meaning that you use one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper to do two fliers. You’ll want to ask the store first if they mind that you provide this, most stores or event venues don’t.
- Bookmarks: While most in the industry see these as passé, people still love them. You can do bookmarks and bag stuffers (or staple them to the flier) or you can do custom bookmarks with the date and time of your event. Nowadays it’s pretty easy to get these done cheaply. Keep in mind that if you are having the event in a mall or other type of shopping area, you might be able to drop the bookmarks (or bag stuffers) off at the nearby stores to see if they’ll help promote the event.
- Book signings are boring: Regardless of where you do the event, plan to do a talk instead of a signing. People are drawn into a discussion and are often turned off by an author just sitting at a table. Marketing is about message and movement so stand up and speak. If speaking in public is intimidating to you, go to Toastmasters or some other local networking/speaking group and see what you can learn.
- Unique places: If you want to get more attention for your event, consider doing events in unique places. We’ve done them in video stores, electronics stores, gyms, even restaurants (on slow nights), doing outside-the-bookstore events is a great way to gain more interest for your talk. Why? Because you aren’t competing with everyone else at the bookstore for your crowd. When you do an event at a locale that doesn’t normally do events, you’ll gather more people just because it’s considered “unique.”
- Make friends: Get to know the bookstore people, but not just on the day of the event. Go in prior and make friends, tell them who you are and maybe even hand them your flier or bookmark (or a stack if you can). Often stores have Information Centers; see if you can leave some fliers there instead of just at the register. Getting to know the people who are selling the book is a great way to help gather more people into your event. If your event isn’t in a bookstore but attached to a shopping area or mall, go around to the stores (and perhaps you did this when you passed out the fliers) and let them know you have an event and what can you do to help them promote it. If you can rally the troops to help you market your talk, you could triple the numbers of people at your event. No kidding.
- Book pairing: One way you might be able to round up is by pairing your book with a freebie. When I paired Red Hot Internet Publicity with a second, but smaller, marketing book I took the awkward pricing of $18.95, bumped it up to $20 (so 2 books for $20) and quadrupled my sales after an event. Now the pairing doesn’t have to be a book, it can be a special report or even an eBook that you send to them after the event.
- Ease of purchase: Aside from pricing, if you’re doing your own check out make sure that you have many ways consumers can buy your book. I take credit cards at the event, checks and cash. Don’t limit yourself as to what you can take or you will limit your sales.
- Post event wrap up: So the event is over, what now? Well, if you got attendees to sign up for your newsletter (you did do that, right?) and now it’s time to send a thank you note for attending and remind them (if they missed the chance at the event) to buy a copy of your book at the “special event price.”
Speaking and book events are great ways to build your platform, but if you aren’t selling books there’s little point in doing them. For many of us, our book is our business card and thus, if we can sell our “business card” we can keep consumers in our funnel. If your book isn’t your business card you still want readers, right? So the marketing both post and during an event is crucial to building your readership. While it’s easy to say that events sell books, they often don’t. I find that if you don’t “work it” you often will find your time wasted. Seek the opportunities when they are made available to you and then maximize them when they are, you’ll be glad you did!
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