Ninja Authors Start Selling Books Before It’s a Book
Selling should start before a book comes out. Savvy authors learn not to wait until they have a book in hand.
- Did you presell with your first book?
- How about with the eBook edition?
- Or, if you have an audiobook, did you do a pre-launch?
Savvy authors make special offers. To existing fans … to bring in new ones. Start with:
- Take orders before it’s printed. Pre-selling allows you to test the market response, your potential cover, add the price, and a link to preorder.
- On your website. Under your Book or Store tab, add the book to come—even if the cover and title aren’t finalized. You know what your concept and book is about. Write a short paragraph, add a few bullet points to eyeball catches. Orders are taken through your website—yes, you have one or will before your book comes out—a must-have on your Timeline.
- Create a flyer that you can distribute wherever you are. When people pre-pay, those funds should be used to offset your production costs. If you think you are going to price your book at $20, offer it to early buyers at $20 and include shipping as a freebie. That’s like getting a 25 to 30 percent discount if the buyer had to pay full retail plus shipping. Any resistance allows for tweaking—including a change in price. And, if there is no resistance to the $20, consider notching the price up a few bucks the next time you put your flyer out. When I published Money Smarts for Turbulent Times, my pre-flyer had it pegged at $15. Quickly, I saw that I had priced it too low. Over a three-month period, I had two price increases: to $20 then $25, finally settling at $25 when I went to print.
For those who had committed at the lower price, it was honored. My pre-pub flyer was posted on my website and a printed flyer was distributed whenever and wherever I spoke in person. Routinely, I was successful in covering the cost of the first printing run with my pre-sales.
- Pre-sell to groups that know you. If you are a speaker, distribute flyers everywhere you present; if you have an Internet following, tell your fans your news—you’ve got a book coming and because they are your fans or clients, they can order a copy at a special discount and receive it before others.
- Reach out for sponsorships. Your book may tie into a company or a product that would make it an ideal candidate for sponsorship or being used as a premium for a group. Sometimes it falls into your lap, other times, you need to pursue leads.
- Carry mailing labels when you are out, in-person. Why? It’s done—have your buyer has fill out the mailing label. All you need to do is attach labels to your book boxes or padded envelopes for shipping when the book is available. And the buyers are self-addressing it at the time of pre-purchase, meaning it’s their handwriting—so they should be correct.
Preordering isn’t exclusive to a printed book, don’t forget your eBook version and if you know an audiobook will be created, take preorders as well. iBook allows preorders up to 12 months prior to publication where Barnes & Noble and Kobo allow up to 9 months. Amazon only allows up to 3 months in advance of your eBook availability. Smashwords’ Mark Coker has created several guides to rocking eBook preorder strategy that you can find on its site: Smashwords.com. Do a search for “preorders” and “assetless.” FINAL TIP: Pre-selling your book gives you instant feedback … is the demand there? Do you need to adjust your price? You may discover those who want to preview/review your book. Bonus … always have a clipboard with a sheet that is designed to gather names and emails of all you meet.
Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 37 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences.
Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE.
Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.
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