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04 Feb



10 Action Steps To Sell Your Book

February 4, 2006 | By | 8 Comments


Mother in the Middle

HarperCollinsPublish and Peddle . . .or Perish: A Sales Guide to Selling your Book. A few years ago Your Business Blogger advised a number of academic authors on the marketing of books. I compared the professors with peddlers:

The copier sales guy drives onto your campus and glides into the reserved vendor parking zone.

He’s got 2/3rds of your IQ points, but makes three times the money, and he’s the one with the assigned parking space.

The university professor published a book. And is really smarter than the copier guy, maybe.

But the guy in a tie has got an expense account and company car.

So what’s the difference?

He sells.

It is not enough these days to produce and publish, it also needs to be purchased. With your book your CV will be expanded, scholarship advanced, your work cited or your tenure ticket punched.

But to change the world, filthy lucre must change hands.

So how many books have to be sold? A university press will need 800 book sales to barely break even. A civilian publisher, absent the university subsidy, would need higher sales to cover your book advance and their higher cost of capital as well as PR costs.

Work to sell 800 and you will be a hero. A marketing mind set of simple daily behaviors will get you past that 800 and on to 8,000. Pick up a pen . . .get ready to pick up the phone — following are ten action items:

1. Feature your book on your web site and blog.

2. Issue a press release.

3. Include on your syllabus.

4. Write your own copy.

5. Submit your work to your network.

6. To sell 800 books, write 800 words.

7. Rap with the Reps.

8. Schedule a book signing.

9. Memorize your 8 second sound cites.

10. Book hook for bookers and lookers.


credit: Policy Review1. Feature your book on your web site and blog. Marketing consists of reach, frequency and awareness. Your web site can have the greatest reach of your marketing plan. Include the image of your cover, an introduction, perhaps a first chapter and blurbs. Google yourself — now — and register if your site doesn’t appear. Also place and link your book on others’ web sites. Ask your publisher or publicist to load and link with Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

2. Issue a press release. A good press release will tell people how FAB your book is — the features, advantages and benefits. Remember, your book is a commodity; a bar of soap, or a piece of real estate to be packaged, promoted, positioned, priced, and peddled.

Features — what it is, a description

Advantages — what it does

Benefits — answers the “So what?” question. Faster; Better; Cheaper.

The press release will include a description of the intended audience, a short bio of the author, and previous books. Your release should be one page and be newsworthy.

Don’t bury your lead, follow a hierarchy with the most important point first, progressing to least important — when cutting for space, newspaper editors edit from the bottom up.

Be sure to use the quotes of experts commenting on your work that you worked hard to get.

Have your institution send out the press release and get an electronic copy posted to your web site. Then email an alert to your Christmas card list.

A typical Congressman will have 1500 names on his holiday list, you don’t need quite these numbers to compete in a different kind of popularity contest. A good outlook on your Outlook will improve your outreach.

3. Include on your institution’s syllabus. You’ve already done this, of course. But with your book on your syllabus, and all your courses posted on your web site — will help you turn up on search engines. Remember to remind your faculty friends, and enemies, to include your book on the reading lists for other courses.

This is the easiest method of getting to 800 sales without setting up a book table in the grad lounge (although this might be a good idea).

4. Write your own copy. You wrote the book, now write the Cliff Notes. This can be the most challenging item, like writing your own obituary. If you want a good book review, a good blurb, a good softball question, write it yourself and give it away. To whoever owns the ink or the mike.

You do the work, they get the credit. Just like a typical committee meeting. This is the only way your book will be done right.

Your next introduction to the Kiwanis Club will have the Master of Ceremonies holding up your book and reading a glowing two minute introduction of your brilliant accomplishments. . . that you wrote and handed to him under the table.

The MC looks smooth; you sell books. History was very good to Winston Churchill because he wrote it himself.

5. Submit your work to your network. Press or media kits should be assembled and sent with a handwritten cover note to the radio, network and cable outlets. Your kit should include the press release, bio, articles about you, your blurbs and any reviews, publicity photo and the book itself if appropriate.

Use excerpts of your book if your supply is limited. Solicit and include testimonials; what readers are saying about your book. Include frequently asked questions and answers as show prep for interviewers, fact sheet about the book, ISBN, and number of pages.

Also include clip art of your book cover and your web address. All of this info should be on your web site with a high resolution photo. Have a short video clip ready.

After spilling your own barrel of ink, go meet some people. It’s not what you know . . .it’s not who you know . . .it’s who knows you.

It’s not whose business cards you have, but who has yours. Go insert your card into some one else’s rolodex.

1. Make yourself able, available and willing as a speaker to any church group.

2. Give talks to specialized associations and civic organizations.

3. If your book is really controversial, hold a press conference.

4. Alert your professional associations and alumni organizations.

5. Lecture at the “.org’s,” on-line education entities and for profit companies.

6. To sell 800 books, write 800 words. No one has time to write a short letter. But a short opinion editorial with your byline as author with your book title is a good leveraged hit. A guideline in advertising tells us that a buyer needs seven exposures to a product before making a purchase decision.

There is help in getting this marketing frequency. Start with the people who will make money off you. . .the sales reps.

7. Rap with the Reps. While you’re schmoozing with the big dogs reviewing strategy and marketing, be sure to remember tactics and sales. Meet the publisher’s sales manager and her sales reps.

These are the guys with the feet on the street who do the wholesale selling to the bookstores and major accounts. “Your” sales team will recommend your title(s) if they know that you are working as hard as they do.

And they will know you are working because you will tell them about the events you are scheduling.



8. Schedule a book signing. The fastest and best endorsement is the personal recommendation through word of mouth. Call your favorite bookstore and offer to speak. About your book.

We live in an information age, run on a service economy where books are bought on line.

But for something really important like, say, graduation ceremonies, real people show up.

There is a greater chance that books will be sold In Real Life in a face-to-face close.

And sign every book possible. These count as sales; they might be sold, they might end up in the remainder bin, but such “altered” books are not sent back to the publisher.

Work with your bookstore host; attention to detail will sell. For example, smart bookstores would arrange for child care when attending a book-signing about motherhood. Collaborate with the book store on alerting the local media and the .edu’s and student newspapers in town.

This is leg work that your publicist might do — a big outfit like Planned Television Arts, a division of Ruder Fin, would need $15K to get started, and some $3K/city to haul you around. More likely, it will have to be you.

Well, even with their help, it still has to be you. As good a job as they do, your publisher will expect you to do most of the PR yourself. Much like your dean.

The real value of booking signings is that this shows your publisher that you are serious about selling. The publisher will push books into the stores; you will pull them out — or sign them out.

Your signature can telegraph an added value in addition to being a coveted autograph. In this new age of electronic mail messages the handwritten note and envelope is nearly unknown.

Be sure to thank the bookstore. With stye. Your untyped thank you note, fountain pen on fine paper, will be rare, appreciated and suitable for framing, an artifact from a more civilized era: an author who does the little things.

And can say things little — in 8 seconds . . .

9. Memorize your 8 second sound cites. Big books should be broken down into sound bites made simple and memorable for citations. The broader the audience, the simpler the message.

When FLOTUS Nancy Reagan was speaking to 8 million potheads, she used three words: “Just say no.”

When speaking to the 800,000 elite readers of the Wall Street Journal use 800 words.

When talking to the four million viewers of Politically Incorrect, use 8 seconds.

And when speaking to a large, large audience — just like a survey class — cartoons illustrate your theme. 800 pound gorillas write in 800 word articles and speak in 8 second sound bites.

10. Book hook for bookers and lookers. Every show producer has a box to fill for a segment.

When a print reporter contacts you about a story he’s working on, he’s got a box to fill.

You’ve got a (simple) hook to grab them. You fit in the box. They already have the story written. You fit in the box. Your byline on the printed page or the small screen: “author of…”

Remember: your audience has an eighth-grade education. It’s got to be fast. And easy.

Your visual hook will be your book cover. It should be designed to be seen at a distance by browsers in bookstores. A cover gets eight seconds before a customer will pick up the book or pass. A well-designed cover is easily seen on a TV monitor. Make sure your publisher has run your book jacket by the sales team. People really do judge a book by its cover.

Numbers count. This is your report card. Every day pick one of the action behavior items listed and pick up the phone; pick up a pen and get started. Do this and your work will make a difference, even if you don’t get a reserved parking space.

Persistence every day will pay.


Was this helpful? Do comment.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

See media calendar selling Charmaine’s book on extended entry.

Planned Television Arts, PTA, a division of Ruder Finn, one of the top publicity firms in the world, is where Tom Peters and Charmaine go for PR.

Not all good books come out of the academy. See Brian Gongol’s 10 Big Answers You Won’t Get From Politicians.

Don Surber has best Saturday posts.

Basil’s Blog has a Saturday picnic.

Robin Good has more for on-line publishing.


Read More

25 Jan



The Customer Buying Cycle: In 20 Easy Steps

January 25, 2006 | By | 3 Comments


Kirby Vacuum Cleaners35 Years ago Your Business Blogger was a door-to-door salesman. Peddling vacuum cleaners.

Cold calling. Mocked by Seth Godin.

But cold-calling worked. Here’s how.

It was helpful if the prospect 1) heard of the Kirby product, or 2) was referred to me.

Awareness shortened the sales cycle.

In both marketing and sales, London businessman Thomas Smith outlines the challenge in this cascade.

1. The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.

2. The second time, they don’t notice it.

3. The third time, they are aware that it is there.

4. The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.

5. The fifth time, they actually read the ad.

6. The sixth time, they thumb their nose at it.

7. The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.

8. The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”

9. The ninth time, they start to wonder if they may be missing out on something.

10. The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.

11. The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.

12. The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.

13. They thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.

14. The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.

15. The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.

16. The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.

17. The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.

18. The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.

19. The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.

20. The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.


credit: growabrainI like to come in at step 20.


If I was persistent I was able to compress the complete cycle into a single day. But it took shoe leather.

If I knocked on 100 doors in a day, 3 prospects would invite me in for a demonstration: 1 would buy.

Persistence and a trusted brand can speed sales. It was true decades ago.

Centuries ago.

Thomas Smith wrote The Customer Buying Cycle in 1885.


Was this helpful? Do comment.

Consider a free eMail subscription for this site.

Thank you (foot)notes:

credit: Nancy LaJoice at the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce.

Linc-Biz has list.

And see Online with Louise Ripley

Maneuver Marketing gets it right. As usual.

Bookmark growabrain. Worth your time.

I’ve never really trusted a sales or marketing guy until he’s sold cold. After having doors closed. Literally.

Laptop Loss Leader

November 25, 2005 | By | No Comments


Today is Commerce Day, which is celebrated on the Friday following Thanksgiving Thursday. The day was instituted to satisfy pent-up demand that accumulated over the mid-week consumer diversion to Sam’s Club (for food-stuffs), away from Wal-Mart (for all other-stuffs).

So Charmaine pulls up Drudge and relates how AP reports:

At a Best Buy Co. Inc. store at CambridgeSide Galleria, in Cambridge, Mass., the line of about 400 shoppers snaked through the indoor mall for the 5 a.m. store opening, a scene that was played out across the country.

Que-ed consumers were:

…enticed by deals such as a Toshiba Corp. laptop computer, with a 15-inch screen, that was $379.99

Sales ends at noon. We’re outta here.

Happy Commerce Day to you and yours!


Was this helpful? Do comment.

Consider a bookmark for this site.

Thank you (foot)notes:

Charmaine working Reasoned Audacity.

Revenue Magazine has Shop ‘Til You Drop.

Challies has Black Friday.

Basil’s Blog has dessert.

The Big Picture has Mixed Confidence (and big spending today).

Don Suber After Hours (new name as line extension) has Tide Lifting and is working today.

Stop the ACLU has Thankful List from Real Teen.

Grow a Brain has Thanksgiving Everybody and good time management advice.

Sister Toldjah has Thanksgiving – check out sale items from her commenters. Wal-Mart always has deals.

Being a Pest

October 25, 2005 | By | No Comments




Chamber of Commerce

Your Business Blogger has been on both sides of the table as buyer and seller in government procurement. Today I worked with a client selling to the public sector, working at the Baltimore/Washington Area Government Procurement Fair.

Follow-up and persistence is key for selling in any market. But are the rules different in government sales? In particular, when are you making a pest of yourself?

Gloria Berthold, President of TargetGov gave a compelling presentation, reminding small business owners that some government selling has lengthy, challenging sales cycles. What is needed?

“Persistence, Persistence, Persistence,” she says.

Gloria reminds us that sales reps often quit too soon. They will bail out before they get tossed out.

Persistence. I was fortunate to have a trainer over two decades ago who taught how to measure persistence. In the high-pressure elite cadre of medical sales:

If you’re not getting thrown out of an account once a month, you’re not working hard enough.

This is always a challenge: balancing being nice, with being good . . .and persistent.

Sorry. Being nice is over-rated. Your Business Blogger always recommends being good.

Email me and let me know what worked for you. Nice gets nothing. Good gets the gold.


Was this helpful? Please comment.

Thank you (foot)notes:

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Stop the ACLU has a trackback party.

Cao’s Blog has trackbacks.

The Political Teen has Open Trackbacks.

Haley Barbour Finds a Friend

October 10, 2005 | By | One Comment


David Crouse runs a terrific concrete company in Kentucky. And tells the story of getting in trouble — and out of trouble — by “finding a friend.”

Finding friends just as Haley Barbour did after Hurricane Katrina.

David was driving his new Lincoln out-of-state and bending the speedometer needle past 100 hurrying home. His passenger was The Judge. They were stopped by the state police and issued a citation with a required court appearance.

David didn’t mind the fine but he couldn’t show up in court: he had concrete to pour. But it was the weekend and all official offices were closed. What to do?

The Judge says, “Stop at the next town; we gotta find a friend.”

So they stopped at the State Farm Insurance office on Main Street, made introductions to the agent on duty and told their dilemma. Of course they quickly established rapport and mutual friends — six degrees of separation and all.

The insurance agent knew the local law enforcement (his brother, I believe); invited him over. David confessed, paid the fine and returned to his business.

In trouble? Need to make a sale? Run a big project? Clean up a hurricane?

Find a Friend.

Just like Governor Haley Barbour running Mississippi in the Katrina Aftermath.


Haley Barbour

Mississippi Governor

Barbour called on his network of contacts and friends and came up with satellite phones, helicopters, money and more. He knows where every dollar is hidden in Jackson and in Washington, DC. Barbour made calls and the calls were returned. He didn’t whine.

Here’s the key:

“Haley’s got more friends than anyone I know,” says lobbyist Don Fierce.

Future posts will review the single best place to start building your own network of contacts and friends.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Full Disclosure: I married into the Crouse Clan, as in Charmaine Crouse Yoest. This is an unpaid endorsement. I’ve paid a few speeding tickets for her too. Maybe it’s the Kentucky race-horse culture? I’m trying to get her to slow down.

Morgan Freeman helps.

Veritas points us to MississippiRenewal.

Bill Karl has Katrina politicalization.

Parrot Cage doesn’t care for Barbour.

The Harpist has quotes.

Congratulations to Captain Ed

September 14, 2005 | By | 4 Comments

Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters recently was noted by Playboy Magazine as one of the top five winning political blogs. It is well deserved.

Your Humble Business Blogger is a regular reader of CQ because of his analysis of politics and his personality. Charmaine and I met Ed as he live-blogged Justice Sunday II in Nashville in real life. He’s a pro. Articulate in person as he is in paragraph.

The gathering of an assembly of people — moves participants on a molecular level. This is why Blogger Meet-ups are so popular: I R L sells best.

Sales professionals have always known this. The highest close rate for a sales presentation is a face to face meeting. And showing up, as Woody Allen said, is 80% of success.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Writing History writes Hollywood’s Pimp. Not Ed.


My Diva, age 8, posting for Ed

exposed by Lance McMurray

It is well documented from DailyKos that Ed Morrissey uses proprietary blogging software and child labor for his detailed lengthy posts.

Among Capt. Ed enthusiasts: Anchoress



Fraters Libertas

Thanks also to Outside the Beltway for Traffic Jam.