What's Special About Special Market Sales
According to Special Sales expert Jerrold Jenkins, the key to success in non-trade book sales is, "Research, research, research." "After identifying your market, your next job is to familiarize yourself with how the market works," says Jenkins in his Insider's Guide to Large Quantity Book Sales. "To do this, read both trade magazines and consumer magazines. In the gift-store market, for example, trade magazines Giftware News and Jewelry & Gem Business will tell you how the distribution works, how the retailers learn about new products, what discounts they pay, new trends, and details on upcoming trade shows. Consumer magazines will tip you off to trends and teach you the buzzwords of each market." "Both trade and consumer magazines will give you a feel for what’s hot in a given retail area and what’s yesterday’s news.
If you choose sales reps to distribute your book, there are two ways to go; either with a network of independent sales reps or with a regional or national organization of sales reps. How do you put together an effective sales force? You can find a good sales rep by calling or visiting the stores you’ve targeted. Ask the owner for the name of the rep who sells their bestselling gift books in the price range of your book. Even better, ask for the sales rep’s name who sells merchandise related to your book. Then ask about the sales rep’s reputation.When you keep hearing the same name pop up for a specific geographic area, you’ll have your candidate." "You could also ask other publishers who have published gift-market type books, tactfully of course, for their list of sales reps. This is a big favor, so you’ll want to establish a relationship first." Some other pointers: • Send a direct mail piece to wholesale gift shops.A good mailing list is pivotal; you may want to get together with other publishers to share names.The best list would include only names of vendors who have consistently responded to mailings. • When you design the display that will hold the books (six to twelve is a good range), make sure you print on the back of the display the following: “To re-order NAME OF BOOK, call (800) XXX-XXXX.” • Think about how your book could tie in with an existing product. Have you published a book on potty training? Call up a potty-chair manufacturer and propose pairing your products. Your idea will be far better accepted if you present prototype art for the packaging. • Strongly consider joining trade or professional associations, such as the Hobby Industry Association or the National Craft Association. These associations are clearinghouses for news on seminars, trade shows, meetings, and networking opportunities.They sometimes offer services, too, such as market research and marketing. • If your book line is too small to get entrance into a trade show, offer to rep a friend’s gift line. • For dates of major gift shows, check out the National Craft Association’s website: www.craftassoc.com/confer.html
John Kremer’s Marvelous Book Marketing Strategies
Git-er-Done NOW Book Marketing Tip #8 - Talk to at least five other retail owners or buyers.Welcome to Marvelous Book Marketing Strategies, a monthly column based on book marketing expert John Kremer’s 24-Point Book Marketing Action List, a list John compiled specially for the participants in his Book Marketing Blast-Off seminars. The actions on the list range from writing press releases and networking, to contacting Oprah and getting to know your bank’s president. The underlying value of the list may be that it encourages you – the independent author and/or publisher – to focus on ACTION. As an independent author, self-publisher, or owner of a small publishing house, it all depends on YOU and your ability to GET THE JOB DONE. Self-promotion, guerilla marketing, and effective networking strategies are all vital elements of getting the BUZZ for yourself and your books that lead to SALES.
Each month we list one of John Kremer’s Marketing Action suggestions, and elaborate a bit on why it’s important and how to make each action happen effectively and efficiently. Prepare to TAKE ACTION, IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING, and SELL MORE BOOKS!
Book Marketing Action Tip #8:
“Talk to at least five other retail owners or buyers.”
"If you want to get serious about selling your books in other retail markets, you need to know how they work. Start talking to some local stores that stock books similar to the ones you publish. Find out how they work, where they find out about new products, where they go to buy new products, what kind of terms they require, etc."
It's sad but often true: a bookstore is the WORST place to sell your books! Bookstores demand high discounts - even though they retain the right to return them without penalty - and unless you're a bestseller or can afford to pay for it, your book probably won't get any visible merchandising and will be displayed spine out on a shelf with thousands of other books. When they do sell some of your books, they're notoriously slow to pay. Wouldn't it be great to find a gift shop or specialty retailer that would sell your book and treat it like a hot commodity?
There are 200,000 non-bookstore outlets in the country, ten times the
number of bookstores and they sell about half a billion dollars worth of books every year. These retailers are willing to put out appealing counter displays or floor racks, or may display your books with other items to inspire gift packages.
Gift book sales are less reliant on your promotional abilities, because they are almost
invariably an impulse buy. According to the latest study by the Book Industry Study Group, fully
33 percent of all books purchased by consumers were made as an impulse buy.
Who is the specialty retailer for your book? Better yet, who is your specialty customer, and where does she shop? There are tens of thousands of specialty retail stores: gourmet shops,
restaurants, museum shops, nature stores, hospital shops, video stores, grocery stores, drugstores, toy stores, department stores, camera stores, fishing stores, sports shops, bike stores,
gyms, stationery stores, lodges, fruit markets,T-shirt shops, pottery shops, home improvement
stores, hardware stores, pet stores, record stores, even tattoo parlors.
This huge range means that you must think carefully of how to match your book’s audience with a store’s clientele.What kind of money
do they make? Are they male or female, professional or blue collar, where do they go to shop for products that are related to your book?
After you pinpoint the kind of stores they would visit, go visit the stores yourself. Does your book fit the “feel” of the store.You’ll notice gift stores, in particular, have a definite attitude. Romantic, whimsical, outrageous, Bohemian, sexual, etc.Would your book fit in?
Strike up a conversation with the owner: maybe even set up a lunch appointment to ask
questions.Who do they buy their books from? How do they choose which books to carry?
What kind of point-of-purchase displays work best? What are the worst kind of book covers/
displays? How long do they keep a book around? Which sales reps/wholesalers/distributors
do they use most for books or products that complement your books? Are there any to
avoid? What discount do they pay for books? Which books succeed and which fail? What price
should a book never exceed? Are there any pricing strategies that they’d recommend (like slapping a 20-percent discount sticker on each book)? Is there a demand for your kind of book.
What kind of books sell best?
Answer these questions, and get out there and find the businesses where you can become an important vendor and they become a lucrative sales outlet - one that promotes your book, pays on time, and doesn't even know the meaning of book returns.
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Previous Marketing Action Tips:
Tip #6 - Talk to at least one librarian. * * * * *
Other John Kremer links:
John Kremer’s Book Marketing Website: www.bookmarket.com
John Kremer’s Book Marketing Tip of the Week: www.bookmarket.com/tips.html
John Kremer’s blog: openhorizons.blogspot.com
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