Posts Tagged ‘Books’
How many wonderful books have you stumbled upon while browsing in your favorite bookstore?
Books you decided you couldn’t live without.
Books you would never have found if you hadn’t been able to roam and wander and poke about among the overflowing tables, bins, stacks, bookcases and displays.
Books that attracted your attention because of their cover, or a chapter title, or a blurb on the inside jacket flap.
Look around the aisles and alcoves and cozy nooks of your local bookstore. The books stand there, waiting for you, promising knowledge, entertainment, connection, enlightenment, pleasure and joy. A book is a journey.
As you look around, how many people do you see reading? Moving from one volume to another? Pausing to lean over and pluck from the stacks a book that has caught their eye?
And how many people do you see actually buying a book?
The Borders bookstore chain declared bankruptcy recently and is now selling off its assets. In another few months it will shutter its stores for good.
Where once communities had easy access to books and a destination in which to meet and connect over new ideas and literary finds, there will be only empty shelves and dust.
Another outpost of civilization will have gone dark.
One reason Borders is closing its doors is that apparently more people were shoppers than buyers.
In the many reports I’ve read about Borders’ bankruptcy, one feature really jumped out at me: many of the staff and analysts interviewed said that for some time they had noticed a new pattern taking shape in the book-selling business: people shopped the bookstores, found what they wanted to buy, and then went online to make their purchases.
A number of shoppers who were interviewed admitted they were guilty of “mooching” – browsing at their bookstore, but then buying online.
Borders is one casualty of that trend.
Some trade analysts have speculated that online and ebook sales might actually decrease as a result of physical bookstores closing. Their thinking is that as more and more brick-and-mortar bookstores go out of business, people will have no place to browse and pick up a book to explore it.
Hmm, does this book appeal to me? Do I need to buy this and read it? Oh … maybe that one instead.
Many industry observers have opined that bookstores are the vehicle of book discovery, and that without thousands of actual books all around them and knowledgeable, professional staff ready to offer help and suggestions, most consumers will remain unaware of what is available in the literary marketplace.
What will that do to online and ebook sales of books?
Is there some way to develop a hybrid store that combines physical books, print-on-demand machines, and the on-site ability to buy ebooks (with the bookstore getting a commission on the sale price)?
Could those hybrid stores also offer multimedia viewing kiosks for titles that are only in ebook format?
As the publishing and book-selling business continues to transform, new models are emerging for getting books in many formats into the hands of readers.
We’re approaching a critical juncture, in my opinion, and this important topic deserves some serious thinking and entrepreneurial inventiveness.
What are your ideas for the bookstores of the future?
Now it’s your turn: What do you think of consumers who shop bookstores, but buy online? Do you think brick-and-mortar bookstores will eventually disappear? Do you support your local independent and chain bookstores by actually purchasing books there? How do you feel about the closing of Borders? Join the conversation by leaving a comment – thanks! Elizabeth Lexleigh LexPower The Write Ideas
In one of my online discussion groups, someone recently asked what sort of successful offline strategies for book promotion published authors have used. I’ve adapted part of my response for this post and hope that if you are a published author you’ll share one or two of your successful offline strategies for marketing your book.
When you start to develop the offline marketing plan for your book, your first questions should be:
- Who is my audience?
- Where are they likely to look for the kind of book I have written?
How you answer those questions will help determine which offline strategies you might consider. The following suggestions have worked for me as well as for some of my ghostwriting clients who asked for tips on marketing. Of course there are other strategies you can pursue, but these will get you started on developing a marketing plan for your book.
If you are publishing your book through a traditional publisher, the two of you will discuss who does what. (Most authors publish with smaller houses, which assume the author will be responsible for much of the marketing.) Just expect to handle a fair amount of the marketing and promotion yourself, unless you are a celebrity with wide name recognition or your book is so compelling that the big publishing houses are engaged in a frenzied bidding war to land your manuscript. (Compelling? It’s a code word that means “appears poised to make huge sales.”)
If you are self-publishing, then you are the publisher, of course, and in that case will especially want to pick and choose among those strategies that are likely to give you the most return (that is, book sales) for the time and effort invested.
Get all the reviews you can. Work with your publisher to have the book sent around to the most appropriate journals, magazines, digests, newspapers and other publications for review. See if your publisher will actually handle sending the review copies: this is a big job, and if your publisher is willing and already has a database full of contacts, be grateful. (And possibly consider sending your publisher a lovely thank-you note and fabulous flowers or delectable chocolates). If you are really lucky, your publisher will also track and assemble the review clippings, and send copies of them to you. Reviews serve many purposes; one of the most important is to help generate orders from bookstores, book clubs and other outlets.
Get out there and give interviews! Follow up on the press releases and review copies that have already been sent out by contacting local and national magazines, journals, newspapers, and radio and TV stations to set up interviews. Naturally, you’ll want to target those that are appropriate for your book, so when you make your pitch, be sure you know how your book is relevant to the publication’s or show’s audience—in other words, be able to tell them why they should interview you as opposed to another of the many authors who are also trying to snag an interview. Bonus: Since many publications and stations also have a website, your interview just might also appear online in written form or, in some cases, as a podcast.
Some nonfiction books lend themselves beautifully to seminars. If you decide that seminars make sense as part of your promotion strategy, consider structuring the fee to include a copy of your book for each participant.
Would speaking engagements work for your book? Many authors spread the word by speaking to professional associations, special-interest groups, conferences and other organizations. Tip: Ask if they can give your book a plug in their handouts and publicity (don’t assume they’ll just do it; be sure to ask and offer to supply the copy or advertising insert). Also, make sure you always have plenty of books on hand to sell on site; alternatively, you might arrange for a local bookstore to handle sales of your book at the event.
Before and after your book is published, consider writing articles about your book’s subject for relevant magazines, newspapers and journals. If you can manage a column, you’ll derive even more exposure. You might also approach selected publications and pitch excerpts from your book. The point is to get your book and your name in front of your audience, grab their attention, and motivate them to buy a copy. Bonus: Like other authors, you’ll probably find that the experience and the clips will have many future uses.
What about readings and book signings at bookstores, libraries, book clubs and similar venues? Although many writers dreamily imagine reading to large crowds of enraptured fans and signing books for long lines of adoring readers, in reality those events often seem to work best (that is, they produce the most traffic and sales) for well-known/celebrity writers or for topics that attract hordes of readers, no matter who the author is. Test the market for this type of event by talking with your local booksellers and librarians.
Whatever set of strategies you select to incorporate into your marketing plan—good luck!
Now it’s your turn: Have you used any of these strategies to market your book? What worked best for you? What other offline promotion efforts produced book sales for you? Take part in the conversation by leaving comments – thanks! Elizabeth Lexleigh LexPower The Write Ideas