Traditionally speaking, when you tell people that you have published a book, their minds go right to seeing your book in their local book store. They’re going to think that it is pretty cool. And so will you. And it will be cool. But… it is not likely to happen…
There are almost a million books a year published. How many of that million do you think will fit on the shelves of traditional book stores? You’re right. Not many. The competition is fierce to occupy that very limited space of a bookstore.
In addition, if you are one of the extremely lucky ones, chances are your book will be just one of many in the bundles of books making up the mazes of aisles and shelves in the book store. Your book will probably be put spine out, instead of cover out, causing people to miss your book as they walk right by it. It will also likely be sandwiched between the big boys and big girls in this industry. And our customers will reach for their books instead of ours.
So, what is the answer to being lost in this sea of books? Hey, if you can get into these book stores, don’t turn the opportunity down. The secret to success in this business is that we have to be thinking the magic words of “Where Else?” Yup. Where else can we sell our books is what needs to be on the top of our self-publishing indie author minds.
I don’t sell most of my books in traditional bookstores. And you probably won’t either. I actually sell most of my books in non-traditional markets, and eventually, so will you most likely. For example, when I give a speech, many times, I can sell my book in the back of the room. When I do this, I am selling my books outside of the traditional book store in a non-traditional market in the back of the room where I just gave a speech. During that particular event, I absolutely will sell more books there than in a book store on that same day. Heck, if things go well, I may sell more books in that non-traditional market of where I spoke than I sell all week or even all month in the bookstores.
Another great non-traditional market place to sell our books is associations. Since I’m also a school teacher, I belong to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Association. The AFT loves me and what I do. And why shouldn’t they? I’m a member of their association. I pay them dues. And I am doing things that make them and their teachers look good.
So, why wouldn’t they want to help me sell books that support their teachers, their members, their dues-paying members? Of course, they’re going to help me. They also give me a lot of coverage and exposure. What association do you belong to, or could belong to that can be the non-traditional market that helps you sell books?
Government organizations, like associations, are another non-traditional market we can tap into to help us sell our books. Again, because I am a teacher, the government organization called our public schools like what I do. Schools like it when I write books that will help their teachers. Schools help me get speeches, get more exposure, and sell more books in their non-traditional market, which is again, outside of the traditional bookstore. Do you work for the government or know someone who does where you can get more exposure and sell your books?
How about non-profits? What about corporations? Non-profits and corporations can help us get exposure, build our network, and sell more of our books. They’re great to partner with, and they’re another great way to use a non-traditional market to get our message out and help us sell more books. ‘
Another great thing that all these non-traditional bookselling places above offer are bulk sales. Traditionally a person walks into a bookstore and buys one book. So it would take 1000 people walking into the bookstore to buy your book for you to sell 1000 books. However, in bulk sales, one person could order 1000 books for the members of their group. Which way sounds easier to sell 1000 books? One thousand sold to 1000 different people or 1000 books sold to just one person? Heck yeah. Bulk sales are a really cool part of non-traditional markets.
Amazon is a non-traditional market, too. Yup. That’s right. They are not your traditional book store. They are a virtual bookstore that sells more books than any other entity in the world. So, why wouldn’t we tap into what Amazon does with selling our books? After all, nobody in the world sells books as well as Amazon. We could sell a lot of books in Amazon’s non-traditional bookselling market. Hey, it’s just a fact that all good Authorpreneurs are tapping into Amazon.
Quick suggestion. Make it even easier to sell your books on Amazon by converting your print book into an eBook and audiobook as well. This way, millions of people from all around the world can have your book(s) right in their pockets on their phones through one simple click. Pretty cool, huh? This sounds even better than the traditional bookstore, doesn’t it?
It makes sense to get out of the bookstores and onto the internet where we could create online courses to sell our books. We could sell our books on podcasts, as well as internet TV. We could use email marketing and sales funnels to sell our books in non-traditional markets? There are many, many other non-traditional markets out there that I don’t have enough space to mention. There are even non-traditional book stores out there, like the ones in universities, prisons, naval boats, and airports, to mention just a few. There are a lot of places we can sell our books if we’re creative.
Again, there is nothing wrong with selling our books in traditional markets. But we always have to be asking ourselves who else and where else. And the answer is non-traditional markets, which are endless. Enjoy the journey down a whole other road of bookselling, which for many of us, is usually more profitable than the traditional bookstores.
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