Think Outside of the Bookstore - article

Selling your book can be hard. It is important to make your book stand out, as competition can be overwhelming. At large bookstores like, Borders, and Barnes and Noble, your book may get little attention in the sea of other books. Book signings and other special marketing tactics at book superstores may not be enough. Instead of sneaking neon lights and whooping sirens into these giant bookstores to get your book attention, you might want to try an easier tactic. Try selling your book at specialty locations.

Local Events

Word of mouth travels quickly when you make an appearance and sell your book at a local event. Check with your local city hall to see what events are coming to your city. You can set up a booth at an art festival or city fair. You will get the chance to meet readers that share a common trait with you: your community. Also check for events or fundraisers from local organizations or churches. Offer to do a question-and-answer session or a book signing to spur interest around your book.

Gift Shops

People waiting at airports and hospitals have extra time. Many flock to gift shops to find books and magazines to keep them occupied. Gifts shops offer considerably less competition than the major bookstores. Your book may be just what patrons need to help them enjoy passing the time.

Did you write a historical or art book? Try selling it at a museum gift shop. Did you write a book about animals? Try selling it at a zoo gift shop. These tactics target your audience more effectively, increasing your chances at getting picked up by the perfect reader.

Flea Markets

Flea markets offer a fun atmosphere. They also offer a weekly chance to sell more copies of your book. They bring in hundreds of customers a day and can be especially helpful if you are selling a cookbook or how-to book, because you can bring an exciting demonstration to your booth. People at flea markets are shopping for something new and interesting. Your book will be a welcome addition to the festivities.

Specialty Stores

Search for specialty store that corresponds to your book. If you wrote a book about interior design or a coffee table book, try selling at a home store. If you wrote about a specific sport, such as hiking or mountain climbing, try selling it at a store that sells hiking or climbing gear. If you wrote a cookbook, try selling at a kitchen appliance store. It's important to remember that selling books isn't limited to just bookstores.

Already Have a Following?

If you are a public speaker or give consultations at events, take your book with you. Many will believe you are a more credible speaker if you have published a book. Link the event or your speech with your book in a subtle way. If people like what you say, they will most likely buy your book.

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  • All good advice. I also suggest letting others know of your novel as you make other announcements of positive life events (i.e., births, retirements, etc.). Obviously steering away from marketing your novel at funerals, wakes, etc. I'm also working on a memoir and contacting family-friends-acquaintances for this endeavor is good chance to remind them of avalabliity of my debut novel (2 birds with one stone so to speak). 

  • Awesome tips! Something worth trying for sure.