Tools to Help You Sell and Market Your Book
The secret to authoring a book and marketing it is to allow God to be your co-author. The Holy Spirit is given to all of God’s children. He will guide us into doing the will of our Heavenly Father. This applies to every aspect of our daily lives, even writing and publishing.
Before I am an author or book publisher, I am a Christian. If I leave God out of my daily routine, I end up being just another author among thousands that struggle for sales, recognition, and fame.
The essential mindset for success is to know that it’s not about you as the author. It is about using your talent to the glory of God and doing his divine will. This will determine what you write about and how you relate to others.
The Christian author uses his gifts to be a blessing to others. We all want to make sales, but ministry is more important. If we look for ways to invest in the lives of those around us, God will take care of the sales. That being said, let’s look at some ways to increase book sales and minister at the same time.
Tool Kit for Successful Sales and Marketing
I have established a “Tool Kit” of ideas for my own use, and I am glad to share it with you.
1. Direct Mail: This requires buying a list, doing a graphic presentation, printing, and using a mail house to mail your book offer. With this method, it is best to promote multiple books.
2. Email Blast: This can be accomplished through CIPA or by list rental and self-blasting. I use CIPA for eBlast to retailers and consumers. This way is a lot less expensive than if I were to do it myself.
3. Giveaways: I like to give away some of my books. I see it as an investment into the lives of others. I always ask first if they will read my book if I give it to them. Recently, I started to add an insert that requests a book review on Amazon. This is both a ministry effort and a way to create word-of-mouth promotions.
4. Local Press Releases: I got on the phone and called every newspaper within a 50-mile radius and asked for the book review person, the feature article writer, and the product news release coordinator. I jotted down the names and emails with phone and extensions. This became my press/media list. Every quarter, I send a press release or book review request.
5. Fundraising Promotions: I am in the first stages of seeking out churches that agree with my Christian viewpoint in hopes that I can offer them one or more books to use as a fundraiser for ministry outreaches. It is important to have the pastor on board and offer the books at a cost. The beauty of this idea is that all the sales are in advance, and the church or organization will not require any money up front. They pay when you place the order, and the church deducts their share right away.
6. Seminars: I am planning a free seminar in a local library which I will promote with fliers and press releases. This seminar will help me to sell my book, The End of the World, From the Beginning. I’ll give away one free book and offer more at a reduced price (50% off). My objective is, of course, to sell books but also to present the gospel message and lead people to Jesus.
7. Table Top Presentations: Setting up a presentation table can be done most anywhere. Ask your pastor if you can set up a table before and after the Sunday service. Check with the local library for a table in their lobby, and grocery stores and Walmart will let you set up a table, too. Look at fairs, festivals, and other outdoor events for a table presentation opportunity.
8. Telemarketing: You can call local churches to see if they have a bookstore. If they do, send them a copy of your book with a flier telling the reader about your other books and where they can place an order. If the church does not have a bookstore, you can use this opportunity to hold a church fundraiser.
9. Free eBook Promo: Free eBook Promotions is a great way to capture names and emails for your ongoing email efforts. You can offer it on all social media platforms as well as on your author’s page.
10. Newsletters: Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your friends, book buyers and family. I use it to share info on various topics related to my happenings as well as introducing new books and offers.
11. Blogs: A blog is nothing more than an article. It expressed how you think and feel about a specified subject, and it is a perfect opportunity for you to share the gospel. However, your blog does not have to be about selling books. Your newsletter and other special eBlast are a better use of time and effort.
12. List Building: As an author, you will need to build various lists for p/r and sales promos. I am building a Christian Book Reader list, a Local Media list, an Independent Retail Bookstore List, a Church Bookstore List, a Customer List, and plenty more. CIPA is a great source for eBlast.
13. Bookmarks: Bookmarks are great for trade shows and table top displays. I use them all the time and everywhere I can.
14. Business Cards: A good, glossy business card is a must-have as an author. I give them to strangers I meet as well as people I know. This helps me to build branding and gives me added exposure.
15. T-shirts: A good T-shirt can draw attention to your books and to you as an author. You can make up a few for yourself and some close friends to wear around town.
16. Website: I use my website to push free eBook offers and I also have podcasts, poetry, and other written pieces that I broadcast on my website as a part of my ministry.
17. Social Media: Social media is a great place for periotic promos. You can upload free eBook offers or post about recent blogs on Facebook and Instagram. Realize that it is not a focused list of book readers or buyers. And the best part is that it is free.
18. Holiday Promotions: Design your book offer around a special holiday and offer it as a gift. You can tie your offer to a free eBook with the discounted rate for a paperback or hard cover.
19. Special Reports: Maybe you have a short report or Bible expose that can be offered with no strings attached. This is a good way to build branding and customer loyalty.
20. Logo Items: Another great branding effort is to purchase “Ad Specialty” logo items like pens, cups, key chains, tote bags, and other items that display your logo and website. Logo items are perfect for trade show handouts and may be interesting to repeating customers.
21. Radio/TV Interviews: These may be hard to get, but use CIPA’s media eBlast to help you through your quest for added exposure. You can also seek interviews with local media to appear on morning TV shows and newsworthy radio spots.
These 21 tools will help to get you started. The key is to look closely at each tool, see if it fits, and calculate how the tool will add to your overall budget.
Finally, know that God has given you this gift and wants you to rely on him. He is your co-author, inspiration, guide, source of funding, and the one that has your best interest at heart.
Don’t worry about book sales. Be sensitive to God’s voice and do what he directs you to do. I gave away a book just the other day because I heard the Lord say, “That person could benefit from what your book focuses on.”
I am learning more every day from my membership with CIPA and appreciate their ongoing efforts to educate authors like me so I can grow my business and minister in a larger way. I believe they are a God-send for my edification.
About the Author
John Marinelli is retired from a 35-year sales and marketing executive position that served industrial markets and retail business to business sales. He is also a Christian author and a poet. He is an ordained minister of the gospel with ties to Southern Baptist and independent full gospel ministries. He has written over 25 Christian oriented books as well as poetry and children’s story poems. On his “Show & Tell” website, John offers his books, three of which were published by his wife, Marilyn. He now lives in north central Florida where he writes, sings karaoke, and ministers to people in need.